My Secret Last Day in Mindanao
We have reason to believe your friend is CIA.
Mindanao ~ 1996
"Do not move, the Captain will be here soon," Joy (not her real name) told me.
I sat on the bench in front of a small cement structure, wondering why the Captain of the Philippines Special Forces Unit in Northern Mindanao wanted to meet with me.
This was my last day in the Philippines and all of my friends had already left, leaving me alone in Mindanao. We had spent the previous 3 weeks on a sea canoeing expedition, flying from Manila to Palawan, and ending in Mindanao. Joy, (who worked for the Tourism Authority of the Philippines), and I had become close friends in the past week. She told me she use to be a guerilla, posing as a missionary and that she had planted many land mines "for the love of her country." Years later, she switched sides.
It had been a strange morning. I was staying at the Governor's mansion in Cagayan, the capital city of Mindanao. I was drinking my coffee, when I overheard Joy angrily talking on the phone. I couldn't hear all of her conversation, but she was saying something about killing someone. That one line made me quite nervous, so I moved out of hearing range. A half hour later, Joy joined me. She was calmer and asked me what I wanted to do on my last day. I told her that I wanted to write about the Surf Camp. She replied that the Surf Camp was too far and offered me two other choices that she had never given to a journalist before.
"You can either go to the Special Forces Unit or the Guerilla Safe House."
I had always been fearful of kidnappings in the Philippines and hearing my two choices made me especially uneasy. It took me only a few seconds to choose the safest choice.
To be continued.…