All posts by chuy101

Culture: simply a way of life

Peace and Conflict Intertwined-in-Between, Come in Both Ends

CULTURE OF PEACE We Live…

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Mindanao, Marawi City

The seed of human conflict and violence sow in Adam’s time when Cain struck and killed his younger brother Abel out of envy and jealousy as their God chose the sacrificial offerings of the latter. Thousand years passed, “conflict and violence” has been the inevitable hindrance preventing to win the lasting peace. In the Philippines, the experience of conflict and violence has been part of history for hundred years since Spain’s colonial era. But, as of this writing, the so-called Mindanao Conflict has become a none ending struggle for the both Muslims, Christians, Lumads and other tribes. Many intellectuals had been attempting and persistently analyzing the problem, and scholarly framed peace resolutions to solve the cycle of conflicts. But through the years, the aim for peace seems vague and elusive. It was all nothing but just a black and white strained in a gray line.

Conflict in the Presence of Peace

We are all different (whether we like it or not). When people cannot tolerate one another morally, culturally, religiously and politically – conflict is sure to happen. In a flat world society of diverse differences, it is an inescapable reality to deal it within the course and flows of time.

Stipulated with the archaic disputed issue on the endless claim of ancestral domain among Muslim descendants and other Lumad tribes, war and violence becomes the sounding grounds of conflict escalated into real and physical battle. To mention, the besieged city in the central district of Marawi was completely an appalled to residues from the skirmished war between the government forces and the extreme rebels hoisting its ISIS banner to forcibly establish a caliphate state.  The scuffling encounter all began around 2 o’clock at the height of peaceful busy afternoon on the 23rd of May 2017 while days near ahead approaching the observance of Ramadhan that awaited all Muslims to discern. In a blinked of seconds, it took more than 100 days of violent warring. It was an inordinate gory power play and a bloody power game display in between of who should remain the strongest and who should stands the mightiest to rule the front-line conurbation. In that dumbfounding presence of extremely violence, thousands of innocent people who lives in peace and whom only wanted to live peacefully were in outcry exodus and forced to flee from their homes in order to escape the trepidation.  Many were trapped from their flats and undergrounds as the weapons whacked in over a crisscross directions while grunting in fears.

The people of Marawi felt disconsolate as they failed to protect the peace they sow and propagate over the years. In spite of the Islamic teachings of peace hinged to their religious belief, it failed to crackdown somebody else’s extreme ideologies of another principle whom happened to embrace (quite) the same belief. For me, city that is for Bangsamoro taking over by another faction of extreme Bangsamoro revolutionaries is not ideally Islamic. Hence, it arises grueling and exhausting conflict if with a differing principles and concepts of implementing peace clash out of context. But it happened…

The presence of peace center institute and other various peace groups and young organizations were certainly disheartened and feel depressed by the abrupt eruption of war.  All were burn into ashes in the fires of human-made hell. From internal conflict to grave violence certainly destroy the lasting peace they envision and hope for to attain of.

And, the fact remain that many were internally displaced. It further harmed by the realities of aggravating negative judgement and rejections. Thinking and treating each other differently came to play. It created an obscure wall of prejudices. It lead to a sheer suspicions and distrusts.  It drew an invisible partition line to discriminate one another.  It silently gave new birth to hatred and abhorrence and thus grow steadily.

Peace in the Presence of Conflict

The philosophy of culture of peace has always embedded with a struggle to impart its principles to the new generation. But its ideology remain resilient in the face of the immerging conflicting diverse society.

I was born and raised in Islamic of City Marawi as a Non-Muslim with parents both worked in military government. I took my formative years in the said place but peace education was not included in the formative mainstream curriculum to be taught at all levels in school from primary to secondary and even in tertiary (although there’s a specific subject offered for college students but remain an optional/elective). Though from GMRC (Good Morals and Right Conduct) to Values Education can be the key and can play a major role in shaping the morals of a child into fine conduct such as the value of respect, the concept of peace was not formally introduce in the school system to prepare the perceptive learning keenness of ‘schoolers’. In my opinion, it’s ironic to think (at that time) for a Laboratory School designed to mold a diverse people with different cultural affinity and ethnicity to come together, and by its goal, to understand each other and yet no mainstream form of peace education being taught…

Christians and other non-Muslims were considered minorities in the turf of the so-called minority groups in the Philippines. It comprise more or less 10 percent within the particular whole. Both in school and in the community, we strive living together harmoniously and peacefully. Just like in an ordinary normal goings in a society, we tend to follow the nature of system in sharing both our religious beliefs and our cultural and ethnic practices in the hopes to reconcile the common grounds of finding ourselves to live in “peace”.

