Friday, March 17

2016 Life Accomplishments

Only when you see a good life ahead of you should you risk the race. If you slip and fall, get up and bounce back. If things turned out differently, you have prevailed in trying and nevertheless understood that it wasn't meant for you. But reach for it! Risk the race.

I did, and it brought me tears, but the sweetest is the JOY when you finish the race. 

And after you finished the race, wait for other courses or tracks to open, try them once more. Wait patiently because up ahead is someone who will reward you with what you think has been impossible to achieve, what others have been blind in seeing about you. Other people see your struggles and pains, and they think you deserve better opportunities. Other people just don't care. 
inLove them anyway.  

Never stop dreaming! You will get to the point that you think you have covered all. That is a lie! Do not dwell on it! Stay strong with your cores, be efficient and diligent with what you do. Proceed, do not look back at the mistakes, but look forward - eyes on the prize.

Exhaustive? Yes. 
Fulfilling? Yes.
Stay on the bright side. 

sheng's thoughts on a Saturday.
n.b. - took me three months to post this. 

Sunday, November 20

Of Octogenarians and Septuagenarians

When my very own favorite grandma and grandpa died, we weren't there in Antique. We were not even there to pay our last respects because of school and financial limitations. But before we came here in Mindanao to join our parents, my Lolo and Llola cared for me since birth and until I turned Grade 5. 

Entering Grade 6, I left them for Mindanao to join my sister and my parents. It was a heartbreak. 
They were already in their Septuagenarian days when we left them. And I remember my Tatay Salus, as we fondly called him, roaming the streets near our house and peeing in his pants; he was already in his incontinent state. 

My grandmother, sickly and with an enlarged heart at that time, would carefully and patiently dress my grandfather, bathe him and turned him smelling good again. I still remember the two of them going to church together, and leaving church separately. Nanay Connie would bring me home, expecting Tatay Salus to be home earlier until we had to search for him, in neighbors' houses, nearby streets but mostly, we would find him visiting the nearby high school where he used to teach Spanish.

Tatay used to eat sugar after each meal, his simple way of taking in dessert. Nanay Connie would buy him muscovado sugar, at times, that with unrefined stone-sized kind. His favorite pastime was playing solitaire with his deck of cards, something he would consider taboo for us his grandchildren to play with. He never allowed us to play with his cards. 

Nanay Connie was so patient with Tatay Salus. Despite his loss of memory, Nanay never lost hers, she was the ever-loving wife to Tatay Salus who would tell me to buy Tatay Salus his portion of pork each time the mailman delivers his pension check. I remember having to ask Nanay for my snacks, sometimes a few centavos would suffice or none at all but a measly piece of bread, but I will always have calamansi juice with me. She was very caring. 

I was young then, and I never thought about the hardships that Nanay Connie was experiencing because of Tatay's Dementia or Alzheimers' Disease (we didn't know, we were too poor we never had the chance to have him checked). 

Until this time when I had to care for Ric's octogenarian old-maid aunt and two septuagenarians, his Mom and another special old-maid aunt. I have considered it fate that I am stuck with taking care of them. True, we have our very own house away from them, but considering their status, I still have compassion not to leave them three alone in their old house. 

And the painful thing is that, the kids and I have to deal with daily banterings of the special aunt and the octogenarian aunt. They don't seem to mix in well especially on the table. (Thank God his Mom is still normal.) 

More painful thing is that I have very little patience and I tend to react badly on different scenarios in the house. I would always reprimand the octogenarian aunt for some mishaps like pouring Joy dishwashing liquid on her laundry (yes, she still does her laundry sometimes). At one time it wasn't dishwashing liquid but a sachet of Unique toothpaste she bought from the store. 

My daughter would actually cringe at her for eating biscuits and leaving one biscuit uneaten, and left at wherever she last seated. Also, at one time, she kept her toothbrush inside a Lysol bottle, the brush fully soaked in Lysol. So I had to clean it away but she reprimanded me for doing so. And then she said she wanted her toothbrush left untouched, so I did. 

Her usual thing would be to harvest malunggay leaves and carefully pick on each leaf to prepare it for use. On a daily basis. And when we see her doing that, we leave her alone, and the malunggay leaves to dry or rot because she would do it over and over again. 

