NorMin-ZamPen Family Trip

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).

On foreground are the tri-people sculptures by Kublai Millan at Peoples Park of Davao City: the boy playing a guitar-like instrument is a Christian, the girl at center with a flute is a Lumad, and the boy with kulintang is a Moro.

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.

Northern Mindanao (Tagalog: Hilagang Mindanao; Cebuano: Amihanang Mindanao; Maranao: Pangotaraan Mindanao) is an administrative region in the Philippines, designated as Region X. It comprises five provinces: Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, and Lanao del Norte, and two cities classified as highly urbanized, all occupying the north-central part of Mindanao island, and the island-province of Camiguin. The regional center is Cagayan de Oro.

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. This time, I made sure to inform them in advance of my itinerary on visiting nearby cities in Northern Mindanao. I mentioned that I’m longing to visit Dapitan City and Divine Mercy Shrine as our pilgrimage. Also, the annual Tangub Christmas Symbols Festival is worth a visit every December. They were so ecstatic that one of my titas (mom’s siblings) took a dayoff just to have a roadtrip with us! It turned out to be a fun reunion where we went to heritage places, ate at local restos and precious moments together. I never knew, despite their senior age, they would be happy to go outdoors. Finally, I was able to tick 4 provinces for #project81 by visiting Mindanao provinces one at a time.

Zamboanga Peninsula (Tagalog: Tangway ng Zamboanga; Chavacano: Peninsula de Zamboanga; Cebuano: Lawis sa Zamboanga) is an administrative region in the Philippines, designated as Region IX. The region consists of three provinces (Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Sur) and two cities (Isabela City and Zamboanga City; the former being part of Basilan province and the latter a highly urbanized city). The region was previously known as Western Mindanao. Pagadian City was designated as its new regional center, although Zamboanga City remains the region’s cultural, economic, and educational center.

This was my first time exploring Northern Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula with my mother and relatives. Hence, my itinerary became NorMin-ZamPen Family Trip! Presenting my Itinerary below with Ozamiz City as our entry and exit point:

Our NorMin-ZamPen Travel Map doing northward, southward and eastward routes from Ozamiz City.


Ozamiz City
📍Fuerte dela Concepcion y del Triunfo
📍Image of Nuestra Señora dela Concepcion del Triunfo dela Cruz
📍Cotta Shrine
📍Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral
📍Ozamiz City Hall
📍Prospera Park
Tangub City
📍Tangub City Plaza: venue of annual Christmas Symbols Festival 
📍Tangub City Hall
📍Saint Michael’s Parish Church
Municipality of Jimenez
📍Church of St. John the Baptist designated as National Cultural Treasure
📍Jimenez Municipal Hall
📍Casa de Ozamiz
📍Old Bacarro Printing Press
📍Ancestral Houses within Town Center
Oroquieta City
📍Misamis Occidental Provincial Capitol
📍Capitol Park
📍Oroquieta City Hall and Plaza
📍Holy Rosary Parish
Municipality of Sapang Dalaga
📍Baga Falls
📍Sapang Dalaga Municipal Hall
📍Caluya Shrine

Dapitan City
📍Relief Map of Mindanao designated as National Cultural Treasure
📍Dapitan City Plaza
📍Punto del Desembarco de Rizal
📍St. James the Greater Church
📍Rizal Park and Shrine
📍Casa Real
📍Dapitan Tourism Office
📍Old Dapitan City Hall and Museum
📍New Dapitan City Hall
📍Ancestral Houses within City Center
Dipolog City
📍Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Capitol
📍Our Lady Of The Most Holy Rosary Cathedral
📍Santa Cruz Marker (Punta Corro)
📍Dipolog City Hall
📍Plaza Magsaysay
📍P’gsalabuk Circle Rotonda

El Salvador City
📍Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy
📍El Salvador City Hall
📍Our Lady of Snows Parish Church
Cagayan De Oro City
📍Misamis Oriental Provincial Capitol
📍St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral
📍Cagayan De Oro City Hall
📍Cagayan de Oro City Museum
📍Gaston Park

Municipality of Aurora
📍Aurora Municipal Hall
📍San Isidro Labrador Parish Church
📍Freedom Park
Pagadian City
📍Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Capitol
📍Pagadian City Hall
📍Sto. Niño Cathedral
📍Pagadian Rotonda
📍Agora Public City Market for buying bulad (dried fish)
📍40 Degree Tricycles

