I am from scents of food and little rice grains,
From tinapayan and uyap and adobo on plates.
Where everywhere is rivers and lakes and bridges of wood,
And everyone says, “Tabi-tabi po” or else the dwende will play tricks on you.
I am from Aldren and Wahida;
Also, mile-long lists of Tuwa, Babo, and Bapa
Growing up with, “Stay inside before Shaytan walks on the orange bridge.”
And, “Don’t hide at night or the Digailay will take you with him.”
I am from Islam and the lessons taught in the Madrasah.
Teachings of, “Do not ever say things with assurance. Instead, with “In Shaa Allah.”
The five pillars and prayers should never escape you.
Always remember “Assalamu alaykum.” Before “Hi, how are you?”
I am from the land where vacuums are who-you’s
Where walis tingting and walis paypay reign dear and true
Never forget: wipe the windows and albums under the TV.
So when Ina and Ama have bisitas, they’ll have pictures to see.
I am from the province of Sultan Kudarat, the Maguindanaons, Ilocanos, and the Ilonggas.
Where I learned, “Mapya a mapita.”, “Naimbag nga bigat.”, and “Maayong aga.”
I am from the land where Hi’s and Hello’s exist not for they are mainstream.
I am from the Pearl of the Orient Seas – the Philippines.