Just like in a normal Filipino society, thus, we observed the norms of behavior. To recall, as growing preschoolers and primary pupils then, we were taught in school the basic knowledge on learning the basic foundation of education but again, none specific mainstream design for peace education. With this thought system, we were naturally inclined to embrace competitions to one another. A healthy-competition (they say).  Though, we study together, play games together (the usual way), and sometimes share our snacks and foods together, yet our hesitations of asking both our differences remain in our thoughts as well as our judgement about what kind of people they are to us and inversely what kind of people we are to them. Asking parents the “abouts” of them were our last hitting grounds. But the basic concepts of “who and what they are” were not as the same as the other one. Partly, parents were also bombarded with mixed notions and dissimilar impressions. But mostly were negative connotations towards them and other. These lead children to think contrarily. Such difference build barriers of divisiveness come to form stereotyping.  It creates conflicting issues both positive and negative that potentially polarizes the thoughts of learning. In some instances that we were involved in an irreconcilable issues, and sometimes engaged in fist fights, we tend to sow a growing hatred in the minds and hearts with one another even if it was resolved then.  It develop prejudices. It cultivates a perceptive discriminatory thoughts. And this could potentially lead to misunderstanding. Worst is into violence. Thus, in spite of the presence of peace, conflict thoughts rule the human psyche.

The Challenge to Culture of Peace

he so-called Mindanao Conflict has been handed down from generations to generation. And that Lasting Peace is everyone’s hope to achieve. However, obviously, it has not been completely resolved and still far from real. Peace maybe sound so elusive but even in its slightest possibility, it is hard to kill. But sustaining the culture of peace is financially exhausting.  And, it’s quite expensive to fill its concordance. That’s for real. Yes, the intervention of the government is essential by institutionalizing peace inititives and the needs of the people toward progress and sustaining development. But the interference of these frameworks being laid and mounted upon is just a half-part of the whole. That, the work of the “other half” and its success depends on the people on how they will protect and sustain it. Would that be enough? Will it really work?

The issue of political practices is undoubtedly an enormous hindrance in implementing the plans and programs of peace towards development. The mere fact that the leaders and people behind the traditional politics are hounded with issues of power hunger and corruption that aggravates the problem of unabated social injustices. It’s a receding abortive factor that could principally precede unsuccessful endeavor towards progress. And, that even with the great efforts of attaining its goal and purpose for lasting peace, everything that is being work hard for in achieving it will just be futile, put into shame and in vain (sayang lang)…

Moreover, the growing community in social media network continuously intoxicate the perceptive views of the “netizens“. Irresponsible use and or overuse trends and tend to be the leading factors in spreading fake news and lies, thus, takes over the consciousness of an individual being.  Disinformation and misinformation creates more avenues to think and ruminate differently with others. It disintegrate people to people rapport. Its relationship slopes downward as social media like Facebook and the likes has become the annex virtual sphere where most people spent more time often with than in the realm. Thus, creates “cybernetic culture” where the essence of realism turn to “Animeism”.

I got awareness on the idea of peace from joining and engaging myself through interfaith dialogue groups and movements. And it’s quite a humbling and fulfilling experience. Yet, it was a roller coaster journey ride. To say the least, working for peace is always confederated with great challenges. I was once there, idealistic then. The struggle to make a difference for peace is real. The longer we give effort, peace seems hard to grasp and easily slip away on our hands. It was tough and tiring yet challenging enough to tolerate and endure the hardships and disappointments while sustaining the momentum of your commitment to peace. Even for a certain group’s internal relationship also crosses and clouded with conflicting issues due to its gainsaying views and differences. That’s for sure. But the value of respect prevails of both parties involved, which is quite another challenge and relatively a test of friendship, amity and alliance. But above all, the possibility of attaining true peace and justice is firm, unwavering, contemporarily existing and doable or feasible. It is real, though a continuing process.

