Monthly Archives: October 2013

Kutawato Multimedia Network “Balitang Bangsamoro!” October 31, 2013

2nd Global Handwashing Day, matagumpay na naidaos ng DepEd ARMM By Tu Alid Alfonso (UNYPAD/KuMuNet) May temang “The Power is in Your Hands” ang selebrasyon ng taunang ginagawang ‘global hand washing day.’ Ito ay dinaluhan ng mga non-government organizations, kasama ang ahensya ng Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao na lumahok sa pagtitipon. Nag-umpisa ang programa wins Best Lifestyle Blog in 2013 Mindanao Blog Awards

My lucky stars truly shone on me during the recently concluded Mindanao Blog Awards 2013. Apart from bagging the Mindanao Blogger of the Year award, also won the Best Lifestyle Blog award Thank you so much, daghang salamat to all of my fellow Mindanao bloggers who nominated and voted …

Mindanaoan is 2013 Mindanao Blogger Of The Year

It still feels a bit surreal, truth be told. Winning the 2013 Mindanao Blogger Of The Year award and the Best Lifestyle Blog award during the Mindanao Blog Awards 2013 held last October 26, 2013 in Davao City was the farthest thing from my mind. I was there to meet …

Barangay Election Candidates sign peace covenant; commit to observe good governance

COTABATO City (October 31, 2013) – The candidates for 37 Barangays of  Cotabato City with their supporters   signed a peace covenant last October 26, 2013, two days before the election, at the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC) Gymnasium, Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City. Under the project entitled “Prevention of Election- Related Violence during Barangay election

Mercato Centrale introduces CDO version – Mercato De Oro

One of the things I usually do whenever I visit Manila is check out food markets and one of those that my friends and I usually go to is Mercato Centrale at the Bonifacio Global City. There, you can find a great selection of interesting food choices – from donut …

Spooktacular Halloween at Seda Hotel CDO – win an overnight stay!

It will truly be a spook-tacular Halloween on October 31, 2013 as Seda Hotel CDO holds its “Halloween Fright Night Costume Party“! Wear your scariest costume and party at Seda Centrio! For only Php 599 per person, you get to enjoy a sumptuous dinner buffet and a special Halloween cocktail. …

Books over the Sembreak

Sembreak Series: part 2 of unknown number of parts.
October 26, 2013
It’s my second sembreak as a medstudent. Yup. I am already a year and a half done with medschool (and hundred more years to come. LOL). And As I usually don’t go home to my beloved homeland (Sulu) during sembreaks for a lot of reasons, I might as well spend the whole two weeks of freedom (and boredom) doing something worth remembering: read away from medicine-related things. I keep on telling myself that I should be productive this sembreak that I may not regret it (or die of boredom from it). After all what’s the purpose of calling it a “break” if you’ll not take a break? Haha.
 I spent the first week of this break on different things. 1) I spent a day rummaging my things and looking for unfinished books to read. Strolled around bookstores nearby and checked some interesting and really cheap books. 2) Also spent some time catching up on movies I failed to watch thanks to the weekly exams we had last sem. 3) Also tried working on my write-ups: my never-been-finish-and-yet-to-see-its-ending novel(s). Yeah, ambitious as I may be, I am still hopeful that I can finish some good part of it(them) this break In shaa Allah. 4) Also practicing with my camera, though I am still too lazy to go out and do a photowalk. And 5) I’m also reviewing my lectures last sem… I am now reading Harrison’s Internal Medicine 2 hours every day.
No, just kidding. The fifth one actually never happened. Not at all.
 Anyway, for the first post on this series, here’s the list of books I read over the weekend 🙂 Not in any order of importance or ratings.

Surgeons Do Not Cry by Dr. Ting Tiongco
It’s true that great treasures are rare to find. And this book is one of those treasures that all service-oriented Med-students should have. The problem is, it’s pretty hard to find a good bookstore having enough supplies of this copy. I have spent searching a great number of bookstore only to find out that they are already “out of stock”. In fact the copy I found was THE LAST COPY when I bought it! That’s how great this book is.

