Hope! Hope is contagious. In as much as it has fueled a lot of flames which sure needed to be burning; it has also continued fueling flames which should have been long extinguished. Hope is tricky, you know. It presents you this abstract bubbles of possibilities from which you can only assume which of the bubbles pop and which continue floating. It brings forth various dilemmas of until when to continue holding on and when to consider letting go. To either stay being right despite the possibility of being left at or continue going left despite nothing being right. I have no idea how this relates to Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat; but hey, the English translation of ‘esperanza’ is ‘hope’.

Isulan Public Market


The cleanliness of Isulan Public Market has come so far from what it used to be. To date, Isulan’s public market is one the cleanest public markets I’ve been to – not that I’ve been to so many. For me, the true charisma of the place comes from how the local government directs its resources to the places a typical resident frequents. Of course, the local government will beautify the places which attract visitors. If they also pay closer attention to the public parks, public markets, public recreational centers, public attractions, and the like then you can arguably infer that hypocrisy is not rampant with this one.

Marguez Hot and Cold Spring Resort

The last time I have been in this resort, I have terribly enjoyed every moment of it. Except maybe that the camera lens of my cellphone got smudged and my front tooth got chipped on the bus home. The resort had nothing to do with those so I remained a good sport.

Now riding shotgun in the multicab going to Esperanza, I notice the newly installed streetlights. Asking the driver about those, he proudly narrates about the installation of streetlights with a solar panel on each on them. He also added how little by little, he has observed changes in the municipality like cementing even the alleys in the Poblacion. Not knowing yet that we live just from the neighboring municipality, he continues recounting the Halo-halo Festival held in the municipality which was featured in numerous TV stations.

I love listening to residents who have witnessed and experience how government projects positively affect their way of life; which also expose them to avenues which give them pride as an abiding citizen. Despite the barrage of negativities from various channels, it warms my heart to hear from people saying that, despite how hard life is, there is always hope; there are changes which affect them positively and that they not only realise it but live it. It inspires me a lot to interact with people who share positivity while living it.


There is no denying that I love Esperanza. I remember growing up how I always hear about the place but never went there. Back then, there was really not much to go to the place for. Times have definitely changed – for the better.

The roads and alternate routes going to the resort have been paved and cemented. The LGU sure makes visible effort to make the place easier to reach which brings much convenience to the visitors.

After reaching the resort, my brother and I roam around then agree that there are so many people in the resort this day. People swamp all the 3 hot and cold springs.

As per the suggestion of the habal-habal driver, we find ourselves going through the trees behind the demolished structure near the pools for a waterfall. After, literally, a couple of minutes of walking, we find the dried-up waterfall snuffing our fueled enthusiasm. We can only imagine how the water should have cascaded down the boulders, which now have names, initials, and the like etched on them.

After going to every corner of the place, we acquiesce to the idea that we are never ever going to dip in any of the pool because of how crowded they are. Nevertheless, we promise to return hoping for the best in future time.



Halo-halo in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat

Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat just celebrated their 1st Halo-halo Festival. Anybody who has had access to the Internet and TV may have heard of it. It is rather bizarre, however, how Esperanza, who has never had any problems with high temperatures, pulled off the rabbit from the hat to become one of the halo-halo centers of the Philippines.  Way to go, Esperanza!

One of the reasons why I am not writing a food blog is; the moment you look at my weight you’d have lots of hesitation to the credibility of my writing. (Not that you do not have any of my current writing.) The thing is, I weigh like eight pounds and I’m not complaining – at all!

So saying that the halo-halo in Esperanza I’ve tasted ranks one of the best I’ve ever had may seem full of baloneys; I really rank them one of the best – ever. Should you try going there and try their halo-halo and have the opposite impression will leave me to believe that there is something absolutely wrong with you!

Their halo-halo puts a lot in shame with their freshest ingredients any halo-halo could have. Familiarize yourself with the taste of the newly picked coconut and avocado, newly prepared leche flan, newly opened kaong and nata de coco, and various newly sweetened fruits; you’ll know what I’m talking about. Bias aside, I dare you to try their halo-halo, friend.


Being a very picky eater, the reason why I don’t sometimes finish my meals is not because I can’t but because I won’t. I just hate the taste of frozen things. (Which is basically how food in the city is preserved). They’re bland.

So with the halo-halo, it is a massive disrespect to not finish the whole bowl. I become very respectful and not leave any trace.

I can’t believe I just campaigned about eating halo-halo. Ha!


Marbel to Tacurong (AC Bus) 52.00
Tacurong to Isulan (AC Bus) 18.00
Isulan to Esperanza (Multicab) 20.00
Esperanza to Marguez (habal-habal) 35.00
Marguez Entrance 25.00
Marguez to Esperanza (habal-habal) 35.00
Halo-halo 50.00
Esperanza to Isulan (Non-AC Bus) 15.00
Isulan to Tacurong (Non-AC Bus) 15.00
Tacurong to Marbel (Non-AC Bus) 44.00
Total PHP 309.00


Author: Mark Atong

If he is not taking advantage of his skills on full-time IT employment, he is going different places and hopefully making his mother proud. He believes writing is his passion; but it has yet to prove to pay his bills. He is a fun-loving individual who would rather stay at home reading books and catch-up on episodes of TV shows.

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