by Cyril P. Pirante of Tacurong City (1st Place – City of Tacurong Feature Writing Contest)
To those who have never set foot on the place, one wonders what can be found here. I’ll tell you what can be found here — you’ll find what kind of stuff you are made of.
You’ll find opportunities in seemingly mundane things. You’ll find how to live with people of differing cultures, religion and tongue. You’ll see beauty raw and unadorned. Living in Tacurong is a journey in itself, it is a land full of promise. The city’s future lies over the horizon and intertwined with it are the lives of its inhabitants.
What many will observe when they come to this city is how one can easily commune with mother nature. Agribusiness being the major source of income, means that the city is surrounded from almost all sides by pastoral land and fields of crop yielding vegetation. The rustic set up encouraged several well to do families to establish resorts and inns on the outskirts of the city taking advantage of large tracts of lands at their disposal. The Monte Vincenteau Resort, the gem of New Passi, is the latest addition of places to visit when one is in Tacurong.
Then of course, there is the Baras Bird Sanctuary, a haven for migratory fowls located in an oil palm plantation. Bird species of egrets and herons in particular, come in droves at around 6am in the morning and leave in flurry of wings in the late afternoon. This gem of a place has attracted many bird watchers from nearby provinces and is a photography favorite subject by many photographers. Photography clubs sometimes trek here en masse to catch the elusive birds into ethereal images of flight.
Being a fourth class city , those who are used to the metropolitan life will not find towering skyscrapers here. There are no colorful neon lights at night, there is no traffic, no yuppies and office denizens off in a hurry to avoid the rush hour. Needless to say, there is no teeming populace out on the streets. One could live here free from frivolous distractions and wallet draining forms of entertainment.
Between rolling fields and the seemingly endless rows of palm oil trees, the sun shines on the bucolic beauty of Tacurong. The quiet, resplendent scenes may inspire in one’s self a chance for introspection, meditation and reflection on life. In Tacurong – you might just be able to find yourself, your center, your balance and what matters most in our short stay here on earth.
And yet, the modern times is catching up with our city too. Despite of its lack of sophisticated showcase of high-end living, Tacurong can easily become the best of both worlds. Emerging from the bucolic way of life several decades ago, this place is right on its track on becoming one of the premier city in Central Mindanao. From its inception as a component city of Sultan Kudarat in 2000 by virtue of Republic Act 8805 in September 18, 2000 – a date which is now celebrated with the Talakudong Festival, Tacurong has grown by leaps and bounds. For one, there is an obvious increase of infrastructures being erected in and around the commercial complex of the city. I am no economics expert, but if one is to be empirical about it, an exponential increase in commercial edifices in any place means that business is booming.
Commercial buildings are on the rise, markets are thriving and there is even an increase of 24 hour convenience stores around the city which signals that Tacurong is starting to open for business even in the late and wee hours of the day.
You can see our local government facilities getting a facelift, most notable are its City Health Center, and several LGU buildings to better cater the citizens in need of their service. Even private institutions have ramped up their level of service to Tacurongnons. In the healthcare industry, there is the new St. Louis Hospital, which was recently awarded by PhilHealth as a “Center of Quality” premier tertiary hospital located in New Isabela which offers one of the best facilities and medical expertise with their high end diagnostic equipment. Now, Tacurongnons need not go Koronadal, General Santos or even Davao to have an endoscopy or mammography done. Instead, it is now the other way around as nearby provinces in Sultan Kudarat now flock to Tacurong for medical services not available in their place. Bigwig companies such as PLDT, banks such as Metrobank, Banco De Oro and the soon to open East West Bank find Tacurong a place worth investing in.
Yes, the skylines of Tacurong are slowly changing. Investors are moving in. The driving force of a competitive market – the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) are on a roll. With the help of the city’s DTI office, many Tacurongnons are becoming entrepreneurs under the “SULONG (Sustaining Unlimited Livelihood Opportunities by Nurturing Growth of SMEs) Tacurong”. This is a program that seeks to fast track investments and commerce in the city through various business forums, city fairs, as well as seminars and productive skills trainings. Needless to say, the city’s LGU is intent in coaxing the entrepreneurial spirit of its people. Tacurongnons interested in putting up a business will never lack assistance and patronage from the local government, all they need is to coordinate with the appropriate office and rest assured that help will come. Through wise administration and political will, a bright future lies ahead of Tacurong as a bustling center for trade and commerce.
Under the leadership of past and present mayors as well as dedicated public servants and employees, Tacurong has enjoyed local and national recognition in terms of local governance. Among them was an award from the Local Government Support Program and Canadian International Development Authority, the “Kaagapay Seal of Excellence in Local Governance”, the “Seal of Excellence” from the Civil Service Commission. It was also cited as “Most Child-Friendly City in Region 12”. Even the late DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo has recognized the city’s stellar performance, so much so that his office gave one of its highest honors to Tacurong, “The Seal of Good Housekeeping” and recently the “Gawad Pamana ng Lahi” award. Even the city’s local PNP has enjoyed recognition being cited as the Second Best Police Station-Component City Category in the archipelago. The most recent feather on the cap for the city of Tacurong was it was featured full spread on the Manila Bulletin newspaper, on the most auspicious day of our cityhood’s commemoration – the Talakudong Festival last September 18, 2012. Indeed the spirit of Goodwill is fully alive in Tacurong.
This goes to show that even with diversity of faith and cultural diversity of its citizens, the city being mostly made up of Ilonggos, Ilocanos, Muslims and a smattering of several ethnic groups like the Bisayas, still, Tacurong had withstood the test of time. Tacurong shows maximum tolerance for people with varying faiths, beliefs as well as ways of life, thus, this is why people identify themselves as Tacurongnons because no matter what ethnic group or religion they belong to, they know that they will not be discriminated against. This is the city of Goodwill. In this place, there is pervading sense of friendliness regardless of who we are, or where we came from, and what we believe in.
Tacurong is a city full of potential, a treasure waiting to be untapped, to borrow the city’s official hymn; Tacurong is vibrant and unique, dynamic and progressive where diverse people peacefully live in the City of Goodwill. Uswag Tacurong! ###