MNL-OZC flight via Cebu Pacific Air
Ozamiz, officially the City of Ozamiz (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Ozamiz, Tagalog: Lungsod ng Ozamiz) or simply referred to as Ozamiz City, is a 3rd class city in the province of Misamis Occidental, Philippines. The city of Ozamiz grew out of an old Spanish town called Misamis—a name believed to have been derived from the Subanen word “Kuyamis,” a variety of coconut. Other unverified historical sources, however, suggest that the name Misamis came from “Misa” after the Catholic Mass. 
The origin and the growth of the old Spanish town, Misamis, was due to the presence of the Spanish garrison stationed at the stone fort named Nuestra Senora dela Concepcion del Triunfo, which was constructed some time in the 18th century in order to control the pirate activities originating in the nearby Lanao area. 
In 1850, the town of Misamis became the capital of the District of Misamis. After the Second World War, Misamis became a chartered city by virtue of Republic Act 321 on July 16, 1948. RA 321 also renamed Misamis to Ozamiz after a WW-II hero José Ozámiz who hailed from the province of Misamis Occidental.
Fuerte dela Concepcion y del Triunfo, also known as Fort of Misamis, is a fort built in 1755 by Father Jose Ducos to serve as a Spanish outpost in the area. It is a citadel first built by Spanish Jesuit priest and commander, Jose Ducos, for the town of Misamis in Mindanao island, now the modern city of Ozamiz, Philippines. Construction of the structure completed in 1756. It is made out of coral stone and has four bastions (baluarte) namely San Fernando, San Jose, Santiago and San Ignacio. The fort was built to serve as a Spanish outpost in the area as a form of protection against marauding pirates
Cotta Shrine Outside the fort on the wall facing the bay, was a carved image of the Virgin Mary (Nuestra Señora de la Immaculada Concepción y del Triunfo de la Cruz de Migpangi). The image on the Cotta’s wall is believed to be miraculously growing and has been the object of pilgrimage. The fort was renovated and restored to its original design in 2006.


The larger ecclesiastical province over which the archbishop of Ozamiz serves as metropolitan see covers the northwestern portion of the island of Mindanao, including the highly urbanized city of Iligan and the provinces of Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur.
Immaculate Conception Pipe organ, found in the choir loft of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, is the only existing pipe organ in Mindanao and one among the few throughout the country.
Tangub, officially the City of Tangub (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Tangub, Tagalog: Lungsod ng Tangub) or simply referred to as Tangub City, is a 4th class city in the province of Misamis Occidental, Philippines. 
Through the recent years, Tangub has been popularly dubbed as the Christmas Symbols Capital of the Philippines.
Every December, locals and visitors from neigboring provinces flock here to see the replica of the wonders of the world, made of recycled materials. People go here on weekends for fireworks led by the city government of Tangub.
Each attraction can be visited personally, with additional fee when entering the premises.
It was a great time visiting this time of the year, to see marvels of the world in one place!


Clarin’s House of Suman is a favorite stopover located at the border of Ozamiz City and Clarin. Aside from its prominent location near the highway, its green building with a leaf-shaped roof and a large suman pillar screams its very own presence, inviting people to come inside and buy their prized suman or glutinous rice cakes. This classic sticky rice comes in different flavors like mango, pineapple, ube, buko, peanut, langka and the exotic durian. It also rolls in chocolate with peanuts and variant moron, variant famous in Leyte. They also have suman balintawak, made of white and dark glutinous rice mixed in twisted form.


