BACK in high school during one trip to Bataan, my father’s hometown, I was asked how many days it took for my brother and I to travel from Davao City to Luzon… by plane. I found that quite amusing for a time and even laughed when I narrated to friends later about ‘how lost in time’ these people were. Only then did I realize later on that it may have been the other way around; they felt we had been the lost ones, and now we were finally ‘found’.
Imagine, even that far deep in the provinces, they have already thought that we, being from “Mindanao” looked as though we just came out from the bushes. Even as I lived in Metro Manila for almost all of five years, I’ve grown accustomed to the street misconceptions associated with people coming from Mindanao. Even with the slightest hint of ranking, these were almost as common as typhoons and Quiapo pickpockets (where I lived for a while), so much so that, I thought this was just how it was with metropolis thinking.
In many ways, that might as well be the way of the world. Karma rules. You get back what you give out. In high school for example, which may have been a trying time for everyone, the possibility of being bullied and you retaliating or bullying your way out of situations yourself (to survive), eventually makes you think, I deserve some of this that’s given me.
Then, as one grows older, you realize something is wrong with this picture and karma really has nothing to do with it.
Sadly, the bias still lives, breathing a life of its own because there are still myopic and entitled people who cling to outdated knowledge that nothing can change at least without their knowing it. While this bias is not as extreme as its racist brother, it’s nevertheless damaging. Starting with kids who at first innocently tease other playmates because of their little differences, then dubbed by elders as “cute”, reinforced into maturing years as acceptable, then later on to adult life as normal, the pattern continually asserts itself.
So, as we come to this hoopla about ‘good-luck-to-us’ Mindanao as a tourism spot, it may be better we not even think of developing our beaches and resorts further. they will always be as beautiful and breathtaking to look at as they are. It’s that certain overhaul in thinking that should first be put in order because the old idea; that imperial outlook that some people still lord over others, has already become as stale as the outdated brains that house it.
HONORING MY MOTHER
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