It was around 7:00 in the morning and we are headed to Botolan, Zambales for our “Sambahaginan”. This is an annual activity of Center for Social Action (CSA) that includes Basic Orientation Seminar, Immersion and Team building for the CSA “Vees” – Volunteers as part of their integrated and holistic formation program.
It was very remarkable and great experience. Extremely good one that I will definitely cherish for my entire life though I experience it before (last year) but still everything seems to be so different. I gained lots of learning’s and inspirations through that 3 day activity. It had led me to other perspective of life. Viewing life in the context of Aetas. I have come to realize that many things such as their way of living is entirely different from us living in an urban area where almost everything is convenient and easy.
Our first stop is the mayor’s office for the courtesy call. This was done to establish safety standards. Then we walked to get to the community, the LAKAS pamayanan (Lubos na Alyansa ng mga Katutubong Ayta sa Sambales) to start our much awaited Immersion and live to our foster family’s. The way they welcome and treat us was undeniably overflowing with care and love to the extent that it turns to be we’re already part of the family long before just like their own legitimate child. I was with my three sisters, Nenia, Carllyn and Tin-tin at Tatay Ben’s simple , humble house. We were talking about their lives and culture. Everything under the sun for that matter. Though the four of us are already exhausted and heavy-eyed we still make sure that at a very short time we can have our bonding time as a family. Making the most out of our limited time together. Getting to know more about each other. How they live, how they interact with the community and the likes. I’m so happy and blessed the way they treated us as if we are part of the family. We received a very heart warming welcome the fact that we’re only strangers.
Nothing is better than being with really good people. Aetas are absolutely kind, seemingly credible, definitely beautiful and astonishingly attractive. In fact, as part of their heart warming welcome to us, we had a “special night” wherein they prepared a special dance presenting their rich native culture. During that time unexpected twist and turns happened. Kuya Mhon also known as Ka-Munding also dance and joined the Aestas as part of “Pakikiisa”. This simply shows that as part of their family, we truly embrace and respect their culture in one way or another.
Thank you so much to my CSA family for this wonderful experience!🙂