(Bo)ldness in Dark (Hol)es

Photo from:

It lies in the majesty of Central Visayas, Philippines. Sprawling beaches, Chocolate hills, tarsier, ornamental old churches and various tourist spots. It has great potential for tourism, especially as the first eco-airport in the Philippines situates here, in the promise of development for the said industry. Bohol, blessed with its beautiful people which practically shaped its reputation, during her dark times when one seems to be lost in holes, have proved resilient and bold.

1900 and 2020, two different years. Century apart yet tells us one thing: that Bohol is bold even whilst stucked in dark holes. And no matter what, with the guidance of their leaders and the God they believe in—they will discover light at the end of each tunnels.

Photo from: https://unsplash.com/@namu_photograph

In 17 March 1900, American troops land Tagbilaran City in the goal of invading the province. It was one of the last major islands in the Philippines to be victim of invasion, as its small population; modest resources; lack of modern harbor; and poor location for potential bases, discouraged Americans to do so. However, when it finally happened, the people were quick to respond. Boholanos started a resistance movement—an organized effort to embattle the foreign invaders, arranged by the civil population who continually support the cause by sending cash, food supplies and through other means.

In response, the Americans resort to mass cruelty to bring the province into submission. They burned 20 of Bohol’s 35 towns, killed hundreds of Boholanos and destroyed their livestock. On December 1900, Bohol unfortunately surrendered. On the contrary, peace prevailed after the signing of treaty in the convent of Dimiao. But it was not long when the cholera epidemic crept the place, creating more darkness in holes, killing hundreds of Boholanos—that year alone.

Photos from: https://unsplash.com/@lorenznarbs

Fast-forward to 2020, in truly the time of great turbulence. The Philippines reached the worst outbreak of Coronavirus disease or COVID-19 among Southeast Asian countries, with 226,000 positive COVID-19 cases and 3,597 deaths. Bohol’s cases climbed up to 167 with 53 considered as active cases, 107 recoveries and seven deaths as per reported by the Provincial Health Office (PHO). On September 1st, it reported 23 fresh new cases—so far, the highest one-day record since the pandemic.

It was the first province in the Philippines to carry out a total lockdown following the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) implemented in Luzon. Despite least number of cases thanks to its immediate response, Boholanos, especially the underprivileged residents, and particularly occupants of the Malingin and Guindacpan islands which remained under total lockdown due to a rise in cases, suffered from an economic breakdown and mass unemployment.

Thus, one need even the slightest source of light.—a flashlight. The “flashlight” comes in as charity and good leadership. Relief goods were sent to the each Boholano household by their local governments. Guindacpan Island also received relief goods from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Visayas. Rep. Erico Aristotle Augmentado did his part and donated gallons filled with five-liter mineral water to Guindacpan and Malingin. “Flashlight-bearers” come also as anonymous heroes, motivated by pure intentions to uplift the province, and to finally have her way out of the pit.

In its endeavor to find a way out of the economic downfall, Bohol is planning to reopen tourism by the last quarter of 2020. Unique Bohol Experience (UBE), an accreditation program for local tourism stakeholders will have the sewerage treatment plant, wastewater management, carrying capacity, ratio of renewable energy, and among others to be checked for further development of tourism—one of the main source of living for some of the Boholanos. Governor Yap of Bohol also said that the World Bank will fund the the province’s Water and Sanitation Project. The project would give comfort to both tourists and residents, and it will also avoid another possible cholera outbreak—which Bohol was victim a century ago, in and around the 1900.

Photo from: https://unsplash.com/@hardsurface

Albeit held back by the pandemic, Bohol is in the road to finding the light, away from dark pits, and nearer to progression. With and by the strength and “bayanihan” of our Boholanos, a strong faith, and as polished through many decades of struggle, they will altogether get to illuminated ends of dark holes. Marching towards a Bohol-eautiful future.

“Will You Be There” — A Song To Carry Us Boldly During this Pandemic

Carry me
Like you are my brother
Love me like a mother
Will you be there?
Photo by Skitterphoto

Ever wanted a song to hold you like the River Jordan?

“Will You Be There”; a hit from the 90s yet very timely today, is a must-heard song in times of turmoil. Endearing, calming and full of life. We are living through turbulence as we face the aftermath of a pandemic that resulted an economic instability, along with it is a bulk of other issues. For anyone at risk of damage of their mental health, this year is difficult more than ever.

According to the World Health Organization, this coronavirus pandemic can cause a drastic fallout in mental health. What can we do? To start with, we can have a sweet conversation with our family or through virtual communication, our friends. It’s nice to turn away from the darkness of the current events for a while and face an array of supportive individuals who will care, whom will serve as your light of the night. Along with that, a song so warm it will calm your heart which will be very beneficial as many of us is in panic and worse, showing symptoms of anxiety.

