Monday, September 24, 2012

Pakikipamuhay: Brgy. Mojon, Liliw, Laguna

 * Mojon will be forever memorable thanks to this store
where one can actually rent VCDs and VHS tapes

 * view of the town of Mojon from the rooftop of the barangay hall

* Kap welcoming Mojon’s visitors

I say this here again: we can find new things in the unlikeliest of places. And a few months back I got to learn some basic insights on life in the placid village in Mojon in the town of Liliw, Laguna.

This immersion activity was in connection to a youth activity in which I was involved in recently. Carrying a hastily-packed bag, I trooped to our meeting place in preparation for transit to Mojon.

We arrived a bit late but we were nevertheless welcomed warmly by the barangay officials. Afterwards we were assigned to our foster families. My assignment was a mixture of confusing and comic nature. But in the end I gained a new place and family in this little village.

Perhaps what I appreciated the most was their high regard for the old traditions (religious ones in this case). It felt like I was back in the old times (old times for me have always been the Spanish times in the Philippines), praying to the Christian God while preparing for a village-wide religious event. We event attended a mass where most of the attendees are the elders of the village. (I found the raffle draw after mass very enjoyable.) In addition they value the concept of the family and it was with envy that I witnessed some of the people there see weekends as family days.

* during an afternoon via crucis

 * the color does injustice to the scene;
the actual color really impressive;
this, I can say, is a well-tended front garden

* yellow-fin tuna being prepared for devouring! that’s my foster father

* Pransisem screaming his lungs out

* in mass

* the village church façade

The passing months may have dissolved some of the strongest reactions to this activity of ours and so I am appending here portion of the narrative which served as an output for us in the immersion activity:

Intersecting Two Parallel Lives: A ‘Pakikipamuhay’ Experience

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
- Socrates

Somehow these words from the great philosopher Socrates gain a spectrum of meanings depending on the viewpoint of the person. And such thought made me realize one of its meanings through our activity in…Barangay Mojon, Liliw, Laguna. Essentially an immersion activity, it was part of our training and development as outstanding youth of the province of Laguna.

Having participated in a number of immersion activities already, there are prime concerns that always crop up: the worries of having rough relations with the foster families, the living conditions, among others.

I did not take it as something fortunate when I was assigned to a family of modest living (three families in one actually), in fact above average type of living. My thoughts at that time were how I would be able to cope up with them or what chores I can actually do.


* co-‘immersionists’

 * my foster parents

 * SK Chairwoman Cielo thanking us for the freshly
concluded activity for the foster families

* another shot with foster family and friends

I was able to do some activities after all: attending to an afternoon praying of the stations of the cross with other elders of the barangay, looking after a special child in the family, and attempting to help (albeit too late) to catch an escaped pig. But the bulk of my immersion came in the form of conversation, something which was dear to me and something which I see as an effective way of getting to the foster families.

For several hours, I got to know my self-adopted three families, learning how the bread winners essentially work in the same line of business and their family background as well. They may be a well-to-do family clan, but in talking with one particular bread winner, I was opened to the hard fact that wealth and security in life do not come easily from the heavens.

I learned of his hardships as a young man, his wide array of occupations which he took to sustain his family, and his eureka! moment which brought him to his present status. He has all the right to take pride in what he has reached for he definitely worked to obtain it.

The other family – my real foster family – is an example of simplicity: a happy married life, good children to take care of, and a simple living which the couple share every time they are together. Weekends are the dearest to them as the husband goes home and it is happy to see them allot bonding moments for them. Again, it was there that I saw that happiness can still be found even in the simplest details of life.

So where does the ‘quotable quote’ of Socrates come in? It is in that moment when you get to see your life balanced against the life of another person. What was ingrained to me during my two-day stay in Mojon was the fact that my foster family and I have completely different and parallel lives. Learning and inspiration occur when those two lives intersect during the immersion activity. And I went home after the event carrying with me a load of thoughts that I could not have imagined learning by just sitting in front of my laptop for two days. Immersion veteran or not, there are always new things to discover and learn for every immersion activity. Much like travelling, excitement is not only confined in the act of travelling; it is also found in the anticipation of new things, of new experiences. I thought to myself on the way home, even after this…activity, it would be good indeed to indulge into another immersion activity in the future.

Was I able to examine my life? I think I did. And, yet again, I was taught that we all have different levels of easy life. It is only left for us to appreciate them.

[How to go to Brgy. Mojon, Liliw, Laguna: One can reach it through two different routes. 1) Via Sta. Cruz, Laguna: From Manila, one can board a bus bound for Sta. Cruz, Laguna found near Gil Puyat LRT Station and EDSA Cubao. Drop off at Sta. Cruz Sambat and board a jeep bound for Nagcarlan town proper. 2) Via San Pablo Laguna: Board a bus bound to Lucena in either in Puyat LRT Station and EDSA Cubao. Drop off at San Pablo Medical Center then ride a jeep o the city proper (there are instance when the bus enters the city proper). Then board a jeep near the San Pablo Cathedral bound to Liliw, Laguna. Drop off at Nagcarlan town proper. Then look for the jeepney terminal near the Nagcarlan market. Board the jeep bound for Sta. Cruz. Ask the driver to drop you off at Mojon.]

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