Malaybalay … As It Used to Be … A Call for Change!

Most people, when they find out I’m from Malaybalay, would say: “Bugnaw daw kaayo didto no?”

Yes! Malaybalay is known to be just like Baguio – cool, serene, beautiful …

Grand mountains … tall trees … green pine trees in the hills surrounding Malaybalay – seemingly an arms length away from the bustling Public Market … lush green vegetation … rich farmlands … vast expanse of pineapples which can be seen along the highways … clear waters in rivers and streams …

Practically nature at its best!

Sadly, I think this is not true anymore today. Malaybalay is not as cold as it was … and to be honest about it, for those of us living somewhere else, Malaybalay is a lot different now than it used to be.

When I was little, I remember waking up each morning feeling very excited to go out and see the fog covering most of the trees surrounding BSC. We lived in Fortich street then, just in front of BSC, and there were some sort of pine trees along the fences of the campus. Today, an electric fan is something of value. Homes and offices are now airconditioned … Gone were the days when sweaters and jackets were a must when going out of the house.

As students, walking to school and coming home was an adventure. It was also a good time to chat with friends, classmates, and neighbors. More than anything else, I think our slim wastelines then can be attributed to the exercise we got from walking -mind you- to almost anywhere in Malaybalay: padulong simbahan, merkado, ilang Aking, ilang Tabios, sa Faro or Belyca Cinema, even paingon sa Capitol grounds or sa grandstand!

Today, its very different! Along Cudal street, you’ll find a hard time walking, all the more drving your car towards BSU because of the number of motorelas waiting in line for passengers. Absurd as it may seem, abot na gud sa former Casa Christa ang linya or alley! Really terrible! Gone were the days when people enjoyed walking … or taking a relaxing stroll towards home.

I have talked to cousins and nephews and nieces and they always say one thing: Malaybalay is no longer safe at night. This is one reason they said it’s no longer advisable to walk, specially when its starting to get dark. Reports of pagpang dunggab is common. Duna na gani gapang snatch og bag – riders of single motorcycles.   They said because of the sprouting of many drinking establishments that cater to the young people, crime rate has risen. If you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong crowd, might as well run for your safety! Accordingly, some drunk young people hurt other people for practically no reason at all … sa binisaya pa, nakursunadahan lang!

There is one thing I noticed in my visits, wala kaayo (if duna man ugaling) establishments nga ga encourage  og clean fun for the youth, or even for the adults, in Malaybalay. Ang daghan, inumanan. Ang mga batan-on, pag human klase, inum ang gapa ingnan … sa mga kilid kild na imnanan … And unfortunately, I see many in Malaybalay …

What makes me more curious is that many of these drinking establishments are very near many educational establishments. Isn’t there an ordinance or a law prohibiting selling alcoholic beverages within a specified distance from educational institutions? How about selling alcoholic beverages to minors? I saw in my visits students still wearing their school uniforms drinking in these establishments!

Alcohol in the system, let’s face it, brings the worst in people. It makes them do foolish things. Maybe this is the reason why daghan na isog magpasipala sa ilang isig katawo – they have lost the power to make correct choices and decisions.

And so this is what we now have: a community that is no longer safe.

Someone said this is inevitable, that this is the price of progress.

Truly … Is it?

I wonder what our local government officials are doing about this?

How about the school administrators and teachers?

Of course they are not to be blamed, but surely, there must be something they can do!

Maybe one thing is to be very strict in implementing to the letter school policies on getting inside the school campus when under the influence of alcohol …

Or maybe something can be done about the fraternities and gangs by school administrators, government officials, law enforcers, civic organizations, and parents …

Seriously, I’m curious, is there any program by any concerned group designed specifically with the youth in mind, something that would encourage clean fun instead of patronizing drinking establishments by hanging around and singing noisy “music” – if you can even call it that?

