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Different Seasons, Diverse Reasons

October 2, 2009

In 1956, Rosario and Vivencio resigned from their work at the EDCOR and my grandmother Rosario who was a registered nurse accepted an offer from her friends at the Filipino Nurses Association to work as a public health nurse at the Rural Health Unit at Marbel, Koronadal, Cotabato. My father Adonis went with them to Koronadal. He was then a new high school graduate having just graduated from the Cotabato Provincial High School in Cotabato City. The Koronadal Rural Health Unit then was composed of a doctor, a nurse, a midwife and a sanitary inspector.  The nurse member of the RHU was Rosario, my grandmother; and the midwife was the former Antonina de Ala, the elder sister of my mother Remedios. Under these circumstances, it was just natural that friendships developed between the families of Antonina and Rosario.

In 1956, my mother Remedios was in her fourth year at the girls department of the Notre Dame of Marbel College in Marbel, Koronadal, Cotabato, a catholic school run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, while my father Adonis was a freshman in the college department of the same school. The young Adonis became hopelessly attracted to Remedios and they became close friends. The friendship blossomed into a deeper relationship even after my mother left Koronadal  to continue her college studies at the University of the East in Manila, and after my father left Notre Dame in Koronadal for Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City in 1957 to pursue a course in preparatory medicine. The special relationship even grew more profound after the death of my paternal grandmother, Rosario on July 11, 1959

With his mother and main source of support gone, my father had no choice but to stop schooling. Before the scheduled return of my mother to Manila to resume her studies, Adonis and Remedios decided to get married. My parents were finally married at a civil ceremony performed by the late Judge Marcelino Ramirez Jr. of the Polomolok Municipal Court at Polomolok, South Cotabato on June 2, 1960. The newly married couple stayed at Barrio Silway 8 with my grandfather Vivencio Sr. for a few months after marriage.

In February 1961, with my mother pregnant with their first child, the young couple Remedios and Adonis left Polomolok for Cagayan de Oro City in search of the proverbial “greener pasture”. My father thought then that he could find a way to resume his studies at the Xavier University in that city. There, they initially stayed with my paternal grandmother’s older sister, Trinidad, also a registered nurse, at Iponan, Cagayan de Oro City. It was in Iponan that Remedios, my maternal grandmother gave birth to her first child, a baby girl. They christened her Maria Theresa, the first of five children of  Remedios and Adonis. Her other  siblings are Anthony who is a “special person,” the twins Maria Cecilia (who died barely a month after birth) and Maria Christina,  and me  Pio Manuelito, the youngest .  Like me, both Ma. Theresa  and Ma. Christina were also educated at the University of the Philippines.

Unable to immediately enter the university  because of  extreme poverty, my father took on odd jobs while my mother work as a seamstress to support the growing family.

Finally, in 1964, with the help of some friends and with sheer determination, my father was finally admitted to the Xavier University as a student assistant with Dean Manuel M. Gapuz of the College of Education. He also enrolled in the same college under the 5-year AB-BSE program. A few years later, with changes in their fortune, my mother decided to open her own classy dress shop along Calle Real right in the center of Cagayan de Oro City, a fulfillment of an old dream. My father graduated with an AB degree from Xavier University in 1968 and a BSE degree in 1969. He also started teaching in the high school department of the university in the same year, and in the History Department of the college a semester later. He did not stop there. With the prodding of his boss, mentor, and foster father Dean Gapuz, he continued with his graduate studies on top of his full time research and teaching duties at the university.

In addition to his duties at the university, my father was also active in social work and with student activism. The early 1970’s was the height of the youth activist movement exemplified by the Kabataang Makabayan (KM). It was also a high water mark in the growing discontent and unrest in the labor sector in Cagayan de Oro city and opposition to the excesses of the Marcos regime. When Martial Law was declared by the late Ferdinand Marcos on September 21, 1972, my father was one of the many students and professionals who were arrested and detained in the various military camps in northern Mindanao.

My family has traveled through distances.  Most of the time there were no roads and road maps.  When there were roads, many were strewn with obstacles that are often too harsh to contemplate.  We had our ups and downs.  Some branches of my tree have on their own, chosen to wither away.  Still some were unkindly cut by the excesses of circumstance, man, and nature.  But whichever case, my story is clear:  stronger branches grew in their stead.