With the looming biases and prejudices, issues on discrimination and abuse of power from the remnants of the war in Marawi City, there’s again, a clarion call to give peace a chance. It’s an expensive move yet very indispensable. Peace groups and social justice movements can play a significant role in molding people whom dealing with struggles of conflict in grassroots level. It’s not about spending astronomical amount of money, it’s all about responding to the problem by means of resolving conflict effectively and in a non-violent way.  Talk estimation or exchanges of opinion is important but enclose with actions, thus, vital and essential. Be it in an innovative approach and or in creative means through sports, arts, music, community service, street education, empowerment and social awareness, and etc. teaching peace can make a difference in building a more peaceful and harmonious community. Burning their biases and prejudicial outlooks, melting down their perceptive discriminating thoughts, and giving them the right tools on dealing the issue of power struggle can simply build a society of culture of peace. It can shapes perception, it changes things toward positive life as it works for everyone else’s who needs it.  Intensive yet practical approach of education is crucial in transforming the issues of human psyche from inner conflict to inner peace. As to how, it remains a challenge. The possibility is limitless.

But still the reality constantly linger – that peace and conflict is inseparable. Both always come together. You and I knows that, because we personally have our own conflicting issues and (dark) stories within.  Day by day, we are dealing with it, confronting it. And, at times difficult to bear and endure with. Thus, peace is susceptible to conflict because of individual’s own sufferings and other’s differences with underlying own sufferings as well. On the other hand, it is a mistake to avoid conflict because conflict per se opens an avenue to challenge the problems and struggles toward positive change. It gives an opportunity in learning more about yourself as well as others too. Hence, peace and conflict intertwined in between and come in both ends.

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“Old map of Mindanao”

-end-

From the Blogger’s Desk: ” Please note that I am no longer connected or affiliated to any peace movements or any existing civic organizations related to peace advocacy. The intention of this blog post is for personal purposes only. Some of the photos above were grabbed from the news letter of a sponsored international organization I was once involved with.  Thank you

 

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Gloria’s Fantasyland in the Glorious City of Dapitan

The Culture of Fun 

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“Happiness can be found in the heart who wear a genuine smile”

Funfairs and carnivals has been part of Filipino’s unique kind of entertainment during holidays and fiestas displayed in central grounds and parks of the cities and towns. Western influence, perhaps, from the infamous happiest place on earth called “The Disney Land”, Filipino’s version of fairgrounds bring unique experience of fun, joy and happiness. From different kiddy rides, fun games, circuses and theatrical parades, going to fairs is every Pinoy kid’s unlimited little pleasure and delight. We fondly call it “perya” or “peryahan” in our own vernaculars, our own version of Disney Land, which has become part of almost every growing Pinoy kid living in the countryside who haven’t seen and or visit real Disney Land.

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“the exciting and the ecstatic rides inside fantasyland

But the serene and glorious city of Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte Province offers a magical and enchanting effervescent experience of what a happiest place could be looked and felt like. That is Gloria’s Fantasyland. Not only for kids, but it’s for everyone to experience for all ages of different walks of life.

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“Hail the enchanted king and queen”

 

 

 

 

Every night is as colorful as revelry daylight. And, everything in one night is as vibrant as the greatest show live.  From exciting kiddies rides to somewhat death–defying rides (roller coaster which was the best ride so far), the unlimited fun is so cool. And, from horror, drama, acrobatic shows and theatrical dances to fiery and blazing fire performance were indeed a world class entertainment display. Adding more in the finale is the grand pageants of majestic kings and queens, princes and princesses of the world in their flamboyant costumes waving from their glittering and towering colorful floats while escorted by magical knights, warriors, pixie-fairies, dwarfs on the parade in melodious great cadence. Indeed, a spectacle night!

 

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cousinship goals”

Visiting Gloria’s Fantasyland was unplanned, until my cousin’s sudden and unexpected invite me then to visit the place with to bond and unwind. With so much amazement on the city’s night cavalcades, it rekindles my childhood’s ultimate dream of visiting the said happiest place on earth, real Disney Land, one day.

 

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“friendship goals”

DSC_0248Completely overload…

Life at some point is tough as it full of difficult challenges and great trials. As we grow older in the passage of times, we tend to forget that one thing in life – to be simply happy. With all the ups and downs in our unremitting journey, it brings me to the realization of that at least once in a while we need to recrudesce with to our happy thoughts of being a child once. Yes indeed, the happiest moment in life is when we were still kids where there’s no limit while playing every child’s game. Though we can’t turn back the real time, never hesitate to travel back to that dimension where a child’s happiness is but without a judgment. Let the heart of a kid within play once again even just for a while. Fantasy is maybe a product of make-believe but “happiness is real” and never ever a mere pipe dream. Being happy is never an option or a crime either. So overload life with happiness because it is always a choice that only we and we alone can decide.

