I Have Finally Conquered Palimbang!

I Have Finally Conquered Palimbang!

Category: Personal


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Working for GEM’s CLIC (Computer Literacy and Internet Connection) component has allowed me to travel to places in Mindanao I wouldn’t have the chance to if I wasn’t employed under the program.

I work in the field as a Technical Specialist for the provinces of Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat. Since 2004, I have managed to visit all the municipalities under them except Buldon in Maguindanao and Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat. I call them my last frontiers. Last August 2008, I was able to visit Buldon to look for possible recipient schools for our program. Since then, I have gone to the place at least five times already. On the other hand, I haven’t had the chance to go to Palimbang because I yielded the place to my companion Dandy who is in charge of South Cotabato and Sarangani. It was because even if the municipality is part of Sultan Kudarat, its geographical location was nearer to Sarangani (and to Dandy); sort of being orphaned from the rest of its siblings.

Then last summer, our monitoring group visited our three recipient schools in Palimbang and she reported that their internet connections were already offline. Wanting to go to the place, I decided that I’ll be the one to go and fix it. I coordinated with our internet service provider (ISP) and we scheduled the visit for June 10-11. With me was Romeo as my pilot and Joel as the ISP’s engineer.

On our first day, we jumped off from Tacurong City at 7:00 AM. We arrived at Gen. Santos City at around 8:00 AM. We were told that Poblacion, Palimbang is around 165 kms. from the city. We passed-by the coastal municipalities of Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum. The road is concrete.

It is after Maitum that the road is not paved anymore…


… and we see more coastal communities.


I was also becoming a little bit anxious since the place is known to be a bastion of some armed rebels who fought with the government forces sometime early this century. Of course I was told that it’s safe to go there this time of the year but I can’t help becoming uneasy. It also did not help that as we go deeper into the heart of the place, we see less houses and even passed-by some MILF camps and there was no signal in our mobile phones. The silence inside our Toyota Revo was deafening.

At around 11:30AM, we arrived at Palimbang National High School at Brgy. Poblacion, Palimbang. It was the farthest school out of the three we are scheduled to visit so we went to it first. We were greeted by the teachers. They even commended our courage because according to them, first-timers would not come to their place unless they were accompanied. Well, the school principal was supposed to come with us but could not do so because his kid was admitted to the hospital.

After lunch, we went to work. The VSAT for their internet connection was located in front of the faculty room.

Joel checked the VSAT connection while I looked on.

I checked the signal strength while Joel panned the dish. Noticed the armed men with M-16 rifles? Those are the school’s security guards.

We left the school at 2:30 PM after successfully restoring their internet connection.

The next day, we arrived at around 10:00 AM at Milbuk National High School at Brgy. Milbuk, Palimbang. It was located around 15 kms. before Brgy. Poblacion. We found out that two Gemelina trees were blocking the VSAT’s line of sight. We had no option but to cut the trees since we can’t transfer the dish anymore as its metal base was already cemented to the ground. Fortunately, the school obliged.


We left the school at 2:00 PM after successfully restoring their internet connection. We arrived a few minutes later at Mamansual Abdul National High School located at Brgy. Kraan, Palimbang. Unfortunately, the school’s electricity was cut-off due to unpaid bills. The school administrators talked with the electric company though and managed to persuade them into temporarily restoring the current using the argument that we came all the way from Manila just to repair their internet connection. But by then, it was already late in the afternoon.


School was made online at around 7:00 PM. We left 30 minutes later after making sure that internet sharing is enabled for all units.

We arrived at 10:00 PM at Gen. Santos City and had a brief stopover at Pioneer Avenue for some balut to restore some lost energy.

After arriving at Sydney Hotel, I immediately jumped to my bed due to exhaustion. I was very tired but went to bed smiling.

I have conquered Palimbang…

…finally!

ark

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34 Responses to “I Have Finally Conquered Palimbang!”

  1. Miah Says:

    Wow, you’ce been travelling a lot pala, though scary xa coz ang lalayo! Waahh… Congrats in conquering Palimbang! haha…

    [Reply]

    ark Reply:

    Yap, I admit na scary siya… at first. Sa second day namin eh nawala na ung kaba ko. Un nga lang eh wag talaga magkumpiyansa. Have you heard na may sumabog na dalawang granada sa Maasim kagabi? Nadaanan namin ung place.

    [Reply]

    Miah Reply:

    Yeah, I saw it in the news… pero maayo kay safe man pud mo nkauli hehe.. I love to travel, kaya lang natatakot mama ko na nagtratravel ako kung saan2 kasi may fear na xa sa mga ganyan when we lost my papalolo during the airport bombing… lisud na kaau ipananghid mulaag out of town…

    [Reply]

    ark Reply:

    Sus, timing-timing ra man na oi. There are no safe places anymore. Kahit nga nasa bahay ka lang eh, di mo alam kung ano ang pwede mangyari sa u di ba?