Once, maybe she got bored, and there's this newly opened pack of table napkin she would waste time folding. The MIL would be too tired to tell her over and over again to drink her milk only once, and her tablets after every meal. Sometimes when the MIL is at her bad mood, she would shout at her siblings and tell them how cruel God is for not letting her experience good things but these... 

Sometimes I thought she would cry but she didn't, I never saw her cry. She is a tough one, my MIL. While the special aunt would bring her walker around, and just sit to watch TV, just like a cat, she would always roar at seeing the octogenarian aunt, especially on the dining table as she would always tell the special aunt what to do and what not to do while eating her meal. And so the big divide happens. The special aunt eats at the kitchen table, the octogenarian aunt at the dining table. 

This is an everyday struggle for me and the kids. I have always referred this to Ric, and at times I cry telling him to get us out of this situation, though I always fail. Not because my husband does not allow me to separate from his oldies, but maybe because my conscience continues to convict me every time I think about leaving them. Perhaps, my human side is still acting like that kind person I was raised by my Nanay Connie, patient yet tough. 

As to when we will be here with them, struggling with this daily crisis, I do not know. Perhaps God has a reason. 

Perhaps it is fate. Perhaps it is love. Perhaps because we are Family.



Sunday, July 24

Enjoy the Best of the Pokemon GO worldwide craze with Freenet and PayMaya

Filipinos are keenly anticipating the launch of Pokemon GO can now stay updated on the upcoming release of the game in the Philippines and fully enjoy the game when it launches with the help of freenet and PayMaya.

Now a certified worldwide phenomenon, Pokemon GO is a location-based mobile game developed by Niantic Labs in partnership with Nintendo affiliate The Pokemon Company. The mobile game allows players to catch Pokemon or "pocket monsters" as if in real life using the GPS and camera of their smartphones.

The game is currently available in Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, and select European countries. It has yet to launch in any Asian country, including Japan where the original Pokemon game originated.

Get Pokemon GO updates with freenet

Those who want to stay updated on news about the upcoming release of the game in the Philippines may now download the freenet app on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Through freenet, Smart, TNT, and Sun subscribers will be able to read the latest news and social media feeds from the local Pokemon GO community for free and with no data charges.

This is part of freenet’s mission to enable communities such as those who are eager to play Pokemon GO to stay active and participate in various activities and discussions through digital means.

This follows the successful livestreaming of President Rodrigo Duterte’s inauguration and the Gilas Pilipinas FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament games through freenet, which allowed Filipinos to be digitally present in these historic events even if they are not physically able to do so.

Purchase Pokecoins with PayMaya

Meanwhile, once the Pokemon GO app launches in the Philippines, players will be able to fully enjoy the game through in-app purchases with the help of PayMaya, the easiest way to pay online even without a credit card.

Players only have to download the PayMaya app on the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, load up their accounts with at least P60 to cover the standard app store verification fee, and link their virtual VISA card to their app store accounts to be able to make in-app purchases for Pokecoins, the in-app currency used inside the Pokemon GO game.

With the help of Pokecoins, players will be able to purchase various items that will help them easily navigate the game, such as Pokeballs to catch Pokemon with, Pokemon eggs that allow them to “hatch” Pokemon, Potions to restore the health of their Pokemon, and Incense and Lure Modules that make it easy to attract wild Pokemon to their immediate vicinity.

In-app purchases are made more convenient with PayMaya as mobile game players can easily load up at any of the over 15,000 PayMaya reloading stations nationwide that include SM Malls Business Centers, Robinsons Department Stores, Bayad Centers, 7-Eleven stores with Cliqq kiosks, TouchPay Kiosks, and Smart Padala Centers, on top of online banking via BDO.

Aside from the mobile app, PayMaya customers can also opt to have their own PayMaya physical prepaid card which can be used in brick-and-mortar stores worldwide that accept Visa. A variant also comes with its own beep™ wallet, allowing users to ride the MRT, LRT, some city buses and other beep™-powered transportation for their daily commute, so they can easily explore the city in search of wild Pokemon.

Users who upgrade their PayMaya account can use their PayMaya for peer-to-peer money transfers and ATM withdrawals.

For more information about PayMaya and how users can get their own PayMaya card, visit To know more about the free and fun way to connect through freenet, visit 

Tuesday, July 19

Family Adventure at Eden Nature Park Skycycle

Few days after graduation, my family decided to take a small vacation even for just one night out of town. On our way to Davao City, part of the itinerary was to drop Eden Nature Park in Calinan, a visit.

