* our last Cabuoan breakfast
The last day of the immersion was, in truth, a mixture of happiness and sadness; happy because we are now through with the long-prepared activity and sad because it proved that a three-day was not enough. As we would learn later in the afternoon, a familial bond was already forged amongst the student-immersionists and the families in Cabuoan.
* one full, cold bath
Finally, we had one long cold bath in one of the pumped water sources in Cabuoan. I don’t know what exactly it meant but I found myself at peace drenched in water while watching those wide fields just in front of us. Perhaps it gave to me this thought there are many things that the metropolis cannot give even at this modern times. Peace. The gay morning scenes. Cool winds.
* sa piling ni Halina (photo by teammate Nathan)
We did our last check on the student-immersionists and came across the grave of the once daring actress Halina Perez. I remember hearing the news about her death several years ago. It turned out that was her screen name only for her real name was Vanessa Mae-Ann Uri.
* our Makipamuhay farewell program
Our farewell program was literally filled with tears as both students and foster families shed tears, knowing that their new ‘families’ had to be in indefinite hiatus. There was a general invitation to come back on the village fiesta but I cannot know if some of the students actually returned. It was touching to see male students opening their hearts out, something that is not commonly seen nowadays. I knew it was not for anything else (for good evaluation results, etc.) but it was a show of real appreciation of the kindness shown to them by the people of Cabuoan. Even as we traveled back home, a camaraderie was still forged. Who can forget Ate Len-Len who was honest enough to tell us of her needs? It felt good to know that you were able to help someone.
* lending a helping hand to Ate Len-Len; shot as we left Cabuoan
And so in the end I see immersions as reality respites for us. It enables us to actually make an inner check on ourselves, how much we are valuing our life and the things around us by putting us under fire, under a test, a test of living, a living that is most like totally different from what we have. In a way this gives us a view of the social gap in terms of economic standing that still persists today. But it also gives us the opportunity to design our own programs to respond to societal problems. Honestly, I still want to go back there and experience Cabuoan again.