fractured and whole

a circle bounds this overcongested city. it keeps the smog in, and wraps our eyes closed. an invincible line of billboards and shopping centres walls the metropolis in from remembering the miseries created by this same madness in the rest of the islands. it only takes me a flight out to remember that worlds exist beyond this bubble.

outside of manila we continue, deliriously, to draw lines on our maps. we continue to break the earth into fractured bits. Lupa. she is to be to divided, cut up, and taken over. peoples too are fractioned into “us” and “them”. even bodies are mapped apart from the ground that feeds them.

ImageTayo ang bubuhayin ng lupa,” Tatay Emok reminds us in the island of boracay, “It is us that the land allows to live.” our arrogance has made us forget.

there is a shameful scramble to own every square inch of the island. even where the waves roll in, winds and waters cannot be left alone by commercial marketing schemes. the turquoise blue ocean is policed against those who are of darker skin and kinkier hair –those who have long since sung and danced in awe of all this creation. as palaces keep rising on hilltops and restaurants choke the shore, old burial grounds are dug up and living people shoved back behind new ghettos.

i come back to manila, again unable to forget the pains caused by fractured lands, and fractured peoples. how can we come back whole? somewhere in silence we know that all our borders, all our imagined geographies, lose their reality. boundary lines become just scribbles in the sand. land titles turn into paper play. and we remember that there is nothing natural about injustice.

when i read Tatay Emok’s words on the papers piled on my desk, hundreds of miles of waters apart, i hear of a truer way to live. a way of life where we can come back more whole.

{join the Boracay Ati Community and share their story!}

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