I have been to Eden Nature Park thrice but it was my Mom's and sisters' first time. The park was filled with guests and we were not able to get a shuttle tour because we booked so late. But we so enjoyed the Eden Nature Park Skycycle. The combo that was the Zipline and the Skycycle cost P300 only. But we couldn't leave Eden without having tried the Skycycle.

At first, I was apprehensive to try it because of the height. I have tried so many adventures from Lake Sebu zip line to the Cebu's Sky Walk, and many other zip lines in different locations but this Skycycle slightly took my courage away as you have to pedal your way to the finish line and back through a cable, just a cable!

What's worse is that, even if I feel so afraid, I kept faking a courageous front so as not to discourage my children from trying it. I have been teaching them to take courageous steps for as long as it does not mean their deaths. The husband is also one chicken when it comes to adventures like this, but since the children have staged an interest in doing so, we do not want to disappoint them. And so it's a Go! for all of us. 

Tabebs, my 10-year old daughter tried her first zip line experience in Lake Sebu, and she was gripping on me real good when she first tried it. And I was afraid she'd feel the same with what we had experienced in Eden Nature Park. But alas! She did not chicken out. She was all go with the experience. 

While I was the one afraid for her, she was giving all her strength pedaling her way back and forth. I am so proud of my kids, and Tabebs. See her smile?? I'm sure she had good stories to tell about her summer experience. 

Eden Nature Park Skycycle has been a wonderful experience

Sunday, July 10

Success Is a Staircase Where You Gotta Reach New Levels

Twelve years ago, I had the guts to enroll myself in law school. It was a challenge but it was also fun. I say it was a challenge because I had to struggle waking up in the wee mornings to memorize articles, statutes, EOs and even ordinances. There was so much energy to burn, too many things to do in addition to my being a mother to a toddler, and having an 8-hour day job.

I say it was fun because I was able to meet new friends who shared with me the same passion in writing, reading and working. We were able to enjoy outing after class, dining out and doing group studies.

And then I got pregnant and had to stop in my tracks to care for the life inside me. Working my ass in a publishing company was taking me by the seconds of my life. Some days I just had to slack off and eventually had to stop the day job but later enjoyed being a freelance writer and attending to a business my husband and I had started. 

After five years, I had my dream job, a government position, clerical. A year after, I was promoted as officer. It was when I had to sacrifice family dinners and other gatherings despite the short distance of traveling to and from Koronadal City. I find it taxing for me. So I decided getting myself a Graduate degree in Public Administration.

I was transferred to Sarangani Province, a 25-minute ride away from our home, and then was moved again to Gensan. Three years of studying the graduate degree and one grueling year for the thesis paper was what took my time the most.

Eventually, I graduated. And I am quite ecstatic about it because I feel that it was all worth it. A new level of learning, new level of personal triumph, a personal challenge I put upon myself and I survived.

Now I am thinking of trying out the post graduate entrance exam. Another shot at another level. I am doing this as a challenge to myself, to try harder in achieving different levels of personal improvement.

And I thank my family, my husband and my children. They are the wind beneath my wings.

Thursday, March 10

At a Loss with a Pyramid

I used to have the husband by my kids' side in terms of assignments most especially in Math. If there is someone they should call when it comes to graphical requirements and computer works, they call upon their Daddy to assist them. And now, that one moment has come when I needed someone to do the hard stuff for the kids, and I have no one but myself to do it.
I must admit, since he left for work, I have had a few worries. That includes the task of refilling the water dispenser, fixing plumbing works and electrical wires and a few tasks only a strong man could do, (I'm such a weakling, aside from having backbone problems".
So for the last few requirements in school, my daughter was required to create a 3D image of a pyramid. When I learned about what the teacher wanted, I was not happy at all and was out of bounds on how to do it, in fact, it kind of scared me a wee bit. 

But I immediately turned to Facebook where most guy friends were online. With the help of Google and friends who sent me instructions on how I could make an equilateral triangle as perfect as possible, 

And lo and behold, with some use of creativity I have in mind, our pyramid was made a reality. It may not be perfect but I like it the way it is. I just hope this could pass the daughter's teacher's standards. 

