Samuel Bilibit, is a cursed man according to an old Visayan myth culled from an ancient parable.
He was cursed to walk on the face of the earth till the end of time...
This is a journal of his wanderings, his notes about life; his diaries... and, some will believe it...

Recent Entries
WALANG HANGGANG PAALAM!
Protraits
Why I love Football…and its Politics
Mindanaw Travelogue II
MAKE POVERTY HISTORY
HAPPY VALENTINES TO ALL
Maia, our greatest Valentine gift
BALAHIBONG PUSA
That's what friends are for
A MINDANAW TRAVELOGUE


Archives
enero 2005
febrero 2005
marzo 2005


Blogs I Read

Bambit Online
Maia's Diary
Kwentong Tambay

Other Favourite Links

Know MindaNOW
Lonely Planet Online
National Geographic Society
DeMolay International


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Credits

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miércoles, marzo 09, 2005

WALANG HANGGANG PAALAM!

Likas na katangian ni Samuel ang pagkalagalag kaya't lilisanin na ni Samuel ang lugar na ito dahil may bago na naman siyang destinasyon...matatagpuan nyo si Samuel na gumagala ngayon sa http://samuel.kusangpalo.com Pasyalan nyo sya dun.

Tuloy ang paglagalag ni Samuel Bilibit!


domingo, febrero 27, 2005

Protraits

Here’s a long list of individuals, (icons, heroes, legends, not-so heroes, not-yet legends, historical figures, celebrities, villains, etc…) groups, things and events who had somehow etched their niche in my conscious and sub-conscious mind and influenced my world outlook by their ideas, theories, impact, insanity, heresies, humor, notoriety, beauty, madness, effect to health, excellence in their fields, and contribution to history.

Foreign:

Che Guevarra, Pele, Bertolt Brecht, Breaking of the Berlin Wall, Vladimir I. Lenin, Zinedine Zidane, Nelson Mandela, Bob Dylan, Isaac Newton, John Lennon, Mother Theresa, Matsuo Basho, Wolverine, Pablo Neruda, John Malkovich, Karl Marx, Oseinsi Moreihi Ueshiba, Joni Mitchell, Ronaldo, Albert Einstein, Al Pacino, Genghis Khan, Muhammad Ali, Zen, St. John the Baptist, Hassan al Banna, Willem Dafoe, CSN, Bjorn Borg, Marlon Brando, Jose Marti, Abraham Lincoln, Bruce Lee, Jacques De Molay, Japanese Arts and Architecture, Donovan, Ronaldinho, Dracula, Sugar Ray Leonard, JFK, Jesus Christ, Vanessa Redgrave, Antonio Gramsci, Internet, Robert De Niro, Jim Croce, Penthouse, Dylan Thomas, Martina Hingis, Ibn Sina, James Taylor, Frank S. Land, Schindler’s List, Oliver Khan, Ashley Judd, Time Magazine, The Roots, Cezanne, Isabel Allende, Ho Chi Minh, Star Wars the Movie, Led Zeppelin, Salvador Allende, Ashley Judd, The Sound of Music, Jack Kerouac, National Geographic, Rorouni Kenshin, Malcolm X, Meryl Streep, Charles Darwin, Mozart, Anthony Hopkins, Pope John XXIII, Sting, Marc Chagall, Dalai Lama, Jose Feliciano, Robert Redford, Jack Daniels, Mao Tse Tung, Martin Luther King, Hugh Hefner, Atomic Bomb, Al Capone, Mark Twain, Green Peace, Jet Li, Maria Callas, IRC-ICQ, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, Jodie Foster, Ludwig van Beethoven, AIDS, Mahathir Mohammad, Yahoo Mail, Rosa Luxembourg, Vincent Van Gogh, Marlboro, Bob Marley, Victor Jara, The UFO, Jack Nicholson, Friedrich Engels, Amnesty International, Chou En Lai, Johnnie Walker, Trevanian, the Unknown Soldier, Buddha, Jim Morrison, Friederich Nietzshe, Sophia Loren, Apollo Moon Landing, Ahmad Shah Massoud, Google, Robert Ludlum, Marquess de Sade, Ray Charles, Vietnam War, Fidel Castro, The Great Satchmo, Marilyn Monroe, Cuban and Nicaraguan Revolutionaries, Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Franz Liszt, Patrice Lumumba, Hare Krishna, Leon Trotsky, Band Aid, Playboy, Mahatma Gandhi, Pablo Picasso, Woodstock, Deng Xiao Ping, Charlie Chaplin, FIFA World Cup, Gen. Erwin Rommel, Mad Comics, Confucius, Mikhael Gorbachev, Frederic Chopin, UN, Xanana Gusmao, Tsunami Disaster, Leonardo da Vinci, 9-11 tragedy, etc…

