Postcards from South Cotabato


Last Friday and Saturday, I went to South Cotabato for a business trip with my boss Amor and my colleague Aly. I thought I was just in for the usual business trip but I didn't expect a short but sweet cultural feast.

First stop last Friday was our breakfast at Durian Gardens. Here we were served fresh durian which was way better than the ones I usually see at the supermarkets.


It was so creamy and so good. That was the first time I ever tried durian because I think I'm not alone into thinking that I thought durian tasted bad because it smelled bad. 

Our boss told us that fresh durian goes well with brewed coffee and wanted us to try it. We only had the 3-in-1 coffee packets so that had to do.




The taste had a tangy aftertaste of durian once you've finished sipping the coffee. This is one quirky way of enjoying your durian fruit that you can enjoy when you have fresh durian within reach.

The bangus belly paksiw was also really good. The fish was so fresh! I wish we had these kind of food within reach from our apartment. This made me miss Batangas where I can have fresh food at home.


Right after breakfast, we made our way to our meetings. We stopped by at Polomolok to see the fresh fruits sold at the road side.

Right there and then, I had the best pineapple I've ever eaten. I'm not a pineapple person but I think I can finish one whole pineapple from Polomolok in one sitting!



The pineapple was sweet and very juicy. It would make a refreshing eat while travelling and I can even say that if you're thirsty, this can substitute for a quick replenishment. Too bad I wasn't able to hoard tons of pineapples to bring back home but I suggest for those who will have the chance to do so, DO IT.



After most of our meetings for the day were done, we went to the night street market at Koronadal City. Many locals were out and about at the night market.


The variety of choices for grilled food was so good. There were fresh seafood apart from the usual street food that goes with it. The squids to be grilled looked so tempting.


Next odd pairing  on the list is the kwek-kwek and pipino.This was the first time I saw such pairing of food. I wonder how it tasted like... But I still took a photo anyway.


Come Saturday, we had the time to go around some municipalities for immersion. 

Our first stop was the Rotonda at Surralah.



 I loved this place because it was so reflective of the heritage of South Cotabato's culture. It's not hard to miss because once you enter Surallah, it's eye catching enough for you to recognize it.


Just look at the awesome statues they put there. These clearly depicts that the city has a high regard for its culture and heritage. 








We then proceeded to the T'Boli Museum / House of Gongs. 


This museum is being managed by the T'Boli tribe and not by the government or private sectors. 

We were lucky enough to have Datu Bao Baay with us during our visit at the museum. He was telling us that they are maintaining the museum mainly for the young T'Bolis so that they may know and appreciate the history of their tribe.  


One thing that really sticked to my mind was that the T'Boli house's window is not like our usual window because children were safer from falling out of the window with something to support them, this was where they dried food and cloth, and this is safer when strong winds come. That proves that the T'Boli ingenuity goes way before technology and globalization.


It was also nice that with this museum, you can really see the items up close and not within a lighted acrylic box and with a name plate. Rommel, our tour guide for the day, said some were attesting that this was a place holding a collection and not a museum due to the lack of labels at the items. Personally speaking, I'd like museums to be like this instead of the alienating/usual ones.






The T'nalak weaving process was also explained to us but what I can remember that the item exhibited in the museum was already step 5 of the process and it took 6-8 days to extract dyes from fruits to make the cloth.


We had a quick stopover at a place overseeing Lake Sebu. The vast view of the lake was so calming.


 Right after, we headed to the 7 Falls. It was my first time to see a falls and the view was just so breathtaking.




 While walking to the dining area for lunch, I saw a sign that you wouldn't probably see very often...

 And right before lunch, we saw Falls #2 which we were overlooking from the other side of the mountains. It was just like seeing the falls washing all your worries away.


The last part of the trip was the super scary one for me because I had a phobia for heights but I needed to take the zip line. I remember myself closing my eyes while riding the cable cars at Singapore but what more for riding Asia's highest zip line that is 180m from the ground? Insane, right? 

Yes, you won't see photos of me smiling eagerly by the take-off platform just before they push you because I was screaming like a baby and didn't want to do it. Everyone with me was pushing me because I was already there and I shouldn't let this opportunity pass. Our tour guide Rommel who happened to ride this zip line 100+++ times just offered to ride with me to help me stop being a wuss and just get it over with. It worked! (no close-up shots because my face was a mess. haha)



South Cotabato is such a gem waiting to be unraveled and widely known to the world. It was such an awesome experience and I'm definitely coming back with friends for a vacation (with less screaming at the zip line and a luggage to hoard pineapples)!

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