Living, learning, and expressing...

What good are ideas, thoughts, analyzations, opinions, emotions, lessons, and experiences if locked in one's head. They're as useless as a roll of film that will never be developed or photographs that are trapped inside a hard drive never to be exposed to the world. A stranger once told me, "We are not human beings here for a spiritual experience, we are spritual beings here for the human experience." Why not share and express what we're learning, living, feeling, and seeing?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Davao

After a seven hour bus ride, we finally arrived in Davao last night. At first we were real hesitant to go out because of things we heard from other visitors who so happened to be teachers from San Francisco State. Some were telling us to be careful and go out only in groups. Some said that they were getting random telephone calls in their hotel rooms. I wasn't there to hear all this, only word from mouth, he said she said whispers. And of course that got a couple of us scared. But after today, that skepticism has seem to fade. I think it has to do with the fears that come along with being in "Davao." After visiting the mayor's office and talking to other people living here, a lot of them kept on reiterating that Davao is not as dangerous as everyone thinks it is. A false perception due to media's coverage of Muslims in Mindinao and the kidnappings that are connected to the "south." I found it odd that here I was trying to create a documentary about the misconception of Mindanao, and yet my first night here I believed the rumors I heard.

I still am on my guard and am sure not to walk around on my own, but I won't let that fear take over my trip here. Especially after the warm welcome we had from everyone. Besides going to the mayor's office, we went to Davao Medical Center where we brought gifts and candy to the kids at the hospital. It was quite an experience. The hospitals here are definately different from the hospitals at home. Hospital beds line the hallways and cardboard replaces the mattresses of some bed frames. But besides the condition of the hospital, we were greeted with such a friendly staff and smiles from the kids. It was a disappointment to leave so quickly. I know we had good intentions, but I felt as if we were just strangers bearing gifts, walking in and then out. I wish we could have spent at least a day with them- playing, talking, laughing, or just keeping them company. It's one thing to make a child approaching us on the streets, trying to sell us candy, corn, or souvenirs-- smile by simply giving them pesos, but it's another to see a child restricted in bed smile after giving them a few toys and some candy.After that experience, I spent the bus ride thinking about the PeaceCorp again... or at least some other kind of organization abroad. We'll see...

But later on in the day, we had a dinner hosted by the Davao City government. We were greeted with traditional songs and dances. Of all the places we have been to in the Philippines, Davao gave us the warmest welcome. So many people have this opinion about the dangers in Mindinao, but it's in Mindinao-both in Cagayan de Oro and Davao-that we were welcomed so warmly. We were supposed to have a conference call with the President of the Philippines and meet with the mayor of Manilla, but neither of that pulled through. They extended their apologies. And so when we flew into Cagayan de Oro, we thought the mayor wouldn't make it either. But that wasn't the case. We met him and were also welcomed by the students of Mindinao State Polytechnic University. So far, my experience here in Mindinao has defeinately been different from what other people "warned" me about. I remember Erin Lubin telling me that people warn us before we are about to embark on something new or different because they themselves are scared. Well as my high school mentor once said, "Never base your decisions on fear." Besides... I'm Santiago...

P.S. When I find a place to hook up my laptop, I shall upload the photos... I promise=)

2 Comments:

Anonymous chel, your lover said...

to my dearest diana,

i hope you're having a great experience over there in the motherland... its crazy reading about how you so close to the places that hellah build our pasts... ya know, like the bataan death march, the old barracks, and the prisons. i wish i was there with you to absorb everything, but i'll live vicariously through your experience. i'm really happy that you're safe and that it's nothing like how you had been told. it's amazing to read about your journeys. i'm guessing that this -blogspot- is strictly for your trip, but i wish i had known about it sooner so i could have been reading your daily reflections as they were happening! anyway, you havent missed out on much over here in the states. here's a few things: 1. hollys dinner at miyakes, where she yakked her brains out and had a great time (only me and gretch went out of the girls); 2. krystle's trip to hawaii, she's back now; 3. dian is officially leaving on wednesday and i'm hellah sad!; 4. mila can count in spanish =) ; and 5. me missing you! take care my lover... can't wait till you get back, but i am so happy you are learning about, loving, and living up all of our history. take them pictures girl!! =) love you lots.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous chelski said...

hello my lovely love! i think i misssed your call the other day.. i think i even seen it but i didn't know the number and so i was like, eh, save my minutes! i'm so sorry! so your obligation part is over, for the time being before the editing starts, that is! i hope you had a great time with the group you were in and i hope you meet some awesome people... plus had an unbelievable time. so are you going to meet up the veterano families? i think that's what you wanted to talk about when i missed your call =( i hope you decide to do whatever you think is best. i wish i could call you and ask you what is going on! i can't really say anything because i don't know what you wanted to talk about. whatever you choose/ decide, make sure it'll make you happy, as well as the fact that you can take it on and finish what you start enough to leave you satisfied. yah know? i know that all your projects will be awesome and will inspire people... as for over here, new updates: 1. haha, i just dyed my hair and i know that's not big news but it is to me haha, sorry; 2. missing you terribly!; 3. dian's leaving tomorrow!; 4. i dunno... nothing really exciting. i can't wait till you get back, even though you will only have a short while before you have to head to sj for school again... but i'm so happy you did something spectacular during your summer break! you're changing the world, one photo at time... make the difference!

p.s. your roomie.... whaaaaat?! haha, don't worry, nothing at all.

i love you!

4:34 PM  

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