(A shorter than short story of Totoy’s experience at Mt. Pandadagsaan- thanks Marlon Esperanza for providing the name)

Standing on top of the summit is a fulfillment of every mountain climber’s dream.

Totoy was not alone. He was one of the many warm bodies and souls who dared, one morning to reach the one of the best, or the best among the best, mountain peaks of Compostela Valley. It was not his first time, yet it was better than his first one. He was one among the members of the team organized by the Provincial Tourism Office, at the deployment of Governor Jayvee Tyron L. Uy, of the Province of Compostela Valley to trek, document and share some stories behind the majestic mountain peak.

Before rejoining again his mother unit, the Information Dissemination Section (IDS) of the Capitol, Totoy was the official photographer of Papa Gov Arturo Uy, when the latter was the Governor of Comval. He was a trained and an experienced DSLR camera tactician. This time his skills was necessary for the climb, not to mention his undiscovered talent of telling stories captured by this write-up.

Leaving the official station, their first stop was at the foot of the gigantic mountain range, somewhere in Libuton, Barangay Andap in New Bataan. It took them twelve long hours, including river treks, to reach not the summit but the half way mark to rest for the night before continuing the more challenging trail at that time brought about by the rain. It was a heavy day, thus sleep was extremely necessary anticipating the double-challenge ahead of them the next day.

After deciding and before going for the one of a kind mountain adventure, interested climbers should coordinate first with the Tourism Office of the Municipality of New Bataan, which will provide the basics of the peak, and the people, other places, things and circumstances along the way to the top. There are rules and regulations that need to be followed and adhered strictly to preserve the wholesomeness and integrity of the site.
The office will recommend guides and porters, more than competent and able enough to make the journey satisfaction guaranteed. Unlike other mountains where the trails are obvious and leading, going to the peak needs to hire trailblazers to do the clearing of the uncharted path where climbers pass for the first time.

As the dawn slowly melts to welcome the morning mist, Totoy and the rest of pack were already full of their ready to eat breakfast and a little while later, they were already on the go for the next stop, the summit. While on the first day, it took them half a day to arrive at Camp 1, on the second day the arrival time was lesser, lesser by only 2 hours.

The journey toward the peak was not just difficult but exhilarating. As Totoy described it, “Lisod, kuyaw, hadlok, kat-kat, kamang, kulba, kapoy, danlog. Grabe, pirting piti-a”. “Piti-a” is a mountain climbers Bisaya vocabulary to described a challenge to the extreme level. Seasoned climbers even branded the trail going to the peak as “Horror Train”, which if one survives the summit is tantamount to winning a championship ring in mountain climbing.

Because there were no inhabitants occupying most of the places along the trail, rare plants, animals and other creatures freshen up the death-defying climb. Sight-seeing bonsai of endemic trees were all around the taken path while smelling the breeze of unusual flowers and plants found only in the place. Mossy rainforest found in books were real sense experiences along the trail. Birds of different shapes and feathers were patrolling the skies and on tree branches. The atmosphere within the mossy place was so relaxing and exciting that one can even forget to glance at their clocks to check for the time.

Nearing the foot of summit doubles the excitement of experiencing the majesty of now very familiar and popular New Bataan’s pride and well-kept treasure.

Reaching near the summit erased all pains. It turned the rage of surviving the challenge of the trail into the courage to seeing and experiencing first-hand what it feels to be in the summit of the most sough-after White Peak. The summit was a natural view deck of the sea of clouds encircling the mountain range while long-sighting the peaks of Mt. Apo in Davao City, Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon and Mt. Matutom in South Cotabato, which were noticeably visible especially during clearer weather.
All were proud of themselves setting foot at the peak, especially first-timers, which provided confidence and esteem of achieving something out of hard work, dedication and persistence.

Resting at nigh time at the peak chills. The touch of the mountain dew in the surface of everyone’s skin were reasons enough to giggle the body and soul warmed by the satisfaction while watching fireflies and other flying creatures illuminated by the silhouettes of the natural lights that hardly reached the earth’s surface from above.

The cold and cozy night experience at the peak was entertained by the symphony of grand orchestra of various sounds and effects only the creatures of White Peak can perfectly play.

And everyone deserved a good night sleep.

Not known to many, in every click of Totoy’s well-loved camera are stories only he can ever tell.

Long live the White Peak.

(Photo credits to “Totoy” Albert Dayao)



Instruments of promoting towns in our province may come in various forms; places, events, things, circumstances or people.

In the previous posts on this wall, Compostela featured places like Mt. Tambuyong, waterfalls and caves, and things like banana plantations, etc. Monkayo was featured through the circumstances of town’s cleanliness and big-time infrastructures. Montevista highlighted an event, Diwanag Festival. Three days ago, New Bataan took pride of the majestic place, the White Peak.