Jimenez, officially the Municipality of Jimenez, is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Misamis Occidental, Philippines. The heritage town is one of the best preserved colonial towns in the entire Philippines. 
The conservation, preservation, and restoration of the town’s heritage structures such as the church and ancestral houses are the main focus of the local government. Shown is the Gregorio Tak-an and Teodora Olarte House.
Parish Church of Saint John the Baptist of Jimenez – designated as a National Cultural Treasure. The church is predominantly Baroque in architecture with features reminiscent of the Renaissance style. The church façade, contrary to other Roman Catholic churches of the same era, is devoid of a pediment. It features a portico with three semicircular arched entrances lined on top with a parapet. 
The rectangular mass of the portico is crowned by three pedimented saints’ niches. Behind the façade is the nave wall with its simple, gabled roof and windows. To the left of the church stands the rectangular, three-tiered bell tower topped with finials, a domed roof and a lantern. The clock mechanism is still intact.
The interiors of the church is reportedly one of the best preserved interior of a Roman Catholic church in Mindanao. It features a painting done in 1898 and portions made of tabique pampango, a local version of a dry wall using panels of interwoven slats or branches and covered with lime.
At the right side of the altar, Jimenez Church displays a first-class bone relic of Saint Faustina Kowalska, patron saint of mercy.
Misamis Occidental (Cebuano: Kasadpang Misamis; Subanen: Sindepan Mis’samis) is a province located in the region of Northern Mindanao in the Philippines. Its capital is the city of Oroquieta. The province borders Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur to the west and is separated from Lanao del Norte by Panguil Bay to the south and Iligan Bay to the east. The province of Misamis was originally inhabited by Subanens, a Lumad tribe living within Zamboanga Peninsula. My 19th province!
Oroquieta, officially the City of Oroquieta, (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Oroquieta, Tagalog: Lungsod ng Oroquieta), or simply referred to as Oroquieta City, is a 4th class city and capital of the province of Misamis Occidental, Philippines. 
Some sources reveal that the town got its name from the barrio in Spain where Father Toas Tomas Casado, the first parish priest, and General Domingo Moriones y Murillo, a hero in the Battle of Oroquieta, were born. 
Another version is that Oroquieta had derived its name from the words oro (gold) and quita or kita (to find), in reference to the early inhabitants who had found gold along the river. Shown is the Capitol Park where the neo-classic capitol is located. Constructed in 1935, this capitol building of Misamis Occidental was designed by Juan Marcos Arellano, the same architect of the capitol in Cebu
Sapang Dalaga, officially the Municipality of Sapang Dalaga, is a 5th class municipality in the province of Misamis Occidental, Philippines. 
Its name is derived from the phrase sapa ng dalaga (ancient Visayan language dating back to the 14th century before Spanish colonization), meaning “maiden in a creek”. 
Baga (waterfalls in the native language) with its scenic beauty is a kilometer from the town center, can be reached by foot or motor vehicles. Souvenir photo of falls with my mom, aunt and cousin.
Dapitan, officially the City of Dapitan (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Dapitan; Subanon: Gembagel G’benwa Dapitan/Bagbenwa Dapitan) or simply referred to as Dapitan City, is a 3rd class city in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. It is historically significant as the place where José Rizal was exiled by the Spaniards for his revolutionary activities. He is considered a national hero, and this is known as the “Shrine City in the Philippines.”
Liwasan ng Dapitan (Dapitan City Plaza)
Dapitan City Plaza (“Liwasan ng Dapitan”), also known as the City Square, was beautified and developed by Dr. José Rizal during his exile. With the assistance of the Spanish Politico-Military Governor of Dapitan, Gov. Ricardo Carnicero, Rizal made the City Square comparable to those he saw in Europe. It has an area of one hectare, more or less.
St. James the Greater Church
This church was built in 1871 in honor of St. James the Greater, Dapitan’s patron saint. The design of the interior walls is more or less one meter thick and still original except for the furnishing. The altar and the interior hane undergone several renovations. Inside is a historical spot where Rizal stood while hearing Mass every Sunday. 
At the mezzanine is the priceless heritage organ that bears the year wherein it was made – 1827 – at the choir loft. It was brought to Dapitan by the Agustinian Recollect fathers. A German-made instrument with European pipes, it is a manual pipe organ.
