Camp Phillips is rightly associated with the Del Monte company. Several corporate departments of the company are located here, and the settlement is shaped by Del Monte. However, one should be aware that Camp Phillips is not just Del Monte. Del Monte’s industrial facilities here are old and ugly, as are those buses used to transport workers to and from the fields, which are simple converted trucks and look very colonial. In contrast, the large plots of land with the houses of the foremen, which take up a large area of the settlement, are a feast for the eyes with their well-kept front gardens.
On 19 February 2013, the world at Camp Phillips changed abruptly when around 100 New People’s Army bandits in army uniforms stormed the place, set several vehicles on fire, damaged the landmark, set up roadblocks, only to disappear again shortly afterwards.
It looks like they have not got over this attack to this day, with a hopelessly inferior security service on their part. We were asked several times not to film.
Camp Phillips politically belongs to barangay Agusan Canyon of municipality Manolo Fortich. Up there, where F Street meets the big plaza, there is a small concentration of shops and restaurants and on G Street there are also nice workers’ houses, then the church and the school around the plaza.
On the way to Libona, the visitor comes to the market before continuing over the bridge of the Agusan River to Libona. As far as I can remember, Sunday is the weekly market day in Camp Phillips, and there is not much going on here on the other days.
The real jewel of Camp Phillips we found was in the form of a café. Right up on the corner of F and G Streets, RHOPEI INSIGNE runs his ALEGRE CAFÉ with small dishes, great fries and hot and cold drinks. Having worked as a barista in Dubai for many years, Rhopei now wants to satisfy his customers here.
We were served first-class coffee at Rhopei’s and our little great-grandson was super satisfied with his fries, as he otherwise only eats those of a certain fast food chain.
If you visit Camp Phillips, don’t miss the good coffee at ALEGRE CAFÉ.