With great certainty, my tree shall stand for many more generations to come.    This dream is happily buoyed up by the fact that the ground on which my tree grows has been made very fertile  by the living lessons left by my ancestors.  The rays of the sun will continuously  caress  its branches like the mega values that helped sustain it through many generations; and the rains will nourish its roots, embedded dip into the matrix of our nations history.  I have a strong feeling that our tree shall see the seasons  change, and reasons rediscovered.

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MINDANAO – The Land of Promise: A Convergence

October 2, 2009

The revolt of the Sakdalistas led by the erstwhile Manuel Quezon supporter Benigno Ramos in 1935 partly highlighted the inadequacies of the transition government under Manuel L. Quezon. In response to that uprising, Quezon proposed an ambitious plan to address the economic problems of the poor, including his “Social Justice” program that would break up the huge landed estates and distribute these to cultivators.  When the legislature turned his proposal down due to intense landlord opposition, Quezon backtracked and instead promised to hasten the development of Mindanao. (Abinales and Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines, p. 154)

The Pioneers:  A New Beginning

In 1939, the young Pampagueno couple Agaton and Faustina gathered their few material belongings and, together with their three small children, Remedios, Lorenzo, and Adelaida left Santa Ana, Pampanga for good, leaving the eldest, Antonina behind with relatives.  The struggling family  joined the exodus of thousands of landless sacadas and tenants from the haciendas of Central Luzon, Panay, and Negros, and thousands more landless peasant families from the Ilocos who migrated to Mindanao, then dubbed as the “Land of Promise,” under Manuel L. Quezon’s resettlement program in the second half of the 1930’s.

It should be recalled that the transition Commonwealth government under Manuel L. Quezon opened up vast areas of virgin lands in the fertile valleys and plains of Mindanao, notably in the then empire province of Cotabato, like the Alip Plain, and the Allah  and  Koronadal valleys in the late 1930’s.  The resettlement projects in Cotabato,    a component of Quezon’s solution to the then explosive agrarian situation in the vast landed estates (haciendas) in Luzon and the Visayas  was initially headed by the late General Paulino Santos.  The fertile plains were subdivided into eight and twelve-hectare farm lots.  Town sites,  barrio centers, and roads were carved from virgin forests. Houses on 600 square meter home lots in the town centers were built for and awarded to each settler family in addition to houses on 400 square meter home lots in the barrio centers.  The de Alas, like many other settler families were eventually awarded a parcel of land at the Barrio 8, Marbel, Koronadal, Cotabato resettlement site as pioneer settlers. There, they were provided with everything that they needed to survive and to make the virgin forests productive. The de Alas tilled their piece of land until the decade of the 70’s.

The Red Scare:  Postwar Mindanao Migration

“In the first fifteen years of the postwar period, Filipinos from the densely populated northern and central islands moved in massive numbers to the southern “frontier” of Mindanao.  The migration of more than a million people by 1960 was largely spontaneous and had little government support, but was surprisingly well-organized and did not produce the volatility that often accompanies mass migration.  Utilizing family and village networks, migrants from Cebu and Bohol provinces in the Central Visayas and some Pampangos from Central Luzon moved steadily into northern and eastern Mindanao.  Migrants from northern Luzon settled in western Mindanao and those from Western Visayas settled in the southern province of Cotabato.  …..”

“…..It was  a phenomenon the AFP and the CIA immediately appreciated,  prompting them to add organized resettlement of surrendered Huk supporters and sympathizers to the counterinsurgency program.    The Economic Development Corporation (EDCOR) project, which settled ex-Huks in Lanao del Sur and Cotabato, became a powerful propaganda tool of the state __ it advertised an alternative to rebellion, the chance to own a piece of land, and a way out of poverty.  …..” (Abinales and Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines, pp 175-176)

It was against this backdrop that Vivencio and Rosario, my paternal grandparents, went to Mindanao. Via  the Economic Development Corporation (EDCOR) of President Elpidio Quirino and his Defense Secretary, Ramon Magsaysay.  Their initial destination was the EDCOR farms at  Buldon, Parang, Cotabato, as medical workers.  The EDCOR became a part of Ramon Magsaysay’s “land for the landless program” as embodied in the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Project (NRRP) of his administration. (Danguilan-Vitug, Power from the Forest, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism at Yahoo.com, p. 3) This land re-distribution program was designed to accommodate returning Huk rebels and the unemployed who were encouraged to migrate to parts of Mindanao, Palawan, and Mindoro in the early 1950’s to help stem the tide of the Huk insurgency during that period.

