Friday, July 26, 2013

Burgeoning Davao, Pathetic Cotabato

mouth watering vaunted Batchoy of M'lang, Cotabato. "Linin-tian,
this is much better than the batchoy of Ted at SM in Manila being
 sold at P120 apiece, " he quipped. Batchoy in Mlang, because of strong
 competition, is pegged at P25 per bowl. Sometimes it is peddled as
"buy-one-take-one" where a customer can date  too one 

of the sales ladies as bonus - just kiddin'.

Burgeoning Davao City-Davao del Sur Areas

 When I was traversing recently from Davao City to Davao del Sur I was awed by new seafood restaurants that sprouted in the areas. Some are still being constructed.
 I and my brother and his family from California dropped at Jona’s Sea foods & Restaurant that was already near the boundary of Digos City since they gave up to the nuisances of my whining. I did not eat my breakfast and lunch after I left Dagupan City to beat my 12:55 pm flight of Air-Asia from Clark, Pampanga to Davao City.
THE MARANG OF MY FRUSTRATION: I bought ten of these
 fruits as treat for folks in Dagupan City who have not
yet seen or tasted these luscious fruits found only in Mindanao.
But I was barred by staff of Air Asia in Davao City when
I was to depart to Clark. Pampanga not to bring them 

inside the jet. "Sir, hindi po puwedi sa cartoon,"
one of the staff quipped.\ I was with Mindanao 
political kibitzer Luvin Candari who brought 
me at KidapawanCity to buy these fruits.
 Geez, after a hearty lunch at SM-Lanang in Davao City they obliged themselves to join me to partake my late lunch of bulalo, my favorite “kinilaw na tanigue”.and joined me to be awed by the magical taste of roasted “itlog ng tuna” (or was it the innard of the Tuna?) that would be a draw to Manilenos and other non-Mindanaon tourists who visited one of the sea food houses in the Davao areas that introduced delicacy they called in Bisaya as "bihod".
 “Probably, these ubiquitous seafood houses draw moneyed customers in the Davao-General Santos City areas since they have been experiencing economic spikes?”I posed in Visaya to Jared Ballenas the van driver, who should be replacing the frail Bembol Rocco in the “Pinilukang, este, Pinilakang Tabing” or “Showbiz” in English, we hired.

 He affirmed what I observed but told me to my amusement that some of these restaurants that we Luzonians considered a treat have been built by Filipinas who married Japanese.
 “ Bakero, what? They just built these without considering the law of demand and supply?” I posed to him my bewilderment.
 “Baka malugi sila later pag dumami na sila dito like mushrooms!” I quipped.
Van Driver Jareed "Boboy" Ballenas strike 
a pose with former Mutya ng Davao Mae 
Javier and Jennie Ballenas 

Pathetic sights in the Province of Cotabato

 After we egress the former "Cagas Republic" Davao del Sur province (where huge tarp of its grateful new governor Claude Bautista (his political family hailed from Binmaley, Pangasinan as what I told Congressman Pol Batoail ) adorned the strategic areas of the province), I saw the ugly side of what is an economic pariah in North Cotabato, one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines according to the National Statistical Coordinating Board, where I heard the price of raw rubber cup lump, one of the major industries of people there,  has been pegged down and controlled by a cartel owned by the power-that-be for a price of 36 pesos per kilo instead of the real price of 80 pesos per kilo dictated by market forces.
 “Son of a gun, no more seafood restaurants, no more chugging sounds and billowing smokes from construction equipment building houses and edifices just like in the Davao areas. This is the epitome’ of what is a backwater economy without investors including those Japayukis' yarn of Jareed pouring their monies to change the landscapes of the areas” I told folks inside the van as we traversed.

Saving Grace of Cotabato

 But the saving grace of the province is its lush vegetation that would be a treat to commuters who passed by its highway. Air there is fresher than in the jungle asphalt of Manila and the progressive provinces of Luzon. Weather there is cooler than in most areas of Luzon where balding vegetation looks like the receding hair of President Benigno Aquino III who is snagged with all the corruptions concocted and executed by his subordinates in the country.
 Grabe, even the mountains in the Makilala-Kidapawan City areas are cloud-kissed around 4 pm when we passed there going to the humongous town of M’lang (another saving grace of Cotabato Province especially after its airport would be finished anytime from now), that believe it or not can shame major towns in Pangasinan with its P142 million appropriation for Fiscal Year 2013.
 “Ganoon? Halos tatalunin niya na ang P145 million budget ng Rosales with its vaunted SM-Rosales, “ A Dagupeno quipped when I told him about it.
 I retorted because probably of the town’s (M'lang) sheer size and the real property tax the people there pay to the public coffer.
 “Dito kasi sa atin sa Pangasinan bukod sa maliit, tabi-tabi lang ang mga bayan at ciudad like in Central Pangasinan,” I said in the vernacular.

 Political Kibitzer Candari assails DPWH in Mindanao

 I thought the expansion of the national highway from a two-way road to four-way was undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highway only in Luzon.
 From Davao City to the Province of Cotabato private contractors of the DPWH were pre-occupied adding another lane at both sides of the highway. “Look, even the still passable old two-lane road is being cut to pieces by the jack hammer so the government can put a new one,” Cotabato political analyst Luvin Candari quipped when he drove me around Kidapawan City with his South Korean made SUVs he bought at the Economic Zone in Cagayan de Oro.
 I told him probably it was a misguided policy of the Aquino Administration to rip-off the still passable original highway at the same time build two additional lanes to make them four as a strategy of the government to perk up the economy (expansion of the construction sector was the main driver of the 7.8% Gross Domestic Product of the country in the first quarter of this year and the 6.6% GDP last year) so that President Aquino can crow to the people next year that the GNP still squirts to high heaven despite the end of the election spending in May 13 this year.

Sorry sight of the Armed Forces in Davao City

I could only shake my head how poorly equipped the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Last July 15, the van I rode was flagged by the Task Force Davao in Toril, Davao City.
I could not understand how the soldiers from the 10th Infantry Brigade function effectively at their checkpoint. I wonder how these soldiers check if the bags and baggage of the commuters carried a bomb or other illegally possessed deadly weapons.
 Geez, they were only touching with their bare hands the stuffs of the passengers inside the van.
“What are these guys think their hands are? X-ray machine that could find the corpus delecti (body of the crime),” I murmured to myself.
These soldiers are no different to security guards at the Metro Rail Transit in Manila who have to check the bags of passengers with their bare eyes or a stick.
I  could only commiserate with the AFP and those guards at the MRT. What they have been doing only reflect how financially poor our government that we could not even afford to buy those instruments guards at the Top 100 corporations have been efficiently doing to check the bottom part of a car and the body and bags of the visitor by using gadgets they bought abroad.

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