Last night I attended a gathering of some 60 former activists held at the covered court at the back of the monastery. The convenors called this event "Tapok-Tapok sa mga Tibak." Many of those who came are now in their 50s or 60s - among them are lawyers, an ex-Mayor, a ex-Congressman, a city councilor, media people, ex-priests, NGO workers, businessmen, etc. What we had in common was that during the 1970s up to the mid-1980s we were active in resisting the Marcos regime. Many started in the student movement of the so-called First Quarter Storm - the Kabataang Makabayan, SDK, Lakasdiwa, YCSP, etc. Many became Marxists-Maoists/National Democrats (Natdems) and joined the CPP and the NPA. Others were Social Democrats (Socdems). Many were arrested, tortured and imprisoned.
We shared our stories and experiences and where we are now. Some read their poems, others sang revolutionary songs. After dinner of lechon and other delicacies, we continued to talk in small groups. I was surprised to hear them talk about spirituality.
And now several decades later we find ourselves living different kinds of lives. The radicalism and idealism is gone. Most of us have abandoned the ideologies of our youth. But many still work with the poor without resorting to armed struggle - through cooperatives, the Gawad Kalinga, social development work, peace advocacy, governance, etc.