Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Old Cotabato City Hall and Plaza

Very early in the morning of my Day 2 in Cotabato City, I walked over to the old city hall. Its just near Hotel Castro, just a short walk along the barbecue and fruit stalls. It’s a lovely old building but surrounded on almost all sides by a plethora of ukay-ukay and turo-turo stalls. One time I was attempting to shoot the building, a newly awakened ukay-ukay owner even gave me that irritated look thinking I was photographing him as he opened the covers to his store. I made him know I was looking at the beautiful roof of the building, then gave him back an even more wrathful look. He proceeded, I proceeded.

I ate tapsilog at one of the many food stalls and got a bit more of insider information from the manang there. The building, she told me, still houses a few more government offices, but most of the others have already transferred to the new city hall. Hmm, a new city hall. I asked where that is and just noted it. I asked what would happen to this old and beautiful building. She said “wala na, palengke siguro”. Gosh! So I asked if her stall and the so many ukay-ukay stalls all around the place would become permanent fixtures where they are. She said a confident “yes” and that they were already told about that by the city government’s representatives. Gosh again hehe.

I moved on to inside the plaza, one side of which is the row of eateries where manang’s stall is a part of while another side is also full of ukay-ukay stalls. At least Jose Rizal is still there. but the area behind him, supposedly a fountain is littered with pieces of wood, scaffolding and other materials used by those ukay-ukay stall owners. At least they left Jose Rizal alone hehe (as of now anyway). Towards a corner of the same park is a big bronze-colored statue of Sultan Kudarat and I went near to read the historical commission’s inscriptions. Oh so he was the Sultan of Mindanao for a time. Not just the Cotabato area. His realm included places as far away as Davao and Zamboanga! Mighty warrior and leader he must have been!

Across Rizal’s and Sultan Kudarat’s monuments is another wide grassy park with a stage. I saw that there was a big group in some kind of rally or something. Ah I opted to head back and go to Estosan Hotel instead, so I could then find the new city hall before speeding off to Marawi!

But let's talk about it in the next story, aight?!

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