The prepubescent dream (mis)adventure of Brother Allen

When I was twelve, as a fan of cartoons especially anime, I said to myself that I want an “adventure” when I turn fifteen. And when I turned fifteen, I didn’t have the same passion that I had when I was twelve. My grades were flunking though I was an honor student. I was not even looking forward to my life in the future like I used to as a little boy. In a career counseling session, I cannot even write my preferred profession or degree in college. I was looking for a “unique” choice but I don’t know what was it. The fifteen year old me was not as bright as he can be. He has a small network of friends outside of his chess varsity team. Aside from woman celebrities in television and films, his only crushes are composed of young school teachers. The girls are on separate schools since he studies in an exclusive school for boys. And that was my puberty in a nutshell.

And before I turn sixteen, the “adventure” happened in a way I didn’t expected. It was January 2005 when I was asked to represent my school for the upcoming Marist Youth Congress (MYC). This travel will turn out to be a series of “first times” such as riding an airplane and being away from my family for more than a week. With another student and Brother Pepito as companions, before we went to Koronadal City for the MYC, we visited an undeveloped place in the fringes of Davao and Bukidnon called Buda. It became part of Davao, Marilog District as a result of a plebiscite where the people decided it’s best for them to be under the government of Davao City.

There, I learned that the chill of Baguio or Tagaytay of Luzon was present too in Mindanao; people spoke Cebuano; agriculture was the main source of income particularly rice farming; power generator was a luxury since there’s no electricity; signal coverage of televisions and cellphones were nonexistent; waterfall was the source of water (which they label as “spring”); and that the Marist Brothers were working with the parish priest and were living together with the common folk.

Eleven years later, I am now back to Buda. As I transitioned from puberty to adulthood, this place seems almost unchanged in a nice way. It’s still cool, farming is still booming, I can now understand their language somehow, there’s now electricity and phone signal, people still get water from the “spring”, and I am now a Marist Brother working with the parish priest and living with common folks where karaoke seems to be the main source of entertainment.

Sometimes, I wonder what will happen if termites suddenly decides to infest our wooden house. And when I told Brother Ed, he said he never thought of that in his more than twenty years of stay here in Buda.

And now as a man in his late twenties who still watches anime, I wonder what will happen to me twenty years from now. Am I still going to be a Marist Brother when I turn forty and onwards? I am still discerning.

Please do pray for me and my vocation.

How it is to live the Buda way of life

In a more positive note
I sounded a bit cynical in my last post. That night, I somehow failed to look at the blessings we have here. Now, I would like to write about the place where I am staying right now:

The temperature here in Buda ranges from 20 to 29 degrees Celsius. This is cool considering that there’s a dry spell (El Niño) and the average temperature in Marikina is 31 to 35 degrees Celsius when I left.

Practically unchanged when I first visited here eleven years ago (a long story how and why that happened), the house is made of hardwood with the design that looks like the half of a cockfighting hall since this was bought like that in the beginning. One of the poorest houses among all the Marist Brothers community in the Philippines.

Recently, I’m trying to be friendly with the cats because they are approachable and would liked to be petted. The four kittens are still untamed and uneasy with the presence of people.

I consider myself as a dog person yet I don’t like to pet the guard dog in front of the entrance stairway since he’s too big, strong, and playful. Though he’s a domesticated attack dog, I’m better off just greeting him from afar. Most of the dogs are guarding the poultry. Not much to write about the chickens since I don’t even dare to go inside there.

Water system
We are using the natural water from the spring and we use the mountain’s height so the gravity supplies us the water to our house. Free of charge, we are inviting the neighbors to use our water and even our comfort rooms outside. But since we are now experiencing a bit of a drought throughout the whole country, we asked the neighbors to refrain from washing their clothes.

Electricity and Phone Signal Coverage
The government started to provide these basic needs last 2008. Now, we have the radio, refrigerator, iron, water heater, and light bulbs as our appliances. Our far away neighbors have the television and the karaoke machines.

Simple life
Life is very simple and basic that I have all the time to read, exercise, do laundry, wash dishes, and write. I like a laid back lifestyle once in a while.

My summer assignment

BUDA, DAVAO CITY — When everyone else is celebrating there vacation time, I’m here in my new community assignment in Buda, Mindanao until May 15.

I’ve been here before when I was a high school student last January 2005. During that time, there’s no electricity and cellular signal yet. Now, there’s electricity and I am getting a good signal on my phone.

It’s cool here. When I arrived last Sunday, temperature was around 27 degrees Celsius at 9 AM. I was with some young brothers and formators who just passed by on their way to Davao. We enjoyed the sweetness and freshness of the locally cultured strawberry in the house backyard. Just chilling on my bed during the Easter Sunday afternoon fixing my WordPress and downloading some Pokemon emulators.

The village is not crowded unlike any barangay in NCR. Though the start of Summer Assignment is on April 7, the birthday of my nephew and Feast day of St. Jean-Baptiste De La Salle, I went straight here since I’m not from Mindanao and I have nowhere really to stay except my relatives in General Santos City.

Not really much to write about since I’m just warming up here.

Expect me to blog everyday whenever I sign up for a mobile data promo.

Have a blessed day to everyone.