Monday, March 7

Generation Gap in a Bamboo Concert

Forgive me if this blog seemed ignored for like a century already. I have been so busy with so many things work-related plus the thesis and kids and house chores that need attending to. 

But seriously, there are a just a lot of things I have to be thankful for, like having wonderful children who help me cook breakfast in the morning, and a daughter who, while there may be tantrums at times, keeps me sane as she joins me in bed while her father is away for work.

So, children. I have a 15-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter and I am almost but not quite my forties.

I have been very eager to watch Bamboo In Demand Concert here in Gensan because as many would actually know, I am such a fangirl of Rivermaya, a 90's band with Bamboo as the vocalist in their most famed years. 

Came Saturday, and I tagged the kids along with the hope that they get to enjoy Bamboo because they see him as a judge in The Voice, a singing competition aired over the TV on weekends. 

The concert started with a DJ mixing songs, just like the ones you see when in disco houses or bars as this generation calls it. And then, a front act with a few songs was rendered by Jason Dy, Bamboo's protege in The Voice. While all these things happen, amidst the noise of the music and the blinding lights, my kids were silent. My daughter was on her phone playing Minecraft and my son was hooked to his phone watching episodes of The Office which he saved into his gadget. It felt like I was alone, without a companion. I was asking them if they even enjoyed just a wee bit but the answer was a respectful nod, just that. It's a good thing, we were with a few friends who can relate to my fangirl mode that night.

The generation gap was quite evident in that setting. I believe that they were not able to enjoy the things I liked most because they could not even name a song that Bambo sang. It was all songs that touched my heart while I was in my teens, and not of their generation. Had it been Justin Bieber, I am guessing their hearts could be all screaming at his name and their voices out singing his songs. 

I still believe that it was a good weekend with the kids. It was their first time to see a rock concert that their Mom had enjoyed so much. It was a chance to meet their Mom twenty years ago. Well now, at least they knew it was originally Bamboo who sang Hinahanap-hanap Kita and not Daniel Padilla.  

Saturday, October 31

All These Zapped My Energy

While I may look okay in my status posts in Facebook and other social media accounts, I have been secretly dealing with unexplainable emotions, most of which are attributable to a period of adjustment with this Long-Distance Relationship I have just entered into.

For quite a long time, the 15 years we have had together with the husband has made me feel secure in his arms, every day, every night that we are together, even those times that I am out for seminars and official travels, and he with the same. 

It has been revealed in my previous post that he will be away for work, and I have not really grasped the idea, until the following days without his presence near me and the kids. It looked as though things have not been falling into place, and that my days are incomplete. 

The excitement that I felt for him with his new work settled in less than two weeks or so, and was replaced with sorrow and worries. At first, I was elated at the fact that he will be joining a new workplace, this time more secure, and I am happy that what he has been quietly looking for has been granted him. I know for a fact that he has been searching for himself and that he is in need of personal fulfillment just like what I found when I got in the position where I am now. It feels really good to have a career that will embrace you and will call you as its own, minus the contracts that need to be renewed annually.

My bloated pride has suddenly been replaced with worry just by looking at the his pictures of the small cramped bedroom he is sharing with four other bedspacers. Panic sank in me just wondering if he is eating properly, and what foods does he eat with the soaring prices Manila does offer. And what feeling washed over me knowing he is traversing Intramuros back and forth from his workplace to his boarding house daily (almost 3 kilometers) because the price of padyak is way too high to squeeze into his budget. 

Moreover, I am scared that with his knowledge and expertise with his new work assignment, his bosses will see him as an asset and will not allow him for a transfer to someplace near his family. My trust in him has not been tarnished but I wonder what kind of friends will he entertain and will they be the kind of friends I would like him to mingle with. 

I think I am overthinking. Way overboard. 

Add to this scenario the fact that I have been sleeping on my thesis which is supposed to be submitted by the end of November, and which should be defended by first of December. 

Plus the kids, the dogs, and this abnormally high BP.

The fact that work has been a constant duel, and laundry is a consistent weekend enemy. That and many more, I wonder if I could get away with all these, and emerge beautifully successful. 

Again, I think I am overthinking. So help me God.   

Saturday, September 12

The Long Wait is Over

The Long Wait is finally over. 

