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Tnalak Festival a Celebration of Culture and Tradition in the Southern Philippines

A place where people with diverse culture and beliefs are living a simple yet unique life, that is how guests who came to visit described the province. And this is what Tnalak festival celebrates every second week of July in South Cotabato. It is the celebration of one of the symbols of the area and it is now hailed as one of the most colorful and memorable events. T’nalak is in fact a work of art, a woven piece of cloth with bright colours. The T’boli weavers elaborate their dreams into a beautiful tapestry made from deeply coloured abaca fibers.

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Every year there is always something worth celebrating, and each year it never fails to surprise strangers and locals with its fun and truly splendid activities, from street dancing which portrays the different culture of its population, trade expos where a lot of local products can be seen, motocross, a Retro ball to welcome overseas Filipino workers as they join the celebration, down to pageant night where the most beautiful woman in South Cotabato is crowned.
As I roam around the busy flea market I can’t help but notice the smile in everyone’s face, children having fun in the rides, lovers comfortably eating in a nearby barbeque stand, and families having snacks in a pizza booth. There are so many things to do in this one week affair which once again shows that South Cotabateños are united, taking a break from the hardship in life.

T’nalak is getting its way to the top list of most admired festivals in Philippines most of all for the entire experience it has to offer. We may not have the fancy of a city life but we have a warm heart who will always welcome strangers, travellers who want to escape from a busy and chaotic living. Unfold the mystery of Mindanao’s most promising province, experienced T’nalak festival.
Next year it will be another celebration, another year to be proud of being a dweller of this extraordinary province.

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Davao City a Paradise in a War Zone

For years, Mindanao, the eastern most region of the Philippines has been known as the war capital of the country. Most travel companies and other countries advised tourists the dangers of travelling within this territory. This region has been home of terrorists, guerrillas and militants due to the vast jungles and limited population that provides them a better chance in hiding and a better way to combat the Philippine Arm Forces. However, what most of us don’t understand or know is the beauty Mindanao has to offer.

I’m always afraid to travel to this region because of travel advisories and warnings, but as a human, we tend to always challenge ourselves and work or do things that most people wouldn’t risk doing. To make things short, I went to Davao, a city located in the southern part of Mindanao. It’s a big city; it is even referred to as the world’s biggest city though it has a small downtown.

As I was on the bus for a four travel to Davao from Koronadal, a small city in the Southern part of Mindanao, I was praying that my tour will be fine and that it will be safe. I was so surprised seeing the place. I’m definitely shocked with what I experienced, I am expecting a place that is rotten or does not have economic growth, a place where each person carries a gun and will look at you with suspicion.

But what I saw is a place booming with development. You’ll see buildings, markets, malls, etc. which are signs of economic growth. Above all this, I saw smiling and peace loving people. I was unequivocally relieved thanking that God answered my prayers. I later found out that the Davao has been proclaimed as the most peaceful city in Southeast Asia and that I made a fool of myself.

Aside from a wide array of modern urban amenities, Davao is a melting pot of diverse people, religion and culture. This is a place where you can see Moslems and Christians living together peacefully. It also offers a vast selection of fruits and seafood’s. White sand beaches, waterfalls, exotic animals and mountains are just around the corner.

I really enjoyed my 3 weeks stay in the city. I was able to go on an island hopping in the island of Samal, a small island 45 minutes away from the mainland of Davao through a boat. It boosts a cluster of white sand beaches, virgin and undisturbed diving sites, shipwrecks and a pearl farm.

It also showcases a vertical cave and a series of falls. Three hours away from Davao is Mt. Apo, the tallest mountain in the Philippines. It takes 3 days to hike this giant. It was an active volcano before but now is considered dormant. The hike itself is a great adventure and you’ll get to see exotic animal, plants and flowers. This is the first time I have seen a true and alive Rafflesia and it was amazing. The peak of Mt. Apo presents a different kind of feeling and I can’t compare it with anything else. Outland Adventure, the largest ropes course facility in the Philippines, situated in a sanctuary within Davao metropolitan itself.

This facility is known to have the fastest and longest zip line in Asia and that ride is definitely my most blood rushing experience ever. One of the best dining places I’ve ever visited is Jack’s Ridge, which is located at the top of a hill. The idea is to have a coffee shop, dining place and park within a forest within a hill top. It has a cozy ambiance where you may have a romantic date while listening to live bands or just enjoying the fresh air while overlooking the beautiful lights of the city.

There are a thousand things that can be done within Davao and I guarantee that you’ll absolutely enjoy. Truly Davao is a magnificent place and for me it’s a paradise within a war torn zone. I just hope that Davao will move further for economic development and maintain its peace loving outlook.

Though Mindanao’s face has been painted with fear and unending war and terrorism, there are places within it that hope and pray that someday peace will come their way. Thankfully, I took a risked and I experienced the best things in life. Doubtlessly, I will be back in this peaceful, lovely and beautiful place.