The constancy of comradeship is always, and always so, salving in the land of exile.
Perhaps the worst thing that could ever happen to an exile and im/migrant is when he has no real and authentic friends to run to when the going gets rough.
Being so damn alone in a new land is a double punishment as you learn to hide your fears by wearing that mask of courage until you are blown away by the wild winds.
I have seen exiles in that paranoia mode: not trusting, never trusting.
You program your mind: not to share secrets with those who pass themselves off as congenial members of the exilic and im/migrant race.
I remember that among the im/migrant races in the United States, the Filipinos are the only race known for its ability to destroy each other. And they are so good in doing this abominable act.
And they have learned the myriad ways to destroying each other, one of them--with the booty to boot--is to tell on each other.
In vulgar terms, the Filipinos have this penchant to "report each other to the immigration services."
Once they say that there was a has-been actress who made it her occupation to report to the authorities all undocumented Filipinos she came to know of.
People became wary of her.
There are other creative ways to destroy other people, all because, it seems that exile has taught us not to mind each other, not to act as our brother's keeper, but to end up as a world unto our own, with only us as the world, with only us as the resident of this world.
We end up insular as ever in mindset in a world that is as geographically continental as our knowledge and valuing of each other should be, ought to be, must be.
As an im/migrant and a voluntary exile, I have not been spared of the tragedies that are twin to being one.
But I have been spared of many of the paranoia that has befallen many: I have had the good fortune and blessing of having struck a friendship with a handful of people.
It was enough that they are a handful.
An exile needs only a few trusted friends, committed to seeing things the way you see things and having the boldness to say you are wrong sometimes.
You only need a few friends anyway, friends who are constant, their comradeship a kind of a wellspring for spiritual renewal, for seeing that life has offered you so much and that you must recognize that. And now.
The are friends that are always reminding you that you have been blessed.
This seeing of your blessings in im/migrant and exilic land is more than enough blessing to start with in your joyous journey to a healing as an exile and im/migrant.
A. S. Agcaoili
Waipahu, HI, overlooking Pearl Harbor
July 15, 2006