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My Travel to Northern Mindanao
October 30th, 2008 posted by AJ007 under Alumni Stories, Opinion, Travels. [ Comments: none ]


It was quite an experience to visit Cagayan de Oro City for three (3) days last week. It was a business trip and it was my first. I had to deliver, demo and install our spectrophotometer unit that Del Monte Cagayan de Oro bought from our company.

Cagayan de Oro is so beautiful a place. From the sky, as the plane prepares to land, one could see the inviting topography over the so – called Macajalar Sea.  Approaching Lumbia National Airport, the rock signage saying “Welcome to Cagayan de Oro City, City of Golden Friendship” couldn’t be missed.  Plus the eagle looking bird flying at the tip of the runway when the plane touched had been impressive.

Outside the airport, I was met by our friendly sales parson with a cheerful:  “Welcome to Cagayan de Oro, Dong”

The greetings actually melted my heart.  Suppressing tears, I crisply replied, “thank you…”

To me, it was a sort of being accepted to be addressed to as “Dong.”

Lumbia National Airport, as I realized later was built on top of a mountain.  A taxi ride down town fills your eyes with fresh scenic beauty of the place. But there’s a disruption, an SM mall somewhere down the road, well of course commercialization is inevitable.  Posh subdivision nearby could be noticed with its big entrance gate. After few minutes, we reached town. I got checked in to a small hotel called Demiren Hotel,  aside from our sales person (who acted as my tour guide as well) and the taxi driver, the front desk clerks were the first few people I talked to and they are all amiable, straight to the point and honest. It was already 11:00 am I was given specific instructions by our sales person to rest, take my lunch and be ready to be picked up after an hour.

Lunch has been delicious, fresh fish and squid, grilled delectably with special seasoning served with sauce suited to a Filipino pallet. And you can get it for PhP 65.00, of course that’s minus the hoity – toity hypocrisy of a fine dinning restaurant in Manila. In CDO, your PhP 65 meal is served and eaten in a nice well ventilated and clean place, among the nice people of Cagayan de Oro City. After my meal, I still have time to relax back in my room while watching cable TV. I changed and checked the time.

At about 12 O’ clock, I went to the reception area, the sales person had been waiting for me. Going to Del Monte, we had to cover a long stretch of road. “On your right Dong is the Nestle plant.The Del Monte Cagayan de Oro is a big facility facing the Macajalar Sea. I was nervous, I know for the fact that chemists there are well trained. The stereotype that Cebuano speaking people basically hates Manileño arrogance hit me like reality so I am constrained to check my manners. I really worked hard to remove any sign of being haughty in me.

We were waiting at the gate for a go signal to enter. We’ve already deposited our cell phones at the guard and my heart is killing me with loud palpitations. I was jittery. If the chemist would decide not to buy our product, then I had to haul it back to Manila. If in any way I miss at presenting  any of the important features of our machine, then I’m a cooked goose. If in any case I sound incompetent, then it is all over and done with.

Moment of truth. After a few meters of walk, I found myself inside a nice laboratory, white and surgically clean as a multinational laboratory should be. People are nice too but consumed with work.  These are scientists, no doubt about it and I’m sure, they would not forgive me for merely parroting what was stated in the user manual. 

Just after the smiles, the handshakes and pleasantries came a nice smacking activity

 “AJ, we are dealing with (I can’t tell the specific information, lets just use A and B) wavelengths A and B, can you show us a special feature of your machine that could read through the absorbance and transmittance the said wavelengths.”  Said the Chemist tersely.

Trying hard to muster courage, I said lamely: “Yes ma’am.”

Then I tried. Gosh! What’s happening? There’s no reading. My temple is sweating profusely.  I took out the cuvett and wipe the sides with tissue paper. Put it back in and run the test. Same result. God damn it! God what have I done?  I tried to probe the wavelengths, there was some faint reading in other region, but it was too far from the specified, the valleys and peak are here but not on the specified. It’s all flat. I prayed hard: “God, just let me through this, I’ll belay plans of posting my proof against the TAC EB 1999 – 2000, promise just let me through this…”

Then I realized that it was time to concede and end the pain. I politely told the chemist that there no reading on the said wavelengths A and B. The chemist smiled. I said to myself: “well this is it, She’s just kind enough to pass it off without embarrassing me, thanks God, I swear, I’ll belay the posting of the proof, promise…”

But She said: “Actually, AJ,  yun yung gusto namin, na walang reading dun sa region ng wavelength nay un, dahil pag meron…”

“WHAT?” I said rather triumphant. It was a test

I said a prayer again: “Oh God, you really want me to clear my name and be vindicated. I am gonna post my proof on my second blog when I get back to Manila.”

I went back to my hotel, change into walking attire, and strolled around the City. I found an Internet Café and emailed the result to Manila Office. Then I went on with my walking spree.

They have a place there called Divisoria, but its clean, the Xavier College Ateneo de Cagayan is within the loop, UAAP blog has it that Adamson Falcon Cager Olalia has been scouted from Xavier College. Walking onwards along Trino Bros street is a Plaza and near there is a big church called Saint Agustine Cathedral.

