Several people have already guessed it… I got several e-mails from people over the weekend asking if I was out of town, because I did not reply to comments on Friday and Saturday as quickly as I normally do. Well, indeed, I was out of town over the weekend. On Friday morning, Feyma, the kids and I all headed south to General Santos City.
It’s that time of the year again, and we needed to go for our annual check-in at the Bureau of Immigration office in GenSan. For a number of reasons, we still maintain our residency in GenSan, rather than Davao, so we go there to do our check-in, which is an annual requirement for foreigners here on a Resident Visa. We arrived at the Bureau of Immigration Office in GenSan at about 9:15 am on Friday morning, and by 9:30 we had finished up everything. They are fast and efficient there, and we always appreciate that very much.
Over the last couple of years, when we have visited GenSan we usually go down there early in the morning, and return to Davao the same day. This time, though, we decided to make a weekend of it, and we had a nice time during our visit there.
One of the things we did on the trip was to take the maid home, as I wrote about last week. After only a short time of being employed, she was homesick and decided to quit. She was from Kiamba, Sarangani Province, which is south of GenSan, so we took her home.
Of course, we also visited with Feyma’s family there, and also visited with a number of friends in the City, which we always enjoy. We never seem to have time to meet all of our friends in the City, but I guess that is normal.
On Friday night, Feyma and I went out for dinner at a place that has become pretty popular in the City, called “Grab a Crab.” It was our first time to eat at Grab a Crab, and the food was excellent. I had fun at Grab a Crab, because we had a friendly young waiter. I started ordering our meal, speaking Bisaya. The guy’s eyes got real big and he interrupted me – “Sir, you can speak Bisaya?” “Oo,” I replied, and kept ordering. The guy was so amazed, and treated us very well as we dined, so I enjoyed that a lot. We ate a variety of food at Grab a Crab – seems we always over-order – we had enough food for 4 people, instead of just the two of us. The food was great, though, and our meal was still only P800, so we can’t complain about that. Grab a Crab is certainly an upscale place! I guess that these days, Grab a Crab is probably the best restaurant in the City, and there are couple great places just outside the City too. Grab a Crab is right next door to the BayanTel Building, in the location where Orient Seas Restaurant used to be (although it is a totally new look, much more upscale). If you are in GenSan, be sure to visit the place, and tell them that Mindanao Bob sent you!
We stayed overnight in a new hotel in Barangay Bula called Jovinaj Traveler’s Inn. The room was just P800 per night, and quite comfortable. Nothing fancy, but I would definitely stay there again if I am in GenSan.
One thing I really noticed in GenSan on this trip is that the City is growing a lot, and traffic is becoming terrible there. The biggest reasons for the traffic problems are the huge number of tricycles and motorcycles. When we lived in GenSan in 2000-2002, the tricycles were not allowed on the Highway, but now they are everywhere, and they basically slow the traffic flow to almost a standstill. Honestly, I could not be comfortable living in GenSan anymore, and mostly because of the terrible traffic there.
Another nice highlight of the trip was that we went and visited our Ninang, Beth Bagonoc. Ninang Beth was one of our primary sponsors at our wedding in 1990, and we had not seen her for 7 or 8 years. At the time when we got married, Ninang Beth was a City Councilor in GenSan, and quite a powerful lady. These days, she has a number of businesses of her own, and is also a radio announcer on a local AM station there. She invited me to be a guest on her show on Saturday morning. She told me, though, that her topic of discussion is always about local GenSan Politics, and I politely declined the invitation, as I don’t get involved in Philippine Politics. It was very nice to see Ninang Beth, though.
We had an enjoyable trip to GenSan, and it was nice to see our friends and family there again. We’ll be heading back soon enough…