The BBGM Hotel and Coffee Shop in Buluan (Maguindanao, Philippines)…by Apolinario Villalobos

The BBGM that looks cool from the highway may just be perceived as just a simple structure but it proves to be a big surprise as one steps inside the hotel that offers bed and breakfast and the coffee shop beside the water refilling station. I consider the four-letters as a pride of Buluan, Maguindanao….

Buluan Lake…smiles and homes on stilts (Buluan, Maguindanao, Philippines)

Buluan Lake…smiles and homes on stilts

by Apolinario Villalobos

 

The lake is a few minutes from the town of Buluan in Maguindanao province in the Philippines.

 

Fascinating Buluan Lake (Buluan, Maguindanao, Philippines)

FASCINATING BULUAN LAKE

(Buluan, Maguindanao)

 

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

My jaunt to Buluan Lake yesterday, December 12,  was decided when a blackout cut short my blogging on the patronal fiesta of President Quirino (Sultan Kudarat). Rather than sit it out for the return of the power to keep me going again, I decided to go somewhere else, despite the scorching heat of the high noon sun. I finally I contracted Dagul who at the time was driving a single “habal-habal” motorbike to bring me to the fish port of Buluan. I was lucky to have been driven by Dagul because I found out that he was familiar with the area as he told me that he used to deliver bamboo poles to clients within the vicinity.

 

On our way to the lake, Dagul was narrating his adventures around the area as far as Tulunan where he met new hospitable friends. He told me about the friendly residents of Maslabing and he was right as those we met along the way, returned the smile I gave them and waved back to me as we drove on along the concrete road that sliced through the African palm plantation. What made me more interested about the area was how the locals are making use of solar panels to light their homes. And, what  caught my attention are the clean yards, some with flowers and shrubs.

 

I knew that we were approaching the lake when I could only see the empty horizon ahead of us. And, when we finally reached our destination, I was surprised by its expanse with portions dotted by colonies of water lily. The homes on stilts brought back memories of Taluksangay in Zamboanga that I visited decades ago. What delighted me were the friendliness of the locals. Every time I asked permission to take their photos and their home, they readily agreed after listening to my explanation that I was promoting Buluan and that I would like to spread the news that their place is nice. I added that during the INAUL FESTIVAL, visitors could visit their place to see the lake and have snacks in their convenient stores or sari-sari store.  I told those who owned small carinderias that they should maintain cleanliness to the best they can so that visitors would come back for more of their deep-fried taruk and tilapia.

 

I found half-finished slim and long bancas in some homes, aside from fish traps and black fish nets. Some resourceful residents cook “binignet” a kind of powdered rice porridge with banana. In another home, I found a mother with her  purple-colored cake to be peddled at the wharf.  I was told that in a few hours the first batch of harvested tilapia would be coming in which could be the reason why I saw styro boxes and obvious traders, regretfully, I could wait for it because I still had two places to visit….but definitely I will be back.

APO….(alay sa Mt. Apo) ni Oscar Mondia

APO….

(Alay sa Mt. Apo)

 

ni Jose Oscar S. Mondia

 

Mahal na Apo, muli ako’y narito upang masilayan

walang kupas mong kagandahan

Ano ba talaga ang meron sa iyo

at maraming nahuhumaling,

pati na mga dayo.

 

Aking sinuyod napakahabang ilog,

masukal na gubat akin ng sinugod,

walang humpay na akyatan

“kalbaryo” ang tawag ng ilan

Marating at makita ka lamang

t’yak pagod ay maiibsan.

 

Mahal na Apo wala kang kasingtulad

kayat pangalagaan natin at di itulad… sa iba,

gubat ay malinis na.

 

Mag-isip kapatid bago ang lahat ay huli na.

Paraiso kang tunay para sa akin,

angking kagandaha’y parang langit na rin.

Kulay luntian ang lahat ng kapaligiran,

iba’t- ibang uri ng halaman

mula kay inang kalikasan.

 

Malawak na damuhan sa gitna ay lawa,

paraisong hardin tanging si Bathala ang may gawa,

mala- yelong hangin iyong malalanghap,

purihin ang Panginoon walang kasing sarap.

 

Pinagmamasdan ka habang nakahiga sa “venado”,

tila natutulog na dyosang nasa harap ko,

mahal na Apo wala kang kasintulad,

napamahal ka na sa akin at mga lumad!

