June 24, 2024

Let’s start with a prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, by your patience in suffering you hallowed earthly pain and gave us the example of obedience to Your Father’s will. Be near me in my time of weakness and pain; sustain me by Your grace, that my strength and courage may not fail; heal me according to Your will; and help me always to believe that what happens to me here is of little account if You hold me in eternal life, my Lord and my God. Amen.”

While the “family” is our country’s basic unit of society, the “individual” is that of several developed nations like the United States. Why this is so, this Ibaloy writer honestly doesn’t know or if it has any effect at all to a country’s economic development.
Filipinos find great comfort in being part of a family, even an extended one. I know because I do. Many Filipino homes are composed of a mother and a father, children, and grandparents, if they are still living. Some say this is because most of our countrymen can’t afford separate dwellings so they cram under one roof. This is sadly true. We live in a beautiful country that is more fun for oligarchs and political dynasties, after all.
I believe that in our heart of hearts, most of us would rather be living with or at least be near our loved ones even if we can afford separate homes. We also prefer travelling as a family, if blessed to do so. That’s the Filipino way. For better or worse, familial bonds run deep in our culture. That’s why it’s heartbreaking to see a diaspora of Pinoys who are forced to seek more lucrative employment abroad to provide brighter futures for their families. To be separated from those you cherish most in life even temporarily due to financial need is a sacrifice many of our countrymen are taking. When will this national tragedy ever end? I honestly don’t know.

FYI: The “Mandeko Kito! Artisanal Market” is ongoing with an exciting variety of crafts for sale. It is part of the 3rd Ibagiw Creative City Festival and is open to the public every weekend of November at the UP Baguio Oblation Grounds.

Here’s “Addressed to Myself, Part II” by Gabriel Baban Keith: “You’ve survived so far, Gabriel./ Just some nicks and bruises/ from battles imagined/ and real./ Survived the slings and arrows/ hurled at your back by/ false friends and/ enemies true./ Don’t lose that smile, Gaby./ Nor that enthusiasm to “just do it”/ whatever that “it” may be/ despite the hateful laughter/ and secret jealousy./It’s a cruel world after all./ People would rather hate than love you./ Curse, than thank you./ Clap quietly when they see/ you fall,/ pretend to frown when/ you’re down./ Just do your thing, pare ko./ Write poems and read poetry./ Paint funny pictures, raise chickens,/ tend to your garden with wife/ and daughter./ Sing too./ Forget those who criticize/ but never do./ Life’s too short, my friend,/ so just be you.”
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.