YESTERDAY, I overheard the child of a neighbor ask why was there a need for gates and fences. The yaya merely answered the little boy, to keep away the kawatan (robber). One sure thing about fences, just like other parts of the house, we take special care to make them appear pleasant to look at always. 

However, many years ago, when we first moved into this, our new residence, we put up dried Madre Cacao nailed with chicken wire to serve as our temporary barrier around the house. Maintaining it had proven to be hard work indeed, as one had to trim them regularly in order to keep some parts of the trees from growing wild and having branches shooting in all directions. Hence, they served their purpose. To protect us from yes, the kawatan and the rest of the outside world. Much later, when we finally had a budget to hire local pandays for a decent cement fence, we did so and at that, a passing neighbor had commented, “at last, our residence finally looked like a real house.” What? 

Clearly, there is something about barriers, walls and fences that strikes a mean power chord somewhere inside me. Could keeping robbers out perhaps be the perfect ruse for us to actually hide something from the world? Funnier still, why is it that in some societies, the need for walls and fences seems to be a totally alien concept. 

However, just like anywhere, barriers thrive, only not in the physical form. Anyways, I had to momentarily stop what I was writing when I saw on social media that another musician-friend from the Manila days had died after lingering at the ICU. Needless to say, our years of singing during the late 70s around the metro had been one of the most impressionable years, which had for me been forged with a lot of lasting friendships and unforgettable experiences. 

It had been rumored that he had succumbed from complications caused by this deadly virus, so much like the other deaths here in Davao that sadly include some of our friends’ relatives. Like them, my friend who had then refused to be vaccinated had held on to his firm belief and because of that, many have inferred that this may have been one of the causes for his demise.

No matter (and this may not only be because this one is close to home), I think that Covid deaths should not be diminished at all in any way, so much like the way we look down on how dilapidated other people’s fences might be. I have only now realized that their choices (in this case to either be given the shot or not) should be set apart from the responsibility to stay clear of others or to practice necessary precautions. Resorting to finger-pointing at this time has become one of the invisible walls and fences that we erected around us, borne of our fear and self-protection and it has got to stop.


Source: Mindanao Times (