In the south-western tip of Mindanao between Gensan and Tupi lies Polomolok. A booming little town known as the home of multinational giant, Dole Philippines. Its pineapple plantation which spans around 12,000 hectares is the largest pineapple plantation in the world. You’ll know you’re flying over Polomolok when you see the landscaped hills looming below as you peek in your airplane window.
Polomolok is a 1st class municipality under the province of South Cotabato. It is situated on the base of the majestic Mt. Matutum, home of the musang or the civet cat. Now you might be wondering, what is so important about the so called “musang” that is worth mentioning. Well, if you are familiar with the coffee “Alamid” it is said that these wild cats eat only the finest coffee cherries..and the expensive and much coveted coffee beans is an outcome of their now precious poop..hehe. Bless the locals in Mt. Matutum for doing the gruesome job of searching for these beans in the civet cat’s poop that we have the aromatic and robust coffee Alamid to serve to our guests.
One can catch the grandiose Mt. Matutum on the clubhouse of Dole Kalsangi, an exclusive residential village for the company’s top brass. Its streets are lined with Norfolk pine trees, macademia nut trees and other greens and foliage which according to some are brought to Polomolok by Dole expats straight from Hawaii. The well paved roads and log houses in Kalsangi remind one of American establishments in Subic or in Baguio. First timers might be surprised to see a place such as Kalsangi in the midst of the pineapple plantations..but mind you, if you are not from here Kalsangi might be a bit tricky to find. It is afterall in a hidden and well secured area owing to the fact of course that its inhabitants belong to the company’s top executives and expats. It is rumored that even the country’s presidents and their staff going back to President Marcos’ time all stayed in Kalsangi inconspicuously whenever they are in Mindanao. Also in the area is a premiere 9-hole golf course and clubhouse serving the yummiest burger and steaks in Polomolok.
Also in the foot of Mt. Matutum in Landan is the Trappistine Monastery of Our Lady of Matutum. It is home to the Cisterian Nuns more popularly called “Trappistines” which supports themselves selling religious artifacts, prayer books, postcards as well as pastries. (Try their rum balls–truly heavenly!) The monastery church is open to the public every Sundays for the 10AM mass.
Polomolok still has a lot to offer in terms of sights and places to visit. I know so because it has been my home for the past ten years (and still counting) now. It is also known as “Poland” or Polomolok-land to locals here who are now living in manila. So if you happen to meet someone who says they live in Poland in the southern part of mindanao, it is Polomolok nonetheless :) Hope you come visit my Polomolok one of these days..and you will come to know and appreciate for yourself what a beautiful town it truly is.