Growing up watching superheroes with my male cousins and war movies with my uncle was full of fun and adventure, like them I dream to be like Batman and ride his bat mobile. I wanted to be the Dark Knight and a soldier. Being born in a Penal Colony where Justice must prevail, I feel more than safe and secure that fear walking home late at night never occurred in me. A gun or a riffle is part of every household, a place where criminals are captured and kept in jail. I was well protected and taken care of, many people looks after me. I feel no fear of the world, I also never experienced typhoons nor flood, for our town was surrounded by trees plus the majestic Mt. Apo. I was brave because I have nothing to be scared of. One tragic experience that broke the fragile in me was when I lost my mother; like the young Batman I faced those dark nights in pain and tears; and like him, I took the courage to stand and face the typhoons of life.
I woke up one Monday morning, the day after super typhoon Mina strike Manila; the sun was up and it was a good day to travel, so I got dressed, ride a bus, and conquered Manila.
Watching superheroes, I always see and admire the sidekicks, the friends of Superman, Ron and Hermione of Harry Potter, the Robin of Batman; and with them, I realized that in life no one’s alone, we all have our own Robins. That day as I bravely left home after the typhoon, I met the Robins that God has placed in my life.
And here they are…
The youth of this generation having fun in the mud left by the typhoon with their dirty hands and feet, reminds me that happiness is a choice; we don’t have to search for it, instead we just have to decide whether to be happy or not. Happiness is just out there free and ready for the taking. Like these youth, they find happiness getting dirty while playing in the mud, enjoying their present believing that tomorrow will come with its own happiness.
The horse feels the pain when whipped; he feels the burden of a heavy carriage but he can’t complain, for its how he was rewarded. This is how he lives, it’s his purpose. The horse suffers but endures. It reminded me that sometimes we carry heavy burdens and pain strikes us so hard not for us to complain but for us to endure that will eventually makes us stronger.
Every storm leaves a mark, devastation, and lost. This tree experienced the storms, but it remained standing despite the heavy rains and strong winds. This tree knows that it needs the heavy rains for its water, the gases from the strong wind, and the wet soil for its nutrients. This reminds me that life is a gift wrapped with different kinds of surprises; prepared or not, we must stand still and know that challenges are sometimes needed in unraveling the marvelous things enclosed with it.
This couple stayed so close that even the heat of the sun or the heavy rains could not separate them. They reminded me that through the storms, you don’t have to be alone; there is always this one (or many) that will stay with you no matter how hot the weather is or how strong the storms are.
I don’t know the name or the age of this old man. I also don’t know how long he is living, or how many storms he has witnessed neither the problems that he overcomed and the sadness that he has triumphed with joy. This man reminds me that being strong doesn’t depend on the number of storms that passed by but on how many times you stood up everytime a storm knocks you down.
This woman reminds me that if it takes too hard to stand, we can always kneel; that when the storms came and thunders roar we can keep quiet, be still and know that there is someone greater than us. All we have to do is to pray not just for the storms to pass but for a better umbrella.
Robins are everywhere, we may not know them by name, they can be an animal or a plant; one thing is for sure they have helped the Batman in us not just to be a hero but to be a better person.
If Superman has friends, Batman have Robin, he’s a friend who stays in the dark, in danger, in strife, and in storms. Just like this picture of my friends, who stayed with me before, during, and after the super typhoon Mina.
For five years I survived Manila with its increasing criminal rate and the number of visiting typhoons. I survived Manila like Batman conquered Gotham. On this day trip in Manila, I saw the Batman in me or should I call myself the “Dark Knight Princess” and you just met my Robins during super typhoon Mina.
Thousands of Robins are still out there coming our way every day; and with them, we can never be afraid of the dark and even with storms.
Photos courtesy of Architect Rolf Gary Ridao taken on August 29, 2011, at the city of Manila, Philippines.