Somewhere between Cotabato City and Kidapawan City lies a river that – if the edifice bridging it (called the Tunggol Bridge in Datu Montawal town) collapses – will (basically) cut off the city and several towns in North Cotabato from Davao City and other areas in the eastern portion of Mindanao (e.g. Kidapawan City, Digos). That river is… Tunggol.
The body of water was actually (just) a diversion canal built in the late 1980s with the aim of reducing the volume of water at the Rio Grande de Mindanao. This as an effort to save farmlands from floods. But Tunggol has long become the symbolic (and actually, too) representation of the movement of goods and people between the Cotabato City and other major areas in Mindanao.
And the Tunggol Bridge? It connects Datu Montawal town in Maguindanao with Pagalungan also in Maguindanao (Datu Montawal used to be part of Pagalungan), on the way to Pikit in North Cotabato.
Tunggol is by no means a tourist spot (there’s really nothing there). Heck, there’d be some tourist guides who’d even recommend that you avoid the place. But – if able – I’d recommend the place for visiting, particularly for:
- Immersion – i.e. if you wanna see how locals in the area really live, this isn’t a bad place to start doing that.
- Getting fresh river offerings – e.g. “igat”/eel, with some of those living in the area making a living selling newly-caught would-be foodies.
- Jump-off point for Pagalungan and/or Pikit – e.g. if you wanna get hold of Pikit’s (famed) coffee, then paying Tunggol a visit may be worth considering.
So come over, stay (maybe even for a few minutes) and see what the place has in store…