Sunday night of last week, our family home at barangay Dizon Subdivision, Baguio City was completely razed to the ground by fire. The loss was staggering and will forever leave us scarred, physically and emotionally.
Yet, in the midst of adversity, were fine and understanding people who rallied round and extended help and sympathy to my family. People whom you can ride the river with, come hell or high water.
I, would like to pay personal tribute to these fine men and women of exemplary characters who rose to the occasion in the midst of our adversity.
THANK YOU VERY, VERY MUCH for all you have done. I wish my family members have the words to express our profound appreciation for your kindness. Thanks so much for everything.
THANK YOU SO MUCH TO:
The Baguio Fire Station, La Trinidad Fire Station, Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Station 2;
The private water delivery services in Baguio City;
The barangay women officials of Dizon Subdivision who launched the first-ever “UB-UBBO,” initiative in the barangay. Ub-ubbo is a centuries-old indigenous practice in Cordillera wherein people pool their resources together to help a distressed co-community member;
Mary Capuyan, Marjorie Valdez Abalos, Yolanda Decaleng, Linda Nayde, Maureen Pasikan, Nellie Dagacan, Corazon Salupen, Dennis Binget, Jham Rose Manuel; these well-meaning folks jump-started the ub-ubbo.
The unnamed residents of Dizon barangay who responded to the call of the ub-ubbo;
Barangay captain George Banayos, Melchor Urbanozo of Dizon Water delivery, William Haight, Jun Velos, John Ryan Decaleng, Fritz Chopchopin, Jonathan Patnugot (resident at Lower Quirino Hill), JC and Thomas of the Ambatcan family;
Cherry Mae Bulay, Mary Pasikan, Teehani Nipol, Abe Anongos, Bridget Boneng, Agnes Opiana;
Joseph Liwes, Honorio Quining, Jay-ar Lozano, Samuel Anongos, Budget Savers, of Baguio City;
Peter Allig, Benito Allig, Lamuel Nixon C. Filipe, Mark Anthony Balanga, Clevan Dacwag, Dennis Binget, Raul Cuttermas, Rainer Cuttermas, Russel Cuttermas, Richard Cuttermas, Jyrel Cuttermas, Edward and Ariel Magalgalit of Pinget barangay, Nestor and Percy Salinas;
Ap-pon da Dolores and Pablo Gomuad; these great “ap-po” of Dolores and Pablo Gomuad initiated a circle of hope called, “an act of love,” for us, distressed.
Olive Vendiola, Teebot Vendiola, Rosita Madarang, De Jesus Madarang, Rudy Bulay, Edward Calinao, Marcelo Opiana;
If I missed to list someone, I beg for your kind understanding on the stress upon me. Nonetheless, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for your kind assistance. It came just when we needed it most. It is the wonderful action of yours that will keep us going the days ahead. On my family’s behalf and mine, I would like to reiterate our heartfelt thanks. GOD BLESS YOU, ALL!
Each one has moments of grave reflection. Moments, when, putting aside the troubles and work in this world, we reflect within ourselves and ponder our own frail nature.
And too often, questions hark upon us like sober whispers of the sighing winds: “What are we?” and “What is human’s life?”
We push aside the questions but these come back to haunt us like specters of the night, shrouded in misty uncertainty.
Indeed, the Invisible Someone – the cause of human’s being – remains hidden from sight and probably ever will, existing in his present state. True, we set down our existence to an Unconquerable Being, but of the essence, the motive power of life, we know but very little.
The Supreme Immortal has wisely hidden this from our sight. And the more humans try to attempt to tread upon such forbidden ground of the question, “How did the Omnipotent Being breathe life unto life,” the more we are admonished that its truths are probably beyond comprehension of human thoughts.
That being the case, gentle readers, there is a consolation, a balm, which binds our chastened feelings that we have lived another day and appreciate its priceless boon. And in thankfully doing so, we may just have answered the one question, “What are we?”
Allow me then, my fine readers to gently steer you away from searching answers about life and, instead, ride the breeze of hope. If there’s darkness in the night, then there’s hope in the moonshine.
