He is eighty years old. I ask him his name. He told me Luzmindo. No, not Luzvimindo, but Luzmindo. He explains, “My father is from Luzon and my mother’s from Mindanao, that is why I am Luzmindo.” He told me that his father was from Bicol and transferred here in Mindanao – took his chances and built a family. He said “Kung masipag ka lang dito sa Mindanao, hindi ka magugutom. Marami ang umuunlad dito.” I believe him.
Having lived in Luzon most of my life I can now feel how alien Mindanao really is from our consciousness. The Visayans are a great people. The Lumads are gentle. And Mindanao is really, really rich in terms of natural resources. So far, among the provinces and towns I have visited Davao exhibits an incomparably healthy public market life. May malalaking public market almost ten to fifteen minutes apart. In General Santos they have a lot of public markets as well. Food here is cheap. In Manila people go for branded supermarkets, and now I see that it is not a very good indicator of growth. Sosyal lang kasi naka-aircon. But in terms of development, food delivery, agriculture, businesses and so on public markets are a great equalizer – they resist monopoly and at the same time they build and sustain lives. A poor man here can eat decent food for fifteen pesos when he buys from the palengke. He can have vegetables, a little meat which he can get for five pesos from ihaw-ihaw stalls. I saw a beggar eating decent meals three times a day. If only they could really address the political situation here in Mindanao, this is food haven – literally.