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“Smile and be happy all day and night”

 

Food Culture: “Pater” as it known to call.

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We call it “PATER”. a cup of steamed rice stuffed with a meat either chicken or beef. It is a famed food serve in almost every canteen and eatery in Marawi City where I was born and grew up. I honestly don’t know the origin of the word itself but that’s what it known to call it. I remember when it was introduced way back in the late 90’s from a certain canteen, it was a blockbuster. A word of mouth spread like a chain of wild fire inside the university campus, and the rest is history. It has become a comfort food for every folks of different walks of life in Marawi – faculty, employees, students, campus residents, and many. You can eat it with your bare clean hands (kinamot/kinamay style). No spoon and no plate needed. You’ll just throw the wrapped-leaves afterwards. No hassle to wash. (except your hands, of course).

It varies with different flavors and style on how to prepare and cook. Somewhere in Maguindanao, they call it Pastil. But it turned out to be one in the same: packed on a banana leaf to add some extra distinct flavor and aroma. Generally, it’s a Filipino traditional way of preparing food (baon) to bring along with in travel way back in provincial life. In fact, my late father had experienced bringing their food in school wrapped in banana leaves for them to eat during lunch break. But Meranao’s took it seriously  on preparing it.

DSC_0575I came up with my own version. As my family’s home cook, through the years I took the opportunity in preparing it with many trials and errors. I want to make it more different in taste yet the touch of a Meranao accent flavors should remain. Rice with turmeric powder added with  some spices, so it will turn yellow. Top filled with chicken strips saute’d on with different spices. What’s unique about  this dish is filled with spices that are abundant in the province of Lanao del Sur like the herb of what they called ‘sakurab‘, somewhat  akin to scallions. But with my own way, I added some other variants to make it more fun, more distinct,  and more striking in flavor on taste buds. For now, this is the best Pater I can prepare.

Pater is slowly and gradually becoming known to students and folks where I currently live. There’s a food place offering this kind of dish. Price ranges from 20-30 pesos. I bought one and tried it. It actually taste good. It brings me back home to the place where I came from. I really love this food. Kind’a instant. Simply done, simply prepared.

Binalbal Festival, the thriving culture-tale from the crypts of Tudela land

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Here was another fiery salvo of wicked street party moves at Tudela on New Year’s Day! From the simple wearing of masks along streets with an uncanny cosmetics, charcoal, and greasepaint in the faces to a more grandiose competitions among townspeople vying for the uniquely scariest yet the drollest costumes of “Binalbal”. Similar to Mardi Gras from Europe, Binalbal Festival in Tudela, Misamis Occidental has become culturally anticipated revelry from amongst the folks every 1st day of January to start the year with positive vibes and unity among others. People disguising as witches zombies, vampires, ghosts, ugly animal-like forms and the likes allow them the full freedom of inhibition to conquer the street festival for the devilish fun and excitement.
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Since its official inception, this year’s street gala was quite a bit challenging. With torrential rains that showered the party brought by (at that time) forthcoming Tropical Depression “Agaton”, yet organizers and participants were optimistic and determined to showcase their prepared bizarre and innovative get-ups in order not to disappoint the spectators who flock all the way from neighboring towns and other places. The show must go on! And indeed, true to their vow and promise to give you happily ever laughter: “KATAWA – Kalihukan Ato sa Tudela Agik-ik Wara-wara Anhia” (“LAUGH” – Come at Tudela’s giggle and wave party)
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Binalbal in Tudela is culturally thriving. Evident is the much participation of its own people as well as the anticipated keenness of spectators (even after from sleepless midnight party of New Year’s Eve). It manifest diversity that made Tudelanon uniquely identified. By conserving Binalbal’s fun and artistic expression, thus, creates culture-bound sense of being Tudelanons.
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Hospitality that is Filipino, an innate bound culture

 

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the “balbals” with the popular Vlogger from Canada

