SOX EXPERIENCE: Sa Loob ng Tatlong Araw

SA LOOB NG TATLONG ARAW
A Travel Story by Nikko Adrian V. Perez 

Hi! I am Nikko Adrian Perez, a BS Tourism Management student from a state university in Mindanao and is traveling to places with inspiring stories to tell. After all, it’s a part of who we are as stewards of the industry. However, in my case, things were entirely different and might as yours as well. I used to lock myself up inside our 4-cornered classroom. Minsan nakikinig; minsan hindi, sa report ng kaklase tungkol sa isang tourism destination na puro larawan at naka slideshow. I also planned to venture out with my friends, pero hanggang drawing lang, walang ka kulay-kulay. I was a total stranger of my own place not until this travel story happened.

It was Monday, 10 o’clock in the morning, I was standing at the side of the road in front of our Brgy. Hall waiting for my colleagues from Department of Tourism-12 to pick me up going to Asik-Asik Falls in Alamada, medyo ayaw ko sana becauseI’m all tired and weary, ikaw ba naman umakyat sa bagong trail ng Lake Holon, mag swimming, mag diving at mag racing gamit ang rubber boat, at makipag sabayang tumakbo pababa kasama ang mga guide dogs nila at limang batang patungo sa Fiesta ng Brgy. Salacafe at higit sa lahat mabasa ng napaka lakas na ulan sa likod ng Isuzu DMax pauwiand it was just 2 days ago. Pero wala akong magagawa because it’s part of my 240 hours On the Job Training, and I was tasked to make a report.



About 10:15 A.M. when they arrived, sakay ng isang 5 seater Red Nissan Frontier and unfortunately, 7 kaming sakay, kaya nag mistulang isang lata ng spicy na sardinas, but the adventure had just begun! 

We were hitting via M’lang and Matalam Road and it’s almost 11:00 A.M. and most of my colleagues are in serious hunger, di daw sila nakapag breakfast before leaving the office all the way from, Koronadal, South Cotabato. So we decided to stop by in a famous carenderia in North Cotabato named after its Municipality, “Kusina Kabacan”. I let them try one of the unique food in Kabacan, na akala ko noon pork kinilaw kaya inorder ko, but without knowing hindi pala. The food is locally known as Ramona, it is similar to Pork Kinilaw but the difference is, it’s all in white because it was added with pork’s brain.


After our sumptuous lunch, we were all set! Tuloy-tuloy na to na byahe papuntang Asik-asik. We jumped off around 11:45 am and expected Time of travel is about 2 hours. I expected the time of arrival but I never expected that the road would be so rough and bumpy. Gina alsa ko nalang ang buli ko kag mag sit on the air kay alay na kaayo, perti ka batsi tapos gutok pa gid kami, kag nalipat gid ko na bukid gale ang sakaon namon but the euphoria didn’t fade in me. I know that every bump of the car and every time my legs and butt were numb is worth the reason to continue.


We arrived there at about 1:45 P.M. together with our local guide Kuya Philip Costales who was one of the people who first discover the majestic Asik-asik Falls. We took 20 minutes and 776 steps before reaching the hidden gem of Alamada, Asik-Asik Falls. We conducted a promotional shoot and a short interview for the development of their place. Official work as it seems, but the beauty and the cold crystal clear water springing from its 140m wide rock wall is majestically irresistible. So we took and enjoyed a refreshing dip into its alkaline waters.

While going back to the receiving station, we were hit by pelting rain along our way. Upon reaching the top, I saw an elderly person accompanied by a man and a woman between the age of 25-35 who are going down to the falls under the rain while holding water containers. I immediately asked the local vendors, who were they and where they’re from. One of the vendor replied that they came from M’lang, which is my hometown, and it wasn’t their first but many times already. They also said that they are not the only one who keep on coming back to seek for natural therapy. Locals and tourists believed that the waters from the falls can heal ailments. I agreed without hesitation, sa sobrang relaxing and linis ng tubig sino naman ang di mag-aakala na nakaka-gamot ang tubig. And they added that it is better to persevere to get to the falls para makakuha and makaligo sa tubig and makapag-exercise na rin kesa ma hospital na wala namang pambayad.


It’s five in the afternoon and I thought the journey ended and we were about to go home to Koronadal. Little did I know that it was just our first stop. Sir Kervin said that we will be going to Sitio Maupot Resort, Magpet, North, Cotabato, a Balinese inspired resort at the foot of Mt. Apo to spend the night with our Regional Director who happened to have a meeting at the same day at Kidapawan City, the capital of North Cotabato. We drove for almost 3 hours but it didn’t seem to be. The ride was full of fun, we had barrels of laugh from singing to personal and nonsense interviews.

We arrived at the place between 8:00 P.M. to 8:15 P.M. We had our dinner and right after we rushed to changed our clothes and dived into their infinity pool. You can really hear the sound of the nature, the rush of the river flowing from the highest mountain in the country, and the chirps of the crickets from the surrounding forests.

We woke up early in the morning to take a walk and some photos. I was stunned and enchanted to see the peak of the king of the mountains during that moment, I suddenly took off my clothes and made a dive in the pool and took a photo of myself.