According to my father, Pio Adonis, the family migration to Cotabato was not a matter of personal choice.  It was more of a necessity, specifically for reasons of security and personal safety for the Muegos.       .

When Ramon Magsaysay became the Secretary of National Defense of President Elpidio Quirino, he appointed Vivencio, Sr, a close friend to help oversee operations against the Huks on the Zambales side of the foothills of  Mount Pinatubo.  With the blessings and support of his boss, Magsaysay, Vivencio became active in covert operations against the Huks in his area.  Hence; he also became a hot target for the insurgents.  Towards the end of 1952, Palauig, Zambales, where the Muegos were staying  was burned down and looted by the Pinatubo Huks.  They were looking for Vivencio and his family.  Early the following day after the burning of Palauig, Ramon Magsaysay arrived in his military helicopter and helped evacuate the family to a military camp (Camp Conrado Yap) near Iba, Zambales.  There, he persuaded them to pick up the pieces and re-settle in Cotabato.  The following year, a few months after the birth of their youngest child, Estela in January 1953, the couple boarded a navy ship for the long voyage to the port of Cotabato.

Next….

Different  Seasons,  Diverse Reasons

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The de Alas of Pampanga and the Muegos of Bohol and La Union …Two Clans: Threads of Divergence

October 2, 2009

My maternal grandfather Agaton Mercado de Ala, who died in 1994 at the age of eighty-nine was the oldest among the four children of the late Lorenzo de Ala and Irenea Mercado, both of Santa Ana, Pampanga. In her lifetime, Irenea has often claimed to be a cousin of the National Hero, Jose Rizal.  Maybe this could help explain Agaton’s   rabid nationalism.  Ironically though, he died in Sacramento, California, USA where he also spent the last years of his life with his expatriate children.  Agaton’s siblings included Juan, Maria, and Elena, the only surviving sibling.  My maternal grandmother Faustina Mallari Sagcal, on the other hand, was the oldest among the four children of  Eleuterio Sagcal and Zosima Mallari, also both from Santa Ana, Pampanga. Her siblings were Trinidad, Arcadio, and Justino, all deceased.  Grandmother Faustina died in 1985 at Las Pinas before realizing her dream to visit California.

During most of their lives my grandparents Faustina and Agaton were farmers.  The earth was in their blood.  Together with thousands of pioneer settlers from Luzon and the Visayas they helped tame the wilderness of the Koronadal Valley and transformed  it into the vibrant, dynamic, and pulsating city that it is today.  They were also small entrepreneurs.  My maternal grandmother, bought the produce of neighboring farmers and traded these in the town center.  My maternal grandfather, Agaton started what would later develop into  a major trade of fresh farm produce from Koronadal and the port of Dadiangas to markets in Manila.  He was among the first Koronadal farmers to ship fresh tomatoes to Manila in the mid-1950’s, a trade that still flourishes up to the present.

Although they were farmers and had not much formal schooling, both Faustina and Agaton developed a passion for educating their children.  Both wanted all of their children to finish schooling.  My mother Remedios re-echoes her parents’ often redundant admonitions that the best and only inheritance that they could ever get is a good education.  To them, education and honest labor are the only viable liberating forces in a person’s life.

On the other hand, my paternal grandmother Rosario Navarro Muego was a registered nurse. She studied at the University of the Philippines at Padre Faura, Manila where she graduated in 1934 with a degree in nursing.  Throughout her professional life she worked in the government as a public health nurse.  Among the many places where she served were Calauan, Laguna; Palauig, Zambales; Iba, Zambales; the EDCOR Resettlement Project Hospital at Buldon, Cotabato; Davao City; and finally, the Koronadal, South Cotabato Rural Health Unit. She died on July 11, 1959 in Koronadal, South Cotabato while serving as the nurse component of the local Rural Health Unit.   Her epitaph reads: “She gave her life that others may live.”  Indeed, it was a fitting tribute from a grateful community.

