It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon when I woke up; the sunlight rays are kissing through my skin, the soft serenading voice of the coastal wind is penetrating to my ears and the beautiful scenic view around appears like I’m in some kind of a shooting for a film—everything seems perfect. “Am I in heaven, Lord?” I confusingly asked myself.
I later then realized that I was at a beach resort located at the east coast of Sarangani. Sarangani is a province located at the southern tip of Mindanao in the Philippines. It has seven municipalities—Maitum, Malungon, Glan, Kiamba, Maasim, Alabel and Malapatan—each endowed with different tourist destinations open to everyone who are seeking for adventure and serenity. Sixteen kilometres away from the busy life at the city of General Santos situates the capital town of Sarangani; Alabel. This is where we can find the Sarangani Capitol building. Inspired by Greek architectural design having its six long pillars on the outside and white-dyed buildings all around, it was as if the home of the Greek gods from Mount Olympus had moved from Greece to Alabel. As I stroll around the 24-hectare wide capitol grounds, I passed by a great work of art—a sculpture—made by Kublai Ponce Millan, a prolific artist who also crafted the giant durian monument in Davao International Airport. The sculpture was entitled “Gong” which was a tribute to the first people. From Alabel, a 35-minute ride brought us to Purok Balungis, Barangay Tuyan, Malapatan. “Balungis” is a native term for pandan which according to one of the residents of Purok Balungis, was abundant at the place. One special thing about Purok Balungis was that the women in their place formed an association which aims to offer jobs to the unemployed women and for this, they came up with the Balungis Trading and Weaving Center. Janaria Magangcong—one of the forerunners of the said association—revealed to me the “rugs to riches” story of their success. According to Janaria, the association...
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