I write to you as a Cebuano whose heart has found home in two places. As far as I know (and I am continuing to learn) my family comes from Bantayan, Baybay, Initao, and Fujian, China. I grew up in Cebu City and my language is Sinugboanon. I live in both Cebu and Treaty 1 Territory (Winnipeg, Manitoba). I acknowledge and am honoured to share land and water with Ashininaabe and Dakota of Treaty 1, the Ashininaabe of Treaties 2 and 3, the Ojibwe and Cree of Treaty 4, the Cree, Oji-Cree and Dene of Treaty 5, the Cree and Oji-Cree of Treaty 6, the Dene of Treaty 10, the Inuit, and the Metis peoples. My travels have helped me realize that despite crossing different borders, I have stopped seeing lands as separate countries, and started considering the lands crossing the oceans as extensions of each other. And so, wherever you read this from, I am connected to you, too.
I’m the neighbor who would accidentally disrupt someone’s peaceful smoking to exclaim, “Good morning, birdies!” when I wake up in the summer, even when it would already be close to noon. I’m someone who would drive three hours to find a bridge they initially quickly drove past just to be able to look at a beautiful section of mangrove. I’m the same person who would walk under said bridge and while walking back would accidentally slip on growing algae and sink neck-deep into brackish water while trying to remain calm, and then laughing like an idiot at my own clumsiness. I love chasing the beauty in nature and in the process, often getting reminded that she reveals herself in all kinds of ways, from the ordinary to the extra(-ordinary).
My education in environmental design and architecture have allowed me to experience the sacredness of Nature’s time. The surety of slowness. At the same time, mainstream design and planning have severed our spirituality and kinship with our animal relatives, land, and water. So as a designer, our reconnection has been my daily practice. I am challenged and inspired by the Diné word and understanding of Hózhó—the joy of being part of the beauty of all creation. With Hózhó in mind, I commit to learning how to share the joy in the practice of living, designing, and planning, and hope to tell a good story with you.