being home on a different perspective
after the work trip to mindoro, i packed my bags and went home for a short leave. i know i’ll be leaving behind tons of work, but i need it for my sanity anyway. and since i’m extremely self-centered these days (note that all my entries have “i” in it), i went home despite of all the hurly-burly of important school and work load.
it was a wonderful 2-week vacation.
“iligan” is said to mean fortress. the city/community has been existing for hundreds of years, with a pre-spanish settlement in bayug. it would be most important to note that most “iliganons” are migrants who hailed from different towns in the country who came to work in the different industries in the city and students who came to study in MSU-IIT and finally settled in iligan. however, the economic crisis in the late 90’s and the subsequent shutdown of several industrial companies in the city resulted to an increase of out-migration despite steady in-migration.
coming home in the middle of the year is different. most of my friends have migrated elsewhere and there was nobody else to hang out with. despite what most people think, iligan might not be as upbeat and as economically successful as the neighboring cagayan de oro. my relatives in CDO constantly pick on the smaller size of our small jeepneys, lack of taxi’s, malls, and proper cinema houses, and ugly beaches.
but we have the falls. people in manila always ask me if maria cristina falls is as majestic as the pictures claim. frankly, i don’t know. i’ve been to maria cristina, but i haven’t seen it in its majestic glory. most of the time, napocor controls the water flow. i haven’t had the chance to trek all the way to mimbalot, tinago, dalipuga, etc this time around.
as soon as i got home, i went to timoga spring pools for a swim (i hadn’t been to timoga in 5 years). while we may have ugly beaches, we have the popular timoga spring pools. these are a group of spring resorts facing the iligan bay. each resort has an average of 4-5 pools – arranged sporadically from the mountain top to the bay)
one of the pools in dela mar spring resort
a view of iligan bay at the top of dela mar spring resort
storm clouds over iligan bay
the iligan city town fiesta, recently renamed Diyandi festival (said to be a traditional courtship dance given by a maranao man to a higaonon woman) to mark the peaceful coexistence of muslims, christians, and lumads in the area, falls on the fiest day of st. michael the archangel. st. michael is symbolical as it also signifies as one of the commonalities of christian and muslim cultures. unfortunately, i haven’t attended the city fiesta in 6 years and won’t be able to do so this year.
a statue of san miguel subduing lucifer at the top of the cathedral
the cathedral being renovated and spruced up just in time for the city fiesta.
another good thing about living in iligan city is that it celebrates both muslim and christian holidays. we have more holidays combined than any other city i know. i often wake up to hear the muezzin calling out the prayers at 4 am, seeing marian devotees bring the statue of the virgin mary aloft as they do house-to-house prayers at 6pm, and the passing by the INC church which is only a few meters away from a muslim mosque.
while night life in iligan city is comparatively quiet (aside from the fact that my parents don’t let me go out at night), its not unusual to see people gaze out at the bay to observe the lights at the city port. unfortunately though the view is not as wonderful during daytime. informal settlements, improper waste disposal of industrial companies, and other coastal activities along the bay has ultimately destroyed the beaches in iligan.
a view from canaway at night
(during daytime there would be rows of informal settlements along the beach)
since i was supposed to be gathering data for my proposal on a study of macajalar bay, i went to msu-naawan in the municipality of naawan, misamis oriental (a few kilometers away from iligan) to do research. unfortunately, it was the campus intramurals. so we spent the rest of the day at the beach fronting the campus instead.
the naawan fishport which is only a few meters away from the msu-naawan campus
a clump of gemelina trees at the msu-naawan beach
as i mentioned a few posts earlier, it’s always hard to board the plane back to manila. i guess its because home will always be home. and going back to manila means facing all the bad things i left behind before i went on vacation (which i’ve been avoiding for the past days – i’ve never been the confrontational sort).
it was a bit weird to be home. when i was 16, i wanted to leave iligan for good. i was sick and tired of the seemingly slow pace of life in mindanao. i wanted to experience what it feels like to be living in a metropolis. i wanted to be away from my parents and live life on my own. but at 23 and being home for a vacation, you see things in a new light and realize that some things are always better than anything else.
one of these days i know i’ll find myself bound home for a longer period of time. i realize now that there is so much i can do back home. opportunities might be slower and harder to come by than in manila. but i crave for my father’s home cooking. i crave for the slower pace of life. and i crave for home.
on the meantime, i face the monsters in the city. i try to overcome my own fears. i shed a few tears in the process of living my own life and taking responsibilities on my own. in the meantime, i eat brownies and revel bars, capuccino cake, i do what i have to do (but not necessarily like what i do) and dream of home.
(revel bar, cherry almond cake, and capuccino cake from cheesecake melliza)