Kibalatong is a sitio of Barangay Panialum, Paquibato District. It is a community of Ata Manobo. To get there from Malabog, you have to ride a motorbike for 30 minutes, and then, as there is no road anymore, you have to walk, in my case, for one hour to reach Kibalatong.
There is no electricity in Kibalatong, and while on a visit there in February of 2004, a boy with an empty Tanduay bottle went house to house to ask for kerosene which is commonly called gas. When he came to our hut we learned that the gas he was collecting was for the use of the teachers.
The people who shared some drops of kerosene showed their simple way of supporting the teachers and the school that was built for the indigenous children of the area. I was awestruck that from their own poverty, they were willing to share the little they had for their teachers.
The bottle got half filled and the boy gave us the collected gas which provided us light even more than enough for the night.
Continue reading Notes from the Heartland of Pakibato
Small steps, big steps, up we go on our journey
Tik, tak, tok, you are perspiring too
Am I heavy for you, Tor?
If I am I rattling too much
It is to forget
The pains in my back and buttocks.
I am tired, and so are you, I know.
But we need to keep moving
Now, at last! I can see the roof of the school
Come, a little more distance and we are there!
Thank you, Tor, for patiently carrying me through
This ordeal of climbing God’s mountains
Through the stony paths and winding streams
To see the vast expanse of earth
Relish the freshness of mountain air
And make my dream come true…
To be with the Lumads in Toruyan.
Reaching up, I feel God
Welcoming me in His/Her embrace.
Shared drops of gas
Fill up the teachers’ lamp
Solitary lamp in the night
Lighting up the whole world
From the generous hearts of simple folks
Thank You, God, for the gift of Your People
So we can go on with a lightened load.
Note: Gas is what locals call kerosene.
Through the small window in my room,
I glimpse a bit of yellow hue from the East.
“Welcome to the new day!” says the Sun.
My spirit soars high
My heart sings songs of gladness
As the new day dawns.
My skin feels soft,
My eyes glow with anticipation
Of what this day will bring.
Will it be joy, sorrow and pain?
Or will it be a new challenge and
Fresh discovery of who I am?
It is up to the heavens above.
Mine is to open my heart
To what the Divine Power ordains.
For whatever this day brings,
It is for the greater good
Of discovering myself.
I only have to learn
To wait with an active listening heart
To the Spirit’s whispering.