“Small Town Diaries” is a series in this blog of posts I create inspired by my home town, Lazi. Lazi is a small town in the small island of Siquijor. It is a small town but, growing up, I never felt like we were disconnected with the world. We had television, we watched American movies, we read books, we read newspapers, we even welcome national celebrities and politicians often.
Political theories was a subject in college that I was not particularly interested in, except for the part when we discussed Thomas Hobbes, who I thought viewed human beings as self-centered and altruistic. Being a Filipino and being raised as the eldest daughter with two younger siblings, I was taught early in life to never be self-centered. I was taught to think of others, especially of my siblings — to share with them whatever I have, and to help them with whatever they need. Later on, that teaching extended to cousins, when my grandparents would repeatedly tell me to “become a role model to your cousins,” and to other people, when my parents would advise me to “help as much as you can because other people are not as privileged as you.”
With dawn, there is the promise of a beautiful sunrise and a new day. But, unfortunately, before the new day is the unfathomable darkness and a painful good-bye to yesterday. Such was/is my life in the past weeks. I welcome the mornings these days, especially the opportunity to move on to life. I would be dishonest when I say I don’t fear what tomorrow will bring, but alongside fear, is my excitement over happy and better things the new dawn brings to me and my family.
Let’s start the week with a thought-full blog post: on the reason I write, and why the art of keeping a journal has never lost its appeal on me, and why writing helps me psychologically.
Start your week being inspired to live well, free from negativity and bad vibes.
For as long as I can remember, these what I call modern gypsies have been a permanent fixture in our small town’s fiesta celebration every summer. Five to 10 days before the fiesta and five to 10 days after, they occupy a substantial amount of real estate in town where they set up temporary tents and display their goods all day. Most of these gypsies are traders — selling everything from magic wallets to household wares.
I went on a short trip to Siquijor last November (really a short trip because it did not last more than 24 hours) to bring candles, flowers and prayers for my loved ones who have departed. It is a tradition in our country to commemorate our dearly departed on the first two days of November. As I’ve said here, there are still many unexplored portions of the island, mostly coves and beaches that luckily have not yet been converted to beach resorts. These beach strips are our version of paradise.
Nov. 25 is designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Despite being one of the most liberated countries in the world, the Philippines continues to be a double-standard society, where certain acts of men are accepted and tolerated, while the same acts of women are frowned upon. My only solution to the complete elimination of violence (physical, sexual, mental and economic) against women is empowerment and the only tool I know that could lead to empowerment is education.
Living in a town far from the fast-paced life of the city and a little behind in technology makes for good and meaningful conversations. That is what we normally do in a small town – we gather around, especially after dinner, and catch up on each other’s lives. In the hopes of engaging in a meaningful conversation and learning several things from someone that I think is both intelligent and humane, I threw some questions to my friend who entered into a life he has always hoped for as a child.
In a town populated by a little more than 20,000 souls, my hometown, Lazi, is indeed very small. It is also located in an equally small island that is just lucky to be surrounded by bigger and more economically-progressive neighbors. While we are not very technologically-backward — we have electricity, mobile phone sites, and Internet connection — our electricity is crappy just like the most part of the nation. We are plagued by brownouts and blackouts that last, often, more than 3 hours a day. When these power outages occur, in order to entertain ourselves, we go out and talk.
Let me tell you my Halloween story.