Peace is possible

(The Philippine Star) - October 27, 2019 - 12:00am

Recently, I was able to go spend a few days in Tawi-Tawi, the southernmost community of the Philippines. I was hesitant at first, I admit. For as far as I know, Tawi-Tawi is a dangerous place not only for its residents but also for travelers who would want to explore the beauty of this place.

Never had I known that Tawi-Tawi is such a paradise with pristine waters, to its natural sceneries, and its people. Not to mention, that the acceptance of diversity in culture between the Muslims and the Christians in Tawi-Tawi are admirable and worth emulating.

My prejudice about this place has automatically vanished the moment I stepped on their land to join their celebration of the 46th Kamahardikaan sin Tawi-Tawi last September.

I have felt the desire and intent of the people to maintain peace in their area. I can see it in their eyes and actions. I can feel their smiles and kindness are genuine and that they have nothing against you regardless where you came from.

More than economy growth, I think the attitude of people in Tawi-Tawi in relation to peace-building is also one of the reasons why this place remains to be a paradise. The place is rich in natural resources, breathtaking views, delectable array of foods, and everything a traveler could wish for upon going to one place.

Most importantly, Tawi-Tawi is an example of peace amidst diversity. How I wish every place I go to can be like this.

If only people would realize the value of acceptance in spite of prevailing differences among us. Our appearances. Our gender. Our language. Our religious and political beliefs. Our norms. Our culture.

Regardless of what these differences may be, if we learn to accept them, then we may be able to have a heart that would understand one another.

Thus, providing us with a community that is more amicable for everyone – a paradise. Peace! – Chissan Rae Balderas

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