“Hello po,” I say, bowing my head a little in respect, to the dark-haired elderly man sitting on the slope of the hill where our project was situated.
“Hello,” he says to me, a little surprised, probably because almost all volunteers are foreigners.
“Pinoy ka?” he asks. I nod and smile at him.
“Pasensya na sa aming bahay. Kailangan lang talaga namin ng tulong para ayusin,” he tells me.
(“I apologize for our home. We just really need help in fixing it.”)
I look over at our current work site, scanning over the ruins of what must’ve been a modest house.
It was now all in ruins. The beams had gone down, the cement was broken and everywhere. What remained was an antique railing of an outdoor balcony…and a toilet.
But he had called it his home.
It is where we all lay our heads, after a tiring day of work. It is our sanctuary from all the bad things and people outside. It is where we all come back to after a long, tiring trip.
To some, it is a huge mansion, somewhere beautiful, sitting on the rocks of some unknown beach, tucked away from the buzz of the city life. To others, it is a condo, above the malls of beautiful, hustling Manila. And to the rest, it is a simple, humble home settled in the slopes of Baguio City or the reclamation area that takes away half of Pasig/Cainta floodway area.
It is home.
And we shouldn’t be ashamed of it.