Monthly Archives: November 2015

Community Profile Presentation

November 6, 2015

During the first community exposure, the team focused on secondary data gathering. Upon data collection, Barangay Sinai’s community profile was then presented to four panelists on Friday, November 6. Way to go, Medisinai! Job well-done!

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Bulletin Board Making

October 30, 2015

Just days after coming home to Zamboanga City, we face another task at hand: the making of our community bulletin board. This is a requirement every after community exposure. This aims to introduce our barangay to the readers and subsequently display the activities we conducted during the said exposure.

The team used the barangay’s foundation history as a concept for the bulletin board. Since Sinai is situated at the foot of a mountain, we created a mountain with different layers to reveal the barangay’s information.

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September 26, 2015. Arrival at Sergio Osmeña

September 28, 2015. Arrival at Sinai

September 29, 2015. Medical mission at Tuburan

September 30, 2015. Courtesy call with Hon. Richard Magsalay

October 1, 2015. Ocular survey of Purok Kalobian and Mahogany

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One-of-a-kind Sinai

Sinai is an outlying barangay situated at the municipality of Sergio Osmena, one of 39 barangays belonging to the partly urban areas in the province of Zamboanga del Norte in Western Mindanao. It has a laidback pace of life, with a very small population of roughly 29,453 only as of May 1, 2010, practically everyone knows each other. Majority of barangay Sinai’s population are of Visayan and Subanen ethnicity, the main dialect spoken by the locals is bisaya.

Peace and order is not much of a problem given the demographics of Sinai. Since the current barangay captain – Hon. Pedro Habagat was appointed, there have been 0 crime rates recorded within the vicinity of barangay Sinai.

It’s geographical profile is located high above sea level, hence, its cool/temperate weather almost all year round is attributed to this. Livelihood is mostly agriculture. As for health services, barangay Sinai can be regarded as still developing. One of Barangay Sinai’s major contribution t o the municipality is its water supply, which is abundant. Its lush green forest and its view is a sight to behold.

A picturesque beauty tucked away in the country’s remote areas. The biodiversity of Sinai is in harmony with its inhabitants, it holds the potential of being great in many ways, untapped and undistributed, it is one of a kind.

Christine M. Juaton

Batch 2020

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Leaving nests

There will always come a time where baby birds could leave their nests and live for themselves. But just before they could do that, they need a little push from their parents to learn how to fly. That was how it felt to live on our own at Sinai, Sergio Osmeña. We were oriented and was asked to travel light for our safety and convenience. By the time we passed its borders, it suddenly felt so real. It was not a dream anymore. The place felt so surreal, quiet, peaceful but mostly very green. The people were also very kind and every day I found myself thanking God for giving me another day to appreciate this place. Sinai was not the only thing that found a place in my heart. The seven other people living with me pretty much grew on me too. Not only have I found new friends for life but a family I can depend on as well.

Sinai is one of the barangays in Sergio Osmeña and has four puroks. Not only is it known for its beautiful resort Butanas but also for the rivers that flank it named Layawan and Sebulan. It also has a waterfall named Busay falls and the water that is being sold in Pob. Alto and Pob. Bajo came from Sinai. The people here are mostly farmers with a few exceptions that own their own business or is employed in the government or a private institution. The people are also taking care of various animals like swine, cows, goats, horses, chickens, dogs and cats.

Jayvalikka A. Garcia

Batch 2020

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What Lies Beneath

I still can’t fathom the fact that we’re already back in this city. As I recall all the experiences we had, the laughter and tears we’ve shared, I can’t help but wish for time to rewind everything, and that when I open my eyes, I would be back at Sinai, away from all the stressors brought about by the fast pace of living in the city. Back there in Sinai, everything was easy, you get to appreciate all the simple things in life, I would always say.

