To write love in the sky: To live and lead together in the quest for self-determination

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By Robert L. Domoguen

Mountain Light

Monday, August 25, 2014


I AM not sure if I am rather too loud, and the youth waits outside with open hearts. From time to time, a university student writes, their expressions hiding what they want, which is simple, they want to come and learn something from me.

I assume I am what they see, a great man. It hits me that they do not see the skyline that inspire what I write, what makes them think I am a sage. I wish I can simply write them back and tell them to look up and marvel about the stars, in their great number were not set in a state of confusion or collision. I wish they would rather reformulate time and the seasons, which up to now, I could not comprehend. In this manner, they would know how better gifted they are.

More to the point, I wish I could tell them their lives are precious and it is but a waste of time spent with this straggler, if they know who they are and what they really want. They ought to know too that my peers have long settled themselves successfully in their chosen world long time. Many of them left me, slow and distracted in school and in the practice of professions, simply lost in the game of promotions.

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Now it becomes obvious in this note. I am not a sage, and hope that they would not get offended. For in their seeking me out, I am a bit encouraged about how they see their own world today and think that I could be of help. I will just be honest with this note then about how I lived, my thoughts about the future and how they can help shape it with their involvement in it. This note then ends where it begins, easy to resolve, and here are some bits of those stories that I hope will help form a coherent view of ourselves as participants in this quest to understand our time, what we need and some things we must do together.

A young woman believes that my office can fulfil her longings for adventure. I pick out this note tucked in my knapsack, written next tomidnight from where it begins in a mountain and ends in another. If it is adventure that a person wants, will the seeker endure the cold wet night of howling winds from slope to slope, from valley bottoms to the heights and back between hunger and warm coffee until the end of the wilderness, until the lights of homes appear and yet there was none?

Mountain adventures come with a mission and are never the kind of fun that thrills some city dwellers, unless done to fill in a need. In our kind of challenged environment, the living of a life, the attainment of its aspirations must in the final analysis advance a cause, its reformulations and evolutions of sustainable and quality community life in the boondocks in our fast changing integrated world.

In which case, the kind boss that she sees in me, that wisdom that she can get from my office is all but illusion. What I think and try to do is help isolated mountain communities here and there to unify, transform and mobilize in their quest to address common causes and survive the realities of integration. Given the conditions of life in our mountains, it is an adventure of a lifetime with its share of endless sweat and tears.

The realities of integration takes a lot of forms and begun centuries ago starting perhaps with the creation of machines that run, or swim and fly from a point to anywhere in the globe; talking machines and gadgets connecting people and transact business at the speed of sound that ushered in the era of globalization. Even more central to this globalization were the electronic technologies that define our time.

Humankind, through the World Wide Web can bring people together in sharing the same information, ideas, languages, entertainment and values together. Integration too affects markets and the trading of goods, along with shared standards. Indeed life is an adventure and in our mountains, we must ask how well can we participate in a world of globalization that defies evasion from where we are.

I have to confess a state of poor preparation on my part to take on that question myself, except to accept both realities of poor preparation and helping fellow mountain folks confront the on-rushing change, that lie before us as monsters to be tamed. The fight for me begins where I am with token efforts to prepare the young in my profession.

Besides adventure, not a few young folks wanted experience and knowledge to sharpen the practice of their professions, in community and rural development work, in photography and communications. Am I that person who can add to their yearnings for expertise and enlightenment?

This is not some kind of a song to hear or play and simply enjoy. My superiors at government expense, has sent me several young men and women, eager to learn and contribute to the cause of highland development. One cannot be sure if that is what they truly want. Some of them, once in actually look beyond the hills wishing they would rather be over there than be with a demanding old man, who tells them there is no magic involved here and forces them to agree, to listen and to pray. As beautiful and handsome as the young folks are, can they climb the heights of their potentials, which in the beginning, they expressed was their delight. Can they teach and surprise me? A lot have already crossed over to the other hills and I comfort myself that at least they found out the real object of their desires.

Those who remain and struggle with this straggler, make me sing my songs about them, about people who work together. They soon find out about my game but continue to wonder when I must give besides taking much from them. In that, I have not yet compromised this faith. This grumbling boss, always needful of detox, is certain they get what they truly deserve. If we must forge ahead in our world, we must think and live the integrated life – not without me, not without them, not without our communities in mind. We get what we want as a team from what we do with our community folks.

For the next days, months and years they are with me or me with them, it is unspoken or otherwise, I am theirs to love...yeeeehaah! I will ask them to work with me, not as a boss until it meets some need. That need is in fulfilment of another need I always imagine - the needs of a people who love too much, who must fill the mountains with love to become healing towers of life. That to me is what I write, a note they will have to tuck in their hearts and being, a journey that is ours, if not I will just hang it above the mountain skyline where some young fellow will perchance see along with the stars, and do something.

Perchance that young fellow will see through the realities of the integrated order in a global world, an orderly constellation of self-realization in corporate and/or communal bodies, even nations competing or complementing each other, to influence the global market with their products, values and a way of life that fulfils and satisfy basic needs and rights.

I think we can live in our globalized world, if we learn to live, work and lead together – a leadership formulation appropriate for the integrated life in the current world order we find ourselves; not the current politician’s dream world to make people dependent on what he can give them, from what they themselves collectively give as taxes. What a way to create and sustain an acknowledged saviour of their lives that is, bound to doom us all unless the politicians themselves reform their ways to live and lead with us.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 26, 2014.

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