Bukidnon Cagayan de Oro

Cagayan de Oro to Bukidnon: Going nowhere in Mindanao

My mind was in total chaos when we left Cagayan de Oro city for Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

I had once again found a way to kill myself by agreeing to another project while still in the middle of working on a prior one. Six scripts all due before the weekend, my client said, and I had very little experience writing scripts to begin with. Needless to say, I pretty much wanted to crawl under a rock and let my deadlines finish themselves miraculously.

But as the scenery outside my window changed from the sights and sounds of a bustling provincial city and into the vast expanse that is the gorgeous Bukidnon countryside, all my work-related thoughts began to dissipate. It’s really impossible to think of anything else when you find yourself confronted by the beauty of nature.

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Mountains covered in lush, verdant greens.

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Birds—flocks of them—freely flying about everywhere.

The sky, which you take for granted in the city, suddenly startles as it takes over every little space not occupied by trees, shrubs, fields, and animals.

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And when we get to the Jesuit Retreat House in Malaybalay, we’re surrounded by giant rubber trees and bamboo, and the ground is covered in moss.

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All of it just leaves you dumbfounded. Stripped of speech and thought. To even dare think of anything else is like paying an insult to nature when she just bared herself in front of you.

When I found myself alone in the veranda one morning, it dawned on me that it was the most I had spent just being in the present—even the nagging voice in my head was silent.

It called to mind what Pico Iyer said on the Art of Stillness:

And we all know that it’s really one of our greatest luxuries, the empty space. In many a piece of music, it’s the pause or the rest that gives the piece its beauty and its shape. And I know I as a writer will often try to include a lot of empty space on the page so that the reader can complete my thoughts and sentences and so that her imagination has room to breathe.

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More days like this in 2016, please. <3

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