Today, with personal knowledge verified through my actual watching at the TV set on GMA News TV, on the proceedings of the impeachment complaints against the Chief Justice, Mawab proudly promotes the town through a person. For numerous times now, the son of Mawab who represented the 2nd Congressional District of Compostela Valley displayed his legal astuteness toward effective legislation in a national scale, has made his town prouder than anyone else of the rest of the province.

Of course, without need of much and flowery introductions, the people of Compoostela Valley takes pride of its representation at the House of Representative in the person of Congressman Atty. Ruwel Peter S. Gonzaga.

Do I need to receive subpoena for verified statements attesting the veracity of this article in order for this to be admissible as credible evidence and finding probable cause in any social media proceedings?

I’m afraid not, just a two thumbs up!


In establishing a niche, one of the irreplaceable fashion experts of all time Coco Chanel has a piece of advice, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different”.

Tourism development is looking, finding and living the niche. For the purpose of common understanding, defined a niche as “a specialized market”.

As the Christmas season approaches fast, people especially from Compostela Valley and the neighboring towns and provinces of Davao and Caraga regions, are excited for the next attraction at Montevista’s Diwanag Festival.

No doubt, Diwanag Festival has firmly established its niche, has specialized festival of lights, sounds, presentations, food and thematic setting (Disneyland, among others), where all its barangays and offices/agencies participate in illuminating and showcasing its unique and inviting venue.

Once upon a time, the Municipality of Montevista, Compostela Valley dared to navigate a barren and unfamiliar tourism territory. Because they dared, they found one. Thus, a “specialized market” was born, and thrived through the test of time. Consequently, Diwanag Festival is now irreplaceable.

Experts have constantly been advising neither imitate nor duplicate an established market, especially if the patronage is so popular and the geography is close and local.

Thus, for other places trying to dare, complementing and supplementing the Diwanag Festival niche market should be the rule of the thumb. Otherwise, thriving is next to impossible.

The good news is; there are hundreds of tourism ideas that would complement and supplement Montevista’s milestone. Yet, the reminder is; never imitate and duplicate.

And it applies to all, not just tourism.




While education is a right, not all students have the privilege of acquiring access to education for free.

“Iskolar ng Bayan” is a brand popularly developed by the students of the University of the Philippines, although the it is not exclusive to them. It belongs to anyone and everyone who survived the test of enrolling, studying and graduating from state colleges and universities, learning institutions owned and operated by the national government of the Philippines. These include among others Compostela Valley State Colleges (CVSC).

On the occasion of their annual intramural, I happened to witness the opening parade from the road side near my office, took pictures and decided to write something about it.

CVSC is the lone state college in Compostela Valley, although USEP has been operating in some part of the province for many years now. It was established not so long time ago and has branches in Compostela as the main campus, in Montevista, New Bataan and Maragusan, with some plans underway to expand to other municipalities of Compostela Valley. It offers courses in Education, Agriculture, Entrepreneurship, among others.

Students enrolled in the college are, without doubt, recipients of the newly approved law on free education under the administration of President Duterte. Thus, these young scholars are exercising their rights to education while enjoying the privileges provided for by law.

On the hindsight, “Iskolar ng Bayan” are scholars of the Filipino people. If there are people whom these students owed much, these are the people who paid taxes, fees and liens to the government, national or local, meaning those who religiously and painstakingly extract from their earning amount of financial resources and remit them to the coffers of the government treasury. In other words, the privilege of free education necessitates respect and reverence to people and institutions partnering the government in advancing the latter’s programs, projects and activities, including higher education programs. These people includes operators in the informal/underground economy like small farmers, fisherfolks, sidewalk vendors, retail street peddlers, sari-sari stores, small-scale miners, carenderias, bakeries, sellers of school supplies, tricycle/habal-habal drivers, store tinderos/tinderas, pharmacies, retail stores operators and workers, farm workers, among others. Institutions include public and private office, and their respective personnel, civil society organization and cooperatives, and their members and employees, and companies and corporations.

Expectations from these “Iskolar ng Bayan” are high. They are anticipated to contribute and share what they’ve got from the learning institution toward nation-building, particularly in catalysing for economic prosperity, political maturity, cultural awareness, critical thinking and social transformation. And the hopes are high that they can contribute and share in sculpting a better future because of their inherent capabilities and capacities; young, energetic, idealistic, lesser responsibilities, time to learn, access to information, time and space to organize and mobilize, and many, many more.

To all the students of CVSC Compostela Campus, congratulations and enjoy your intramural. Make your town, province and country proud.


