Trekking The Valley of the Gods – Barangay Tudok, T’boli
There are lots of reasons why we travel. For me, most of the time it’s about having an adventure and fun. But in this particular story, it’s different. I needed to run away, to think and reflect. So when I saw an invitation to visit the farthest barangay in Tboli, South Cotabato I immediately packed my bags and left.
It was a spur of the moment decision but definitely one of those great moments I will forever remember. The plan was to visit the Valley of the Gods. It’s a landscape en route to Barangay Tudok and I wasn’t really expecting that much on the trip. But I was wrong. This turned out to be fun and let’s just say awakening.
After countless hours of walk, we have been rewarded. The compacted road, the muddy trails, the uphills, and downhills are just an intro to the chorus of our trip which was the magnificent view of the Valley. And all I can say upon seeing it was WOW, this is truly the Valley of the Gods!
We reached Tudok and decided to stay for two nights. I was surprised to see a Zumba class ongoing as we reached the center of the barangay. Big sound boxes blasting dance hits while children and adults alike dancing along the tune. It was their Fiesta and the locals were in a festive mood. From what I’ve heard it has been a long time since they have their last fiesta celebrated. It wasn’t like this before. “People here are headhunters, they don’t welcome outsiders that easily,” said Jed. Of course, who wouldn’t be alarmed when a group of strangers reaches your community this far, I thought to myself. The mayor of Tboli even uses a helicopter before to visit the people of Tudok, it’s really that far. But roads are being paved now, and soon it will reach this community and others within the valley.
Time seems to stop in this part of Tboli and I got what I’m hoping for. A place to think and reflect. Suddenly everything was clearer, the problem that I’m running away from looks trivial now. My struggle seems to fail in comparison with that of Jed and other teachers who spent 5-7 hours walking just to teach and improve the lives of their student in the barangay or that of a kid who carries sacks of abaca to sell miles away from Tudok barefooted.
Those are just a few stories I can remember. Be it the magic of the valley or the inspiring lives of the people I’ve met along the way, there’s no denying that this place changes the way I think about life in general.
Sorry, this wasn’t your typical travel post with itinerary and tips. This is my way of saying, travel if you must but don’t escape life. Sometimes you need to widen your view to see how small your problem are to the greater scheme of things.
Till the next post. Always be hungry for travel.
-Fra Jamir | Takaw Travels