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.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Reflections: Homecoming on a rainy weekend

I got two plans for my homecoming over that weekend. First, I wanted to go to the field and work. I have received invitation from a barangay official from Zamboanguita, which is in the news for the recent clashes with the government forces and the New People's Army.

I wrote a special report about it off-site, taking advantage of modern technology and some still active connections in the area. It would have been different if I was really there talking to the evacuees, residents, local officials and some observers.

But I just returned from a sick leave so I decided not to proceed. I also considered my present budget constraints. I have to submit that desire to fate and God's plans. I also tried to secure the office's Cannon digital camera before leaving but indeed it wasn't for me. The charger was missing.

So that left me with the second plan (actually the original), which was to hop in on the newest cafes in Malaybalay; at least two of them, which Chiza and I have not yet tried (together). We were suppose to be there early Saturday night but I arrived past 12 midnight.Poor Cinderillo, the stagecoach has become a pumpkin again.
It was disappointing. Ever figured in a similar situation where you wished you could turn back time?

Anyway, we tried to be flexible. We resolved that "our schedules did not allow us to proceed with that plan.So let's have a new one". So, the next day, we went to Valencia City, 34 kilometers away, to renew our license with our favorite pasta hang out, and if a movie entices us, hop in at Bukidnon's only theater.

But before going there and after scouring for cheap buys from Gaisano and on our way to the UK line along the city's growing commercial district; the unfriendly rain poured in heavily. It kept us stranded in a mall. So we strolled the NVM mall with little choices. We peeked at an "all-US imported" shop in the 3rd level I think, to feed our curious minds.

We didn't find much there, except the proof that globalization and cheap Asian labor duped us.Most of the goods, which I believe were truly imported from the US, were made in China! Oh, I know that's not news at all.

It was cold outside and inside too, where the aircom seemed to have done its job.So we decided to take that pasta treat in Greenwhich. Yes, Bukidnon already has branches of these restaurants. Of course, we could have gone to our favorite place, bracing the rain, donning wet look and expectant of colds, again.

But our foolishness has not yet surged to that level.

Honestly, we enjoyed the combo lasagna and carbonara meals, but perhaps more because we had idle time to kill and chat about anything. The misty sight of the world outside added boost to my feel-great sip of a cup of brewed coffee.Hmm. After three hungry fork catch of pasta and a push of lukewarm water, I paused and proposed to Chiza: "Why don't we try cooking for our next tripper?" (Ooops, what kind of proposal was on your mind? Hehe.)

She smiled and agreed. Yes, we both loved to eat, but both of us also have a lot of work to do in the kitchen department.

It is good to be back in Bukidnon. From time to time, being back makes me feel "I belong". Especially during the rainy season, my trips home are memorable.
It reminds me of my wonderful childhood along the streets of Malaybalay and a small highway village in Don Carlos town, in the south.

I used to play along Malaybalay's sidewalk canals, pushing some paper boats and running after them as they disappear in the culvert.

In Don Carlos, I also did the same, only that I did it in the irrigation canals. Our old house used to stand in a lot exactly where the proposed Capitol building for the dreamy Bukidnon del Sur new province would rise. In my grandparents' place, I feel I will lose those memories once the government building will stand there.

I hope the day they will rob us of those precious remembrances won't come soon.

Anyway, enough of reminiscence.

All things end, including the rain that afternoon.

So we paid our bill, took a multi-cab to the bus terminal and from there took a bus back to Malaybalay. We decided to make the "best out of it" and both agreed to call it a nice 'outing' anyway.

That's before we got stranded in Malaybalay's bus terminal. Well, we just got our wet look and shakers, and that's only for a start.

Good thing Papa fetched his church's pastor to the terminal and saw us. We were in our "basang sisiw" state. As we climbed up their L300, and got a taste of fresh paternal sermon (again), we smiled in agreement.

After a cup of instant coffee and some "What exactly are your plans" chatter, each greeted the cold night with a warm smile. It was one fine day despite the bad weather.

Wew, that was a great weekend. "Thank you," I told Chiza (and other words of affection) as I part for home that night. We agreed and planned to have more of those in the next visit.

"Let's call it a night," I said and sealed it with a kiss.


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