The former Rosario Navarro   was the second among the six children of  the spouses Aurelio Navarro originally from Villasis, Pangasinan, and Victoria Fontanos from Bauang, La Union. Stories by my great-grandfather Aurelio to his grandchildren, including my father, Pio Adonis told of his migration from Pangasinan to neighboring La Union towards the end of the 19th century due to the uncertain conditions obtaining in his province.  In barrio Bal-lay, Bauang, La Union, he met, wooed, and then wed the village beauty; my great-grandmother Victoria Perez Fontanos  The couple took up residence in Bal-lay where all of their six children were born and raised. Aside from my grandmother, Rosario, the other children were:  Trinidad, the oldest;  Toribio,  Brigida, Felicula, and Juan, all deceased.  It is interesting to note that two of Rosario’s siblings, namely: Trinidad and Brigida were also registered nurses and graduates likewise of the  University of the Philippines  in Manila.  Juan graduated from the Philippine Military Academy but was killed in an ambush by communist-inspired Hukbalahap insurgents in Naguilian, Isabela shortly after receiving his commission as second lieutenant in 1952.  Felicula was the first teacher in the family.  However, she migrated to the United States in 1950 where she stayed until her death in May 7, 2004 (information given by Felicula’s youngest daughter – Jeanni).  Brigida, the third nurse in the family died childless during the early 1970’s; while Toribio died in 2001.  The last to go was Trinidad, the oldest among the six siblings.  She passed away three months after his younger brother Toribio died.

On the other hand, my paternal grandfather, Vivencio, Sr. was the only child in the brief and tragic union between the educated government functionary Pacifico Ruiz from Leyte and the small-town beauty Micaela Muego of Calape, Bohol. He was adopted by the older brother of his mother following her early death.  Being better off in life his uncle/foster father eventually sent him and his two cousins Rustico and Saturnino to Manila to study.  Rustico ended up at the Philippine Military Academy where he graduated, became a military officer until his retirement as a full colonel in the 1960’s.  Saturnino became an engineer, while Vivencio, Sr. went to medical school at the University of Santo Tomas.  Tragically, he disappeared during the martial law years after an unfortunate embroilment with certain military officers.  My family has presumed him dead..

While my maternal grandparents Agaton Mercado de Ala and Faustina Mallari Sagcal virtually grew up together in the town of Santa Ana in Pampanga where their immediate ancestors also originated and lived; my great grandparents Rosario Fontanos Navarro and Vivencio Ruiz Muego, Sr. only met early after graduation from their respective schools in Manila in  1934;  Rosario having just then graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Nursing , and Vivencio, Sr. having just finished his schooling at the University of Santo Tomas medical school.

My parents are the second and the third of ten siblings in their respective families.. My mother Remedios, is the second of the ten children of the spouses Faustina Sagcal and Agaton de Ala, of Sta. Ana, Pampanga. She was born on January 21, 1936 also in Sta. Ana, Pampanga. Her siblings, in chronological order are: Antonina, married to Delfin del Rosario of Naic, Cavite.  They have only one child. Lorenzo, married to the former Helen Esquivel of Jaen, Nueva Ecija.  They have two children.   Adelaida, married to Ramon Pangan of Santa Ana, Pampanga; with three children.  Ernesto, married to Sonia Dimailig of Calaca, Batangas; with one child.  Estrellita, married to Rodolfo de Venecia of Dagupan City and Sacramento, California, with seven children. Federico, married to Miguela Marquez of Midsayap, North Cotabato, with two children. Corazon, married to Dominador Episcope of Calasiao, Pangasinan and Sacramento, California; with one child. Herman, married to Cristina Lumbang of Santa Ana, Pampanga, with three children;  and Alma.  Adelaida, Estrellita, Federico, Herman, Corazon, and Alma have since migrated to the United States where they have established permanent residences at Sacramento, California, U.S.A.  Furthermore, they have all acquired American citizenships.   Herman died in Sacramento, California, USA in October 2003, while Ernesto followed in June 2004 at San Pedro, Laguna.

My mother Remedios was one of three siblings who initially traveled to the Koronadal Valley resettlement site with their parents in 1939.  She was then barely three years old.  After the liberation of Cotabato from Japanese forces in 1945 she attended primary school in their part of the settlement at Barrio Eight, Koronadal, Cotabato.  However, she completed her elementary schooling at the Koronadal Elementary School at the poblacion.  Early on she learned how to design and sew dresses and she went through high school at the Notre Dame of Marbel in Koronadal, almost on her own with very minimal financial support from her parents.  After graduation from high school at Notre Dame in  1957 she went to Manila, where she stayed with the family of Elena Cunanan, her father’s youngest sister, at Malate.  She enrolled in Commerce at the University of the East  and eventually supported her schooling by working at a garments factory in Pasig.  At the same time she took up short courses in design and dressmaking to hone up her skills in the industry.

