Gesture of Unity; Race for Victory

By: Jennica Agcopra

Photographs by: Francis Fellippe Amor Gumahin

                    Geared up from their respective teams and places of origin, riders paved their way to the race track as they took part in the Motocross Flat Track Challenge and Motocross Extreme Competition at Dumlao Open Lot, fronting Manolo Fortich National High School, March 18 and 19. The competition opened doors to all interested riders and teams which resulted to several participants from Davao, Dipolog, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Iligan, Ozamiz, Kibawe, including the different barangays within the municipality. Under the scorching heat of the sun, riders battled their traces to the finish line in the different categories with varying laps ranging from five to eight.

FLAT TRACK: Solid Ground

Riders getting ready to race for the Flat Track Challenge.

                    There were seven categories in the Flat Track Challenge which included the Open Underbone, Local Enduro, Kids Rider 85 CC, Novice Production, Executive Production, Intermediate Production, and Expert Production. The event transpired on the first day to cultivate riders whose skills are yet to conquer extreme challenges. Though on flat track, the robust participants still proved to the euphoric audience that they have something to be looked out for. They blasted off their motorcycles out on the race track hoping for a triumphant finish on the final lap.

EXTREME: Through Thick and Steep

Rider #191-Mangosong, showcasing his motocross prowess.

                With two additional categories—XRM Stock and XRM Modified, the Motocross Extreme was held the day after and doubled the exhilaration among the crowd compared to the first day’s event. With steep obstacles prepared by the race track designers, the speed of the motorcycles were pushed to the highest level as the riders took flight and lambasted anyone who hinders their way towards victory. The race was anybody’s game for every rider’s fate depended on his motorcycle and his effort in handling the tedious lump of ups and downs.

Rider #20-Scot Remi showing his motocross aerial skills.

                To spice up the already extreme sport, the Local Government Unit of Manolo Fortich invited the Pilipinas Got Talent Season 5 Grand Finalist, Unstoppable Athletes (UA) Mindanao motocross group which consists of five members namely Bornok Mangosong, Scott Remi, Jano Flores, Winsor Pamorca, and Phil Mirasol. The group performed breathtaking stunts on the two-day event leaving every person in the crowd in awe. They had been the pride of Mindanao in the said sport which gave the audience quite the honor for seeing them do their stunts personally and not just onscreen.

Magosong exhilarates a fan by letting her enjoy a once in a life time experience.


                UA Mindanao mingled with their fans as they drove in full throttle around the race track and waved from time to time. Fans were also given the chance to ride with them and experience their mind-blowing proficiencies which were fruits of their hardwork, perseverance, and passion as riders. Select people from the crowd had a tight grip as every member boosted theirselves and their motorcycle engines. Euphoria enveloped the whole race track as the remaining part of the entirety cheered for the individuals who were lucky enough to be chosen.

Remi having the classic crowd high-five.
Mangosong taking his final leap to grabbing the gold for Extreme Track Challenge- Expert Category.

             Though considered as special guests, UA Mindanao joined in the different categoriesof both the Flat Track and Extreme and emerged as winners in most of it. The group may have dominated the race track but still, other riders made it to the Top 3. The awarding ceremony happened on the second day, after all the competitions by category and the exhibitions of the guest motocross group.

Riders racing down a hill fighting for a place in the top 3.

             The event ended successfully on a Sunday afternoon and all riders were contented though not all of them have won. The spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie were evident in the competition albeit it was in form of a race. It was still a friendly game for all those motocross enthusiasts and nothing more had made them happy for in the first place, joining was their purpose and winning was just a bonus. They were all guaranteed winners in their own being for the essence of motocross is no more than having the courage to join and risk your life in the race track. The competition ended but the riders have a long way to go and there’s more to their future than being in the Manolo Fortich motocross competition.



Gardeners of the Mind

By: Angelica Kim Estopia

          “What is a teacher? I’ll tell you: it isn’t someone who teaches you something, but someone who inspires a student to give his best in order to discover what he already knows.”- Paulo Coelho.

                A teacher isn’t just someone who dresses up, goes to school and lectures. We need to broaden our mind beyond the enclosure crafted from what we see from our teachers daily. They move with purpose, with missions to accomplish every day. A teacher leaves bits and pieces of knowledge in his students, patch by patch, slowly and with conviction.

                It’s like they possess a spirit, a spirit which inspires you, motivates you and finally pushes you to set yourself in motion to make that burning aspiration lingering within you for so long possible. Sometimes, they must use other ways in order to let their learners understand something, but it also depends on the students on how to grasp on what the teachers want them to know, and why they are doing that. That’s what teachers are for, right? Knowing everything is impossible, but through them we can stuff our mind with all the erudition we could harbor until they’ll reach the point of bursting, flowing from us for others to have and to possess. They will never give up on you even if you yourself want to. Teachers for me radiate rays of promise of the future, scintillating and full of good things, a future they want you to sow and reap yourself, with their lasting guidance. It must be embodied by every student what his or her teacher wants to impart on him or her, an obligation that must be fulfilled because without it, the mentor’s perseverance and hard work will be just a gust in the wind, fading, losing itself.


