Oh boy, I’m going to Sigaboy! These were exactly the words I muttered while looking at the travel photos of my friends’ recent visit to the quaint fishing town of Governor Generoso in the Province of Davao Oriental. The captivating photos of the picturesque seascape and scenic landscape seemed to be teasers of what one can see, experience and enjoy in this southeasterly part of the Philippines. Enticed by these snapshots, I made ways to go there to see, experience and enjoy it firsthand and promised myself to behold more of what the town has to offer. Thus, another travel series of The Travel Teller commenced the day I said “Yes, I’ll Go to Governor Generoso!”
Governor Generoso is one of the 11 municipalities comprising the Province of Davao Oriental, the easternmost part of Mindanao. It is bounded by the City of Mati in the East, Davao Gulf in the West, Municipality of San Isidro in the North and Celebes Sea in the South. It is 57 kilometers away from Mati City, the province’s capital; and 175 kilometers away from Davao City, the metropolitan center of Southern Mindanao.
Governor Generoso is not new to me. In fact, I have heard of so much about it since I was a kid growing up in my hometown of Cateel, also a town in Davao Oriental. The Municipality of Governor Generoso endearingly called Govgen is formerly named Sigaboy, a term derived from a local folklore. After many years, it was changed to the Municipality of Governor Generoso in honor to Governor Sebastian Generoso, one of most popular governors of then Davao Province who hailed from the town. But even if it was changed to Govgen, its old name Sigaboy was still widely used referring to the town.
Although Govgen is part of my home province of Davao Oriental, I have to admit, I have never explored this side of our province. In fact, I have never been there. But of course, all those beautiful stories about the town remained fresh and enticing to me. Among those is the Cape San Agustin believed to be the site where Spanish Missionary Priest St. Francis Xavier celebrated his first mass when he arrived in the Philippines some centuries ago. That among other stories along with the amusing travel photos of my friends ignited the excitement and enthusiasm in me to come and visit the place.
Thanks to my good friend Miguel Trocio, the Provincial Tourism Officer of Davao Oriental, I was endorsed to be accommodated by the Municipal Tourism Office of Governor Generoso led by Miss Quin Mae Flores, the Tourism Officer and Municipal Administrator and Joey Gamao, the Assistant Tourism Officer. From there, my journey to Sigaboy commenced and my dream of seeing that historical sacred place in Cape San Agustin was about to begin.
It was Friday night when I left Davao City. Govgen is 175 kilometers away from Davao City and approximately 3 hours drive. Traveling to Govgen is fun. All roads are paved and the scenic view of the coastal road is just superb especially when traveling by day. It was almost 9 in the evening when I arrived at Govgen. I headed right to Brgy. Tibaban, the center of trade and commerce of the town and met Clinton Polancos and Ralston Jayee Gabayan, staffs of the Municipal Tourism Office who will also be serving as my tour guides for my two-day stay there. I was warmly welcomed by them and was brought to Basco Restaurant for our dinner. I learned from them that the said restaurant is the only “high end” restaurant in the town, thus, recommended for visiting guests like me.
During dinner, I learned a lot of interesting things about Govgen from my two new friends. I learned from them that Sigaboy comes from two legends. The first one is believed to be derived from Sant Elmo’s Fire (Siga) and Pig (Baboy) and the other one is from Almasiga Boys. Whichever is true, one certain thing I learned from them is that Sigaboy now refers to the town’s Poblacion. Hence, when a local says Sigaboy, it refers to the town proper of Govgen; it does not refer to the whole of Governor Generoso. The chitchat continued. We planned our itinerary for the next two days. Since both Clinton and Ralston are based there, I left to them the right to plan what best for my trip. When they presented it to me, excitement instantly consumed me.
As it was getting late, Clinton and Ralston brought me to the Traveler’s Inn, one of the 4 lodging houses in the whole town. It will be my home for two days there. Traveler’s Inn is situated in Barangay Tibanban. It has plenty of fanned rooms and has two air-conditioned rooms. I was housed at the AC room. There are no posh hotels and first rate inns in the whole town. As for me, since I’ve embraced backpacking, the Traveler’s Inn is just right.
When my two guides left, I went down to nearby store to buy some stuff. Most of the stores were already closed since it was almost 10 in the evening. Quaint rural towns are mostly like that. At that moment, I felt an old familiar feeling. I felt home – in a quaint town where simplicity of life is at best, when sleeping time begins at 8 in the evening and where infectious silence envelops the whole surroundings by night. As I went back to my room, I felt a little nostalgia. Govgen is like my hometown – provincial yet most loved. At that night, I felt like Govgen is my home.
As I readied myself to bed, I thought again of what I’ll be doing in the next two days. I listed – island hopping, beach combing, fishing industry, hatchery, millennium tree, coastal road trip, sunsets, sunrises, Cape San Agustin, parola, beaches, beaches and more beaches. That list made me more thrilled. And so off to bed early that night, I knew the coming two days will be too long for me to explore the alluring coastal charms of Govgen.
WHERE AND HOW TO GET TO GOVENOR GENEROSO
From Davao City, one may take either public utility buses or L300 vans to reach Governor Generoso. Public utility buses coming from Ecoland Terminal in Davao City travel to the town of Governor Generoso daily at one hour interval from 3:00 o’clock in the morning up to 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon. Travel time with these buses takes less than four hours. On the other hand, L300 Vans with terminal at Gaisano Mall and Victoria Plaza Mall, both in Bajada, Davao City takes only two and half hours. Just a tip, bring enough cash, compare credit cards are not accepted there!
Municipal Tourism Office – Telefax No. (082) 440-354
Mr. Joey Gamao – 0935.920.2165
Mr. Clinton Polancos – 0905.121.2915
Mr. Ralston Jayee Gabayan – 0939.543.0468