the fabric of society
By Marc Eliemel Tagub
Posted 13 August 2010
[This is among the
articles that will be part of a book Balay Mindanaw is launching
soon. “Lawig Kalinaw” will contain peacebuilding stories from
Queroyla family at their home in Kinoguitan. Photo: Bobby
Finding inner peace is
difficult for somebody who had little time to enjoy his childhood
and spent most of his adolescence picking up a fight. But at 38
years old., Lino Queroyla is well on his way.
Lino grew up in the
hinterlands of Kinoguitan. At a very young age, he had to help out
in the farm so that his family would have food on the table. He’d
walk the long road to school and make sure he was back home very
quickly after class so he could help his family with the chores.
While other boys his age were
thinking of games and fun, Lino wanted to become a priest to be of
service to his community by preaching about God.
But thoughts of God must have
been quickly dispelled from his mind when his mother would
frequently leave him with his grandmother. Feeling abandoned and
unwanted, he wanted to strike back.
In high school, Lino became
the school bully and hang out with bad company. He’d stay out
late, preferring the company of his friends than that of his family.
He was more frequent at the baylehan than at home studying.
Despite his attitude towards
school, he was still able to finish high school and wanted to go on
to college. But this was way beyond their means so Lino stayed in
the farm and married at the age of 23. He and his wife Elsa had five
children -- Den Mark,17; John Mark, 14; Risa, 9; Joan Kate, 7; and
Like a vicious cycle of
recurring nightmares, Lino would hit his children at the slightest
misdeed. “I just couldn’t stop myself,” he says. Den Mark, his
eldest son, got the brunt of his temper.
Den Mark is unusually shy. In
the company of strangers, like his father’s visitors, he keeps his
head down, his eyes wandering from one part of the floor to another,
and remains silent. It took a while to make him answer why as a
young boy, he often got berated by his father: “I kept playing
marbles with my friends without keeping track of the time.”
Elsa, however, has noticed
changes in Lino these past few years. She shares that her husband
and their eldest son do not quarrel as much as they used to. It has
been a long time since Lino last scolded his eldest son. This
despite the fact that Den Mark has started playing billiards and
still comes home late at night every now and then.
kids and friends. Photo:
Lino now has more patience
with the kids. Very rarely, Lino still scolds his children. And when
he does, he usually ends up crying, Elsa says. The following day,
when his head is cooler, he would take time to explain to them why
he scolded them.
What could have brought about
Lino’s journey to inner
peace may have started with the peace building seminars he attended.
Elsa believes Lino learned a
lot from these seminars. Elsa noticed that since he attended these,
he would no longer get fired up and be physically violent with his
children, especially with Den Mark. “He has realized that there’s
a peaceful way to deal with conflicts.”
“We can’t avoid conflicts
in the family,” Lino acknowledges. Having learned that “families
are like fabrics of society,” he has personally subscribed to the
principle that “when you strengthen your family with peace, rest
assured that society will be more likely to be at peace.”
Finding inner peace is an
uphill struggle which gets easier with practice. For Lino, the
journey has just started but he is striving to do his best to make
sure that he changes and becomes a better man. He wants to be a good
example to his community and, most of all, to his children.