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?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Maraming Salamat

With a closing ceremony, testimonies, and our final lunch together, Lakbay Aral’s two-week program ended this past Tuesday. Most of the participants flew back home, but some decided to stay with their families for a few days. I decided to stay here for another two weeks. So, here I am, at my Auntie’s house, editing some of the hundreds of pictures I took, reliving all the places we visited, remembering all the welcoming people we have met, craving all the delicious food we ate, appreciating everything I’ve learned and realized, and ALREADY missing it all.

I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for these past two weeks. Especially to the staff of the Commission of Filipino Overseas (CFO), who organized Lakbay Aral. Their hospitality is far beyond what we could ask for. Whatever we needed, they accommodated, not because it was their job, but because they really wanted us to feel welcomed and AT HOME.

One night, I with two other participants-Sarah and Abe- walked along Baywalk located in Manilla- which is almost similar to San Francisco’s Pier 39- and I said to Abe, “I hope I run into one of my cousins here.” He responded, “Look around. They are all your cousins.”

Throughout the whole trip, I have met so many people. Whether it being Allen Jadie, the project manager of the trip, the 32 participants of Lakbay Aral, the professors and students of the Women’s Philippines University and the Mindanao State Polytechnic College, the indigenous dancers of Cagayan de Oro and Davao, the children at the Davao Medical Center, and even vendors we have come across throughout the trip – they all have defined the Philippines for me: diverse, beautiful, and definitely a place I can call home. I have only visited a handful of the hundreds of places I would like to visit in the Philippines. I mean come on, there are more than seven thousand islands!

Corrigedor Island

Cagayan de Oro

Villa Escudero

Davao Medical Center

White Island

There is so much I have learned, and there is yet so much for me to learn. Which leads me to my upcoming project…

Before I came on the trip, I had an idea of what kind of documentary I wanted to work on while in Mindanao: Muslims in the Philippines. And I was practically ready to give up when none of the sources I was trying to connect with e-mailed me back. I had about three days left in Mindanao, and I thought, “Oh well, I’ll find a story when I’m back in Manilla.” That was until I received an e-mail from Professor Nagasura Madale informing me to go back to Cagayan de Oro. I was already in Davao- 7 hours away – and knew I couldn’t. Nor could I just leave the Lakbay Aral program. So, after debating and talking to other people, including Professor Madale, I decided to buy an airplane ticket and will actually be flying back to Cagayan this week! I know it’s all last minute, but I knew if I didn’t take up this opportunity I would regret it. Despite a lot of people’s warnings- especially since I’m a woman traveling on my own over there- I decided I had to do it. Because of my gender, I will always have that pre-warning before I do anything. And I do appreciate the concern, but because I am a woman, it should be more of a reason why I should do what I do.

I am very excited about my upcoming trip because I will be meeting with scholars of Mindanao studies, interviewing people about Moro struggles, and meeting alumni of Access Program- students who went to the United States for peace, meditation, and conflict resolution.

It has been an amazing and adventurous past two weeks… one chapter is over, but another is yet to begin.


Blogger raichous said...


We MUST travel somewhere together. Do you want to go back to the motherland?

4:15 AM  
Anonymous chelski said...

i'm so proud of you that you decided to take up your own action!! oh diana! =) i totally respect your decision to go back a second time, but i must admit that i am still nervous about you going there on your own. i own you can handle your own, but make sure, even though you probably dont want to and you might be offended i'm telling you this, but keep your guard up, even if just a little. like, the trouble about being a woman is the fact that people think that we can't take care of ourselves and the we Want to be protected (i.e. timm and clarence leaving us in florence), but it's not that we Can't take care of ourselves OR even that we Want them to take care of us because we are women, but it's the fact that people already assume that we are vulnerable Because we are women. yah know?! haha, i hope so. so be safe. take care. live this part of the adventure for the both of us. be strong. continue to be invloved. and remember that all of us here support you!!! i love you and thanks for the texts! they always make me smile =) bring back an experience.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous chelski said...

p.s. i'm glad that you decided to follow your own path =)

11:29 AM  
Blogger 54 said...

Hey, so this is where she is hiding. I didn't know you are from Filipine, you sure? Just Kidding.

Nice pictures, can't wait to see more of the serious stuff, now that U R away from the tour group. Travel well, and don't be a tourist.

P.S. Nice new camera. Now I'll have to find something else to make fun of the gal, since I can't make fun of the Rebel from Walmart... Hahaha...

1:06 AM  
Blogger S. Dulai said...

Great stuff! I'm so happy to see that you're having a great time, and on top of that, you're turning out some wonderful images.

Stay safe and take advantage of the situation. Don't you dare come back wishing you'd done something.


3:17 AM  
Anonymous rich said...


10:09 PM  

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