Metropolis of the Mountains

          Of all the sublime places in Bukidnon, why choose MANOLO FORTICH?

          Fish out your dog-eared Mindanao map and look for it. This municipality, nourished by pineapples and plump with local wonders, is perched on the the northern peak of the Bukidnon highlands. Manolo Fortich is dissected into twenty-three richly forested barangays. Have you seen it? In the map, Manolo Fortich may look vast, as if on the edge of becoming the first city amidst the sierras

          On the outside, where there’s no map you can trust, a young local like me could say that Manolo Fortich is a quaint but well-built town, complete with its own hospital, banks, libraries, bakeries, gyms, recreational spots and schools down to its booming marketplace which noisily operates on steamy Saturday mornings. The only things left to build are a theater and a mall.

          When my kin moved here in 2007, what I saw in its center were dime eateries and rickety, bamboo boards to display fish and meat, a collection of businesses bound by a looming hall whose columns were seriously cracked and fissured.

          For the last two years, under the mayor’s leadership to fulfill the frustrated public, the spider-webbed and dismal halls were scooped away to give birth to a food court and emporiums for wet and dry goods, now hammered with gleaming steel rails and concrete stalls.

          The hiss and belch of machines signify the coming of a new and improved terminal for the community. Until now, the sight of them always makes me think of urbanization finally putting its big foot down to my town!

          Taking you away from the cluttered heart of Manolo, there are still places here without a streak of petroleum or a scratchy hum of wheels. There are places here where a heart could sate itself with adventure and a soul could shed all its exhaustion.64_big

          When armed with the right directions, one could reach Dahilayan Forest Park and Resort pretty fast. Dahilayan Forest Park is nestled at the foot of the rugged Kitanglad Mountains. It was constructed with the vision of helping develop the rising tourism industry in Bukidnon and the whole Philippines as well.

          During the fine, misty morning, a horseback ride accompanied by the sight of dawn leisurely flooding the countryside will surely settle peace in one’s being. Under the midday sun, try riding the zip line, then jump off to bungee jumping, and ride through rappelling. At the end of the day, these activities shall gladly stir the blood and reassure the wallet that it was worth the thinning.

          Kampo Juan, like its rival Dahilayan, has championed in fraternizing our old-fashioned Nature with a kick of adventure. Named after agricultural maven Dr. Juan Acosta, it includes the Philippine’s first (and only?) Anicycle chained to a 600-ft cable hanging on 100-ft deep ravine. It is a destination where man could constantly glimpse on Nature through activities benefiting the mind and body.

          Locally handsome marvels are the age-old rivers of Mangima and Kumaykay. A family or two might try to sneak into their yearly budget a three-day vacation beside these crystalline torrents encircled by native mystery and legend.

          Word could paint experience, but experience itself is far truer, greater, deeper. In trying to explain Manolo Fortich in little, nuanced sentences, my hold of giving it a perfect image has loosened. It endows us with blessings we must gladly receive. It has flaws we must accept. When one grows to love a place, one would not be in need of explanation.

           I look up once more to the sun setting in my town, shield my eyes and feel its warmth on my palm, breathe in, and walk to where the mountains are.


New Reforms as Opportunities

Academic excellence is one of the things that Filipinos strive for. Practicing global competitiveness stands as one of the goals of the Filipino youth which makes this years’ first Senior High School implementation not surprising at all. Yet as Senior High School officially begins this school year 2016-2017, the program will be running with many Filipinos still mirroring their doubts on its success and necessity – particularly in Manolo Fortich National High School.

Additional two years on secondary education appeals to be just additional burden to most families in the community. Years of additional expenses and hardships for the less fortunate became another term for this pre-university cycle alteration. But what most missed is the government’s emphasis on how this new curriculum can thoroughly affect our nation’s progress and even uplift our country’s leadership if given full acceptance and support. It gives a brighter chance whether or not one would choose to continue to a higher education or settle with finding a job after graduating.

Offering specified strands under academic, technical vocational livelihood, sports, and arts and design tracks, SHS assures more skilled high school graduates by the end of the program. Aiming to produce employment ready graduates, this two-year skills training will focus on nurturing the students’ potentials according to what strand they’ll choose to study. This will provide the students with abilities to become employed and even to establish their own business as early after completing grades 11 and 12. If one would look closely, the program could give us an opportunity to spend less in preparing for our employment or entrepreneurship.

We are one of those few countries who remained with the 10-year educational cycle before college. Manolo Fortich National High School is one of those who are producing a great number of potential graduates whom some unfortunately didn’t get the capacity to proceed to college. But having an imposed law concerning the implementation of the K to 12 program, the Philippines now has moved a step forward to a much better education which can equip our youth in a much lesser time. Granted a child wants to pursue higher education, the SHS program would enable him/her to be more prepared whatever lies there in college.

Manolo Fortich National High School was given the ability to cater senior high students who would like to study under the academic track and technical vocational track. Facilities are on their way of making themselves useful for the coming huge wave of students. It was understandable that people were doubtful on how this program would end up. But it will also be vital for our nation’s future if we will open our eyes on what really is about to happen if we’ll support this program as we take into consideration the greatness its aftermath could give.

Through implementing SHS, the Manolo Fortich National High School sees a much better chance for to equate with the current trends of the educational system. Our present administration knows that through intensifying the Senior High School program in our school, it is greatly possible for us to create a 21st century-skilled generation with equipped minds and great leaders who can help uplift our community and our nation to progress.

Henceforth, Senior High School is a big opportunity for the Filipinos to just let it pass. It has genuine purpose of improving the educational system of the Philippines. This change is not just another problem we need to surpass but another opportunity we need to grab. Yes it may affect many plans already laid ahead by some or prolong the hardships of the people, but on the other hand, it opens a lot of doors after the completion of Senior High School. It all comes down to willingness to embrace change for a better outcome. After all, excellence cannot be achieved without stepping out of our comfort zone and accepting reforms as challenges to become better.


New Administration Same Hopes

“A leader must be a terror to the few who are evil in order to protect the lives and well-being of the many who are good.” Brave words from President Rodrigo Duterte. His journey in becoming the 16th president of the Republic of the Philippines has somehow been controversial seeing as he is quite different from past candidates.

Duterte is known for ruling with an iron fist, seeing that he has served Davao City as mayor for more than a decade and during that time he made Davao City one of the safest city in the world. Despite saying profanities even on-screen Duterte said that even with his mouth he will give the Filipinos a clean government.

What is important for us is that he will walk his talk. We are hoping that what he did in Davao City he will do to the whole Philippines as well. The president has already named his Cabinet members, the ones who will be part of the Duterte Administration. The trusted ones who will hopefully be people who will help our country progress and our economy develop.

The people have chosen him to lead this country to greatness and have given him our trust. The Duterte Administration must do their job and give us the progressive change he has planned for the whole nation. As a nation all of us must cooperate and follow the laws so that this new administration is also new hope for us.