Written by a surgeon who hailed from Davao, the book shares about the author’s journey from being an Atenista to an “angas” tagalog-speaking med-student of UPCM to clerkship, to internship, then residency and finally towards becoming a full-pledged surgeon trying to serve the many under-served patients who cannot even afford their own meal. Along his ordeals of achieving that dream of becoming a doctor, he shares the different experiences he learned from the struggles of both physicians and patients alike in the majestic walls of Philippine General Hospital. The book is written like a journal; the reader could imagine what the author is writing as if he’s right there witnessing everything unfold in the eyes of the author himself. It was well written full of emotions (honestly, who would have thought doctors have emotions? LOL). Most of the entries talks about his patients, their problems not just about their medical conditions but also of their troubles outside the hospital. And of course their heroic doctors who are trying to help them. I could say that the book is indeed a must-read not just to med-students but to all service-minded people out there. Or if you are looking for something to read that will surely inspire you (and bring you to tears). 
Surgeons” is full of life’s teachings that we as busy, white-coat-people always tend to overlook. It is a living manifesto that even doctors, amidst their great skills and bright minds, can never act God. That even surgeonsget hurt. Even surgeons do have to cry sometimes.
It’s a 150 something page book and I finished it in 3 hours 🙂 This simply shows how I loved it.

The Many Ways of Being Muslim: Fiction by Muslim Filipinos Edited by Coeli Barry
Students learn from their teachers and masters. And an aspiring writer slash novelist should also learn and seek inspiration from those experienced writers, experts in their own fields. And what’s the best way to learn from them than read their pieces?

I first saw this anthology of different short stories written by Muslim authors from 1970s to early 2000s. When I first saw it in a bookstore, I grabbed it with dear yearning that: “Oh God, I should have this!” But as the usual scenario, I checked the price, checked my wallet, replaced the book on the shelf… and went home with a sad heart. No not that’s it’s too expensive. I just can’t afford it then haha. Oh well, Alhamdulillah a great opportunity came on September 2013 when I attended the 34th Manila International Book Fair held in SMX Pasay. I met this good old acquaintance and it’s half the price than the first time I saw it! So I grabbed the book and held it this time and never hesitated to finally get a copy.
“The Many Ways” is a collection of great short stories written my famous short story writers like Ibrahim Jubaira, Said K. Sadain Jr., and Mehol Sadain. Other writers include Calbi Asain, Noralyn Mustafa, Pearlsha Abubakar, Arifah Jamil, Elin Anisha Guro and Ms. Loren Lao whom their masterpieces are all worth the praise to be included in this anthology.
I enjoyed reading the entries by Ibrahim Jubaira the most as they are unique in its own way. It’s like reliving the 1970s days again. No doubt that he received those numerous awards and recognitions he had when we was still alive.
It’s also always a pleasure reading short stories with settings and characters you are familiar with. Talk about a dayang-dayang (princess) waiting at the astana’ for his groom-to-be that will may not come; or Jaafar, a poor young man searching for his purpose; or of Hamid and Al trying to settle whether it’s the western or the eastern knowledge that is far worth mastering; or of Macaodal coming home to Ranao as the only educated and full-pledged Engineer in their clan only to get into bigger trouble than he asked for? The 22 different short stories, written in different years, by different writers is indeed a great read. Reading through them is like riding on different jeepneys each stop; experiencing different stories each ride. It’s a mish-mash of colorful stories that showcases the artistic minds of the Muslims that are seldom heard nor read in popular writings. 
All of the stories were written in English, with some touch of Muslim culture. I wish years from now I could find another anthology of new age Muslim writers. And better yet if they are written in their own local language (Tausug, Meranao, Maguindanaon, Sinama, etc.) That would add points to their uniqueness and the worth of preserving the local dialects and promoting creative literatures as well.
The Many ways has 170+ pages. I started reading it last September but stopped about a fourth of the book remaining during the first week of October. Just finished reading it last October 24.
Below the Crying Mountain by Criselda Yabes
Just like “Surgeons”, this book is one of those I was “destined” to have. Here’s the story of how I got my own copy of this lovely novel.
I was doing my usual scan-the-titles-of-books in a nearby bookstore without any intention of buying any books at all. If I happened to find some interesting title, I would check its author, its content (summary at the back if available) then the price. I was scanning books in the ‘Philippine Literatures’ section, letting my finger slide through titles, when my eyes suddenly caught a very interesting title: “Below the Crying Mountain”. The title indeed hit me as I have known only one mountain having that famous namesake as the “crying mountain” in my whole life: Bud Tumantangis, the highest mountain throughout the Sulu archipelago. I stopped there and took the book. After reading the short synopsis at the back cover, confirming that it is really about my dear homeland, and after knowing that it’s from the UP Press, I hurriedly checked my wallet if I have brought enough money with me. After checking all my pockets for more coins to add, I counted a total of 250php, the exact price of the book! And it’s the last copy!
After some minutes of considerations whether to skip lunch or not buy the book, I finally decided to buy it.  And I’m happy that I did. Right after checking out the book from the cashier, I hurriedly removed the plastic covering and start reading it even before I went out of the bookstore. I finally went home that day and finished the book that same night. If there’s a good on my hand, I usually cannot sleep without finishing it first. And “Below the crying mountain” is indeed worth that praise.
 Below the Crying Mountain is a Non-fiction account of the uprising in the 1970s in Sulu hidden in a fictional character and story. It is a story within a story that makes it more unique. It also shares the author’s own personal quest, relating it to the main protagonist’s (Rosy Wright) story that gave birth to this novel. The author’s way of sharing the story was so realistic, so vivid that I could sense the emotions of each character; I could see the old buildings in Sulu in the 1970s that were destroyed during the “burning of Jolo” (which is also the climax of the story); I could even feel each event unfolding right before my eyes. The author’s interviews with the actual players in the story had shows its authenticity that this was not a fiction at all, but a real story that actually happened. No doubt that this masterpiece was awarded with the prestigious Gawad Likhaan: The UP Centennial Literary Prize Winner and was nominated for Man Asian Literary Prize in 2010. 
What I enjoyed most in the book is the accounts of one of the highlights of Sulu’s history: The Burning of Jolo in February 1974. It was one of those turning points that made a drastic change from what was Jolo before and what is Jolo now. To quote the author (rephrased): “It was then that the wall-clock in Plaza Tulay (a famous place in Jolo) stopped. As if time itself stopped there for Jolo.”
I was also amazed by the authors own account of the ever-neglected historical landmarks in Jolo and Zamboanga that I have been so familiar with: The Kawa-Kawa boulevard, Port Pilar, the Jolo Seaport and the old lighthouse (dearly referred as the “eye-fall tower” by the protagonists of the story), Masjid Tulay, the statues in the Sulu Hospital, the humble streets of Jolo, the famous Bud Datu, and of course, the crying mountain: Bud Tumantangis. This book also rekindled my interest in searching for the hidden history of my own hometown: some I have tried to search for and some of it I have already re-discovered. It was in fact my first encounter with the term “The Eye-Fall tower”, which led me to the adventure of searching for it myself. (Read my post about the eye-fall tower here)
I am now rereading the book for the third time. It’s a 162 page novel and indeed worth a read for those who have an interest in understanding what had happened during the 1970s insurgency and what that incident brought to the people below the crying mountain 🙂