Relief Map of Mindanao – While in exile in Dapitan in 1892, Dr. Jose Rizal, National Hero, designed the plaza of Dapitan with the assistance of Fr. Francisco Paula de Sanchez. The original plaza had a kiosk with five radiating promenades and lights fueled by coconut oil encased in glass. In the plaza and in front of the church of St. Joseph, Dr. Jose Rizal and Fr. Sanchez with the help of alumni and then current students of the Parochial School of Dapitan built a relief map of Mindanao. Declared a National Cultural Treasure in June 20, 2005.
José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (Spanish pronunciation: [xoˈse riˈsal]; June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896) was a Filipino nationalist and polymath during the tail end of the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines. He is tagged as the national hero (pambansang bayani) of the Filipino people. An ophthalmologist by profession, Rizal became a writer and a key member of the Filipino Propaganda Movement, which advocated political reforms for the colony under Spain.
Old Dapitan City Hall. The upper floor was made city museum where you can see Rizal’s relics.
Rizal’s mural painted by Carlos “Botong” Francisco
Facsimile of Rizal’s literary works: Noli Me Tángere, Latin for “Touch me not“, is an 1887 novel by José Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines during the colonization of the country by Spain, to describe perceived inequities of the Spanish Catholic friars and the ruling government. El filibusterismo (transl. The filibusterism, also known by its alternative English title The Reign of Greed, is the second novel written by Philippine national hero José Rizal. It is the sequel to Noli Me Tángere and, like the first book, was written in Spanish. It was first published in 1891 in Ghent.
Pablo Page and Petra Bajamunde Ancestral House. This is also used as a commercial food establishment of native delicacies. It is named Corazon de Dapitan
Rizal Park and Shrine
Rizal Park and Shrine is a major historical landmark in Dapitan. In August 1892, Rizal, together with Governor Carnicero and Francisco Equilor, a Spaniard living in Dipolog, won a lottery bet which financially enabled Dr. Rizal to buy a 10-hectare piece of land from Lucia Pagbangon. 
Rizal moved to the area in which the shrine currently stands in March 1893.
 Later on, his mother, Doña Teodora Alonso Realonda, his sisters, and some relatives from Calamba, Laguna, came and lived with him in Barangay Talisay (which is where the shrine is located) until 1896. 
Rizal Shrine was declared a national shrine through Presidential Decree No. 105 issued by then-President Ferdinand Marcos on January 24, 1973.
Punto del Desembarco de Rizal
Rizal disembarked in Punto del Desembarco de Rizal (Rizal’s Point of Disembarking). A 20-foot cross also stands in the place to symbolize the propagation of Christianity in the locality of Dapitan.
Dipolog, officially the City of Dipolog (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Dipolog; Subanen: Gembagel G’benwa Dipuleg/Bagbenwa Dipuleg; Chavacano: Ciudad de Dipolog), is a 3rd class city and capital of the province of Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. Geographically, the city is surrounded by rolling hills to the southeast and the Sulu Sea to the north. Dipolog is known for its wild orchids and its sardine industry which stems from the rich fishing area off its shores. It is known as the “Gateway to Western Mindanao” through the Western Nautical Highway and has also been called the “Bottled Sardines Capital of the Philippines.” The name came from Subanen Di-pag, meaning across the river. It was mispronounced by Spaniards in Spanish accent Dipolog which was eventually adopted by the natives.
P’gsalabuk Circle – Located at Estaka-Turno road junction is the Fountain of Blessings. P’gsalabuk is a Subanen (Lumad) term which means “togetherness”. The statues represent the tri-people of Mindanao, which symbolize the diverse cultures prevailing in Dipolog. The bowl raised to heavens is a gesture of thanksgiving and offering to God Almighty for the generous outpouring of graces and blessings, bountiful harvests and sustained peace and prosperity.
The Dipolog cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dipolog (Lat: Dioecesis Dipologanus) erected in 1967. It is a suffragan to the Archdiocese of Ozamiz and comprises the whole province of Zamboanga del Norte.
The town cathedral was later built in 1895 to replace the old church. Dr. José Rizal designed the high altar from a sketch requested by his former professor and former curé of Dipolog, Fr. José Villaclara.
The Santa Cruz Marker (Punta Corro) is the spot where migrating Boholanos from the Visayas landed and established settlement.
Zamboanga del Norte (Cebuano: Amihanang Zamboanga; Subanon: Utara Sembwangan) is a province in the Philippines situated within the Zamboanga Peninsula region in Mindanao. Its capital is Dipolog City and the province borders Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay to the south, Misamis Occidental to the east, and the Sulu Sea to the west.
Zamboanga del Norte is the largest province of the Zamboanga Peninsula region by land area. My 20th province!