When this book was given to me as birthday presents 3 months ago, I read the whole contents, or significant parts, of it not once or twice but many times.

It goes with a message “keep the passion burning”.

Understanding the message simply, I took time, energy and commitment to learn, relearn and relearn again the essential reasons why this book was written and why it was generously handed to me.

There must be reasons.

Digging down deep the the very reason, I am now resolved that it meant to be shared.

Who needs public speaking? Everyone need it regardless of profession, calling, economic status, political belief, cultural practices, organizational affiliation, age and gender.

This book means a lot to me, Thank you Sir Jayvee Tyron L. Uy.


“Sa pagsisikap nating maging pinakamagaling, kadalasa’y nakakalimutan nating maging mabuti” (In our effort to be the best, sometimes we forgot to be good) – From the movie IT TAKES A MAN AND A WOMAN.

At the conclusion of my piece at the joint year-end evaluation of PAGRO, PENRO and PVO of the provincial government of Compostela Valley, the visual presentations were as simple as the message. Stepping up toward the step-ladder of good governance to achieve the sweet spot, everything and anything starts with the individual contribution of every personnel of a given office.

The punchlines were; individual performances contribute to office performances then LGU performances, individual effectiveness and efficiency push office effectiveness and efficiency then LGU effectiveness and efficiency, and individual responsibility, accountability and transparency drive office responsibility, accountability and transparency then LGU responsibility, accountability and transparency.

Managing the building blocks of good governance start with individual commitment alongside policies and system specially designed to address the challenges. There is a need to ensure buy-in on the part of all personnel and establish the atmosphere and sense of ownership in every accomplishment made. That is why at the start, especially in setting targets of accomplishments, every personnel need to appreciate and connect their respective IPCR to the office’s OPCR, then to the vision, mission and goal of the LGU.

These can never be a walk in the park or in a blink of an eye. Because this is cultural, each and every employee must and should shift paradigms toward work and performance. Changing the way of looking at work will surely change the work outputs themselves. Stepping up or leveling up performances is a process, thus the general rule is “the elevator is out of order, we need to go through the stairs”.

Toward these ends, LGUs and its offices and personnel need to go back to the basic good, then strive to be better before reaching the summit of being the best. Along the way of reaching the top, everyone including people and institution necessarily embrace change.

Gandhi has a thing to say on the matter, “be the change you want to see in the world”.

And the sweetest spot is when everyone proudly says “I belong to ‘One Comval, One Vision’.”



Extracted from the news article written by the Information Dissemination Section (IDS) of the Province of Compostela Valley, sourced from proceedings of the Association of Regional Executive of National Agencies (ARENA XI) through the DPWH District Engineer, there is good news for the people of Compostela Valley.

At least P 352,360,000.00 will be poured in the province starting January next year through the Tourism Road Infrastructure Priority Program Convergence (TRIPPC), a program under the Duterte Economics “Build, Build, Build”. The Duterte administration set aside the funds for 15 Tourism Road Infrastructure Priority Projects, concrete roads going to various tourist destination of the province, in collaboration of various agencies and LGUs, including the Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Province of Compostela Valley and host municipalities.

For Compostela, the proposed projects include;

1. Bongkilaton Road paingon Mandaya Village, Pansan Falls, Bongkilaton Cave, ug Tagbubunlas Falls sa Compostela – P20,000,000.00

2. Ngan Road paingon Mandaya Village, Pansan Falls, Bongkilaton Cave, ug Tagbubunlas Falls sa Compostela- P15,000,000.00.

Good news, indeed!

Congrats Compostela Valley#werpa na, #petmalu pa!

“IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID!” – Bill Clinton

Because the underground and informal economies are not counted, these cannot be measured. If these cannot be measured, although these are “de facto” existing, these do not exist as facts and figures in the local economic dynamics.

Without any formal training in and lesser exposure to economics, I will dare to explore and uproot some of the untold stories behind the informal and underground local economies.

For the purpose of levelling the field, underground/informal economy will be defined as “the part of a country’s economic activity that is unrecorded and untaxed by its government”. To set the context in the proper perspective, these economic players are not necessarily illegal because most of these were paying cash tickets (arkabala) and authorities are not taking time, effort and investing resources to make them part of the official records. But even without hard data to support, these players have been keeping the local economic dynamics alive, thereby contribute to the growth of their respective towns and provinces.

Few examples are kwik-kwik vendors, retail peddlers, Avon dealers, ukay-ukay vendors and peddlers, newspaper stand and couriers, fruit stands, barbeque stall, balut vendors, habal-habal drivers, ice cream vendors, cellphone load retailers, on-call mechanics, on-line businesses, ambulant vendors, among others.

