The highlight piece of me-A A +A
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
LAST week in this column, I wrote about the idea of one’s roots being not as prominent as it has been. I’m convinced that the answer to the problem of non-recognition is to change perceptions. Victor Hugo has this to say, “Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”
It’s definitely a wonderful thing to be able to celebrate one’s identity. Your identity is not a matter of personal preference. Every man should love his name, his skin, his race, his individuality. Every Filipino should wear his skin proud. Accepting another nationality does not mean you lose your roots. In like manner, embracing other culture doesn’t mean you are less nationalistic. In fact, being nationalistic is in the heart and is evident in the way you conduct your everyday life.
Truly taking pride in our roots requires more. Respecting the actions of our ancestors requires more. If we truly have pride in our roots, that pride must manifest itself not only as an internal feeling, but as a loving acceptance of a way of life that our roots have garnered for us, and seek everyday to live up to it.
As for me, I am definitely proud of my familial roots. I take pride in what I am, which includes my ethnicity, my mother tongue and my culture. Area wise I had a quite diverse upbringing. I am a Kapampangan by birth having been born in Pampanga but grew up mostly in Balaoa, Tadian, Mt. Province. It’s in this mountainous area where I learned my regional ways. Part of my growing up years though was spent in Benguet where I learned Ibaloi and the Benguet version of my Kankana-ey dialect.
My late maternal grandmother in Balaoa would tell us our great grandfather is from Guinzadan, Bauko, Mt. Province. I have a whole host of relatives in these areas. My paternal ancestors are from Albay and Quezon Province. It had been a lifelong dream of mine to be able to see these places. I like the thought of my ancestors from there and have often wished I could see the places where they lived.
I am loyal to my hometown which may be slightly lacking in major attractions but it's my home, it's where I grew up and I have so many memories. My being in the company of others will not dissolve my individuality. I will always be an Igorot. No matter where I live, it is the blood that I have inside that count. The multi-cultural “global village” where we are living now would not make me lose sight of my identity and nationality.
But while maintaining my heritage, I try to see things in wider perspective. Every race is beautiful and unique. Tensions due to dissimilarities can sometimes be very high. Often we try to camouflage our dissimilarities, but this will not be effective for until we reconcile all the differences, our souls will remain forever fractured.
The best part, however, is that we can resolve our conflicts. We just have to remind ourselves that while we have individual greatness, we are all created equal and that we all can be inspirations. After all, a greater understanding and tolerance of others can only be for the good of all.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 27, 2012.