When the soldiers opened fire on Datal Bonglangon village, there was first confusion, then terror, then grief. But Marivic Danyan – one of the younger, quieter members of the community – decided to be strong. Reluctantly, heartbreakingly strong.
The young T’boli woman had been preparing lunch when her remote, indigenous community on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao was peppered with gunfire. One bullet ripped into the wooden wall beside her. Another pierced the corrugated tin roof.
Ignoring her pleas to take cover, her father – Victor, the village chief – rushed out with a handmade rifle and bow and arrows. He staggered back soon after, shot and bleeding. Danyan held his hand as he breathed his last.
For the next 18-20 hours, she and her two young daughters cowered inside the family home along with a handful of survivors, wondering what had happened to other menfolk who had been working in the cornfields. It was not until the next morning that they ventured out and saw the carnage.