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A blessing in the province

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For Filipino families who live out in the province, life is quite different than for those who live in the city, or even from those in small towns.  Out in the province, life is still very unchanged from back in the days of yesteryear.  As Feyma reported in her article yesterday, our niece, Sahara (her nickname is Rai Rai, that is what we call her) is a teacher in the far reaches of Sarangani Province.  I have not been out to the school where she teaches, but I would love to go out there and visit the students.  I am not really sure, but I think her students are young, elementary aged kids.  I don’t get to talk to Rai Rai much anymore, since she is assigned for her work in such a remote area.  There was a time, when Rai was in school that she and I would text each other, chat on Facebook and she would come and visit us in Davao on a fairly regular basis.  Rai would even come and spend her Christmas here with us.  Now, though, it is a rare day that I hear from Rai Rai, because there is not even cellular phone coverage anywhere near where she is living.

Say Cheese

Say Cheese

Survival Cebuano

Yes, the life in the province is way different from living in Davao City!  And, deep in the Province where Rai Rai is teaching, it is even way different from living where she is from, in Barangay Patag, Sarangani Province.  That is near enough that in 30 minutes or an hour you can be in General Santos City where there are conveniences and life is much different.  For somebody in the deep reaches of the province, like where Rai is living, it takes many hours, much of it walking, to get to where the City is even accessible, or you can even get a ride on some type of vehicle.  It’s a different life.

What I really started out writing about with this article was about the Carabao.  Carabao is the local name of the Water Buffalo.  Actually, in Bisaya it is called “Kabaw”.  I really love the Carabao, it is a very majestic animal to me.  I just think they are cool.  If you are a family that lives out in the Province, having a carabao, or a few of them is a real blessing for the family.  A carabao can provide transportation, because you can ride them.  They can help provide food, because they are farm workers.  For farmers in the province, in most cases, they have no farming machinery, they have carabaos or other animals who can help accomplish the hard labor, things like plowing and such.

From what I have observed, the people living in the provinces treat their carabao really as part of the family.  They take really good care of the animals, basically in return for the work and help that the carabao provides for them.  What about hauling?  I have seen many carabao loaded down with many different things, carrying stuff from one place to another.  The Carabao is a real workhorse for the Filipino family.

Like Feyma said in yesterday’s article, when Rai Rai recently took some of her students with her to the city, they were in awe.  They had never seen or visited a city in their lives, so it was a real eye opener for them.  But, what about city kids?  I bet there are plenty of city kids these days who have never really been deep in the province either!  So many Filipino kids who can’t live without their cellphone (adults too), their other gadgets and such.  I wonder how they would feel if you took them in a helicopter far out in the province and dropped them off there to fend for themselves?  I bet many could not make it!

Anyway, I have a collection of pictures that I wanted to share with you guys today.  These pictures are from another niece of ours, Glenda.  Glenda used to live with us too, but she decided to go back to the Province, and also spends time in Kidapawan City, south of Davao.  Glenda’s nickname is Buday, but I have never called her that, I have always known her just as Glenda.  Anyway, a few years back, Glenda went home for a few days or a week or so, and our son, Chris went along with her and they stayed at the farm in Patag.  They have maybe around 4 or 5 carabao there for farm work, transportation and just generally part of the family like I said.  At the time they went there was even a baby carabao or two, which you can see in the pictures below.  I could really see from her talk that Glenda also loved the carabao that the family owned, and they took good care of their animals.  Here are some family carabao pictures which even show Glenda caring for and riding the carabao.  Some pictures of the carabao bathing in the river and such.  Have a look:

Life in the province, as I said, is sure a lot different than city life.  Traffic?  Oh, I guess if 2 or 3 neighbors all take their carabao down the trail at the same time. 😉  But, normal life would not even know or see traffic?  No air pollution.  Mostly, from what I see, when you get out in the province you see a lot of happy people.  They don’t long for the city life, they are happy with what they already have.

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Ben
Ben
7 years ago

I’ll be living in the province
Not so remote as folks mentioned here , there is some cellular reception even wifi , but I’m sure it will be slow , I really don’t like cities , will half to see how I adjust once I make the move

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Ben

Hi Ben – Good luck to you! I hope that it all works out as planned. When do you expect to be making the move?

