The Lantapan Experience

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 Lantapan, Bukidnon, Philippines

020813 - One of the best things (that used to suck for me before it all happened) about my course is the chance to immerse myself with different cultures. I had just that when I joined my first immersion in Lantapan, Bukidnon last February 8, together with the rest of the first year Development Communication peeps.  
At first, the thought of going away for four days with people I barely knew, drains me. To actually live in the rural area for four straight days with new people? It's a tough challenge for someone who's not good with socializing like me.
The trip was long, tiring and yes, boring. We were on the road for more or less two hours. I even kept a mental note of how many public schools we passed, just to save myself from boredom. I was seated with a few nice people who I eventually learned to get along with during the span of our stay. When we finally arrived, it was drizzling and we had to walk a few blocks to get to the multi-purpose hall in the community. I don't really know what the locals call it exactly. It's just this huge building where the chieftain and the rest of the community welcomes their guests. The one behind us in the first picture.
The night of our arrival, after we settled down in our quarters, the chieftain and a few of the locals' elders performed a welcoming ritual. It was mandatory for each of us to attend the said activity. I don't remember much of the whole thing anymore since I was half-asleep the whole time. There was this part when we had to eat a small piece of the chicken that they slaugtered (oh shit that sounds too brutal) sacrificed.

The first night in Lantapan was a tad bit scary. I had a hard time sleeping during the first night. It was probably around three in the morning when I felt the earth move abruptly. I really thought it was just some sort of mini earthquake but another side of me believed that some out-of-this-world creature just passed by us. Silly, yes, but a strong earthquake for five seconds? That's quite hard to believe. But anyway, it just happened during the first night. Some third dimension creature probably wanted to welcome us too ;)

Four days in Lantapan and I have learned a lot of interesting things; from the locals' daily routine, their livelihood, dialect, and different mediums of art. And yes, I developed a good bond with my new-found friends. If before I kept on ranting about not having much friends in college, well, I am thankful now that I have met tons.
My two favorite moments during the whole weekend getaway was the part when it was our group's turn to do the cooking and washing. We were tasked to cook breakfast and wash the dishes after. Even before the sun came up and shone all its glory, a new-found friend of mine (who happens to be my group mate too) and I went to the kitchen and started the work. It was a bit effortless for me since I'm used to cooking breakfast. It's easy to fry a few beef loaves and cook fried rice ya'know ;) After preparing and eating breakfast, washing the dishes was also a part of our task and it was the hardest 'washing-dishes' moment of my entire life. We had to wash 70 plus dishes (excluding the mugs and silverware) and since there were no sinks or kitchen counters available, we had to do all the work in a crappy faucet outside of the boy's quarters. Good thing we were assigned in the morning. It would have been a thousand times harder if we did all that at night.

Another of my favorite moments was the big circle that me and my fellow classmates made just before the start of the cutural night. It was the night before our departure from Lantapan back to CDO. At first, it was just a me and a few of my good friends who made the circle. We were bringing back the good ol' childhood games that we used to play when we were younger. Then the circle grew since we let the little kids join us. Eventually, it grew a lot bigger and there were dancing, laughing, singing--- there was just nothing but pure happiness.

In totality, the whole weekend adventure was indeed unforgettable. The entire experience totally changed me. If before I took up DevCom because I wanted to study a course that fits my interests and just make a living in the future, now, because of the experience that I had during the immersion, I realized I wanted to do more than just make a living. I hope someday I get to visit more places like that of Lantapan and immerse myself in the various cultures of the many tribes in our country with God's grace and guidance. 

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