Never judge a place by its reputation. Cotabato City is one such place that has been marred by negative publicity it constantly gets – bomb blast, kidnapping, corruption and political strife. It’s a prime candidate for an episode of Don’t Tell My Mother in National Geographic. I can’t deny these things happen, in fact the vice-mayor was ambushed a couple of weeks after my visit in the city. But all these things are not as bad as media painted it to be. It happens to any other place although amplified to an exaggerated degree. There’s also good news coming out of the region, the Masjid Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah or popularly called The Grand Mosque rose like a golden sun, inviting droves of tourist in this commonly misunderstood city.
I can’t believe I thought about cheating this place. By definition of “cheating a place” is to roll in, run around, say I’ve been here and roll out through the great yonder. I must admit that there are instances I did that but stepping on the powdery white sand beach of Gumasa with my bare feet prevented me from putting on any shoes and sandals for a while. Gumasa is a place to stop, unwind and enjoy. And that’s just what we gladly did.