It seemed really scary at first! Come to think of it, you get to live with seven people whom you barely know, (even I and my closest friends back in high school never had a chance like this!) back then I only knew their names, not their stories. I remembered the Freud’s Iceberg theory from one of our large group sessions with Dr. Halili, where only few (overt) aspects are visible in every person, what lies beneath are layers and layers of secrets which are deeply hidden from others (covert), and you get to decide how much of this hidden aspect you would want to reveal to others. Just thinking about all these things makes it creepier! You’ll get to be with them 24/7, 7 days a week for a month, and twice a year! These people, whether you like it or not will be with you until you finish medical school. I remember those times when I prayed to our Almighty Father to gracefully send me somebody who would be my best friend here in med school and that He would send me to a group (for our community immersion) whom I can get along with.

With all the stressors, hardships and not to mention the mind-blowing exams, we all need at least one good friend whom we can share our stories to, who will always be there for you no matter what, someone who would be happy in your successes and a shoulder to cry on when your at your lowest. God is so gracious indeed! For I only asked for one but He gave me seven! God certainly knows what’s best for us. I never would have thought that I would know them better during our first community exposure at Sinai, Sergio Osmena. All my doubts and fears are swept away when we finally went to Sinai. Day after day, I knew them better, the ice berg which was only partly visible to them became much more prominent. As we knew each other’s stories, we have learned to love and accept each other’s uniqueness as well as our flaws and differences.

What makes this exposure great are these people, our never-ending laugh trips and MMK moments are truly unforgettable, they will surely remain in my long-term memory. Despite the hardships that we have to deal with daily and the chores that almost all of us are not accustomed to (we even worry about our next meal!), I would say that life gets easier with these people around me. Right now, I don’t see them as friends for they are already my family, and together, hand-in-hand, we would make Sinai a better place.

Charlene Mae L.H. Valdez

Batch 2020

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Beyond the ordinary, finding a family

Never thought I would experience a lot of unforgettable moments just in a short span here in Sinai. That one month we shared was truly irreplaceable. I never knew we would be bonded with each other this much. You see, each one of us was unique and striking in our own way. We all had different traits and personalities that you’d think we wouldn’t work out, but we eventually did. In a very fast pace if I add.

The first time we arrived there, we were really prepared for the worst. But to our convenience, the house was actually a pretty sweet place to stay. The community there is really helping us out, making considerations and accommodating for us. They were pleasant and lovely really. They even adjusted the house a bit just to give us a comfy stay. The house was so neat, we joked about it saying we’re in “PBB (Pinoy Big Brother)” and that the cameras (box-shaped things on some corners of the ceilings) are watching so we had to act nice and friendly to get ourselves some votes. Every time we did any generous and selfless acts of kindness, we always looked at the cameras and smiled. We even have our own “made-up couples” having its gimmicks and we say that our fans already screenshot our photos and uploaded it on the internet. And all the time we kept laughing over and over as the minutes passes by. We tease each other, make fun of ourselves, and help in whatever way we can. These guys really know how to have fun, but it’s not all about the fun stuff too. When one of us gets hurt, we try to talk about it after we eat our meal. One of us would act as a judge and they take turns talking to one another. Even when that happens we still throw in some jokes, you know, just to break the ice. But at the end of the day, we still go to bed sleeping with smiles on our faces.

It’s not all about the fun stuff. Sometimes we get serious as well; to the point where we even have our own “MMK” Session. Each one of us willingly (forced) shares what we’d like to share about ourselves. Although it may seem too personal and it may be a little bit hard to share bits of our lives to these newly-met friends, that’s just how things work. If we didn’t get personal that time, maybe we wouldn’t be as close as we are today. You see, each one of us is unique and wonderful in our own way. Although it’s been only a month, we got to know each other a lot. And even if we had different traits, personalities, as the moments pass by we found something that was somewhat familiar and not so different to all of us. And it grew to proportions I couldn’t even think we could actually have that kind of relationship. What we found was love. It has only been a month, and even if it seems that we know a lot from each other already, we’re still getting to know each other better and it doesn’t really stop. Even with our differences, we still try to really connect with each other. Knowing what this one likes, what that one doesn’t like, and all those things that most of the time we keep it locked up here in our head. If you’d ask me what I experienced in Sinai, well I can’t really say it. Words are beautiful, really. They help me express these things, but sometimes words just aren’t enough. Never thought I would experience all of these with each other. Seems like we found each other along the path we walked. The bond we shared is truly irreplaceable. You see, we became a family.

