Twenty-two military trucks from the Eastern Mindanao Command and three dumptrucks from the City Government of Davao transport relief goods to flood-stricken Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City on Friday, December 23. The two cities were hardest hit by a flashflood triggered by Typhoon Sendong on December 17. MindaNews Photo by Ruby Thursday More

The Red Ball Express: 10th ID version

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/23 December) – Playing too much computer games makes some sense, sometimes. When I got a message from Maj. Jacob Obligado, chief of...
Reynor Doluna Sr., 53, shows the picture of his missing son Reynor Jr., who was carried away by rampaging flood waters in the Tumalaong River in Baungon, Bukidnon when typhoon Sendong wrought havoc in Northern Mindanao. MindaNews photo by Walter I. Balane

Kin of missing victims in Baungon torn between searching and grieving

LIBORAN, Baungon, Bukidnon (MindaNews/22 Dec) – Farmer Reynor Doluna, 53, could still not accept that his namesake son is gone. Five days after it...

My Story… Their Story… Our Shared Story

I woke up with a sense of panic when I heard the sudden impact of rampaging flood waters entering our room. I was even more shocked when I saw that it was coming from the airconditioner which was one foot feet from the floor. It was about 12:30 a.m. Immediately I woke up my wife Belle and grabbed my son, Kuya Danni, from his bed. I then ran to the room of my daughters, Ate Gabbi and Sammi, who were still asleep. The water inside the house was already knee-deep but it was rising so fast that all the things on the floor started floating and falling. The kids were shouting and I told them to keep silent.

Unsinkable Pinay in the floods of Iligan City

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/20 December) – We doctors have a knee jerk reaction to disasters: medical mission. So, I joined the Iligan Medical Society and...

We’ll miss you, Bapa Butch

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – We fondly call him as “Bapa Butch.” Many NGO workers across Southwestern Mindanao would mourn his passing. He died...
"FULL BODY EXPOSURE". Lolong, the world's largest crocodile in captivity, at 20 feet and 3 inches long. Viewing fee on regular days is P20 for adults and P15 for children but double that price on "special day" when the water in Lolong's pen is at its minimal, and visitors can see Lolong's "full body exposure" at the Bunawan Eco-park in Barangay Consuelo, Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. MindaNews photo by Toto Lozano

Lolong: the second most famous Mindanawon (after Manny Pacquiao)

CONSUELO, Bunawan, Agusan del  Sur  (MindaNews/15 November)  -- At the entrance to the  eco-park where the 20.3 feet long Lolong, the world’s largest crocodile,...
Students at the peak of Mt. Apo in the Kidapawan side pose for a souvenir shot in this file photo taken April 2009. MindaNews photo by Bobby Timonera

OctoTrek: Sembreak at 10 degrees Celsius up Mt. Apo

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/30 Sept) – While many mountaineers and nature lovers prefer to take an adventure trek up the country’s highest peak during summer,...
Rolled Tinagtag which comes in a plastic packaging are sold at restaurants and bus terminals in North Cotabato Province. Maguindanaons often send it to their relatives abroad. Mindanews Photo by Ruby Thursday More

North Cotabato: Flavors of the road

While landmarks could be most common travel guide, the native delicacies sold in terminals and even along the highways could also tell you where...

Hooded bad guys from Hell

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/14 July) – And so it happened: my mom’s nightmare – me getting in trouble in the wee hours. At about 3:30 a.m....
Bukidnon Datu Dumapal inspects a newly acquired electric coffee grinder. Coffee, a traditional crop, has become a source of income for many Lumad farmers. MindaNews photo by H. Marcos C. Mordeno

Traditional farming practices of the Bukidnon tribe

This article looks like just a collection of the practical aspects of Bukidnon life. There is a deeper significance, however, to be observed in many of these practices. These, too, are part of their culture, connected to it through construction of meanings that incorporate them into the greater whole. These traditional practices make use of the resources that spring from the land. Practicing them allows the cultural meanings attached to them to deepen the tribe’s connection to their ancestral domain.
HITCHHIKERS. Teachers wait for vehicles to give them a free ride on their way home from Davao City’s far-flung barangays, like those in Marilog District in the mountains. These teachers hope to hitchhike everyday to save on transportation expenses, which could cost them P100 roundtrip. MindaNews Photo by Ruby Thursday More