Ben
Ben
7 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Three years
I’m building a house now
I can take my time to complete

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Ben

That’s great, Ben! Good luck!

ron regnier
ron regnier
7 years ago

Enjoyable read…april 2015 I went from Claveria (Cagayan Valley coastal city- Far North Luzon) for three hours by motorcycle into mountains in Apayao, a tiny village called Eva (Calanasan, mostly Isnag in the village, some Ilokano). No electricity, some running water- had one week there with an Ilokano-Isnag family, loved it!! will never forget it, never. Because of investments/taking care of banking, I could not stay in the province or a place like that continually, BUT I would be happy to develop contact to the point of warranting regular visits 🙂 First I have to find a way to get… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  ron regnier

That does sound wonderful, Ron. I am a creature of comfort, though, and addicted to too many modern “needs”, I doubt that I could do it. Perhaps on a visit for a day or two. 😉

Ronald Regnier
Ronald Regnier
7 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Haha !! yea not an easy place to be all the time….cant imagine the rainy season up there !! they sleep on a flat piece of plywood, amazingly I slept pretty good but had to change positions often 🙂

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Ronald Regnier

Luckily for us, we don’t have a rainy season down here, the weather is more or less the same every month of the year. 🙂

Steve Maust
Steve Maust
7 years ago

Although not as quite as remote as you describe Bob, we also live in the province. I would not trade it for “city” life any day of the year. We have farmers that still have the carabao to bring the rice out of the fields and also perform other work duties. It is amazing to watch them work. With “new” methods of farming slowly creeping in, I am not sure how long the carabaos will be in use here. Each year I have been here I have seen the evolution of farming methods adapt to the changing times. Reapers are… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Steve Maust

Yes, Steve, I can understand that it would be difficult to see the number of jobs decrease as the modern methods take over and increase productivity. The equipment is expensive as well, which must be a hardship on many.

Malcolm Mac
7 years ago

I have been out to Tandag in Surigao as well Bob, life is like that in a lot of the remote villages around there . It was fascinating to see, and I suppose the locals were just as fascinated to see this foreigner there as well!

Bob Martin
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

I’ve been to Tandag as well…. I have not traveled Surigao too much, but that is one place I have been. Always fun to travel the Philippines! Good morning, Malcolm!

Malcolm Mac
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

I remember having a drink of San Miguel in someone`s house , with a collection of about 50 kids watching me through the window..lol…all saying hala..Americano !

Malcolm Mac
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

We travelled over rough roads in a jeepney for about 100 kms, when I arrived , tired and sore, I removed my sunglasses, and that was the only part of my face that was white ! (:-))

Bob Martin
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

Ha ha… we are all Amerikanos here, my friend! I had a similar experience the first time that I ever went to GenSan, and it was still sort of a small backwater town in those days. Lots of eyes peering through the “windows”. 🙂

Bob Martin
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

Oh yes, the roads in remote Surigao are very rough, sometimes even non-existent!

Malcolm Mac
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

The only shower available for me was a cement cubicle outside at the Teachers house, a hosepipe hanging over a wall, and my missus had to hold my clothes ! lol, Happy days !

Bob Martin
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

Cement? Wow, that is a luxury, Malcolm. 🙂 ha ha… sometimes you just get to shower while standing in the dirt, which quickly turns to mud, of course.

Malcolm Mac
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

We stayed in a little payag with no electricity, the only light was from the fireflies flying in and out of the screenless, glassless windows ! who needs 5 star hotels !

Malcolm Mac
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

Great fun, but I was never so glad to see the lights of Davao City appearing in the distance the next evening as we approached home!

Bob Martin
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

But, the question is, Malcolm, could you do it full time? It is kind of “fun” for a day or two, but personally, I would not be able to live that life on a full time basis.

Malcolm Mac
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

I could manage 48 hours knowing I was going home soon ! (:-))

Bob Martin
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

Ha ha, yes, exactly. Seeing your own bed in a nicer place is always the highlight of the trip!

Malcolm Mac
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

Fantastic memories and something to tell the people back home as well, especially the ones who complain coz their cellphone is almost a year old ! lol

Bob Martin
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

When it comes to friends back home, I don’t think they can really understand and accept the way it is here unless they make the trip!