There. That’s three of the I-don’t-know-how-many-more books I have read and still trying to read throughout the sembreak. I will supply and continue the second part of this post in shaa Allah.
Just a Disclaimer: All the books I have mentioned above are all worth reading and whatever I may have said about them are purely my own opinion; as how I see them and what I felt (emotionally) upon reading them. Yes, I do read with emotions, LOL. For I believe that’s one of the secrets in enjoying a good book. Let your mind flow and let your imagination go wild and try to feel what the author felt when writing his or her piece; try to imagine and capture what great message they are trying to convey. I may have mistakes in giving them a review, and I could never give them justice for my lack of skill and perhaps talent in writing. I am no good writer after all, just a mere beginner writer-novelist-wannabe. All I wanted to share here is how I loved their masterpiece, they have been a great inspiration to me, and I will cherish each of them throughout my life. In shaa Allah.
For now, Salam kasilasa!

-Anak Iluh

The Sacred Journey: 10th SOULidarity with Nur Factory

Sembreak Series: part 1 of unknown number of parts yet.
October 26, 2013
Brothers and Sisters listening to the lectures
After some months of absence, finally Alhamdulillah, I was able to attend this month’s SOULidarity conducted by the Nur Factory last October 26, 2013 at Balay Kalinaw in UP Diliman. This month’s theme is “The Sacred Journey”, and the lectures and discussions we had were about Hajj and the sacrifices that Muslims had done and should be willing to do for Allah’s sake. (To know more about Nur Factory and SOULidarity, read the last paragraph of this post >_0)
Hajj, or the Pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca), is the fifth pillar of Islam. It is the journey of visiting the Holy place of Makkah and conduct certain religious practices throughout the whole month of Dhul Hijjah (the 12th and last month of the Hijra Islamic Calendar). It is also one of the important pillars of Islam that is considered done “by one’s capacity”, that is: a Muslim is not fully obliged to do Hajj if he is not capable, financially, physically and emotionally. Simply having the intention of going to Makkah to perform Hajj will suffice for those who cannot afford (But not even having the intention is already a low form of iyman/faith!).
Funny as it may seem, but in reality only a few of the whole Muslim population (especially here in the Philippines) knows what Hajj really is: Its history, the rites and ceremonies done while in Hajj,the whole processes of completing the Hajj and the great importance the pilgrimage itself in one’s own completion of his or her deen (religion). We only know that it happens once a year, that we slaughter goats and cows during Eidul Adha; that our relatives going to Makkah would come home with bags full of dates and praying mats and praying beads (Tasbih) and will have a new name and added tag “Apah Hajji” or “Babu’ Hadja”.  Only a few who are really studying in Islamic schools, and those who are actually going to Hajj would learn what Hajj really is. And Alhamdulillah, through the 10th Soulidarity by Nur Factory, I have learned something about Hajj and its importance in Islam and the whole Muslim Ummah as a whole.
Broterh Mustafa Samur sharing the beautiful story of Hajj
The Session started with meeting new friends and introducing to new brothers and sisters in Islam attending the session. Then the proper lecture about the beginning of Hajj was prepared by Brother Mustafa Samur’ a Turkish brother whom I have met years before and have been a dear friend to me (and to all of us who knew him 🙂 The Story of Hajj started from the very beginning of creation of the Ka’ba by Prophet Adam (Alayhis Salaam) as the first house in this world, then by the reconstruction of it by Prophet Ibrahim and

