The Different Recipes of Helping- UnYPhil-Women’s

In communities where life becomes harder and harder each day due to the existing conflicts and calamities- natural or human made, people get used to way of life far from what is called normal life. The various yet interrelated problems in the communities continuously hampered the  endeavor of man towards his survival- poverty rooted from […]

Kadayawan Festival 2013 Davao City schedule of activities

Mindanao’s king of festivals, Kadayawan, is happening this August! The 2013 Kadayawan Festival in Davao City will once again showcase Davao’s rich and diverse culture and tradition, thanksgiving of oneness with the Earth and bountiful harvest. The Kadayawan Festival 2013 will also provide the opportunity for the various indigenous tribes such as the Ata Manobo, […]

Pre-Ramadhan Symposium

Last June 9, 2013 I was fortunate to be part of a Pre-Ramadhan Symposium, Alhamdulillah. This was organized by our Muslim Student Association-Alumni brothers and sisters from different campuses and in coordination with the Islam in Focus (IIF) Productions-Manila. The symposium themed: “Virtues of the Holy month of Ramadhan” was held at Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation, Inc., at Sampaloc, Manila from 1:30 to 5 PM. The symposium, although simple, was attended by more than a hundred Muslim brothers and sisters throughout Manila.
Sheikh Ahmad Javier (in black shirt) with the other
ulama during the symposium
There were two main lectures followed by the usual open-forum part. The first lecture entitled “Virtues of Ramadhan” by Sheikh Ahmad Javier who is also the director of IIF-Manila. He talked about the great value every Muslim should place on Ramadhan and we should never let Ramadhan pass us by without us reaping its bountiful rewards. He also emphasized that knowledge about Ramadhan should always be renewed especially before it officially begins so that we will not be unaware of what should be done during Ramadhan. Reading the Qur’an everyday and striving harder in doing worship to Allah was also given emphasis in his lecture. At the end of his lecture, he reminded everyone that Ramadhan is such a special month reserved for the Muslims to partake, and every Muslim should prepare himself or herself as early as possible before Ramadhan comes in.
The second lecturer, Ustadh Ibrahim ibn Saleh talked about “The visitor that does not knock on your door” in Bahasa Sug. As most of the participants came from the ZamBaSulTa area and know Bahasa Sug, the lecture was also accepted heartily by the participants. This “visitor” he was referring is “death” that comes at every single soul without any signal or notice. And just as how we prepare for Ramadhan before it comes, each and every human being should always be reminded of death and what are the things he or she must do to prepare for its coming. He reminded everyone that death is indeed inevitable and that this life is only a temporary place for us and will always end. He also emphasized that this worldly life will be followed by the next life in the hereafter: where the real and eternal life will commence.
The venue was filled with participants eager to listen
to our lecturers
Before the program was officially closed, questions were entertained by the speakers and other ‘ulama (Islamic Scholars) present in the symposium. Alhamdulillah, through this symposium a great number of Muslims in the Metro were reminded of Ramadhan and “death” and what should be done to prepare for both. The symposium was a great success, through the blessings of Allah, for our Muslim brothers and sisters who organized this event. May Allah reward all those who strive—physically, financially, intellectually—in making this event possible and for keeping the flag of Islam raised wherever we go.
Brothers and Sisters from MSA-Alumni

Let us all wait for Ramadhan enthusiastically this coming July, in shaa Allah!
Peace be upon you,

Anak iluh

Korean fashion brand Basic House opens Ayala Centrio CDO branch

Popular Korean fashion brand Basic House has opened its first store in Mindanao – the Basic House Cagayan de Oro branch. This is Basic House’s fourth store in the Philippines. Basic House CDO is among the more than a hundred stores that offer fresh, classic and preppy ready-to-wear garments. Established in Korea in 1996, Basic […]

A must-try in Davao City: Wine quartet at the Apo View Hotel

As part of the Apo View Hotel Davao’s 65th year of operations and a first of its kind in Davao City, the Philippines’ second longest operating hotel has launched the unique Wine Quartet, whereby diners can savor a set of 4 carefully and thoughtfully selected wines to match their favorite dishes at Entree, Apo View […]

