Friday, April 26, 2019

Olsim: Open Yun (Opinion)

The Eternal Student

A COLLEAGUE asked why I write stories from time to time, instead of the usual Opinion and FYI articles. Bill Bullard, a respected technical writer, “opined” that; “Opinion is the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, and no understanding. The highest form of knowledge... is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.” I guess I must respect his opinion about “opinion.”

I do write short fiction (especially fast fiction) and non-fiction, for the same reason that visual artists sketch people in parks and train stations. I want to tell stories (or make stories) about a moment, a memory, a scene even – “What is this guy thinking? Why is he tearful after the call? Is he related to the OFW I met during my last tour? Does he have a family?”...etcetera. For the humanities advocates, said habit is as essential as breathing. I guess, those things make their lives more meaningful (even if some often label them as crazy crack heads).

After a year and a half of writing a column for SunStar Baguio, I am starting to run out of juice, or that so called “inspiration.” I’ve already written much about tourism, travel, society, politics, culture, arts...of life and death, and anything under the sun. I am tempted to start writing about my guitar, my paintbrush, my old laptop, my sleeping habit. (Writing the article an hour before the deadline does not help).

Still, just when I’m about to yield, there is always that nudging feeling that my opinion should at least matter and should contribute to community development, or the progress of our society. After all, not everyone is blessed with this most respected platform (and the real columnists had no problem doing it for decades).

Perhaps a recent experience emboldened me to drop nuggets of opinion in the guise of stories and FYI articles. When I represented Mayor Romeo Salda in the Benguet Mayor’s meeting called by Gov. Crescencio Pacalso, we were informed that the Adivay Committee decided to replace the Grand Canyao with Rituals intended for the province’s healing. That was a week after I wrote about the same sentiment when I saw the initial calendar of events. So, I guess we never underestimate opinions?

What I have learned in my 30 years of living is that, “Opinion is open, but always coupled with responsibility,” especially in this age of “bashing” and “keyboard warriors.”


After the La Trinidad Tourism Week 2018, we will have the “Adivay” on November though toned down to show solidarity to the victims of tragedies in our province. Baguio will also have the “Entacool” on the same month.

For the BLISTT creative, it is but proper to acknowledge the other towns as partners of the Art and Crafts hub during the activities. After all, BenCab is in Tuba, Narda’s is in Tublay, Roofless Art Studio and Stobosa is in La Trinidad. A survey of the Baguio artists’ residences will pretty much reveal the same trend.

“Baguio,” originally carved out from the BLISTT areas to build an American vacation space, is not just a location, but also an “idea” – an idea which embraces its nearby towns. Therefore, Baguio should not plan to dump waste at Tuba or Itogon, or oppress Vegetable traders coming from the La Trinidad Trading Post. Since we are one, we must all consider each other as i-Baguios (at least, this is my opinion).

What is your open opinion about my opinion?

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