Amidst the inner turmoil, it was the excitement that masked our façade as we assembled at the footsteps of LRC Building. The dawn was breaking when the bus decided to leave the school for an eight-hour long journey to the Municipality of Mahayag. With a total number of 29 barangays, this haven is a sweet spot for foreigners and tourists alike. From the mountainous terrains perfect for trekking to the cold springs that materialize into a gateway for travelers looking for something brand-new. Complimenting this was the perfect weather that embraced the wet and dry seasons. On top of that, the center of municipality which was Barangay Poblacion was made accessible through the national road.
We arrived at the Mahayag Municipal Hospital, even though Dr. Jerald Ramos – hospital director was not present, he left us through the supervision of Dr. Sotto along with Dr. Valaquio and Dr. Punzalan, our community preceptors. They gleefully called upon the leaders to orient about the community and the objectives for this exposure. They stressed the importance of unity amongst the team and magnitude of rule breaking. Afterwards, we were sent to our assigned barangays from that point, with ours as the welcoming Barangay Lourmah.
Barangay Lourmah lies flat in the southern side of Poblacion. Driving in farther, we reached the Barangay Hall at the heart of the region. The northern boundary goes back to Poblacion, further east was Diwan, going south was San Isidro and to its west was Tumapic. Additionally, the land area was only 322.64 hectares making it the 5th smallest in the whole of Mahayag. Upon arrival, we saw some of the places that played major roles to which activities were held such as the Barangay Hall, Multi-purpose hall, Health Center and the local Elementary School. Moreover, the great fields of lush green greeted us with astonishment. The agricultural land generally comprised of rice, corn and coconut vehemently planted by the local farmers. Majority of the people relies on their crops for a living. Speaking the local dialect was also made easy for some of us since the common tongue was that of from Bisayan decent, followed by the Subanen and the rest were minorities. Aside from that, the kindness and hospitality of the residents made it trouble-free for us to mingle with them. Overall, the tranquil meadows to our backyard and the occasional bustle of the vehicles nearby our doorstep made an unobtrusive realization of the becoming of a rural community to an urban hub.
As part of the university’s maxim “Pro Deo et Patria,” the medical students are endowed with the sense of nationalism, spirit of compassion and a faith to the Almighty. With this, we hope to better serve this estranged land through programs that will alleviate their living conditions and maintain the optimistic posterity for the generations to come. For we believe from the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”