I can’t wait to spend the next days with them, side by side trying to do what we can for the people in Sinai. After all the efforts that the Captain and all of them gave just to make us feel secure and comfy, you just can’t help but have the urge to help them even more. I can’t wait. I feel really excited for the upcoming days that are going to add up to my unforgettable moments and treasured memories with these seven extraordinary people along with Sinai.

Denzel Erick S. Lim

Batch 2020

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Sinai: Bringing back memories

Sinai is a good land of good people. Its beautiful ambiance in sunset reminds me of the time 18 years ago. The air is cold and fresh that makes you reminisce your footsteps in the past and the wind blows gracefully that make you say Alhamdulillah, praise be to Allah and ya Allah I thank You.

Yes, the time when a small boy with his white cloak and head garment briskly walked and passed by people, always wondering who he is. Every time the people see the boy, he is with his pen, paper and lamp (there was no electricity).

In his town, after every salah (prayer) there will always be an Islamic lecture given by a very eloquent sheikh. This gathering constantly reminds the people that this worldly life is not ours and not our possession. Worldly life is just temporary. No one will be infinite and immortal in this life.  What’s ours is the hereafter. A wise man upon hearing this makes all things that he could to make good deeds in this world.

The wise words of this gathering become the blood and flesh of the young boy. He becomes indoctrinated by this proses especially the Prophet Muhammad’s, peace be upon him, good tidings “be merciful to the creation on earth and you will be loved by who is in the heaven.”

And now, I’m thankful that Allah gives me the chance to show mercy and love to the creation especially to the humankind that includes the people of Sinai. These people are worthy of serving.

What amazed me the most is they have the best life if happiness is the basis of having a good life. They have simple life. They wake up at 5am and then drink coffee for their breakfast. After that, they will go to their farm and work, taking lunch as their only break for the day. And at 5pm they will go home. They go to sleep at 7am after taking dinner, no television, entertainment and whatsoever. What is amazing here is they always smile, at the sunset as well as at the sunrise, which means they know how to be happy in a simple life.

To be happy is the goal of life according to philosophers. And one of the signs of being happy is you smile. And smiling in any circumstances means you attained the best life. Blessed are the people of Sinai having this luxury of contentment in the heart and a peace of mind.

I ask Allah that He will give me the strength, knowledge and skills to make something good to this people as a medical doctor and as a friend.

This is not possible, after the will of Allah, without the help of the Ateneo de Zamboanga – School of Medicine. The school gave a rare opportunity to a son of a farmer to become a medical doctor. He did not imagined that he can study medicine, having his difficulty in life. And insha Allah, the school will not regret giving their trust to this no-name man.

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The Sinai Experience

A month of community exposure gained us memorable experiences. These experiences we can endlessly share with others. We learned a lot from household chores to never ending conversations. Life seems to be simple. Life seems to be easy back there. For the eight of us, the greatest thing we have learned is teamwork. Being away from our comfort zone can make it more difficult if we do not get along. But proudly, we disagreed agreeably. We manage to share our opinions and respect it. We plan and decide as a team.

Regardless of our differences, we took time to know each other better. We listen attentively to each life stories and with that we understand more. Then the differences faded away and a family was formed. Now, community exposure is not a mere requirement. It is our own second home to make a difference. And I quote what ValaAfshar said, “we are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we respect, trust and care for each other”.

Marie Dorothy Kimberly O. Lim

Batch 2020

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