National:

Lean Alejandro,Jose “Pepe” Diokno, Sultan Kudarat, Crisanto Evangelista, Lapu-Lapu, Pugad Baboy, The Katipunan – Magdiwang Faction, San Miguel Beer (Pale Pilsen), Amai Pakpak, Ma Mon Luk, Andres Bonifacio, Myrna Castillo, Mayrics, Pancho Villa, Francisco Dagohoy, Jamal Kiri, Winston Red, Nick Joaquin, Instant Noodles, Flor Contemplacion, First Filipino Propagandists, Tapsihan at Gotohan, Prof. Nur Misuari, Claro M. Recto, Goto King, Buklod, ABB, Paraluman sa Quiapo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Andres Kalamungay Ugbok, Videokehan, Manny Pacquiao, Lualhati Bautista, Xerex Xaviera, Buntot Pusa or Baguio Gold, Elizabeth Ramsey, Coup de Etats, Edgar Jopson, Bulalohan sa Espana, Internet Café/Chat, Midweek Magazine, CPP-NPA-NDF, Sinulog Festival, Efren “Bata” Reyes, FPJ, 70’s Bistro, Lino Brocka, Patatag, Levi Celerio, Mendiola Massacre, Mga Isnabero at namimiling Taxi drivers, Nora and Vilma, Sen.Lorenzo (Ka Tanny) Tanada, Gary Granada, Fiesta, Pilita Corales, Bilyaran, Mercury Drug, Max Surban, Color Coding, Bro. Ely Soriano of Dating Daan, Ustadz Hashim Salamat, Abante Tonite, Persia House (Mr. Kebab na ngayon), Mindanao State University, isaw, EDSA Uprisings, Presidential Nuisance Candidates, Eman Lacaba, 7-11, Leo Echagaray, Inang Laya, Quiapo blackmarket, Jeepney, Tetchie Agbayani, Traffic, Romulo Kintanar, Asin, Gomburza, MNLF, Renato Constantino, Mr&Ms Magazine, MILF, Bagyo, Baha, Juan de la Cruz Band, Materyales Fuertes, Mendiola Bridge, Mt. Pinatubo eruption, Anito and Victoria Motels, Death Penalty, Pirated CDs/DVDs, OFWs, Pilipino Working Class, Bangsamoro, Local NGOs, MMDA, Tanduay Rum, Victoria Kapauan, Cong. Waykurat, Order of DeMolay, Mang Pandoy, Bro. Mike Velarde, Balut, Taho, Dindo Fernando, Yoyoy Villame, Pulis Maynila, Divisoria, Erap, Lotto, Bro. Erdie Manalo, Mindanao Uprising in the 70’s, ARMM, Television Networks, Skin Whiteners, Mindanao Cults, Sex Scandals, 80’s activists, Ora Pro Nobis, PETA, Indigenous Peoples, VIP Rooms, Meralco, UP Diliman, Ginebra, Domestic and International Airport, Bombay 5-6, Sta.Ana and San Lazaro race tracks, SM malls, Barangay Tanods, Liwasang Bonifacio, Mindanao War, Eat Bulaga, EB, Name-of-place-Massacres, Vigilantes, Rebel Soldiers, Bomba-Pene-ST movies, Oil Price Hikes, LRT-MRT, Luneta, My Family, etc…


Why I love Football…and its Politics




Why do I love Football…and its Politics?