Mula sa Pagko-konduktor, naging Konsehal – COUNCILOR MUNDO M. AYOB

MULA SA PAGKO-KONDUKTOR, NAGING KONSEHAL

…Datu Paglas Municipal Councilor, MUNDO M. AYOB

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Nakakabilib na malamang ang soft-spoken at palangiti na nakita kong kumakain kasama ang pamilya sa isang pastilan ay isa palang Konsehal ng bayan ng Datu Paglas sa Maguindanao. Ang una kong napansin ay ang anak nilang simpleng kumain ng pastil na walang ulam. Sumunod na kumain silang mag-asawa na ang inulam lang ay tortang talong at nilagang itlong. Nalaman ko na lang na konsehal pala ang nakasuot ng kopya na nagpahiwatig na nakarating siya sa Mecca ng sabihin sa akin ng hipag pala niyang may-ari ng pastilan.

 

Lalo akong nagulat nang pagkatiwalaan niya ako ng kuwento ng kanyang buhay na nakaka-inspire. Ayon sa kanyang hipag ay hindi tinapos ni Konsehal Mundo ang kanyang high school dahil nagtrabaho siya bilang konduktor ng mga pampasaherong sasakyang may biyaheng Tacurong-Kabacan. Ang dahilan ng kanyang pagtigil sa pag-aaral at pagkonduktor ay ang dalawang nakababatang kapatid na babae na tinulungan niyang makatapos sa pag-aaral. Bukod sa pagko-konduktor ay nagtanim din siya ng palay sa kalahating ektarya nilang bukid.. Ikinuwento niyang iisa ang ginagamit niyang t-shirt sa pagko-konduktor. Pag-uwi niya sa gabi ay nilalabhan agad niya para maisuot sa umaga kahit medyo basa pa. Dahil sa kanyang pagsisikap ay nakatapos ang kanyang mga kapatid at ngayon ay maganda na ang mga kalagayan sa buhay.

 

Ang asawa ni konsehal Mundo ay si Noria na hindi rin nakapagtapos sa pag-aaral pero bihasa o magaling sa Arabic. Sa kabila niyan, dahil sa pagsisikap ay umasenso sa pag-negosyo. Nagtutulungan silang mag-asawa sa pagpalago ng kanilang mga negosyong dalawang bakery at isang grocery. Pinagmamalaki din ni konsehal Mundo na ang kanilang panadero ay isang Ilonggo na galing pa sa Zamboanga. Ang bunsong anak na si Zam ay tinuturin naman nilang “hajj baby” dahil nabuo siya noong panahong sila ay nag-pilgrimage sa Mecca.

 

Binanggit ni konsehal na nang ikasal ang kanyang anak na babaeng si Surayna sa The Farm, isang high-end na restaurant sa Koronadal ay nai-feature ang okasyon ni Jessica Soho sa kanyang programa sa TV.

 

Inimbita niya akong pumasyal sa kanila sa Datu Paglas nang malaman niyang interesado akong i-blog ang bayan ang mga karatig na mga barangay nito. Siguradong pupunta ako sa kanila dahil nasimulan ko na rin ang pagsulat tungkol sa Buluan na madadaanan papunta sa kanila.

 

Paghinumdum Sang Ako Bata Pa Sadto (Hiligaynon dialect of the Visayans in the Philippines)

Paghinumdum Sang Ako Bata Pa Sadto
ni Maria Cristina A. Villaralvo

 