We have been waiting and praying for the result of the husband's application at a certain government agency for a year now. It has been a hell of a long wait, if you ask me. It was on July of 2014 that they posted the vacancies on their website, August 6 was the deadline and so the husband was already completing all his documents since then. The first job exam was held on August 31 in Davao City where we both went, and the announcement of who passed that exam was only done on the first day of November, two full months wait. And then there was the second exam which was held in Manila on December 13, an interview was given on December 22. Then nothing. NO updates, nothing. Until months after that they were asking thru SMS whether the husband wanted to pursue his employment at the certain agency. Months of waiting until, on March 3, 2015, they posted the list of recommendees for appointment. We were elated then, just because his name was there.

And after March 3, there was nothing again. No updates, no posting (relative to the result of their application) on their website. We only relied on inside information thanks be to a friend who has a friend inside the bureau.

Then lo and behold, after March 3, just this September 11, last Friday, after 6 months of waiting, there came a text that husband's appointment has already been signed and approved by the Civil Service Commission. And we only have to wait for the website to upload further instructions. 

That was the great wait. 

This long wait may have tested our patience and confidence in the trust that we give our government. Was the bureau intending to really hire the mister or was this only a way to create a hullabaloo among the 400 applicants recommended for appointment.

While we may have prayed and claimed for victory over this matter, it assailed our faith, and tested our patience for a while. It has been a tediously long wait where you have no one to ask, and the bureau's phone may have been intentionally disconnected for our several attempted calls. And finally, that SMS that there was already an approval from the Civil Service Commission and the appointment has already been signed seals our unending gratitude to the God Almighty for it was HIM working HIS ways albeit the long process.

So, we have to wait another short while. And I am preparing myself, because for sure, when they call upon the husband to serve the government, my world will turn upside down for many many reasons. 

Thanks be to GOD for testing us and for making sure that we learn the lesson. GOD's time is always the Perfect Time. Congratulations, RSD, for the good work.

PS. Government name withheld for a good reason. 

Tuesday, August 25

Gensan is a Heavenly Fruit Basket

Southern Mindanao, specifically Gensan, enjoys a bountiful harvest of fruits despite typhoons and very warm weather interchangeably affecting the "BER" months. @ P100 for 3 kilos, these mangosteen fruits are sweet and presents itself as a healthier option for your snacks or desserts. 

Lately, fruit carts and truckful(s) of fruits like rambutan, lanzones and mangosteen have been displaying their produce at national highways in the city. Other fruits including durian and marang also have a different station where you can buy durian at 30-40 per kilo depending on the variety. The best they say is the Golden Puyat variety, some would say it is arancillo, just the same, durian smell has been invading Gensan and neighboring towns.

We are very fortunate to have these fruits at very cheap prices. A healthier way to fill the tummy, we buy more fruits now than junk foods. Better to buy lakatan (table banana) for munching during snacks than fastfood munchies. 

Mangosteen in Gensan is cheap and available everywhere, but cheaper at Kablon Pasalubong Center, beside Greenleaf Hotel. The table bananas (lakatan) are available at the Food Terminal (Bagsakan) @ P14/kilo. Such a steal!

Avocado at 20 per kilo, lanzones at P50 per kilo. Fruits overload in Gensan! 

Saturday, June 6

No Rest for the Weary

That's what you get when you work with the government. 

I have never been too busy in my whole life except these times when I have consistent loads on my table, and I get to bring them home. I find it quite hard to believe that despite these struggles, I could still come up energized, ready and willing to go.

The life of a government employee is being envied by many. Many would desire the position I am in the government, they say it is good because of the stability, the huge enough pay, and the perks that come with it. While all of that may be true, I think I am blessed that I work with the department that I work now that I enjoy and love, but I despise some disadvantages that are attached to it. 

What are these disadvantages? Well, for one, being a government employee entails your time to adjust to the bosses. Your time depends on how fast you can do your reports, and that's when you can finally rest. When the boss calls, you have to answer, not doing so might get you into trouble. 

You need to bring your reports home, in that way, you can fully concentrate with work, because when you are in the office, you have to answer client queries, client meetings, and attend to never ending meetings that start too late and take too long to end. When you are working for the government, most of your Saturdays and Sundays, you tend to spend in the office, because if not, your whole mind keeps reverting to thinking about what you need to do, what is to finish, and to thinking have you reached your targets. 