Let me count the ways, I love football because…
  1. It’s the greatest spectator game on earth.
  2. It’s the only game in the world that supports and promotes the UNICEF campaign for the rights of the Child and the ICRC’s campaign for the Children of War.
  3. It’s the only game in the world that supports and promotes SOS Children’s Villages.
  4. It’s the only game in the world that campaigns against Child Labor
  5. It’s the only game in the world that campaigns against racism and discrimination.
  6. It’s the only game in the world that campaigns for Peace.
  7. It’s the only game in the world that campaigns for the integration for handicapped people in society.
  8. It’s the only game in the world that campaigns against hunger.
  9. It’s the only game in the world that campaigns for and is still raising funds for the tsunami victims.
  10. Next to the Olympics, it’s the only game in the world where its international governing bodies are organized like the United Nations sans the Security Council.
  11. It’s the only game in the world that when World Cup Champions return to their home country, it is declared a National Holiday.
  12. You kick balls rather than laying them up the basket.
  13. You are treated with an exciting and uninterrupted display of grace and vigor for 90 minutes…where commercialism finds its place displayed silently only in the sidelines.
  14. There are no cheerleaders shaking their butts every ten seconds.
  15. It’s not a Yankee game- that’s why just to find their place in the footballing planet, they pathetically called it “soccer”.
  16. It’s the only game in the world where a developing country reigns supreme and America is not a superpower!
  17. It’s the only game where Samba is played during a match.
  18. It’s the “Beautiful Game”. :)
The UNICEF-FIFA slogan captured everything I love about football – “One Passion One World One Responsibility.”

I can only think of one reason why football is not popular in the Philippines unlike in most of our Asian neighbors…because it’s not Uncle Sam’s favorite game… most pinoys adore Uncle Sam’s favorite games - throwing balls in the basket and invading other countries.


(Images from the websites of FIFA, ICRC and UNICEF)

domingo, febrero 20, 2005

Mindanaw Travelogue II

Last Tuesday I went back to Cotabato City for a meeting. This time we took the Iligan – Marawi- Malabang – Cotabato route via the Narciso Ramos Highway. Unlike the Iligan- Bukidnon – Cotabato route which is almost eight hours’ drive, our new route takes only four hours straight driving.


The trip was on short notice; I packed up post-haste only the bare essentials--documents to bring, a couple of shirts, toiletries, cigarette packs, flash stick, a windbreaker and a pair of convertible cargo pants. Unfortunately, in the rush of things I forgot to bring my digital camera.

Our decision to travel via the Narciso Ramos Highway was not without hesitation and objections. This route is not a pleasure traveler’s dream road. The highway is full of stories about ambushes, highway robberies and hold-ups, snipers, suspicious and unwelcoming roadside folks, military versus bandits-guerillas-armed civilians running battles and skirmishes along the highway, etc.


(photo source: www.cyberdyaryo.com)

The long stretch of the Narciso Ramos Highway was a battle zone during the AFP’s war against the MILF in year 2000. Along the highway are mountains and forest lairs of various Moro armed groups – from Moro guerrillas to kidnappers and local bandits.

But then it’s the only route that can take us to Cotabato with the shortest traveling time. I felt a certain twitch in my stomach when we finally decided for a go amidst objections from other colleagues. The last time I traveled through this highway was in 1998 and yes I remember that portions of it then were indeed controlled by Moro insurgents.

We required our female colleague to wear a “kumbong” – the local term for veil worn by women. It is an unusual sight to see a woman without “kumbong” traveling with men in this dangerous road. It attracts suspicion and unnecessary attention. There were four of us and I was the only one among our group who knew the directions. I did the navigation as far as my memory can serve me. And it did serve me well. Nothing much has changed and most of the landmarks along the highway that I had familiarized myself with before are still very conspicuous.

Our travel went smoothly except for some psychological discomfort brought about by fear and anxiety to what may surprise us in the next bend. But our fear disappeared as soon as we discovered scenic spots and some funny sights and signs. There were some truly notable signs along the way. In two different CAA (Civilian Armed Auxilliary – another name for civilian para-military units) checkpoints: a sign said “FULL STOP ENSFECTION”. We were thinking if they wanted us to stop for inspection or they wanted to stop infection. A sign at the other checkpoint said “CAUTION ACCIDENTAL ZONE”. This made us wonder if we were in the right place. One of the streamers hanging over the road welcoming the homecoming of loved ones had this to say, “Compliments by RELATIVE FAMILY”. Maybe their family name was really “Relative” or they’re not really sure whose family they were welcoming. Also, printed in one of the pillars of the Welcome Arch in Cotabato City was “BE FUNCTUAL EVEN OTHERS ARE NOT”. At least we arrived at our meeting on time.

There are no more checkpoints by Moro insurgent forces and the whole stretch of the highway from Lanao del Norte – Lanao del Sur to the province of Maguindanao are now guarded and secured by Marine soldiers.

