The children of Talaingod

After a recent completion of a paved road connecting Davao del Norte to Bukidnon, travel between the two cities have shortened the distance and time significantly. The two lane road run through the municipalities of Kapalong and Talaingod. What we have encountered here have been an eye opener- a life changer, perhaps with how the children react and feel about life- and the new found gratitude we have gained collectively as a family in our recent travel to Mindanao.

Talaingod is a municipality where one usually don’t end their destination but a roadway or a pathway to a destination. But its collective beauty- unfound and untold should be a destination. What set this apart from any random trip are the children and their story. The road least traveled., for now.

As we made our way several hundred to thousands of feet along winding road, the scenic vista pops in and out of view and the cordillera mountain ranges eclipse the phantom of one’s life troubles. The incredible view and height eludes a striking ominous dark clouds ahead. The stillness of the mid day peaking sun burrow a sense of peace and tranquility. Each turn introduces a wonderful cunning surprises of left and right vista. The next car- a few hundreds of yards away, just the way I’ve enjoyed travel, slipping in and out of sight as we snake our way up the mountains with sharp winding turns. The very beauty of these mountains, greenery and impressive ranges put you at ease. In a trance. A meditation.

piles of rocks and stones on the roadways can be seen in an effort to widen roadways. Many continued construction are in full force- an effort that continue to connect and pave roadways to the main highway.

A few more turns and a steady incline to a plateau lead you to children walking, some idle on the side road, a few playing, two little one bathe in a soft running water down a hill. The very hint of- civilization. In an instant sight and sound of a moving vehicle and engine changing gear the children gravitate towards the vehicle arms up and hands wide open. A display of such innocence and determination in their eyes.

Children approaching the car as we slowed down and lowered the windows. We extended chocolate, candies and snacks to them. Make sure the children do not get close to the moving car. It is better to throw the food at a safe distance for safety.

Not one, or two but five and six children rush to the car in a blinded turn. They grace the car, the very young follow, their eyes curious to what is about to happen. You have to make sure to slow down and invite the commotion carefully. As the children near the car, we opened all the windows and readied our bag of chips and candies. You should never stop at this point but throw the food or gift in a safe distance away from the car. Safely and away from the highway. This was a very important safety precaution Kuya Jim adviced us about this road as he’s passed this many times over.

A few children got as close to the car in arm’s length. Their eyes fixed on the gifts and collectively stretching their arms out to grab them.

I have never encountered such a meeting with children. In a blink of an eye they conclude and diffuse each on their own way. The car in fast motion now, but the children drift away slowly into the distance, in a slow motion I can hear my heart pound. Not in a state of disbelief but a sense of longing to have given more. But ironic and beautifully they return the favor in such a way with a complete contentment in my part.

Talaingod, “God’s chosen people” and the indigenous people of the Ata-manobo tribe continue to live in peace and consider this area paradise. Where once was a breeding ground for communist insurgent, bring a sense of hope now. Widened roads accessible for anyone to travel through. Although some remnants still linger within the town, a boy- for example holds a bamboo made toy rifle, walks along the side road and crossing the highway like a rebel. Only the present disperse the notion and bring innocence and harmless nature to his stature and play.


a quick stop at one of the many vistas along Kapalong-talaingod-Valencia road/highway.

I appreciate my kuya Jim for bringing us to this very unique encounter with the children as he’s recollected himself the facination of simple joy and gratitude in sharing. To be able to share a very small portion of what we have as a blessing is a profound joy repeated to the children of talaingod.

As we continued our way, the same mighty mountain ranges, forming clouds touching the valley peaks, beautiful vistas has not left but continued to keep us mesmerized. Only now we have gained joy that’s invincible. As we hit the plains of Valencia the ominous clouds visibly panning across the rice fields bringing down with its might a thundering force and sweeping rain. The only thing I can think of are the Lumad children of the Atamambo tribe playing in it and the simple joy they reclaim in whatever form shared to them.

I don’t know if the children will continue to stay in those roads waiting for passer by to hand and share them snacks and chocolates. But I continue to wish for more generous people to be able to come to this place and find a lasting joy in sharing with them. God continue to bless children of Talaingod.

I have had such profound joy in writing this article. I hope someday I get to write more articles of beauty beyond one’s sight. I’d like to share that experience through writing. Thank you for the coffee!

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