The baby turtles were just at the holding pen, about three inches long, 15-20 individuals. Some were sleeping with their front flappers conveniently resting atop the carapace while some biting on a blanched but definitely dead fish floating on the surface.

From a distance, the river looks calm except for a few patches of white, water foam as it hits submerged rocks and boulders. A closer look, however, reveals a fast flowing river, even turbulent at some parts and ripe for a wild and wet adventure that is water tubing in Maitum’s Pangi River system.

Our Southeast Asian neighbors have nothing of this type of archaeological find. We should be extremely proud as Filipinos in discovering the amazing anthropomorphic potteries, which could suggest the backbone of our own culture.

Maitum, at first look, seems just any provincial town in Mindanao that one just passes by along the way: habal habals, tricycles and VHires go about their daily routines, ordinary houses, large rice fields, old stands of coconuts and a good highway that hastens one’s travel. But then again, its just the surface.

Over the years, I’ve been traveling around this beautiful island, worked, found and lost love and found again. It’s about time to write about the land I’ve always loved, Mindanao.