Summer Immersion in Siasi

the Island of Siasi with Bud Siasi on the background
Last summer I spent more than a week in Siasi, a smaller island in Sulu. I went there not to spend a wonderful vacation with my family, but to do something bigger, something greater: to conduct my first one-week community immersion!
As one of the Regionalization Program (RP) students in the college, we were required to return to our community every summer and conduct our own community immersions before the next school year begins. This is one of the requirements that we have to accomplish for us to be allowed to enroll for the next Learning Unit (or year level). And so, being one of the only two students (out of 160) representing ARMM in our batch, I chose Siasi, Sulu to be my immersion site for the next five years of my stay in Medschool (in shaa Allah), and perhaps until I become a licensed physician someday (Ameen).
Now, what did I do in my one-week stay in Siasi? I might not be able to tell all the things that I did in Siasi, so I will just include here my Schedule of activities during the immersion:
The Siasi Rural health unit

For one week, Alhamdulillah, I learned a lot of things that I never learned in the classroom. I was able to interact with the locals and learned directly from them what are the dominating concerns they have on their health. They were also eager to share what they know about diseases and medicine (especially traditional medicine) that I myself is fully unaware of. I visited the RHU everyday and see how the health workers do their job of serving the people. Through the FGDs (Focus-Group discussions) with the health workers and the community as well, I learned about the problems they face and how they try to solve and manage them. I was also fortunate to join one of the RHU and IPHO’s monthly community visits to Laminusa Island for the Malaria awareness program, where I observed and learned how hard it is to deliver health services in far-flung islands like Laminusa. Yes, the immersion lasted only for seven days, but what I learned in those seven days I spent in Siasi was worth more than a lifetime of my future career as a practicing physician someday: a doctor for the poor people in our community, for the Ummah, in shaa Allah!
This is indeed one of the main objectives of UPCM in creating RP: to let future health practitioners experience and appreciate the actual settings in the community. By then, they will realize the great need for great doctors in the community and in sha Allah they will aspire to fill in the vacant slots for “dedicated doctors serving the underserved” which is the sole vision of UPCM.
Until now, I will always remember what my field preceptor, Dr. Ejil A. Imlan said to me:

“The most important thing in serving the community is finding yourself LOVING what you are doing, putting your HEART in everything that you plan and do; all for the benefit of not just one person but the many… And always keeping in mind the VIPs in your profession: your patients who need you most…”

Me and my future boss: Dr. Imlan
Dr. Imlan is also the Municipal Health Officer of Siasi and one of the only three practicing doctors in the Municipality with a population of more than 80,000 people. (Imagine! That’s like one doctor for about every 27,000 people!)
Interviewing some locals
The Task force Laminusa: Siasi-RHU Team, IPHO-Malaria awareness team, some volunteers and me during the Community visit to Laminusa island. 
On our way to Laminusa island,  Siasi.
Listening to locals during the FGD with Community
on health behaviors and health-seeking pattern.

I am deeply thankful to our dean, Dr. Mejia, to my Adviser Dr. Abdullah, to the RPC and RSO family for properly preparing us before going out into the field, to my field preceptor Dr. Imlan, to Maam Nahla, To Maam Rose, to Hji. Satta Sampang for helping me in meeting the LGUs, to all of the Siasi-RHU Staff, to the Barangay kagawads and barangay health officers who helped me out, to my relatives in the community (hehe) and to all the locals in North Laud Siasi who welcomed me as a new member of their community (even just for a while) and for all the things that I learned in my one-week stay in Siasi.

In shaa Allah, in my second summer immersion next year I will return to Siasi and continue where I started. (How I hope by then, I would be able to invite some more friends and other Medical students to join me :) Maybe some of you would like to help me out there. Just inform me ahead of schedule, hehe.

