It was a time of hope for Marawi. We were rebuilding our city that has fallen to neglect for a decade when a local terror group brought upon Marawi its bitterest nightmare. It's like they don't want us to succeed. Overnight, they crushed our dreams and put to halt our steps towards development. No, they didn't want us to succeed.
Members of a student dance troupe perform a traditional Meranao dance in Mindanao State University.
I remember a month ago when we were driving around Marawi, my aunt from Saudi keeps saying
"Thank you, Majul" 
noting the changes at every corner.

I know it wasn't an effort of just one man but by volunteers who poured to the streets to clean up when we didn't have garbage collectors anymore. It was an effort of city employees who did their job honestly. It was the effort of the townspeople who welcomed the change, from discord to discipline

Tonight, our house may have been bombed already if the reports are correct. My family has become bakwits. Robbed of dignity, robbed of pride, doused in shame.

I will miss the old Marawi, no not the old Marawi, but the Marawi that was hopeful and vibrant. If we will ever be able to go back, we will go back to a land of mourners, our soil stained with the martyr and the damned alike.

pray for marawi
Marawi at dusk after a late afternoon drizzle, when the newly installed streetlights illuminate one of the main streets of the city reflecting off the wet pavement.
I feel like crying for the loss of whatever innocence left in me. I am scarred by war. I will always remember the sound of bullets fired a few inches from my head. I will always remember the feeling of accepting death as I enter Marawi, planning to rescue my trapped family

I feel like crying. This rage is too much to bear. But I won't shed a tear. Because this girl is brave. This girl is hopeful. And like Arya of the House Stark, I will religiously pray for everyone who caused this misfortune. I will say your names, one by one, asking Allah SWT to grant you the deepest pit of hell here in this world and in the hereafter.


Ameen.


I am a descendant of a Bae sa Masiu. My great grandmother survived a massacre when the Americans overrun their kuta. She was a child then. And yet she grew old to be a wise woman whose eyes saw a century pass by.


In Padang Karbala, almost all of the datus of Bayang were martyred. And yet Bayang have not perished.


So let us cling to hope, no matter how foolish it may seem. When despair is at its deepest, the more foolish we should be.


Humor will ease the pain. Hope will keep us going. Courage will defeat terror.


Above all, faith shall console us. Paradise awaits the Shahid.