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.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Reflections: On traveling for home and work; dreams and more dreams

Since July 2004, I had been traveling in between Davao and Malaybalay City. Davao for work, Bukidnon for home. It's a land trip by a stretch of around 160 kilometers. This is my routine every other weekend. I go home on a Saturday after noon and come back early morning of Monday.

This is truly a stressful practice. I travel five long hours, one way, or 10 hours for the whole trip. I really wish there is work in Bukidnon which I think I will love doing. My other wish is that, well, I hope my work will be transferred to my home province. *I know this is dreaming. But, whose not a dreamer anyway?* Among the things I'm thankful of, its actually the gift of dreaming amid cynicism that I'm much grateful right now.

I really love working in Bukidnon. As I writer, I would love writing for the place called home. But don't get me wrong. I already belong to MindaNews, our news organization and hopefully along the way, we'll find a way to balance the equation.

Anyway, my only consolation is that (rather, among many consolations) I get to know Mindanao as a whole, including of course Bukidnon. And, of course, I get to do and work with the people I love to work with.

Anyway, back to these trips. I always look forward to travel by bus from Davao to Bukidnon and vice versa. As I told some of my friends, the bus ride is a solace. I feel good going this way, especially that Buda (Bukidnon Davao road) is now traveler-friendly.

I have valid reasons to say so. To look at those green sceneries along the way gives a soothing effect to my being. Hearing the simple stories and conversations of passengers (yes I'm an eavesdropper) is also engaging and revealing in many ways.

I like hearing stories from farmers, teachers and traders plying the route by bus. Like them, I think they also are displaced trying to reconcile between work and a decent space for hapiness at home.

The Mindanao countryside that you could see along Buda is also beautiful. Well, if you want to refute me, try passing that way first especially in the afternoon where at one point you'll see colors emanated from the sun's interaction with natures' hues.

I'm really a proud traveler. I will tell you that one reason I don't really mind these trips is because of the beautiful sceneries I could feast on. No, they are not postcard-type sceneries. They are simply beautiful. Also, they offer me solace and save me from anti-stress tablets. But with or without me, they are beautiful anyway. hehe.

Sometimes, though, I miss my schedule and end with a messed trip. Could you imagine what sorts of mess these are? Well, I travel at night when there is no scenery to see at all except your distorted reflection at the glass window of a crowded, if not lonely bus.

Since I don't travel Mabuhay (air con) most of the time, it is really bloody hot inside (They close all windows, otherwise it would be such a windy and cold trip too). I could not breath well also. Imagine the body odors of the rest of the passengers clogging your nose? At times, I think I'm being punished: try sitting near a person who smiles at one point and throws out at the next. How does it feel? Go figure.

One time, someone exploded foul air and then excreted fecal substances to the astonishment of all.

But despite these, I still love going home on Saturdays, day or night and of course still love going back to work on Mondays.

I really love going home and going back to work, even if I travel like this. Well, that's the only way for me to bridge my status and my dreams, a future which I envision to be far better.

I'll share this here for the first time: I really want to be a farmer. Someone who plants and nurses the food that he needs and sells to others what ever is extra. I also want to be a good cook! (for the past 15 years I had been satisfied with the fact that I only want to eat good food). And I want to do this side by side as a journalist, or at least a writer, a teacher or trainer and as a fulltime and lifetime student. Actually, I love to see seeing myself being able to do many things so I could also share many to others.

Tell me, is it possible? Is there anything in store for me out there?

"God listens, hears, knows, plans and gives. He is a present and loving God," said the text message I received just before pressing the "Publish Post" button. What else can I say.

Lord, let this be my prayer. Amen.


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