Home > My Mindanao > A MINDANAW TRAVELOGUE

A MINDANAW TRAVELOGUE

February 6th, 2005

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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  1. February 24th, 2005 at 17:26 | #1

    Nice pics men enjoyed them.

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