Sang una pa nga panahon sa akon pagpanumdom, ang akon lang nga handum amo ang manamit nga pagkaon.
Sa kabudlay sang kabuhi sa kaumahan kun diin ako nagdaku kag nagkabuhi, ang dahon dahon sa palibot lagaun lang kag imimi sa kamatis nga may asin kag may kan on nga manami, sampat gid sulbad na ang hiribati sang maubusan nga gahinibi.
Kay kulang ang isa ka baso nga tinig ang sa anom ka kabataan, si nanay hinali nga nagtak ang sang iya nga tinig ang.
Tapos tig ab kag panghugas pinggan, kami tanan nagdinalagan kay si tatay nag abot dun halin sa kaumahan may dala nga turagsoy kag puyo baw kanamit lapwahan.
Mangahoy kami sa kawayanan kag manag ub anay bago maghampang, pag abot sang kahapunanon bago ang bulan magsubang kami tanan sa altar mag atubang ang orasyon paga umpisahan.
Ang kasimple sang amuni nga pangabuhi ang indi ko gid ikambyo sa bulawan nga masiri. Ang kalipay nga akon naambit bisan sa kabudlay sang pangabuhi, basta si tatay, si nanay pirmi ara kun ako nagahibi indi ko gid itandi sa mga mangad nga brilyante akun sa bulawan nga masiri.
Sa pagtapak ko sa bag o nga pinanid sang istorya sang akon kabuhi, pangamuyo ko lang nga ang pamilya nga sa akon ginhatag sang hamili, mapangapinan ko sa mga hitabu nga hinali, kag matipon ko sa isa ka bubong asta ang mga magburugto makakita sang ila pinili man nga pangabuhi.

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The Woman I Know…this is Virgie (for Virgie Paragas-Adonis)

The Woman I Know… this is Virgie

(For Virgie Paragas-Adonis)

By Apolinario B Villalobos

 

 

With boundless desire

to accomplish many things

that others think are impossible,

the woman I know

through impeding hurdles

would just simply breeze through.

Her mother’s strength and loving ways

tempered by her father’s intelligence

and innate golden values –

her overpowering person shows..

 

A woman of fiery temper

and a heart brimming with affection,

the woman I know

always fights for the righteousness

not much for her own

but for others who, though abused

can’t fight back

as guts and  persistence

are what they lack.

 

She is the woman I know,

who, on some occasion

could be furious or let out tears

in a candid show of emotion.

 

She oozes with intelligence

that she would unselfishly share

just like the comfort

of her tender motherly care.

Could there be other women

just like this one I know?       

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BAI HAYVI…nagpatunay na may kasiyahan sa pagtulong sa mga mahal sa buhay

BAI HAYVI…nagpatunay na may kasiyahan

sa pagtulong sa mga mahal sa buhay

ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Panganay si Bai Hayvi Antilino Montaner sa kanilang apat na magkapatid. At sa kagustuhang makatulong sa mga magulang ay nakipagsapalaran sa Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, sa Madina at pinalad namang maging Supervisor sa saloon ng Queen’s Palace. Maganda ang kanyang pinakitang pagganap sa trabahong iniatang sa kanya kaya bawa’t taon sa loob ng anim na kanyang itinagal ay nakakapagbakasyon siya.

 

Isang malaking pagsubok ang dumating sa kanyang buhay habang nasa ibang bansa siya, at ito ay ang pagkamatay ng kanyang ina. Huli na nang malaman niya ang nangyari kaya hindi siya nakauwi bago ito namatay. Mabuti na lamang at kahit papaano, noong buhay pa ito ay palaging nagbibilin sa kanya ang kanyang ina na huwag niyang pabayaan ang kanyang mga kapatid, kaya hindi man siya nakauwi nang ito ay mamatay, ang tagubilin na lamang niya ang nagpawi ng kanyang lungkot at pagdaramdam.

 

Retired na guro ang kanyang ama kaya’t lalo pang pinagsikapan ni Bai Hayvi ang pagtulong sa kanyang mga kapatid, dahil lumilitaw na siya na rin ang umaaktong ama at ina ng kanilang pamilya. Napagsabay niya sa paggastos sa pag-aaral ng kanyang mga kapatid ang pagbili ng bahay sa isang subdivision sa Davao City.

 

Ngayon, ang kanyang ama at mga kapatid ay doon na nakatira samantalang napatapos naman niya ang kapatid na babae ng BS Criminology, ang isang kapatid naman ay kursong HRM, at ang bunsong kapatid ay sa elementary pa.

 

Pinalad si Bai Hayvi na matanggap sa Capitol ng Sultan Kudarat at malaki ang kanyang pasasalamat sa tiwalang ibinigay sa kanya ng gobernador ng probinsiya na si Sultan Pax Mangudadatu. Malaking bagay sa kanya ang pagkakataon dahil hindi na niya kailangan pang magtrabaho sa ibang bansa, lalo pa at retired na ang kanyang ama na gusto niyang maalagaan, pati ang bunsong kapatid.

