I just came from this talk at THE Ateneo on the political landscape of Filipino journalism. It was a good talk and extremely informative. I was supposed to meet my two Atenean friends and watch it together, but I had chores to do in the morning. I was around 20 minutes late, but I caught the majority it.
Let me digress a bit. Followers of my blog know that I really love Ateneo even though I’m from La Salle. I love both universities. I just love Ateneo more. I love the chill culture, its environment, the people, and of course the location. So coming in to Ateneo today for a talk was exciting for me. Why? I get to feel what it’s like being an Atenean even if it was just a little bit.
I gave up my La Salle ID for a visitor’s pass and walked right in heading to Escaler Hall.
Sitting in an auditorium filled with Ateneans was exhilarating. It sounds weird, but I felt at home for once even more so when Ressa addressed the entire room as Ateneans. These small things like being perceived as a part of a whole is what makes me feel good. To be a part of something you always wanted to be a part of is great!
I met up with my friends and their friends. We chatted and walked to the parking lot where we had to part ways since they had other things to do. Then that’s when it sunk in. I’m not a part of this community. I’m not an Atenean. All I am is an outsider with a visitor’s pass. Although I do love Ateneo, it doesn’t love me back since I’m not one of them.
As I walked back to the gate, a familiar feeling came over me. I always tell my friends that I don’t feel like I’m a Filipino because I just don’t have the same values and ideas that Filipinos have. And I think this experience in Ateneo is a good analogy of that feeling. Have you ever visited another school for a fair? Did you feel like you weren’t a part of that school even though you had all the benefits of the fair? When La Salle has its UnivWeek celebration, students from other universities come and visit. They love La Salle and its culture, but they stick out because they aren’t a part of it.
That’s how I feel about this country. I feel like I’m in another school, but the problem is that I don’t have a school to go back to. I have to find another school to call home.
The only way I can find a place in Ateneo is to earn it (through passing the ACET). But earning your place in a university is easier than earning your place in a country, a country that I don’t even know exists for me.
For now, I’m just a visitor looking for that place I can call home.