    [Reply]

  2. JessQ Says:

    Thanks for your vivid and picturesque narrative on how you supposedly “conquered” Palimbang. Parang kasama na rin kami sa tour mo ruon.

    Naalala ko tuloy ang trips ko sa Sibutu Island in Tawi-tawi where we conducted voter registration and in the Municipality of Butig, Lanao del Sur where I was one of the team who conducted the Special Local Elections.

    I’d be keeping abreast of your next trips or episodes…naka-subscribe na ako rito..hehehe… Am also doing my daily EC droppings. You’re on the list.

    Klinika Kinetics hopes you’re in the best of health.

    [Reply]

    ark Reply:

    Haha, glad to know at sumama ka sa trip ko by actually reading my post. Thanks for that. It’s actually fun going to places that you never imagined na mapupuntahan mo but you have to because that’s what your job calls for. But in the end, you’re just glad na nakapunta ka. At least naexperience mo ang thrill ng isang outsider going on an unfamiliar territory.

    Thanks for subscribing. Dami pa ako trips. Watch out.

    [Reply]

  3. Milbuk_Son Says:

    You done a great job to the people in the area, you bring them back to circulation of the internet world of communication. I salute your bravery and courage. We the people of Milbuk and the nearby villages commend your priceless effort. Thank you in behalf of all Milbukians. You know how much we cherish and love the place, only our hearth can describe it. I invite you to visit our website “Milbuklegacy.com” and be our adopted milbukians. The website will give you the picture of Milbuk and its people 30 years ago before the trouble begin. though most us have not visited our beloved place since then, still we are in touch each other and dream we will be back there someday not to roost but to pay tribute the place that dreamed us what we are today.

    God bless you and your whole family..

    [Reply]

    ark Reply:

    Wow, I’m touched that you have adopted me as a Milbukian. I’m greatly honored. I’m actually just a tool in helping your place become “connected” to the world. GEM-CLIC is a USAID-funded program so we should be thankful to the Americans as our donors. We just hope that you’ll support our recipient schools so that they can sustain the monthly subscription of their internet connection.

    I have visited your web site. It’s actually pretty impressive. Your town has a very rich history. It’s also nice to know that even after all these years, you are keeping in touch with the place as well as your fellow kababayans. Keep up the good work. Congrats! :-)

    [Reply]

    Gigaranz Reply:

    You guys are heroes. YOu bring those people in Milbuk into global access. It was more than 3 decades ago when Milbuk and nearby villages were filled with joy and happiness wherein people feels that there were leaving into a first class urban area. As Milbuk Son says that, it is only our heart can portray it. And also thank you for visiting our website, Milbuk Legacy.

    Again, in behalf of Milbukians, we salute you for doing such a great job. God Bless

    [Reply]

    ark Reply:

    Haha, calling us heroes is an overstatement. We are just trying to help po. We are happy to have somewhat made a difference in your area.

    [Reply]

  4. jun Says:

    ark>>>>I’m just into your site and no wonder, you have fun and your adrenalin rush is pumping out of blue coz of that place( Milbuk,Palimbang, sultan kudarat)We loved that place but some of the vivid memories still in our side,,,we the “expat” is all over the world and if you visit our web” milbuk legacy.com”,,,you can see all this “Milbuki”ans trying to reach our beloved classmates, friends,teachers,,,,daghan kaayong salamat…

    [Reply]

    jun Reply:

    ark>>>> just punch those mail, then on the other side, this guy milbukson,is one of my friend, I’ll tell some of my milbukians clan about your site,,,if you open that site Milbuklegacy.com,,,the coastal was awesome,,medyo parat lang gamay,,,,but, everyone was asking were this site came from and it’s you,,,your part of our legacy now,,,,,YOU TAKE IT EASY AND YOU HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND!!!GOD BLESS.

    [Reply]

    ark Reply:

    Grabe talagang adrenaline rush un. Pero when I arrived at the place, it was gone. I felt comfortable na. Hindi ako magpapagabi until 7:30 PM dun kung hindi, hehe..

    Again, I thank you for welcoming me to your group. I hope to revisit your place again. We might also help some of your elementary schools be connected to the world wide web.

    Thank you and more power.

    [Reply]

  5. jun Says:

    ark>>> I call one of my friend and i told her about this(you) was in Milbuk and you guys just installed that SAT/DISC. or fix it…then she call me right away,,,,daghan daw kaayong salamat
    ninyo…..you guys rock!, and thank you very much indeed…

    [Reply]

    ark Reply:

    Salamat. We hope to assist more school in your area soon.

    [Reply]

  6. jun Says:

    ark>>>>> you guys were cool, coz we just got some small update from one of thier facultys, and then she’s excited, for she got some webpack from all over the world right away,,,maayo gyud ning WWW, KAY DELI NA RADYO BALAGON,,then some kumustahan coz you know,,it’s been awhile {{35 years meen}}.
    and i’ll give you a toast on that{{red ‘cabernet” or sauvignon blanc”}}..once again, thank guys!

