In Siquijor, Philippines, A Miracle has Happened to Me
ALL-TIME FAVORITE POST FROM 2011 RE-BLOGGED: I went to Siquijor a day after Christmas. It's that time of the month where offices and schools are closed. People stay at home and spend good times with their loved ones. A part of me wanted to stay home and bond with my family. But a greater part of my being wants me to head to Siquijor right away. My family would understand.
I've written a story, a few paragraphs actually, about how my trips will change from hereon. I've mentioned my purpose for this particular trip was not just to put a check mark on my must-visit places. I always knew there's something about this trip that i can't afford to miss. A few days after I arrived from Siquijor, i was able to to find the answers to my question.
Life in Siquijor is different. People wake up with a smile. I've seen an old man with his 'bolo' trying to harvest hundreds of sea urchins as early as seven in the morning. Around this time in Manila, traffic should be building up in Edsa. In Siquijor, the number of urchins begin to multiply. I must admit, i got a bit scared with him. The idea of an old-raggedy man and his sun-kissed face and untrimmed mustache with a 'bolo' clutched in his right hand, is a bit terrifying. In the city, run if you should see one. Little by little as he gets nearer, he begins to look up to me with a smile. He bowed his head and i said my greetings. He continued his march to catch some more "Salawaki".
Music surely fills the air in Siquijor come Christmas time. I've heard that there's a small party by the town hall that night. About a hundred meters away from where i am are boys practicing their dance routine. These kids are pretty talented, and they've mastered their stunts. I didn't stay long because i didn't want to interrupt their focus. On another occasion, I was close to sleeping when suddenly, a group of three charming girls approached me and started to sing their version of "We wish you a merry christmas". They weren't focused unlike the boys earlier, and most of the time they were out of tune. But the more they continue on with the song, the more i began to actually listen to them. From their wishes of a merry Christmas, it seemed i had to hear from them what i should have known. In Siquijor, the kids here have trouble going to school. Mostly, if not all, have bigger problems than I have. And at a very young age, they have been exposed to issues that took me longer than expected to understand.
You will be surprised at how sporty Siquijodnons are. It's funny how private owners have opened their tennis court to people who want to play. In most towns, there's a basketball and tennis court open to the public. A lot of people do come by to sweat it out every afternoon.
The pair of running shoes which i want to purchase is a little over P5000 or $100. Dry fit running gears are sold in specialty stores for a not so cheap price as well. I remembered stopping for a few minutes in Larena. I heard a whistle coming from the old gymnasium which signaled the start of a basketball match. Two baranggays are competing for the trophy and the honor. The players from the white team didn't have a uniform with them. Some wore old tank tops, others wore different colored shirts. On the other side, the players from green team were all dolled up with their emerald green uniforms. As i try to check their kicks, I've realized that these kids have no proper basketball shoes. I saw a really awesome player wearing white loafers.
The many faces of Siquijor gave me a glimpse of the kind of life i knew I've always wanted to know about. Life is good, but life would be better only if you knew what's worse. Contentment is such a hard feeling to grasp most especially when you can afford it.
We are all guilty of always aiming for what's better, what's newer and what's more exciting. The difference between most of us and the people in Siquijor is that not once from the people that i have talked to, complained about their lives. They are happy as they are. True that, these people also need to aspire for a better life. But sometimes, i ponder on the idea that maybe... we should just be happy with what we have now.