I love Dipolog, don’t get me wrong. But it’s Dipolog! And I quote Wikipedia, “Dipolog is a third class city and the capital of the province of Zamboanga del Norte on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao…”. There you go. Wikipedia says it all. Dipolog, as much as I love it, is just a third class city. Third Class City. I don’t even know what that means but I’m pretty sure there is a second class or a first class city somewhere. Somewhere better, advanced, superior, modern. That’s where I’m going to college. Some universities in some first class city. I mean, who actually stays in Dipolog?
That was three years ago. Fourth year high school. A typical graduating student looking out for a better future. Where am I now? In Dipolog. In Wikipedia’s third class city. I am taking up a course I learn to love in a school I’m definitely proud of, Saint Vincent’s College. That’s just a school around the block. It’s pretty small in area. Have you been to cathedral or Plaza Magsaysay? They’re on the same street. I met a lot of people there. Some like me with hopes of going to first class cities, and then there are those people whom I never really expected. These people came to Dipolog. Yes. They came here. Not to first class cities or second class whatever. Here. Some came all the way from Sindangan, Liloy, Mutia, Oroquieta, Calamba, Roxas, Sibutad, Zamboanga, and from a lot of other places I don’t even know where. Seriously, I was this close to buying a map. We chatted. They lived in places called “boarding house”. No mom, no dad, no yaya. It’s standing up on your own feet. We spent a lot of days together, inside and outside school premises. Eventually, we became friends. We exchanged experiences, family backgrounds, and dreams. I remembered asking them “Why Dipolog?” If you are going study far from your home, why in Dipolog? I have kept that for a while now. I mean, they spent so much already. They buy this and that. I’m sure they can afford the cost of living far. Plus, they’re intelligent. They make me wonder if we are really in the same class because they can answer the questions I can’t. I can’t even use the alibi “Basin absent ko ag nagdiscuss si ma’am” because I had perfect attendance. All they say was this: Dipolog can provide. There are a lot of things available here. The education is very good, the place is outstanding, and the people are nice. What’s not to like in here? They smiled. Their eyes sparkled. No trace of lies or deceit. They mean it. They actually mean it.
It’s not called “acceptance”, it’s called “realization”. I didn’t accept the fact that I was left with no other choice but to stay in Dipolog. The truth is, I had choices. Not really entirely desirable, but I had choices. I just realized that I had been blinded. My mind had been travelling in a narrow path. I didn’t open my eyes to see what Dipolog really is. To what Dipolog has to offer. To what Dipolog has become today. But I’m wide awake now. People go to Dipolog in search for greener pasture. People stay in Dipolog, far away from home, to prepare themselves in the future. People move to Dipolog because they found their life here. To the person I was three years ago: You asked who actually stays in Dipolog? Me. I actually stayed in Dipolog.
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