i just had my first ever kanduli today. went to brgy. limbalod, datu montawal, maguindanao this morning to follow up on a schedule with community leaders, bapa uns among others. blessings of all blessings, i not only finished my task of meeting up with the revered bapa, but also got in touch with the brgy. captain of limbalod.
the initial meeting was like the heat coming off the ground after a brief shower of rain. the kind that makes the head dizzy and the stomach uneasy. bapa uns approached the kap and pointed to me from far away. i was only made to come closer after a few minutes of discussion.
the hand shake was firm and long. the stare of kap is intense and could easily melt weak knees. the bulge at his side reminds me that this is person is a warrior by all means.
we started talking about tm and the misgivings of the implementer of the project to their barangay. i have already heard bits of this from ate maco, but to hear from the persons of authority from the area seems to make the impact stronger on me.
there were moments of silence. pregnant pauses.
but later, the bulge ceased to be a hidden artifact. and that was when kap started telling stories of the war in 2000. how the barangay was bombed and shelled by the military, in suspicion of being a part of camp abubakar. how his people left their homes and evacuated to a center near the municipal hall. how many children, women and old men and women died from the shelling and from the evacuation itself.
and when they returned to assess the damage done, how they felt so desolate and poor as not a single coconut tree withstood the bombs. how holes that looked like fishponds to the untrained eye reminds me of that faithful day back in 2000.
it was a sad story. but beyond the strong-willed eyes of kap, i saw a person who has aspired for peace. i saw a fellow human being like me who still fears for his life.
and that is something to be thankful for. for kanduli is indeed a thanksgiving of our bangsamoro brothers and sisters. and what a fitting symbol for me too?
the exchange of stories with kap, which were already highlighted with laughter is also something to be thankful for. now i know this person, not only from stories and reputation, but also from his words. from his experience and also from his aspirations.
surely, stories have already preceded our meeting. but these became just stories when i came to meet the guy. when you see the essence of humanity in a person, you identify with that person. you transcend boundaries set by religion, ideology and politics and come together in a meal.
i guess that is why, the highlight of the kanduli is a meal. when people sit and eat together, we forget the frailities of our "gy's". we forget that we have guns, because what is important is the food in our midst that is meant to be shared.
i lost all inhibitions with kap right after the meal. in the silence that followed, between the rice wrapped in banana leaves, balbacua, sinabawan na kanding, pinilit na manok, pansit, peace was shared.