And now that the judging and announcement of winners is done, let me present to you the unbutchered (that’s what we used to call it in our publication :D) version of my journey. You may notice that by nature, I am talkative and can be wordy so I had to “kill my darlings” as what Mr. Myke Obenieta used to suggest.
The Native Stranger joins GSK again
Imagine how overjoyed I was, when finally, this year’s Gabii sa Kabilin (GSK) takes place on my day off. Last year, I had to take just half day of my night shift to join the GSK. This is a special event for me for so many reasons but the following being the top three: 1) an avenue for my little mission – it was the main purpose of this website to “rejourney” as a lumad Cebuana who, in my youth, realized that I was stranger to so many things in my culture; I always wanted to rediscover how Cebuano identity has evolved and hopefully share such learning to many who are also lost amidst globalization and colonial mentality; 2) it was in GSK that I had my first ride of the kalesa or tartanilla (horse-drawn carriage) 3) I’m a sentimental person, I seem to love reminiscing and imagining I was time travelling (you see, in my college years when I spent more time in Cebu City streets, I would imagine Colon in black and white or sepia – instead of cars and 01K, 13C, 14D jeepneys, there are the real calesas or tartanilla on the road; instead of I being in my school shoes and uniform, I was in bakya and kimona).
This is my third time in GSK. Moving away from the sites we’ve already visited from the previous years, we went on to Casa Gorordo, Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, Halad Music Museum, Chu Un Temple, and University of the Philippines Cebu. Only a few of them, yes, but it was no less than a fruitful experience. We took the time to immerse into what each heritage spot could offer us. If only I could write everything in just one piece. Then again…
My personal favourite for the Gabii sa Kabilin 2012 is the Halad Museum. It was overwhelming to realize how unaware we are to the history of Cebuano music and the language it uses – when supposed to be this is the most accessible – it is written in our own tongue, with true feelings, and it existed not centuries ago. I never knew Ben “Iyo Karpo” Zubiyri but no doubt I know his songs Matud Nila,
It was in Halad that I felt most connect, because this was a closer past. This was something I had experienced myself. When I was a child, during Sunday mornings, I would wake up to the songs played over FM radio – from the funny and naughty music Butchikik, Budbod, Baleleng to the oh so romantic Matud Nila, and the angry Kinsa Siya? The last being most unforgettable – not because I can relate to the song but because when you listen to it, you feel the woman’s anger for the betrayal of her man. That’s the beauty of music, you don’t have to be in it to feel it. And when music has that effect, then the purpose of that music is met.
My visit to Chu Un Temple was also unique. I’ve never been to a Buddhist Temple before, so, that felt like I was touring to China, Thailand, or Malaysia. Well, considering I’ve not been to those places outside the country before, I may not be accurate (wink!). Casa Gorordo and Yap-Sandiego always gives me a different kind of satisfaction. Though seeing old things or antique furniture is not so new, I don’t tire of them. If these things were people, they probably know the world so well. In UP, I couldn’t help creep out. During the war, it was used as a garrison area for guerrillas of some sort. And man, I’m yellow.
Since we’ve only gotten to only a few places, as early as now we are full of anticipation for the next year’s Gabii sa Kabilin – as far as I know it could only get better and better each year. It would be my fourth and it will not be too much.