Co­rres­pondence From quarantine to the countryside

This article is available in PilipinoBisaya

The following is the story of a Kabataang Makabayan member who joined the celebration of the Party’s 54th anniversary in one of the guerilla fronts of the people’s army.

After Christmas, I immediately prepared my things necessary for our visit. Excitement drowned my fear of the unknown. I have been a member of Kabataang Makabayan (KM) for two years, but due to the strict lockdowns imposed in the name of the Covid-19 pandemic, this is the first time I will witness the stories I’ve only heard about.

Our journey seemed quite short. By nightfall, we reached the community where we would be picked up. Anxious, I held on to my bag while looking at the darkening path that we would soon be traversing. Then we started to walk. My heart beat fast as I traveled to an unfamiliar place.

After a while the path become thick in vegetation—it was dark, muddy and rocky. To be honest, I’ve long thought I could not hike through the mud. As someone from the petty-bourgeoisie who grew up in the city, I’m fussy and don’t want to get dirty. I am also not used to hiking through rocks or to walking in general. I don’t want to get all tired and sweaty.

Despite this, comrades showed utmost patience. They immediately reached their hands out the moment I asked for help. I realized just how kind our fighters were, they extended all help to ensure our safety. I remembered when I once said that I had no perspective of going to the countryside—I thought I wouldn’t fit in here. Most people just told me: “trust the comrades to support you.”

It was already early morning when we reached their place. Upon arrival, we were led to rest in our sleeping quarters. I had a hard time relaxing at first but eventually fell asleep out of exhaustion. After a while, I woke up to the chatter of comrades who were busy in their preparations. The area was clear. The breeze was fresh. I turned around and saw the fighters in a huddle. My first thought was, “they look so cool, like lead characters of the anime I watch.”

The next few hours were filled with conversation and laughter. We slowly got to know each other. In our exchanges, I learned about the sacrifices and necessary perseverance in this field they have chosen.

We saw the comrade’s artworks as we arrived at the place where the celebration was going to be held. At the center is a painting with the theme: “Consolidate and strengthen the Party! Frustrate the US-Marcos regime’s counterrevolutionary war and state terrorism! Comprehensively advance the people’s democratic revolution!” And on both sides were the red flags of the Party. Below it, a hammer and sickle was carved on the ground. This symbolized the fighters’ tribute to the great teacher and servant of the Filipino masses, Jose Maria “Ka Joma” Sison.

By noon the program started. First was the singing of the “Internationale.” I looked at everyone with amazement. I imagined how many Filipinos will sing this song together when victory is attained. The comrade fighters performed cultural numbers. I was surprised at their talent. They are not only warriors, they are also artists of the people! The youth happily joined in the performances. The guests’ faces showed real joy.

In the evening we prepared for our departure. During our short stay, I was able to immediately form a special relationship with the comrade fighters and the masses we met. I went home with no regrets. Only now did I affirm my perspective—that the path I have chosen is correct. During my few days in the countryside, I brought home many stories and lessons.

The walk back was easier, as though in a short time, I mastered traveling the path. With the ease of traveling home, I became aware of the difficult work and tasks necessary for the success of the revolution. The words during the program kept echoing in my mind. “We chose to work in the countryside because here there is a greater need to serve the masses.” I have seen the armed struggle in its actual form, and can now stand on stronger grounds to continue the fight and strengthen our ranks in joining the struggles of the toiling masses and serving the oppressed.

From quarantine to the countryside