“Coming home to Bohol is like stepping into the sea again
after months on land. How peaceful is the sense of
being borne along and how familiar the sound of water
lapping against your limbs.”
Paraphrased from Kamila Shamsie in
her “Salt and Saffron”
AS THEY SAY ‘Home is where one’s heart is”. The joy of every homecoming proves that. And the love for home deepens with every homecoming
Many of us may have gone and lived in empires and cities which we never really knew. They stand in no comparison to coming home- even to an empty ancestral home- but filled with wonderful memories -like rainbows after the rain.
One may have spent years in Times Square in New York, the hustle and bustle of Hongkong, the splendor of Spain and in the wonderful weather of Australia. But nothing thrills like coming home. Walking to the nearby botica for your arthritis pills, riding the tricycle to the century-old church and hear the priest give his homlly in Visayan and exchanging tales with Lola while she rocks in her decrepit bamboo wooden rocking chair.
Charles Dickens had said that because of our many wanderings here and there- we have learned to appreciate one’s home even more. It’s like going back to the stillness and the quiet of home- no more running here and there.
Malls, theaters, bars, restaurants, hotels, resorts may change the facade of the town we once knew- but they are mere additions to its essence. Because except for the pollution along CPG Avenue, the smell of the air remains the same.
It is true that as time passes, we want to see the people who knew us in the past. Ever noticed that we are ever closer to our high school and elementary classmates than any of our associates and friends of today? The bond is unbreakable, the link steadfast-because we were friends when we are all nobodies in the world.
The number of reunions and participants in the class, school and family reunions this July is nothing less than outstanding. We sing dance and chat, billionaires with paupers, professionals with bums- no distinction is made during reunions. We are One.
People visit their alma mater halls and recall those years when the hall was always filled with the sound of the piano from the pianist who never tires and the voice of the singer who seems never to stop vocalizing.
They eye the CPG avenue where in their youth – “the boys watched the girls who watched the boys who watched the girls go by.” Then a visit to the K of C promenade and the Plaza Rizal where as young lovers they used to hold their hands together under the moonlit sky. The next day, they visit the cemetery of their elders- their spirit living within the bowels of the land.
This is what the TBTK (Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibuok Kalibutan” has helped realize- every three years it is held. It is an iconic event praised to the heavens by the then Secretary of Tourism (now senator) Dick Gordon -which should be replicated by the other provinces.
This is especially true for those balikbayans based in the USA and Canda through the Confederation of Boholanos of CONBUSAC who were happily joined by Boholano based in other provinces here to really bring the numbers up.
The event went fever-pitch yesterday with the thousands who lined up along the main Carlos P. Garcia Ave. to watch the colorful 10 contingents vying for the grand prize of this year’s Sandugo “Kuradang” Street Dancing, a truly Boholano way of showing its unique culture especially during festive seasons like fiestas and homecoming.
It is a credit to the organizers that finally Bohol made a distinctive mark in staging street dancing so to be quite different from those in all the other provinces in the country. Cebu has Sinulog while Bacolod has Maskara and all the other festivals.
And it is best that Bohol has the Sandugo to highlight her history and culture. Boholano talents (in beauty, composing and singing) are given their center stage. Likewise, agricultural and other cottage industry products of Bohol are displayed for appreciation to a larger community. July is indeed a month to showcase the best there is in Bohol.
Likewise, this coming home every July is becoming contagious as even Boholanos from other parts of the globe and those from the provinces in the country are now having their reunions during the month of July.
Also awarded are “The Outstanding Boholanos Around The World (TOBAW)” staged last Sunday with 10 awardees from the different fields of endeavors. Indeed, this project is laudable and should be institutionalized as this is the right stage to award Boholanos who have contributed something worthwhile to be remembered for a lifetime.
This is a project of the First Consolidated Bank and TBTK with the support of the Provincial Government, Bohol Chronicle Radio Corp., the Diocese of Tagbilaran and the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
But alas and alack, and in no time, the calendar page of July is about to turn. And even good things do come to an end.
So as the song of Sergio Mendez goes “the trouble with hello is goodbye.”. Or as Shakespeare quoted: “parting is such sweet sorrow” especially when it comes to the people and the land one holds dear in his heart,
When one is from afar- it is always difficult to come home- to a point that sometimes, it is better not to have come home, than to do so and then leave again.
But as Basil Valdez crooned two weeks ago in the Sharon Cuneta Concert at the Bohol Wisdom Gymnasium, people will always love the land of their birth ” ngayon at kailanman.” (Now and forever). Shalom!
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