i know i've been shunning my hometown for as long as most
of you have known me. but it's not because i feel inclined to be
detached from this city per se. it's more like that detachment
being a mere consequence of my parents being here, and the
implication of which is that having the same zip code with my
parents translates to a complete lack of freedom for me.
so yes, i love Dumaguete, but this does not mean i do NOT love Iligan. Because i do. i love dumaguete because i fancy that's where i found myself, but iligan is my hometown -it is a huge part of who
i am. so if no one can take me away
from dumaguete, no one can take
iligan out of me.
i used to be supremely irked when people
from luzon and visayas (but mostly
from luzon) ask questions like:
"So, how does it feel to grow up in conflict?"
- Conflict... uh... what conflict?
"O talaga, you're from Mindanao?! Pano ka napunta dito?"
- Well, una sumakay kami ng bangka, after 5 days, nasira yung
bangka so lumangoy kami... tas nung nakakita kami ng lupa,
nag-lakad kami ng nag-lakad hanggang makarating kami
"Pano ka natuto mag-Tagalog?"
- Ummm... actually, kasi yung yaya ko dati Tagalog.
Ayun, tinuruan nya ko.
I used to think they were all morons and then, i'd think about it
a little more and realize that i can't really blame them because the
only times Mindanao ever comes out on TV is when there's "conflict"
(damn. i hate that word, makes all this senseless violence sound so...
sanitized) so it's almost understandable how people seem
to have absolutely no idea what's going on in Mindanao...
Then this MOA brouhaha happens.
Yet again the entire country has it eyes on Mindanao, and yet again,
we are nothing more than a war-torn god-forsaken area somewhere
in the bottom of this country ruined by Gloria.
but i am not going to talk about the war going on here. everyone else
has got more than enough to say about that. this, i will say though,
this is not a war between the Muslims and the Christians. Neither
is it a war between the Military and the MILF. This war is about
people's ironically conflicting ideas on what "peace"is and how to
achieve it, and the differences beingfueled and the implications
exacerbated by a president who pretends to care about having
'peace' but is really only bent on forwarding her own evil agenda.
(but if you must know, that evil president of ours has put
everyone between a rock and a hard place. it's a 'damn if we do,
damn if we don't' scenario here, and were hard-pressed to come
up with anyviable resolution to this stupid, useless and senseless war.)
but like i said, i will NOT be talking about the war. because you know
what, Mindanao is NOT a war-torn, conflict-driven, god-forsaken little
green-shaded area in the Philippine map. Nor is Iligan just the next
MILF target and nothing more. i am completely frustrated at the
thought that the only thing the rest of the country will ever know
about my hometown is how it's going to look like after the MILF
leaves, and the Military finishes with their clearing operations.
that IS not what my hometown is all about. so in this post, i will give real answers to those 'stupid' questions i've been asked repeatedly:
Where is Iligan?
Right next to Cagayan de Oro
Oh yeah, Cagayan... umm.. valley?
Nope. Here's a friggin' map.
Do you have electricity there? (Someone
really did ask me this question, extremely ridiculous and way moronic as it sounds)
- Uhmmm... I'm not quite sure how
to put this... YES WE DO! Iligan happens
to be where Maria Cristina Falls is, which happens to provide hydroelectric energy to the whole of Mindanao.
So do you have monkeys there, like on the streets and stuff?
(My friend Mia was asked this, and this was her brilliant reply)
- It depends on how much Tanduay you've drunk.
Apart from the stupid stuff which i can't help but be sarcastic about,
THIS is what Iligan is about:
1. We are the city of waterfalls. We have like a gazillion waterfalls
(okay, more like 2o) and all of them are breathtaking.
2. We Iliganons are a proud lot, and are quick to defend our family
name and what we perceive is rightfully ours. I admit this trait
might not be mutually exclusive with all other Filipinos, but only
a true Iliganon can say 'lat ni nanay' when in defense of one's honor
and family name in the proper tone and with the correct measure
3. We are composed of Christians, Muslims, and Higa-onons and we
have been peacefully co-existing until this MOA thing came along.
Now we're all suddenly aware of our differences.
And since most of what you see and will be seeing about Iligan on TV
will be the nasty, ugly scenes, let me show Iligan in its full glory:
You see, when they said Mindanao is the land of promise, they were
not just being overly optimistic. We ARE the land of promise. If only
this government will give us the chance to fulfill it.