Midmorning today, I finally visited all 81 provinces in the Philippines when I arrived in Sta. Maria, Davao Occidental, enroute to Malita, the provincial capital where I’m staying for the night.
Last year, Siquijor capped my 80th province but through Republic Act 10360 enacted 23 July 2013, the province of Davao Occidental was created. Carved from Davao del Sur, it comprises the municipalities of Sta. Maria, Malita, Don Marcelino, Jose Abad Santos (JAS) and Saranggani (not the province) and was envisioned to spur the development of these areas. Actually, it was more of political accommodation.
But politics aside, it’s great to be here. Ever since I’ve worked in Davao, I’ve always wanted to explore this side of the province but have never done so, until now. It’s rugged. It’s entire coastline faces Davao Gulf in the north to the Pacific Ocean in the middle and southeastern sides and Sulawesi in Indonesia. And it is terra incognita for me. When I have more time, I shall venture up to the southern tip and Balut Island.