Photo from Pixabay

There’s no more any fitting time to have a good melody to blast out to keep us going in our lives. One I would recommend would be from the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson. “Will You Be There” from the album Dangerous, is yet another Michael Jackson masterpiece, released on June 28, 1993.

The song is basically asking someone if she/he will care enough to be there “in the darkest hour, in deepest despair.” This line alone encapsulates our situation today. When times are tough, we all need someone to accompany, though not always physically but in heart and soul.

Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

The song starts off with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus singing a segment of Beethoven’s ninth symphony. In German lyrics written by Friedrich Schiller, it sung about seeking the Creator “beyond the starry canopy.” Then, it goes on with the angelic voice of MJ telling the listener (or whomever it is addressed) to hold him like the River Jordan, to carry him like he is his brother, love him like a mother, and essentially to be there in times of confusion.

“…𝒕𝒐 𝒄𝒂𝒓𝒓𝒚 𝒉𝒊𝒎 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒉𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒃𝒓𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓, 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆 𝒉𝒊𝒎 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒂 𝒎𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒃𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒇𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏”

Personally, I hold this song so dearly and I keep it stored in my heart. Though I have only heard the song later in life (in fact, just earlier today), it reminds me of a beloved friend I lost due to a sickness. She was one of my teammates as we are both athletes but in different fields. Her last message to me through Facebook Messenger was when she notified me that she will be coming on the ongoing medical inspection for the upcoming athletic season.

She wrote, “Mo anha ko.” Roughly translated, she said “I will be there,” to remind me that she will catch up. Even though it didn’t really directly said that she “will be there” for me at my darkest hour like in the song and as much as I would love if she did said that, the message still holds a sentimental value as her last text and it also summarizes our relationship as we always catch up with each other. Along with it is a desire to hear her say “Mo anha ko” from her once more, in assurance that she is somewhere present and will be there with me soon.

Photo by Quentin Ecrepont from Pexels

As I go on through the depths of the lyrics, I realized that it is not only addressed to a friend, a family or a lover. The prologue inspired from Beethoven’s symphony and particularly its corresponding lyrics, suggests that it could also be addressed to an All-Powerful and Creator, and as stated in the song, the One we should “seek beyond the starry canopy.

"Are you falling down, millions? Do you sense the Creator, world? Look for him above the starry canopy, He must live above the stars"

- 𝐴 𝑠𝑒𝑔𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝐵𝑒𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑛'𝑠 𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑡ℎ 𝑠𝑦𝑚𝑝ℎ𝑜𝑛𝑦. 𝐹𝑟𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐺𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑛 𝑙𝑦𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑆𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑠𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑜 𝐸𝑛𝑔𝑙𝑖𝑠ℎ.

On this unfortunate time, it’s also important to have faith, if you’re religious — to God or Allah, or to whichever you believe in. We need to have something to grasp when all seems to fall. We need the guidance of an All-Knowing to guide us with our choices when “everyone’s taking control.” This song will teach us to admit that “we’re only human,” and thus we cannot make it all ourselves. We need guidance, a source of light—whether faith on the One beyond the starry canopy or the stars itself—fellow human beings around us, who will give a glimpse of light in our darkest hours, to support us and help us “walk when not able.”

Photo by Felix Mittermeier from Pexels

I very much endorse this peace of art from the legendary Michael Jackson because aside from its harmonious tune perfect to clear our mind from stressful thoughts, it would also be lovely if we altogether learn the lyrics, sing them and send them through voice messaging to the ones we really care about, to show and remind them that we will be there in their trials, tribulations, doubts and frustration. Especially in this time of fear, turbulence and violence, we should carry each other boldly, as this song encouraged.

A Memorable Exchange of Letters at SLOWLY

I recently discovered a fascinating app called “SLOWLY.” Imitating the old-timey penpal tradition, it lets you communicate anyone from around the world —which matches your interests, or if you want to be more traditional, an option for “random match” would be as fascinating. As its name might suggest, it sends your letter SLOWLY, depends on how far your penpal is. This particular feature is indeed revolutionary in the modern communicating world. Not saying that the technological advancement that gives us convenience in the first place is a bad idea. The point is, we get to experience an amazing activity, enrooting patience and deep thoughts, that could have been lost in our world.

I’ve had a great experience especially that one time I had an amazing penpal called “m i d e l o.” Her real first name is Marybel, but the rest of her name remains a mystery as I lost contact with her.

I will be extracting the parts, of a certain topic that I enjoyed most. This is when we talked about our future jobs — and whether we should settle for big or not.

