opinion

The impressive moments in Bontoc

April 17, 2019

Bontoc, the city in Mountain Province, the Philippines is unique to me. Unique, in the sense that this city makes me impressed. I visited it the first time. Exactly, I arrived in Clark airport on Thursday, April 4, 2019. It was after almost a day from Surabaya on Wednesday, April 3, transit in Singapore, waiting for the flight to Clark on the early morning, 2 a.m. We were the group of my college. Four faculties and 13 students for the student exchange program with Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC), Bontoc, Philippines. We spent there for a week. There are many things to express from this city. My group was headed by Dr. Rovila El Maghfiroh, the director of international office in my college. Also, Dr. Muazaroh and Dr. Luciana Spica Almilia joined this visit to MPSPC.  The unique things are not only during the journey but also the programs. From Clark airport to Bontoc takes normally 9 to 10 hours as I heard from a friend there. But, it was different. We were in the group that had to stop several times. First, we stopped in Baguio city after a 5- hour-journey from Clark. We had lunch in a very good restaurant hosted by MPSPC, represented by Dr. Darwin Phillip Alera, a kind faculty accompanying us with his three cars and three drivers, and the crew. After having lunch, we continued the trip to Bontoc. But, we always stopped, to go to the toilet, washing our hands. Due to such several stops, the trip took almost 12 hours. We started at Clark airport at about 9 am, and arrived in Bontoc at 21: 30. It was really a long journey we had ever had. I was so impressed from the start of the journey till the arrival in Bontoc. First, the road is long enough, going up and down through the mountainous regions. This road is – in my opinion— a toll road. I was wondering how the government started building that long road. It is really a very long road. I was wondering how to bring the materials for the road building and how long the road building took.  Some of my friends slept during the journey but I couldn’t. I was so impressed with the drivers who drove the cars. I saw the road was dark because of the fog. And, very especially when it was on the top, the highest peak of the mountain. We arrived in Bontoc, and stayed in Archog hotel at 21: 30 pm. I slept without waking up at that night as I often do in my country. It means that I was so tired but very impressed with the nature. I didn’t dream of anything during a week at night there. But, every time I got up, I always felt as if I were in my own country, Indonesia. Our program of student exchange was stared on the following day, on Thursday, April 5. However, I was so impressed living a week in that city. I was glad to have opportunities to chat with local people in the entire hotel. I was impressed with these friendly people.  I had coffee every early morning in the small kiosk with these people. I was so impressed because they all can speak English well. I was thinking how happy if all my people in my country can speak English like them. They also talked in their local language that I didn’t understand. Yet, when I talked to them in English they could speak in English too. The most impressive was in the Bontoc Mayor office. Dr. Venus Grace K. Fagyan, the Vice President of MPSPC took us to his office. We were welcomed so warmly. We talked with the mayor. We were served  with the hot nice coffee. I am such a coffee addict that it was the most impressive moment.  Dr. Fagyan, the genius faculty I have ever met, was so easily to take us to the Mayor’s office. We entered the mayor office like our own house. There was no formal protocollair. Not only did we get impressed with the warm welcome by the city Mayor, we were also impressed with the programs hosted by MPSPC. I met the college president, Dr.  Rexton F. Chakas and had a chat during a dinner, talking about the college and the faculty duties: teaching, research, and community services. I learned a lot from him. I know how he manages his college: well-managed. The agendas were done based on the quality assurance, with the best system of operating procedures (SOP).  I missed you all. See you again. Dr. Djuwari is one of the group members to visit MPSPC for student and faculty exchange during a week in Bontoc. He is the director of language laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya, the editor of some research journals in the Philippines and Indonesia. He is also a journalist in some newspapers in Indonesia; the president of International association of scholarly publishers, editors, and reviewers (IASPER).

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