General Santos City

*We were in the Cotabato region when the Maguindanao Encounter happened. We had to pass by several Maguindanao towns the day before the unfortunate incident. Part of the purpose of this blog, among other things, is to encourage others to travel to these wonderful destinations in the Philippines, but please do assess the situation in Mindanao before making any plans.

From Lake Sebu, we rode a van for about 70 each that would take us to Marbel. When we got to Marbel, we rode a Yellow Bus going to General Santos City for P95 each. It was about two hours of travel from Lake Sebu to GenSan.

It was decided that we would just spend the night in GenSan so we wouldn’t have to hurry for our flight the next day. Besides, we could just explore another city as a sort of a side trip.

When we arrived in GenSan, we hired a tricycle that took us to the downtown area to find a cheap accommodation where we could stay for the night. According to our companion who checked it, it was not very clean so we had to find another hotel.

Upon the recommendation of a friend of another companion, we went to Driggs. We got a room for P1800 that was able to accommodate the six of us. It was clean and nice and they had hot shower! Woohoo!

After everyone had freshened up, we went to KCC Mall to have dinner. For some reason, I was starving. We ate at the food court. Nothing fancy. I just wanted to order everything.

We then had a few bottles of beer outside the mall where there was a band playing. They were selling six bottles of beer for P165! It’s rare to find beer at that price nowadays.

We went home a little after 10pm. I was pretty satisfied to get my fill that night so yey!

The next morning, the two guys woke up early to go to the GenSan Fish Port. I and the rest of the group decided to just stay to get more sleep. I should have gone with them. I would have had more stories to tell. According to the guys, you need to wear long pants and boots to get inside the fish port.

About an hour later, the girls decided to go to the Sarangani Highlands. Jao and I went along with them.

We hired a tricycle and we paid the driver P100 each (as far as I remember, my memory is not that good though) to get us to the Sarangani Highlands and back to the hotel. It was about 30-45 minutes away from the hotel.

The fish port was very near the Highlands so you might want to stay away from tricycle drivers who would tell you otherwise and ask for an exorbitant fare.

When we got to the Sarangani Highlands, the two guys were already there. The resort has a scenic view of the Sarangani Bay. The koi ponds, the man-made falls and the bonsai trees provided a zen vibe to the place.

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What I didn’t like about the resort was the length of time we had to wait before we were served with the food we ordered. It took them forever to serve us sausage and omelet. We were getting impatient because we still had to go back to the hotel and catch our flight in under three hours.

Because we had very little time, we had to finish our breakfast fast. We got out of the resort around 9:30am and got back to our hotel at 10am.

We were able to get a taxi at 10:30am and the driver was kind enough to let the six of us get into his cab. He asked for a P350 fare but we gave him P400.

Our flight for Cebu was delayed for more than four hours – the longest delay I have ever experienced. Since there was no certainty that our plane could take off, we decided to just be rebooked on a flight to Manila, then to another flight to Cebu. We were able to get to Cebu around 8:30pm.

I met up with a couple of old friends to get a free dinner that night and slept at another friend’s house. I’m that poor nowadays. I was able to get home in Negros around 7pm the next day.

My parents assumed I was taking a plane from Cebu to Bacolod. I told them I was leaving Cebu at 9am and failed to tell them I was only taking the bus. My battery ran out and when I got home, they told me how worried they were that I didn’t arrive from Cebu soon enough. They weren’t worried at all when I was still in Cotabato.

This was a great trip that I had. The journey to Asik-Asik Falls is something I would always be proud of. It was also a big bonus that I was with people who had this great sense of adventure.

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