Istambay sa Mindanao

Personal blog of MindaNews' Walter I. Balane. Visit for more news, views and information on Mindanao.

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Location: Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines

I'm Walter Balane. I am a journalist based in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Philippines. I initiated the group called Atong Press ( for press freedom and responsibility and media education in Bukidnon.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Reflections: Blast from the past

That's Jumar, 8, with his makeshift toy car. I met him while doing fieldwork in Sekade, Kumalarang along the long and winding highway of Zamboanga del Sur. He was playing alone in the lonely portion of the road. As I looked at him, I remembered my own day of meeting a stranger in our sleepy village of Sinangguyan in Don Carlos, Bukidnon.

I was probably like Jumar's age. I think he looked better for he did not 'sport' wet nostrils.

My toy? I think it was a young bamboo pole-toy car, about 7-10 feet long with wheels on the other end made from worn rubber sleepers. I was looking at the engineers working on the road pavement project.

Like Jumar, I was curious. Now I couldn't remember what I thought about at that instant. But I'm sure I watched the engineers work. Maybe at one point I asked one of them about a question. Maybe someone answered my question.

After how many years, the road along Don Carlos was paved. I could still remember the scene very well. I thought then that the engineers were really good people. Imagine, they changed our neighborhood by paving the roads. We said good bye to mud during rain and also to dust during dry season. They impressed on me to be "somebody, someday".

Jumar also asked me. "What are you doing?" I spent sometime explaining to him about my work. I also asked him about his toy and his friends. Why did he play with a toy car without wheels? He said his "kuya" will make toy car wheels when he comes back from work.

I was doing a research on the impact of the arrival of the municipal doctor to Kumalarang at that time. That research concerned him too.

At one point I asked him about what he wants to become when he grows up. I gave him some hints. After making a face and a slow bow, he looked at me and smiled. But he did not answer me. He just smiled.

Then he ran towards his friends with his toy car trailing him. I also climbed the owner type jeep our team used then went on. Jumar did not know I mirrored in him a childhood reflection on following my dreams.

I jhope I also left an impression on him to pursue his own dreams.

Not necessarily about roads built in the midst of no-where. His smile is an answer and it bears so much promise. How I wish I know.


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