Find us on Google+ Love Mindanao: To Where it all Begun: The Chronicles of Love Mindanao

To Where it all Begun: The Chronicles of Love Mindanao

To write is not my passion, especially topics dealing with technical papers, reports and other documents related to work, who doesn't? I just jot down what is needed for the job and period with exclamation point! But today I decided to write my own blog and share what I have in mind to create a personal journal of the things I have experienced in my so called life on the road. But I have no idea where to start. So I wondered for hours thinking what to write and what to share.

I have been known in the social media giant Facebook as Love Mindanao and so I thought that it's a good start to flare my first entry. First question-Who is Love Mindanao?  Too many things flashed inside my head and even I can’t confine all the thoughts for this username so better yet tell a story.

Mistake vs Option vs Destiny

It all started when I was phoned by my current employer if I was interested working in Surigao del Sur, a province in the eastern side of Mindanao. I have never been to Mindanao and everything I knew from the island were all fed from the influential sources of trimedia. At first, it was a shattering information that the station of the job was in the region  known for kidnapping, insurgencies, Abu Sayaff, and all the things that would make a person decline the offer instantly.

Touched down Bancasi Domestic Airport-Butuan
During that time I just came from a devastating point in my life and I needed diversion. Change of environment would really help me to recover and pick up all the pieces to be whole again. I am a grown up man and no permission needed from my parents so with a snap of my fingers, JOB ACCEPTED.  People thought I was suicidal, and I think I was.

I left my family in Cavite, unaware where I was going. I never felt this kind of nervousness in my entire life but I have this feeling of excitement in my heart. What was  I thinking?

The next thing I know I have landed in Bancasi Airport in Butuan City (BXU). The airport was small, far from the  modern image of NAIA 3.  I can’t turn back now so I called  my boss to pick me up at the airport as what we had agreed. I'd seen his face only once during the quick interview in Manila and the rest were virtually communicated.  I doubted if I would recognize him from the crowd, but at least he's the one who found me. 

That was the very first time I touched down in the soil of  Mindanao, and it was in Butuan City. I have never heard of this place before and I barely seen it on the map of the Philippines. Just like any person who had never been to Mindanao, I was scared to death.  I was thinking that Mindanao would be a little far different from the places I’d been in Luzon and Visayas; that I would see lots of Muslim people on their traditional attire and that people are unfriendly and I would feel very much discriminated from the rest of the population.

But I was wrong and it was an immediate conclusion! The moment I made a face to face conversation with the locals, I felt that they weren't much different at all from the rest of the people I met from where I came from. They were accommodating and friendly. Honest and non-opportunistic people who were busy working for good source of living. I felt I am not a stranger at all. I felt a sudden welcome from the air,  assuring my safety in the new land. Felt  just like "home".

We ate in Mang Inasal near the city proper, locals called it Ciudad. I noticed from the very beginning that everyone speaks Bisaya and Cebuano, the dialects spoken in the area, and I suddenly felt the challenge for the language barrier. Could I really overcome this? But my colleagues told me that everyone can understand Tagalog just inform them ahead to avoid misunderstanding.

So we continue with our travel heading to our “office”, it was already 3:00 in the afternoon. They told me that our quarters will be a little bit far from the city, but I never thought it would be that FARRRRR. We were traveling for six (6) hours and all I could see were trees, broken roads and rice fields and members of the Philippine Army stationed in so many check point areas.

It was already pitch dark when we reached the town of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur. There were only few  houses lit along the road.

Nervousness was pumping inside and my expectation of the working environment dropped beyond imagination as compared with the standard working condition I had before. No fancy buildings, or even nearby restaurants and bars where I could spend a little entertainment for myself.

Turning back was no longer an option!

My mind was playing tricks and soulfully persuading me to think otherwise. How could I love such place that‘s very far from the environment where I was used to live and work? I can’t even speak the dialect and I have the feeling that I would be kidnapped any moment at the very ground where I was standing.

