How exciting life could be when you travel to a place that you have never imagined you could explore. An adventure that awaits ahead of me, had challenged and have made me to not just become a normal adventurer I used to be. Expectations are always made available, but when the adventure you expected to be least challenging turned to be more arduous than you expected it to be.
It has long been my planned visiting the Province of Sultan Kudarat and explore this province since I have traipsed my two little itchy feet here several times, but entirely to just wave my hand and uttered my precious HELLO! There’s always chaos anywhere, but a thought that’s always working in mind every time you speak about Mindanao is more than any chaos we could think of. Mindanao has most issues, especially in human strife, this has been specifically what people used to consider that’s why they’re being eaten of their fear to travel to Mindanao. Merely a thought forming overhead, chaos is everywhere and everyone could never evade such. Basically, I possess no fear and even doubts as I decided to visit Mindanao again.
Attempting to entertain my radar as it freely makes its way. Sultan Kudarat is on my list and I wanted to explore it. I contacted the head of Tourism Office of Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, Sir Renato Sambrano to help me facilitate my sojourn, he was so kind enough to have helped me and make this journey possible.
Here’s the sneak peak of my adventure at Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat. Where to go and what to do.
During my visit, there were only few people who enjoyed the cold and hot spring pool. There were exactly three pools, one is for the children, which was a newly constructed pool, and the other two pools are for adults, that exudes a natural cold and hot spring. You’ll acquire the luxury to move around the pool area to find the perfect spot where you can drench yourself and enjoy its natural effect on your body. This place is an ideal for all types of occasions, family, friends and even couples.
The beauty of these natural springs is the temperature gauge settings that adjust to suit you individually no matter how many are present. You may probably ask why? Well, because these springs link up to mystical fresh water streams as it believes by many. The cold spring was said to be from the rich water supply of Ugis Peak, where you can view it from afar. When you go there, the water is freely come out from the peak without hesitation, it looks like a crying mountain as the waters flows down.
The hot spring was said to be from a mythical story when an area of land moved intensely, the hot spring came out. These were the beliefs of Teduray people who happened to have their comfortable stay just a few beats away from the Resort. The Resort has enough cottages to accommodate people in a day, they have a function room, a grill station, a very clean toilet and you’ll certainly love the place.
A beautiful and well grown trees with a big hole facing to me, marking a perfect natural carved by nature as it appears to be majestic and enticing. Then an avatar movie scene appeared to be so quick in mind, I now went inside the hole of the tree and of course, I asked Michael to take pictures of me. Deep down the tree, I just felt something strange, maybe because it’s my first time to see a tree that looks exactly like that.
Panigan Underground River and Waterfalls, is a secluded destination that has been existed for a long time already, but haven’t been explored much of the travelers and other adventure seekers. Only to know that it has been a Gem that keep a secret of many hidden treasures and has been distinguished as an unexplored jewel with a magical spell to offer. Panigan Underground River and Waterfalls look like a smaller version of Tinuy-an falls in Surigao Del Sur, it has a wide brink and strong smash of water, but it doesn’t own a catching basin where you can dip into its cold water. What makes Panigan Underground River and Waterfalls appearing to be so astonishing is the cave itself. The stream of water is from the cave where you can only see the mouthpiece that looks like spitting and vomit a cold water continuously.
According to Michael John of Esperanza Tourism Office, they have asked the people at the back of the mountain as it still to be a portion of the cave, but found out that they can’t find any stream of water in their area. I was left speechless, trying to traverse over the other side of my curiosity while questions are looming overhead, I couldn’t help, but remain bewildered by what this Gem made me feel.
Quetuban waterfall is derived from a Teduray word that signifies a place where they can get water or in general a source of their water. During ancient days, Teduray people always get to this waterfall to get their water. The flow of water is actually from the famous Ugis Peak, located in the upper portion of the mountain after the Teduray community.
Quetuban waterfall looks like a widely flattened layer of stones that has been perfectly leveled, but stands to be like bending backward in its innate state. The water flows down slowly and looks like a stone rolling down, producing a soothing sound with a weakling smash of water. There was no catching basin, the flow of water from above just freely goes down and formed a river.
My radar has to reach the dignified but inviting height of Marawir Peak, located at Sitio Marawir, Brgy. Salumping, Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat. Peacefully standing at the altitude of approximately 577 feet from its base, but technically it’s 2,654 feet above sea level. It is said to be a quick destination of local mountaineers as it extends a natural deterrent view of obstacles completely as you climb to its peak.
There were tall perennial grass that covers nearly the whole mountain, there has no tree at all, so the sun sending light directly to our surface. As I have got to the top of Marawir Peak, I have appreciated how the Peak stands all alone while he is surrounded by beautiful mountains. We stayed there about 20 minutes and take some photos and decided to descend down. On our way down, I find it even more difficult than climbing up, I have toppled down many times like a moppet who fell down and fix up and gets its balance back. I have survived the challenge and reach to the base of Marawir Peak while the limpid grin is painted on my face.
Ugis Peak is located near the village of the Teduray tribe at Sitio Ugis, Brgy. Marguez, Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat. It has been marked as 9/10 difficulty of getting there, according to some of the well experienced mountaineers. It has been described as a skyscraper of the South. Peacefully standing at close to 930 feet above sea level.
The Teduray tribe is one of the Indigenous People in the Philippines, they are distinguished for their distinct and unique culture, beliefs, customs and traditions. Barely a few minutes of trekking, I have finally arrived at the community of Teduray. I was blessed to have me introduced to one of the leaders of Teduray in their village. I met Tatay Lorito Desmanos, and it was an honor to have asked him about their culture and I’m glad that he was really happy telling me most of the Teduray traditions and their culture as well. I even asked him, if marrying more than one woman is allowed and he said Yes, as long as you’re capable of raising your family.