Until our next immersion!
For Siasi,

Anak iluh

Panagnaan awn hinapusan

In tiyap-tiyap panagnaan subay tuud pagsaddiyahan. Mataud jumatu amun dih ta kaingatan, bang kita wayruun nakasaddiya asal. Ha wala’ pa dimatung in kunsum, subay ha biháun pa kaingatan mu na bang unu in tudjuhun mu. Ha supaya bang dumatung na in adlaw yadtu, di’ nakaw maglawag pa sin dán, bang harap kaw pakain. Subay ra isab pagsaddiyahan in kaibanan manga prublima manjari jumatu ha susungun, ha supaya makasaddiya da isab kaw. 
Biya’ da isab sin kabuhi’ iban kamatay. Ha wala’ pa dimatung in kamatay subay saddiya na kita bang unu in hinangun bang in waktu yadtu dumatung na. Tumtumun ta sin in kita ini dih da laung maglugay diy ha dunya ini. Misan pa ayn biya’diin in daya mu, in taud sin sinapang mu, in taud sin lahasiya’ mu, in kusug sin kawasa mu, tantu in katan yan ha panagnaan sadja. Di’ da lumugay, dumatung da isab in hinapusan niya. Malawa’ da sila katan. Biya’ sin dunya ini, biya’ da sin kabuhi’ mu, tantu awn hinapusan niya.
Asal in tiyap-tiyap panagnaan awn hinapusan. Duwal da kuman in tunggal Tuhan Mahatinggi Makawasa in way panagnaan, wayruun hinapusan. Tattap kumakkal ha ala mini iban sin sumunud kaniya.
Biháun ha kahaba’ tumagna’ in adlaw, tumtumun natu’ sin tantu dumatung da in hinapusan niya. Ha kahaba’ pagsilak sin suga’ ha subangan, tantu dumatung in pagsadlup niya. Tantu in tiyap-tiyap hipag-anak makakinam kamatay. In katan sin panagnaan awn hadja hinapusan niya. Hangkan subay di’ natu; tuud luppasun in kahaba’ sin waktu diyuhal katuh sin tuhan ha wayruun kapuwsan. Mamintang kitaniyu, mamandang. Mamikil sin unu in hikarayaw sin parasahan natu’ bukun hat ha dunya ini, labi apdal sampay pa adlaw susungun ha adlaw wayruun na dugaing makatabang katu’ duwal in baran iban ammal natu’.
WaAllahu ‘Alam.
Salam kasilasa.
-Anak iluh

Ramadhan for Non-Muslims


Every year, there comes a very special visitor that Muslims are always looking up to. This is a very special event that lasts for one month: the Holy Month of Ramadhan. As this month draws near, you will see most Muslims getting more excited and eager for the first day of that month to come. This is one of the mysteries that non-Muslims are always curious about. What is Ramadhan? What is so special about it? Why do Muslims celebrate with joy when Ramadhan comes? In shaa Allah this post will answer these questions posted by our non-Muslim friends so that when this year’s Ramadhan comes, they will be more aware about it.
What is Ramadhan?

Ramadhan is the 9thmonth of the Hijra or Islamic Calendar. This is one of the special months for Muslims wherein one of the five fundamental pillars of Islam happens: As-sawmu Ramadhan or fasting in the whole duration of Ramadhan. For 29 to 30 days, Muslims would abstain from eating, drinking, having sexual contact with their spouse, and avoid unnecessary actions from Fajr (dawn) to Maghrib (dusk). This is one of the rigorous training in Islam to discipline one’s self in doing what Allah has ordained them to do in this month; to strive and do what is Halal (rightful and allowed in Islam) and avoid what is Haram (wrongful and unlawful in Islam). This is also the month of forgiveness wherein every Muslim would forgive everyone who had done wrong to him or her. It is also a month so special for Muslims as it is the month wherein one would return to the folds of Islam and ask for Allah, the most forgiving, for his blessings and his forgiveness.
The Sawm

As-sawm or fasting is one of the fundamental acts every Muslim (with some few exceptions) is obliged to do during this month. This is in accordance with the commandment of Allah in the holy Qur’an:

O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint.” –Surah Baqarah 2:183

Muslims would wake up early in the morning (about 3 AM), everyday and eat Shuhur: foods prepared before the beginning of fasting. The official fasting wherein no foods and drinks—even water—are allowed begins at the break of dawn until the sun sets. The adhan (call for prayer) during Maghrib or dusk prayer marks the end of one fasting day. As the call for prayer: “Allahu akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu akbar!” is recited in the masjids, the Muslims at same time would break their fast with light foods (iftar) before going to prayer. After prayers, dinner will be served.
What do Muslims do in Ramadhan?