 

Una kaming nagkita sa facebook si Bai Hayvi nang mabasa niya ang mga blogs ko tungkol sa probinsiya at ang sumunod na pagkakataon ay sa isang okasyon sa provincial Capitol. Kapansin-pansin ang masaya niyang ngiti na hindi nawawala sa kanyang mukha, palatandaan na madali siyang makapalagayang-loob. Oras na ng tanghalian noon subalit abala pa rin siya at kanyang mga kasama sa pag-asikaso ng mga bisita…obvious na ini-enjoy niya ang kanyang trabaho. Inisip ko rin na ang nagbibigay sa kanya ng lakas upang maging masigasig sa trabaho ay ang likas niyang pagmamahal sa kanyang ama at mga kapatid , maliban pa sa tagubilin ng kanyang namayapang ina. At, higit sa lahat, ay nais niyang ipakita na karapat-dapat siya sa ibinigay na pagkakataong makapagtrabahong hindi na lalayo pa sa kanyang pamilya – sa “ama” ng Sultan Kudarat, si Governor Pax Mangudadatu.

 

ON PREPAREDNESS WHEN TRAGEDY OR CALAMITY STRIKES

(The author is a Grade 10 and 15-year old student of the Tacurong National High School. The essay garnered First Prize during the Essay Writing Contest in commemoration of the National Disaster Resilience Month held at the Tacurong Pilot Elementary School on July 3, 2018. Her coach is Ms. Marites Goce.)

 

ON PREPAREDNESS WHEN TRAGEDY OR CALAMITY OCCURS

By Joanna Marie Goloyugo

 

 

Humans are given the gift of life and have very strong survival instinct. The need to preserve life courses down through their mind and body, especially, when faced with life and death situations. The survival instinct pushes to strive their way out of chaos, forcing them to thin, “I need to stay alive”. Unfortunately, this instinctive urge is not enough to save humans from direly threatening situations that result from unforeseen occurrences caused by Mother Nature, as well as, other human beings. In this regard, there is a need for preparedness as it can mitigate or lessen the physical, mental and emotional trauma when a unforeseen events occur.

 

The abrupt occurrences of typhoon, floods, earthquakes and other calamities, leave the Philippines shaken and in complete tatters…shambles…disarray. They create chaos in the affected communities and to be blamed partly is the negligence of man.  The victims leave the world, their cold remains viewed for a lasting memory of their loved ones.  Here’s why….despite all the conducted drills, trainings and seminars, the nation still faces devastating results from calamities and disasters. Lives are lost, properties are destroyed, despite which, the people never learn, making the government re-evaluations useless. Lessons are never learned.

 

The National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) encourages citizens to be prepared for emergency situations. The Republic Act 1-121, NDRRM Act that was implemented on May 2010 has four core functions: Mitigation and Prevention, Preparedness, Response, Rehabilitation and Recovery. They serve as guides in the drills conducted in schools and workplaces, and should also be observed in homes to prepare families for the occurrences that result to huge losses, both in life and property. At the helm of this effort is the Secretary of Department of National Defense (DND), Ricardo Jalad. Its aim is to transform the country’s emergency management system from “Disaster Relief and Response” to “Disaster Risk Reduction”. The aforementioned RA 1-121 repealed the Presidential Decree No. 1566 that was enacted in 1978, the emergency management of which centered only on the hazards and impacts of a disaster or calamity.  On the other hand, the current law provides that the citizens should be prepared for them to know what to do before, during and after an occurrence.

 

Unfortunately, despite the directives from the government, some agencies both private and public do not conduct drills regularly. If they do, the concerned people treat the drill as some kind of a “play”…without seriousness. This attitude practically, makes the objective of the emergency preparedness fly over their head. In some schools, teachers observed that the students do not give much thought of the drill being conducted. Their nonchalance shows that they do not care much about the importance of the drill and its use for any untoward occurrence in the future. Some are observed without seriousness in practicing the ducking which is about the covering of the head with both hands, a simple act which is neglected by many participants.

 

When seminars and orientations are conducted by the agency involved in rescue, disaster prevention and risk management, many students are observed as not paying attention to the resource speakers. They chat with away the time with seatmates, play with their cellphones, or worst, skip such activity that their school has painstakingly arranged for them.

