(SLP-PAMANA COVERAGE: DAY 3)
The last day of the tour came, and the project site in Matampay village of Munai town capped it. My sleep the night before is just so relaxing (No kidnap nightmares anymore! Lol) that I was so glad I had hot bath in my 2 days and 2 night in a row. Ma’am Mitz and I also treated our skin with this Megacent Oil (So oldie but well), it felt so good. I planned to purchase one for a few massage sessions at home. Hihi.
Before going to Munai, we dropped at the Pasalubong Center of Lanao del Norte which is just few walks away from MCC Hotel and we purchased a few from the several goods in there. The Alamang sauce made my mother so happy!
After that, we went to municipal hall of Munai for a courtesy call. Mayor Muammar Jhon Maquiling just caught my heartbeat. LOL. Hahahaha. Me and the rest of DSWD buddies, including the ones coming from OPPAP, went fangirling during the photo op. Haha. Lol.
The way to Matampay village was truly a rocky road, not to mention the flooding areas because it was raining at that time. The ride lasted for more than half an hour.
Upon arriving, our face were full of smiles because we were attracted by a very colorful view of tents that turned out to be the venue of the program to be conducted. It made me remember what the SLP Information Officer told us the day before that Munai is already ready and excited for the event. That must be it. It seemed like I saw the true Maranao art in that view. Yes, I love colors.
I also made an interview that almost made me cry. Life in this area vulnerable to armed conflicts is not really easy (The place is the former location of one of the biggest camps of a rebel group) during their hardest times. Truly, it was so tough and scary like listening to their stories make me gasp, tremble and even made my eyes wet. Their livelihood were always affected, like normalization has been so hard to achieve. Their normalized life after the battling is not easy either. They do everything for survival. They had tough life more before assistance like 4Ps and SLP-PAMANA reached them. Their life might not be totally on the above level to these times but the projects helped them to survive. My interviewee was actually crying a bit while talking. Thanks to this SLP Farmers Association President for answering all of my queries that not just made me construct an article to my satisfaction, but has opened my mind to various things.
Honestly, without these exposures, my views could just be on average. Yes, I cover events in the city and rest of the province and learn from them, but it is indeed important to go to the grassroot levels, to the field. I might covered development programs at times like what I have done here in Lanao but behind all these, I discovered what life they have in there and the ones they had before. For some people, it is easy to say that their life is so hard they cannot imagine, but seeing things before your very eyes and listening stories through your very own ears will make you move and do more than your part. Even, these things will move you as it moved me. Riding vehicles running on a bumpy road or walking with my feet feeling the mud or crossing angry rivers which current loves pushing me down, those became nothing when I learned their stories. It made me think that you just have to imagine that what you felt that one moment is what they feel every day of their lives. This is when I more realized that it is important to reach them. It is so sad to learn that it is the first time they have been visited by a government agency and at the same time, the thought made me breath because at least, DSWD has reached them.
It might sound peculiar but we, people, should have to be social workers even once in our lives and extend our hands to some who need us the most (I’m referring not just on people with hard living in Lanao but also to some place). We complain everyday for our slow internet connections and the piling bills every month, that we neglect to think of those people who just want to be connected. For example, most people living in far areas are so afraid of Lanao del Norte that from time to time, officials there have to tell everyone that it is also safe there in their place and people are peace-loving and hospitable. I have to tell you this, places like Munai also have something to offer to their visitors.
I am praying that more government agencies and private groups and entities would come to communities like Matampay and help them in developing their area and enhance livelihood of its people because they are ready to participate and coordinate, just for convergence of peace and development.
Life is amazing though. Their tough experiences, the same to our belief, made them who they area – brave identity that they could always be proud of.
Below are some photos of our trip. The tour is for the documentation of SLP-PAMANA livelihood projects in Lanao del Norte. Thank you DSWD-10 for the invite and BusinessWeek Corporation and Mindanao Daily for allowing me have this travel coverage. Everyone, you can read my SLP-PAMANA news stories on our Mindanao Daily page of businessweekmindanao.com site. Another article will come out next week. Thanks!
During lunch time, we were treated to special foods that could only be found in Lanao del Norte. Some of the food are made only in this town. This is Dodol, a kind of delicacy which tasted like “Biko” to me. I also tasted a certain “Palapa,” a hot and spicy veges-made sort of appetizer. I also brought two glass-full of Palapa to make my family have a hot and spicy food trip. Hahaha! Joke. Kidding aside, a glass-full, by the way, stayed in one corner of our kitchen. Hihi. It is really new to our taste buds.
Again, Lanao Norte is famous for this! Oh crabbbbbs! Then shrimps.
I also asked photo op with these cute babies! Ahhhhhh! Aren’t they cute?!
What makes this mean world beautiful to live in is the smile of these innocent creatures. It represents hope midst impossibilities. Haiz, how wonderful life is.
From the northern,