I am a solid Bisaya and I have lived in Mindanao for the majority of my years. I was born in Malaysia, the place where my mom and dad met and wed. I was there for four years until my parents decided to come back to the Philippines for good. My dad is from Lanao del Norte while my mom is from Zamboanga City, they met halfway and decided to have us raised in Davao City. I've finished my elementary and high school education in Davao, then when I went to college, my family moved back to my father's hometown. Presently, my work is based in South Cotabato and I have been living here for the last six months. I practically have been all over Mindanao, so to speak, and I think this gives me the right to voice out my opinion on this controversial matter.

People that haven't yet come to Mindanao generalizes the place and its people as unsafe and uncivilized. This idea came from the belief that us Mindanaoans are living in mountains and rural places even though we have several industrialized cities in the island. People seriously need to be educated more, even teachers should check facts first before teaching what they know to children.

I have come across and heard of people who discriminates Mindanaoans as well as the Bisaya's altogether. They are rather rampant especially on social medias where anyone can say anything thanks to the gift of anonymity. I don't intend to generalize this but some people from the north tend to look down and discriminate us. It may seem as a joke and harmless to them but when addressed to us, it would come off as insulting and sometimes just downright disrespectful and rude. Some are just curious on what it is really like here in the south, though, so here's a post to quench your need for information, once and for all.

Photo from Google

Mindanao is the second largest and one of the three island groups that comprise the Philippines. It's the southernmost part of the country and home to several tribes, as well as the Muslims and Christians. Major cities in the island are Davao City, Zamboanga City, Cagayan de Oro City and General Santos City (I have based this on the number of population per city).

In the past few years, Mindanao has been known to be a "dangerous place" (again with the generalization). In the past, news reports contain terrorist attacks, shoot-outs, bombings, and kidnappings so most people cringe when they hear the mere mention of the island. While these reports are true, not all of Mindanao has experienced these kinds of criminalities. There are only some parts that are affected by these. Mindanao, today, is at its safest. The people here are slowly embracing change and are leaning towards peace for the greater good of the country. The ugly images painted by the media have kept Mindanao behind a curtain of doubt and I am here to tear that curtain down and tell everybody to stop believing what you have all been lead to believe.

I have been living here almost all my life, I haven't been shot, or kidnapped, or raped, or held upped, or any of those things us girls are afraid of experiencing. Maybe I just got lucky, or maybe I was conscious and aware. A place does not necessarily grant you safety, it's your actions that does. Now, don't hate me for what I've said, of course, victims of the said criminalities didn't want that to happen to them and maybe it was because of wrong timing or lack of awareness or was just plain bad luck. But hear me out when I say that generalizing that a place is dangerous is a huge no-no because any of these can happen to anyone, anywhere.

Another opinion that disturbed me was that some people from the north visualized us Mindanaons as uncivilized tribal people (picture your ancestors who have just discovered fire, yep, that's it). They imagined us wearing "bahags" and not knowing how to socialize, they think we're different and weird. I even heard that we were savages and that we possess guns and know how to use them. People's imaginations are INSANE! News flash Kuya, we are as much as civilized as you are. This idea is not only limited to the people here in the south but also to all people coming from the province. The media portray them to be naive and gullible, and so everyone sees us as such. Pity.

So what I am saying here (to make the LONG story short) is that these assumptions about Mindanao is pure propaganda. Yes, there are certain places here, especially remote areas, that I am doubtful if safe and there are still people in tribes living among mountains that chooses to continue the ways of their ancestors and that's them! Not all of Mindanao is living in the past, we are progressing, too, along with the country, no matter how slow that is, but we also protect and preserve the rich history we have.

Mindanao is not a dangerous place, saying that it is is like saying Divisoria is the safest place on earth. It's not (but you still go there), so just stop and look for the facts.