She endured years of attending to a stage-based class due to scarcity of conducive classrooms. Each class has over fifty students. Two classes are going on at the same time.  

Merlyn Cebuco, 15, is a senior high school student at White Kulaman Integrated School – one of the secluded areas in Kitaotao, Bukidnon. She would bring her own armchair to school. Her melancholy comes from a deep desire to have a decent classroom, to learn more, and be inspired to go to school each day.

“Dati mahigit 50 po kaming nagsisiksikan sa isang classroom,” (We’re more than fifty students in a congested classroom before.) Merlyn narrated.    

 “Noong una, talagang mahirap. Iyong mga bata nagsisiksikan sa silid aralan. Mahirap in terms of teacher-pupil learning interaction. Maingay kasi plywood lang ang division,” (It was really challenging before. The students were congested in one classroom. It was challenging in terms of teacher-pupil learning interaction because the environment was noisy. We only had plywood as a division,) Jonah Algoso added, Principal 1 of White Kulaman Integrated School, Kitaotao, Bukidnon.

With the help of the local government unit of Kitaotao and 88th Infantry Battalion of Maramag, ABS-CBN Foundation-Sagip Kapamilya recently turned over three classrooms to White Kulaman Integrated School.           

      “Buti nalang may ABS-CBN Foundation-Sagip Kapamilya na walang sawang tumutulong sa mga nangangailangan. Lalo na dito sa amin sa White Kulaman, malayo talaga sa siyudad, ang daan mahirap. Ang saya talaga, nakikita ko sa mukha ng mga kabataan, sa mga teachers,” (We are grateful that ABS-CBN Foundation-Sagip Kapamilya is there, continuously helping those in need, especially Barangay White Kulaman. We are far from the city, the roads are difficult.  But seeing our students and teachers happy is priceless,) Algoso exclaimed.

Donated classrooms will benefit 649 students for the current school year.

“Ngayon lang po kami nagkaroon ng magandang school. Nakaka-inspire po kasi may maganda na kaming paaralan. Maraming salamat po,” (Finally, we now have a decent school. It’s inspiring to have a new school. Thank you,) Merlyn added, fighting back her tears.  


IP Midwife for IP Community  

People living in Barangay White Kulaman are mostly indigenous.  White Kulaman in Kitaotao is a three-hour walk to the nearest health center in Bukidnon. Habal-habal or motorcycle is the only transportation to get to the town. Many residents can’t even afford the travel cost. The aisle gets even difficult especially when rivers overflow due to heavy rains.

Aside from the brand new classrooms, a new health center and birthing facility was also turned over to give the indigenous community access to health services.

“Importante sa mga tao dito na mayroon talagang pasilidad at midwife na nagbibigay serbisyo para sa mga tao in terms of health services. Ang mga tao dito ay mahihirap so kailangan talaga nila ma-checkup para sa kanilang kalusugan lalo na sa mga kabataan at mga buntis,” (Having a health center and a midwife here is very important for the residents in terms of health services. Residents in the area are mostly indigenous. They need health services especially for children and pregnant women,) said Midwife Lani Cabantao.  Considering that the residents are mostly indigenous people (IP), midwife Lani reiterated that it is important to have an IP midwife like her in order to cater the needs of the community.

Barangay White Kulaman Captain Norven Garcia expressed his gratitude that their community finally received a health center.     

“Daku ug salamat sa ABS-CBN nga nalantaw ang amo a kalisod diri sa Brgy. White Kulaman. Dili lang Brgy. White Kulaman ang matabangan bisan kato a mga barangay nga kasipbit namu matabangan pa,” (Thank you, ABS-CBN, for looking into our community’s struggles. This is a huge help for Brgy. White Kulaman as well as to nearby barangays,) he said.

First from left is Midwife Lani Cabantao together with Sagip Kapamilya team.