Prophet Ismail (Alayhimus Salaam), and finally the third and final rebuilding by Abdulmuttalib, the grandfather of our dear Prophet Muhammad (SallaAllahu Alayhi wa Sallam). The stories about the sacrifices of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), his wife Sitti Hajar and their unmoved submission to their Lord’s commands composed most of the whole processes done in Hajj. I cannot share all the stories here about Hajj for I am not worthy to share something so important. Pls do visit Islamic websites and read along about Hajj and its history.

Me and brothers Ayan and Mustafa
The second part of the SOULidarity is wherein a brother and a sister share their experience during Umra (the lesser hajj) and Hajj itself to the group. Both of them related the unique experiences they had while on the sacred journey. The great learning of how to be more patient and discipline; The principle of understanding and being sensitive to other people’s needs; to be flexible and adapt to an utmost different environment (imagine sleeping in a dessert for a night or two!). And most importantly, the experience their own urge for change, to become a better Muslim, to throw away all the negatives and evil self one may have and lastly the overwhelming experience of Allah’s forgiveness and love to his servants was what made them almost teary-eyed. Even us listeners were silent throughout their sharing; we who had never been to Makkah to do the pilgrimage, even felt that invigorating feeling they felt. And as every minute passed by with us listening to them, our yearning to go to Makkah ourselves grew more and more strong. It was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime journey that they more than willing to do again if given another chance. It was like being reborn like a new born baby without any sins and burdens on your shoulder. It was a feeling of bliss and peacefulness in this world full of sorrows and dissatisfaction.
Brother Mustafa (the other Mustafa) shares his Umrah Story
MashaAllah, how come we dream and prayed that we can visit other famous tourist attractions like Singapore or Paris or even Boracay and Palawan’s Underground River, and yet we had never even asked Allah to give us the chance to visit Makkah on Hajj? It was something each and every Muslim should reflect on. Maybe we are not yet capable of performing Hajj due to our own financial problems or our current social attachments and responsibilities. But we should never cease to pray and pray, to have the intention to in shaa Allah to perform Hajj someday, and to take actions step by step until we reach that day that we see the great Masjidul Haram right in front of us, with our tears flowing with love. And we see different faces of Muslims from different palces around the world, with different skin colors and different status in their community (be them a prime Minister or a mere fish vendor), praying at the same time, bowing their heads and prostrating and asking forgiveness and Mercy from their Creator, Allahu Azza wa Jal.
MashaAllah! Yaa Allah grant us the chance to perform Hajj while we are still young and free of too much burden and responsibilities that prevent us from doing this great act of worship.
(let us all have the intention to perform Hajj even once in our life in shaa Allah? Let us do it while we are still young 🙂 Bismillah!)
The Nur Factory Brothers with Abdul-Aziz “Robin” Padilla. Yup, My Camera actually betrayed me and took only a third of my face (on the farthest right hehe)
The Nur Factory Sisters
Brother Abdul-Aziz “Robin” Padilla came as a guest and talked about his last visit to Zamboanga and teh importance of unity among Muslim brothers and sisters as one Ummah.
Alhamdulillah, I was indeed thankful to Nur Factory for conducting this SOULidarity session. The Nur Factory is a group of young Muslims hroughout Metro Manila aiming at sharing the great light (“Nur”) of Islam to both Muslims and Nonmuslims alike. The SOULidarity Sessions are monthly sessions conducted by Nur Factory focusing on important topics on Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood, promoting a better and more productive way of becoming Muslims in our daily walks of life. You can join these sessions conducted every last Saturdays of the month. Even NonMuslims are free to attend. PM me on Facebook and I can redirect or refer you to them in shaa Allah.
Salam kasilasa

