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 Festival (MWF). 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 MYF, 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.

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