Mindanao is a beautiful island at the southern part of Philippine archipelago. As the second largest island of our country, it hosts three major demographic groups or what they call tri-people living in harmony: Christians (mostly immigrants from Luzon and Visayas), Lumad(un-Islamized and un-Christianized indigenous people of Mindanao), and Moros(Islamized people of Mindanao).
Despite some ongoing conflicts within the region, people are peace-loving and can’t wait to invite us to appreciate the natural wonders, heritage sites and colorful festivals they offer.
Our family from my mother side lives here so at least once a year, we pay a visit especially when there are big family gatherings or special occasions. That time, I make sure to allot some time to visit nearby cities and provinces with my dear relatives such as the annual Tangub Christmas Symbols Festival. Apart from Christmas season, as a solo traveler, I catch some promo fares to get on this island and achieve my #project81 by visiting Mindanao provinces one at a time.
I have visited Northern Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao Region and ZamBaSulTa part of BARMM before so my goal this time is to cover parts of Central Mindanao. Hence, my itinerary became SoCCSKSarGen-BARMM-Davao Solo Trip! Presenting my Itinerary below with Davao City as my entry and exit point:
HIGHLIGHTS PER REGION:
SoCCSKSarGen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos) Region XII
Cotabato 📍 Asik-Asik falls (Alamada)
Sultan Kudarat 📍Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol (Isulan)
South Cotabato 📍Marbel Cathedral 📍South Cotabato Provincial Capitol (Koronadal City commonly known as Marbel)
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato 📍T’boli School of Living Traditions 📍Lake Sebu Lotus Viewing 📍Evelandia Viewpoint 📍Lake Sebu Landmark 📍Lake Sebu 7 Falls and Zipline
GENeral Santos City 📍GenSan City Hall and Plaza 📍GenSan Church
Sarangani 📍Sarangani Provincial Capitol (Alabel)
BARMM: Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or simply Bangsamoro
Cotabato City 📍Cotabato City Plaza 📍Old City Hall and Museum 📍Tantawan Park 📍Cotabato City Metropolitan Cathedral 📍Tamontaka Church 📍Grand Mosque (Masjid Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah) 📍People’s Palace (new city hall)
Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao 📍Pink Mosque (Masjid Dimaukom)
DAVAORegion (sidetrip) Region XI
Brgy. Kapatagan, Digos City, Davao del Sur 📍Kublai Art Garden (with famous Agong House and view of Mt. Apo)
Davao City with more of Kublai Millan’s sculptures at: 📍Davao Airport (Durian Monument) 📍People’s Park (Philippine Eagle and Bagobo children, etc) 📍Night views of City Hall and Cathedral
0650 ETD NAIA3
0855 ETA Davao Airport (Durian Monument outside)
Nakatyempo ng free ride from Love Radio Davao! 🙂
Alight at UM. Jeep to Ecoland terminal Php8
1030 Bus Mindanao star Davao City to Cotabato City Php433. Php20 mineral water.
Later realized that it was an ALL-STOP ung bus 😦 so I arrived at 6pm in Cotabato City. Choose van for faster ride.
1800 Walked towards Hotel Filipino (near city plaza) to check-in. Php300 per night for fan room.
Walked towards Aling Precy carinderia: 110 Beef Sinina Meal
Ride multicab back to “Town”: Php8
Bought food for tomorrow’s activity: Php10 pastil, Php22.5 water + biscuits
0500 Wake-up and prep. Walk towards Kutoco terminal near Tam’s Bakery
0530 First trip of van to Libungan Php60
0610 Arrived at Libungan terminal. Wait for Kuya Yson.
0630 ETD to Asik-Asik Falls entrance
0800 ETA Asik-Asik entrance. Quick rest and breakfast Php35 Cup noodles
Php30 registration fee Asik-Asik
0830 Descent to falls
0845 Explore Asik-Asik falls. Photoops and swim.
0930 Ascent back to registration area. Bought Php50 refmagnet.
1000 ETD Asik-Asik registration area
1130 ETA Libungan crossing to flag van back to Cotabato city.
Php800 Kuya Yson tour guide fee for Asik-Asik falls. Php1300 if Daday falls included.
1133 Php50 van Libungan to Cotabato city. Back to hotel.
1220 Php300 another night in Hotel Filipino for same room.
1225 Visit Old City Hall and museum. Ask for City Guide Brochure for tourist spots.
Bought Php20 lunch pastil+juice+barbecue, Mura na, masarap pa!
Walk towards Tantawan Park and cathedral.
