'Sleeping Dinosaur' by Ryan Songcayauon
YES was my quick reply to my colleague's question: was I interested to go to Mati for an UPCAT campaign? How often do I get to travel and explore Mindanao with my heavy workload? Now here was an opportunity to go on a busman's holiday, this time to spread the word to high school seniors about their future with UP Mindanao.
September 1, we took the scenic route along the coastal towns from Davao to Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley until we reached Davao Oriental. Our driver's wife's family lives in Mati, so he knew the scenery and stopped at a shoulder of the highway for a closer look at what locals call the "Sleeping Dinosaur" -- the silhouette of small hilly peninsula that resembles a dinosaur or dragon resting its head in the waters of Pujada Bay. And for souvenir shots as well.
Photo by Ryan Songcayauon
We agreed that it looked more like a giant sleeping pawikan than a dinosaur, though. As my colleagues were discussing this, I was imagining a story idea for a children's book about the last giant pawikan standing guard over Pujada Bay.
The scenery as we drove along the coastal roads from Davao dramatically changed soon as we passed the humongous Diosdado Macapagal Highway arch welcoming us to Davao Oriental. It seemed we had been transported to Cebu, particularly the seascape familiar to passengers taking the bus from Cebu City down south to Bato. Definitely, that "island" feeling with the sight of the sea surrounding you.
Mati, Davao Oriental
I might take the "fastcraft" ferry next time I travel to Mati. Because I definitely will be going back there for a real vacation in one of the resorts. There's a ferry that regularly ply the Davao City to Lupon route (from the town of Lupon, it's just a few minutes jeepney ride to Mati).
Mati is the capital of Davao Oriental, and was recently "downgraded" by a Supreme Court decision from being a city back to its municipality status. The city and provincial officials were cavalier about the recent turn of events. In the welcome dinner hosted by Vice Governor Mayo Almario (who organized the school fair), Mati "City" Mayor Michelle Rabat jokingly declared Mati as a Republic. The hopes for Mati becoming a city, as evident in this TV Patrol report on the plebiscite months back, apparently continue to run high.
That enthusiasm was what we witnessed the next day as the 2nd Davao Oriental School Fair opened its gates to around 6,000 high school seniors from the different schools in the province. It was actually a blast witnessing how these seniors eagerly ran from one booth to the next, listening to recruiters' spiels, collecting brochures, and generally having a great time. All photos below are by Ryan Songcayauon.
What capped each day of the two-day event, however, was the food our team had at La-ne's Kan-anan. Yummy, especially the halo-halo. Located near the seaside boulevard, La-ne's Kan-anan was recommended to us by our driver. It didn't disappoint with their big servings of inexpensive delicious Filipino cuisine.
Definitely a place to go back to when I visit Mati and Davao Oriental again.
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