The Kalsangi Clubhouse in Polomolok, South Cotabato is only intended for DOLE Philippines’ employees and expats. Aside from this exclusive privilege, its secluded location makes itself relatively inaccessible to the general public as well. One has to take a private vehicle in getting to the clubhouse and also make a prior arrangement with a DOLE employee for access to the place. Getting that access was my only contribution during Project SocSarGen or our second visit to the South Cotabato province last year. After pulling some strings, we were able to squeeze Kalsangi in our weekend itinerary.
I remember that it was a relatively brief drive from the national highway. We took a right at Cannery Road which led us to a DOLE cannery along the way. Our vehicle then negotiated a dirt road that wove through pineapple plantations. When we reached an area where pine trees abound, we knew that we finally made it to Polomolok’s most elusive destination.
We tried their famous fries and original clubhouse cheese burgers for our afternoon snacks. Unfortunately, the restaurant ran out of burger buns so they used sandwich slices instead. Aside from the lychee juice, these were the only items we ordered that time although the prices for the other dishes are reasonable and affordable as well. If given another chance to visit the place again someday, I’d like to try out their steaks which is also a specialty of a similar clubhouse somewhere in Bukidnon.
I learned from our gracious host that Kalsangi was named as such because the Americans had a hard time pronouncing kalasangan (forest) when they were still putting up the place. It is hard to imagine that towering trees used to grow on the spot of the well maintained golf course greens or the pineapple plantations for that matter. But it is not far fetch at all because Kalsangi is quite near the foot of the majestic Mt. Matutum. The jungle cover of South Cotabato’s highest peak may have extended to Kalsangi a few decades ago.
That erroneous pronunciation caught up until the now. And to some extent it could describe what Kalsangi is today – a peaceful, progressive and green suburb located in between Matutum’s jungles and DOLE Philippines’ vast pineapple plantations.
The author would like to thank Marci and Anne for making our Kalsangi sidetrip possible and very memorable too.