I have to admit I am a little scared to go home to Mindanao this time. I actually cried as I was packing this morning. Living for so many years in China where the only explosions I hear are from firecrackers or fireworks, I have become too comfortable and a little cowardly. In 2001, when the government declared an all-out war with the rebels, I dared to go to Marawi to accompany my journalist friend who was going to interview a religious leader there. On our way to Marawi, we could see and hear helicopters strafing certain areas. I was scared, but also thought of it as an adventure, something I could boast about later on.
Then I left for China. Seven years later when I went home in the summer for a visit, rebels threatened to attack my city. It was the first time I felt real FEAR. Seeing my sister deathly pale and cold, watching my mother pray the rosary as we all huddled in the bedroom, I nearly went crazy with fear.
Now, I am going home again to a conflict-ridden Mindanao. I envy my fellow Mindanaoans , who do not allow their fear to defeat them, who continue to believe that this too shall pass. I have lost my Mindanaoan courage and optimism, but I hope to get them back when I arrive home. Soon.
Impressions of my two homes: Jimei, China and Iligan, Philippines
Daily Prompt: Impression
You let me wander,
And now I’m unmoored,
A paper boat adrift in the ocean.
Soon I’ll be soaked
Unless you change your mind
And come rescue me.
Daily Prompt: Unmoored
These are photos of the two pieces of “malong” I brought with me when I left my country. A “malong” is similar to the “sarong” worn by other Southeast Asians. Though not as popular as they once were in the past, this traditional garment is still worn by some Maranaos (a Muslim tribe from our island of Mindanao) in my hometown.
I like the designs of the “malong,” and it is quite handy. I sometimes use it as a blanket, and as a blanket scarf! I’ve also had a skirt and a dress made from a “malong.”
Though the “malong” is a traditional garment of the Maranaos (who are Muslims), I think every Christian family in my hometown has always had at least one!
I was born and raised in the beautiful island of Mindanao where Muslims and Christians have lived together for hundreds of years. We have the same heritage.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage
I have been living away from the small city I was born and raised in, Iligan, for about 14 years now. But it will always be home for me, even though my parents are no longer around and so many friends have left for other countries.
It is a coastal city of about 300,000 people, which is a much bigger number from 30 or 40 years ago. Back then, on Sundays, when we walked to church my parents would be saying “Hi!” or “Good morning” to people we met on the road. Now, I can walk around the city for an hour and not see anybody I recognize.
But it’s a different feeling when I look out to the sea. Watching the sea in Iligan gives me the feeling of being home.
Then I feel I am truly a local.
The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Local