It’s almost my favorite time of the year once again and just as I was beginning to start writing again for my blog I realized something. This all started when a former classmate of mine since elementary up to high school posted on her Facebook wall:
(With permission to post from her)
Contrary to what I have commented, I suddenly feel that what she said might also hold true to my situation. But there have been a lot of things that have happened in my life that I could say, in my humble opinion, are significant enough to me. The lost of both my parents at an early age I even consider well significant to make me understand that things happen for a reason. Moving to another country is perhaps another one. But like Nikki, most of us know the emotions of life can take us into all the dark corners of doubt and I admit that I too have a lifelong dream that I’m continually working on so likewise I ask myself “What is the purpose of my existence?”
In the different stages of our lives, just like you, there are several times I asked that perennial question. But to be quite honest no one here on earth would immediately have a ready answer. Other than the one above us, really it’s for us individuals to find out for ourselves through a life-long process I reckon. Well lucky for those who think they might already have but at least for both Nikki and I, we don’t.
Lately, because I miss home and especially that a recent flashflood badly hit the City of Dumaguete (my hometown) and 2 other cities in Mindanao—Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, I was listening to my favorite, The Black Eyed Peas’ music entitled The APL Song then came this strange feeling. A sudden rush so powerful that inevitably caught my emotions to run deep. This does not happen too often though, but tonight conveyed a mind-boggling message I just cannot afford to ignore. No matter how hard I try to relax my line of thoughts, the surge just remained even stronger and stronger.
Oh well this is really nothing I thought, but there it was again now becoming a little too familiar. Then it struck like someone just poured a glass of cold water on me so I finally surrendered to it.
“Okay, okay you win.” Nostalgia why do you knock on my door—all this sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in my not so distant past is perhaps not new to me and may be similar to others who have left from their place of birth to another where one have not yet significantly spent a good number of years. The longing for home can even become harder for some, especially during this holiday season.
Along with a friend Deiter Dizon, I helped established the Filipino Students in Brisbane, a group which started as a Facebook page now becoming a community for students who have just arrived in Brisbane to help them adjust to a culture different from what they are accustomed to. Other local youth whose families have migrated from the Philippines years a while back to this city are also becoming active towards tracing back to their ancestral roots. In the SPIRIT of Christmas, the Filipino Students in Brisbane, or FSB as we commonly call it, is conducting this humble endeavor wherein we are requesting friends and members to donate their unused clothing and non-perishable food items. As for money donations, the group has decided to direct all philanthropic hearts to UNICEF Philippines to support their emergency campaign for victims of Tropical Storm Sendong.
Back home I always believe that people are finely attuned to what we call as the spirit of “Bayanihan” – a Filipino word derived from ‘bayani’ which means “hero or heroine leader”; and ‘bayan’ which means “town, nation, or community in general.” If the essence of both words combined, it literally means “being a bayan,” and is thus used to refer to a spirit of communal unity and cooperation. Unarguably, that same spirit which is often exhibited during these times of calamities like earthquakes, typhoons and floods is perhaps part of every culture in the world the city of Brisbane included—with the January 2011 floods.
So it’s probably nothing more than a continuation of this synergy of togetherness all gluing us together.
Whilst I always understand that the purpose of Christmas is of course to celebrate the birth of Christ, with all these recent events this, I’m sure, was a portent of things to come. And that is why I still often find myself staring blankly wondering what could be the purpose He created me for and thinking back on my friend’s mind-boggling question: What really is my purpose?
Well, I may have not yet found the true purpose of my existence but I think as for now—being around and active with my fellow Filipino community—can serve as the reason for which my determination continue to exists.
And it is through looking back to where I come from that I can safely get to where I am going, that’s why in the many activities I try to emphasize not only to others—but for myself as well— that tracing back to our FILIPINO roots is one way of paying tribute to our worthy ancestors as we received from them a fair inheritance: OUR CULTURE, OUR TRADITION, and OUR IDENTITY.
I am Xavier Villagonzalo. I am a FILIPINO.
And probably from there, I will start finding my life’s purpose. I hope you’ll find yours too. Merry Christmas everyone!
Philip Cox from the Brisbane City Council (City Cat Sales & Marketing) graced the occasion to witness what Filipino culture is all about. Lucky participants get FREE passes to the iconic “Wheel of Brisbane.”
If exotic food is your thing, then who would have thought that eating ‘balut’ in a contest would send audience grinning from ear to ear rather nefariously. Probably due to the bonus treats that aren’t usually included on your ordinary hard-boiled egg such as feathers, duck’s bill and what not. So if you are morbidly curious to know their reactions, then watch it for yourself!