Davao Occidental had just been created a week before, five towns separated from Davao del Sur. Only a plebiscite separates the province from formal existence. But despite the uncertainty, I still decided on a whim to fly to Davao and explore these rarely-visited municipalities at the southwestern end of the Davao Gulf.
From there to JAS, we were incommunicado. The ride took another two hours (or more because of the picture stops) through rough mountain and coastal roads. It was mostly coconut plantations. And I would think the original forest cover was wiped out during the colonial period when Mindanao became the land of agricultural promise.
It was getting dark, so we rushed straight to the town center of JAS. We charged our phones as soon as we got to my host's home. Since power in the poblacion is served by generator, it's only available from 2 p.m. to midnight. They also have solar power units available in some houses. Satellite cable TV is the only choice since they are too far away to receive signals from the free channels. But what surprised me was that there were Internet shops and WiFi, also served by satellite signal since mobile phones hardly have any signal (only Smart functions there).
We had a sumptuous dinner at the mayor's house before calling it a night. I spent the rest of the time uploading photos on Instagram before going to bed. More on Jose Abad Santos and Davao Occidental in my next post.
Part 2 - Davao Occidental: Adventure in Jose Abad Santos
How to get to Davao Occidental
There are regular buses to Santa Maria and Malita from the Ecoland Bus Terminal in Davao City. I paid Php213 for the air-conditioned ride from Davao to Malita. From Malita, there are buses to Don Marcelino. To get to Jose Abad Santos, you can take a van from Malita (although the service is not regular) or from Davao City which costs Php500. But you will need to know the number of the van drivers since they are private vans which will pick you up from your hotel in Davao. Contact Junjun at (0928) 2645527.
Where to stay in Jose Abad Santos
There is only one place to stay in JAS. You may contact Traveller's Inn at (0908) 8855687.
Thank you to the family of Rep. Franklin P. Bautista, JAS Mayor Jimmy Joyce and Atty. Jason Joyce for their warm hospitality!