I went inside the Church and notice a nice garden beside it. So I walked over to the Garden and “surprise!” there is another nice view. The mountain ranges of Bukidnon and a river.

The sun was setting so I just stayed there until the sun hid behind the mountains. It was perfect.

That moment, I remember what Tito told me about inner peace, about having loving children. And I remember my own kids. I love the place, I wish they’re there with me. In a place where no one knows me. In a place where my name is not yet smeared by college politics.

I walked again, not knowing where to go, until I’ve decided that I want to eat “batchoy” when I was a small boy in Bacolod I always loved “batchoy.”

Then it was time for bed. I walked back to my hotel room. And chanced upon a nice movie on cinemax, it was “The Company.” It’s about CIA during the 60’s when James Angleton was chief of counter intelligence. It’s nice, packed with emotional script about espionage, betrayal of trust and all that jazz.

The next morning, I had to present our machine before the quality control people and those manning there standards room at Del Monte. It was a breeze, modesty aside, but our machine presented itself.

A taxi ride back to the City had been nice. The taxi driver had been telling me stories about the place. He told me it is the most peaceful place in the whole of Mindanao.  A snatcher caught three times gets executed by vigilantes. I’m impressed. He further told me that even the MILF wouldn’t dare wreck havoc in the place or else they’ll run out of resting places, according to the guy, the Military Intelligence Group (MIG) are in place in the whole City, and they’re more interested in keeping the peace.

The next morning, my CDO visit is over. I tried t o sleep early but I couldn’t. I just lay down on my bed until it was 4 am. I did my usual routine and catch a taxi that will take me to Lumbia National Airport.

Overhead I could hear helicopter engines hovering. It was MG520 attack helicopter. The Radio Mindanao Network announced the ongoing was in North Cotabato just below the slopes.

I took my boarding pass at the airport and waited for my plane. It was late, I noticed the Bronco bombers of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) using the runway.  There are fatigue choppers and MG520 helicopters landing and taking off. It barely stopped due to hard rain but after the rain, the PAF Broncos and choppers took to the air again.

At last my plane arrived. And before I knew it, I was admiring the sky view of Cagayan de Oro again. I saw SM, the Del Monte plant, the Nestle and the City itself, I realized that the City is surrounded by the mountain ranges of Bukidnon hence, Cagayan de Oro, the Valley of Gold.

But it was Good bye.

AJ007 has blogged 7 posts

Your Woman
September 28th, 2007 posted by bondgirl4ever under Bits & Pieces, Opinion, Random Thoughts, Travels. [ Comments: 11 ]

These are some excerpts from Jose Rizal’s letter to his sister Trining during the former’s stay in Heidelberg:

“The German woman is serious, studious, and diligent, and as their clothes do not have plenty of color, and generally they have only three or four, they do not pay much attention to their clothes nor to jewels.´´

“They go everywhere walking so nimbly or faster than men, carrying their books, their baskets, without minding anyone and only their own business. ´´

“…because German women are active and somewhat masculine. They are not afraid of men. They are more concerned with the substance than with appearances. ´´

Let me say that I truly admire a woman who is capable of independence. I might write again my observations in this European country I am in, but let us not tackle about that.. I want to write about women. Women who are called Bitches when they express themselves, when they compete with men, and when they beat men.

I do not think that it is about subduing men or competing with men. I think that it is about self sustenance and liberation to be able to learn, to practice one’s craft, to simply map her own purpose. This might sound like from the Women’s Lib, a reality which we thought already happening. If that is the case, then stop calling me a Bitch.

I might point out the women in my Heimat (fatherland). And the women here where I am staying. It is still customary that a Filipina stays at home, attends to the kids and waits for her husband’s salary, and in between, she will watch noontime shows and telenovelas as her endowed entertainment. Thanks to the so called Women’s Rights, women attend schools and even universities, even being able to pursue Engineering, Law or Medicine. Yet, in between, she will succumb to a man, put on expensive make up and clothes, watch t.v., wait for the man, and daydream. Because, in such education, women are isolated to learn only the theories and praxis of the discipline they choose. Outside the degree and the career, they still need to have those multiple facial creams and they need to stay at home, because she is a wife and a worker (careerwoman). She will still have that fragile emotions and she will still be conscious at what others may say, she will still be conforming and will not have her own disposition over matters.

Where I am staying right now, to which, I might also suggest (but not necessarily impose) to the women in my Heimat, women are considered strong. Rizal has the accurate definition of them which is valid up to now. Women don’t waste time, they, in fact make the most of their time. Women read, a common household bookshelf here is filled with books, no matter if she is the Mechanical Engineer of a metal company or the cashier of a bakery, she collects books of her own interest be it about geography or Ernest Hemingway or marine life. Women indulge themselves into sports, some women even drive to cliffs to cycle, or even climb mountains. During their free time, they study new sports, at 40, they attend arnis lessons or rowing lessons. Women go to museums, opera and cultural festivals, mostly affordable and not expensive during festivals as they are being upholded by the government as well. Women express themselves, they have their opinions and not afraid to be heard out. Women think, they use logic and techniques for convenience, even from cooking, to driving, to mostly anything. They don’ linger long moments in front of the mirror because they want to be punctual. They don’t say, “Pwede na ito´´, they execute things to the best way they can and they expect efficiency also.

