Getting Across Mindanao

With the 2011 launch of the Department of Tourism of its campaign slogan, “It’s more fun in the Philippines!” sectors in southern Philippines started their own campaign for Mindanao tourism. Yes, “It’s more fun in Mindanao!”

And why not?  Nowhere else can you find Filipinos so friendly, so helpful if not accommodating, and warm.  Food is relatively inexpensive across the island, and every visiting tourist is offered with reasonable accommodation costs. Airlines and transportation companies have also been pegging low airfares, budget fares, with discounts for students, senior citizens, and in some places, to those who are physically disadvantaged.

When a Mindanaoan offers you something, accept the gesture.  Sometimes, it is not really the object of the offer that matters most; rather, the gesture itself.  And Mindanaoans will not feel good being turned down because such would be a rejection of their culture of what is part of it.

LANGUAGE

If you want to get across Mindanao, arm yourself with a smile, and kind words with soft gentle tone. Never act haughty for such attitude would elicit either fiery speech or but a mere polite accord.  Speak basic words of a local language, and people would appreciate you for your efforts.

Yes, speak the language.  If you cannot speak Visayan, try English.  You’ll be surprised, it is spoken by many more than Filipino, the national language, is.

Basic greetings include:

Maayong buntag. Good morning.

Maayong hapon. Good afternoon.

Maayong gabii. Good evening.

Salamat.  Thank you.

Daghang salamat. Thank you very much (or, Many thanks).

If you need to make a purchase, just ask, “Pila ni?” (How much is this?) or simply, “Pila?” (How much?)

When you need to know directions, start your query with, “Asa ang…” (Where is…) then proceed to mention the place you want to reach.  “Asa si…” should be followed by a person’s name.

Well, “hello” and “hi” will always work anywhere in Mindanao.  For as long as you flash a smile, and a cheerful spirit, every Mindanaoan will just be too happy to have you around.

TRANSPORTATION

Airlines operating across the islands include Philippine Air Lines (to major cities such as Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, and Zamboanga–just check http://www.philippineairlines.com  for flight bookings, promo fares and discounts to students), Cebu Pacific Air (check out http://www.cebupacificair.com for flight bookings and promo fares), Zest Air (http://www.zestair.com.ph for flight bookings and promo fares).

Bus companies operating in the eastern side from central Mindanao includes Yellow Bus Lines with main terminal at Matina, Davao City; Davao Metro Shuttle with terminal along Quimpo Boulevard in Ecoland, Matina, Davao City; and Wynna Express, with terminal at Bugac Ma-a Road also in Davao City.

On the western side from central Mindanao operates Rural Bus Transit Co. Within Northern Mindanao operate Tomawis Metro Shuttle, Pag-asa Express Bus Lines, and Metro Shuttle buses.

FOOD

Food in the Philippines is cheapest in Mindanao, where people love to grill seafood–fish, squid, prawns, and lobsters (certainly, they too can be steamed and fried or simply be part of tummy-filling soups).  “Sutukil” has long been a popular meal combo–Grilled fish, hot soup,  and raw clean fish meat or peeled shrimps dipped in vinegar sauce and spices.

At times, seafood is so fresh that a fish or any other seafood catch is caught in minutes, cleaned and cooked before your eyes the way you want.

Yes, it’s more fun in Mindanao.  (The PhilSouth Angle)

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