Bukidnon, my love

by Evans Yonson

Barcelona – If I were to choose where to retire two decades from now, I will be choosing between Marawi in Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon. Cagayan de Oro is already a given because the City of Golden Friendship will always be there. That’s where my family is. That’s where everything else started. I have written about Marawi a couple of weeks ago in this blog. Today, I will show some photographs that make Bukidnon a good place to retire to when I turn senior citizen.

Bukidnon is in Central Mindanao. It is land-locked province whose main products are corn and rice. Many claim that Bukidnon is the food basket of Mindanao, if not the Philippines. There are twenty municipalities (little cities) and two cities (Malaybalay, the capital and Valencia, another thriving business center) in Bukidnon. The province has a population 1.2 million inhabitants spread over an area of 10,500 square kilomters or about 113 inhabitants for every square kilometer. To the north, it is bordered by Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro City. To the south, it is a lovely maze of North Cotabato, Davao del Sur and Davao City. One turn, you’re in North Cotabato. The next, you’re in Davao del Sur. It even continues for almost an hour of border crossing between these points. To the east lie Agusan del Sur and Davao del Norte. To the west awaits another favorite province, Lanao del Sur. The Bukidnon province is famous for its beautiful natural tourist destinations including theMount Kitanglad range and the Del Monte pineapple plantation.

My first job immediately after university was in Bukidnon. The road network then was horrible. Doing field work was going through hell. I would stay alone in a hut for several nights. By day, I would be consulting the farmers with their woes and concerns. The frequency of buses travelling between one municipality and Cagayan de Oro was about 2 – 3 hours. But not anymore. Going to the boondocks now is a breeze. There is no other reason why I shouldn’t go home and retire in Bukidnon. After all, I’ve got the whole province waiting for me.

Pineapples as far as your eyes can see. The crowning glory of the province for more than half a century now. Manolo Fortich, August 2008.

Life can be very slow in most parts of the province. But this gives more strength to lives beyond the province of Bukidnon.

Movement from one point to another usually takes the locals more time waiting and travelling but always with great company.

In one of those big farms in Valencia City, Bukidnon. July 2009.

When farmers smile, the work is never tiring. July 2009.

Bukidnon is always a family event for us. Manolo Fortich, August 2009.