Week 16: Bukidnon

It's my second day in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, a small and quiet city where I'll be spending the next four weeks for my off-campus elective.

I booked a morning flight to Cagayan de Oro City, and I was already at the airport two hours before the flight (my mother's stern advice)¸ which was a good thing because I was able to have breakfast—the hot chocolate, though, did something to my bowels. From there, the plan was that I would take a two-hour bus ride to Bukidnon.

CDO didn't look like it suffered a major disaster a couple of months back. Everything seemed back to normal. No more rotting bodies or jam-packed funeral parlors.

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I doubt, though, that the people there have actually, truly moved on.

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My father, who just wanted to see me after all these months, volunteered to help me settle in Bukidnon, and so we met at CDO. We had a lunch first before boarding the Rural Transit bus bound for Malaybalay. He'd go home the day after.

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Because of the on-going road repairs, the travel time was doubled. It took us four hours to get to Malaybalay, the provincial capital. Immediately we went to Bethel Baptist Hospital (BBH) where I will be training. Ma'am Nelia, one of the senior nurses, helped us settle in the guesthouse, an old American home built in the 1950s.

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She toured me around BBH. The doctors, nurses, and members of the staff warmly welcomed me, many of them relieved to know that I understand and speak Bisaya. In these parts of the country, people hardly speak Tagalog.

I had to take a photo of the Emergency Room, an antithesis to the one we have in PGH. It was clean and didn't smell weird. Except for a man who was having his diabetic foot cleaned, there weren't any other patients around.

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Fruit stands line Fortich Street, the city's main highway. I had my dose of mangosteen, which cost a lot less than those sold in Manila. I also bought apples and mangoes.

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The challenge is that I have to brush up on my Bisaya. They speak the purer version here, quite unlike that in Davao. I will have to translate, "How can I help you?" or "Does the pain radiate to the other parts of your leg?" to the local language.

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Last Sunday, I attended Bethel Baptist Church, and there we sang timeless hymns. O, what a treat for the soul. Abby also arrived yesterday. Her family treated me to dinner at Anton's to celebrate my 25th birthday.


I praise God for the opportunity to be here. I get the best sleep. I relish the quiet evenings. I love the cold mornings and the clean, fresh, and crisp air. I can't wait to start tomorrow.

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