Quite frankly, I feel more secure having Marines manning checkpoints than ordinary Army soldiers. The Marines are more courteous and reassuring while an ordinary Army Infantry soldier will make you feel very uncomfortable and scared.

An Army soldier manning a checkpoint will treat you like a criminal; without saying anything, will give you a tiger stare, look you in the eye, with his finger locked on the trigger of his rifle as if ready to shoot you if you make a wrong answer. An Army soldier at every inch looks angry and makes you feel as though it was your fault why his life is in a miserable mess. While a Marine on the other hand will approach you smiling, greet you and make apologies for the delay. He asks you were you’re heading, makes a visual inspection and then salutes while saying thank you and have a nice trip.

We reached Cotabato after four hours, safe and sound.



sábado, febrero 19, 2005

MAKE POVERTY HISTORY

I just got this white campaign band from the www.makepovertyhistory.org. This is a campaign by UK based organizations and individuals with the following goals:

THE CRUCIAL PART. WHAT WE ARE ASKING FOR.

In 9 words... TRADE JUSTICE. DROP THE DEBT. MORE AND BETTER AID.

The gap between the worlds’s rich and poor has never been wider. Malnutrition, AIDS, conflict and illiteracy are a daily reality for millions.

But it isn’t chance or bad luck that keeps people trapped in bitter, unrelenting poverty. It’s man-made factors like a glaringly unjust global trade system, a debt burden so great that it suffocates any chance of recovery and insufficient and ineffective aid .

It doesn’t have to be this way though.

In fact, back in 2001 the governments of the eight wealthiest nations on the planet said that they were going to do something about it - in what was seen as a breakthrough, they promised to halve world poverty by 2015.

Four years later the world is failing dismally to reach those targets.

But we have been given another, maybe even a final chance – 2005.

This year offers a truly exceptional set of opportunities for the UK to take a lead internationally and say that enough is enough.

With the UK hosting the G7 Finance Ministers meeting in February and the G8 gathering of powerful world leaders as well as holding the presidency of the European Union (EU), our Government and particularly Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, will be influential players on the world stage – we must make sure they play their part.

They have the power and we can make them use it.


I’m counting myself in to this campaign. I hope you do too. With our solidarity a new and better world is possible. YA BASTA!



lunes, febrero 14, 2005

HAPPY VALENTINES TO ALL

As tagged by my darling :)

My random 10 songs are:

  1. Next to you - Kenny Rankin
  2. Universal Soldier - Donovan
  3. My Personal Revenge - Jackson Brown
  4. Air on G string - Johann Sebastian Bach
  5. Un Beldi Vedremo - Maria Callas
  6. Circle Game - Joni Mitchell
  7. Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
  8. Kissing a fool - George Michael
  9. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes - Crosby, Stills and Nash
  10. You're So Vain - Carly Simon
What is the total amount of music in your computer?
4.31GB in 1,179 mp3 files

The last CD you bought?
Dido


What Was the last song you listened to before reading this message?

No One is to Blame by Howard Jones


Write down 5 songs you listen to a lot or mean a lot to you?

  1. Beautiful In My Eyes - I like to sing this song to the most beautiful woman in the world - my wife.
  2. Usahay - this is my baby's favorite lullaby. I sing her to sleep in my arms with this song.
  3. Le Internationale - I am a believer.
  4. What a Wonderful World - As sung by the great Satchmo. Whenever I hear this song I feel alive.
  5. Next to you - A woman sang this to me in full on the phone long distance (she was in Cebu then and I was in Zamboanga City). She's now my loving wife. :)
Who are you gonna pass this stick to and why?
- I don't have anyone to pass this on....What about you, my dear reader?


jueves, febrero 10, 2005

Maia, our greatest Valentine gift

On February 14th our baby girl Himaya Amarantha “Maia” will be celebrating her first birthday. How time flies fast. It was just like yesterday when our Maia was just a small bundle of joy. Today she just took her first five-steps all by herself. Maia is the greatest valentine gift my wife and I ever had.

To my baby Maia, on your first birthday I dedicate this song Forever Young, written by Bob Dylan and sung by Joan Baez, two of my all time favorite musicians.

Forever Young

May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.
May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.


