Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The New Cotabato City Hall

Wow! What a building! Hands down the most beautiful city hall in this country I have seen so far!

I learned about this new city hall when mentioned by manang as I ate tapsilog at her food stall across the old city hall earlier in the morning. She just told me it was somewhere near and beyond the two hospitals. Further told me that it was big and wide no one would miss it on the way to the airport. Hmm, I should’ve passed by the place 3 times yesterday when I arrived thru the airport and when I went to the grotto, then back to the city. So I thought I could easily find it. Maybe I’ve seen it but just did not know it was the city hall or maybe I was always looking elsewhere when I passed there. Maybe. And when the jeep stopped for me to disembark, voila, it is/was this big building I thought to be some Muslim something hehe!

Suddenly and in so short a time, the ORG was displaced in my head as the most beautiful government office I have seen! Oh well!

The city hall does not sport any big billboards or announcements or pictures of the politicians holding office there. and it is not the usual cluttered center of the city with so many stores or vehicles crowding around it. Just an expanse of a field of green fronting it, probably still some 200 meters or so from the road. Wow! Like at the ORG, There were military officers at the entrance gate by the roadside. Not your local sekyu! These are officers in full battle gear. But as with the ORG friendlier and more knowledgeable than your idiot of a “jaguar”! They were first to greet me good morning when I approached their beautiful, well provisioned guard house.

“Hi, so this is the new city hall, can I take pictures?”, I asked the obvious. The reply struck me I almost clapped as the officer said in English “yes sir, but please wait for a moment, our mobile is still at _______ (name of a police precinct)”. Whoa! What did he mean by that sentence? He was telling me yes it was the new city hall, yes I could take pictures but I will have to wait a while until their mobile (police patrol car) returns so I it could ferry me up to the building. Whoa! So I said, “ah its okay, I can walk”! And the reply was “okay sir, sanay na naman yata kayo sa init ng araw”. Wow!

Anyway, as I walked approaching the bui8lding, I noticed that there was no flag in that big pole yet. Probably still being ‘manufactured’ for that means they’d have to put a large Philippine flag in such a tall pole. Wonderful building architecture. Well, I am no engineer nor architect, but I just thought the shape and size of this thing is too damn well impressive for a city hall. Far or near, you cannot mistake that this is an edifice somewhere in Mindanao, right? Muslim-inspired, if I may call it that. And hey, they retained the form and style of the old city hall’s roof. Am sure it means something significant to Cotabato folks. I wonder though, and would like to know what is that thing at the top. Its not just a Christmas decor, am sure of that! Anyone who knows, please tell us. Please?!

“Talus Kanu” says the tiled incriptions at the foot of the big glass doors. Yes plural, since there are many of them big glass doors! And inside, whoa, it still is generally Muslim-inspired. Almost like a Mosque. The colors green and gold everywhere, those ornate designs, in dark yellows and dark reds. Breathtakingly beautiful. And most offices have either glass walls or wide glass windows where you can see everything inside. Exudes the symbolism of transparency in government! I hope their employees live up to it hehe cuz you could really see who in there would be sleeping or not in his desk or not doing his job and those things.

Nice place… but oh well, the ORG regains back the beauty when we talk about building interiors. In this city hall, the biometrics machines have started to become an eyesore since they have taped so many announcements and reminders up the wall. Wires are also starting to cross here and there. Even one side of the grand stairs has already become a stockpile of boxes and boxes of probably books or school supplies since the labels were all of schools in and around the city. Am sure there is a better place to keep them, unless the mayor wanted to show them off. But if that was the case, they should have piled those boxes at the center of the big lobby for more emphasis hehe! Oh, I saw one of the bronze markers. This building was put up just in 2006.

Wonderful find still! And yes, the most beautiful city hall, so far.

Let’s go elsewhere in this city for my next story?!

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