 

Knowledge plays a very important part in a person’s chance for survival. Even a simple rule such as avoiding large or tall objects, trees or buildings due to the possibility of their collapsing, is vital to survival. For this effort, there is a concerted effort among concerned agencies and the schools to make the students aware of the value of disaster preparedness. Along this line, rescue agencies of local governments conduct seminars and trainings in school with the aim of preventing or minimizing the damaging effects on humans and properties.

 

Meanwhile, the acquired knowledge may not be enough as there is always the possibility for panic to strike, especially, during the actual occurrence of an earthquake for instance and horrific car crash or accident as they make the mind blank which hinders the chances of survival. To quote Laurence Gonzales, the author of the bestselling book, “Deep Survival”, he said, “It’s been proven that if you put someone under pressure, he can’t solve simple mathematical equations or recall a sequence of words.” He added that, “In effect, losing your cool makes you stupid. That’s an oversimplification but emotions and reason work together like a seesaw. The higher emotion a person feels, the lower becomes his ability to reason. But reason is what’s going to get you out of trouble.”

 

There have been many instances where people know what to do but their emotion becomes unstable and because of extreme pressure and fear, they fail to adapt to the situation at hand. In the case of the well-known tragedy, the sinking of the Titanic, a survivor stated that when the water began to fill the ship, the passengers went into frenzy, jumped out of the window right into the cold ocean…others grabbed a hold to overloaded lifeboats which almost capsize while others just stood still, shocked. As mentioned earlier, though man has the innate survival instinct like animals, but when caught in perilous moment, some chose to stand still like a deer staring at the headlights of an oncoming car, practically waiting to be bumped.

 

Laurence Gonzalez spent three and a half decades studying survivors’ stories, taking note who have lived or died and reasons why. Finally, he concluded that, “Personality, emotions, attitude and how well a person can cope to adversity have much more to do in survival than any type of equipment.”

 

To be mentally and emotionally prepared is a very crucial factor in survival. This reminder has been repeatedly mentioned in seminars, trainings, and drills – a statement that holds the key to the gate of survival, summarized in two words, “Don’t Panic”. As aforementioned, it is essentially important to stay collected and calm during chaotic times so that the brains can function properly which includes avoiding careless mistakes or reckless actions which are usually spurred on by the heat of the moment.

 

LDS psychologist, Dr. Ella Gourgouris, one of the leading experts in Traumatic Stress Response stated, “One of the best ways to get the mind to perform under pressure is to physically practice beforehand. Dr. Terry Lyles, a fellow psychologist under the same department as Dr. Gourgouris also added, “The more prepared you are, the panicked you are going to be when things go wrong. But you have to practice it…it is not enough just to know it.”

 

The DRRM applies the preparations through seminars ad trainings conducted by agencies, among which are the Red Cross and the Junior Emergency Response Team (JERT) member using scenarios where in which a disaster has hit a community and capable residents apply first aid to the injured. Such activity could create a prepared mindset which is very necessary. In schools, frequent drills and trainings could also create a prepared mindset such that when the alarm is sounded throughout the campus, students are supposed to immediately go to the designated evacuation area with the teachers doing headcounts to make sure that none is missing.

 

It is suggested that for a better observation of behavior in a threatening situation, unannounced or surprised drills should be conducted with the alarm sounded without prior notice to anyone except the top management of an establishment or institution, for instance. That way, those affected can be observed if they instinctively do the ducking properly, aside from protective acts. After the event, analysis of what have been observed can be made and corrections can be made as necessary. The affected should be made to feel the fear and the accompanying adrenalin rush, aside from the pressure and panic which can be made as basis in the evaluation based on which guidelines on how they could remain calm and cool during adversities could be made, thereby, avoiding eventual death.

 

Being alive is the most wonderful gift humans have ever received. But staying alive is hard as unexpected events could claim lives as fast as the speed of light. Humans can prevent this by being prepared for any eventuality that does not necessitate being a part of an organization or big group and to be able to help, one need not be a member of a response or rescue team. Know what to do during unfortunate events, hence, having been prepared for these is more than enough to mitigate the nation’s economic losses and human casualties. And, when the unfortunate events occur, institutions and agencies all over the country can proudly exclaim that, “WE ARE PREPARED!”.

JM Adie Goloyugo