                Being a teacher is hard, that’s needless to say for it is a staple truth, but why do people still keep on pursuing this career? For me, as a student, they come off as gardeners who selflessly undertake themselves to sow our gardens, which are our minds. We are nothing without them, and it’s a big triumph for our teachers when we reach stars-our mission from the very beginning.

                To our teachers, who steered us from the very start and gave us endless courage to mount our already sinking belief of ourselves that stemmed from our blank pages and messy ones, we could never convey a better statement on how much our gratefulness is to you. We express our profound thanks to you people who had helped us buoy our faith over and over as we were losing it, and always saw through us whenever we thought we were hopeless. You have our deep admiration for opening our eyes to possibilities we never noticed in your own simple, beautiful ways. Through the triumphs, thank you for celebrating it with us through the failures and stumbles, thank you for falling with us and giving us a little push to stand up again, and through the whole year, thank you for being a friend who continues to endure, to inspire, and to nurture.

Leaving Mediocrity


           You cannot open doors of opportunities if you won’t welcome change as a key. It is considered a must for all governments to build their foundation with a leader who’s actually not just all talk. Clearly, the last thing a country would need is a leader that was bound to just settle on what’s easier at the first glance. The emphasis on the need for a leader who is capable of changing the complacent mind set of the people is being stressed – specially in our country.

            It would be an understatement to say that Filipino people are just thirsty for change. Our country was subject to the same monotonous government with usual campaign for economic boost and eradication of corrupt officials for a couple of years. It has been just this year’s election when the people finally saw a ray of hope for a whole new form of government. Fed with traits of a transformational leader, people came hurrying towards it.

            Our current national leader strongly reflects the adjectives of what a transformational leader really is. Through offering energized vision and challenging goals, our president has successfully changed the expectations, perceptions and motivations of his followers, at least for the majority. He exercised his authority in giving strong orders for a change of scenery – particularly in the field of illegality – aiming beyond one’s concern but towards the common good. His initiative for transformations has brought the almost reachable benefits for the organizations nationwide and for the country as a whole.

            Transformational leadership promotes cooperation not just for the leader’s immediate alliances but also among local governments and even among residents themselves. With the president’s own example of the strong opposition towards illegal drugs, people were hooked and are persuaded by his proposal of reasons with great conviction. With the new approach the president projected, he earned both respect and admiration from his followers. Being the one that encourages new ways are altering our current environment towards success, he surely did get the approval of the nation.

            The change really has come on our own country. Strongly after our new leader sat on his position, his promised goals are now slowly turning into achievements. Being a leader that motivates higher level of performance, workers under both government and non-government organizations are now engaging themselves in the president’s challenge of clearing mediocre performance off the record. People are now also the idea that the country is gradually becoming a safer place.

            There’s no such thing as opportunity if not preceded by change. We all need to welcome a whole new set of standards set upon us by our new leader in order for us to achieve a much victorious state for the country. Because as Filipinos, we all know we need a leader who actually walks the talk, inspires and motivates. We all need that leader who shows concern for his followers and is also a great manager who could challenge his subordinates to execute innovative and creative in order to perform better for the benefit of the nation.

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.

Coverage of Transformation

duterte-inauguration            President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his first ever State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, 2016. As expected, it claimed a handful of both positive and negative feedbacks. Serve enough, the President expected it yet, the people must be clearly clear in understanding the major points of the president’s speech.

Ever since the campaign period, the president undeniably charmed the people and earned millions of followers and loyal believers. His fervid opposition and desire to clear illegal activities in the nation – specially concerning illegal drugs – was the one that captured the attention of millions. His strong personality, his different approach on things and his unusual choice of words and statements made him a target of media above the other candidates. And in his speech he once again held the attention.

He made his opinion about illegal drugs crystal clear to everyone. He promised that in his administration, they wouldn’t stop until the last drug lord will be put behind bars. He was even willing to put them under the ground if the situation needed. Also, he addressed another big problem the Philippines is facing – the dispute over the West Philippine Sea. Respecting the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, it is believed that the president will ensure the safety of our countrymen along the area.

President Duterte also emphasized the need to strengthen the security precautions of the country. He ensures that security dialogues with other countries and would rather strengthen the partnership of the country with foreign nations. He also declared a ceasefire with CCP, NPA, NDF. He called for an end to the war between the government and some of our Muslim brothers.

Another thing that the president raised is the country’s need for generation of a thousand more jobs for the poor and skilled members of the workforce. Business capacities and country’s tourism is also on the need of improvement. It is also in the president’s plan to conduct a nationwide soil analysis for the benefit of the farmers. And another thing that didn’t miss his speech is his demand for emergency powers particularly to aid in the solution of severe traffic in Manila.

The president has many other points, both to propose his goals and to call for the nation’s cooperation. He’s giving us a picture on how he envisioned our country six years from now. We cannot expect a perfect government, that’s a given, but we can always look for a better country. We just need to keep in mind that a leader can’t do it all on his own, he needs his followers – he needs us.