Monday, March 10, 2008

THE ROADS OF MINDANAO

Memphis Marriott Downtown
March 10, 2008



This post was inspired by my long drive from the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Memphis, Tennessee yesterday. The whole drive took about seven hours covering about 400 miles (1 mile = 1.6 kilometers) including one stop to fill up my truck's gas tank (~28 gallons), pick up some guides and maps at the first Tennessee welcome center, withdraw money from my bank's ATM, and stop at a rest area. I wanted to take some pictures of the drive but my camera ran out of battery. Anyway, at the highways (Interstate Highway 10, MS Highway 49, and Interstate Highway 55) I drove, most of the vehicles I saw were cars, pick-up trucks (called trucks here), SUVs, minivans, and 18-wheeler truck-trailers. A lot of people are traveling as well as goods and materials are being transported across state boundaries. These are signs of domestic travel and interstate commerce.


While driving, I kept thinking about highways and roads in Mindanao. Road conditions, driving distances, vehicle types, travel time, rest areas, gas stations, restaurants, lodging places, tourist attractions, etc ...... What about at night, is it safe to travel and transport goods and materials in the roads of Mindanao? Merchants and producers need to deliver their products to various destinations or points of sale or consumption on time to provide for the orders of their customers. People need to arrive at their destinations on time for personal or business reasons to fullfill their commitments to friends, relatives and clients.


During our last visit to the Philippines in 2006, we did some traveling by public transport. Charter bus trip from Caticlan, Aklan to Tigbauan, Iloilo and from Bacolod to Dumaguete. These trips were different from the ones I made with public buses from Zamboanga to Pagadian, Pagadian to Linamon, Iligan to Cagayan de Oro, Cagayan de Oro to Butuan between 1986 and 1988. We stopped in one town about two hours from Dumaguete to buy coffee and have cigarette and restroom break. The children did not make it in the public restroom while the private restroom of the local bakery was not available for public use. We decided to stop in a dark spot somewhere in the highway to have the restroom break sometime before midnight.

In late 1960s to early 1970s, I also remember the trips I made from Marawi to Iligan, Marawi to Malabang, Ozamis to Dipolog, Iligan to Pagadian, Pagadian to Zamboanga, Iligan to Cagayan de Oro, Cagayan de Oro to Butuan, Parang to Cotabato, Malabang to Kapatagan (via the tunnel), Maluso to Isabela, Cagayan de Oro to Manolo Fortich, and many more. I do not remember the buses traveling at night in those areas. I suppose these buses do not travel at night nowadays for obvious reasons.

Highways, roads and streets are the links between suppliers and buyers of manpower, materials and finished products. They link up surplus regions with deficit regions. Should you travel the roads of Mindanao next time, please share you exprience for us to know more about them. Thank you.

5 comments:

Caloy said...

Kuya Ben,

The last time I travelled in Mindanao was in 2005. I attended our high school reunion in GSC in 13-14 August and had to travel to Butuan via Davao after that to visit Perla's family. I intended to attend our frat's (GPO) convention in the last week of August, so I stayed a little longer in Butuan and decided to visit MSU Marawi. The College of Engineering was having a Thanksgiving Lunch for Engrs. Titing Tarranza and Udtog Tago for passing the BAR exams and also the college's foundation celebration.I was at langihan Bus terminal at about 4am , early so that I will arrive in MSU in time for the luncheon. The first Bus to leave is an all stop Bus and the next limited stop Bus is scheduled to leave after 2 hours pa. So I decided to ride in the first one, thinking that it will arrive CDO early. It was a mistake, the limted stop bus overtaken our bus somewhere in Gingoog city and we arrived CdO around 11 am. I was 1 hour away from the Lunchtime sked, and i am still in CDO.

At CDO terminal, I looked for Buses bound for Iligan, and found buses only bound for Bukidnon, DVO via Bukidnon and Butuan. I asked around and found out that the BUSES bound for Iligan is located in the southern side of the city. You have to ride a jeepney or a taxi to go there, crossing the city and its traffic. So i spent another 1/2 hour transferring from carmen terminal to agora.

Fortunately I was travelling alone and carried no heavy bag, just a shoulder bag. I saw a family with 3 small kids and plenty of luggage and they had to endure the same problem . Kalooy kaayo!!!

The trip to Iligan was uneventful, we arrived there at the usual time, but again similar thing happened . The bus only stop at the terminal which is located in Tibanga (north), and I had to ride another taxi to the southern part
of Iligan where the MSU bound jeepneys are located.
The jeepney left Iligan at around 1 pm, and I arrived MSU at 2 pm. The luncheon is at 12 noon, so when I arrived at the College of Engineering, the celebration was already finished. Most of my former colleagues were all gone, luckily my sister-in-law Ate Bebie hidden some packed lunch for me. At least I had lunch at 2 pm.

Overall, the roads from Butuan to Marawi are not really that bad anymore. What really annoyed me was the transfer from 1 terminal to another in CDO. If you are travelling from Butuan to MSU with your family, don't use the public transport, especially if you are heavily laden.

Caloy Cuanan

tom mascarinas said...

Kuya, Sir Ben, I would say that by last year, over 80% of Mindanao's highways are already paved making land trips much easier & faster. Only the East coast highways of Davao and Surigao are not yet paved but work has been underway. And there have been 24-hour bus trips along the ff routes: dvo-butn-cdo-dvo, dvo-sanfrn-tandag-dvo, dvo-bukdnn-cdo-dvo, cdo-pagadn-zambo-cdo, dvo-butn-suri-leyte-dvo & cdo-butn-suri-cdo. Also, Mindanao has added more to her 29 cities and 27 provinces. Bislig, Tandag, Bayugan & Cabadbaran in Caraga region are now cities. Also Mati, Lamitan, Koronadal, Tacurong, Panabo are now cities along with IGACOS or Island Garden City of Samal. Dinagat is the youngest province (only last Dec)and Compostela Valley has been culled out of Davao Norte. Another province has been formed out of Maguindanao also recently.

jo.balonga said...

Yes, the separation of south- and north-bound vehicle terminals in CdO is annoying, and perplexing for first-time travelers. (Not to mention the attendant scalpers/drivers/kargadors who take advantage of passengers' confusion.)
But the roads are indeed much better, and can be traveled on any hour of the day or night.
Last year alone my family and I went to Davao, Koronadal, and Wao on various trips, and roads were very good: paved, with well-lit signs, well-maintained road marks and those reflectorized metal things. In some parts of the Bukidnon-Davao stretch there were even those metal plates that cause the vehicle to shake a little to nudge awake drowsy drivers.
If you know the roads well enough, you will be acquainted with the good rest stops along the way. And along the well-traveled roads in the Philippines you can almost always find Jollibee outlets which serve various bodily functions at one go. :)
Too bad the Philtranco service plying Manila-CdO route was cut off. But if you were so inclined and don't mind transferring from one bus to another, you can travel straight from Baguio to Pagadian or Davao/Cotabato/Gen.Santos by land and barge. The sore behind comes with the package.
As in all things Pinoy, travel in the Philippines is quite an adventure. But it does make for a very educational journey.

Nikko Lawrence said...

Why do you use MIAKADODO as head title? It's a Muslim word which stands for bad odor.

kookeekrumbs said...

Nice blogs! I miss Mindanao, I love Mindanao, I am from Mindanao and my spirit belongs to Mindanao, forever! Keep on blogging MIAKADODO's of its opposite meaning though. Congrats for posting nice to read stuffs.