I took another trip recently, and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t go anywhere fancy, nothing that I could write a travelogue about. But, I went somewhere that had a lot of meaning for me.
I visited a little barrio called Patag, which is in Malapatan, Sarangani Province. I have been to Malapatan before, but Patag is a remote barrio in the hills, which is actually pretty far from the Poblacion (town center). Why does it hold meaning for me? Well, Patag is the place where Feyma grew up when she was a kid. She was actually born right there in Patag, at her parent’s house and lived there until she finished elementary school, at which time the family moved to General Santos City.
These days, with the good roads that abound, General Santos City is only about 20 to 30 minutes drive from Patag, but back then I suspect that it was at least a half-day journey. As I said, there is a good highway from General Santos City to Lun Padido, which is the Barangay along the highway that is closest to Patag. From there, it is dirt roads the rest of the way. Unfortunately, along the quickest route to Patag from the highway, there is a bridge which is damaged, and cannot be passed by a car. Since I was driving, this meant that I had to take an alternate route, with a bit of a rough road (we actually got stuck in the mud three times!).
It all started out on a Saturday morning very early, when Feyma and the kids took off to go visit her family in Patag. The kids were wanting to spend some time on the farm anyway for a sort of mini-vacation, so this was a good opportunity. My oldest son, Chris, had already been at the farm in Patag for over a month, and he was ready to come home, so this trip served the purpose of letting the other kids visit the farm, for Feyma to visit her family, and for them to bring Chris home. I was supposed to spend the weekend by myself in Davao. On Sunday morning, though, I was feeling kind of lonesome in the empty house, so I decided to take a trip myself. I called and invited my friend, John Grant, and he accompanied me for the journey.
I had never been to Patag before. In the past, Feyma and her family had always cautioned me that Patag was way too dangerous for me to go there. The area is 50% Muslim after all. Well, I always wanted to go, but I honored their wishes. Since that time, I have been virtually everywhere else in Mindanao, though, and some of the places I visited really were dangerous, so I felt like I could handle a visit to Patag without too much problem.
When I arrived in Patag, I was really welcomed by the people there. I felt like I was the returning hero from the area or something! It was kind of a strange feeling, but I liked it too. I got to look around Feyma’s place there, and even see the house that Feyma lived in when she was a baby. Now, that was quite interesting! I toured around town, just walking around talking to the local people. It was a lot of fun! Seeing the places that Feyma had talked about for so many years was really educational for me, and I enjoyed it a lot.
While I was in Patag, the family there was busy, working on the harvesting of the coconuts, processing of copra from the coconuts and such. I even helped a little bit in processing the coconuts, just to get the experience. It was fun and educational for me. I enjoyed watching my kids ride in a cart pulled by a Carabao too, which they thoroughly enjoyed.
What a great trip we had to Patag. I intend to go back again too! Feyma has some land there, which she inherited, and we are even thinking of building a little rest house there!
Who knows, maybe I’ll just become a farmer!