Last Saturday we were unable to say no to the nomination of our editor-in-chief Amy Cabusao to the Board of Directors of the Davao Historical Society, Inc. No, we were not cajoled into running. We were victim of a new terminology still to be included in the succeeding editions of dictionaries, the word pinpointment.
Anyhow we love going back in time because we always dream of knowing where we are going and what we hope to expect in our destination.
Specifically, when we came to Davao we decided to spend the rest of our life in this place, because of the enticement of the cliché attached to it. That it is the “Land of Promise.” So, in our early days in the city we were thinking that the city has a lot of promises in store for us and the future of our family.
But it was clear to us later that it is not the land that makes the promises. Instead, it is the one that offers fulfillment to the covenants we made for ourselves when we decided to stay in the city forever.
The fulfillment though is not handed down to anyone on silver platter. He or she who holds the platter must work hard to get the fulfillment attained and loaded on the platter. And there is no such thing as a “one-shot” deal. It has to be an unceasing search.
And always, when we reach a cross-road in our journey it is us and not anybody else who will make the decision which way to go.
It is here that knowledge of one’s place’s history becomes a very important input in making the decision which way to proceed.
Sadly though, many of our younger generations are already observed to be waylaid by modern technologies so much so that they already become so dependent on the inputs from the cyber world in order to have a glimpse of Davao’s – and for that matter – the country’s history.
We feel that the knowledge of the new generation about the history of Davao would have been much internalized and even emotionally absorbed had they have seen by their naked eyes object of old. They could have easily travelled back to the Davao City of their great, great grandparents, grandparents, and parents.
Yes, had we not had the passion to learn of Davao’s history we wonder if we would know why the forest in this city is nowhere to be found.
Without us reading all history books featuring Davao City we would not have known why the wood industry that was once the pillar of the Davao economy is vanishing like footprints on the sands of the beaches. Had we not endeavored to read books in the history of Davao we would not have known that as the American influence was about to grow in the city it was slowly shoved to the canal of forgotten memories by the more aggressive, dynamic and socially oriented Japanese culture
Yes, without us endeavoring to learn more of the city’s history we would not have the opportunity to even just imagine the presence of pristine beaches even in the more urban shorelines. Today the once beautiful shorelines with beach water teeming with fishes, edible crustaceans, and sea shells have become sites of agglomerations of informal settlers. They substituted the mangroves, the “pagatpats” and other salt water growing trees with houses on stilts; their comfort rooms converting the seashore into a big, open septic tank.
And when apparently, the Davaoenos’ desire to have what they then thought were promised them by the city is not a “walk-in-the-park” thing they did what perhaps were their dumbest best to realize their dreams to elevate their standard of living.
Where they find available spaces, almost always the once uninhabited shorelines, they build houses, and soon enough they become a large voting community that evolves into a bargaining chip with any politician who entertains the idea of forcing them out.
Now many could be quoting part of the lines of a song by Bob Dylan, “Where have all the (no not the flowers but) the forest gone?” Well, it has evolved into another jungle but of the concrete one in the city’s urban centers. “Where have all the (again not the flowers but) the lumads or indigenous peoples gone?” In the fastness of what is left of the areas affected by the so-called “development aggression.”
Yes, by joining the Davao Historical Society now chaired by Councilor Pilar Braga with Tisay Torres as President, we hope to contribute to the efforts of instilling to the next generations of Davaoenos the idea that one will only be able to totally know himself if he knows the very place he seeks to stay in his life time.
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