Foreign visitors and travelers from different walks of life get to experience the infamous hospitality of the Filipinos here in the Philippines. A purely innate culture that eventually captivates the hearts of many in the likes of among tourist explorers whenever they came to visit or stumble upon in our country. It eventually becomes a national pride. If you visit and view foreign “Vlogs” and read travel blogs about their adventure in the island, the hospitality of Filipinos would always seem to be one on their top of the lists that made them keep on coming back. Numerous tourists would even call Philippines as their second home. Others would never go back or stay here for good, and eventually call it home. You could even hear stories that some would sold all their properties in their homeland and then left the country to settle for good because they fell in love with the Philippines. And, that one of the reasons is the kind of hospitality we, Filipinos, possessed. Even state foreign leaders and dignitaries got amazed and fascinated by the kind of reception they received. The kind of hospitality Filipinos provide tend to make them feel like kind ‘a celebrity on their entire visit. I don’t exactly know if that’s what they feel. But that’s the way guests are are being treated especially from other nations. Hence, hospitality has become one of the Filipino core values that attracted many itinerants.

As far as I could read from various views and feedback online among foreign bloggers/vloggers about Filipino hospitality, most were fancied to this values.

I recently got to hear and see how foreign tourists being treated here in the country. In one of the festivals I came to witness, one popular blogger/vlogger was provided with utmost welcomed by local folks and officials. His only intention was to immerse himself with the people and experience the jubilation of revelry. This social media “influencer” Kyle Jennermann behind Becoming Filipino Blog/Vlog channel who is quite known to his Filipino moniker “Kulas” together with his foreign friends (also rising vloggers/bloggers) took the time wandering the local town to join the fun and excitement. He is quite popular online about his quest of becoming a Filipino at heart but with an ultimate goal of sharing the smile and happiness to the world. His presence in the gaiety was acknowledged with accolades – welcoming and treating the guests like celebrities. Notwithstanding, that’s one face value of hospitality. And, “Kulas” never fail to acknowledge and always in awe with the kind of reception and generosity he received from every people who embraced him wholeheartedly. He is also doing good deed, very active on helping and assisting our fellow Filipinos in small communities on the best effort he could give and offer.  

Does the culture of being hospitable really an inherent trait reflected amongst every Filipino?

It was 5 days before Christmas Day (2017) on our way home from the city, my brother and I happened to meet an Uncle Sam passenger while riding a public vehicle multicab. He took the first conversation when he saw the “OHIO” prints on my brother’s cap. You would think that it was improper of me but I was the one who responded in behalf of my brother because he is not so well conversant in English though he can understand. Even during our exchanged of talks, I don’t have any idea about the “OHIO” things and stuff of sorts. I just did go with the flow of the whole conversation. Nevertheless I did find ways to shift and divert to another matter in order the chitchat continues. I wasn’t able to ask him about his choice or reason of visit or vacation. But I was guessing it’s her Filipina fiancée’s invitation… To make the story short, I asked him: how was his stay so far? To my understanding, he had so much appreciation for Filipinos’ hospitality (“the people are amazing… very hospitable…”). From his expressions, I could understand his gratification and delight based on the kind of treatment accorded to him. While I extended my thanks and appreciation to Mister American from Texas, that time at the back of my head, am feel obliged to entertain him kindly and so he won”t feel insulted or disrespected. Although it wasn’t my first time to meet foreigners, but as far as I can recollect, hospitality has been one of the most praiseworthy traits they commonly admired to Filipinos.

