Encountered mess and damage we did. We had barely caught our breaths after the hike from Nasilaban to the neighboring village of Sambulungan when some of the Talaingod Manobos started approaching us. Their houses had been ransacked, items were missing, one kitchen’s GI roofing had been ripped off.
Author Archives: ANDREA MALAYA M. RAGRAGIO
Homecomings are joyous occasions. They mark the end of journeys, of settling in to comfort and familiarity, of leaving behind uncertainty and loss of security.
Around a week ago, when the reports of the Talaingod Manobo exodus first began trickling in, I happened to glance at a copy of a Mindanao regional daily at a local cafe. The front page proudly bannered that two battalions had been brought in from Luzon to add to counter-insurgency operations here in the Davao region. In my gut, I knew that this happy headline had something to do with the misery of my friends and many others in Talaingod.
As schools across the country are holding commencement exercises, schoolchildren from Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod, Davao del Norte would be trudging, instead of marching, and going not up a stage to be applauded, but down from their mountain communities. In the process they have earned a new title – not graduates, but bakwit, evacuees, the displaced.
Over the past several days, the whole nation has been abuzz over the shift in the academic calendar of the University of the Philippines, from the June to March cycle to an August to May one. When I say the whole nation I don’t think I am exaggerating as this shift will have clear implications at that level, regardless of how hard some at the UP administration try to separate the University from the rest of the country.
Kim’s fight is the fight of all Filipino professionals for the right to practice their vocations freely and safely, for the chance for them to open themselves to the wonderful fulfillment of serving others.
He told us that he would have to be Superman to be able to carry all of those explosives, an M16 rifle, as well as his backpack through the jungle. Well, you did fly off a waterfall, somebody quipped. “That’s why they thought I was Superman!” Kim finished the thought as we all burst out laughing.
The body is and will continue to be an important instrument of protest for two reasons. First, in societies where nothing seems to be controllable by the disgruntled masses – not the wages, not the prices of commodities, not the dispensing of justice nor the actions of political leaders – the body would seem to be one of the last bastions of individual autonomy – clothes, hair, what you put on it and what you take (or not take) into it. Second, it is easily perceivable that this autonomy itself can come under attack by exactly the same uncontrollable and repressive factors and conditions.
by ANDREA MALAYA M. RAGRAGIO
This packing up and moving out, in turn, form ideas of what choices are more valued, or esteemed, in our collective hearts and minds. If moving abroad or into the national center (working, studying,
marrying) is seen as a sign of having made it economically, socially, and even culturally upscale, then my move would be deemed unusual indeed.