Looking Back at the Smokey Mountain

Looking back on the Smokey Mountain days. I can still remember those good old elementary school days way back in the 1990s when most of the time after school, me and my childhood friends either play or stroll on most of the streets around town just to discover new places.

One of the interesting places that we found was the Smokey Mountain dumpsite. It’s actually a large landfill located on Tondo, Manila in the Philippines that consists of approximately of over two million tonnes of waste. For more than 40 years, the Smokey Mountain operated as a site for decomposing wastes at such high temperatures so the place is more likely to catch fire.

When we first saw this landfill, we’re amazed on Smokey Mountain because it really looks like a miniature mountain. Smoke comes out on some part of it so its name was actually derived from it. There’s a squatter community near the dumpsite and we have some friends there, either classmates or newly found friends.

Every other afternoon, we visit our friends near the landfill and spend the whole afternoon taking turns on bike riding. Most of them don’t have bicycles so we gladly lend them ours, the excitement on their faces using our bikes brought us great joy because somehow, we made them happy.

Recently, I am glad to know that some 200 pre-school children at the Smokey Mountain were among the recipient of this year’s “Operation Goodwill” gift-giving project of the Okinawa, Japan-based US Marine Corps.

Lead by US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney with 26 American Marines played Santa Claus in a pre-Christmas activity where they distributed toys, clothes and household items held last Wednesday at the Sandiwaan Center for Learning in Balut, Tondo. This center is part of a resettlement village, now the new home of former residents of the country’s biggest garbage dump. It is run by the Manila city government’s Department of Social Welfare and Development.

By the way, the Smokey Mountain was also a band, a Filipino singing group formed by musical director, composer, and conductor Ryan Cayabyab. The original group was based in Manila, Philippines, and had James Coronel, Geneva Cruz, Jeffrey Hidalgo, and Tony Lambino as its original members while Jason Anganan, Chedi Vergara and Zhar Santos joined Coronel for the second lineup after Cruz, Hidalgo & Lambino left the group.

The Smokey mountain band released a couple of albums such as Smokey Mountain, Paraiso (Paradise), Know You Will, Death Penalty and Smokiest Hits that produced hit singles like Can This Be Love, Kahit Habang Buhay, Kailan, Mama, Paraiso, Da Coconut Nut, One less lonely heart, etc. You can watch the Paraiso music video above.

Another popular Smokey mountain, the Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee-North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. It is sometimes called the Smoky Mountains or the Smokey Mountains, and it’s name is commonly shortened to the Smokies.

The Great Smoky Mountain or the Great Smokies are best known as the home of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which protects most of the range. It was established in 1934 and it’s one of the most visited national park in the United States. Maybe one day, I’ll get to visit that great park too.

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