But Ramadhan is not just a month of fasting for Muslims. It is also a month of worshipping Allah and improving one’s behavior towards other people. It is a month of Love and Brotherhood. During this month, every Muslim are highly encourage to do good deeds more often, as the rewards for each good deed done will be multiplied a hundredfold during this holy month. Muslims are also forbidden to get angry, to talk idly of others, to cheat and wrong others, be it Muslims or non-Muslims, and other unnecessary actions that would not beget any rewards from Allah. During this month, any form of violence is strictly forbidden.
The month of Ramadhan is also known as the “Month of Qur’an”. It was during Ramadhan that the Holy Qur’an was sent down by Allah through Jibreel to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him). And thus, each and every Muslim are highly encouraged to read the Qur’an daily and have a goal of finishing it at least once or twice for the whole duration of Ramadhan.
Salatu At-Tarawih is another special kind of prayers only done during Ramadhan. After the fifth obligatory prayer, the Salatu Eisha, is done (usually at about 7:15 in the evening), Tarawih then starts after a few minutes. Tarawih is usually done in the Masjid (mosques) where most of the Muslims—men, women and even children—in the neighborhood would participate and pray 8 to 20 rakaat (sets) of prayer. Tarawih would end at 8 to 9 PM depending on the length of each prayer and will continue until the end of Ramadhan.
Lastly and most importantly is the Eidul Fitr. This is one of the two grand festivities for Muslims to celebrate. Eidul Fitr is observed at the first day of Shawwal (the month after Ramadhan) commemorating the successful partaking of Muslims in the holy month of Ramadhan. The Salatul Eid, a special congregational prayer participated by a big number of Muslims will be conducted on the day of the Eid. This prayer is usually conducted in an open area like a dry field if not in big Masjids. Then a short Islamic sermon by a local imam will be heard by every Muslim attending the Eid prayer, reminding them of all the lessons of Ramadhan and to keep them in their hearts even after the holy month has passed. Afterwards, a great festivity will commence with every Muslim rejoicing for all the blessings Allah had given them for the whole month of Ramadhan and the next one to come. Muslims will visit each other’s house and greet their friends, meet their relatives, and rejoice with their family. Eidul Fitr is always one of the happiest days each Muslim would remember in his life.
Alhamdulillah we have talked about Ramadhan and its great value for Muslims’ lives. I hope this short post helped answer some of those questions some of our non-Muslim friends are always asking. If you are still having a lot of questions in your head, do not hesitate to ask a Muslim friend you know. Or you can email me, I will try my best to help in any way I can, in shaa Allah.
But before I end this post, I wanted to remind everyone that I am no scholar in Islamic studies. If ever you find any errors in this post, pls don’t hesitate to inform me that I may edit and correct them. There may be a lot more things I failed to include in this post, so please forgive me for that shortcoming. Ramadhan is such a large topic to be discussed in such a short post. I would also highly suggest that you ask those who are more knowledgeable about Islamic rulings for more detailed information. Islam was made easy for everyone, but it should never be taken lightly and searching for more knowledge of the fundamentals of Islam is always highly encouraged.
May Allah guide us all to the right path and reward us for every good deed that we do. May He forgive us and may He allow us to receive his bountiful blessings in this coming Ramadhan and the next one to come. Ameen.
Salam Kasilasa

New Laguindingan Airport Misamis Oriental – what to know, how to get there

Laguindingan Airport CDO – A lot of you have been asking me all about the new Laguindingan Airport Misamis Oriental that’s set to open on June 15, 2013 via my Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus accounts (thank you for the trust!) and via this Laguindingan Airport article I wrote earlier. So I decided to pool all […]

Diagnosis, Proposals and Actions related to Religious Diversity in Africa and Asia

“After more than 4 decades of bloodshed on both sides, 15 years of peacenegotiations, countless mothers burying their dead, fathers fighting with grief intheir hearts, at long last the land of Mindanao sighs in relief”, wrote the Filipinoscholar and community leader Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan from Mindanao in hispaper Religious Diversity: A Chance or a Threat […]