“…𝖕𝖊𝖔𝖕𝖑𝖊 𝖆𝖙 𝖒𝖞 𝖆𝖌𝖊 are super famous like Charli de Amelio and Millie Bobby Brown. It does discourage me sometimes. I know that everyone doesn’t have the same timeframe but I can’t help but become jealous of what they have achieved.”


“𝕴 𝖜𝖆𝖘 𝖊𝖓𝖛𝖎𝖔𝖚𝖘 of young celebrities, too. But I scratched that off. I realized I didn’t really want to be famous. I am just allured by their lifestyle. But overall, it can be exhausting. That to say, I want a simple one yet happy at times, a decent job where I may or may not be earning big as long as it would not rob me of quality time, and would definitely not slither my sanity away. I would be delighted of a job that I will be passionate of, or satisfied.

I’m always meditating at the thought of a deplorable future when I am prisoned to a livelihood I will not be motivated with in each day. The prospect of disappointment in not achieving my dreams had me to the lower grounds of wishing. That is why I am keeping my hopes low and practice satisfaction of the less. I must credit the book I read that inspired of this quite unconventional mentality, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” I may have not finished it yet but I am so influenced of new raveling ideas, overflowing even yet at the first pages of the book. I am slowly applying it to my life, and I’m glad of it.”


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

“𝕴’𝖒 𝖉𝖊𝖋𝖎𝖓𝖎𝖙𝖊𝖑𝖞 𝖓𝖔𝖙 𝖘𝖚𝖗𝖊 what I want: whether to lead a recognised life or vice versa. I think I was greatly influenced by the fact that I will be easily be considered a “successful” person when a huge number of people know me. The thought of being forgotten once my soul leaves this world is devastating as I really have big dreams. I kind of want middle ground you know? To be recognised but not to the point I will be Beyonce. It’s like the way we still remember Isaac Newton. After numerous decades, they still remember what he contributed to mankind and is being respected for that. I keep my hopes low too but I can’t shake off the fact that I want to make a nark on this world so I won’t be forgotten. Maybe it will happen, maybe it will not. At least I tried right? That’s all that matters to me.”


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

“𝕿𝖍𝖆𝖙 𝖈𝖔𝖓𝖙𝖗𝖆𝖉𝖎𝖈𝖙𝖘 𝖙𝖔 Charles Bukowski’s reflection though, just on his epitaph, transcripted on his tomb — “Don’t try.” He’s surprisingly a remembered writer.

“Surprisingly” because he isn’t particularly someone we would assume to be successful, because you guessed it, he didn’t try. All he cared about was what to eat today and tomorrow. But he sure was open to opportunities — making every move that there is, while not “trying.” I suppose when he said “Don’t try,” it doesn’t really mean that you should be lazy and completely never do anything. He’s trying to eliminate the idea that we have to gain a certain something.

There’s nothing wrong with trying but the constant pressure to have something big on your life is. Because often when you can’t reach the crest of the vision for yourself, you’ll end up disappointed and find that life has no meaning. When in fact life has no meaning, in the first place. It’s a matter of perspective.

The way I explained it, it’s pretty entangled, I apologize. But here’s the point. Say Isaac Newton have made it through history, but did that really merit him happiness? He’s all dust and bones now and no matter how well we appreciate his legacy, he could never feel the satisfaction of knowing so because that just don’t matter for a dead man like him. You might have built meaning in your life but death comes in and changes everything.

That to say, you should enjoy what you have now, every bit of it. No matter how great the fingerprint you’ve left in this world, this gift we call life gives you something even greater but it rather comes in little details. This “great thing” is called “love.” Sounds cheesy but hear me out.
The love for your family, your friends, your people, or if you’re religious, your God.

The love for little things like the smell of mother’s cooking each morning, the fragrance of something that brings you back to a memory, smiles of those you love, hanging out with friends, binge-watching your favorite shows or rereading a favorite book.

The warm feeling of an idle summer’s day, the cold breeze of the beach at night, a sunset, a sunrise, a hug, fluffy clouds on a mountain, cozy blankets, the moon and the stars, a sunset, rainy days, Christmas eve, a walk at a park, and more sunsets, so on. Indulging to these seems unproductive but you’ll find it’s what matters most in life. Loving is living.
But I’m not saying that to narrow your path or stop you from dreaming big. Go on with that but  take it slowly from time to time, so you shall never ignore the little flowers along the way. To sum it up: Dream big, pleased with less. Until then, I am proud of you.”


Photo by Roman Koval from Pexels

Long story short, I really enjoyed our letters. Beyond what I’ve written here, we discussed hobbies or things we enjoy. I wished I asked for her social media accounts yet I may not have, I will cherish the friendship we’ve created though it was of short span. Wherever she may be, I hope the best in life for her.