development around us

September 28, 2013

i remember an elderly saying something like, i don’t want to watch news on the television or listen to the radio in the morning. doing so just makes my morning negative and a negative morning can possibly make a whole day ruined. i cannot remember who exactly said that. i am not even sure if i heard  it or if i just read it somewhere. but i do remember the message clearly. i pondered about it and realized the reality about the thought. bad news are constant. when was the last time you watched a news program that did not contain negative reports? abductions, killings, corruption, and many more illegal and offensive human acts are always present in newscasts.

whether i heard or read it, i was affected by the thought. the day after that, i did not tune in on the morning AM radio program that i used to listen to while preparing to work. i did not want to start my day with negative thoughts.

i am the type of person who can easily get affected by other people’s ideas. fortunately not all the time. but let us not talk about my being naive at times. what i want to focus here is development. with the bad news we hear and see every day, can you say that the philippines is improving as a country? can you spot development around you?

i know this question has relative answers.  some will answer yes, some will answer no. others might raise an eyebrow while some might be seriously confused. but if ever you will ask me the same question, i will answer yes.

not long ago,  i think only  within the first quarter of this year, i knew about two groups that have particular mission but have common denominator. i am talking about Klasrum ng Pag-asa and Juan Portrait (Help-Portrait then). Klasrum ng Pag-asa, as described in their facebook page, consists of “Kindred spirits bonding and working together to build, augment, re-construct, repair Public School Structures in the underserved areas of the Country from the Northern Peaks to the Southern Shores.” Juan Portrait, on the other hand, holds on to the aspiration, “Taking pictures, giving back. Capturing the Filipino spirit.”  Also from their facebook page, Juan Portrait “is an organization of photographers, writers, and other volunteers from all walks of life who have banded together to use their individual skills to contribute to the development of communities throughout the country.” having friends who are members of both of these groups made me realize that there are still kind, generous people who help and extend their hands to other people.


three months ago, Klasrum ng Pag-asa and Juan Portrait, with other organizations, went to Patikul, Sulu to continue their mission. yes, in Patikul, Sulu where series of assaults and encounters between the military and abu sayyaf take place. the  typical reaction of the group members’ families and friends was “of all places, why sulu?” and i was one of those who asked. though they were escorted by the marine troop, they were aware of the danger that could possibly happen to them. if you will remember, that time was really chaotic there. but they disregarded the threats and danger just to do their mission.

listening to their stories, their exciting but thrilling


travel back and forth and their dangerous but overwhelming stay in patikul,  was so worrisome but very uplifting. when they came back from sulu (thank God nothing bad happened to them), i felt the joy and inspiration in them while telling their experience. they were happy and proud of their accomplished mission in patikul. i want to share all their stories but i cannot relay everything. they said their eyes were opened by the sad reality of what the residents, especially the innocent children there, are experiencing. seeing massive military vehicles and even hearing chains of gunfires are normal things in that place.they said that you can barely spot kids smiling and you can see the fear in their eyes. that is why they were so happy after capturing portraits of the kids in the school that they built for the community because somehow, they were able to make the young spirits bring back their smile on their face.



my friends have different personal stories in their mission in sulu, but they are one in saying that when you were there, you wouldn’t mind the danger around. instead, you would feel the need to extend whatever help you could offer to the patikul people, just to uplift their spirits despite of the situation they have. also, my friends agree, though their loved ones don’t, that they are willing to go back to sulu whenever time asks them to.

well, this is just one development story i personally know. behind of the negative things that are happening around us, certainly there are still inspiring  true-to-life accounts that transpire. if only this kind of stories can dominate the daily news, then everybody will be excited in tuning in the television and radio and holding the newspaper. i believe there is still hope for more development stories in our country.




photos by RJ Taganas





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