Last year I narrated my stories about enjoying work while traveling. I had an opportunity to go to more than five provinces in less than three months. This time, I am more than excited to tell you the places I visited while at work from January to June of 2018. In the course of six months, I have traveled far and wide to carry out our automated system for our branch offices. But, of course, I am not gonna tell you about that. This is about my adventure with nature, what my eyes saw, the air I breathe, the foods I gobbled, and the cry of peace behind the outskirts of the cities.
Six regions in six months. That was our target to finally finish our nationwide project implementation. During these days, normally the formal work would take eight hours of every day. But then, whenever an opportunity to step outside the office halls come to grab me (and whoever’s assigned to travel with me). We wander off. Sometimes guided, sometimes not. You see, this is a time when a duty becomes a privilege. Not everyone is given field work. But, of course, before everything becomes lust in nature, it is important to accomplish the real purpose of every official travel.
My first duty took me to a place I never thought I’d be given another chance to go back to. Davao City. My mother’s hometown. Although there was lesser “opportunity” involved during that time. I did what I could. I went downtown to taste the city’s sweetness. My little walk and short tricycle rides took me to a Korean Dessert Cafe called Noon Saram. It means Snow Man. They served delectable shaved ice cream. I remember going back there a couple times just to taste other flavors. Each bingsu ranges from 150-250, depending on the size.
A short distance away is Davao City’s Gaisano mall. Looking for somewhere to eat. My travel companion and I stumbled on a little food house on the mall’s highest level called Yummy Food House. An average meal with dessert will cost around 300 per person.
After five days of staying in the city, my co-workers decided to take a trip on the countryside. We hired a van to travel to some tourist spots near Davao City. Going to many places in a province is a delight for someone like me who loves to collect fridge magnets. I think I have three for every place I visit. I choose the cutest ones. So, yeah. We visited Eden Nature Park for a short day stroll around their garden. The day tour (120php) can be combined with a lunch buffet (600php). Delectable, truly.
Did I mention that we hired a 7 seater van to go around the countryside? It cost us 2500 for a whole day. After Eden, we went to the Philippine Eagle Center, a mini zoo for conserving wildlife. Mostly Eagles with owners, then some are ready to be adopted. I did not take photos. Eagles on small cages did not please me. On the way back, we stopped to grab some chocolate souvenirs at Malagos Chocolate Factory. A cocoa ice cream is not at all too bad.
Next on our official destination was the city of Digos, a good 4-hour ride from Davao City. Unlike Davao City, Digos is a bit rural. Although there are a number of commercial buildings, the establishments are a little too few for a city boy’s eyes. Another week looking for new diner’s to get a taste on. Gladly we had some co-workers residing at the office barracks that were more than happy to show us around the locale. Out of the diner’s we visited, there were two that really got my appetite craving for more. They were Sagul Bistro, a restaurant best for family and friend bondings that served sizzling dishes, and Zaldy’s Inihaw Restaurant that had the best barbeque I have ever tasted in the history of barbeques.
Besides the out of work luncheons and dinners, our good office also let us stay some nights for dinner with the rest of the residing employees. This was one of those times when we feel like we are part of the provincial office family, whenever we dine along with our co-workers from distant offices.
Finally, our third week at Mindanao took us to our last destination, Kidapawan, North Cotabato. Luckily, we got there on time when the city held their annual foundation celebration. The crowd was unstoppable on the city hall. Gathering at food stalls and featured items on sale. What was more exciting was the city’s attempt to have the world record (Guinness) for the largest Samba dance. Over 15,000 locals from kids to adults line up wearing their samba outfits and dance together to the music of unity and joy. As for us tourists, we enjoyed watching and taking photos. The line was so long that the all the eyes can see was people dancing all the way up the long road. By all their hard work and determination, Kidapawan got the Guinness World Record.
The city is a bit populated compared to Digos, and like the cities I visited before, I expected that there was a Gaisano mall nearby. I missed the souvenir shop by the plaza exhibit where they sold the items that I was looking for. It took me two long rides to find where to buy fridge magnets. Only at a later time, when I was going back to Davao, that I found one by the city terminal. ‘Google Maps was unreliable’. Bright side, I managed to take a good look on the city’s busiest streets.
Just a few steps from our Kidapawan office is a commercial place for small stores and the like. There was a pizza store which had table sized pizzas. Calda Pizza. One big pizza is enough to satisfy a person for a whole week. Well, I assume. A week later, I traveled alone back to Davao City, for my flight home. But, before I left, I visited once more Noon Saram for another taste of their bingsu.
Traveling for work has never been exciting when you get to roam around during free time. It has indeed become a likable journey for me and my co-workers when we get to hang around together in different places. What’s more exciting is getting to know kind-hearted people along the way, expressing their hospitality and sharing their culture to a city boy like me.