1320 Php8 multicab town to Tamontaka church
1400 Walk back to Bubong crossing
1420 Php30 Payong2x bubong crossing to grand mosque
1440 Php20 Grand Mosque donation. Register then explore!
1518 Php30 Payong2x grand mosque to bubong crossing
1535 Php60 Van bubong crossing to Datu Saudi Ampatuan roundball.
1642 Arrived at Pink Mosque (Masjid Dimaukom) and explore.
1741 Php80 Husky bus Datu Saudi Ampatuan to Cotabato City Terminal
1924 Walked to Aling Precy’s for dinner: Php235 – 195 Adobong hito + 40 rice (super gutom..hehe)
Php8 Multicab back to town. Wash-up then rest.
0530 Check-out Hotel Filipino. Php8 multicab town to city hall.
0544 Arrived at People’s Palace
0555 Walk towards van terminal across Husky Bus terminal. Breakfast Php5 pastil and Php25 water
Php150 Van Cotabato City to Isulan (for Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol)
0650 ETD Cotabato City
0830 ETA Isulan capitol. Explore the grand capitol. Golden chairs were not seen as the room was locked.
0910 Walked towards Isulan Integrated Terminal. Ride Php15 Yellow bus Isulan to Tacurong terminal
0934 Ride NON-STOP Php52 Yellow bus Tacurong to Marbel (Koronadal)
1030 ETA Marbel. Walk towards Marbel cathedral
1039 Visit Cathedral of Christ the King in Koronadal City
1057 Visit South Cotabato Provincial Capitol. Snack Php18 coco biscuits
1105 Php15 Trike from capitol to Koronadal City Integrated Terminal
1142 ETD Php80 Van Koronadal terminal to Lake Sebu Terminal
1235 ETA Lake Sebu terminal. Meet Lake Sebu guide Kuya Jorie. He explained the spots you can visit and rates.
Go to accommodation: T’boli homestay as he recommended. A homestay and museum in one!
1325 Late lunch at Lantaw Lake restaurant: Php115 half kilo sinugbang tilapia with rice.
Rest the rest of the day because it rained hard. 😦 Advised to do half-day tour the next day. Slept and watched anime and K-dramas from cp…hehe
0500 Wake-up and wash-up. Free coffee and water. See the little museum of the homestay.350 T’boli Homestay School of Living Traditions with breakfast
0530 Picked-up by Kuya Jorie for Sunrise Lotus viewing. Php200 Lake Sebu Lotus Boat rent. Enjoy the boatride! Bawal malikot kung ayaw mahulog..haha
0600 ETD to Evelandia resort.
0623 ETA Evelandia resort. Php30 entrance fee. Enjoy the sunrise view!
0650 Visit Lake Sebu Landmark then municipal hall.
0710 Back to homestay for breakfast. Super sarap! Logbook and paid Php350 for 1 night stay.
0800 Picked-up by Kuya Jorie for Lake Sebu 7 Falls. Php20 Hikong Alu (1st falls) entrance fee.
Php50 for T’nalak costume rent and photoops. Enjoy the view.
0845 Walked towards zipline area. Bought Php50 Lake Sebu refmagnet at souvenir shop. Wait until 9am for zipline to open.
0900 First one at the queue! Php350 zipline. Sign the waver and pay. Optional: Php150 package#2 with 3 pics. Keep the receipt. Amazing view of falls with rainbows! I was not afraid…haha
Get the 1st pic at area of 2nd zipline. After the zipline ride, get the 2nd pic at the counter nearby.
1040 Walk towards Hikong Bente (2nd falls) and photoops. Up to bridge due to strong splash of water from falls. I was soaking wet…hehe. Back to parking area and ride skylab/habal to get 3rd pic at Hikong Alu entrance (inside souvenir shop).
1105 back to homestay to pick-up backpack.
*T’boli Museum was closed under renovation and Lang Dulay Weaving Center open at 12pm so I was not able to visit both. Will do next time.
1117 Fetched to Lake Sebu Terminal. Php550: 500 Kuya Jorie halfdaytour + 50 fetched at inn the day before.
1130 ETD Php150 Van Lake Sebu to GenSan. Php15 chicharon. At the border of GenSan, checkpoint so get out of van, show valid ID then get back to van afterwards.
1334 ETA Bulaong Terminal (General Santos City Integrated Terminal)
1344 Php10 Trike Bulaong terminal to City Hall
1350 Explore City Plaza and Church.
Unfortunately, no backpacks allowed inside cathedral so I wasn’t able to get in.
Walk towards SM City GenSan. WildCard Gym of Manny Pacquiao across. Just a glimpse.
Walk towards Gaisano Mall. Php10 buko juice.
1440 Php10 Trike Gaisano to Lagao terminal.
1445 25 multicab Lagao to Alabel Sarangani Capitol
1500 Arrived at Sarangani Capitol. Explore the grounds.
1530 Php25 Multicab capitol to Lagao.
*I initially planned to go to Glan, Sarangani (vans also at Lagao terminal) for heritage houses and Gumasa beach but my plans changed, as I’ll visit Kublai Art Garden the next day as suggested by my cousin. Spending the night at my cousin’s house.