But, what I had was a one way ticket and told myself  to give it a try. I've come  too far now. Chinese colleagues greeted and welcome me inside the office . We had dinner and a little welcome drink. I was very tired and excused my self as I'd like already to rest .

The Moment of Truth!

Hungry pigs and cock-a-doodle-doo of roosters woke me up. My first sunrise in San Miguel. I had my breakfast and sat down with my boss to set the leveling expectations.

My first agenda was to make myself familiar with the environment. And when I say environment, I am referring to the community, the people and their resources. Accompanied by my chinese colleagues, I made my first tour in the area.

Soul Shattering!

During the tour, my body shivered and my eyes glared to tears.My mind was troubled and could not explain what I had just seen.

There was silence all throughout , tongue tied and no words slipped from my mouth. And in that  very moment, I realized it wasn't even part of a dreaming at all. There was a flare of emotion that wishes to explode from the inside and it wasn't sadness..... it was HOPE and my heart just become a "HEART".

On our way home I thought I heard a soft voice whispered at the back of my ears telling me to stay for a while, that my duty is required. Sitting on my temporary table, I was face blanked , thinking and after a few moments,  the ultimate decision came to a resolution!

I am needed  here! I have a duty here! My future and my heart belongs here and that I can be whole again and be the person I wanted to be  for in a place I have been looking for-Mindanao, and living in this land made me love Mindanao and later took me by heart to become LOVE MINDANAO. 

For the first time I was FREE... and the journey begins. So help me God.

The IP Manobo children hungry for learning

Non functional health center for the locals of Sitio Inadan

Timber (falcata) source of livelihood in the area
30km unpaved road connecting San Miguel and Tandag City

Collapsed bridges caused by overflowing of SUBA river


  1. luv reading ur first post dennis "Galing!. happy blogging and welcum to the wide and vast blogsphere:)

    1. thanks jeffrey .. i need that konting pampalakas ng loob... writing isnt really my forte .. but i think it's worth a try ...tingnan na lang natin ...wag lang tamarin . hahhaha:D

  2. Wow. if only im a good writer, i should have my own blog too. hehehehehe Congratulations

  3. Thanks Zetz create one is a good start . am not that good as well , in fact i hate concern is put across my thoughts and share my experiences to everyone, this willalso be a good venue for me to polish my english hehehe :D

  4. This is really great.... you may not be a technical writer but you have the potential for literary writing lalo na sa travel writing... keep writing (:

  5. i was overwhelmed by your blogs... it was really nice knowing mindanao as well... tama ka, puro negative ang alam ng karamihan about mindanao but with your blogs and photos i felt that as if those negative things about mindanao don't really exist... good luck on your new passion, continue to share your passion and congratulations to you... hope that i'll be given the chance to visit the place soon especially the beaches! more power to you...

  6. Wow! So you are new to blogging, welcome!

    You have a good way of telling your stories, as a reader I felt your sincerity. Continue to open the eyes of people on the beauty of Mindanao. I hope more travels and adventures for you.

    Cille =)

  7. Thanks for sharing your story. It can really be difficult to leave a place that you've become so familiar to and to start a new chapter elsewhere. But eventually, it's the little things about the place that will keep you there.

  8. my uncle was ... we are from Samar/Zambales ... but sometimes people from different location appreciate more the strange place where he is transferred ... i call it destiny or maybe it is my "CALLING" - you can make an experiment as well , sometimes we fail to know more the place we lived in and get to know more and love the place totally stranger to us ... maybe in my case this is where i am really destined ..:D

  9. Good to know that someone like you love Mindanao that way.......

  10. others can also love mindanao.. we just have to be wide open to possibilities to explore more this place and give it a chance to prosper . :D

  11. Galing! Akala ko nga rin talaga taga Mindanao ka.. How I wish more and more people from Luzon will change their usual image of Mindanao as a place of war and hatred. Hopefully you're blog will do. Go fellow Mindanaoan! :)

  12. thanks roj ,, i pray that soon there will be more of Love Mindanao in our nation :)