as a pinoy

my favorite thing about being Filipino is that EVERYBODY has an aswang (monster) story and it’s never weird

Like in American movies there’s always the whole “ghosts aren’t real” “monsters aren’t real don’t mess with me” but with Filipinos you say “so one time I saw a manananggal outside my window” and the response you get from even the soberest most serious grounded people is “oh what happened, how old were you when it happened?”

Like you have a younger kid talking about how they saw a white lady ghost in the bathroom one time and an old and sensible great uncle will chime in with how their house was FULL of ghosts and how they wouldn’t leave their rooms at night because that’s when the tiny black figures of crawling children would wander the house, though they could leave the door open and see them padding by in the corner of their periphery or hear them on the wooden floor when they were getting into bed

I can tell people about how I used to be harassed by a duwende (dwarf) with malicious intentions and how it took an albularyo (medicine man) blessing our houses with talismans to make it go away and they’d be like “oh that’s cool, did the duwende leave or is it just hanging around not bothering you”

When it comes to pinoy monster movies you completely skip over the bit about “what the hell that creature is” and all you get is “what is that” “aswang” “OK what do we do about it”

And it’s not even just a provincial thing, any city born person will just accept that oh, an aswang might kill you if you wander out tonight, so don’t do that

There’s a ghost and monster story for every corner of this country and skepticism about their existence is virtually non-existent, you kinda just accept that they probably do exist but not where you’ve ever seen them

I notice everything. And by everything. I literally mean everything. I notice when someone stops hitting me up like they used to. I notice when the way someone talks to me starts changing. I notice the little things that people do, and the little things they used to do. I notice when things changed, and when it’s no longer the same. I notice every single detail. I just don’t say anything.

DARA with TOP 7 Contestants - KISS @ 161210 ABS-CBN Pinoy Boyband Superstar Grand Finale!

The Philippine culture is a uniquely indigenous culture that has been neglected for aeons because the colonization of these people distorted their culture enough to that it is almost unrecognizable in the modern world. What the Philippines is missing is a sense of legacy and pride in their uniqueness. Instead, the people have fallen under the spell of the Western world, and their priorities and goals are a hollow echo of the old, outmoded values of Western civilization. The Filipino people are starved for an identity that goes beyond Spain and America. They don’t want to be some other stepchild. They deserve to claim their inheritance…

Having been colonized for so long, we have to rediscover ourselves. European culture is the legacy of kings and the commerce of merchant bankers. Our own culture has been suppressed by centuries of colonial subjugation, and that cannot be achieved without restoring to our people the pride of identity.

—  Way of the Ancient Healer: Sacred Teachings from the Philippine Ancestral Traditions

There’s something about the Cordilleras, that landlocked region in central Luzon, that I find so inviting.

Perhaps it’s the magnificent rice terraces located across the region. I think it would be a treat to see it in shades of green or gold. Although the color it gives even without crops planted is still a beauty to behold. Or maybe it’s the warmth of the people who tell proud stories of their ancestors, cultures and customs to curious visitors. I also think it’s the cold weather coupled with the great view of the mountains that can be enjoyed by anyone all-year-round.

Well, those are the reasons that came to mind. Enough to make me decide to go back there soon as I’m able.

November 2016, Cordillera, PH