Part 15: Ang Mga Nakakaaliw na Mga Tanawin sa Mindanao
Ang Mga Nakakaaliw na Mga Tanawin sa Mindanao (Enjoying Mindanao)
After a short but bumpy flight to General Santos City (Gen San) in Mindanao, we descended to the tarmac and though the temperature was 30 degrees, it was tempered by a very strong breeze. After loading our luggage into a large van we set out to Gen San for a short stop to exchange money before a one and a half hour drive to Banga, South Cotabato where the second week of training pastors will take place. Immediately I was struck by the spaciousness and beauty of this part of Mindanao as we drove on excellent 4 and 6 lane roads with very little traffic, flanked with beautiful varieties of vegetation and hues of green and surrounded in every direction by richly forested mountains rising on the horizon. There was little to no development along this road and the lush greenery that surrounded us was so refreshing.
As we entered Gen San the traffic began to increase but was still minimal in comparison to Manila. After our short stop to change Canadian dollars to pesos, we set off for Banga. What a beautiful drive this was. Mindanao is the most fertile of the Philippine islands and proof of this was clearly evident. On the entire drive we thoroughly enjoyed the scenery that surrounded us - the acres and acres of pineapple plants, green rice fields with massive groves of coconut trees as far as the eye can see reaching to the sky with richly forested mountains a backdrop behind them. There were flowering trees and plants flanking the roadsides adding a variety of colours and beauty to the scenery and this was only a small part of all we saw. Words and pictures are totally inadequate to capture the beauty of these areas. For the entire drive we were never disappointed with the scenery that surrounded us.
We arrived at our destination, The Aqua Vista Resort and Farm, which was going to be our home base while in Banga, around 5:00 pm where we ordered dinner before going to our ‘villas’ to unpack and settle in. Now we were truly in the ‘bukid’, (the country), at a resort set among lush vegetation and towering trees, many of them coconut, palm and mango trees, boasting 3 pools which we soon learned are enjoyed by many parties on a fairly regular basis. It is rustic but meets our needs and is truly an oasis in this beautiful setting. After a delicious dinner of Filipino fare, we all made our way to bed as we had an early morning ahead to attend the 5:00 am service at Banga Evangelical Church, where John will preach and where the training will start on Monday. Unable to sleep around 3:00 am I could hear roosters crowing, the sounds of geckos ((large lizards), and even drumming in the distance. This was our welcome to ’bukid’ living and I look forward to all this week holds in this beautiful town of Banga in Mindanao.