BALAHIBONG PUSA


Mahilig mag-alaga ng mga hayop ang nanay ko. Sa ngayon may 9 na pusa siyang alaga sa bahay. Hindi ito mga Siamese o Burmese Cats, mga lahing Pusakal (pusang kalye) ang mga ito. Kaya hindi mga pangalang pang pretty-tweetum-pussy ang bininyag naming, mga pangalan nila kundi mga ordinaryong pangalan lang. Yung mga pangalang naririnig mo kung saan saan. Mukhang enjoy naman sila sa mga pangalang ibininigay namin sa kanila. Mabalahibo ngunit makulay ang kwento ng mga pusa sa bahay namin.

Ito ang kwento nila.

Nagumpisa ang lahat kay Krog. Nung kuting pa lang ito iniwan na ng walang budhi nitong ina sa pintuan ng bahay namin. Pinatuloy at inampon siya ng nanay ko. Matagal rin bago narealize ni Krog na pusa pala siya. Hindi ito lumalabas ng bahay at sa kuwarto mismo ng Nanay ko siya natutulog. Mahabang panahon bago siya nakakita ng kapwa pusa. Ang pinaka-una nya pang nakilalang pusa ay ang haring siga ng mga pusakal sa baranggay – si Borbo. Astig ng barangay si Borbo. Kilalang maton, takot lahat sa kanya at lahat ng mga bagong pussy ay sinisiguro nyang dumaan sa kanya. Kulay kupas na maong ang balat nito, maskulado ang pangangatawan,, tapyas ang isang tenga at puno ng peklat ang ma-kalyo’t malapad nitong mukha. Si Borbo ay ang tipo ng pusa na kahit buhusan mo ng tubig ay tititigan ka lang at parang nang-aasar na tila nanghihingi pa ng sabon. Masaklap ang naging karanasan ni Krog kay Borbo dahil nang mapa-ibig ni Borbo si Krog ni-rape nya ito ng paulit-ulit. Ilang linggo ring naging tulala si krog, ayaw kumain at parang wala sa katinuan. Palagi na lang itong pagulong-gulong na parang nasaniban ng masamang ispiritu.at ikinikiskis ang kanyang kuwan kung saan saan. Mula noon naging full-pledge pusa na an aming Krog. Hiniwalayan nya rin si Borbo matapos siyang mabuntisan nito.

Sa kasagsagan ng EDSA II habang nasa may POEA kami nakikinig sa mga nagsasalita sa entababladong nanggagalaiti kay Erap nang may isang tinedyer na pusakal ang kiskis ng kiskis sa mga paa namin ng kapatid ko. Pilit naming siyang tinataboy pero tuloy pa rin siya sa paglalandi sa amin. Ayaw humiwalay sa amin ng pusang-iring na ito kaya dinampot siya ng utol ko at pinasok sa kanyang backpack. Inuwi namin sa bahay ang bagong ampon naming pusa na pingalanan naming Boba. Dito nag-umpisang mag-selos si Krog. Galit siya kay Boba at prinoklama nya itong mortal na kaaway. Malalim ang galit ni Krog kay Boba dahil nung nanganak si Krog ng tatlong kuting namatay ang isa dito nang maiwanan nya ito. Ang pinagdudahan ni Krog na pumatay sa bunso nya ay si Boba. Hanggang ngayon pinagpipilitan pa rin ni Krog na si Boba ang pumatay sa anak nya.

Sa paglaon ng panahon nakabuo na ng kanya-kanyang pamilya si Krog at si Boba.

Maselan sa pagbubuntis si Krog kaya tatlo lang ang naging supling nito, si Rey at Elmer, mga anak ni Krog kay Borbo at ang bago nyang kuting na si Karlo. Si Karlo ay sakiting kuting an nagmana sa tatay nitong ang matamlaying si Gaspar, ang pusa ng kapitbahay naming Pastor. Si Rey at si Elmer ay manang-mana sa tatay nilang si Borbo. Pawang mga matikas at may pagka-balasubas rin ang dalawang panganay ni Krog. Sa tatlo, ang pinakamamahal ni Krog ay si Rey. Kahit hitsurang Borbo Jr na ito ay pinapasuso pa rin ni Krog si Rey. Gaya ng tatay nila naging siga rin si Rey at Elmer sa Barangay. Hindi na nila nakasagupa ang tatay nila dahil nawala na lang itong bigla. Duda ng mga kapit-bahay malamang na-salvage na raw ito. Yun din ang duda ng mag-anak na Krog.