0600 Bid farewell to my cousin. Alight at Lagao terminal.
0611 Php161 ONE-STOP Yellow Bus to Digos City
0730 ETA Digos City Bus Terminal. Bought Php90 Mer’s puto and Php25 water.
Php10 Trike Digos terminal to market. Look for van terminal bound to Kapatagan.
1046 ETD Digos City. The van took off only after it got full…huhu (faster way is to ride a trike bound to Cogon terminal then ride habal-habal straight to Kapatagan)
Php100 van bound to Kapatagan (terminal at the back of Digos market). Alight at corner of Den Yho’s Place.
1145 ETA Den Yho’s Place. When crossing Den Yho’s going to Art Garden, you’ll pay Php50 Entrance fee. But I chose the FREE way, so I walked back to dirt road nearby, 5 mins walk in the woods until you see the sculptures.
1150 ETA Kublai Art Garden. Agong House the centerpiece (house with wishing well). There is a viewpoint in the roof to see Mt. Apo. Explore the area and photoshoot!
1255 ETD Kublai Art Garden
1300 Back to highway. Wait for habal-habal
1310 Yehey! Someone let me hitch for a ride. I asked to be brought straight to Digos Bus Terminal. Php100 only!
1355 Php98 Yellow bus Digos to Davao City. Checkpoint again so we need to alight, bag inspection, show ID, then back to bus.
1515 ETA Davao City. Php8 ecoland terminal to city proper. Walked towards Penong’s but still closed.
1545 ETA Php132 Delumbar’s Chicken Barbecue for lunch. Pagodtom!
1645 Walk towards People Park. Php20 Durian ice cream. Sarap! Chill at the park. Amazed by Kublai Millan’s sculptures. They are like characters who came out of Studio Ghibli films.
1800 Walk towards city hall. Attempted to get inside cathedral but BACKPACKS NOT ALLOWED! So I passed by.
1810 Php8 jeep to Roxas. There’s a food night market. Wait for another jeep bound to LASANG (will pass by airport).
1820 Php20 jeep to airport. Traffic!
1930 ETA Davao airport. Bought Php95 mangosteen candies.
2120 ETD Davao airport
2325 ETA NAIA3
SoCCSKSarGen-BARMM-Davao Solo Trip
#SOCCSKSARGEN #BARMM #Davao
June 13-17, 2019 (Davao City Entry and Exit)
AIRFARE: Piso base fare pre-booked last Sept 2018 ✈Airfare Manila-Davao – Php481.12 ✈Airfare Davao-Manila – Php496.12
EXPENSES: 🏨 Accommodation: Php950
Hotel Filipino (3D2N): Single Fan Room Php300 per night
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato:
T’boli Homestay SLT (2D1N): With Breakfast Php350 per night
*Last night spent at a relative in GenSan
📍 Activities: Php700
Asik-Asik Fals Registration: 30
Grand Mosque Donation: 20
Lake Sebu Lotus Viewing Boat Rent: 200
Evelandia Resort Entrance: 30
Lake Sebu’s Hikong Alu Falls Entrance: 20
T’nalak costume rent: 50
Lake Sebu Zipline: Php350
📍 Souvenirs: Php250
Asik-Asik refmagnet: 50
Lake Sebu refmagnet: 50
Lake Sebu Zipline 3pcs pictures: 150
*For inquiries on Cotabato City and Maguindanao, kindly refer to below contacts:
-Ms. Norianne Lou S. Frondoza (Cotabato City Tourism Officer): 09162655907
Tourism FB page: It’s more fun in Cotabato City (www.facebook.com/sigaykacotabato)
-Mr. DatuHabib Ala Salazar (DOS Tourism Officer): 09056171725
Tourism FB page: Dos Tourism (www.facebook.com/dos.tourism)
TOTAL ACTUAL EXPENSES: PHP7049.74
Safety comes first! Research first before going to your destination. I checked blog posts in various FB pages before doing this trip so I’m confident in the tour guides they highly recommended. Know a bit of travel phrases like Cebuano or Ilonggo since these are the major languages spoken in Central Mindanao. We do know that locals are aware when you are a tourist “dayo” so be low-key always. Bring trail foods to save on expenses, have long patience when waiting for public transpo at always pray for safe trip. Dont wear attention-seeking OOTD. Be respectful of culture in every place we visit. Follow the rules. When in doubt on pursuing the destination, don’t push it! Trust your instincts. Most of all, enjoy you trip in this part of the Philippines. Muster courage enough to unravel the beauty of our country, and I…thank you! I can’t wait to visit other parts of Mindanao. (n_n)