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Carol Villanueva Peralta‎ / New York

Long before Maitum was a part of Kiamba…
Before Kiamba was ever named
Before South Cotabato was established
Before Sarangani was formed
Before Mindanao was known A Land of Promise
Before the Philippines was discovered
Before religion and the prophets were born
Back in time when Earth had no name
Were a culture we never knew existed

Unitl the 1990s burial jars were discovered
In the Sagel and Pinol caves
Were a community of the Metal Age
Inhabiting Maitum about 2000 years ago
Secondary burial jars testify
To a rich cultural past
Bones of the dead from a prior burial site
Sufficiently decomposed placed in jars
Caves near the sea their final resting place

Jars experts call anthropomorphic
Made to resemble human form
Ascribing attributes to a deity
A culture that gave value to life
A culture that grieved a passing
A culture that respected the dead
And perhaps believed in the afterlife
A journey of the soul to the seas
To an infinity no one sees

Modern man’s ignorance
Looted the caves to satisfy his greed
Denying future generations
Deeper knowledge about the distant past
What’s in the future we will decide
Thousands of years from now
The value of present generations
Made manifest in our burial grounds

Will our tombs yield gold
Like the pharaohs’ gilded crypt
These treasures now adorn museums
But these humble jars
When placed side by side
Are of no lesser in value
Value comes in history they bring
Story of a generation’s value system
A choice between life or gold

Treasures oftentimes seen as ransom
For an ethnic group or sect to claim
Proclaim as land of their ancestors
The land theirs alone
Wage bloody wars
Clearly a value of gold In reality we all go back
To a time and space
Where our collective treasures lie
Where the rainbow ends
And the garden of Eden begins

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. PeaceTalk is open to anyone who wishes to share her/ his thoughts on peace in Mindanao.  Carolina Villanueva Peralta is the daughter of the late Fidencia V. Peralta, RN who was killed in an ambush along with Lourdes Martinez, wife of the late Mayor Cornelio Martinez of Kiamba, South Cotabato (now part of Sarangani province) in 1977. She presently resides in New York but is actively involved in development efforts in her hometown Sarangani Province. She is a member of the Board of Kiamba Sarangani Development Foundation Inc. (USA). She believes that peace is attainable in Mindanao]

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