The most justifiable reason is to allay the fears of my friends who question the wisdom of my upcoming trip. I will be spending 5 weeks in the Southern Philippines. Reports from there are conflicting: today a local paper said 50,000 recruits were being trained by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (usually fighting the government in a land war — think “West Bank”), another that the MILF says they want to join the fight with the government against the Abu Sayyaf (linked to the Al Quaeda), rumors that more kidnappers were taken by Abu Sayyaf as they retreated, the Philippine government says all this is not true. The U.S. is sending 1,000 more of our own troops over there anyway just for fun. And little of this is in the U.S. papers. The U.S. State Department has not yet raised the level to a “travel advisory,” leaving it as a “public announcement” for the old RP right now. Am I dumb, too trusting, heretofore amazingly lucky, an unreasonable risk taker, or simply trying to live life and deal with it as it comes?
Regardless, my posts here next month will demonstrate that I’m still alive and able to type.
My friends there tell me that everything is actually fine, and they’re looking forward to my visit. It’s been 4 years. I plan mostly to dance, shoot video, eat, and see how much my grandmother remembers. And the Philippines are always turbulent and beautiful anyway.