Being a woman is not about being a bitch to men, but being a bitch because a woman satisfies herself. And that satisfaction comes from the things we try to discover as humans here on earth who appreciate beauty and art, who use rationality bestowed upon us, who develop ideas and skills for the betterment of our own selves and who have goals to be fulfilled.

Tags: women

bondgirl4ever has blogged 3 posts

Das Gold isn’t always in Englisch
January 31st, 2007 posted by bondgirl4ever under Bits & Pieces, Travels. [ Comments: 2 ]

Bespitzelungvorwürfe which means suspicion or charging with espionage in German is the word which I encountered while watching the news on t.v. regarding the minister of Bavaria being charged of spying a woman for political purposes. Then I told m. (can be Mann which means man, or Monster which also means monster, he’s both anyway) that how come such a word exists, for a beginner of a foreign language like me, it brings apprehension. Then I became fond of that word, when I started my own routine of espionage too, only to unravel m.’s present and active fondness of women. I used to like the German phrase „Ach, Quatsch“ which means „Nonsense“. I’m fascinated with unimportant radical words like when I saw a writing on a wall saying „Abschiebung“ which means deportation or sending away from a country, or „Ihr Pisser“ which means (sort of) „You’re jerks/a.holes“, on a brick wall beside the river bank for people to see. There are also English vandalisms here like when I saw „Fuck Bush“ on a lonely metal stand among the vast meadow.

I’ve been here in Deutschland for a month now, yet I only know how to tell my basic information and ask for another’s basic information, to construct imperative sentences, to identify every article I see, and to describe in a short sentence what has happened which also depends on the verb if I know it auf Deutsch (in German). I once tried to tell our 80- year old neighbor whom I happened to bump into while I was on my way to a salon, that I’m going to einkaufen (buy things/ shop) instead of going to ave a pedicure because until now I don’t know how to precisely say it. Einkaufen is easier, one learns that word even during German 1, the basic language level.

Although I’ve experienced some Germans` (or Eastern Europeans) desperation when they have to tell me something auf Deutsch, in which cases another person’s English knowledge may it be from a stranger or a colleague came to rescue, I’ve also encountered some unelusive language mishaps, like during my first walk alone around Ulm, a drugged looking nomadic woman approached me bumming two euros (around 120 pesos) from me for food. I understood what she’d said auf Deutsch, but trying to sneak out of the tangle, I said, „I only speak Englisch“. Surprisingly she remarked, „Give me two euros for food.“ I searched for one euro into my pocket and handed it to her. Why, because a young teenager being stabbed in the city of Ulm was in the news just a day before that. And it was my first week in Germany. Some Nazi recollections occured to me like in a Pink Floyd video manner. In Manila, five pesos for a nomad is enough, fifty pesos for a desperate druggy is quite lucrative. And news of violence among people is not really new.

And now while I’m typing, MS Word keeps on underlining every English word for error and sparing the German words as it deems them right. Bespitzelungvorwürfe’s not considered, I think Word finds it complicated too. Oh I’ll try Schiedsgerichtsentscheidung, haha, also underlined. By the way, I freshly encountered that word yesterday, caught my attention again, as I find it a worse one also. But I think it’s an important word too, it means arbitration ruling.

I am currently attenting the Volkshochschule for language lessons, although I’m also looking forward to a Master of European Studies in Bonn (in my dreams). I’ve never been in an international classroom before, my classmates are from the places which I only encounter when watching Miss Universe or Miss World, they’re from Venezuela, Macedonia, Croatia, France, Hungary. We all have to communicate in German because only three of us understand English (a Chinese, a French and me), I think it is more helpful for us to learn the language. But when at home, m. speaks to me in Englisch, I want to be compelled to elocute in Deutsch. Time will come when I will understand a recipe at the back of a Maggi soup, when I will understand the movies on t.v. which are not subtitled but dubbed in German, Desperate Housewives just started showing last month, but in German. The Simpsons (Die Simpsons) is also in German. I’ve seen Forrest Gump in full German, „Lauf, Forres, lauf!“ (run, Forrest, run) I never dared to catch a Woody Allen film last night, you should know why.

I have a long way to go to be able to understand the oh so many pages Germans fill out regarding their annual taxation. I still have a couple of levels to be an independent speaker of the language. This country produced great people and relentless innovations, and was able to withstand wars, by just speaking one language.

The sentence which I regularly utter so far is, „Ich komme von den Philippinen.“ (I come from the Philippines.)

Another phrase:

Ich glaub es hackt (I don’t agree with you)

bondgirl4ever has blogged 3 posts


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