The hitchhiking teachers of Marilog District

MARILOG DISTRICT, Davao City (MindaNews/6 June) – Who says backpackers are the only good hitchhikers? Count the teachers assigned in this district who may have mastered the art of hitchhiking after all these years. Public school teacher Marilyn Camarillo wakes up at 4 a.m. everyday to prepare her packed lunch, which she would bring to school. Camarillo, who lives in barangay Maa, has to take a jeepney going to Ulas junction as early as 6 a.m. because she needs to catch the 7:30 a.m. flag ceremony at the Sto. Niño Elementary School at Barangay Datu Salumay in this district.

A Summer with Gawad Kalinga

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/01 June) -- For the average teenager, life revolves around Facebook, parties, and relationships. The biggest problem he’s faced might have been about winning over that girl in Psychology class, or perhaps about convincing his parents to give him an extra P500. He might have stepped out of Jollibee, stomach full, arms heavy with pasalubong, to be swarmed by street kids reaching for his food.

The evolution of mindanews.com

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/25 May) – Ten years ago, this four-letter abbreviation called HTML was alien to me. It stands for hypertext markup language, which...
PANTUKAN, Compostela Valley - A habal-habal negotiates the road to Sitio Panganason-B in Barangay Kingking, Pantukan town in Compostela Valley province, site of the April 22 mine disaster that left 14 persons dead and nine others missing. MindaNews photo by Ruby Thursday More.

In Pantukan, both the living and the dead ride the habal-habal

PANTUKAN, Compostela Valley (MindaNews/03 May) -- In some towns of Mindanao, the sight of motorcycles is a sure sign that some of its remote...

Bislig forests: besieged, beleaguered but there is hope

BISLIG, Surigao del Sur (MindaNews/23 April) – Ever since we joined the Wild Bird Club over five years ago, we have always been advised to visit Bislig forests before they finally disappear from the face of the earth and soon. There were gory tales of trees capriciously cut down by settlers and loggers, of kids as old as 10 wielding chainsaws, of murders and killings of those who got in the way of these malefactors.

ARTS AND CULTURE: The endangered indigenous healer

There is always something very appealing about an art work which is a labor of love! This is especially so, if it happens to be the artist's first major production. One can tell that such artists invest their soul into their first creative production. Consequently, the appreciative viewer responds favorably to the artists' assertion of a soul seeking to express deep longings and aspirations even as they take the risk to be vilified and damned for over-estimating their gifts.

Kaamulan street dance tilt showcases harmony among Lumads, settlers

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/05 March) – Sounds of wooden and bamboo drums and gongs pervaded the air even before daybreak today with the sound of Pinikpikan’s Kaamulan in the background.

Surit-surit and other stories: Mindanao on the eve of EDSA

MALAYBALAY CITY -- As the bus approached a village in Salay, a town in the eastern side of Misamis Oriental, it slowed down to a stop beside a military checkpoint that leaned against a craggy slope. A soldier clambered aboard and shouted, “Tanang lalaki naug” (All males go down). He then inspected the passengers’ baggage presumably in search of firearms. Below the other soldiers frisked the males and randomly asked for cedula (residence certificate) and other identification documents.

THAT WE MAY REMEMBER Free again but…

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/23 February) -- I was released from prison in March 1985 after 22 months of detention. But long before I regained my...

Rebs savor weeklong lull in war

PAQUIBATO DISTRICT, Davao City (MindaNews/22 February) – It’s a sunny day and Ka Ruben, a New People’s Army guerrilla, turned the dial of his portable radio to scan for FM stations. He stopped turning the dial upon hearing “Carrie,” a hit song of Swedish band Europe, and started to sharpen his bolo beside his hammock underneath the young ipil-ipil trees.

