June 20, 2024

Fair, Fearless, Friendly, and Free.

These are the qualities that captured the hearts of the readers including me to patronize the Baguio Midland Courier. It is similar to a woman who selects the lucky man among her suitors. He is the one who possesses the traits she is looking for in a man.      

My late uncle Bernard Laruan Julian always bought a copy of the Midland Courier. Hence, I already started reading it at a young age. My world became wider because it permitted me to gain substantial knowledge about everything that happened in the locality. It also allowed me to travel around the Philippines, particularly in the Cordillera and Ilocandia.

This local newspaper is such an exponent of the wonderland of the Cordilleras and the riches of Ilocandia. We may not be able to go personally to all the places but with the details and updates we read, it seemed we already visited them.

The concrete descriptions or images allow us to travel and experience the warmth of the inhabitants’ accommodation. Cordillera is a paradise. It has a myriad of fascinating sceneries or tourist spots with majestic native flowers, trees, and animals.

I also learned much about the features of the various ethnic groups. Cordillera is a place of loving and peaceful people who give importance to kinship and solidarity. It is always an advantage to read the Midland Courier because it makes you familiar not only with places but with the people also. Thus, you will never be ignorant about your region or locality.

I was updated also with the news or trends on education, sports, medicine, health, environment, politics, religion, and the economy. It is not just for awareness and information. It also made me think critically and wisely.

For instance, I need to act and apply effective strategies or techniques as probable solutions or remedies to a certain problem. News on improper disposal of garbage is one of the issues that always caught my attention. I was informed and it awakened me to be a responsible citizen in the community. Proper disposal of garbage must be observed always. Improper disposal of garbage will cause floods and air and water pollution.

Crimes are also common content of news. Hence, I need to take precautions for my safety and security including my child. It is always best to read and consider proper ways or tips on how to protect ourselves from criminals. We should not just be readers. It must be incorporated with reflections, realizations, analysis, and actions. Reading without these things is like food or products that are cooked or made improperly and with incomplete ingredients or materials.

The Midland Courier also taught me to appreciate and value the various cultures and traditions of every ethnic group in the Cordillera. The ethnic groups have similarities and distinctions but all are meaningful and precious. These represent their identities and ways of life. Every culture and tradition is sacred and valuable to an ethnic group. Thus, everyone must respect and give importance to it. Let us all be sensitive and promote one’s unique and fascinating cultures and traditions. Learning every ethnic group’s cultural practices may also give us lessons to ponder and apply to our daily lives.

For example, the “binnadang”, a Kankanaey term, emphasizes mutual aid and collaboration. Individuals help each other especially in times of need or crisis without expecting anything in return. In other ethnic groups, it is called “ubbo”, “ub-ubbo”, “og-ogfo”, “aduyon”, or “abbuyog”.

As responsible citizens, we must always assist our fellows who are crying for rescue or support. One of the primary purposes of our life is to spread love and kindness to others.

American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

The “inayan” culture is also beneficial because it guides us to perform the right things. It warns us not to do immoral and illegal acts like stealing, killing, cheating, and others.

One thing I love to read in the Midland Courier is the editorial page, specifically the columns. The insights, opinions, ideas, and stories of the columnists and contributors are informational and amazing. I am always carried away when I read their columns. I learned a lot from their explanations and discussions.

On the other hand, I was emotionally touched by their heart-breaking narrations. A lot of individuals experience adversities that cause them sorrow, pain, and depression. Thus, everyone must be more approachable, understanding, and sensible. Let us always be the reason for someone’s smile. Life is sometimes a tragedy to someone. It is indeed nice to show him a spark of love and care. In the end, what we sow is what we reap. We don’t know what tomorrow might bring.

So, let us do good things for our fellows and who knows we will need their help in the future. Take note, life is like a wheel. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down.

I can still recall my desire or longing to be like the brilliant columnists whose names and pictures appeared on the papers. Of course, they are incredible and I am nothing compared to them as to experiences and accomplishments. However, everybody is entitled to his own opinions or ideas. Moreover, we all have innate skills or talents. It’s up to us to use it intelligently and practically. Hence, I also want to share mine as well as my stories or experiences.

My ultimate purpose is to inspire and motivate the readers, especially the youth. I believe that in one way or another, my ideas, opinions, and experiences can drive others to have better outlooks in life.

