Skip to main content

Flight 5J 625 MLA-Dumaguete via Cambodia

On the flight from Manila to Dumaguete my seatmates were Sister Vangie of the Daughters of Charity and Father Kevin of Maryknoll. The first thoughts I had as they took their seats beside me were:

1. It's a good thing the New Scientist Issue with the cover story ‘How Your Brain Creates God’ is still in my backpack; and,

2. "Oh god -- oops, hey thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain! -- they're going to judge me and sniff me out for the sometime-Buddhist, Igorot-pagan-wannabe that I am!"

But there was no reason to get my guard up because we shared an interesting conversation for the duration of the flight. Sister Vangie told me she was one of two Filipina nuns stationed in Cambodia, running a hospital there. Father Kevin is from the U.S.A. and also works in Cambodia. He helps run a hospice for children living with HIV/AIDS and when I naively asked him whether there were a lot in Cambodia, he said there were 300 under their care right now. Father Kevin also teaches for a MA course on mental health in which all his students are Cambodian. This shouldn't have surprised me, but it did because of the common perception of Cambodia being a land bereft of its educated people, artists, intellectuals, and professionals since the Khmer Rouge genocide. While Pan Dora and I were in Phnom Penh we noted that there were a lot of universities with names like Golden Tomorrow and such, which we found amusing but I hadn't given them a second thought. Of course, what is less sensational and therefore less known about Cambodia is that it is also a country in the process of healing and rebuilding. So of course there are Cambodian students in those universities, and of course some of them are going on to get their master's degrees and doctorates too. Sister Vangie said in their hospital they are slowly turning over responsibilities to local staff but that there is still a lot of training to be done. I asked Father Kevin what he thought of the observation that Cambodia was a country run by NGOs. He agreed and said that this was not necessarily a good thing.

After our conversation, I drifted back to two days in Cambodia in January 2008 that struck me more forcefully and deeply than the breathtaking beauty of Ankor Wat. But that’s another story that I will tell after the story of three heavenly days in Dumaguete, coming soon. (Eep. I've already broken several promises to write about this and that. This one I will keep. Promise. Hehe.)

Dumaguete here I come!


Popular posts from this blog

Lola of Maipon

It's all too easy to fall asleep under the blanket of everyday life and to smother dreams with the mundane things I surround myself with. But once in a while, along comes a sparkling vision that jolts me out of my daily sleep and reminds me of the existence of convictions and worlds so different from my own. "Our beloved LOLA of Guinubatan, Maipon, Albay is the last true messenger of God. So, let us follow her holy teachings so that we will gain TRUE SALVATION without sufferings and without death." In another story I, the intrepid heroine, the adventurer seduced by mysteries, the pilgrim in search of truth, would follow them back to Guinubatan from Session Road, thirsting to see and hear their Lola for myself. However, it's all too easy -- much safer! -- to fall back asleep under the blanket of everyday life, and to smother dreams with the mundane things I surround myself with. Then along comes 9 a.m., and really, it's time to down the dregs of coffee at the bott

Cordillera Folktales and Story-telling

It was cold and wet outside on the day of the launching of The Golden Arrow of Mt. Makilkilang and other Cordillera Folktales . But inside Mt. Cloud Bookshop we were warmed by stories read and performed by the Aanak di Kabiligan community theater group. Storytelling on a stormy afternoon. Paco Paco. A Benguet story from the book, published by the Cordillera Green Network. Aanak di Kabiligan means children of the mountains. The theater group was born out of the Cordillera Green Network's eleven years of conducting workshops in which children transform their grandparents' stories into theater productions. Here they perform the title story of the Golden Arrow of Mt. Makilkilang and Other Cordillera Folktales.

Birds of Baguio and Benguet

The Little Boss and I went to see the Birds of Baguio and Benguet Photo Exhibit at the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary . I carried her so she could see them up close and she pointed to each and every photo demanding, "What's that? What about that? What about this one?" I dutifully read out the name of every single bird featured in the exhibit: Scale-feathered Malkoha, Luzon Sunbird, Citrine Canary Flycatcher, and so on.We discussed the colors of their feathers and the shapes of their beaks. Some of the birds were already familiar to her. The crow and the shrike are frequent visitors in our garden. Shrike in the hands of the Artist-in-Residence, with the Little Boss' first hesitant touch. Taken October 2013. Once a young shrike in flight crashed into our picture window and lay on the ground, stunned. The Little Boss and the Artist-in-Residence held it lovingly in their hands and as soon as it pushed against their palms they gently released it. That was The Littl