Everything seemed small. The road, the infrastructures, the schools, the shops– almost everything seems to be just a miniature version of what she had been used to. None of the views are taking her breath away. None are making her jumped from her feet with excitement. All seems regular. Blunt. Uninteresting. Small.
Waking up had never been such a burden to her, never until now. She never want to open her eyes. It’s not that she still want to sleep a little longer, she didn’t care about the three-day ferry trip to this land. This land. The thought disgusted her. It made her want to run back to her home. This is not home, she grumbled to herself. That is why she never wants to open her eyes. Dipolog had always been a weird sounding place for her. Mainly because she never heard of that place before. Mainly because she never want to hear a thing about it, owing to the fact that it rests in the island of Mindanao. It never had a good impression to most of the people residing in any place in Luzon, especially when no one you’re acquainted with had been there. And she was not an exception to them.
On an early afternoon, just a few days after their arrival in this city, she found herself in the busy streets of the place she never expected to be in. Still, she had the same thoughts of the city. Dipolog was still small for her— still too little people, still too little establishments, still too clean, uncomfortably clean.
She was buried deep in the thoughts of the liberated place she was once in when the car suddenly stopped. She heard drums, then lyres together with three to five wind instruments all playing in harmony. For the first time, the colors of the marching band caught her off-guard, enchanting her in an unfamiliar way, washing off the undue disappointments she have. The effortless joy that’s filling up the atmosphere was something she never saw before. There was indeed something different, something astonishing, something magical.
One thing led to another. Her grandfather decided to take them around his beloved city. My beloved city. That was how exactly he called it. It made her laugh. She would have laughed more only that she realized she was the only one laughing. It wasn’t a joke. Dipolog was indeed his grandfather’s beloved city– and maybe all the other people they passed by. She finally noticed small details about the city she never considered before. Almost everyone was smiling. All were radiating the feeling of satisfaction, contentment and happiness. She was puzzled by this. The thought that a small city can be paradise for these people is confusing her. Maybe, it wasn’t just a city. Maybe, it was home.
On their way home, she laid sight on the distant mountains. They were like walls surrounding a treasured possession. Dipolog was indeed these people’s gold. They value it the same way they value their family. It was an escape to those people who searched for an enjoyable way to live a worthy life.
It wasn’t that Dipolog was small. It was just that she was closing her eyes. It had been eight long years since she first stepped on Dipolog’s ground, and she’s never planning on leaving it. But if someday she will, always, she will be returning back to it. To Home. To Dipolog.
(sic) Joedith Micah Cadag Saint Vincent's College 1st placer, Dipolog.com Feature Writing Living in Dipolog category, College level
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