I was having a conversation with my 5-year old son Mimoy one day, suddenly he was asking,”Papa, why do you speak a lot of languages?”. I said, “We’re Muslims, that’s why were good in speaking several languages”. Then he said,” Why is Grandma (my mother) talking in Chavacano?. Why is she christian? Why is Lola (my mother in Law)Christian?”. Being of mixed parentage, I told Amil that we were born as Muslims.
My son couldnt digest the idea. Its hard explaining abstract concepts to a five year old kid. But he can accept the fact he was born a Muslim.
I remember that my Uncles in Basilan and Curuan would say that Zamboanga City and Basilan was actually sparsely populated and that you would hardly see people around. My other Moro Lola told me that most of the land around in the 60’s were inhabited by Moros (although it was sparsely populated then.).
When people think of Mindanao, the imagine a huge percentage of it being occuppied by Muslims and their Lumad kin. However on the ground, you will see exactly the opposite. Historical facts may say so, but statistical facts put Muslims at 30% in Mindanao. Why is this so?
Wars, famine,militarization and harassment has led to a variety of scenarios that led to a Moro diaspora. My older son Hydar is asking why am I here in Manila? I jokingly tell him “Tinanan ako ng Nanay mo!”. But yes, a lot of factors led Muslims in the south to migrate and seek greener pastures away from Mindano. I couldnt tell my son, that although my cousins who visit us would tell stories of Muslim grandeur in Mindanao, and the glory that it was, because even my own cousins feel that there is hardly a place to return to… with all the lands and cities being populated by Christians down south, I can never explain to my children while they are still young “why there are more Christians than Muslims in Mindanao”.