Besides Hinugyaw Festival and the landmark Round Ball (Roundabout) monument of Gen. Paulino Santos, is there more about Koronadal City? The answer is a resounding Yes!
My previous post about 5 things to love about Koronadal City further answers this question.
But, how do we tell a first time traveler about the city, how to get around and what to do here?
Here’s the 7 Questions Guide to Koronadal City:
1. Why go to Koronadal City?
The city serves as the heart of South Central Mindanao Region. Meaning, being the center of activities it also connects travelers to all points of the map with places worthy a visit. Koronadal is one of the most progressive small cities in the country but it preserves its “laid-back” atmosphere with its proximity to rural areas and the barrios.
For the adventurous spirits, Koronadal offers caves (Cadidang cave) and falls (Cacub and Siok Falls) that can be trekked for one day to two days. It also offers off-road trails for mountain bikers.
For History buffs, Koronadal City is rich in stories of war, survival, reconciliation, settlement, culture and progress.
2. How do you get there and how do you get around?
Koronadal, fondly called Marbel, can be reached via Gen. Santos City. It’s a one-hour ride from Gensan to poblacion Marbel. Yellow Bus Line buses travel the route from Davao to Gensan to Koronadal. From Cotabato City in the north Marbel can be reached via bus through Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat.
When in the city the ubiquitous Yellow Tricycle is the best way to get around the city even up to the rural points. Tricycle fare starts at Php 8.00 from point to point within the city.
Tour the city on foot or riding the tricycles and learn of its colorful history and how its people survived the second World War, how the settlers turned the once barren land into the progressive city that it is today and of the harmonious relationships among three different cultures – the Indigenous Peoples (B’laans), the Christians (Visayan settlers) and the Muslims. Monuments that proclaim this colorful history are located within the city center, i.e. the historical marker of 17 Martyrs of Koronadal, the Gen. Paulino Santos Monument (Roundball), the provincial museum and the old city hall.
3. What can you do there?
Hire a habal-habal to Barangay Mabini to the take-off area to trek Siok Falls. By trekking further the trails will lead you to Cacub falls.
The best time to visit the city is from Christmas season until January 10, the culmination of city-wide revelry that is Hinugyaw Festival.
4. Where can you spend the night?
If you want to splurge a little bit, recommended Hotels are The Farm at Carpenter Hill, a double A-rated garden resort, and FB Hotel and Convention Center, a four-storey hotel with complete accommodation facilities.
If on a backpacker’s budget, recommended hotels are Greenstate Suites, Kabana Guesthouse, EMR Suites, Grand Westerly Inn, Casa Gema Hotel, Ramona Hotel and La Pamela Suites.
5. What food stops should you not miss?
Join the long queue of patrons waiting to have a fill of the famous buko halo-halo along the national highway in Barangay Saravia. The Farm at Carpenter Hill offers appetizing western and Asian dishes. Sa Balay Bistro, an ancestral house converted into a resto, serves tasty Filipino dishes. For the batchoy lovers Koronadal City have the local names as Popoy’s and Hapit Anay. For street foods and satay ala Larsians of Cebu, the Marbel has the B-walk (Barbeque walk) at the back of the compound of the old city hall.
6. What pasalubong options would you recommend?
Marbel is host to one of the few Pasalubong Centers of Kablon Farms. Kablon Farms grows crops organically and sources its materials from the local farmers. My favorite take-aways are the fruit jams and cocoa tablea.
For the best condiments, Barangay Saravia produces Saravia’s Best Sinamak (coconut-vinegar with spices) . They also have the Langkawas Sinamak, the same spices added with galangal strips.
Saravia’s Best is a community business run by women in Barangay Saravia that produces the best Sinamak and other spice and coconut-based products.
7. What do you think does this city does best compared to anywhere else in the world?
Koronadal City has its own identity as a progressive with a laid back feel kind of town. It’s a gateway to all things good around it but in itself is already a full destination. It has unique cultural, historical, adventure destinations on its own. To do business, travel or simply relax from the hassles and bustles of life, drop by Marbel…or maybe stay a little longer.
*The 7 Questions Guide format is patterned from baktincorporation.com’s travel guide. Baktin Corporation, a Travel and food Blog, is owned by this blogger’s friend, Brennan Mercado. Brennan drools over mountains, old towns, scenic landscapes and all types of food.