Friday, February 15, 2008

Enchantment with Guava

As I have been browsing the different pages of so many sites (both my favorite sites
and sites I have just accidentally stumbled upon), almost 80% of their posts and
topics is all about Valentine’s Day and hearts and chocolates. Indeed, there is no
denying that this day is so special that almost everyone writes, thinks and talk about it. As I entered the premises of our school early this morning, euphoric faces of young girls holding bouquets of flowers passed by me with some other guys pale and fidgeting sitting on the nearby benches. There is no denying that Valentine’s Day is so special; love is on the air.

But I decided not to share or write about the Day of Hearts, not because I want to
spoil the day, or is just geek hopeless romantic, but honestly I just want something

The last couple of weeks have been so heavy and draining for me, partly because of
work and secondly because of what I always see in the television, hear on radio and
read in the papers and internet about the bribery and corruption scandals involving
the administration that have been painted all over my young country. I don’t want to go into details anymore for I am pretty sure many of us know the story with
international community also watching vigilantly each move and grove of all the actors and actresses involved especially the queen.

But I think there is also a moment of redemption in this kind of depressing theatrics and reality TV show. What has left an imprint into my mind was the story of Jun Lozada’s encounter with the local people in a mountain area while he was doing his work. Once, he shared that he saw that there were lots of guava fruits and told the locals why not sell these fruits so that you could have money there. But they humbly answered him that those fruits are for the birds to eat. Jun was touched by the simplicity and generosity of hearts of the locals while clans and politicians in the metropolis are insatiable day and night grabbing for more power, money and prestige. Whether Jun was indeed enlightened by that encounter like the breaking of the heaven with angelic exultation, I am no position to judge and so everyone of us too.

However, when I heard his story over the radio, I immediately remembered a very
similar story that my classmate in the graduate school told me when he was
brainstorming of a possible topic for research and trying to drive away boredom.

He shared to me that together with his wife, he once went into a hiking adventure in
Mindoro together with his wife. I must say that this guy is extraordinary because at his very huge size (more than 200 lbs) and his wife is also of the same size are quite very disproportionate to their type of adventure: hiking and mountain climbing. Just imagine that! Anyways, some Mangyan (indigenous tribe of Mindoro) guided them as they trekked their way to the top. Along the way, he saw a guava tree with so many fruits dangling on its branches. He took some and ate to fill his empty stomach with his wife following veracious act (description from him). Before leaving the place, he tried to take some more and placed the fruits in his pockets and bags. The Mangyan guides stopped him from getting more. He then reasoned out that there is no problem getting some more so that when they get hungry along the way, they will still have more to eat. But the Mangyan told him that there is no need to worry for surely along the way they will still find more fruits to eat and that eating what is only enough will still leave more fruits to eat for other hungry people who will pass that way. My friend told me that he felt his big body shrinking and felt so small among those towering local people.

I have heard so many stories already about the Mangyans and their sincerity and
generosity of hearts. Sometimes it crosses my mind that these people are far better
people and dignified than so many of us leaving in the noisy and busy place of the
metropolis. From them we learn more, things that are profound; not taught in
universities and lecture rooms of prestigious institutions and sometimes cannot even
be learned inside the churches.

Hope I will have the time to visit these people, and have a taste of their guava.

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