Author: Tubong Mindanao

activist; organic urban gardener wannabe;

Reminiscence of bygone years

My family lived in a suburban subdivision seven kilometers away from the city. Our house is one of the first houses built by the developer in this particular subdivision more than ten years ago. Back then, it was a wooded area and the climate was cool. Fog descends on us at four o’clock in the afternoon and at past six each mornings on ordinary days. It can get colder during the rainy days. We did not have the need for electrict fans.

At first, we feel so isolated. It seems so far away from the city center. Public transportation is very far and between, thus, I rarely go to the city whenever I came home. I was also discouraged to join in hanging out with my friends at night for want of transportation except on occasions when they offer to bring me home. It clips my social life though I did not mind it so much. I preferred to sleep and rest whenever I was home to make up for many late nights at work and the toll of constant travelling incidental to my work.

My only qualm back then was we’re too far from the market. I love markets especially that ours offer an abundant array of seafoods and fresh vegetables. Another is the absence of mobile telecommunication network. Back then, my phone is already like an appendage to me and very important to my work. It was imperative that I am accessible almost all the time. I had to hang my phone in the window ledge of our house to intercept some signal if I was lucky. It was only in very recent years that I relished being disconnected and going off grid and not freaking out about it.

Over the years, many families settled in the area. A phase 2 was developed. With each house construction, development and expansion, trees were felled and the land was flattened by bulldozers. We were no longer isolated as households increased. Road network were developed. And one day, we were connected to the outside world through the telecommunication network!

Alas! the so much awaited development has arrived. Yet, gone were the foggy mornings and afternoons. No more swaying trees in sync to the rhythm of the wind that used to surround the neighbourhood. In their place are one storey to two storey houses. In fact, electric fans, even air-conditioning units,slowly, have crept into some households. These, especially in houses in more than one lot, where the owners decided to cement their whole place leaving no space even for grasses to grow.

A rich person bought three lots in-front of us and built a mansion, which was rarely lived in. Its only maintained by a caretaker who comes every now and then to tend to the potted plants and clean the place. The owner usually comes once in a month and stays for a couple of days or so.

Most of the residents in our subdivision are from the middle class. Most are government employees, while others are families of migrant workers. On weekdays, the most time with a lot of bustling are in the mornings as workers, parents and students alike prepare to leave for work and school. Then again in the afternoon when people are coming home. Peace and quiet often pervade the neighbourhood. The neighbours also rarely see and talk to each other. I, myself, only knew the neighbours flanking us in the left, right, and rear houses. Beyond them, I only see some faces once in a while when I ride the subdivision’s lone public transport. The driver then gets confused in which block to drop me off as I was rarely home.

While this house was our first as a family, I did not develop affinity with it during the early years we transferred to it. I did not have the feeling of community with others as we only go on with our respective lives.

From the surface, our neighbourhood subdivision looks nice, orderly and peaceful. However, it lacked the warmth and character of a neighbourhood where neighbours commune with another, sharing pains and laughters as a community.

The Journey Begins

This is a revived and migrated blog. I debated whether to focus on certain issues like my take as a Mindanaon to the current happenings in our Mindanao and the country in general. Then I thought of talking about individuals and peoples, their communities and their situation, their efforts in changing and improving their situation in life through individual or collective action.

Lately, I have revived my unrequited love for bonsai and my growing preoccupation with organic food production. And yes, I should mention that orchards and sustainable living have awakened my intense interest that spurred me to action.

So once in a while, musings on these topics will make way through the pages of this blog.

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton


Sa Pagitan ng mga Patlang

Sa pagitan ng mga patlang
May mumunting sundot ng ngiti at tuwa
Habang nakatunghay sa malamig na umaga
Nababalot ng hamog ang kapaligiran
Habang araw ay buong tapang
Nagsaboy ng kanyang init

Kahit hindi gaanong sumisigid sa kaibuturan
Dama ang puno ng pagmamahal at pagpapala
Sa puso ay pumukaw
Nagdudulot ng ngiti sa mga labi
Habang puso at kaluluwa
Pinupunan ng init at pandama

Salamat sa magandang umaga.

Nakahimpil na trein, Schipol, NL
9:16 ng umaga
6 Oktubre 2018


 Hinahanap hanap iyong mga labi at bisig
Hayaang ito ang mangungusap
Sa mga piping saloobin
Di mabigyang laya
Nitong bibig,ngunit kimkim ng dibdib

Hinahanap hanap ang iyong mga haplos at yakap
Upang pawiin mga pagkabalisa
Dulot ng iba’t-ibang alalahanin
Sa tuwina naghatid ng ligalig

Hinahanap iyong mahinahong bulong
Nagpapayapa sa mga sigalot
Sa kaibuturan
Upang mga ito payapain.

Hinahanap. Hinahanap hanap.

24 Agosto 2018
Kutang Bato

Tatag sa gitna ng pighati

Tahimik na muli ang puso
Ang mga lungkot at pagkabalisa
Dahan dahan na rin humupa
Ito’y bukas na muli
Yumakap sa mundong pinili
Kasama mga nilalang
Tinalikuran ng lipunan.
Ang mga agam-agam
Natutulog lamang
Pansamantala nahimbing
Maaring magising
At sa puso’t diwa
Malulungkot muli
Lulubog sa kaibuturan
Ng lungkot at pighati
Maglulunoy  sa kumunoy nito
Hayaang balutin ang kabuuan
At lamunin nito.
Pagkatapos ng unos at ligalig
Sa pagitan ng mga buntong hininga
Huhugot ng tatag at tapang
Sa kaibuturan
At sa mga kasamang mandirigma
Sasagupa muli sa mga pakikibaka.
Kutang Bato

Ode to Mornings

…I listened to the murmurs of early morning
the call to prayers of nearby mosques
the sound of pots and pans clanging
soon the sizzles of garlic and onion
with their enticing smell spiced the air

…and through my window
I see the tell tale signs of the sun
slowly rising up the horizon
majestically claiming its place
bathing the Rio Grande
with its soft warm glow
as if to signal the boatmen
to ferry eager people to start their day

…for a moment, time stood still
then the loud engine of the small boats
cut through the stillness of the water
disturbing its placidity
as its water sluiced through the cluster of water hyacinths
dotting the expanse as if shooing it away

…then everything burst
into a bustle of activity
and so has this soul
with a sleepy but contented smile
burrowed deep into the mundane
rhythm of everyday life.

…Cotabato has awaken to another new day.

20 August 2018
9:10AM, Cotabato City


Nais ko na kumanlong sa iyong mga bisig
Magtago sa magulong mundo
Pansamantalang huhugot ng lakas
Upang sa muling pagbalikwas
Muling matapang at matatag.

11 Agosto 2018