Hospitality of my fellows… 

I came to fully understand hospitality at one point in my prime: Family hosting. In one church’s based youth oriented group I was affiliated with long ago, one or two or sometimes three members had to be assigned to a house in one family to spend couple of night sleeps while on the course of our 5-day straight gathering program. All young members came from all different walks of life. The place where we housed were not only act as a family host but also served as our parents – that we have to behave accordingly; that we should be fussy and picky; that we have to help household chores and other stuffs; that we need to treat them like our real parents and treat their children as our brothers and or sisters. Not all family sponsors are well-off, mostly belonged to middle-lower classes… their reception were fascinating and quite remarkable. I found out that it has been a practice and a tradition since the early days of the youth program. At the last day of the program, parents were invited (host family) to a get together gathering in honor of their acceptance, kindness and above all, of their hospitality.
We have had different shared told stories. The experienced was quite poignant, heartrending and inspiring. Like anyone else’s testimonials, host families were heartwarming and embraces everyone like their own child/children regardless of their stature in life. The family’s received was full of heart. Very Filipino, a typical one: we ate the same food together at the same time; doing and helping the same household chores; fetching gallons of water along flowing cold spring pits or well; exchanging jokes and chitchatting dramas in life; sang songs together while playing the guitars of music under the moon and or night-sky in a small “bamboo made hut or coconut-wood made hut”, and; sleep together with their children in the same room while others mostly were having fun sleeping altogether at living room’s floor with all simple the “banig” (a traditional “mat” made of abaca fiber used by typical Filipinos usually by not so well-off people).
That kind of experience taught us how to live the simple way of life in a country-side. I must say, that the cordiality spirit of this values truly exist in the far-flung corners of rural-provincial dwellings. Very welcoming, friendly and quite receiving. In 5 days straight of sleep over, their simple ways eventually became our life.
Hospitality is indeed simply an innate ethos to many Filipinos, a culture-bound thriving still its very best since then. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, advantage or disadvantage, but hospitality is a virtue that naturally exist within us. It instinctively dictates our heart. Thus, hospitality is a simple act of kindness. I thinks that’s enough description for being a Filipino.
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the host welcomed the foreign Vloggers 

THINGS I MISS SO BADLY-DEEPLY IN MARAWI

In a blink, Islamic City of Marawi is on the world stage of media mileage. Yes, not because of the cultural heritage or new wonders and spectacles being spotted but because of the war that under siege the city. Forty (40) days plus and still counting but hostilities and terror continues… and while the combats and fighting remain unrest, I could not go back to visit my old home. Now, critically rules by Martial Law.

But here are some few things I missed so badly about Marawi

The Landscape and the Climate
Picture4Just travelling going to Marawi is like no other. It is well enclosed within hilltop areas chained with plateaus, plains, basins and rolling hills. The mountain ranges are ornate with thick and lush green forest moderates the climate. That warmth and cold weather that embraces your body and skin felt good. It feels like it’s almost all-year around. I have never been to Baguio but Marawi. As capital summer of the south, is often compared unto by its climate. So wearing jackets and long-sleeve is nothing new to me. For newbies and first timers, securing any of them is a must.
Picture6.pngThe FOG. You might surprise that heavens came down from the sky as the place envelops with thick fog. That condensed mists felt like you can almost kiss it with your lips and taste it with the tip of your tongue. That murky phenomenon is natural and normal. Oh, by the way, make sure to bring umbrella. Kuya Kim’s weather forecast is often times off the chart. Rainfalls (sometimes heavy) come so unpredictable. Just as when you thought the sun is high, you’ll noticed later, torrential rain unexpectedly ravaging the highlands. And it will wreck your prior-plans in hanging out with friends. Oh, that old times – running towards the Frat’s sheds while behind your back you were frantically chased by the grain-like rains.
The Ranao (Lake Lanao)
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lake lanao

 

 

Untitled1777The infamous Lake Lanao, lifeline of Meranaws speaks a lot. But in one word? “WOW!” Marawi is blessed with crystal-blue deep water. Because it is so abysmal, no human being has ever reach the trench of the lake. It remained a mystery. It is below unreachable, thus immeasurable that adds the intriguing secret of the Ranao. No such lake I’ve seen as still as Lanao yet it sometimes waves. Adding to its clandestine, many also believe that a sleeping volcano lies beneath the waters which anytime will erupt and explode. I may born and raised in Marawi but never in my whole life have had the opportunity to swim in the lake. Not that I’m afraid of but Ma’ and Pa’ told me not to do so (such obedient child I was, naks!) But rather touching it was the farthest thing I ever did. And yeah, the water is too cold to resist. This lake drains into the Agus River and flows northward unto Illana Bay. And so i’m no longer surprised that the swimming pool goers of Timoga, Iligan city enjoys the ice-cold waters.