    [Reply]

    ark Reply:

    Thanks sa toast. Pero wala man ko gainom, hehe..

    It’s good na nagagamit na nung mga teachers dun. It really helps to have an internet connection especially kung nasa remote area ka. At least, connected to the world ka pa rin.

    [Reply]

  7. Neng Says:

    Ark>>>>> thank you very much for reconnecting us back to our homeland. I’m looking forward to be with Milbuk Elementary School too.

    [Reply]

    ark Reply:

    You are welcome. Yes, we hope to help your elementary school too in the near future.

    [Reply]

  8. Milbuk_Son Says:

    Ark,,Good day to you, I wish you all the best, be in health and personal needs as well your family. Ark, favor from your end just want to know how the internet system configured, I mean the computer set, how many stations, power supply and what kind or source. may apil bang printer? possible to add more station (PC) via router. how’s the internet speed. Ark, let me enlighten about this. thanks and regards

    [Reply]

    ark Reply:

    We also provided a 16-port switch to the school and installed the local area network for 15 units.

    Wala’ng router but for the internet sharing, dalawa ang LAN card sa server. Ang 1st LAN card is connected to the VSAT while the 2nd one is for the LAN. Then, punta lang kami sa internet sharing configuration (ICS) ng windows.

    May kasama din po’ng 3-in-1 printer, photocopier and scanner.

    [Reply]

  9. My New Tools of the Trade | Says:

    […] assistance to schools in the ARMM and CAAM (conflict-affected areas of Mindanao) by providing them internet connection, computer units and computer-related trainings and seminars. I am one of the technical persons […]

  10. The Series of Computer Trainings I Conducted for Teachers (Summer 2009) | Says:

    […] As a Technical Specialist for GEM’s CLIC (Computer Literacy and Internet Connection) component assigned in the provinces of Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat, part of my responsibility is to oversee the computer delivery and internet installation to our recipient schools. Whenever there’s a need to repair the computer units and the internet connection, I also accompany our partners in going back to the area. Just like the time when I visited Palimbang. […]

  11. Milbuk_son Says:

    Thanks Ark and company for the info. God bless you all and more power too.

    [Reply]

    ark Reply:

    You are welcome. Thanks for dropping by.

    [Reply]

  12. Palimbang Forever Says:

    I think what you’re doing is awesome! More power to you Ark! May the good Lord be with you on your quest for a better place called Mindanao. May the young generation enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to see what’s out there via the internet.

    [Reply]

  13. lupad bangsi Says:

    Thank you very much Ark, we are happy of what you helped to my place, i was born there but i’m here in manila, at the same time i’m sad because you only reached milbuk, sana nilubos nyo na makaabot ng poblacion because my sister is a teacher there. Anyway we are grateful to you and sana more projects pa please.

    [Reply]

    ark Reply:

    You are welcome. Actually, nakarating naman po kami hanggang Poblacion Palimbang eh. Ung national high school dun eh assisted din namin.

    [Reply]

  14. My 500th Blog Post | Says:

    […] make the Internet accessible to students of Mindanao, and how I trained the computer teachers and oversee the Internet installation at the schools. I’m not a full-time blogger and just doing this is a source of extra […]

  15. Junaidy Condo Says:

    hello..tnx guys….atlast nakita ko rin ang alma matterko ang Milbuk national high school….

    [Reply]

  16. Merlin Lanuza Says:

    Thank you for helping palimbang. i’m glad knowing people like you. we can have communication with them.

    [Reply]

  17. milbuk camp resident Says:

    youve done a great job……..thanks to the people like you ….

    [Reply]

  18. bariles Says:

    You did great Arkhe!

    Hope to finally visit Palimbang soon! Let’s do it together with our other blogger friends!

    :)

    [Reply]

  19. indenhers Says:

    Hi! Mr. Ark,

    Alam ko na iba ang pumapasok sa isip mo when hear the place they call PALIMBANG. yah becoz palimbang has mean a lot, and if you notice the first comment you heard about Palimbang is negative. BUt then…. Palimbang is a nice Place,,ang mga magagandang tanawin na nakita mo doon, wala pa doon yong mga pinakamagaganda,,, yes! becoz northern Palimbang is more beautiful views there.
    I was a graduate of Milbuk National High School, and I’m verry happy to read your blog,,,that b-coz of you they have thier internet connection again. Alam mo ba na sa panahon namin walang pang computer sa school na yan,, kaya nung dumating ako sa syudad nangapa ako kung paano gumamit ng computer…
    thanks for being good, I know trabaho mo yan , but then naging okey sayo na ikaw ang pumunta sa Lugar na iyan,,, keep up the good work!!! hope to come again in this place…

    thanks a lot…

    indenhers

    [Reply]

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