The rain was pouring yesterday so I decided to ride in a jeepney to go home. The jeep is actually going to Tampakan, a neighboring municipality of the City of Koronadal. Our place( Barangay) is the boundary of Koronadal to Tampakan so the people in our place sometimes ride in the jeepney. I was sitting in the front sit together with the two other ladies. In the jeepney, the two ladies were talking, I didn’t understand their conversation because they were speaking in their own language which is the B’laan. I knew then that they were B’laan because they are the only natives living in the mountains of Tampakan(tampakan is composed of Ilonggo, Bisaya and Tagalog and of course the B'laan Tribes). While the waiting for the other passenger,s the other lady asked me ‘what’s the date yesterday day’… I said “February 13, 2008”. Then I heard the other one said “ay! balimtayms na gali b’was..” (“Oh, tomorrow will be balimtayms day…” in English.) What she meant for the word balimtayms is the Valentine’s day… the word doesn’t have corresponding word in Filipino so when we use the word in our language, we use the word as it is.) I just kept quiet and just forced my self not to laugh that time because I knew that they would be offended if I did.
When I reached home I realized that if I chose to laugh the native because she didn’t pronounce the word properly, it would be a shame on my part. They are less educated compare to I am so I should understand why they could not pronounce some words in English properly—and to think that not all educated Filipinos pronounce the English words well.. And it’s not really necessary for us (Filipinos) to be good in the language because after all it is not our mother tongue. The circumstance also made me remember my father’s story of his first assignment being a teacher. He was assigned to teach the natives of Lake Sebu (the T’boli) in the mountains. He said the condition of the natives there is not good. He also said that when they need water for bath or for drink they need to walk 5 kilometers away from the community just to get water, and to think that the place is surrounded by mountains.
The government really forgot them already. They are not able to enjoy the programs and projects of the government, that’s supposed to be for all citizens, for the reason that they are so far away to the civilization (which my father and I think is not right). The wealth of the government should be equally distributed to all citizens no matter how far they are from the civilization and regardless of their tribe. They (gov’t.) should be just and fair to all. The natives of the country should be the focused of the government because they are (I guess) those people who really need help. They should also be taught to preserve their culture (w/c makes the Philippines unique) because it is already vanishing. And it’s not only the government that should give attention to them, I guess we (civilized citizens) should too. We should accept them for who they are and what they are. We should not discriminate them because of their tribes. They are also humans like us who posses dignity. They didn’t choose to be like that. Just try to imagine this: what if you were born as B'laan, you don’t want to feel discriminated and disgusted, right? So let us give them the respect that is due to them. We are all God’s creations and we are all brothers and sisters.