 

 

Sleeping Lady Mountain

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Sunrise overlooking the Sleeping Lady Mountain from MSU Golf Course

 

Picture11One of the loveliest sights. Spending chilly early morning or windy late afternoon while sitting under the tree at the glorious natural green carpet of MSU Golf course, be it sunrise or sunset spell, is ecstasy. I forever love the panoramic vista of Sleeping Lady. There’s no end to her beauty. It’s timeless. Sometimes, the white cotton candy-like clouds hugs the silence of her sleeps.  Sometimes, a radiant clouds tiered the head of the Lady. Much more that ray of the sunlight beams her magnificent glorious crown. Royalty indeed, “Bae a Labi” on its very own kind. Guarded with vast bask of lush greens, likened to a Sultan that serves her kingdom as her mighty knight. One thing I miss so badly is watching the Lady on her sleep while sipping my favorite drinks and munching sweet corns vend through improvised cart that strolled by little boys and girls who passionately barking “Ka’Mais” (corn). Such majesty to witness while the ray of the sun magnifies over the waving waters of Ranao while the sparkling beds of gems or diamonds dazzles the eyes. A marvelous wonder, indeed. She is there always, waiting to be always seen her thousand mysteries (again). Oh, I miss you my dear Lady! When will I see you again? Hope you are not lonely…

 

The Carmelite Nun’s Monastery at the Top Hill

Picture1The monastery in the hill no longer exist. But in early 90’s,  I still vividly remembered that after celebrating Easter Sunday mass, all children who participated were invited by the Carmelite nuns unto their convent set at the top hill overlooking the placid blue Ranao. Carmelite sisters loves children and they want us (children) to hunt Easter eggs painted in different colors hidden all over their field and gardens. It was cool and so fun… But knowing that I had the opportunity of going there even the years where the nuns and the convent are no more, it is so frustrating that I don’t have any single photo of them and its place… The Carmelite sisters had wonderful days and colorful life years spent in the hill yet had incredible ordeal which force them abandoned the place. The last time I set my foot on the place was in early 2000’s during someone whom I call Nanay and Tatay temporarily took care of the place. It took them some years in guarding the haven from trespassers but external burdens heavily pressured them to leave the house… They said nothing is left as looters took everything all to smallest things left by the nuns. I terribly miss the hilltop, really…

The FOOD
Well, everything about food in Marawi is unique and gastronomically delightful. Be it a main-dish, sweets and appetizers, Maranao delicacies do it in their own way. Their specialties are distinctively cooked and prepared which you don’t normally find it in other corners of other province and regions. (you can find these stuffs about marano foods and cuisine all over the internet via google post and blogs, and or YouTube if it catches your curiosity and interest of knowing the what/s and how/s… ) But there are four (4) dishes that I will never let it pass whenever I come home.

Palapa

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Two-purpose, i’ts either appetizer and or condiment mix in other recipes. It’s the smashing star factor on my taste buds. Made of scallions (sakurab), ginger and generous amount of chili that are mixed and pounded together using wooden mortar and pestle. Added also with salt and other flavoring such as MSG depending on their preference. People of Marawi loves to eat foods with hot chili, and so do I.

 

Rendang (Beef)

Picture2Although, it originates in Indonesia. This dish is palatably irresistible that exist in Marawi. It’s a braised beef in coconut milk slowly cook in a simmer heat until caramelized and turned dark brown. What sets apart of this dish from the Indonesian way is the spice called (sakurab). It is actually a type of scallion abundantly produced to the place. Beef rendang is best serve with hot rice.

 

Tilapia Fish

14102194_1800339020197355_4209238571261864432_nIt’s best prepared in grill. Then cook in a pure coconut milk added with sakurab (turmeric powder) and other spices. For me, the best Tilapia in the country can be found in Marawi. It varies in all different sizes. From small about the same size of your palm to big one measured akin to the half-body of a human adult. It’s thanks to the Lake Lanao that abundantly produced tons full of tilapias and different kinds of fishes. All are natural, no artificial being fed.

Pater

Picture3.pngAn infamous food serve in Marawi in every canteen or eatery. I don’t know where this originated from but the way it was prepared is a little bit of an old school yet “innovatively” thought for marketing purposes. It’s literally commercially economical to budget cost with a price ranging from 20 to 25 pesos only. It’s a dish in one-pack enveloped on a banana leaves comprising one cup of yellow cooked rice and meat (karne o manuk, LOL!), and a trifling amount of “palapa” as condiment added with flavored sauce.

Marang Fruit

Picture4.pngMy all-time favorite fruit whenever I’m in Marawi during abundant seasons. It is commonly called Madang among Meranaos. Madang is one of a kind sweet in flavor with favorable scent when ripe. Nutritiously considered a complete food and the taste is phenomenal. Depending on size, the price ranges from 10 to 40 pesos. So cheap and affordable. Its Marang season in Marawi these days… I miss you so badly…. Tsk tsk tsk…

 

 

 

My Old Home and the Old Times

Marawi for me will always be my home, a place like no other. It’s where the heart is. Always in my thoughts. All because it’s where everything began; life, childhood to adulthood. Made friends, few good friends, real friend… Challenges. Struggles. Adventures… – so colorful.