On the other hand my father Pio Adonis, is the third of the ten children of the spouses Rosario Fontanos Navarro of Bal-lay Bauang, La union and Vivencio Ruiz Muego of Calape, Bohol. He was born on May 5, 1937 at Dayap, Calauan, Laguna where his parents were initially stationed as health workers.  His siblings include Vivencio, Jr, married to Ligaya Mojica of Iloilo City, with seven children.  Melita, married to Sally Sallador of Ibajay, Aklan, with eight children. Benjamin, initially married to Flavia Fajardo of Manila with three children. Victor Aurelio, married to Ma. Concepcion Blas of Ilocos Norte, with two children. Arturo, who died in infancy during the Japanese occupation; Edward Salvador, married to Luz Naca of Binalonan, Pangasinan with two children. Cesar, married to Thelma Cinco of Tacloban City, with seven children.  Danilo, married to Virgie Belanque of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur, with two children. Estela, married to Samuel Solero of Carcar, Cebu, with two children.

Of the ten children of Rosario Fontanos Navarro and Vivencio Ruiz Muego, three have since died:  The oldest, Vivencio, Jr. on January 17, 1998 after a lingering illness, Edward Salvador, a year later on January 16, 1999, and Arthur who died in infancy during the  Japanese occupation of the Philippines.

Two have left the country and have taken up permanent residences and citizenships in other lands.  Benjamin, the fourth child now lives at Bowling Green, Ohio, USA where he writes books and teaches at the Bowling Green State University. .  He has also acquired an American citizenship.  Victor Aurelio  is now a Canadian citizen living and working in Toronto, Canada with his family.

My father finished his basic schooling at the Bal-lay Elementary School in Bauang La Union where he grew up with his siblings under the care of two unmarried grand-aunts, younger sisters of their grandmother Victoria.  After graduating from elementary school he followed his parents to their new assignment at Palauig, Zambales where his mother Rosario was Puericulture Center nurse and his father Vivencio, Sr. became an aid of then Defense Secretary Ramon Magsaysay, Sr.  He attended high school at  the Zambales Provincial High School at Iba, a few kilometers away from Palauig.

Next:

MINDANAO  The Land of Promise: A Convergence

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Iam a Son of the Philippines….An Introduction to My Family’s History

September 30, 2009

To say that retelling the story of my family is one formidable task is truly an understatement.  I discovered this after a lengthy initial interview with my parents.   However; fear, dismay, and a debilitating feeling of helplessness somehow gave way to an acute interest and an urgent desire to rediscover my roots for it slowly dawned on me that ours is an interesting and vibrant story.  There is no question about it:  I am a part of this rich tapestry, however tiny a fragment I may be.  The more I discovered, the more proud I became of my family heritage.  I became less fearful and less apprehensive. I became more determined and more eager as I plodded on in a journey which promised excitement.  The more I learned about my roots the hungrier I became to unravel things I was just beginning to rediscover and to appreciate.

Gradually I discerned a continuing story of little people: the marginalized, disadvantaged, and powerless many who oftentimes were deprived of the little that they possess, including their dignity by the scheming rich and powerful in society.   I saw  glaring similarities between the then and now of many Philippine communities.  I saw how moneyed and educated functionaries and even some members of the Spanish clergy strip innocent and trusting women of their honor by making promises they have no intention of fulfilling.  I also learned how powerful politicians virtually toyed with the lives of the powerless by decisions designed solely to perpetuate personal interests.

However, in the story of my family, I was overwhelmed by the resolve of a sprinkling of faces among  the oppressed and disadvantaged many who vehemently refused to succumb to the dead-end by-ways of ignorance, bondage, and poverty. These women and men  opted to uphold their human-ness and dreamed of upward change, not by embracing the ways of the violent.  They not only dreamed of change.  They strongly desired it; and then built up the courage to see their dreams through whatever the odds. They taught their children the timeless truth about the dignity of honest labor; work that is directed not towards the insatiable accumulation of material wealth but towards the enrichment of the human spirit.  I found the singularity of the message that my ancestors incessantly proclaimed through the pages of our story: the value of good education in altering human lives.  But  more important was this:  the universal message of  Faith, Hope, and Love.  These mega values permeated the story of my family.

I discovered tiny threads of our nation’s history unmistakably intertwined with my story as I slowly traveled on.

