March 5, 2024

Our community is found at the city limit where the houses stood at the borders overlooking the sunset beaches. The Long-long Road is caught between the high rock mountains and the low level houses where we have established a small business, car repair shops and green houses for strawberries and vegetables. At the first day of the year, we gather the community for the traditional thanksgiving. We have resumed after the pandemic and on its third year of civic activity, the community is accomplishing significant things.
Community gathering is a gesture of thanksgiving somehow. After the toils of the pandemic happened, there is a need to meet and greet each other more. You see, ushering the Long-long community is the Igorot Stone Kingdom that kicks off the business interest of the neighbors. We might have drawbacks like heavy traffic flow and disturbance of the many people flocking at the once quiet suburb, the attendance for the artistic community found at the nearby Tam-awan has definitely improved.
It’s not easy to organize a community gathering though; other barangays have stopped doing this already. A youth-led organization was organized then to make this happen. In Long-long, the youth task force was participative and is central in unifying the adults and stirring interest among themselves to become leaders of the community. Their job was to raise funds in order to push through the activities like pageants, games, and raffle draws. Their first try in 2022 was criticized by the local church because they dressed up male contestants as women. They learned from this mistake and the next year, the program included a thanksgiving service to reiterate the community’s commitment to faith. For 2024, despite the short preparation, they pulled up a program that unites the religious, business and civic organizations in our community.
“It’s difficult to organize the program of a community-based New Year activity,” my friend Sheena and Elexir commented because it’s hard to please the different views of the members of the community. “It’s difficult indeed, we need to sit down with them, mediate in the communication flow and be strong in resolving disagreements because we need to meet half-way somehow,” I advised them.
In my mind as a young adult and having experienced organizing community and school-based activities, I was meaning to say to Sheena, Elexir, and other youth leaders, “You need to be immune with the angst of adults or older people who are insistent of their ideas without considering your changing needs and complexities faced by your generation. Sometimes, people have messed up lives so they try to put you in disarray by their criticisms, but take heart as leaders and stand your ground.” It is defeating to compare, to impose or even politicize events for a self-vested interest when the youth actually need guidance, patience and inspiration to be ushered in a better direction.
The community, a linkage among families and neighbors bonded by trust and shared values throughout the years is threatened by the bustling modernization. The neighborhood is now filled with different people buying lots from here and there. The vacation inns and apartments that become busy and noisy during weekends were emptied like ghost mansions during weekdays. Then we run out of water, fresh air and space for a community gathering to take place. It is only in the quiet hours of our family dinner and prayer meetings in the church that we are somehow reminded of a well-bonded community. Yet when we look at the eyes of our eager, empowered and passionate youth leaders we can only hope for a better community in the future.