Ang pumalit sa trono ni Borbo bilang haring siga ng mga pusakal sa baranggay ay si Gardo. Hindi kagaya ng nasirang si Borbo, si Gardo ay medyo pinong bastos. Malaking pusa rin ito na parang naka-jacket na khaki, warak din ang mukha at may mga tattoo pa sa braso. Hindi laking barangay si Gardo. Wala siya sa eksena nung kapanahunan ni Borbo kaya sabi nila pugante raw si Gardo at sa barangay ngayon nag-tatago. Labis na kinamumuhian ni Krog si Gardo dahil naging boypren ito ni Boba. Tuwang tuwa naman si Boba dahil feeling nya naka-isa siya kay Krog. Kaya pag-naglalampungan sila ni Gardo pilit nya itong pinapakita kay Krog. Dahil sa inis, napilitan si Krog na patulan ang matamlaying si Gaspar.

Sadyang malandi, salawahan at haliparot si Boba. Maliban kay Gardo, lahat na ng mga kalalakihang pusakal sa barangay ay pinatikim nito ng kanyang alindog. Maging ang mga anak ni Krog na si Rey at Elmer ay hindi pinalampas ni Boba. Para kay Boba ganti nya ito sa pang-aapi ni Krog sa kanya. Ang pagka-kiri ni Boba ay nagbunga ng apat na supling, si Billy, Brenda, Bogart at Berting.

Itutuloy

Sa susunod…ang kwento ng mga anak ni Krog at Boba...



miércoles, febrero 09, 2005

That's what friends are for


Today, a friend of mine sent me this email. It’s not the usual so-so “inspirational friendship themes” but a mirthful yet real face of friendship that is devoid of any hypocritical finesse.

Here is a series of promises that really speaks to true friendship:

When you are sad -
I will help get you drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard
who made you sad.

When you are blue -
I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

When you smile -
I will know you finally got laid.

When you are scared -
I will rag on you about it every chance I get.

When you are worried -
I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be and
to quit whining.

When you are confused -
I will use little words.

When you are sick -
Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want
whatever you have.

When you fall -!
I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.

This is my oath ... I pledge it till the end.

Why? You may ask. Because you are my friend


Send this to 10 of your closest friends, then get depressed because
you can only think of two and one of them isn't speaking to you right now
anyway.


Remember:

A good friend will help you move.
A really good friend will help you move a body.



domingo, febrero 06, 2005

A MINDANAW TRAVELOGUE

After more than ten years in Manila I have decided to move back and work in Mindanaw. After being burnt out in a dog-eat-dog city life, to be back to the land of my birth is not only a respite but also a pilgrimage of sorts. Amidst the bad portrayal and dreadful projection of Mindanaw (yes it is spelt traditionally with a W and not an O), it remains a paradise for me.

I’m now working with an International NGO that is implementing humanitarian projects in war torn areas of Mindanaw. I find self-fulfillment in my job not only for its humanitarian cause but also for the traveling that it asks of me. My job requires me to travel to war-torn areas in Central Mindanao. This constant traveling gives me an opportunity to reacquaint myself to the paradise I once knew and also to situate myself to the realities of war that has ravaged the land of promise for a long time.

Since I am now into blogging, I have decided to share my travels to the blogging world. I would like to share my travels in Mindanaw especially to my countrymen, those who still have to know a lot about Mindanaw. To quote G.K. Chesterton, “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land”.

Last week, I went to Cotabato City to visit our projects in the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato. From our office in Iligan City we went to Cotabato via the Bukidnon-Cotabato route. It was a seven hour drive traversing the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and North Cotabato and vice-versa.

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Though I’m not a professional photographer, I make it a habit to record my travels by taking pictures. Equipped only with a Kodak CX7330 digital camera I took shots at random subjects that we passed by along the road from Cotabato to Iligan.

Roque, our driver and I left Cotabato City at almost half past ten in the morning. The weather was quite gloomy when we left:

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Going out of Cotabato City and passing by “Super”. Super is the generic name of the general area where the City’s Supermarket and Bus Terminals are found. Street names are not commonly used here; locals usually identify places by its generic name (i.e. when they say “town” – this means the general location where the City Hall, City Plaza and commercial establishments are found).


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A glimpse of one of the tributaries of Cotabato’s Rio Grande River.

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This is a common sight. An abandoned “Madrasah” (an Arabic school for children) along the highway of the Municipality (not the province) of Sultan, Kudarat, Maguindanao. This building was used as an evacuation center for thousands of internally displaced peoples during the war in Mindanao in 2000 - 2001.

