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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Overnight in Maguindanao (Part 1)

After hiking Mt. Matutum (read post here), I continued my solo adventure to Cotabato city to visit the new friends I met during a media trip to Tawi-Tawi.  From GenSan (General Santos city), that's another 4 hour bus ride, passing several municipalities in the province of Maguindanao, which I was visiting for the first time.

The driver let me off in front of a police outpost in the municipality of Datu Saudi Ampatuan.  On the next road, a few meters away is Masjid Dimaukom or more commonly known as the Pink Mosque for obvious reasons. Under a clear, blue sky, it's color,a strong shade of pink popped out beautifully


I found a sitting area across that has an amazing vantage of the mosque  and stayed there for a couple of minutes, admiring it. 

I headed back to the road to hail another vehicle going to Cotabato City. With a lot of vacant seat and wide open windows, I enjoyed the wind and embraced the dust. The view was mostly houses, roadside mosques and a lot of greenery. 

As we passed Barangay Margues in the municipality of Datu Odin Sinsuat (DOS), a huge sign by the road caught my eye "This way to the Blue Lagoon". I made another last minute decision to go down. 

A beautiful pool revealed itself just a couple of steps off the road. Surrounded by huge trees and a forest, it looks  enchanting. 
Blue Lagoon at Brgy. Margues
For a while, I just stood there taking photos but being a water baby, I couldn't resist jumping in the water!  I went inside a makeshift changing area, which is really just a small stall with sack as walls. Few minutes later, I joined the small crowd and swam. 

As I was alone, I stayed mostly near the shallow area, occasionally swimming to the deeper sections. I could hear chatters of a dialect that I couldn't understand. To be honest, I felt such an outsider but thankfully, the atmosphere wasn't threatening. I was able to have a friendly chat with a few locals who knew how to speak Tagalog which made me feel less lonely. :) 

After cooling down, I headed back up and changed. It was past 3:00 PM and I still had to travel to Cotabato city!From the main road, I caught an aircon van to Cotabato city. 

Less than an hour later, I'm inside a tricycle looking for a place to stay. I wasn't happy where I checked in so I won't be mentioning it on this post. My room reeked of sweat and though the location is accessible and staff are friendly, it's near a busy intersection that made me feel uneasy.

Travel Tip : My friend from Cotabato recommends staying at Novo Hotel and I regret not asking him before. :P 

Somehow, my Mindanao-based friends convinced me to hike Mt. Minandar the next morning. Please click here  for the story (hiking information included!).


This entry is part of my week long birthday trip. Hope you can also take the time to read my other posts on this. :) 
Leg 1 : El Nido Experience with Northern Hope Tours | Walking Around El Nido Town (to follow)


Resources 
The following blogs helped me get around Cotabato City and Maguindanao. Please visit their blogs for additional helpful info : 
Lakwatsero | Cotabato City Travel Guide
My Mindanao | Mt. Minandar, Maguindanao's Newest Attraction

The attractions, Blue Lagoon and Mt. Minandar are both in the municipality of Datu Odin Sinsuat (DOS). For more info, please get in touch with DOS Tourism.
Datu Odin Sinsuat (DOS) Tourism Facebook Page
DOS Tourism Office contact : Datuhabib Salazar
Mobile Number : +63 0905-617-1725







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