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Journeying Back to My Roots: The Longing for Home

Updated: at 05:45 AM

Basey, Samar

Years had turned into decades, seasons into ceaseless cycles of change; it felt like a lifetime since I had left the small town of Basey, Samar, my home, my birthplace. Tucked away on a verdant cradle, nestled by the bewitching Sohoton Caves and the whispers of the Golden River, Basey was not just a place on a map; for me, it was a realm of nostalgia, of unvarnished memories etched deep into my heart.

Basey, Samar

Born to a humble public school teacher, my years in Basey were a collage of simple yet profound moments. As a single mother, she nurtured us against an often harsh world, teaching me values and beliefs that now serve as my life’s bedrock. Those years were shaped by the town’s humble narrative as much as by my mother’s strength.

Growing up amidst the labyrinth of Basey’s narrow by-streets, I remember the scent of sea air and the stifling thickness of the high summer heat. Even now, those memories evoke an inexplicable longing, a yearning for a past life infused with the magic of my roots.

At the heart of my identity is my academic journey towards self-discovery that began in the Basey I Central Elementary School classrooms–where I gathered the earliest seeds of knowledge. Despite my eventual transfer to Leyte National High School and my subsequent relocation to Antipolo City in 2003, my connection with Basey and its folk unfailingly persisted, cloaked with traces of innocence and the fragments of my youthful years.

I now live in Antipolo City, far from the geographic and emotional borders of Basey, but my heart keeps guiding me back to my roots. Carved in my mind is the picture of St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church, with its remarkable stained glass windows pouring hues into the hallowed hallways. This magnificent edifice, dating back to the 17th century, has witnessed vital milestones in my people’s history and personal life. For me, this church was not merely a spiritual sanctuary; it once served as a citadel, safeguarding us from external harm, much like my mother, who has been my protective cloak from life’s adversities.

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Now, I must journey back. Not alone, but flanked by the love and curiosity of my ‘own family’ – my partner, Arlene, my ten-year-old daughter, Argi Denise, and my four-year-old son, ‘Desmond’. It is time for them to tread the very soil that nurtured my spirit, to hear the stories that cradled my youth, and to see the walls that encapsulate decades of history and resilience.

But Basey is different from it once was. The echoes of Super Typhoon Haiyan still resound in hushed, distant whispers among the resilient townsfolk. Yet, the town emerged stronger, not beaten but emboldened, its scars speaking volumes about its indomitable spirit. It’s this spirit of resilience that I long for my children to witness, to inherit.

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Basey will always be known for its captivating physical beauty: the mystical Sohoton Caves, the immaculate Golden River, and the intricate Banig mats. I hope to see Argi Denise and Desmond marvel at the stalactites and stalagmites, the artisanal mats, and touch the cradle of our family’s roots.

My memories echo the laughter and contentment of a long time when every cobblestone and tree witnessed my evolution. And it’s these echoes that will guide me back home. After all, Basey isn’t just my birthplace; it’s my anchor, compass, and the story written in the lines of my hand, leading me, always, toward home.

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