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Yet, another common sight. A military Armored Personnel Carrier (commonly known as “Chemite”: pronounced: “Tsaymite”), the real kings of the road in Mindanaw.

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Along the highway of Libungan, North Cotabato peasant women and children are mending the hay after a rice harvest.

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This is Mindanaw’s version of motor pooling. Locally called as “Habal-habal”, (a derivative of the visayan word “Habal” which means one on top of the other), this is the most common mode of public transportation in rural Mindanaw. A “Habal-habal” can carry six and sometimes even nine passengers, depending upon the passengers build.

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If you want to understand the real meaning of peace, listen to people who have known war. A public elementary school in war affected Barangay Takepan, North Cotabato, says it in a very meaningful and colorful language.

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The passenger seats were all taken so a goatherd decided to settle on the sun deck in a jeepney ride to Kabacan, North Cotabato. I’ll be seeing some of their kin later on under different circumstances.

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This is the Public Market of the Municipality of Pikit, North Cotabato. Pikit is one of the areas greatly affected by the war.

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In the background is the silhouette of Mt. Apo imposing its majesty over the fields of North Cotabato.

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This is not a scene from the movie Heaven and Earth. This is one of the vast rice fields of North Cotabato - considered as the rice granary of Mindanao.

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Along the highway of Carmen, North Cotabato it is common to see a long stretch of the road’s half lane being used by farmers as driers for their corn.

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The rolling hills of Southern Mindanaw viewed from the boundary of the Bukidnon-Cotabato Highway. Once a former Lumad (indigenous people of Mindanaw) guide of ours aptly described to one of our expatriate staff this topography by saying, “Our mountainous terrain is like a crumpled scratch paper”.

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Quaint houses lining in grace along the roadsides of a sleepy town in Kibawe, Bukidnon.

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Gigantic Acacia trees guard the town plaza of Kisolon, Bukidnon.

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A fellow traveler can always find light wheresoever dispersed. Who knows, the National Treasure might be stashed here somewhere. :)

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Truckloads of sugarcane litter the roads of Maramag, Bukidnon

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“Made in UK” or “Ukay-ukay” (used clothings and other products) are also top-sellers in Maramag, Bukidnon.

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The biggest municipal hall in the province of Bukdinon is the Municipal Hall of Maramag, Bukidnon. This stately palace sits lonely and far from the center of its constituency.

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The main gate of the Central Mindanao University campus in Musuan, Bukidnon.

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This is where we have our lunch in Valencia, Bukidnon. A chicken house, but...

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...they serve more goat meat dishes than chicken. They have all the chevon food that you can think of..…papaitan, kilawin, kaldereta, adobo, etc...

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The Benedictine Monastery in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. The Monks in this Monastery produces the now popular Monks Blend Coffee, stuff better than what Starbucks can offer. It just crossed my mind that in yore monks used to produce beer. :)

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Malaybalay City, Bukidnon prides itself to be the only City in Mindanaw that is situated on top of the Mountains. It is somehow true; they haven’t escaped their share of traffic.


"A tourist spot". (Read: A tourism center set up by the Department of Tourism in Impasugong, Bukidnon.). I was wandering what’s this center have to offer? We didn’t check we just passed over. We’re not tourists anyway. :)


Our driver Roque said that these fruit stalls constantly waving their ‘pompoms-on-a-stick’ to passing motorists is his cue that Cagayan de Oro City is already near.


Our ever dependable pick-up. Roque and I disembarked to peek and leak. To take a peek of the scenery from a viewing deck in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon and yes, to take a leak.


The Primera Vino of the countrysides of Mindanaw. Fighter wine is produced in Cebu and is distributed only in Visayas and Mindanaw.


The other Primera Vino of the countrysides of Mindanaw. Religiosity is one trait common to Mindanaw’s rural areas. The wine and the barangay name is a biblical reminder of sort.


Buntings of pink banderitas proclaim a fiesta for this town in Misamis Oriental.


The industrial plants dominating the landscape in the background greet travelers approaching Iligan City. Iligan City once is known as the Industrial City of the South. After most of these industries closed down, Iligan settled for a new sobriquet by complimenting its natural endowment. Now Iligan is known as the City of Hundred Waterfalls.


We arrive at Iligan past 6 in the afternoon. This beautiful dusk scene in Iligan Bay capped our day long trip and gave consolation to our tired souls.



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