8:00 in the morning when I had my breakfast together with my colleagues and boss. Right after that, a group of Manobo performers, presented to us their culture through music and dance. Our regional director made some constructive criticisms to further improved the group as part of their cultural revival and as they will be taking part on the upcoming Kalivungan Festival of the province.

Right after Sitio Maupot we drove straight to Cotabato City, it wasn’t my first time though, but It was my first time to taste their must try Chinese Restaurant and Mar Doney’s Hopia. I even kept the wrapper of the hopia para hindi ko makalimutan and mas madali ko lang mahanap the next time I visit Cotabato city.

We set foot again to Lebak, Sultan Kudarat to catch up our 4 P.M. Local tourism stakeholder’s meeting headed by our own Regional Director. I longed to visit Lebak, because my college best friend is from there and he keeps on talking about prawns and plate-sized crabs which are my favorite. However, fare is somehow expensive for me as a student, one ride from Cotabato to Lebak costs 500 pesos. And now I am traveling for free and I am really excited! I couldn’t wait to be there so I slept at the back of the van to kill the time but the zigzagging road on a cliff of a mountain woke my body up.

We arrived at Lebak at 4:15 P.M. and we immediately grabbed our things for our presentation. The meeting was attended by local tourism sectors.We identified their strengths, weaknesses and together strategized activities to boost the tourism in their place; like how to transform their local food into something unique and iconic, constructing tourism roads and providing future trainings for their tourism key players.

The day ended and another dawn emerged. We went straight to Kalamansig just 10-15 minutes away. I was surprised when we were met by joyous people celebrating their 1st Salagaan Festival. The festival is meant to revive the dying culture of Manobos in the place. Our regional director, Ms. Nelly Dillera, gave an inspirational talk during the opening, and I thought the message was just for them and there is this phrase she uttered which remained in my heart, “Tourism is not about building a single product, Tourism is about building a community, where benefits are not enjoyed by one but all of the people”.

After the program, my very wish in my life was granted. Natilawan ko na gid ang prawns and plate-sized crabs! Ta kaon ta!

Before we went home, we visited Katunggan Coastal Eco-Park a mangrove forest-park in Lebak, where I met Kuya Batoy, one of the guards and tour guide. I asked for some information about their place. I was impressed na identifiedand na contrast nya ang 26 species ng mangroves na andun and he even memorizethe scientific names. But as we were having a happy conversation, he can’t disregard his grievances about the status of the park. He said that there are boats coming from other places who do illegal logging in the isolated parts of the forest and they keep on coming. They couldn’t do anything so sana ma-aksyonan ito sa tulong ng gobyerno. He then said to me this words, “Sir, sana if maging developed tourism site na to, kasabay rin sana na ma implant sa mga tao ang importance ng mga bakawan especially sa community namin na magka-isa sa mga programa para sa park kasi kami naman ang makikinabang sa bandang huli lalo’t nasa coastal area kami”, and I was touched by that a simple man who dreams big for their community.

And now it’s 3 in the afternoon and we were about to leave the place. I was tasked to make tour guide’s spiels and reports in the destination we’ve been for 3 days and I am eager because they will adapt my output as their basis. Sa loob ng tatlong araw ko na pag-iikot sa SOX, uuwi ako na baon ang isang sakong talaba na bigay ni Kuya Batoy, at kwentong maiibahagi tungkol sa aming lugar, na ang Region 12 ay isang lugar na you will dare to visit!

At higit sa lahat, uuwi ako, may tatak ang puso’t isip na ang turismo ay hindi isang industriya na puro lang ayos at papogi-an o pagandahan ang inaatupag kundi isang industriya na kayang bumuo ng isang matatag na komunidad na may dagdag na trabaho ang mga tao, at kayang isabay ang pagbuhay sa kultura sa lumalagong teknolohiya. At isang industriya na kayang burahin ang maling pananaw na ang Mindanao ay isang magulong lugar, kundi isang lupain na hitik sa likas na yaman, kultura at pagkaka-isa.

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Niño Parish Church in Midsayap street dancing Submissions Sultan Hassanal Bolkia Masjid Sultan Kudarat Sultan Kudarat Capitol Sultan Kudarat Monument Sunset Surallah T'boli woman T'nalak Festival T'nalak Festival Photo Contest Tacuong City Cultural & Sports Center Tacurong Bird Festival Tacurong City Tacurong City Hall Tacurong City Roundball Talakudong Festival Tantangan tau sox Tau SOX: Festival of the First Peoples Tawsuvan Falls tboli Tboli Cultural Village Tboli Culture Tboli Dancers tboli knoon tboli photo contest Tboli Tribe Tdaan Kini Falls Teduray The Provincial Museum of Sultan Kudarat Thematic Parade things to do Timako Hill timpupo festival timpuyog festival Tmalak Falls Tnalak Tnalak Festival Town/City Halls travel guide Treasures of Kalamansig tres andanas tres andanas falls Tri-People monument Tribal Motion Tuka Marine Park Tulad Kutawato Photo Contest Tuna Tuna Capital of the Philippines tuna catch Tuna Festival Tuna Float Tupi ubo tribe Valenciana Valenciana Bonanza Valenciana Festival Videos Waterfalls weaving When in SOX when in tacurong where to go yegas kafun Zipline
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SOX EXPERIENCE: Sa Loob ng Tatlong Araw
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