I have a new schedule now: to write before I go to sleep. Now, I am 13 minutes late with my writing time since I planned to write for straight 30 minutes from 10 PM to 10:30 PM. I’ll just write about anything. The city alarm is my signal. We had that alarm ever since the Martial Law was started here in Mindanao. I cannot really comment that much on the Martial Law extension since Cotabato City was on Martial Law since May 2017. Marawi is just a four-hour ride from here. Sometimes, I need to bring an ID every time I re-enter the city. But I just go out of the city once in a while and not that often like when I assist in the recollection giving to our high school students. The usual destinations I go to are Pigcawayan, General Santos City, Kidapawan City, or Davao City.
At times, I think of a possible city invasion from the zealots, my term for you know what caused the Marawi siege. I don’t like to call them the labels that the media gave them. It’s misleading and generalizing and unfair to those who are radical and extreme in practicing their faith since it also applies to those who are peace-loving people.
Cotabato City is generally a Muslim-dominated city but my estimate is that it’s more or less like 60 percent of the population. It’s an old city with historical scars that the current generation are almost unaware of. And one of the many scar is the effect of the Martial Law last 1970s until the 80s. The result? The Liberation Front groups. I’ll stop there besides our Philippine history is a testimony of this and even until now we can still feel its effect. It’s not the golden age just like what my fellow millennials called it. I don’t really know how their family stay relevant up to this time. Maybe us Filipinos have a collective amnesia of what they have done in our country. A result of wealth and propaganda probably.
In my two years of stay here, my encounter with fellow Filipinos who are Muslims has been very positive in general. I am speaking of my encounter with little children, parents, rich ones, poor ones, teachers, government leaders, barbers, vendors, etc. There have been some not-so-good encounters but I think it’s normal since it is just a result of our cultural and religious differences. All I can say is that they are Filipinos too. They need better visionaries in our local government and the autonomy has to stay out of the equation for the mean time. I really feel ambivalent about that autonomy. In the national level, I think the Freedom of Information Bill can help this city’s bid to boom. Transparency will cut down, if not totally eliminate, the anomalies in the government.
Gee, I’ve been very political in this post. I was just writing about the alarm. At least my free-writing has a bit of coherence and not just a random stream of consciousness. I have lots of stories to tell but I have to sleep now.
This fast few months, I’ve been preparing myself for my transfer to a new community and ministry. I am in the midst of processing my papers for travelling outside the country. Thus, I would be leaving my first apostolate (after MAPAC) which is teaching here in Notre Dame of Cotabato. I’ve been teaching now for three straight years and I don’t know how what to feel once I stop teaching and start learning a new language and be a student once again.
Though I was briefed what’s about to happen, of course I have my own what ifs and other reservations. Like what I said to a fellow brother, I don’t know what will I do there specifically so I’ll just stick to what I know: live as a brother in common life, pray, and even work while studying the language of that country. I know I will travel alone outside the Philippines but there are brothers anticipating my arrival there in my new community.
I admit there is a part in me that doesn’t want to leave asking, “What’s going to happen to me there?”. The prophet Jonah’s travel to Nineveh comes to mind. But unlike him, I feel no hate towards the people I will encounter. I don’t feel like turning back and take a ship going the opposite direction. It’s just that I don’t feel like going out of the Philippines for a long time. I am anxious but I’ll still go and follow what I am told to.
What I am experiencing now humbles me. To some extent, I can influence what I can do in this future apostolate but of course I don’t have the total control of what will happen to me and my future community. It’s a risk I’m willing to take and I entrust my future to my superiors who decided on this.
It’s a different kind of advent for me.
I don’t know where I am going to but in faith, I surrender.
The last post I had was an emotional one. I was feeling that way for a long time that I just want to let it out. I haven’t told anyone yet about my struggles this year. Knowing me well, I start to be in touch with those kinds of emotions when I am alone. At least I have the time to feel sorrow when I could have just feel numb by binge-watching on a television series.
As I have written before, this semester is a busy one. I’m just lucky that this Thursday morning, I have no classes to teach I might as well spend it in writing this post. Once I’m done with this, I’ll be back checking papers to clear out pending tasks. At least I have the time to even focus on checking them though I rush a bit at times.
I read somewhere that we experience certain kinds of “deaths” in life. There’s something in me that’s needs dying so probably that’s what I am experiencing right now. I am blessed to even take a pause in between the busyness. At least I have the time to experience different “deaths”.
I wanted to finish reading a book. I started reading The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien and Sacred Fire by Ronald Rolheiser but I can’t get past Chapter 2. But at least I have time to write about wanting to finish reading them.
I bought those books when I travelled to Marikina twice last June and July. I have a home visit last June 20 to 25 and co-facilitated in the Coaching Module of MAPAC last July 8 to 15. It is good to just spend a while with your family; and, it is good to meet new people who shows passion for sports and education. I am blessed to have the time for family visit and co-facilitate in developing coaching skills every year.
Maybe, when I look back, I will just laugh at myself for acting the way I am reacting now. Like the song of Urbandub’s Soul Searching says, choose life. As for me, I choose to spend time thanking God for all the blessings I received despite the hardships.