I think it’s about time to do a blog post about my recent work travel to South Cotabato. It was my first time there and everyone was really nice. I have a number of things running through my head right now about my first visit in South Cotabato as I write this post and I don’t know where to start.
So let’s begin with the people. I was quite amazed because I thought the native dialect spoken there would be Bisaya, but they all turned out to be Ilonggos. Everyone spoke the dialect and if you won’t tell them to speak Tagalog, they will all assume that you also speak Ilonggo. When I did my grocery runs to buy some bottled water, the cashier would right away speak to me in Ilonggo and I had to tell her that I speak Tagalog, and then she would get it right away – you know, that I’m a visiting tourist and the dynamics between us would suddenly change. It’s interesting and funny at the same time. But they were all really nice as long as you’re kind and polite.
I mostly stayed in Koronadal City, where most of the main government offices are located and where the proper hotels or inns are located as well. I stayed for 3 nights at Casa Gemma Hotel and Restaurant for Php850 per night with breakfast. The room was pretty decent for the price, although I would have preferred to also have a desk in the room, instead of having to go out to their lobby to do my work. The choices for breakfast also changes everyday, so yeah, variety is key. Casa Gemma is also right beside KCC Mall of Marbel, their biggest shopping mall and supermarket. This is always good news for a city girl like me, you know, having a mall nearby. Actually, all the malls are located beside each other, there’s KCC, Ace Center, and Unitop.
To get around, there’s an abundance of yellow tricycles which cost only Php10.00 per way. To get to nearby municipalities like General Santos City, Davao, or in my case, Surallah, you have to go to the bus terminals. I did ride their Yellow Bus Line to get to Surallah, where our project is located. With no pesty traffic, it only took me 30 minutes to get there on the national highway.
Finally, let me tell you about all the food. Upon my arrival in General Santos City airport and while on our way to Koronadal City, my first meal (morning snack, actually) was a small bag of fried and crispy grasshoppers. Gaahh! They were sold by the highway for 25pesos per small plastic bag. I’ve tried cricket before, so I tried this one as well. It only took one bite before I got hooked. Surprisingly, they actually tasted good! #proteinfix
Also, I went crazy being in durian heaven! Aside from durian, the fruits in season were also papaya, pineapple and lansones. Seafood was also amazing, and I was able to dine at Arpochi Seafood Restaurant where I got to eat huge crabs, shrimps and squid for lunch. And because they are Ilonggos, the food you can find in Iloilo can also be found here like batchoy and chicken inato using native chicken. The beef sinigang in Nadie’s Chicken house is also a must-try – it’s like bulalo but cooked like sinigang. Yum!
Because my work there involved a lot of waiting time for papers to be processed and secured, I spent a lot of time in the hotel to do some work in the morning and then I will try out something new for lunch. For dinner, I just walk around the malls in the evening to burn off those calories I consumed during lunch and just enjoy some fruits for dinner.
I guess you can say I truly enjoyed my trip, despite being a work trip. I can’t wait till my next work assignment – maybe then, I can squeeze in a zipline ride in Lake Sebu.
Hope you enjoyed my pics!