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[BUKIDNON VIEWS] Erlowism: “One Family, New Normal, and Renewed Hope”

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By Erlow D. Talatala

SONGCO, Lantapan, Bukidnon (10 March 2021/BukidnonNews.Net) I have been attending the Moro – IP Kinship Reaffirmation rituals in the Talaandig Tulugan, at Sungco, Lantapan, Bukidnon, since 2012. It seems to me like watching an FPJ (Fernando Poe Jr.) movie for the tenth time.

The actions became less exciting and slightly predictable. The characters were overly-familiar, while some have gone without a trace. The stories about victory and peace would become like the romantic freezing breeze of Sungco. You will feel it blowing into the skin of your face but the romance has become less shivering. It fails to reach and touch the depths of your heart. After savoring the sumptuous lunch of freshly harvested adlai, organically-grown vegetable salad, and sizzling Buffalo Steak; the monster in me asked: “What’s new?”

While waiting for my colleagues-incorporators for our first cooperative development meeting, I gave curatorial pointers to Waway Saway's young soil painting students. After a couple of uninterrupted “sermons”, a bunch of around 40 young people came to see the artworks and the painters. 

I learned that they were Moro youth who came to the Tulugan two days earlier for a Youth Camp and to participate in the kinship ritual. They were hosted by 18 IP families in the community.

Later, I joined Waway in the cultural night, where he was asked to perform. There unfolded before me the most “romantic-action packed love story” of Mindanao. It brought me to tears. The last time I felt like this was when Alyanah Dalisay died in the Probinsyano.

The Moro youth - miles away from home in a distant community -are sleeping under one “nipa” roof with foster parents they barely know, sharing memories of doing chores for the first time, exchanging gifts, sharing hugs and laughter, and shedding tears of joy.

I was wondering, if their parents entrusted this generation to strangers considered as kin, then why can’t we have “peace” in Mindanao?

I SAW HOPE!

I saw new hope in this millennial generation of Moro and IP youth. One that removes not only the fear and chaos that COVID-19 brought. Most importantly, this hope replaces the indifference of our plights and all the historical injustices that we inherited in Mindanao. This animosity is altered by embracing the choice for peace, love, kinship, and unity.

Truly, the name Mayuntudog (Maayong Pagtulog) or Good Sleep, should not only be used to describe the tulugan (tribal house) established in Sungco (Palintauwan). It could also be a true portrait of Mindanao, one that is  worth sharing to all Filipinos and to the world.

Indeed, true peace is believing that Magbabaya, Allah, God the Father, is in control of everything.

When I came home, I saw Kardo Dalisay on TV avenging the death of his loved one. I decided to rest my case. Though my battle isn’t over yet, the war has ended and love showed me the way.

Thank you so much for the new inspiration, strength, and hope!

Mabuhay ang mga Moro at mga IP! Mabuhay ang mga kabataan ng Mindanao! Mabuhay ang Mindanao! (Long Live Moro and IP youth. Long Live children of Mindanao. Long Live Mindanao!)

P.S. It was emphasized that Christians or settlers were also invited as a sign of acceptance and recognition as kin in Mindanao. I was thinking, who’s not an IP anyway?

(Aside from being a surrealist painter, the author is CEO and president of MasterZone. For inquiries, follow MasterZone FB Group, or contact 0906-601-1796 or erlow2006@yahoo.com. ERLOWISM is his column for BukidnonViews, the opinion section of BukidnonNews.Net)

IN PHOTO: IP and Moro youth attend a cultural night, part of the highlights of the IP-Moro-settlers kinship reaffirmation peace celebration in Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon on March 8. 2021. Photo by Erlow D. Talatala

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