Mindanao Mission – Day 1: Hello Mindanao!

My colleagues and I were supposed to meet at exactly 1:00 AM in NAIA Terminal 3. I had to drop by the apartment in Makati to pack my things, but as I had to do chores before doing so, Mon and I found ourselves in Pasay, then to Glorietta, and back to Pasay just to pick up my office laptop. I did my best to pack only the essentials, but as we will be moving from one place to another within a day, I had to bring as many shirts as possible. I also decided to finally buy a new luggage from SM for about Php 1,700 and hopefully it will hold up well.This shot of arrival in NAIA Terminal 3 looks verrrrrrrrrrrrrrry familiar

Sunrise viewed from the plane

We were not to board until 3:45 AM, so the four of us just stopped by a cafe to discuss things for the upcoming week. It was weird walking past by the area where there used to be the immigration officers, and we also did not pay terminal fee because it was already included in our tickets from Cebu Pacific (which, if I may add, was NOT bought on sale for the first time hehehe).

I wish I could have slept the afternoon in Marikina because we would definitely have no time nor place to properly lie down as soon as we reach Davao City. I was able to grab the opportunity to steal some zzz’s in the plane though, and that was the only “long” sleep that sustained me for the day. I woke up with the sun already rising and then we arrived in the airport of Davao City, where we were greeted by a smiling man name Kuya Kurt’z (yes, his name is spelled like that! How cool, no?)

A quick picture outside Cafe Noventa before heading to New Bataan

We drove to McDonald’s to grab breakfast, and then to the office in Davao City. We had a briefing of the operations done in Eastern Mindanao, especially specific areas in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley affected by Typhoon Pablo (International Name: Bopha) in December 2012. We also dropped by our field office in Nabunturan in Compostela Valley to meet our colleagues working there. Before travelling to a beneficiar, we had lunch in a quaint resto named ‘Cafe Noventa‘, where I had a ridiculously delicious beef tapa. Then off we went to the first location: Barangay Andap in New Bataan, Compostela Valley. It was almost a three-hour drive going to the location of the beneficiary we had to interview, but of course, this trip would not be complete without a little mishap:

Not your ordinary bump on the road

Apparently, the strong rains of the previous nights has made the river change its course due to a landslide. The road turned into a river with a strong current and our vehicle was heavy enough to resist the torrential flow. I saw a motorcycle almost fell at the edge and it was not really a pleasant scenario to watch. Anyway, we had to cross the river in batches and we went on with the interview and video taking.

This area used to be a subdivision in Andap, New Bataan

Please click to zoom in

We interviewed a man who has lost eight members of his family during the typhoon in 2012, and it was apparent in his scars how much he has been through. From what I understand, people went to the area above as it was thought to be a safe place for them during the storm, but it did not evade the wrath of the rampaging waters and the whole subdivision got swept away. =( I did not realize that it used to be a subdivision when I first looked at it and thought that it was just a quarry site. I cannot capture in words how depressing the situation was, but at the same time, feel so proud of my colleagues for reaching out to him and helping him get up and rebuild his life from the monstrous experience he had. He is currently running a sari-sari store business by the road, but there still exists a feeling of insecurity in the place whenever a weather disturbance gets reported.

From Andap, New Bataan, we travelled back to our field office in Nabunturan, where we interviewed some of our colleagues about the specific work that they do. We work partnership with various organizations and government offices, works in different capacities to help communities, particularly children, in their needs such as education and food assistance. We are either the implementing partner or the monitoring body to make sure that programs such as basic education for children, addressing food insecurity (e.g. malnutrition of kids) and helping parents secure food on the table. The whole experience struck a chord and made me realize how important my role in bridging the fruition and continuity of these programs, and I couldn’t be more proud and motivated enough to do my part.

Finally in Hillsview Inn

Then the treacherous travel going to the inn commenced. I thought that I have already gotten over my motion sickness through land travel, but apparently it still exists. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason for this dizziness but it can also be due to lack of sleep. The funny thing was I already bought six tablets of Bonamine and I should have taken one earlier.

Decent enough for the price

We arrived in a relatively elevated area, and a huge signboard with “Hillsview Inn” merrily greeted us by the highway. We checked in our room (a twin sharing for Php 850/day) and I couldn’t be more happy to finally have the chance to lie down on a comfortable bed. It was an “OK” no frills place, and it has an en suite bathroom. I also twiddled immediately with the remote to see what was up on TV, and rested until I felt it was time to take a bath. I then quickly ate alone by the canteen/eatery nearby, because I hoped to do some quick editing before hitting the sack. However, I already felt  Mr. Sandman dropping by very early at 9:00 PM and it was impossible to hold it any longer. Tomorrow will be a long day as we will be visiting our office in Trento, Agusan del Sur. We were supposed to visit it earlier but we were already running late. It was an action-filled, first day here in Mindanao and I couldn’t be more happy to be here for the very first time! =D

Around Mindanao - Day 1

1) Davao City, 2) Nabunturan, Compostela Valley, 3) New Bataan, Compostela Valley, and 4) Trento, Agusan del Sur


I am no longer part of CFSI and, of course, any thing I have written here does not reflect the organization’s views (i.e. all of these are my own opinion). However, I highly encourage you to take part in their activities and help them accomplish the work that they do. They really are the most wonderful and genuine people, I can vouch for that! Feel free to browse the “Mindanao Mission” series to look at some of the organization’s activities and some of the places they work in.

For more information, click the link below to help CFSI rebuild lives! 🙂

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