I so badly am missing the old times where you can soundly slept all day and night because of the chilly friendly weather…

‘miss those days having meals from your friends house loudly pigging out the left overs of bulad (dried fish),  uyap and ginamos (shrimp and fingerling pastes: appetizers), inun-on (fish cooked in vinegar) paired with bahaw (left-over cooked rice).

‘miss those “sky is the limit” random chit-chats from daylight mornings to dusk ‘til dawn.

‘miss the old times when evening starts to unfold and everyone is lining up along the street crossing. Excitedly waiting who in the gang is going to start the long talks, funny and corny jokes. Of who’s going to be the laughing stock, the actor, the hero and the antagonist while some guitarist “wanna-be” pluck the sound of music under the moonlight that shines over LANCAF’s. Where all songs over the starry starry nights devotedly sang all in at beginning but stops at the chorus or refrain’s. And never until its end while all dogs from the neighborhood jointly howl and yowl (chuckles). All good for “introvoice!”

‘miss the old times where all talks begins in from more life serious and sensible to classic super powers and the story ends in an epic yellow submarines.

‘miss the old times of “manyanita’s” where friends serenade you songs early morning when birthday comes.

‘miss those days where each and everyone starts to share in building up their dreams for the future.

‘miss those epic time where you can asked your neighbors to give you some water when your supply is empty. You can even asked to take bath in their bathrooms for free.

‘miss those days whenever anyone wants some guava, banana, “manga”, santol, papaya, cacao, boongon, tanglad, sili, malunngay, sayote to udlot sa kamote. It’s their for free.

Whenever there is party, everyone in the neighborhood is invited.

I miss the community! Small but joyful! Those days… I just miss everything.

War, when will you end??!

Marawi, I miss you so badly-deeply…

FREEDOM?

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Today, we are commemorating EDSA 1986 People Power Revolution. Marking the end of Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship under the iron claws of Martial Law, as he and his family force to flew in Hawaii for refuge.

I was very young during that momentous history. As little dude, I have no appreciation whatsoever the meaning of it. I have no understanding at all. I don’t know what to ask from my parents. I am a Mindanaoan. We are even far away from where it was happened

But looking back on my early years, it was being taught in school on how the said Revolution began and unfold… Democracy is back in the Philippines, freedom is given back to the Filipino people… blah, blah, blah…

However, looking on today’s present stature of the country, how significant really does EDSA Revolutions? Are we (Filipinos) truly free?

The country has been troubled and smeared with many crimes of anomalies, corruptions, drugs, rebellion, terrorism and other moral misconducts. Problem on poverty never ceased to breakaway on the chain of everyday living. Rich becomes richer. Poor becomes poorer. Etc. etc. etc.

Now, is that how real Freedom should we deserved to acquire since 1986?

The people is supposed to be the real power, not those people  (political figures, few elites and capitalists) plotting behind the people power. Obviously, those architects of the master plan must have had hidden agendas and personal interests. It was surely and purely for their own saving grace. Come to think of it?

Where are those selected elite few who acted like heroes at that time? – Sitting Pretties and Dons like celebrities in cloud nine. Posing like and claiming as heroes in the media limelight.

Where are those people, the real heroes, who put their lives on the line hurdling and braving the barricades of tanks and armors among others? – I honestly am not familiar with them.  I don’t see them on television often either.

As President Duterte’s message to the 31st EDSA commemoration: “No single party, ideology, religion or individual could claim credit for the bloodless revolution at EDSA. In the same way that no single party, ideology, religion or individual could claim the monopoly of patriotism…” Pretty damn true.

But these so-called supercilious old glitzy and antique yellow crabs and prawns are trying to pull down our beloved President Digong. Secretly trying to stage and orchestrate public confusion to which political opponents and critics now keep on ranting within media circles against the president’s leadership and policies.

As for me, I really don’t think that EDSA revolution of 1986 really defines freedom for all the Filipinos. Though, I do know the true spirit behind it. EDSA freedom? Give yourself a time to reflect.