The spirits, flora, fauna thrive in Mount Kitanglad

MOUNT KITANGLAD, BUKIDNON - A peso coin drenched in chicken blood is the welcome offered to visitors to this mountain, which soars 2,899 meters over the city of Malaybalay, and the towns of Lantapan, Libona, Impasug-ong, Sumilao, Manolo Fortich, Baungon and Talakag. "This will serve as your identification," says Bae Inatlawan as she hands over the bloody coin, "so that the spirits will allow you to enter."

Leisure and lessons in the western seas

An hour more before midday, but the Pacific sun was already prickly hot, maybe because Mindanao had entered the peak of its chronic climatic...

Feeling the 'Pasko Fiesta sa Dabaw' Air at People's Park

Davaoenos can't help but appreciate what the city turns to during Christmas. Malls come up with unique themes to go with the spirit. Restaurants offer Christmas discounts on their meals to give foodies an excuse to indulge this time of the year. Establishments such as hotels and offices shine with Christmas lights and decors. And of course, stores are filled with what could be possible gifts - for others or for the shoppers themselves. These treats (and more) make Christmas in Davao wonderful.

Bukidnon-Agusan Sur highway: progress for some, death for others

CLAVERIA, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews/16 Nov) -- The tale is same throughout the remaining tropical forest. Bulldozers and other earth-moving equipment are tearing down the...

Talaandigs celebrate life; dance to the beat of the drums

The tribe's art is everywhere in the Talaandig village in Songco. It is in their music, paintings, inside their houses and even on their doors. Children learn to beat the drums as soon as their hands can reach thecowhide canvases and Talaandig grandmothers see to it that this tradition is passed on by teaching the children how to dance to the beat of the drums.

The story behind the Indigenous Peoples' Sunday by Karl M. Gaspar, CSsR

In terms of numerology, the three tens placed side by side look quite impressive. 10 October 2010. That is what these three tens are all about: the second Sunday of October this year. For the Catholic Church in the Philippines, this is the celebration of the Indigenous Peoples or IP Sunday. On this day, priests are expected to give homilies and invited IPs provide commentaries on the sad plight of the IPs as well as encourage Christian lowlanders to express their solidarity with the IPs' struggle for self-determination.

Bakwits learn the craft of mat weaving early

DATU SALIBO, Maguindanao (MindaNews/8 Sept) – At  eight years old,  Sandra Tahir, whose family once evacuated because of clashes between Moro rebels and the...

Women’s group making money from water hyacinths in the Liguasan Marsh

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 Aug) – While water hyacinths are being blamed for clogging and flooding some areas near the Liguasan Marsh, a women’s group...

CARPER a year after: Bukidnon farmers still struggling to own lands

Roel Panuga is so excited that he wished the red bus he was riding to Barangay Kuya, Maramag town, has a pair of wings and can fly. The 36-year-old leader of the Danggawan Landless Farmers Association had just come from a meeting in nearby Malaybalay City and wanted to tell his fellow farmers the good news. At the meeting, officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform told Panuga that they have rejected the final legal impediment over the 100-hectare Ocaya ranch owned by the late Bukidnon Governor Timoteo Ocaya in Barangay Kuya, Maramag town.

This habal-habal driver is also a farmer

Berdan Medes, a “habal-habal” (motorcycle for hire) driver put a cap on his head and tied a raincoat to the rear of his vehicle as he prepared to take passengers rain or shine to any of Valencia’s 20 interior barangays where close to 200 habal habal drivers like him are “king of the road.”

The flower vendor under an old umbrella

A housewife was once enticed by a neighbor who could sell “Baby’s Breath” flowers grown on her backyard. She was amazed at the earnings that can be had by tending a small flower garden.

Bahrain PM oks Bukidnon teacher’s request; sends computers to students

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/19 June) --  She wanted her students at the Bukidnon National High School (BNHS) to experience using multi-media tools in their language...

The bolo merchants of Kibalabag

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/18 June) - Merlita and her daughter Joylet Luis have children to rear back home. But in most days of the week,...

Yes, Flores de Mayo lives on

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/17 May) -- Young children sprinkle petals on the isle while walking all the way to the altar not to litter but to honor Mama Mary.

It is the month of flowers once again and children are in the chapels for the traditional Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May), a month-long Catholic festival introduced by the Spaniards as a tribute to the Virgin Mary.