Category: Uncategorized

First Day Challenge

“Ahmad! What were you thinking! Why did you decide to make your first 3 weeks in LU-4 in utter toxicity?!” Well, that was what I thought before the first day of my second year in Medicine started when I accepted the offer of becoming a Liaison Officer (LO) of our first subject/course for this year: HS202 Biopsychosocial Dimensions of Illness or BDI… They call this level as “HELL-U 4” because of the hellish experiences you students will experience compared to LU3 (freshmen year), and I already made my first week hellish than the rest of the class by being an LO. But as that first day as an LO came to an end, I finally realized why I accepted that challenge…
I wanted to try it. I know being an LO is not a good joke. You have to coordinate with the professors from different departments for their class schedules, announcements and exams. This first module will be composed of 5 different departments namely: Departments of Pathology, Parasitology, Microbiology, Psychiatry and Family Medicine and will last for 3 weeks. Yes, I am already killing myself now, to think that I would have to meet great doctors who never knew me from their past lives (I mean, past years) here in UP-Manila. I have to be persistent and patient with all the possible problems that may come, while being respectful to our great professors to keep things working so smoothly for the class. Worst of all, I will be representing the class to these departments. Anything that will go wrong from me and the class (my beloved class) will go down with me. Thus I also have to keep myself on the bright side of the day (or whatever it means). Being an LO is very new to me, and thus I wanted to experience it myself before everything gets worst at the end of the year… (After all, I know our Class’ Acad heads will help me along the way, right, Will and Kei? :)
I wanted to improve myself. I know I may not be the best man for this job. But in shaa Allah, I will try my best to accomplish my tasks. I always love challenging myself to become better than who I am before. I wanted to be better in managing things which I know I always failed to do in the past few years. I wanted to learn something new here that I may be able to use in my future career in shaa Allah; for my dream of becoming one of the best doctors for the Muslim Community. I wanted to improve my means of communicating and getting two different houses meet an agreement. I wanted to become a better leader: not someone I was before…
A lot of friends form the higher years had warned me of the challenges of this course (BDI) I am handling. I knew that this was one of the subjects that many students had a hard time passing in the finals. I am fully aware of them, and may Allah give me strength to face and overcome them all for my class. In shaa Allah, as much as I can do to help, I will never let my class suffer the same casualties. These are just part of the challenges that I knew we would face sooner or later. So better prepare for it sooner that wait for it to come at you by surprise… 
I hope and pray that this enthusiasm I have now will last until the end of my job as an LO. I hope and pray that being an LO will make me learn what I need to learn to be a better person for my people. I hope and pray that my intentions of accepting this responsibility will remain limited to the objectives of what is only necessary and will not go beyond what is needed. That everything will go fine and smoothly; that my class (UPCM Class 2017) will greatly benefit from it than the other way around. Ameen.
Reign Supreme!
-Anak Iluh



Ha lawm lima minit sumulat aku, In shaa Allah… sin unu-unu na in sumuwd pa lawm utuk ku, hisulat, hitayp mari… sari na madtu magkulang-maglabi.

Biháun “kahawa” in mabaya’ ku pagbissarahan. Unu baha’ in awn ha kahawa mayta matagi in manga Bangsa Sug kaniya ini. Bang kaw madtu pa tiyanggi nalibut kaw sin kahawahan. Luba na bang kaw madtu pa kagimbahan, misan wayruun tinda magdaragang dih da malawa’ in kahawa ha kakusinahan sin mga tau. Basta laung niya awn da Tausug duun, awn na hadja Kahawa Sug (Native coffee). 
Mapasu’-pasu’ pa… nag-aasu… huyup-huyupun ampa higupun madtu… aruuu rayang, way na mabisa dayng hadtu… Depende na kaymu bang kaw mabaya’ mapait-pait, atawa maimu’-imu’… atawa kan tublak-tublakan mu pa sin tinapay,.. na! Masarap sayan magkahawa bang mahaba’ in pag-isturihan niyu, sibu’ da kan tau maas atawa manga tambay ha higad dan… basta awn kahawa iban bang-bang sug atawa juwalan, OKs na, wayna paglawag dugaing ha butangan.
Misan bihayni in itum niya, makatagi. Misan bihayni in pasu’ niya, dih kaw sumuhun. Misan kaw hulas-hulas na, humigup da masi. Ampa gumanap hikaruwa, hikatuw basu sin kahawa.
Bang Bangsa Sug da, Kahawa na san in dugu’ nila. :) 
Masarap in Kahawa sug, wayruun makasibu’ kaniya.
Biya’ in lima minit natu’ timubtub na… misan mataud pa hika-kissa sad a kita mamaid na… na Ok na mga bagay, sung kitaniyu mangahawa…
Salam kasilasa
-Anak Iluh

Floodwater in Sultan Kudarat Mag’ town causes heavy Traffic

June 11, 2013: The national highway connecting Cotabato City and Davao City particularly in Barangay Bulalo, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao has been always experiencing floods that cause the road to have a heavy traffic congestion that irritates commuters…

Maguindanao Peace Advocates conduct training on Basic Accounting and Financial Management

By: Baisanie J. Macabuat June 11, 2013: Some 27 Maguindanao Peace Advocates (MPA) coalition members from different organizations operating in Central Mindanao participated in the 2-day Basic Accounting and Financial Management Training held at the Community Resource and Training Center of Kadtuntaya Foundation Incorporated (KFI), Doña Pilar St., Poblacion 4, Cotabato City last June 1-2,