This was composed in a medium sized motel room in a third world country, on one of four occupied beds fitted with only a topsheet. Strangely enough, I can see the window light up every once in a while as lightning flashes outside, despite there being no rain. I’m up too early, due to jet lag. The air is warm, the scenery exotic, the smiles inviting.

Hello, my friends. This is me. Today, I am Filipino.

I am overwhelmed by a sense of adventure, a feeling I haven’t felt in a while. It’s a chill that runs down the spine when I realize how far away I am. It reminds me of Mexico so much, being tropical and hispanic and third world, but it’s different too. Mexico is one thing, but no matter how humid it gets and how big the bugs are, you can look North and think that home is only a day or two’s drive. Here? It’s a different story. I am in a different world, across entire oceans. Now, I realize why Ferdinand Magellan could claim the Philippines for Spain even though he was Portugese. It didn’t matter who he was sailing under, it was his dream to sail. Adventure was in his blood. And in mine. This is me. Today, I am a landed sailor from another world.

But, the people only half-embrace this heritage. They acknowledge the influence, but also the conflict that it encountered in tribal majesty. Some wish to forge a new identity from the scene that resulted from the clash. I wish to identify with that history. This is me historically. This is me, if they will allow me to enter that reconstructed identity for a period.

Today, I am Maharlika.


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