Moses S. Cam
March 21, 2012
I Was Here: A Tale of Balloons and Going down the Hill
It was an early morning, about 7:00 am on the day of January 28, 2012 to be exact. For some, this day was just another day. It was something insignificant, nothing out of the ordinary and perhaps even negligible to that extent. For many of the oblivious and routinely people of the world, that day and point in time was just another day. For some Atenean freshmen, however, it was the exact opposite. It was the day of our exposure trip. The exposure trip, called ISAW – an interesting wordplay with the words I Saw, is a yearly event for Ateneo freshmen. It is the culminating event, and considered to be the very essence of the InTac or Introduction to Ateneo Culture program as it aims to open the eyes of the Ateneo students into seeing the “real world”. In this sense, the “real world” is a relative term. My definition here of the “real world” is not what we consider to be the daily lives that we are living. It is neither being part of a community such as the Ateneo, nor a great divide between reality and the cartoonist fantasy we see on television. I’m talking about the world beyond the four corners of the Ateneo; the world beyond all the luxuries and comforts of its well-off and blessed students. Let us face it; the Ateneo is not exactly the real world, just as we cannot consider Katipunan as the real world. We are in this utopic society where we are in a world of our own. Being in the Ateneo, or even being in Katipunan places us in such an idealistic position where we are not necessarily bothered by the “external forces” – poverty, corruption, and the likes. It’s as if we are in a totally different world of our own. Though we are a part of this region geographically, it’s as if we are enclosed in a dome that allows us to permeate only whenever we wish to do so. As the school song A Song for Mary goes, “down from the hill, down to the world go I.” This magnifies the claim that we are not yet in the real world. It is beyond Ateneo that we find what the world really is; the harsh realities and complexities that inhabit it, as well as the problems of just about everyone else on the country. For us freshmen joining this exposure trip, it would mean a taste of that reality. Even as the day of the event was still approaching, we were already filled with emotions and excitement of what was to come as we planned the activity. We had to wake up early and prepare ourselves for the important day. We all met up at the Rosita-Leong Hall and we rode two jeepneys that took us to Malanday Marikina for our exposure trip as a block. When we arrived, we were greeted by numerous kids ranging from grade 1 to grade 5 students. We tutored them in math and played games with them afterwards, all done under the shade of a worn down covered court that served as an indispensible venue for the people of that barangay. Amidst the clustered shanties that filled the barangay, the covered court stood strategically at the center. A little room on a building behind that court served as the classroom for all those kids. I couldn’t blame them. Personally, I could not help but think of the number of covered courts that I have seen all around the country, especially in my hometown. It seems that as politicians get elected, their way of helping a barangay was in providing it with a covered court that has the words “sponsored by (insert congressman’s name here)“ written on it. If this is where all the government funds go, then I see why they were in such a state. This was one reality that bothered me. This could be traced back to all the broken promises of politicians and men of authorities, and how words are not transformed into action. I personally have seen a lot of times where certain linguistic manipulation or misrepresentation is used to people’s advantage, whether it is in platforms of many officials or in as something as simple as a...
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