Breathtaking Balakayo

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14. May. 2015

Little did I know that I will be having an adventure-packed afternoon today.My friend Phillip picked me up from China (my office) and informed me, the moment I slammed the car's door, that we are heading to the Fifth Mountatin of Balakayo in Barangay Olympog and that we will be "accompanying" the staff of Rated K for a look-see.

Having lived practically my whole life in Gensan, I still am a stranger to my land. We had to go and get  my husband so he can show us the way. Apparently, this is another #Kapalaran for us courtesy of Phillip and his love to promote the tourism industry of our City. How can I resist such a noble cause? And so off we went to faraway Balakayo.

When we arrived there, we were greeted with an awesome birds eye view of General Santos City and a warm welcome by the owners of Fifth Mountain Adventure Park.After being interviewed briefly by Rey - Rated K's segment writer, Mr. James Betonio showed us around.

We were informed that for one to reach the place, s/he can hire a habal-habal from downtown Gensan for a fare of about P100 per person, and pay an entrance fee of P30 to enjoy the scenic landscape from the park.A swimming pool is on its way to the finishing stage and construction of amenities like gazebos and cottages are underway. The Fifth Mountain adventure park is a good place to hold activities like team building or retreat. It also offers a perfect hideaway from the hustle & bustle of the city.

If you are not planning of doing some soul searching stuff, then probably you can be enticed to some adventure thrills with their zipline and cable car rides. Rates are at P250/ person. And THIS is our #Kapalaran Number 2 for the day!

We're taking the cable car and we're zipping for art's sake! Ugh! Waaaiiitttt! I am so not ready for this but these #RatedK guys need some materials for their segment which is set to be aired on Sunday, the 17th! And so we got prepped up. Harnessed and all. And I was like, "Kuya, ayusin mo ha. Tiyakin mong safe. Tatlo ang anak ko Kuya!"

We had to ride the cable car to reach the other side of the cliff where a take-off pad awaits us for the 300-meter line we will be zipping on. At first, I felt like am gonna throw up! It felt like all the butterflies in my stomach are on a riot! Cant help but run my imagination wild! The staff were kind enough to assure us that the ride is going to be safe and steady though. We were told to enjoy the view while the cable takes us slowly to the other side. And indeed, it was breathtaking. The majestic mountains looked velvety with the greens covering them. And while we hover atop the trees, we had appreciated the beauty of the cityscape below.

Look! Phillip is sooo brave! 

Next stop: The Zip Line. 
This is it, Pancit!
Wala ng urungan ito. 
Cindy: Hold on, my bilbils!

Poppy: GERD or not, here I come!

My turn.
Whoa! Because I was the last one to hit the line, nobody was left to take my vid but me. I was half convincing, half reminding myself that I can do it, that I have to do it ( kasi mag-isa na lng akong naiwan sa take-off point---and i dont wanna ride the cable car all by meself, no thank you).
So I got hooked up, poised to be pushed down the line and then sayonara!
I took a good grip of the rope, held my cp steadily and mustered Thank You to the staff. Tho' Kulba my heart and kurog my feet, I managed to smile broadly to my camera and started talking something about "its my first time blah, blah, blah..." May i raise my kilay pa just to draw some strength . I had to tilt my camera to capture the beauty under my feet as i dared not look down! Hindi lng butterfly ang nasa stomach ko! That was the time I drained my battery.
And then what seemed like the longest 30 seconds of my life forced me to look at the landscape around me. It was just so beautiful I found  myself talking to God and thanking Him for the experience and asked Him to deliver me safely. 

And then I heard them shouting: "Kaway Chix, kaway!"

We made it! Hurray!

We capped the day with a sip of fresh buko juice, thanked our hosts, sent off the guys from the TV Show and went home still feeling adventurous. Did some mental note too : "Next time, I'll take the longer line. 700-meters, just you wait and see! Teehee! (well, nobody can read my mind, anyway!)

And then it was Sunday. Time for #Kapalaran Number 3. We had our eyes glued on tv. Its time for Rated K. Claiming our 2 seconds on fame! Hahahahaah! And its a wrap!

So the next time you're in Gensan and you're up for some date with mother nature coupled with a kiss of thrill, visit the Fifth Mountain of Balakayo. 


Save the Children Promotes Mother Tongue-Based Teaching in Mindanao

8:10 PM 0 Comments A+ a-

By using the language they speak at home, 
the pupils participate well and are more confident to speak up
 because they are not required to speak 
in an unfamiliar language," 
says Teacher Mildred.

In a region where diverse culture and languages flourish, the use of Filipino and English as primary language of instruction may pose serious challenges to students who do not speak or understand the language. Statistics would show that an average Filipino student in the 6th grade could barely master 60% of learning content and competencies expected of them.  However, studies indicate that the use of mother tongue or first language as medium of instruction in primary education helps students learn and perform better in school and allow them to easily learn new languages. 

In a partners congress held at Koronadal City last May 14, 2015, the Department of Education (DepEd) reaffirms its commitment to mother tongue-based multilingual education with local government units, civil society and partner communities across South Central Mindanao.

Save the Children has been working with DepEd, local government units and Summer Language Institute (SIL) Philippines in promoting mother tongue-based multilingual education in 10 primary schools and 28 learning centers across South Central Mindanao. In the past three years, Save the Children and partners have been developing learning materials with communities as well as training teachers, government and school officials in teaching lessons according to local culture and language. 

Access to quality education for all does not only mean that children go to school everyday. It is equally important that children, regardless of cultural background, are able to learn in a language that they are familiar with. By learning in their mother tongue, children do not feel left out and are able to perform better in school," said Ned Olney, Country Director of Save the Children.

Mildred, a teacher from one of Save the Children's partner schools in Mindanao said “Understanding lessons is easier when these are explained in the language they are familiar with. They are also able to express themselves more freely if they have clarifications or things they want to share with the class.”

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, working in around 120 countries saving children's lives, fighting for their rights and helping them fulfill their potential.

Nepal Earthquake: You can Still Help.

9:00 PM 1 Comments A+ a-

Nepal was left grief-stricken after the massive destruction brought  by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake last April 25, 2015. Kathmandu's old city  reduced to rubble.

Photo from the web. C to owner.

This natural calamity has affected an estimated 7 Million people --2.8 of whom are children--needing urgent food assistance, clean water to drink,temporary shelters , sanitation and protection from disease outbreak.

The situation must be unbearable. It made me cry watching the news. My heart goes to the children who are always the most vulnerable in times of emergency. They need help.

A Unicef worker speaks to a child seeking shelter. 
Photo from the web. C to owner.

While people all over the world had already sent aid in different forms, I've read somewhere that help is still needed. WE CAN STILL HELP. Even in our littlest ways. Even if we are far from Nepal. 

Give to UNICEF. I just did.

Unicef is working around the clock, mobilizing critical emergency supplies. Thru them, we will be able to bring clean water, hygiene kits, medicines and even tent spaces to give temporary shelter to  families huddling together outdoors.

You may choose to send for any of the packages below or you can make a regular donation. Any amount sent is help going its way to Nepal.

Donate Now. If we come together, we can make a difference.