Saturday, April 4, 2015

Road Trippin' Mindanao

March 18-22, 2015

I was over the moon when I received an invitation from a good, old friend living in the southernmost part of the Philippines. I know it will be one heck of a 5-day road trip.

On flight day, I was supposed to travel with a buddy but she cancelled the last minute with the reason of her parents being "skeptical" about the town's safeness, I am too, but I boarded the plane anyway.. 

It was a very fine day when I landed at Francisco Bangoy International Airport. I instantly saw this gorgeous lady waving at a distance, widely smiling. =) My friend, welcomed me with open arms. I'm finally at her beloved hometown... I tagged her "Road Princess" mainly because at an average of 5 hrs of travel a day, visiting their business branches around the province, she doesn't seem to get tired at all. She is just one amazing lass.

And then, the adventure begins!

Going places around Mindanao means getting your butt sore. Sitting for long hours in a car until you reach your next destination, it was a bit tiring but was all worth the soreness and boredom. =D 


When you're at the city proper, you should not miss to dine at Bulca Chong and try their specialty Bulcachong Buffalo Stew! (not pictured). It was, according to my friend, manginginom's favorite. They eat it after the inuman session to help them sober up.

Samal Island would be a no-brainer  if you want to go beach-bumming. You can choose among the many resorts to stay in. If you're not in a tight budget, check into Pearl Farm Beach Resort, it is one of the famous resorts in the island.

Gretch planned to bring us there overnight but since, we're only 2, we just settled in at the nearest resort, the Paradise Island, to indulge in some good food for lunch.


I never imagined myself setting foot in one of the danger zones of Mindanao (or at least what we've been thinking all along). I was also in doubt when Gretch sent me the itinerary but she's been here and she assured me that we'll be safe. I'm glad I did trust her, I love the thrill and the experience! =D

I love ziplines! when I learned that we'll go ziplining over Lake Sebu falls, I was overjoyed, like a kid given a lollipop! =) It was 600 ft above the ground, the first one was 700m long and the shorter one was 400m.

We had lunch on Punta Isla Lake Resort's floating restaurant, which had cruised along Lake Sebu's fish pens. It was hosted by a group of T'boli's. While having our meal, they treated us with some entertainment featuring their traditional music and dance. We also got to know a bit about Lake Sebu and T'boli tribes' history from the host's story-telling.

Punta Isla Lake Resort's floating restaurant.


My heart raced when I was told about the highway going to Maguindanao. As we know, Maguindanao is where the brutal Ampatuan massacre took place and it wasn't that far! I was scared to death at that moment and I'm wearing an Army shirt! Stupid me! 

During the night, check points are all over the place, inspecting vehicles one-by-one. It's just so uncomfortable, you will feel the tense and that, threat is just somewhere waiting to happen. 

The grand Provincial Capitol. It is beautifully lighted at night but I was just too tired to take pictures (a regret) the first time we passed by. We stopped by the next day before we head back to Davao though. Unfortunately, it was closed, so we didn't had the chance to see the interior.

The Golden Sultan

If you also happen to be in Isulan, you should try Bidz Inasal and buy some cakes and pastries at Le Gre' just beside the resto.


Tinuy-an falls is located in a humble town of Bislig, Surigao Del Sur. 

We took a raft and plunged into its refreshing waters right after eating our late lunch. We then climbed up for the second tier falls and it was lovely! There are affordable cottages you can rent and bathroom for shower.

My aqua shoes over the falls

And the best one yet, was perhaps, the Enchanted River. Underwater pictures just doesn't give it justice, you have to see it first-hand to truly appreciate this hidden gem. But I do hope it won't get abused by the local government and the tourists as well.

Feeding time occurs at exactly 12 o'clock in the afternoon. A bell ring signals the visitors to get out of the water and the start of fish feeding. A relaxing music plays at the background. And when all the fish comes altogether, they throw in the fish pellets. 

I stayed at the shallow part near the cave opening. It is just unbelievable! you're like inside a huge aquarium only there's no glasses surrounding it. I took photos and videos to my heart's content 'til my camera's battery dies on me.

Mindanao have so much to offer. I do hope our Government will do something to boost tourism in places such as these, ensuring as well, the visitor's safety.  

It was a thrilling 5-day summer vacation. All thanks to our Princess! =)

I would love to try paragliding in Saranggani next time. =)
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