You’re probably thinking I’m kidding about this but I’m not. Many of my firsts as a kid happened in Kidapawan, one of Mindanao’s cities closest to my heart. I got lost in its old public market at seven; fiddled with my uncle’s Armalite when I was eight; got chased by a mad dog when I turned nine; rode a 6 x 6 dump truck at ten; gulped a bottle of San Miguel Beer when I was eleven; lit up a Philip Morris stick at twelve!
|Gateway to City Hall|
Now, before somebody starts shouting child abuse, here’s the thing. My grandma eventually found me; the rifle I touched wasn’t loaded; the wild bitch failed to bite me; it was my uncle who drove the truck, not me; the beer was good but it didn’t stay long in my system—I puked later; and the cigarette wasn’t mine—I was just told to buy and light one stick! If only for these memories, Kidapawan will always be precious to me.
|Archway at the city's entrance|
|Kidapawan City Hall|
|Statue of Manobo carrying a|
basket of tropical fruits
|Fruits of the season|
|Gaisano Grand Mall|
|Marang in my uncle's backyard|
|Pomelos ready for picking|
|Mary Mediatrix of All Grace Cathedral|
Arriving in sunny Kidapawan, I headed straight for Mary Mediatrix of All Grace Cathedral, where many important events in our family took place. The church looked resplendent that time after being spruced up for a wedding later that day. After saying thanks to the Lord for a safe journey, I drove all the way to the first mall in the city, Gaisano Grand, where I took my lunch.
Sated and satisfied, I went to Terraza Lei where I met Leah, the owner who’s my cousin. Housed in a three-storey building, her budding venture offers catering services to different functions and events—birthdays, weddings, baptisms, and the like. Terraza Lei also has a convenience store at the ground floor. Later that night, I stayed at her place in one of Kidapawan’s new subdivisions where my hosts warmly welcomed me.
Later, I rose up feeling refreshed. While sipping my coffee, a huge, brown dog—a Great Dane named after the American president!—came out of nowhere and started licking my hand. Caught by surprise, I tried running away, thinking that Obama wanted to get a piece of me! “He’s just asking for that pan de sal you’re holding”, my aunt said. Relieved, I shared pieces of my bread which he gobbled voraciously. We hit it off as friends after that.
Later that day, I joined my relatives as they headed for the suburbs to visit the family of another kin, my father’s brother. Though he had already joined his Creator a few years ago, we still keep in touch with his widow and children. Since it was noon when we got there, they had prepared sinigang na tangigue for lunch. Whew, it was one of the best tasting fish stews I’ve had in years!
|One of my uncle's feathered pets|
Halfway through lunch, it began to rain. Since there was nothing left to do after eating, we spent time kidding around with my nephews and nieces. To celebrate the academic achievements of two of the kiddos, we bought pizza and cake for merienda. Unfortunately, the inclement weather kept us from taking the little ones for a stroll at the mall. I guess that would have to wait until my return to the city.
|Holy cow! A real "Farmville"!|
As expected, the weekend wandering in Kidapawan turned out to be another helluva great adventure for this incorrigible vagabond. Too bad, I didn’t make it to Lake Agko to immerse myself in its hot and cold springs. Well, there’s always a next time. All told, I enjoyed to the hilt my quick escape to the city, which earned for me a big kick that came from kidding around with kins. :D