Marawi celebrates 28th year as chartered city

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/17 April) - Sultans, swords , streamers. Where East meets West, visiting Marawi City in central Mindanao is like having a blast in the past. Women walk the streets in their colorful malongs. Kids singing hiphop converge in karaoke bars.

FEATURE: Epiphanies on the road to ‘Someplace Else’: Journeys into the Thailand-Burma border

"I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over - a burning desire to go, to move, to get under way, anyplace, away from any here."
               - John Steinbeck in "The Urge to be Someplace Else"

And so it was that I found myself one cold December morning riding at the back of an open pickup truck, the wind on my face, up through the misty mountain trails of Mae Hong Son at the Thai-Burmese border. There we were all seated on a mat spread across the floor of the truck, shivering at every burst of moist wind that got chillier as we climbed our way up the slopes. To shield my face from the cold, I draped it with a shawl that I kept holding on tightly lest it gets blown about by the wind. Yet, after a while, I decided to let go of it gladly, no matter how biting the cold was, and let myself be swept in by the wind and sunshine, and the stirring beauty of mist and green.

The “little paper with a big cause” is 60 years old

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/09 February) -- It was the brainchild of two great missionaries- Fr. Gerard Mongeau, OMI and Fr. Cuthbert Billman, OMI. Fr. Mongeau fathered it and Fr. Billman named it, "The Mindanao Cross, a little paper with a big cause." This motto has described the paper ever since it emerged from a donated printing press and began to hit the streets 60 years ago on February 6, 1948.

Cuartel de Tacurong on the eastern end of the plaza

As one enters the City of Tacurong, one can see the simplicity of life in a striving community of about 100,000 souls. Rising from the stereotype portrayed by national and foreign media for many years that it is a very risky place to stay in, visit or do business due to the past reported bombings and other acts of criminality and terrorism, its people are not only resilient but truly resisted the idea of relocating to other “safer” places as an act of defiance to these conscienceless and soulless monsters.

PROFILE: Agapito “Pete” Lubaton: more than just a teacher

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/19 November) -- It all started with a simple dream. A young boy many years ago dreamt of becoming a teacher and he did become one.

Today, Agapito “Pete” Lubaton, 47, is more than just a teacher. He is also co-owner and administrator of the Marbel Institute of Technical College (MITC), one of the fastest-growing and most promising technical-vocational institutions in Southwestern Mindanao.

PROFILE: Sarangani’s gov and vice gov: a common passion to serve

SARANGANI (MindaNews/04 November) -- Theirs is a partnership driven not only by expediency but also bonded by familiar background and common passion to serve. 

While they don’t necessarily bring laughter and humor like Laurel and Hardy and breath the gung-ho spirit of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or the swashbuckling crime busting duo act of the ‘70s television hit Miami Vice, Sarangani’s one-two punch in Governor Miguel Rene Dominguez and Vice Governor Steve Solon is just the right mix of youthful and exuberant leadership this southern most province southeast of Mindanao needs to close the first decade of the new millennium. 

The bishop-farmer campaigns for organic farming, sustainable agriculture

DIPOLOG CITY (MindaNews/25 October) -- "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Or so the Chinese proverb says.

But for Dipolog Bishop Jose R. Manguiran, 71, "that's obsolete now.” For the Bishop, it should be updated to something like: "Don't just teach him how to fish; teach him how to take care of the seas and the environment."

Reigning over the Philippine Army: Will Yano succeed where others failed?

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 August) – When Mindanao-born Lt. Gen. Alexander B. Yano took over the command of the country’s largest armed forces unit, the Philippine Army, he inherited a military force that has long been viewed as corrupt, inefficient and highly-politicized.

24-year old Grade 1 student wants to be a lawyer

MAITUM, Sarangani  (Sarangani Information Office/25 August) – “Kasi mahirap talaga ang pobre” (Because it’s really difficult to be poor).

This sums up what motivated Tom Balatac, 24, to enroll in Grade I this year. 

FEATURE: Making machetes down Ma-a Road: a family heritage

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 February) -- Travel down Ma-a Road here and you will find a small foundry that time and technology have forgotten.