i've written about this before. in fact before i typed away, i searched my blog for any entries that has "top load." the search came up with two.
fair enough. here's number three.
i should be sleeping now. but the thoughts of the last few hours needs to be written down.
i thought i have rode on all possible rides back home to davao. i was wrong, for tonight i went home "on" a jeepney. notice the word between the quotation marks. i was on top of the jeepney we hired to get all the participants for the training tomorrow that my bossing is going to give.
in short... top load.
with the stars littering the cool sky of the last day of february, i realized how small and far away i am.
last week, i spent the whole week home in davao. doing, well davao stuff. all could have been perfect, but someone in malacañang just had to do a back door of martial law. giddemit! now i have been worried for my brothers and sisters, for my mom and dad, for ila and for my friends in manila. somehow the things i did last weekend have been a bit dour. the water in samal seemed too cold for a comfortable swin. beer seemed watered down (hell yeah, after downing 7 bottles for the day, one more than our 3-6 theory.) and fricking hang-over the morning after was mind numbing, more than the last few. and i have to wake up early to attend a meeting.
had i been in manila, i would have been the noisiest among people i know. i would have spoken out early on, maybe even asked my friends to stand up in protest. i would have networked with a few connections from my college days and asked where i would be needed. i would have downed more beer in the spirit of discussing and finding ways for a viable and long lasting solution.
but i'm not.
i am in mindanao. so far away, that the ripples of that is happening in my imperialist (other) home are fading away. right here, the problems that people face are more real. poverty, war and all the injustice that comes as "pakapin" of the first two.
its more real, because people have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. while our stay in the areas, afforded us with tinapa (sardinas in manila parlance) some kadjos (vegetable dish, its good, but i can't seem to make out the ingredients) and a whole big tray of rice. i cannot help but feel alienated from the real suffering of the people. our hosts would usually let us eat first and they would mostly do the pahimagas of stories of their communities, within and around their neighborhood.
but still, the ugly face of poverty is at hand. even if it has been window dressed to almost perfection, prepped up to look good and suave and cool. poverty behind a facade, is still and will always be poverty. and it is not just the hunger in the physical sense.
so small and far away (fade in on me on top of the top load of kuya willie's jeepney, looking at the stars). yes, and that would be the reality if my reference point is manila. when i am in mindanao, i still feel small, but nearer. nearer to where the real action is. nearer to where i think i am most needed at. nearer, because i can feel the impetus for the change that is needed.
never a change of leaders of government of systems. but a personal transformation of the person. from the way i look at it, if the people in communities would just have a chance to become a dwarf in suit, they probably would have done the same. to do all that they can not to loose grip of power. power without responsibility. that is bad.
all i am saying is, we filipinos as a people need to look at ourselves individually and be the change that we would want to see. obviously, my favorite michael jackson song is "man in the mirror" (not the crotch-grabbing "thriller" mind you).
from my so called development work, i have come to realize that i am not doing anything for people to change. rather, the change has been happening inside of me. from the way i look at life, even on the way i enjoy my ciggys, up till the way i am thankful for the small and big blessings in life. thankfully there are more big ones.
changing people would be just a fringe benefit from all the "good" that has been happening inside. i placed the word good between quotations, because as i have told my good friend anj, "hindi ko talaga masabing: gusto ko lang talagang maging mabait." it made my hair stand on end just uttering that phrase. but somehow i know, that the goodness in all people can still make itself manifest, even from a person like me.
far and away from manila, but nearer to home in mindanao.
at this point in time, i would rather be here than any other place in the whole wide world.
staring at the stars.