of fruits and trees

9,314.13 square kilometers. 22 municipalities. 6 cities. that’s how big davao is, according to wikipedia.

but screw wikipedia. driving to north cotabato from davao city, i remembered seeing all these signs welcoming everyone to davao del sur. after what seemed like an eternity, i asked the driver where we were already and guess what, we were still in davao del sur — welcome back!

no kidding, davao is probably not the best place to get lost in a joyride, in terms of the size of the land area you have to scour in order to get to where you wanna go or go back to where you came from. good luck should you run out of gas.

davao

but there’s no need to be dramatic. you won’t die. along the way, there are lots (and i mean lots!) of stalls selling lots (and i mean LOTS!) of different kinds of fruit like marang, durian, rambutan, lanzones, mangosteen, and mangoes at really affordable prices. really cheap. i almost had a stroke when i learned that three kilos of mangoes there were sold at a hundred pesos. 3 kilos for a hundred pesos. i had to repeat that to myself over and over again to remind myself that it was true. (same way you pinch yourself to prove that you’re not dreaming.) and really, when you’re used to buying mangoes at 60 pesos per kilo, 3 kilos for a hundred pesos kind of puts you on a brainfreeze mode.

new israel, north cotabato

north cotabato, in my opinion, seems like a sleepy town with not much going on, except maybe for the monkeys but i’ll reserve that for another post, as it may be quite a long one.

but next to the monkeys, the other thing that fascinated me in makilala, north cotabato were the rubber trees. i have always been curious about that. daddy allan, an uncle who has a rubber tree farm in the area, tried to explain the process to me before but i just could not imagine it, with me being a visual learner and all. (read: semi-dumb.) i told him i had to see it and he promised to show me if i wound up in davao.

north cotabato

contrary to my expectations, rubber trees are not huge trees. at all. if anything, they look really skinny. and they’re not tall either. they grow just enough. (please don’t ask me for specific measurements. all i can say is, by the looks of it, they’re not the kind of tree whose sole ambition is to touch the sky.)

together, they paint a very pretty picture. idyllic is the word that comes to mind. the combination of greens, reds, oranges and browns reminds me of the autumn the philippines never had. believe me when i say it’s a gorgeous sight because it really is. (but that’s coming from somebody who’s never experienced autumn in all her life so for her sake, just agree with her. por favor.)

north cotabato

poetry of the rubber trees aside, God created rubber trees so that the modern-day adam and eve could enjoy the squishy comforts of havaianas, ipanemas, or the sturdiness of the proudly philippine-made spartans.

the process of extracting rubber sap is quite simple, really: they sliver certain areas of the trunk, making it bleed for a couple of days into a dried coconut shell which serves as a catchment container. when full, they add acid into the liquid sap to solidify it. once dry, it has the kind of rubbery feel that we are all familiar with. of course, it’s still raw rubber and i believe it undergoes several processes before it’s made into slippers and what-nots but i presume common sense already told you that.

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