Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My best experiences and destinations of Mindanao

Amongst my favorite destinations in the country, Mindanao has a good share in my list, and it is sad that some people are pre-empted with fear when pointed to this direction. Yet, it is this same fear that made me excited about Mindanao and with less crowd, it opens up to more experience with that pure genuine hospitality of people.

I once told myself, and immediately posted in facebook, that, at this point in travelling, it is no longer the destination, but the experience that comes with getting and being where you want. And this neglected part of the country sure offers a lot more for the keen traveller.

1. Swimming and underwater shots of Enchanted River, in Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur. 

With pictures online, it is not hard to get excited about seeing this river. The deep blue shade of the water, coming to think that it is a river. As some pictures are heavily edited, I thought it will be as great to see even counting off assumed enhancements on the picture. To my surprise though, it was even bluer in person. 

2. The ride to Asik Asik Falls in Alamada, North Cotabato.

I knew it will not be easy getting to this falls, but never expected the ride to be that slippery and hard. None in regrets, but all was fun. 

3. Being at Awe at the strength of Maria Christina Falls in Iligan, Lanao del Norte.

Visiting this place on a weekend, and almost closing, with me being the last and only guest in the vicinity's cart, one word i uttered as I saw the falls - a big blind unexpected WOW! 

4. The atmosphere of Camiguin

No traffic, cool and shady weather, bountry of fruits, humble people - countryside living at its finest.

5. Staring at the tall and (feeling so small) Sugpalon Falls in Jasaan, Misamis Occidental and driving a boat in Agutayan island.

A not so popular destination in Misamis compared to the crowd that flocks to CDO, yet, a bare 45 minute jeep ride from the city gets you to a small beautiful island and a neck breaking tall waterfalls. 

6. Tawi Tawi, The climb to Bod Bongao and the Culture of the Tausug.

I've been with trekkers bringing their 4 year old or so baby along with them on the trail, but not village people hiking with their newborns on a cloth tied around their bodies. It is a practice for locals for good omen to their life and kids. 

Meantime, I have gotten curious about this town having noticed a unique culture, from language, food, living and fellowship.

And, how can I forget, a bridge (between Sanga and Bongao) with white sand and blue water underneath.

7. The feared and yet silent beauty of 11 islands in Brgy Dita, Zamboanga City.

I have been warned several times both by LGU, locals, and even online about this destination as a safe for extremist rebels, but still pushed on going here. On my arrival, as usual, no apparent reason to fear. It is a solid muslim community, yes, and just like what I observe, people are equally, if not more, behaved than the rest of the country. I asked locals around, and yes, they confirmed that a lot of the MORO fighters during Marcos time came from their village, but that was then. 

8. Meeting a newfound family in Merloquet Falls in Zamboanga City.

From rather just looking for a place to nap while waiting for a travel buddy, my usual "do you have hot water" random conversations with locals ended up having just like a family in this remote corner of Zamboanga city.

9. Waters, Sand, and Reef in Pinagasinan, Sulu.

Having almost half day left (6 hours) and nothing more to do in Jolo, and while waiting for the trip back to zamboanga, i walked into the port, and sought any fishing boat to get me to an appealing island off the port. In about 1 hour, we reached Pinagasinan Sulu, and amazed with the crystal clear and jade-ish color of the water.

10. Watching turtles lay eggs in Panikian Island, Pitogo, Zamboanga del sur.

Thanks to the Pitogo Municipality who upon my insisting on visiting the island, allowed me to camp overnight in the island with hospitable armed escorts who showed me around the islands. I was already almost drunk when they insisted on me standing up and walk around the island to see the turtles. Each Turtle took 1 hour to release more than 100 eggs each, and witnessing all that happen was... nowhere else.

There's a lot more, and certainly Mindanao will always be a place for me to explore..

Looking to travelling to this destination? Talk to me and we'll let's talk about your accomodation, transpo, and tour options

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