-Anak Iluh

Kutawato Multimedia Network “Balitang Bangsamoro!” October 24, 2013

Bangsamoro Transition Commission at Mindanao Civil Society Organizations lumagda ng isang Kasunduan Lira Mae Pagco (Forum ZFD/KuMuNet) Nilagdaan ng Bangsamoro Transition Commission at ng Mindanao Civil Society Organizations ang Memorandum of Agreement o MOU  upang magsagawa ng inclusive at participatory na proseso sa pagbuo ng input, mga panukala at rekomendasyon sa pagbalangkas ng Bangsamoro Basic

Mindanao CSOs Sign MOU with Bangsamoro Transition Commission on Conducting Public Consultations

COTABATO CITY (October 21, 2013) – The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) has been signed on October 17, 2013 at BTC office in Cotabato City.

The CSOs dubbed their consortium as Mindanao Civil Society Organizations Platform for Peace (MCSOPP) which will help the BTC of reaching out the grassroots in promoting understanding and participation on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)

The signing was attended by different CSOs, International Monitoring Team (IMT), International Contact Group (ICG), local media and some personalities.

Kutawato Multimedia Network “Balitang Bangsamoro!” October 17, 2013

Power Sharing annex ng FAB mabusising pinag usapan ng Gobyerno at MILF sa ika 41st exploratory talks By Lira Mae Pagco (Forum ZFD/KuMuNet) Bigo parin ang gobyerno at Moro Islamic Liberation Front o MILF na mabuo ang kasunduaan kung paano paghahatian ng dalawang panig ang kapangyarihan na ibabahagi sa Bangsamoro political entity at central government sa ginanap na 41st exploratory talks sa Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Nagkaroon pa ng extension

The Dragon Vase

Painful Pot by Jason TsangI am not into vases. But this one really captured my attention. The dragon quenching the vase is really one good of an idea. Jason Tsang made me left in awe. I just have no words to say about this other than irremarkable.What …

Media Advisory

Ceremonial Signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and Mindanao Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for the Conduct of Public Engagements/Consultations in Drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law
October 17, 20…

GPH-MILF Joint Statement at the 41st Eploratory Talks

Date: Sunday, October 13, 2013 – 00:00 Joint Statement The Negotiating Panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) today concluded the 41st round of negotiations in Kuala Lumpur. The Parties made substantial progress on the remaining Annexes on Power-Sharing and Normalization. They have proceeded in exhaustive, honest

Excited to meet Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth and Gin Blossoms! #SugarSmashGin

Just a few days more and I’ll finally meet and be with popular and iconic 90′s bands Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth and Gin Blossoms in Manila! Yes, I am officially stoked for the #SugarSmashGin concert! Woohoo! I previously shared with you all that I will play a little role in …

Davao fruit shopping with Rivermaya @rivermayaband

Was scanning my files earlier today and I found these! Very timely – since my Rivermaya band boys are currently in Dubai as of this writing and I miss them I will be in Manila in a few days, actually, but I’m not sure if I could watch any of …

Travel: Camiguin Sto. Nino Cold Spring Resort

Have you been following my Camiguin Island posts? You may have come across my Ardent Hibok Hibok Spring Resort post where I shared that it’s where you can find pools with hot sulfuric flowing water. Now if in Ardent Resort Camiguin you’ll find natural hot springs, there’s another Camiguin Island …


   IN KASILASA by Yazir Rajim

Category: Uncategorized

Art at Cha Malaybalay Bukidnon: Where art and tea marry

Milk tea and art deco lovers in Bukidnon – rejoice! My friends and I recently discovered this quaint little milk tea cafe called Art at Cha in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. Actually, our dear friend Jacquee told us about it. She’s a regular customer of a nail lounge just beside this …

The visit of the Chief of the Bruneian Defence Force

COTABATO (4th August 2013) – The IMT 8 HQ was honoured by the visit of the Chief of the Bruneian Defence Force, MGen Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan and his entourage on the 4th August 13. The former member of the 1st IMT in 2004, MGen Dato Amin was accompanied by a number of […]


Warring rebel forces in Matalam town in North Cotabato ended their ‘rido’ or clan feud through a ‘kanduli’ or thanksgiving held last 20th August 2013. A kanduli is a Maguindanao term for banquet and it’s a traditional practice of asking blessings from Allah. It is also held as a way of thanking God after a […]