(This piece was written in 2012. I was in Davao when an intuition struck me from ruminating)
For months I’ve been musing about this due to wistfulness of having to miss the people I used to get along with. Sometimes I think about the qualities they have that I keep on looking for them. At one corner, and sometimes when I’m alone, seeing jeepneys running the streets with dust billowing, I remember the people of Cebu.
What makes me think of them more is when I remember the distinct aura they have. The way they speak Bisaya, the tone, the distinct intonation so pleasant to the ears. I wish I could elaborate more for you to know how different they are from other Filipinos in the country.
An archipelago of 7,017 islands how indeed divided this country is. How divided Filipinos are, and more distinct, most especially with Cebuanos.
Two things common with them is their hilarity and admirable humility. No gesture of dominance lying in their spirits despite the things they take pride in. They express without thinking twice on how or when they should act or say things. They just simply say and do what they are ought to.
Sometimes I wish that I can be like them too. I, who have this admission of a person for having an undesirable persona, thought that I can acquire their qualities too, which brings me the need to break out my private life.
I’m a dominant person, a chauvinist, egocentric, sometimes indifferent, enough to make me a regrettable person. I am a Davaoeno, specifically son of natives of Davao Oriental. My father has this distinctive haughtiness, a snub, one who has immeasurable heights of pride and domineering nature. I have those qualities running in my own veins.
My mother though, is a very simple woman, humble and so kind that you wonder if she was born a martyr, or lives to teach virtues and human benevolence. Although her sisters and relatives have their own aura of being dominant creatures in their own little worlds, my mom is the most humble and simplest woman you’ll ever meet. I have those qualities too, but half of my father’s inside me are not easy to deal with. I wish I can have all the 100% humility and simplicity in the world. I wish I can get rid of all those pride in me. I wish I were a Cebuano.
Many circumstances in my life in Cebu made me perceive how ugly my persona was. I noticed the people in Cebu become successful on what they do simply because of their calmness, their levelheadedness, the ability not to react on unwanted circumstances.
They don’t fret often. They don’t have contempt on the people they don’t like; they see themselves like they’re from one family.
Another thing what makes them fascinating is their straightforwardness, especially on matters of sex. Sex is an ordinary topic in idle hours at little corners of sari sari stores. Parents can always crack green jokes with their children and don’t feel awkward about them.
Another is their devotion to Catholicism. Their ever savior Sto. Nino what keeps the city shower with blessings. Cheerfulness and contentment in life are spreading the Cebu air like a good virus, so contagious, inescapable.
I miss Cebu, wholeheartedly. I miss the people. Times when I became like them for many moments in my life. Hanged out with them and spoke like them made me forget who I was, made me want to live forever with them and, maybe ultimately, triumph the game of life.