Do you pine for the soft moonlight, like rich tones and sweet breaths of the highland wild sunflower waving along Cordillera roads like nature’s piano organ?
If so, I extend to you, my friends, my hand, from my place where fire has gutted it, through which is still wafted, the soft breath of the wind from which, “hope still springs eternal.”
And let’s sit down and converse, as friends converse who have long been separated. Although we may not have to stare into each other’s eyes and read thoughts that slumber there, may the mind communes with the mind, though distance intervenes.
And in conversing, we will look upon the landscape changed by fire with thoughts similar to the other’s thoughts and as we while away the hours, our topics will resemble life. Sometimes we shall be in the merry mood, and laugh with those who laugh. Sometimes, we may not laugh at all.
Sometimes in that conversing, sadness may dwell, but it will not encourage us to bear the ills of life, for we have learned from life that there are still others out there who happen to be suffering greatly – but have the courage to keep on going, going. It is to them we, too, offer our kindness and sympathy.
To see a home burned is totally devastating and brings the affected to depths of despair and gloom. The affection in which the home originates, contains, fosters, imply whatever is brightest in life, short of saying, “there is no place like home,” or “home is where the heart is,” or “If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.”
Often have we listened to children, adults and elders singing, “O, give me a home, where the buffaloes roam, where the deer and the antelopes play, where seldom is heard, a discouraging word. . .” and the soft words stabs at the bosom with pining tenderness.
The affection in which the home originates are, to the opening soul, its heart of joyfulness. And the warmth which home nourishes is the brightest that ever falls upon any person, regardless of stature.
You might be called, “Sir” or “Ma’am” when outside of your house, but at home, you are simply the person you are – a father, mother, children or kin. Home has this delightful yet solemn character of putting us in our proper places entwined to give dignity to each person.
In homes of highland Cordilleras, for example, families celebrate domestic life with cultural connotations, one of complete graveness with ritual ceremonies. The occasion can be one of thanks, or protection, like say, “daw-es,” in the highland lingo, but so, too, it is one of complete seriousness.
At home, a smile can melt into tears and gladness ripened by reflection. Vows which contain promises for life, though fraught with happiness and sincerity are not made with exultant voicing; there is this degree of melancholy in the tone but with a bright future to it.
Most sacred, still, are the affections and objects which a home contains. There is the conjugal affection, – in its truth and devotion, and most fine friendship, the most enduring. There is the parental affection, an image of the Maker’s affection. And the impenetrable mystery of family love which no outsider can rend to pieces.
There is the frank regard for brother for brother, sister for sister, kin for kin, which, in childhood, graces the innocence of light around it.
Relation of home to an individual, even at the lowest sense, is that of natural necessity. But in a higher view, it is one of incalculable import. The excellence of a home for training, for example, is so obvious that it reflects on an individual’s personality. Whatever a person is capable of, in his/her early years, had been learned at home.
The relation which home bears to the community needs no allusion. Home is the epitome of society and society is an aggregate of families. The individual is formed in the small community of home for the greater community of a land.
The need of authority and virtue of obedience is first learned at home. If individuals have cultivated in youth, habits of generous obedience, they will not, in maturity, regard an obtrusive self- will; they will instead temper being good individuals.
Home for everybody is as what Mother Nature would want to make provisions for and as right culture might render it. Home is whether you are rich or poor.
And when home is gone, half of an individual’s life is totally gutted, destroyed. It can never really be replaced for it’s gone like a shadow bereft of any trace.
And no matter how you want to close the chapter of a home, gone, the pages keep on turning to haunt one with pain. And the memories keep coming like ghosts gone berserk.
But with heavy and painful steps, my family must move on; there is no turning back. Turning back is not an option.
But alas! In not turning back, words reached me that there are those in my barangay who are laughing gleefully that our home was burned.
Well, to those doing so, I wish you no ill-will, nay, nothing of that sort, except to urge you to continue gleefully laughing at our predicament. Thank you very much for laughing at us! Laugh, dance and be merry!
Let us hope that next week, Daily Laborer, your columnist, will have a merrier mood, not that I despise the sober thoughts that I have written because of the tragedy that happened to my home, but it may not always be prudent to mournfully dwell upon the past.