Malcolm Mac
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

Too true, they say travels broadens the mind, it certainly opens your eyes to the plight of other people, mind you ignorance is bliss, you cant miss what you have never had ..

Malcolm Mac
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

Anyway I will say good night now Bob

Bob Martin
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Mac

Goodnight, Malcolm. Have a good rest!

LeRoy Miller
LeRoy Miller
7 years ago

One thing that I have noticed is that when they are working the carabao it seemed to me that they always have the lead rope on the animal’s left side. Is there a significance or was it only a coincidence that I noticed the ones that had it that way?

I teased the nephews about training for NASCAR. They didn’t understand until I showed them some YouTube videos.

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  LeRoy Miller

Hi LeRoy – I am not sure if there is significance or if it is coincident… not being a farmer at all, I know nothing about that! Maybe somebody who does know will give an answer, I hope!

Richard
Richard
7 years ago

Having grown up in really rural up-state NY on the end of a dirt road (which either washed out frequently or was snow bound) I think if I were 35 years younger that is where I would be. It seems each and every river or stream I see here is grey with pollution and garbage. Unless I go up into the mountains where the air is fresh and the water is clear.

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Richard

Sounds like it brings back memories for you!

Derek
7 years ago

Hi Bob, I like to go the province for a few days or a week going to the Bicol region Soon to see my wife’s brother family, we always take them different stuff we no longer Use clothes, medicines, etc we buy them a big bag of rice and take them out to different Restaurants they don’t have much money which is pretty typical in the province, Could I live in the province no way I like to be in the city I think I would be life would be Boring living that way ,but each to their own it’s… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Derek

Hi Derek – You guys in Manila think that “the province” is anywhere outside the Metro area! 🙂 ha ha… just teasing you.

But seriously, if you go deep in the province there are no restaurants and that kind of thing. I am talking places where you have to walk 3 to 5 hours because there are not even any roads! 🙂 It is a whole different life, for sure.

Derek
7 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Hi Bob, you’re right having to walk that far just to go to school and In all weathers
I couldn’t imagine it, and in a area where there are no roads just shows how lucky
We were back home, and yes people in Manila think the rest of the Philippines is the
Province lol, have a good day Bob another great post, Derek in pasig.

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Derek

You are right, Derek – we are lucky to have the lives where we can choose where we want to live, the lifestyle we will leave, etc. Too bad that overall, only a relatively few people are able to live the lifestyle that is available to us!

Rusty Bowers
Rusty Bowers
7 years ago

Bob,

I volunteered you, when I posted on Feyma’s teacher’s post, to be Santa Claus in the remote mountain village. Truth is the kids would never forget you. They’d wait for your yearly return. Wide eyed and with wonderment.

One day is enough for me to stay in a remote village/island. The no running water gets to me. Just think of how many times one uses water during the day.

Even though we live in the provinces it doesn’t compare to life where your niece teaches. Or the remote island where my wife was born.

Rusty

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Rusty Bowers

hi Rusty – Thanks for volunteering me for that. I am just not sure I could take the time, hour of walking carrying all of my Santa gear and such… it would be a major commitment.

Rusty Bowers
Rusty Bowers
7 years ago

Bob,

Your right the mountain/remote island people would hate living in the city. My wife’s father has always lived on the remote island and never wants to live near a city.

Why not live near some conveniences? Too many cars. Too many people especially at the malls. Not as much fresh air. It is just different.

Life for him is so much nicer on that island. No cars, not a lot of noise, and his friends are there.

Rusty

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Rusty Bowers

There are pluses and minuses no matter where you decide to live. 🙂

Kenneth Crawley
Kenneth Crawley
7 years ago

Traveling the Philippines and seeing the cultures is a fascinating and mind-expanding part of being there. I was able to Live in the mountains with the Bilaan tribe for a week, travel to cities and areas such as Pagadian, Marawi, and Cotabato. I helped with the children of Bantay Bata and Field of Dreams.
I carry memories now that I treasure. Staying in the city all the time for me would have been no adventure at all.
Thanks for another great article Bob.

MindanaoBob
7 years ago

Thanks Kenneth. Hope you are doing well.

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