What is your reality?

whatisyourreality

Reality is whatever means most to you. Some may see your reality as an illusion, but reality is perception. And what you perceive to be most important in your life is your reality.

I was reminded of this after  my 4-week stay at home in Mindanao with my son and my sisters and nephews, in a city 45-minutes from Marawi where war is raging. Every single day, we’d hear helicopters or planes on their way to Marawi. Every single day I was there, there’d be ambulance sirens. Soldiers with rifles walked around the city (this is a common sight though. We’ve always had soldiers or policemen patrolling the streets, even outside our cathedral.) By 9pm, the streets were quiet because of the curfew (our island is under Martial Law.)

I have never personally thanked any of the soldiers I saw in the mall (young men and women in their routine break from the war doing their shopping). I really wanted to, but I didn’t want them to think I was being weird or whatever. But I am truly grateful, as most of the residents in our city are, for these soldiers’ bravery and dedication. Because of them Iliganons are able to sleep well at night, secure in the thought that they would never let the enemies take our city the way Marawi was taken.

Now that I’m back in “safe” China, I am able to think again and look back at life in Mindanao.

In those 4 weeks, I was so busy “living” that I had little time for thinking and socializing — no Facebook, no Twitter, no WordPress, no texting. I had lunch with a couple of friends twice, and that was all the socializing I did. Every day I was busy being a mother to my son, and being a sister  to my sisters and an aunt to my nephews, and spoke with my husband for a few minutes on the phone. I didn’t have time nor the interest to read or watch the news. I was so out of the loop in what was going on outside of my family.

Yet I didn’t feel I was missing out on anything.

Home. Family. This is my reality; this is what is most important — that the ones I care about the most are safe, and that we are whole as a family.

This is my reality. What is yours?

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Daily Prompt: Sail

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Northern Mindanao, Philippines

The last time I traveled by boat was in 2002 from Bohol, Philippines to my hometown. I was with a new friend then. We were just getting to know each other, and he was really nice. So even if it was very dark, star-less night at midnight as we hung out on the stern of the ship, and all I could see was the white foam on the big waves, I didn’t want the evening to end. (I always find it interesting looking back how when I was younger, I was not easily scared by dangerous situations — bombings, typhoons, big waves — for as long as I was with a guy I liked! How silly was that?!)

These days I would rather travel by plane than be on a ship, especially if I have to travel in the evening. I don’t care if Bradley Cooper is on the same ship, I would never travel by boat at night.

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Northern Mindanao, Philippines

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Don’t get me wrong. I love the sea, the ocean. See, I made this watercolor because I really like this view of a boat sailing on the sea. When I made this, I was imagining myself being on that boat watching the horizon. But now several months have passed, and I look at this again, I’m thinking that can’t be me. I’d never get on a boat alone.

 

Daily Prompt: Sail 

Daily Prompt: Triumph 


“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ” — Edmund Burke

Everyday now I only hear bad news coming from my city. It makes me angry. It makes me fear for my family.

But I have hope we can overcome this one. There is light in this darkness. We can get out of this darkness.

Iliganons are tough. We have always been. We won’t let evil triumph.

 

Daily Prompt: Triumph

Weekly Photo Challenge: Order 

Misamis Oriental, Philippines 

 

There’s chaos in some parts of Mindanao, but in some areas like Misamis Oriental where the airport is, there’s peace and calm and order.

I had asked the driver to stop at this spot.  The farmer agreed with a smile when I asked if I could take a picture. My family and I were on our way to an airport hotel where we could spend the night before my flight back the next day. I didn’t want to miss my flight because of the curfew and numerous checkpoints (at least 6  during a one-hour drive, but the soldiers were all courteous and friendly!)

Being home and seeing how people were scared but were fighting their fear by trying as best they could to live as normally as possible, I was greatly encouraged, and I’m very proud of my fellow Mindanaoans.

Lohas Hotel, Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental

 


With or without Martial Law, life goes on in Mindanao. There’s still some kind of order.

Have a peaceful week!
T.

Mindanao

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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.

Peace.

 

T.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage

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