Two weeks ago, at the height of the Sabah crisis, I produced this map for GMA News Online showing the locations of
- Kampung Tanduo/Tanduao: where the royal army of Jumalul Kiram III were holed up in
- Felda Sahabat: where the Malaysian army set up camp for the Friday assault
- Semporna: where the secondary Saturday incidents happened after the Friday assault on Tanduo by Malaysian forces
- Lahad Datu town proper: where nothing happened.
It is important to note that most of the news gathered by Philippine media were secondary accounts. They were stationed in the town proper of Lahad Datu and were cordoned off from the areas of interest by a distance of at least 100 kilometers.
The only difficulty encountered in creating this map was that Kunak was not yet drawn as a district in the shape files that I downloaded from the Diva GIS website.
I read an opinion piece somewhere (I can't find it anymore) that the reason Lahad Datu was chosen by the Kiram's forces was because it was not a big town. Aside from that, its proximity allowed the army to regroup or ask for reinforcements from Sitangkai or Simunul, Tawi-Tawi. If they really wanted to create chaos, they should have went to Sandakan but that would have entailed more planning due to the distance and a bigger force needed.
Due to the crisis, prices of daily commodities in Tawi-Tawi rose as products which usually came from Sabah stopped coming in. Zamboanga City, which is the nearest big town, is 9 hours away (360km).
But recently, as this article from Rappler indicates, the area of interest shifted somewhere north of Lahad Datu: Sandakan.
Sandakan is the second biggest town of Sabah, second only to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the state, in population. There is a big population of undocumented Filipinos working there. DSWD is now preparing for the eventual deportation of undocumented Filipinos by setting up a one-stop processing shop in Taganak (the red pin A in the map above). Taganak, also known as Turtle Islands is "the nearest Philippine soil" to Sandakan. Taganak is very isolated, around 200km away from the nearest Philippine town Bongao which is at least 5 hours away.
This is the first post in a series of posts (hopefully), explaining the news in terms of geography.
Yung akala mong sa sobrang pagmamahal mo ay kaya mong ibigay ang lahat pero tao ka rin namang napapagod, may limitasyon rin.
On my last day in the office, I didn't expect any emotional farewells or explosive revelations, which is a good thing as nothing really did happen. Low expectations is a foundation of happiness.
Some people did give some last words. Someone shared publicly of the time I made her cry night after night because of the corrections I made of her work. Someone else shared how unexpectedly patient I am with him unlike what others might have told him. There was a mention of having me on retainer so that I could drop by every now and then.
I may have told some people that I really love my job there. They are probably asking now why I resigned. Mainly it is because of the traffic. Until November of this year, my travel time is almost four hours a day because of the underpass being constructed along the route I take. Taking another route would mean at least three transfers which would then be too tiring.
As I walked alone along the hallways of my former workplace on my way home, there was no rush of nostalgia that usually accompanies my last day or moment in a place. Probably because as some have believed, that I will not be leaving forever, that I'll definitely be back. I just need to rest.
Two of the happiest carefree moments of my life were in the sea. I don't know how to swim and wouldn't survive without a lifevest.
The "snorkeling" we (Telehealth people) did two days ago in Batanagas couldn't compare to the two moments but for a moment I did not care if I got burnt by the sun. I just kept on swimming and swimming and looking at the dead corals. We did get to see an angel fish and other colorful fishes though.
My first and only other time to snorkel was in Krabi, Thailand. I can't remember anymore what I saw back then but I do remember being extremely happy with what I saw. But then maybe it was just the people I was with that made that happy.
Just two months ago, together with my Telehealth officemates, I got to see the butanding (whale shark) up close. According to some people, it was a small whale shark that we saw but it was still majestic. I almost gave up hope because we were told the day before that there were no more boats and that some people the day before did not get to see one.
Now I'm regretting not having gone to see the humpback whales in Tonga and choosing to do the never-ending rabies information system in my room instead.
This week was the first week of our new officemate in my hospital-based work. She introduced herself as being familiar to hospitals because she got delayed in her college studies because she was hospitalized, not once, but twice, due to dengue.
I've only been confined once in my entire life, also due to dengue, or as my doctor said, almost dengue. Whenever I would tell this story to other stories and even to health professionals, they would say it is already dengue. I stayed in the hospitals for three days and remembered fondly wanting to stay even longer, not minding the painful twice-daily blood tests. I just loved lying in bed the whole day and being served food in your bed.
Dengue is a very serious disease. Someone in my office almost lost an arm due to dengue. And there were almost deaths associated with dengue last year alone. It is characterized by a drop in the platelet count which increases the risks of bleeding.
My mother was suprised back then as I was the one who asked her to bring me to the hospital. I had a very high fever. I had this recurring dream of an infinitely multiplying black thread in my hands. In my dream, I tried to contain the volume of the thread but it just wouldn't stop.
Last night, I also had a fever. I was alone for what seemed like eternity at home until my mother and siblings arrived three hours later. I considered going to the hospital since it's the weekend anyway and I wouldn't be missing a workday but I didn't. I slept early and even stayed in bed until around noon today. I again had this dream of an ever multiplying thing. I'm feeling fine now; All I have left is a runny nose.