I was motivated to write and tried my luck to send my written article. Unluckily, it was not selected. Like a soldier who never surrenders in a battle and becomes stronger if wounded, I took my chance again. It is an advantage to attend seminars on journalism with exceptional journalists like Midland Courier Assistant Editor Jane Cadalig and columnist Gaby Keith as resource speakers.

The effective techniques and tips I learned from them helped me write a better and more meaningful article. Finally, my second article was published. Patience and determination are powerful elements to accomplish something. Failure should not be the reason to give up. It must serve as a challenge for us to strive harder. I also learned lessons from the sharing of the contributors.

Some failed and experienced rejections but did not lose their hopes. Instead, they persevered and succeeded as their reward. They motivated me and made me optimistic. I should not be dismayed if rejected or fail. The best thing for me to do is to keep on striving because God is always watching us from a distance. He will help us to achieve our dreams or ambitions. He knows our good intentions and sentiments.

The Midland Courier became a friend who not only provided me with news, information, and entertainment but also listened to my voice. I am grateful that my ideas, opinions, and stories were heard and read also by other people. It already became my routine to always express my feelings and thoughts. But, there were times when my articles were unselected.

Honestly, I often felt dismayed because it’s not easy to write an article. However, it made me realize that other contributors also need to be heard. In life, we need to maximize our understanding and tolerance. Rejection does not mean your work is not good. It simply means that we need to wait for our turn.

Russian author Leo Tolstoy said, “Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait.” We must also remember that sometimes our ideas are not always the best. It is a fact that we need to accept. All we have to do is to be contented with the skills or talents that we have and enhance them more. Constant and correct practice makes perfect.

I pledged to myself to keep on sharing my thoughts and stories. It satisfies and makes me feel that I have worth. The Midland Courier became a witness to my success, downfall, happiness, sadness, and confusion. It served as my journal or diary.

Life is like a movie. It’s full of thrills, drama, action, and comedy. Every day some events can be good sources of a meaningful story or article. I always get an idea from the things I observe, experience, or read. It does not matter if they are pleasant or unpleasant. They are all important and useful to me because both are needed to create beautiful masterpieces.

PIONEERThe Baguio Midland Courier brought another honor to the Cordillera for having been adjudged winner of the inaugural Bayanihan Media Awards organized by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency. The Midland Courier was cited for its contribution and dedication to promoting volunteerism through its narratives and articles — Ofelia Empian

I am indebted to the Midland Courier because my creativity and critical thinking were enriched. In writing, I need to be creative and widen my horizons to make my article more appealing and interesting. 

The Midland Courier also became my comforter and motivator during my darkest moments. I was on sick leave at work for two months last year. In solitude and hopelessness, I gained my strength from the real stories of the contributors that I read. They too have serious problems but still manage to live a fruitful and happy life. During those days of my recovery, I tried to write and share my situation.

Ironically, I had memory loss and my mind can’t function well. It was a mystery that after a series of trials, I was able to write again and was published. Determination and unshakable faith matter in achieving a goal. The article I wrote is about my challenges in battling cancer. It is not to let the readers know my misfortune but to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Prevention is better than cure. I also want to inspire and emphasize courage to cancer patients like me. They need to become stronger and hopeful. Above all, strengthen their faith in God. He is the best healer and giver of hope. Nothing is impossible to Him. We just need to trust in His words and power with all our hearts.

My time on Earth will perish but the Midland Courier will always whisper my name, particularly to those who are hopeless and afraid to voice out their opinions and feelings. It will remind them that I was once a poor woman but struggled to improve my life. Most of all, a fighter against the distressing illness called cancer.

Knowing and appreciating this newspaper is one of the legacies that my late uncle Bernard had left to me. It brought me to the world of awareness and belongingness. My passion for writing was also enhanced. I always dreamt of writing articles and being published.

The words of my uncle inspired me, “Kankanayon ko nga ururayen ti articles mo ta kaykayat ko nga basbasaen.” Aside from him, my former professor in graduate school, Dr. Leonila Brown motivated me when she said, “Nababasa ko mga articles mo sa Midland. Carry on!”

My former high school teacher, Mildred Tulio, also sent me a message on Messenger: “I read your articles in the Baguio Midland. Keep it up. You’re a pride of your alma mater.” I was so touched and my pleasure to be appreciated by highly respected people like my former mentors. This is all because of the Midland Courier which allowed me to prove my writing prowess. I will forever be grateful.