'Taga-Anao-aon' is my birthmark.
I love it! The mere sound of it. For me it sounds uncommon, unspoiled, unhurried. For me it feels fresh, peace, quiet. For this i refer it as she or her.
Sad to say, she was deprived of the right to retain her sweet name. Some daring ones, who think they own her, who think has power to change names, who's disrespectful of one's birthright, has altered and replaced it with San Francisco.
I am not being disrespectful either of naming a place in honor of a patron saint. I am not against the new name. But the thing is that the new name has a lot in common. And her old name is just but one of a kind. I remembered receiving lots of postmails (since there were no emails or express carriers then) that passed through San Francisco, Agusan del Sur - which is better known and has been named earlier than our place. And not only postmails but also packages and more. It was a good thing though because since then we still make use of her name enclosed in parenthesis (Anao-aon) after addressing San Francisco.
She is a small town lying along the west coast of Surigao province at the northeastern peak of Mindanao island. I remembered scanning a 1950 map bearing her most beautiful name, along with wonderful old names of her barangays, like Ponong, Macopa, Magtangale, Banbanon, Oslao, Linongganan, Amontay, and Jubgan. See how lovely their names are! It projects uniqueness and beauty.
Well, nothing much can be said about her. I can only remember short lines in a coined legend of her i heard. That there were two lovers, Anao, the man, and Aon, the lady. They were so in loved that they did not mind being blood-related. They were first cousins in fact and that the whole consanguinous families were against it. But when the whole clan tried to separate them by force, they resorted to stubbing themselves together at the same time. Thus, Anao-aon existed with two close yet separated rivers.
There's nothing so exciting about her. Yet she has unique, very captivating aura, enstores especially for tourists, discoverers, or curious lookers. It has though beatiful stony shorelines, great landscapes of hills, mountains, and ricefields, and friendly people who knew everyone. I really can't give you her vital statistics, but simple lifestyle is in, tranquility is guaranteed.
I lived under her care for 25 years. I want to serve her in return but I got only 2 years to do it. I wanted though to serve her long but I was blocked by intruders. Yes, intruders! She was conquered by them, enslaved by them, abused by them. Somebody, an Uncle of mine who really hailed from her bossom, has tried to serve as a leader. But again was only given few years to do an honest duty to her.
I lament on the fact that, despite her one-of-a-kind splendor, politics is a dirty game in her place. Insofar as i can fathom, most of her populace don't want leaders. They instead chose politicians. But hey, what's the difference? Aren't politicians leaders? Aren't politicians public servants? Aren't politicians care for the common good?
Yes! But, NO! Leader leads, politician rules. Leader teaches, politician imposes. Leader pleas, politician coerces. Leaders teach a person to live his life, politicians instead teach him to depend his life on him. Leaders have a heart to serve Anao-aon, politicians on the other hand have a mind of slaving her. Leaders are risk-takers and politicians are gamblers. Most leaders are homegrown while politicians are mostly migrants or aliens or foreigners.
Anao-aon is my place. She's my hometown. She's been a town since 1957 but I saddened to see her state. Don't expect to find a public market or any economic enterprise. Don't expect to find improved water systems. Don't expect to find demand-driven government projects. I don't know if it's a good thing to be labeled "improvement-free".
I pity her because she is hurt.
I pity her because she is abused.
I pity her because she is enslaved.
I pity her because she is abandoned.
I pity her because she is deprived of the right to grow.
Somebody should feel her pain.
Somebody should save her.
Somebody should serve her right.
Somebody should stand for her.
Or else... I WILL!