Posted by: luvin | September 21, 2011

My Troubled Homeland

We were eating our dinner when suddenly gun fires destroyed the silence of the night. My mother put off the kinki (this is a lamp we use during that time when electricity was not even a dream in the barangays), but we continued eating. We have to finished the food before we have to hurry down to a fox hole dug inside our house.

How can we eat under such situation is not much to us, we grew up under extreme condition, and those kind of skirmishes is nothing new to our psyche. This is a common scene in the 1970’s. I grew up with a bang. literally. I saw dead bodies lined in the highways, I’ve heard of killings and massacre just about everywhere.  One time we were travelling (we are on board a jeepney, that is our major means of transportation then though my father owned a beat up Honda 50 motorcycle.) to a nearby town, I saw dead bodies, men, women and children, hundreds of them, I’ve heard stories that they were victims of a village massacre.

Every night, the men in our baranggay would be on guard, they were on rotation. They are guarding our place for possible attacks from Black Shirts (the rebel group that are fighting for secession of Mindanao. This is actually the armed group that came out of the Mindanao Independent Movememnt). Almost all household owns a gun then, not just one, but perhaps several guns. It was under this condition when I learned to cock a gun, when I tried to mimick the movie heroes quick shooting from the hips. I was only about eight years old then.

During my high school days, classes would sometimes be interrupted because of occasional battles between the rebel and the Philippine Army. Students would sometimes go to the site of the battle to watch the gunfight, as if it was a movie. We have grown oblivious to the dangers of the gun. Just like the moros, the christians have learned to live with the guns.

To hear cannons, to see tanks, for seven year olds to know the difference between M-14 and M-16, to automatically know the guns used by the the empty shells left behind, is the way of life in the 1970’s. When I was still in my youth, I already knew how powerful AK-47 is, I knew that Thompson riffle would overheat, I knew the knocking power of a caliber 45 pistol, I knew that you can hit a person a km away using a Garrand riffle.

This explosive place, this burning thing made our young minds. What we lack in toys, we have more in guns. We learned how to survive, we learned how to fight back, we learned how not to be afraid. After all, we are bitten by the same mosquitos, we eat the same lanzones, we all live by the fishes of Liguasan Marsh. This mentality is unique to those who were made, molded, nurtured under fire.

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