Crossing the Panguil Bay from Ozamiz Port to Mukas Port via barge. You’re on Lanao del Norte in less than 30 minutes.
Snack by the highway
El Salvador, officially the City of El Salvador, (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa El Salvador; Filipino: Lungsod ng El Salvador), or simply referred to as El Salvador City is a 6th class city in the province of Misamis Oriental, Philippines. The city serves as a pilgrimage site for Divine Mercy devotees, that is why it is also called the City of the SaviourCity of Mercy, and the Divine Mercy City of the Philippines.
The Divine Mercy Shrine is a Catholic monument in El Salvador, Misamis Oriental, Philippines. It features a 50 foot statue of Jesus as the Divine Mercy as the focal point of Divine Mercy Hills, a tract of land overlooking Macajalar Bay on the southern island of Mindanao. 
It serves as a pilgrimage site for the Divine Mercy devotees. As a pilgrimage and sacred site, visitors are not allowed to wear shorts and other revealing clothing. Those who do so will be forced to cover themselves with a blue cloth provided by the shrine administrators.
The nine-hectare land for the Shrine was purchased for a nominal amount and the complex was paid for by donations. The shrine was completed in 2008.
Cagayan de Oro, officially the City of Cagayan de Oro (Filipino: Lungsod ng Cagayan de Oro; Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Cagayan de Oro) or simply referred to as CDO, is a 1st class highly urbanized city in Northern Mindanao, Philippines. It is the capital of the province of Misamis Oriental where it is geographically situated but governed administratively independent from it. 
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The name Cagayan de Oro (lit. River of Gold) can be traced back to the arrival of the Spanish Augustinian Recollect friars in 1622, the area around Himologan (now Huluga), was already known as “Cagayán”. Early Spanish written documents in the 16th century already referred to the place as “Cagayán”.
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Cagayan de Oro City Museum house in an old water tank
The Saint Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. The cathedral, dedicated to Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, is the ecclesiastical seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro
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It is a metropolitan see on the island of Mindanao which comprises the civil provinces of Misamis Oriental, Camiguin and the municipality of Malitbog, Bukidnon.
Shopping some souvenirs at Limketkai Mall before going back to Ozamiz City.
Misamis Oriental (Cebuano: Sidlakang Misamis) is a province located in the region of Northern Mindanao in the Philippines. Its capital and provincial center is the city of Cagayan de Oro, which is governed independently from the province. My 21st province!
Aurora, officially the Municipality of Aurora, is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines. The town was named after President Manuel Quezon’s wife, Aurora Quezon. It is the easternmost municipality in Zamboanga del Sur, bounded by the Province of Lanao del Norte on its eastern side.
Aurora^s Old Town Hall where museum is located on the upper floor
San Isidro Labrador Parish Church
The aisle leading to altar
This is similar to jaa of Tausug and lokot-lokot in Zamboanga City
Pagadian, officially the City of Pagadian (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Pagadian; Iranun: Bandar a Pagadian; Chavacano: Ciudad de Pagadian; Subanen: Gembagel G’benwa Pagadian/Bagbenwa Pagadian), or simply referred to as Pagadian City, is a 2nd class city and the capital of the province of Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines. 
It is the regional center of Zamboanga Peninsula and the second-largest city in the region, after the independent city of Zamboanga. 
The iconic symbol of Pagadian is its uniquely designed tricycle built to adopt to the city’s hilly terrain. It is the only place in the Philippines with a public transport inclined at about 25-40° angle.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pagadian (Lat: Dioecesis Pagadianensis) is a Roman Rite diocese of the Latin Church of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Ozamiz. The dioceses territory includes the whole province of Zamboanga del Sur (except for Bayog, Kumalarang, Lakewood).
Zamboanga del Sur (Cebuano: Habagatang Zamboanga; Subanen: S’helatan Sembwangan/Sembwangan dapit Shelatan; Chavacano: Zamboanga del Sur;) is a province in the Philippines located in the Zamboanga Peninsula region in Mindanao. Its capital is the city of Pagadian. My 22nd province!
Agora Public City Market for buying bulad (dried fish). This is the place we went before going back to Ozamiz City. With wide varieties of dried fish and related items such as squid, anchovies, and many more.
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‘Til next adventure! (n_n) #normin #zampen #travelwithmom #happiness

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