Tuesday, December 07, 2004

cotabato musings

i am typing away from the business center of azaleas in cotabato. this day has been too precious to be left to my memory that is why, i am paying for php50 to write it down.

woke up at 4.30am this morning, albeit sluggishly to meet up with ben, serg and the others who would accompany us to our field visits in matanog, maguindanao. it is quite exciting to be back. i was there too during happier times with ayen. somehow, my excitement overtook what i felt for her. so off i went. come to think of it, most of what i have been doing with ADF and TM seems to make me feel better, even if there is the occassional recognition of me of some people within the organization.


we rode with dswd guys who would also be showcasing their project to the funder, who is also with us. that was the fastest kind of driving i've seen in recent years. i noticed the adventure's speedometer pushing from 80, to 100, 120. i said oh shit when it freakingly tapped 140 to 150 and stayed there. that was the last i remembered when i fell asleep. somehow, the speed didn't bother me much. haha, i really can fall asleep during the most exciting times of my life.

we reached matanog at before 10am. i remembered the last trip i had here. anj and myself left davao at 9am and reached kapatagan at 6pm. and now, not even half the time. so there we were. talking with danny, kuya james and some other participants in the panaw conference whose faces look familiar but the names are not. we inspected shelter projects that made use of only about 1/4 inch thick wood planks. with the flooring left undone and no comfort room, not even water supply. o shit, i used to complain with my room and now looking at this community who are just so happy to have a roof over their heads, takes away the ramblings in me. and replaces it with appreciation to what is there. remind me to say a prayer before going to sleep tonight.

i think there are some irregularities with the implementation of the project. i sensed it through side comments from the people i was with. but substandard quality of materials, unfinished and shabby planning resounded an even larger yell. damn, these people deserve more than this. the last thing they need is some implementor not giving what they promised to them and to the funder.

no wonder the lunch of crabs and prawns didn't taste as good as the ones in ahfat.

we also visited TM and BY areas. more than the structure of water reservoirs (reserbu-wir), anyone can tell that these people are really up to good. you can feel it from the people who are more than willing to share a smile. to respond to the greetings of assalamu alaikum. to touch their chests when you shake their hands. i seem to have developed stronger affinity to these people. in a span of two or three years, these people has traversed the difficult path of return and recovery. the voyage may have not been easy but at least i know that the path, though still offers a lot of twists and turns would lead to the better interest of everyone in the project. of course even me.

and tonight, after a hearty meal at mang gorio's in cotabato city, i stay awake, even if the others have gone off to their rooms. maybe i would get another beer to celebrate before retiring. the good that is being done here, swells the heart of anyone who would want to take up the cause with them. glad to be someone who is just that.

before i go, i would just like to put down two very interesting irregularities of cotabato city.

1. cotabato city is in maguindanao not in north or south cotabato. haha, that is why piƱol always sounds incredulous, when you mention this to him.

2. the seat of the ARMM government is here, but ironically, the city is not an affiliate of the ARMM. hence all matters relating to the ARMM, like the BDA are stationed here as well.

and i have yet to take a picture of the famous "writings" on the arc at the plaza.

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