Wherever I may roam the distant land to see, I long to go back soon to sweet Bukidnon home, Her lovely mountains high with forest old and grand, Bring memories to me the home I long to see… -Excerpts from “Bukidnon, My Home”, provincial anthem of Bukidnon province.
DURING my week-long writing hiatus, I had the chance to stay for a while in Bukidnon, my sweet home away from home.
But traveling these days to Bukidnon is not as sweet as it could be as manifested in the province’s iconic provincial anthem.
Over the years, Sayre Highway, the national road network that cuts across the province has been on a never-ending road repair binge since time immemorial.
Take the recent traffic standstill due to massive landslides in Damay,Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.
A media colleague had to endure an overnight stay along the muddy stretch of the highway. He was on his way to cover the earthquake in Tulunan, Cotabato.
And to the rest of the weekenders, that was one hell of a ride. Notwithstanding the massive expansion of the highway from the old two-lane to four to six lanes, travel time from Cagayan de Oro to Valencia City will now take about six to seven hours, a sharp contrast to the usual 3-4 hours, either by bus or private vehicle.
Sayre Highway is that portion of the National Highway which starts from Puerto in Cagayan de Oro City to Davao City via Buda along the borders of Kitaotao, Bukidnon and North Cotabato.
The 192-kilometer long highway was named after Francis Bowes Sayre, Sr., a professor at Harvard Law School who was the United States’ High Commissioner to the Philippines from 1947 to 1952. It was named after him since he was the one who spearheaded the initial construction of the Bukidnon highway.
This is Bukidnon today. Amid the vast green fields of sugarcane, pineapple and banana plantations, this province of over a million people had been suffering from infrastructure fatigue that nobody seems to bother complaining about.
Over the years, the construction of the widening road project of Sayre Highway, as closely observed, is moving snail-paced, already overtaken by time as DPWH continue to brag about its accomplishments under Secretary Mark Villar.
When will the DPWH learn to assure the riding public of safe and comfortable ride over Bukidnon’s “new” Sayre Highway? (firstname.lastname@example.org)