When you work with the government, just like the nature of my job, you will meet people who will get to complain about what the government has done to them, when they only think about the government only after being entangled in a dilemma. Just like the would-be OFWs, they only remember the department when their passports have been withheld by illegal recruiters. They only remember to call on the government when they are abused, jailed, placed on death row. But did they even think about the government long before they did that? Some of them were even undocumented...and many more have been lost because of them not following the right process.

But those are just my concerns, nothing really significant, no big deal. 

Sometimes it's sad, that people working for the government do not feel appreciated by their clients. We do our best in order to treat them well, cater to their needs, and yet, even our Saturdays which are meant for families, they tend to take away.

And these bosses who seem mindful only of those closest to them, they promote, but those who do the legworks, they ignore.

No rest for the weary, but well, I have taken this oath, and so shall I remain. 

~ sHenG ~ 

Saturday, April 25

Hottest Summer in Gensan

This meme has been shared all over Facebook, and it speaks clearly and truly about the state of the dry spell hat hit this city. 

As I have heard from the news, the hottest has been a scorching 38.4 and could go as high as 39 to 40. And it's in Gensan. It's as if hell is just around the corner, seriously. 

For some though, it's still a season of enjoying the sun, and with that, people still scamper to the beach if only to experience the cool tide waters. But as for me and my family, the beach is not in our list. Why? Because the hot Gensan sun is too much to bear, and the air is also as humid as any day is. Well, that's it. But more to it than that, I'm up to my neck with workloads, that's why. So the beach is not in our summer list. 

(Let's just keep the busyness part secret from my kids.) 

Hello everyone! I hope it's not as HOT  in your place as it is here.

Monday, February 16

A Visit to the Big City - The Mind Museum Trip

My heart cannot contain the happiness I still feel knowing that I gave my kids a wonderful vacation during my birthday weekend. The travel was booked July of the previous year that's why we had enough time to prepare for the said travel. I had enough time to prepare for funds, itinerary, and schedule of where we are to go and a lot more. 

As a Mom, it was a hard thing to do, knowing what to do in Manila during the 3-day visit and where to bring the kids that will excite them, or make them behave. But with the help pf my friends who were in Manila and who have been to the places we have wanted to go, everything was a bliss. They were the ones who helped me decide where to go to, and what not to miss when in Manila. Of course, there's the internet who enticed me and their Dad to visit such places. But there were also places we missed going because of the lack of time, and well, we are remembering to visit such places on our next trip back to Luzon. 
But let me tell you that Manila had an appeal to the kids that never before appealed to me. Probably because of the traffic, the pollution, the crowded streets. h the difference between my generation and theirs. They were not at all concerned at the traffic, the noise, but they were instead happy to be roaming the busy streets of Manila, even how much tired they were with all our walking, they still managed to stay up and about. 

We visited The Mind Museum on the very day we arrived in Manila. We proceeded to Taguig to enjoy the long thing that excited us, Science! Everything in Mind Museum was a scientists escape farm. We had so much with our 3 hour visit even if we had just arrived. We explored every nook of the place, where there are exciting things to do, we did. We jumped at Shadow Boxes, had our hair stand to its end, watched Mad Science Lab activities, walked on piano-like staircases and so much more. We had a chance to watch two 3D shows via the Observatory Dome, and the kids had a chance to dig up fossils. There were so much to see in The Mind Museum. We saw skeleton of a huge dinosaur, and saw how big a whale was. And then, there were these games of seeing people thru night visions, how the first printing machine ever came to be, and a lot more to see.

What I cannot imagine was that, the kids and adults enjoyed it albeit the weariness of the long flight we had. The sparkle in they eyes of my kids were precious. 

The Mind Museum was a place that would bring my kids to talking much when they got back home, and I am sure that stories should be told as per their experience. 

With this experience that we had, I am a happy mother who intends to bring the kids again to another trip should time, health and finances agree with us. We will definitely be taking another trip. To where? That remains to be seen!


Friday, January 30

Mindanao, My Beautiful Mindanao

I was in Grade 5 when my parents decided to transfer to Mindanao, permanently. That was, give and take, 25 years ago. While we had limited opinions as we were yet kids, we were apprehensive of finding our place in Mindanao because of the things we heard back then about the place. 

That there are killings in Mindanao, that the Muslims are known to be abusive people, that we are foreigners to their land, and that it is hard to live there because of the conflicts between Christians and Muslims are just some of the reasons why I and my sisters wouldn't want to welcome the thought that we were leaving peaceful Antique to a land unbeknownst to us.

