Travelers would tend to consider famous spots as their options. Paris (France) or Venice (Italy) are often seen as ideal places to date, while jet setters would visit Rome (Italy), Athens (Greece), or Great Wall (China) for ancient ruins. Hong Kong and Singapore are often considered as shopping destinations. One would even dream to perform in a Broadway show in New York (USA) or to pursue a movie-related career in Hollywood (USA). Boracay and Baguio are likewise considered as popular destinations in the Philippines, respectively known as the white beach resort and cool summer spot of the country. Bohol is also at its finest in terms of local popular spots, with Chocolate Hills as its signature site.
There are far more other places that can provide as much as these mentioned sites. I am one of those jet setters to select a site that’s either famous or inhabited by a person close to my heart, neglecting the unheard spots that have actually lots to offer. Traveling to South Cotabato has changed my perspective. It has gone from being a relative-based residence to a less known tourist spot that has marked my heart, featuring those green landscapes filled with trees and different kinds of fields (rice, pineapple..), light blue skies with fluffy cottony clouds, clear waters, wide traffic-free roads, and healthy food fresh from farms such as seaweeds, and ferns.
The following are the remarkable places found in South Cotabato. The assets of each will eventually make your mind into considering South Cotabato as one of your travel choices.
1) Nandie’s Restaurant (Tupi, South Cotabato)
Chicken Breast Barbecue (bottom left, right) with Seaweed Salad (top left, right) and Soup (right).
First place spotted. This is where I had my arrival dinner, welcomed with seaweed salad and Tupi’s local barbecue. Meat is grilled and served bland, as its flavor lies in its dip mixture of soy sauce, calamansi (lime) extract, and spicy vinegar. Must be consumed with rice, salad, and bare hands.
2) Lake Sebu and 7 Falls
First main attractions visited with relatives. Ideal for activities such as simple walks, hiking and zipline, the latter of which provides the better view of the attractions’ proximities .
3) Mountain Eco Resort (Lake Sebu Eco-Resort)
A cruising tour that provides a picturesque view of the lake’s proximity and delicious meals. Those entertaining traditional Tiboli’s song and dance performances are not to be forgotten.
4) Gumasa Beach
Known as South Cotabato’s version of Boracay (with its white sand and clear waters), with less crowds and boutiques. Definitely ideal for relaxation and picnics.
5) Kablon Farms
Business that consists in producing and processing cacao and various organic goods. Targeted among the health-conscious who will be satisfied with the freshness of concentrate juices, jams, salad dressings, and health benefits and delice brought by pure chocolates.
Kablon Farms Production and Processing Plant
Kablon’s Coconut Jam (left) and concentrate passion fruit juice (right)
Kablon Farms products featuring Coconut Jam (left), Passionfruit Green Pepper Chutney dressing (middle) and Wild Honey (right)
The famous Pure Tablea, otherwise known as Pure Cacao Tablets. Ideal for champorado (chocolate rice porridge), hot chocolate drinks, and other chocolate based recipes (e.g. chocolate crinkles)
6) Fortune Field Resort
A resort that offers ‘hito sa gata’ (coconut milk-based catfish) and other seafood recipes that cannot be simply cooked at home. It also sells a bunch of yema de fruta (condensed-milk based delicacies with fruit flavors) with varied flavors including mango, choco durian, and durian queso (durian cheese).
Hito sa Gata (bottom left) and other seafood recipes along with soup (top left) and rice (center left)
Yema de Fruta (Mango, Choco Durian, and Durian Queso)
7) Sultan Kudarat (though not in South Cotabato)
It is really impressive seeing a Mosque-patterned capitol knowing that Sultan Kudarat is one of Mindanao’s Muslim areas. Its surroundings include houses with Muslim-styled roofs.
I enjoyed my one week stay more than a five page essay can express. I have brought such ecstasy as I went back home to Manila, and can not seem to get over my vacation, which may extend to a month even though I came back a week ago. South Cotabato would be highly recommended to both local and foreign travelers, especially those who crave nature and fresh healthy food. A place as such is definitely a come back destination for me.
And finally..my daily breakfast, seaweed and seafood dinner, and buko halo halo (halo halo placed in young coconut) in respective order.
For more information about South Cotabato
- Lake Sebu and 7 Falls
- Mountain Lake Eco Resort
- Kablon Farms
- Biyahe ni Drew South Cotabato (shared by a friend)