“Paalam” Doesn’t Mean Goodbye

It’s been well over a month since my last blog. I had the intention of writing a blog at least every two weeks, but during the course of my journey as a cultural worker in the Philippines, there was never an idle moment. Whether it be a secretariat meeting, a mass campaigns meeting, a cultural workers forum, interviewing and working with cultural workers, helping with the effigy for SONA (State of the Nation Address), video documenting/editing events/mobs/rallies, teaching and rehearsing our dance routine for the SONA, I was basically a full time cultural worker.

There is so much to process and reflect during my past 3 months in the motherland, so much that cannot be contained within a blog. The only things I could do were twitter updates and video & picture uploads on facebook every chance I could find, which is what is now called “micro-blogging.”

There is so many stories to tell, and so many valuable lessons learned, that I really want to do them justice by taking my time to process everything. But if it one thing I can say about my journey in the motherland this time around, I can sum it up in one word: Love.

Love. It is one of the things I was told to be careful falling into during my time here. But after all the hard work, after all the anger and rage against the machine channeled creatively through our cultural work, and after all the joy and laughter, I couldn’t help it. I did fall in love, deeply. I fell in love with the movement for national democracy that crosses transnationally. I fell in love with the work that drives this movement, both creatively and administratively. Most especially, I fell in love with the people, both my fellow activists and the people we serve. It was their passion, creativity, humility, and love for the people that melted my heart.

I can remember a stage in my activism that was guided by nothing but rage and anger, a stage we call “grim & determined,” also know as G&D. It was during this stage when despite my good intentions, I instead had made enemies and my approach was more divisive rather than uplifting & unifying. I then realized a very humbling life lesson, as Che Guevarra said, “At the risk of sounding foolish, a true revolutionary is guided by feelings of love.” That was 4 years ago, and though I etched that lesson into my head, this journey and this process, and the people who were with me every step of the way, etched that lesson into my heart. And that I why I say I fell in love.

To the people I’ll be returning to in this transnational movement: Bayan-USA, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, SanDiwa, and Pin@y Educational Partnerships; our motherland has nurtured one of her own, and she is giving me to you better, stronger, and wiser. We have the special and unique position of being in the “belly of the beast,” and as one of the activists here has said, each time we come back to the motherland and return to the belly, our movement becomes much stronger. I’m ready, conscious, and committed. Let’s get to work.

To the people that were literally by my side in this journey: Migrante International, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Makabayan Coalition, Concerned Artists of the Philippines, and Ugatlahi Artists Collective; I am forever indebted to all of you for all the love you have given me and the vital roles you played in my growth as an activist, a cultural worker, a person. Isang mahal, para sa masa, para sa pakikibaka. Hindi kita malilimutan, and I will not say goodbye, but I will say “Paalam.” Because “Paalam” means I’m just letting you know I’m only leaving the space, but with the intention of returning. We will definitely see each other again.

So, Paalam, motherland. Your son will return soon.

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2 Responses to ““Paalam” Doesn’t Mean Goodbye”

  1. Hi Comrade,

    You are full of love. I couldn’t keep myself from smiling as I read your post. I remember that it was the revolution which taught me the real meaning of love. It is by doing revolutionary work that I feel most alive.

    Padayon, kasama!

  2. […] “Paalam” Doesn’t Mean Goodbye August 2010 1 comment 3 […]

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