The main objective of my articles is simple; understand and advance advocacy of their existence and contribution toward recognition and legitimacy.

The chosen tasks maybe hard and voluntary but as early as now, I can feel the excitement of doing so.

No “ifs” and “buts”, just passion to write and serve.

STOP, LOOK, THINK and say “NO!”

(Sharing what I’ve got while doing what I love–PRICELESS!)

Don’t just say NO to drugs, there is no short-cut. Instead, stop, look and think before making NO as an option to take against drugs.

In about 1 hour and 15 minutes, I managed to finish an engaging, interactive and fun-filled talk with the grade 6 pupils of Compostela Central Elementary School (CCES), last March 3, 2017. CCES, by the way, is my elementary school alma mater.

With contents I believed to be necessary, relevant, practical and timely, I confined my discussions with what I believe are the four (4) corner stones in the paradigm of basic understanding about “drug awareness” information, education and communication (IEC).

Inspired by the earthquake’s DUCK, COVER and HOLD, the four corner stones I mentioned include: STOP, LOOK, THINK and say “NO” to drugs.

In finalizing the outline, I stood firm on my understanding that my piece shall neither be too technical nor too academic in its approach. Further, I should not act as if I am a law enforcer or I must pretend to be a medical professional in dealing with the subject. I just focused to the basic premise and fundamental principles of making the young minds do informed judgment and critical analysis before choosing one between the future with “NO DRUGS” or “USE DRUGS”.

Below outlines the gist of the talk:

 Opening Salvo/ Introduction


 Create time and space to allow participants to imagine the future they wish to have.


 Know, understand and familiarize the popular drugs used in the Philippines. (This is important because young minds need to know, understand and be familiar with the thing they are discouraged to deal with.)
 Factors affecting the possible abuses and addiction, and causes and effect of abuses and addiction.


 Look back to the dreams and aspirations and how drug will ruin them.
 Weigh by comparison and provide scenarios of the future comparing “NO DRUGS” and “USE DRUGS” (This will allow young minds to do critical thinking.)

… and SAY “NO”!

 Discuss the importance of choices in life
 Never tell participants what to do. Encourage them to make decisions based on informed judgment.

On a personal note, the time I spent with the young minds was indeed fun, exciting and inspiring learning experience.

Way to go!

NOTES: From start to finish are all but combination of ice-breakers, practical exercises, examples and illustrations, practical discussions, lectures and presentation, gesturing of sign languages, among others.



Attending the orientation of Centrist Democratic Party (CDP) last week in Tagum, the “principle of subsidiarity” and Raul Manglapus retained to me when I left.

While the principle of subsidiarity was long been introduced to me early in my stint at government offices, and was diligently discussed to me by the facilitator of the orientation, for the purpose of this discourse which is intended to address governance, I referred to the dictionary to research on the dictionary definition of the term “subsidiarity”.

Cambridge defines subsidiarity as follows: “the principle that decisions should always be taken at the lowest possible level or closest to where they will have their effect, for example in a local area rather than for a whole country”.

Rather than from the top to bottom, the starting point in the “principle of subsidiarity” should emanate from the bottom, meaning bottom-up. This would familiarly related to the phrase from the popular Guttenberg Address of Lincoln, “a government for the people, of the people and by the people”, which is of course contrary to the popular practice of “poor the people, off the people and buy the people”.

Ideally, because the people and their respective communities are the end-point of any government program, project or activity, propositions must be sourced out from where these people and communities are. Appropriately, decision making in project development, from inception to planning, preparation, financial appraisal, implementation, operation, monitoring and evaluation belongs to government without prejudice to genuine people’s participation along the way.

However, the idealism aforementioned pre-requires cascading of correct, appropriate, practical, necessary, relevant and timely data and information to these people and communities. Deprivation of these data and information is tantamount to non-information at all. In the absence of these data and information, nothing will really happen even if, from time and again, using semantics gymnastics, colorful rhetoric have repeatedly been the deafening musical edifice during electoral circuses.

Thus, Raul Manglapus’ “Land of Bondage, Land of Free” oration, a literary piece I skilfully recited when I was in High School, will still ring in everyone’s ears until today, when he says ‘You accused me of ignorance. But I am ignorant because my master finds it profitable to keep me ignorant. Free me from bondage and I shall prove you false”.

Please come to think of it, especially small farmers or entrepreneurs, fisher folks, small traders, workers, laborers, marker vendors, agro-forest farmers, store owners, service providers, public utility operators and drivers, etc., if we have access to correct, appropriate, practical, necessary, relevant and timely data and information, which we can ultimately utilized in our daily lives and crafts.

Shall we be proven false?

Let history be the judge.