TODAY, we only hear few voices narrating the songs of Mindanao's past and we see fewer and fewer people listening to them. But in about half a decade, we will be hearing a chorus of many young voices singing them aloud, and anyone in the streets will be able to hum them.
The songs won't be just about those well-exposed parts of the island, but will include the unheard corners from the tip of the Zamboanga peninsula to the foot of Mt. Apo.
The work done by Dr. Macario Tiu and other Davao historians has sparked a curiosity in our generation. We now find ourselves asking questions about our own hometowns: Who were the different mayors of the city? Where do the streets get their names? Where are the local ethnic tribes and why are we not hearing anything from them? Information is scarce and it only increases our curiosity.
This curiosity that's so consuming us is actually beginning to be institutionalized by the Humanities teachers in the Ateneo de Davao University. Graduating students are encouraged to make their undergrad theses local-based, and the information about the different towns of Mindanao is steadily increasing.
Let this curiosity grow and soon histories will be written. The insignificant names on the map will have their colorful tales finally told. Our libraries will be full of the paperback editions of the stories of Kidapawan, Matalam, Digos, Pigkawayan, Mlang and other lands we only hear of with scanty detail.
And what of the shadowed image of Maguindanao? Perhaps, with this curiosity, some young minds there might show the world that the ancient domain of Shariff Kabungsuan isn't just about murdered journalists or institutionalized cheating.
Perhaps it may, with that curiosity and with the hope brought by a new administration, mirror the intellectual stability of Marawi or even the academic growth of Malaysia.
Who knows? Perhaps, with the increase in information, Mindanao's literature will follow suit, and we will get to read some "Digos Sagas" by local F. Sionil Joses, or some "Portraits of the Artist as Mindanawon" by local Nick Joaquins.
The curiosity for the untold past of the unheard Mindanao is gaining a steady momentum, and it is only a matter of time before the nation experiences a sudden wave of Mindanao historiography.
And if this curiosity is strong enough, Mindanao's past may even turn out to match if not outshine the vividness of the Capital Region's own history.
With this naïve but determined curiosity, our generation will know and tell the untold stories of our Mindanao in about half a decade. And so long as ears are not plugged with apathy, these stories will definitely be heard. Karlo Antonio G. David