Maybe it’s high time to think about putting up something like a “sports zone” where young people can play tennis or basketball (minus the pinustahay which usually leads to trouble – and drinking) … maybe a bowling alley … or a badminton court (and as I am writing this I fondly remember the Pelota Court of the Beltran’s…)

This can be a good project for the SK!

Pardon my observation, but why is it that the normal SK activities center on “baile or disco”? How about the youth organizations in schools? How about the church youth organizations?

How about the civic organizations of the adults?

And most important of all, unsa kahay gabuhaton sa mga ginikanan aron malikay ang ilang mga kabatan-unan sa dili maayo nga mga bisyo?

Isn’t this an everlasting truth: that the first school room is the home – and the first teachers are the parents?

Point question for those who are sitting as city administrators:

Why is it that the most thriving businesses in the locality are the drinking establishments? Look at all the convenience stores which pride themselves of being open 24 hours. Isn’t it true that these establishments place small tables and chairs outside their stores for those who want to socialize and drink? What makes this most disturbing is the fact that everyone seems to think THIS IS OKAY, because it’s the IN thing! Sosyal man!

So sad …

I loved it when in the past, whenever walked in the streets of Malaybalay, we meet people we know … anak ni … igsoon ni … atong teacher sa una … iyang anak or bana or igsoon …

Today, so many things has changed – places, things, people …

I’m just curious … which Malaybalay do I prefer?

The one that’s still vivid in my memory?

or the real-time Malaybalay – the here and now.

I wish for the old Malaybalay … clean, green , fun, and safe …


2 thoughts on “Malaybalay … As It Used to Be … A Call for Change!

  1. I have read a lot of calls for the government, both local (Baranggay level) and the City, to do something to resolve the safety issues in Malaybalay. As this may take a while, maybe the residents can already work on something.

    Maybe someone, or a group perhaps, or a civic society, can spearhead, and then work together/coordinate with local authorities (police or Baranggay Officials) and do some inspection on the sprouting drinking establishments all over the city, specifically those nearest the schools and those located near residential houses. See of they have business permits and whether or not they are indeed violating local ordinances;

    Maybe school administrators of all the schools – both private and public- can meet as a group, together with DepEd and CHED officials, and discuss what they can do on their levels to address the issue at hand. Perhaps they can enforce stricter laws on campus admittance of those under the influence of alcohol … or those using drugs …;

    Or maybe the City can, for a season, declare a curfew for all minors. This is think will make the greatest impact! Just imagine cleaner and safer streets ant night. Mawala na ang mga istambay sa daplin daplin sa dalan … wala na’y maglakaw lakaw … Og duna man ugaling, dali na makita!

    And maybe the Police can really enforce the law and make arrests – of businessmen/businesses violating laws and ordinances, in particular on liquor sales to minors;

    Then, when the LGU’s are ready to address the issues, maybe they can start by putting street lights especially along dark streets “sa suok suok nga bahin sa City”;

    Then ipag bawal ang mag inum sa daplin sa dalan or sa gawas sa balay (many would stay outside their homes, on the sidewalks, and then drink alcoholic beverages). Kalagmitan pag duna dayon mag labay, mag sugod na ang gubot!

    Ipagbawal ang pag baligya og mga barbecue sa sidewalk sa gabii!

    All these may sound harsh, and I am sure many would react negatively on some of my recommendations here. However, peace comes with a price, and if we want to have peace, then we must be willing to do our share and pay the price!

  2. Truly, I cannot agree more to all that you have written Chris. I think people now have misplaced values.

    Putting profit over what is just and needed for what we call development.

    May be the school system is different now than before, perhaps teachers no longer concern themselves with the socio-development impact of teaching, such that the classrooms are no longer avenues for proper learning about things, life, values and degraded into a place to deliver concepts and principles.

    Perhaps parents are more complacent or too busy. Children and young adults are no longer properly guided both at home and in school!

    I do not know, I do not like to believe that my thoughts are the realities. Right, there has to be done with the things that are happening, and not just soon but actions be made now.

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