I also get the chance to immerse with another tribe, our Manobo friend. I was trying to get their attention by learning some Manobo words. I saw Datu Asog Apang doing something, so I asked him what he was doing, he told me that he is pounding the unhusked rice to produce a grain of rice and cook it for their dinner. I even tried doing it myself. Then another old woman whom I saw carrying a traditional basket made from stiff fiber on his brow with a traditional rope. I asked her if we can have pictures then she told me it’s all right, and even told me to tell my friends that Manobo are still existed.
Spoil your taste buds to their Local Food.
One of the most popular Maguindanaon delicacy in Esperanza is Pastil. The minute I arrived in Esperanza, I immediately look for a local food and Michael suggested to let me try the delectable Pastil. It is made of cooked rice, crowned with sauteed shredded meat of chicken, beef, or fish and beautifully wrapped with a heated banana leaf. At the public market of Esperanza, there is a food station lining horizontally and they offer Pastil. During that time, what I had tasted was Chicken Pastil and it was truly delicious, I also have added a well cooked bamboo shoot boiled with coconut milk.
Enjoy their flavorsome Halo-Halo.
Esperanza is also recognized for owning an about 48 Halo-Halo stalls, peacefully situated near the public market of Esperanza. Barely before the sun slowly crawling below the horizon, I make sure that I try their Halo-Halo. It is a popular Filipino dessert with mixtures of sheared ice and evaporated milk crowned with a home made various ingredients and served in a bowl. Never leave out this experience if you get the chance to visit Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat.
I am so grateful to have met the Head of Esperanza Tourism Office, Mr. Renato Sambrano for facilitating my 2 day visit in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat. I as well would love to thank Michael John Genilla for bringing me to all the stunning destinations of Esperanza and for taking good photos of me. To our motorcycle driver who brought me safe to my destinations and brought me back so safe in Esperanza town proper, thank you so much. To my local guide, thank you so much for letting me experience the hidden Gem of your place and for giving me a chance to share another travel story.
HOW TO GET THERE
From General Santos City:
Major Airlines are flying to General Santos City almost every day. From General Santos City International Airport, ride a van going to SM for only PHP150 fare. As you reach SM, ride a tricycle going to Bulaong Terminal and fare is PHP10. From General Santos City’s Bulaong Terminal, ride a nonstop bus (Yellow Bus Line), bound to Marbel (Koronadal City). The travel time is around 1 hour and PHP75fare. At Koronadal City Yellow Bus Terminal, there is a direct trip going to Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat. The travel time is around 1 hour and PHP 70-80 fare. Ask the Bus conductor to drop you off at Esperanza, Municipal Hall and look for Sir Renato Sambrano at the Tourism Office to help you facilitate your trips. He’ll be giving you a list of tourist destinations that you wish to explore that match the number of days you wish to explore their place. You can contact Sir Renato through these numbers. Landline No. (064) 202- 6375 or Mobile Number: +63 916-324-5520
From COTABATO CITY
Cotabato City is closer in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, comparing the distance from General Santos City. From Cotabato City Airport, ride a cab going to Husky Terminal. From there, look for a husky bus bound to Tacurong City and ask the Bus conductor to drop you off at Esperanza, Municipal Hall and look for Sir Renato Sambrano at the Tourism Office to help you facilitate your trips. He’ll be giving you a list of tourist destinations that you wish to explore that match the number of days you wish to explore their place. You can contact Sir Renato through these numbers. Landline No. (064) 202- 6375 or Mobile Number: +63 916-324-5520
*There is an ATM machine in Esperanza, Town Proper if you wish to withdraw some funds
*Leave as early as you can, you’ll be passing around 3 checkpoints as you go into the mountain range of Esperanza since you have to pass through the private properties along the way.
*Secure your gate pass from the Tourism Office of Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat.
*Please buy food and drinking water from the town proper for your lunch and snacks.
*Bear in mind that you have to reach the 3rd checkpoint on your way back to the town proper before 4PM or you’ll have to remain overnight in Panigan.
*Always be kind with local people there and you can constantly ask them for anything if you wish to know them.
*You’ll be crossing different wooden bridge on the way, make sure to get down if you feel like you’re not comfortable enough while riding a motorcycle when you cross the wooden bridge.
*Wear your comfortable travel outfit, so you’ll feel comfortable along the way.
*The roads going to Panigan is really sludgy when it rains and rocky as well.
*Visiting Teduray Village, Marguez Hot & Cold Spring and Quetuban Waterfall is enough for one day trip. If you can start early, you can also climb Ugis Peak.
*Visiting Marawir Peak and Panigan Underground River and waterfalls is also good for one day.
*Always be responsible with your garbages and never leave any garbage anywhere.
*Please, just enjoy what nature has to offer and always take good care of them.
ESTIMATED AMOUNT OF MONEY TO PREPARE AND POSSIBLE EXPENSES GOOD FOR 2 DAYS.
FOOD (Snacks) – PHP600.00
TRANSPO (Motorcycle back and forth good for 3 person ) Marawir Peak, Panigan Underground River and Waterfalls – PHP1,500
LOCAL GUIDE FEE ( Marawir and Panigan Underground River and Waterfalls )- PHP 350.00
TRANSPO (MOTORCYCLE back and forth)
Marguez Hot and Cold Spring, Quetuban Waterfall and going to Teduray Village – PHP120.00
ACCOMODATION (Good for 2 to 3 person) – PHP600.00
TOTAL – PHP3,170.00
NOTE: PRICES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE.