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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Poem: "My Memories"

Twelve years ago, January 5, 2002 to be exact, I left the Philippines with my immediate family for New Zealand. That day, I had mixed emotions. I was sad to leave everything I had known since I was born and at the same time, excited to open a new chapter of my life. That was the day of "firsts" for me. First time to be in the airport. First time to get on the plane. First time I step on a foreign soil. That day, the most valuable thing I have was not my passport or my baggage but the photos I have with me that reminds me of my high school life in the Philippines.

Iligan City National High School IV-Jacinto Class of 2001-2002 (I took this photo, four weeks before I left the Philippines)

Three weeks before that, I have some of the most memorable moments of my life. I was excited and sad to tell my friends that I am about to leave the Philippines. I am not even sure, if they are going to be happy for me or if they care at all. I am not even sure if they are going to believe me or not. Anyway, my last week in my home city, my friends and I went for a swim in a remote river stream and that was perhaps, one of the best days of my life. Just swimming in the river with my friends and looking forward for the upcoming School Christmas Party. Turn out, that Christmas Party was my "farewell party" too. At the Christmas Party, I said my last good byes to all my classmates and friends who were at the school at that time. To some, I didn't even bother to tell them because saying good bye to a lot of people was not easy at all (saying good bye to someone you had a high school "crush" on is not easy as well.. hahahaha joke!).

Taken during the School Christmas Party a.k.a. my "farewell party" (Photo courtesy of Je Velarde)

At the time, all I knew about New Zealand was the "Anchor Milk" and the "Kiwi Shoe Shine".  I remember the last movie I watched before I left Iligan was the final episode of HBO's "Band of Brothers" and that was my last night, my last Christmas eve in Iligan, and perhaps, the last time I have to stay late while looking forward for the midnight dinner and the fireworks -- celebrating the birth of Christ. The next day, we bid farewell to my cousins and after we get on the ship (for a long three-four days sea trip from Iligan to Manila), I was talking to my grandmother while looking at Iligan one last time as it gets smaller into the distance in a cold chilly night. That’s when I decided to right a poem. A farewell poem to memories that I hope I will never forget (By the way, it ain't that good but I made it so don't complain).

My Memories
by Donmar Pineda (January 2002)

As I saw the waves,
Dancing in the sea
Leaving the great city,
Where I was born and free
And as I remember the days
Together with my family
In the school where I learned
And spent with my friends
Marks the memory of my
Early adolescent.

Now I am leaving from
My beloved country
To a new life, new people
And new nation to live in
Their language and their culture
And all that I have learned
But I will never forget
My past history,
My life and my nation
As well as my memories.


[In dedication to my family and my friends in the Philippines, and to my father, the late Master Sergeant Marcelino Pontillas Pineda Sr.]

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