I consider myself very fortunate because I still have surviving older members of my family who are readily accessible with their stories.  Certainly, most have stories to tell and they want others to listen to what they have to say. My mother contributed invaluable inputs especially with her family’s exodus to Mindanao and life among the pioneer settlers in the government resettlement areas in the Koronadal Valley, including vivid accounts of life with the indigenous Bilaans living in the foothills of Mount Matutum during the darkest days of the Japanese occupation in that part of Mindanao.  She also unselfishly shared her experiences in post-war Koronadal, especially with regards the missionary work done by foreigners, notably the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) and the Marist Brothers in that part of the country. Finally, she shared, albeit rather proudly, about how she and my father eked out a living doing menial tasks during the early years of their marriage; and how she managed to keep the incarceration of my father as a political detainee during the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship a secret to her children.

My father, a retired professor, contributed rich first-hand information about the “Land for the Landless” program of Ramon Magsaysay  specifically, the Economic Development Corporation (EDCOR)   resettlement projects at Buldon, Parang, Cotabato and the Barrera, Cotabato  resettlement community for surrendered Hukbalahaps.

My father also provided me with vivid first-hand accounts of life in the Koronadal Valley in the decade of the ‘50s, especially with regards the work of the Rural Health Units (RHU’s) assigned in the area and the severe rat and locust infestations that engulfed the region in the mid-1950’s. Of special interest are his accounts of the unsettled period immediately preceding the declaration of Martial Law  by Ferdinand Marcos on September 21, 1972  and his subsequent arrest and detention as a political detainee  until 1975.

Next…..

THE DE ALAS OF PAMPANGA AND THE MUEGOS OF LA UNION AND BOHOL

Two Clans: Threads of Divergence

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Iam a Traveller

September 29, 2009

With nothing but a map and a very open spirit to experience new things, i embarked on a personal journey to travel all over the Philippines. this journey started in July of 2006. My goal was simple – to travel to all the 79 provinces of the country and take a photo of each province’s provincial capitol (the symbol of the province). The reason behind the idea of a provincial capitol photo is simple…..it is the only infrastructure that shows the name and the identity of the province.

Or so I thought……..

Into my journey, I was able to experience the local culture, met new people, and saw the beauty of the whole archipelago. It wasn’t as simple as I thought it would be.

Even before I embarked on this personal, and sometimes spiritual journey of mine, I already considered myself as a wanderer – a BUS running on a very very very long high-way of LIFE. Like the bus, I discover new twists and turns; uphill and downhill roads; sometimes even winding ones; even passing through varying sights of nature – from the very interesting to the mundane.

Season after season, the bus goes on its journey, stopping to accommodate embarking passengers, and sometimes stopping for those who wish to disembark or for emergency purposes and and be called by nature. Along the way, meeting again those who’ve disembarked at one time.

Not that I am unfeeling, but I guess what drives me is the openness to experience new and unfamiliar things and explore the unknown.

Three years into my journey, I’ve already documented my travels to:

AKLAN, Kalibo
ALBAY, Legaspi City
ANTIQUE, San Jose Buenavista
BATAAN, Balanga
BENGUET, La Trinidad
BOHOL, Tagbilaran
BULACAN, Malolos
CAGAYAN, Tuguegarao
CAMARINES NORTE, Daet
CAMARINES SUR, Pili
CAPIZ, Roxas City
CATANDUANES, Virac
CAVITE, Trece Martirez
CEBU, Cebu City
COMPOSTELLA VALLEY, Nabunturan
COTABATO, Kidapawan
DAVAO DEL NORTE, Tagum
DAVAO DEL SUR, Digos
GUIMARAS, Jordan
IFUGAO, Lagawe
ILOCOS SUR, Vigan
ILOILO, Iloilo City
KALINGA, Tabuk
LAGUNA, Sta. Cruz
LA UNION, San Fernando
MARINDUQUE, Boac
MASBATE, Masbate
MOUNTAIN PROVINCE, Bontoc
NUEVA ECIJA, Palayan City
PALAWAN, Puerto Princesa
PAMPANGA, San Fernando
PANGASINAN, Lingayen
QUEZON PROVINCE, Lucena City
SORSOGON, Sorsogon City
ZAMBALES, Iba

Each place/province has a story of its own, the travel, the sights, the people, the local food, and the stories of ordinary people I met along the way. And the number of Philippine provinces is no longer 79, instead three years into my journey, it now numbers to 81.

No frustrations or disappointments however, instead, there is excitement on the prospects of new adventures, new things to learn, and new experiences to unravel.

Here are some of the provincial capitol photos.

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