Friday, February 3, 2012

A Day Tour @ Kutang Bato

It was with uncertain excitement when a cousin dragged us to Cotabato City, cutting our leisure trip of Davao.  I was told Cotabato City is 4 hours drive from Davao City. We left shortly after early dawn and arrived at the earliest morning. It was not so 4 hours. Cousin drove so fast I swear we made it in less than 3 hours.

And guess what welcomed our initial sight of the city? Living to the image of  Cotabato ==> an armored car (a tank) !!!. .joining the traffic as if it was just an ordinary vehicle!. .or was it really just another transportation to the eyes of the locals who are used of seeing camouflage cars on a daily basis? Must be. .

Strangely enough, the moment I stepped a foot to this city, I immediately felt like I wasn't in my comfort zone. It felt like I was in a foreign land. Not in my own country. It didn't help that the locals are actually tagalog speaking.  Definitely this is a Muslim city. I was not sure if it was the armored car or the local covered women or the fierce image that Cotabato has allover the country, but my self preservation told me to camouflage. I wanted to go around the town unnoticeable as possible. I had this weird imagination that if I would be seen differently, I would be punished, haha.

Anyway, I asked my dear cousin to first of all bring me to a store where I could buy a scarf  like the ones being worn by the local Muslim women around their heads.

I had fun choosing over pretty stylish head coverings.  I settled in buying ordinary scarves that I could use in my trips.

So on our next stop ( a beautiful mosque in the city), with my head already covered just like the locals, I felt I achieved my camouflaging well. Then we went to the airport, just to see , and I saw how heavily guarded it was with armed security people around, I chose not to use my camera in the airport premises.

It was nearing lunch so cousin brought us to his house here. Currently a resident cos he married a local of this city. Remember my post about the Ampatuan's mansions in Davao City? Same thing here. This another cousin resides too, near the mansion of Ampatuan here in Cotabato City. Above photo was the state of the said mansion during my visit. Again, similar to Davao's mansion, it looked abandon and unfinished.

Then we went to Notre Dame University which is the oldest college in the city. The campus was huge and looked like pretty close to a UP campus I've seen somewhere in the country but not as big as the Diliman. My cousin-in-law proudly toured us around the campus. It wasn't a tourist attraction but cousin-in-law wanted to show us where she had graduated. Ahhh. . .okey.

More driving around.  There was no familiar Philippine jeepney here like the ones in the roads of Manila and other cities of our country. Instead, colored modified vans ( lite ace? ) could be seen in the roads of the city as the regular mode of public transportation.

We got off the car to check the new city hall of Cotabato City.

It looked beautifully Arabic with white high pillars.

Next we stopped at the other fortress of power in this side of the political Ph. The ARMM. ( not really in that order. I forgot which came first among all those stops we made).

This too conveyed a unique architecture of the south. Only it 's not as pinky and grand like the ARMM in Maguindanao.

We passed by a bridge, a huge one, and I saw locals spending their afternoon at the sides. Standing and sitting looking out to the sea , might be taking a fresh? ocean breeze? You know how in Manila people enjoy passing their afternoons at the baywalk? The scene looked like that.

Then to cap our day tour of the historical city of Cotabato, cousin nudged me to take a photo of this hill with houses sitting on it. Why??? Cos it's the Kutang Bato. Exactly where the very name of this city was derived. Underneath it, he added, are the kutang bato caves can be found

So there. I'm ending this veryveryvery long (photo loaded) post of Cotabato City. And am so thankful cousin made it  possible for me to experience a day in the City of  Cotabato .

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