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, August 21, 2006


I like to see people celebrating. I want to see celebration everyday, in appropriate magnitude. I love celebrations. God too wants people to celebrate. It is such a big gift. Humanity deserves humanity or even more than that.

Certainly it is a better sight than suffering. Also, much better than fighting in big or small wars – armed or verbal and yet all are pointless.

But I have no fancy for big festivals. It goes for Kadayawan or any big similar festival for that matter. I should say I like to see “unity of people” but not paraded in hordes in the streets for “pride’s sake”. C’mon!

One thing I do not like is probably parading itself. I’m sure parading has its merits. I’m sure it is not a universal tradition for nothing. I will not explain on that.

But for one, I hate to be in the midst of a big, strange crowd. I attempted to cover the “indak-indak” (street dancing), my first time. I got suffocated in the midst of people. It is like imprisonment for me, especially that I went there alone. (I should say I’m coping with a certain level of solitude and that didn’t work well with the multitude of people.) It is not the performers or their performance of course.

Yes I walked through the streets like its mine. My steps responded to the beating of the drums and sound of bugles, as if marching. When the contingent from, I think Kidapawan, invited the public to dance with them, I took the challenge. I’m not new to street dancing (and parties all out). I’ve done more when I was in Iloilo’s Dinagyang, Kalibo’s Ati-atihan, or Bukidnon’s Kaamulan.

Maybe I’m not just into fanciful things. I’m not into putting up shows just to make a statement. Although, it is such a positive statement to celebrate amid difficulties. But if it shows, you don’t have to show it, right? Oooops, that’s my opinion.

Earlier, I went out with friends from Lingkod for events in the Matina Town Square. I had fun, but I think it was because I was with friends. Even if it wasn’t Kadayawan, we would have enjoyed it still.

I would want happiness not just manifested in how loud the drumbeats are or how many people are out in the streets to “have fun”. I like tourism – people should not be strangers to their own place and culture. What I don’t like is to see it highly commercialized.

Someone castigated me for this “highlander” outlook. “That’s where we all are headed to!”, I was told. I disagreed but I did not argue. Unity could be manifested in celebrations like Kadayawan. Good that we can now have celebrations like Kadayawan these days.

But growing concerns hinder these celebrations from becoming appropriate and fitting. To name one of many is the growing number of people who died of summary killings right in this “civilized city”! I was shocked at news of death, especially when people do not know who kills and why the killings.

I hate counting how many people had been slaughtered in Davao's killing fields. But I think there is a need to! I usually frown at newspapers bannering violence, especially discovery of bodies in Davao's remoted places, but they better put it that way than choose to accept it as the norm. Even if Davao has become a killing field, death of any person via summary killing or any means is still news!

If celebrations should go despite that, OK. Life must go on. But the wheels of justice should be moving too! We should be updated about investigations on these deaths. Yes, I like to see celebrations, but if you see these deaths alongside, makes you asked what's the celebrations for?
I heard reports that those killed where criminals anyway. So an erring human being becomes a cheap piece of meat just because he is in conflict with the law?

How's that for a celebration?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because according to your opinion and as well coming from the news that there were a lot of people in Davao being killed in some remote areas that one should wonder if the celebration of such festivity such as Kadayawan should be celebrated with drums and bugles.

If you're wondering regarding in the wheel of justice if it could be expedited then, the answer is tough luck!

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