But it happened. My family moved to Mindanao. Passing through Zamboanga City, we arrived in Koronadal, South Cotabato and it is where I took my 6th Grade and more. It is the land which opened my eyes that what they say about Mindanao is not true. That there is no truth to some lies they say about the land. That Mindanao is beautiful. 

And then I and my family continued to survive, lived through many conflicts in General Santos City and in Koronadal where my parents lived. Until I graduated from college, had a family in General Santos and traveled to Mindanao places where they say could be dangerous but only found the beauty that is Mindanao.    

I have heard so many conflicts arising in my land. And I even experienced the fear of some of these instances. It was in 2005 when a series of bombings happened in the city where I live. I was in Law school when texts about bombs planted all over the city spread. One among those bombs exploded, some dismantled. I remembered how fearful I was to go out the streets of the city. But Mindanao has not been truly affected by all these things, as it continues to bear fruit lessons, tighter friendships, vigilance and wider perspectives to its people. The Maguindanao Massacre, the series of clashes between the government troops and insurgents, and many more, they were experiences that were felt by Mindanaoans, and yet we continue facing life. 

Mindanao is beautiful, very beautiful. Davao, Kidapawan, General Santos City, Zamboanga City, Cagayan de Oro City, Cotabato City, Surigao, Butuan, and many others. These cities including its rural areas are beautiful. Its clean rivers, lakes, falls, and many other tourist attractions are just some of the things that make up a beautiful Mindanao. But I am not saying this just because of tourism in Mindanao. I say this because of its people who are equally beautiful. There may be differences between our beliefs and culture, but we remain friends when we see each other outside. We respect each others' beliefs, and we make sure that we respect each other as a brother. 

I salute the men who fell to protect our country. They died in the line of duty, making themselves sacrificial lambs in the hope to attain peace. But they were slain, fallen. But there could be a reason here, I believe. While some say an all-out-war is needed to pulverize the enemy in order to bring peace, would there be peace, really if that happens? Would it eventually stop the killings, the brutal abuse of the rebels against our men. And I still salute those who, even in this trying times, would still want to continue the pledge that s/he has pronounced in commitment of his duty.

You who say an all-out war is needed do not understand what it is, how it will greatly affect the people of Mindanao, the people of this country in general. You who call out for a war do not understand that there will be children, students, parents, grandmothers, lives who will be at stake. You do not understand that we here in Mindanao will be greatly affected by what you say could turn peace around. You do not understand that Mindanao is wide, very wide, and that when you say there is war in Mindanao, you only refer to a small part of the huge island that is Mindanao. 

We are good here, we are fine. We are indivisible. You might want to qualify what you say about raging Mindanao. Because we here remain a beautiful place. And we do not want war, instead urgent peace. We pray for peace to reign, again in our beautiful land.



Tuesday, January 20

Back to My Roots

My year and a half of stay at the old office  where I was assigned at, were both happy and sad, both a challenge and a struggle. That short stint as focal person of so many programs has been quite a challenge not because of the work it gives me, but more because of the people I deal with and how multiple my tasks were. There has been times when I could not understand what am I to do first because everything is in a hurry. But I was happy, I had to enjoy the work that was assigned to me. I am supposed to enjoy the people that I have to deal with and I have to be polite to them while having to treat my bruised ego and hurting heart.

But the Good Lord answered my cries. I was transferred to another field office where I can just ride the trike and pay a minimal amount, and so I could save more. More to it than that, I am closer to my family. They are only 10 minutes away from where I now work.

This new workplace is very familiar to me despite the changes of management and the people who are now here. Because the management seemed to shuffle us like a deck of cards, we are at a loss of where we will be assigned, but I am back to my roots. This is where I started my employment with the DOLE, and this is where I have learned to deal with the public who are our bosses. I am now back to my roots where I can be at ease, where hopefully no one can spread lies about me, and where people would appreciate the things I do for the good of the agency. 

I am now back to my roots where I will continually love and enjoy the things that are expected of me. I am back to my roots which has shaped me to be a good public servant. I am now at ease here, and I am praying that I can move forward, and others may see my worth. 

And I am hoping I could share my experiences with you on each passing day, as I dwell back to my roots.