I almost didn’t make it to Cotabato City.
It was not because something untoward happened while I made the trip by land from General Santos City nor did I chicken out last minute.
It was because no one was willing to go with me on this trip. It was kind of like my trip to a couple of dodgy countries some years back. Only difference is that the danger associated with Cotabato seemed more compelling. Traveling by land meant that I would pass by towns such as Mamasapano or Ampatuan where people were massacred as recently as 6 months ago. I could have traveled by air directly to Cotabato which seemed to be a safer option but that was not a luxury I had at the time.
After obtaining assurances from the helpful DOT-ARMM folks, I pushed through with the trip to explore the tourist attractions of Cotabato City and Maguindanao. It’s been something like 3 years since I first got the urge to venture to Maguindanao and I didn’t want to waste this window to go. A picture of the Grand Mosque somewhere online pretty much sealed the deal.