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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

MAITUM: THE HIDDEN GEM OF SARANGGANI

The westernmost municipality of Sarangani Province can be travelled 3 hours from General Santos City. A small municipality with big Tourism potential can boast its tourist spots, cultural heritage and local products.

 From Gensan, I took an aircon van to reach Maitum on the afternoon the day before my scheduled day tour. I also arranged the tour with the very active tourism officer, Arlex Narte (0919-373-8007). The town has lots of lodging facilities so affordable for solo trekkers. The silence is ideal for a good night sleep to prepare one’s physique for the next day’s adventure.



I started the next day by taking the very challenging water tubing on its cool, clean river. I practically joined a group of staff from Notre Dame of Marbel University (my Alma Mater) who happened to do the same. The activity made me feel nervous and excited. It felt so great being soaked and flown in strong waters with challenging rapids. Completing the experience made me feel really proud.

After the wet experience, we proceeded to PAWIKAN Sanctuary to see the sea turtle hatchlings and have the chance to release one or more of them to their natural habitat.
Freeing a young creature to the sea somehow gave my heart an unexplainable emotion. It was a way of showing how I care for the environment.
Along the shore of the sanctuary, we saw a mass of marinated halved flying fish being half dried on a net. Processed BANGSI is the OTOP product of Maitum. Some are packed for export. I finally found a pasalubong item.
We also visited a local health food processor, where we bought additional pasalubong items like herbal tea, corn brew, coco sugar and the like.

 A museum at the municipal hall is really worth a visit. There they showcase the cultural costumes, instruments and preserved original burial jar artifacts discovered ages ago. Everything in the museum was clearly explained by the tourism officer.

They also have a miniature burial cave with burial jars. Upon seeing the miniature, I really wanted to visit the real one.
Visiting the Burial Cave is, however, restricted. Ancient dead remains are being preserved there. The area is considered sacred among the Maguindanaons.
Instead, we visited another small burial cave with a local Maguindanaon guide. Inside a cavern, he showed me broken jars and human bones.
I also had the chance to mingle with the Maguindanaon locals in their peaceful community.

     
 Some even posed for picture taking.

Before the sun was about to set, I was guided to the giant bats sanctuary. I saw a flock of bats invertedly hanging on trees.
When they started flying and roaming around the area, my eyes couldn’t believe their tremendous sizes. I saw a giant flying fox measuring around 3 feet wide. They said that there are still bigger bats than the one I saw.

When the day was about to end, I looked for a shore. I sat down on the cemented seat recapitulating my exciting activities that day. I waited for the sky to turn red.

Would there be any better way to end a day than watching a sunset?

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