TACURONG BIRD FESTIVAL: A Celebration of Wildlife Conservation

One of SOX’s premier tourist destinations is the center of the 3rd Tacurong Bird Festival, the first and the only bird festival in South Central Mindanao. This is the Baras Bird Sanctuary, home to tens of thousands of cageless wonders of SocCSkSarGen Region.

Baras Bird Sanctuary in the City of Tacurong covers about two hectares of land that is home to more than 20,000 beautiful birds of different types. The area is situated beside a river and very close to swamplands, wetlands, and marshes. In 2002, Baras was declared a bird sanctuary by the city government.

Developed as eco-tourism site, the sanctuary is the most popular tourist spot in Tacurong City and considered as one of the most significant tourist destinations in Region 12. Year after year, these cageless flying wonders of the city attract various local and foreign tourists to come to the area and enjoy the wonderful sights and hear the melodies of some of the world’s most beloved birds including the great egret, the intermediate egret and the Rufus night heron. It has also become one of the most favorite birding sites of Wildlife Enthusiasts and Wildlife Photographers in the country.

Among the bird species that can be found in Baras Bird Sanctuary are the Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Intermediate Egret, White-collared Kingfisher, Emerald Dove, Hawk, Eurasian Sparrow, Javan Pond Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Variable Dwarf-kingfisher, Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Magpie Robin, Pied Fantail, Glossy Ibis, Black-naped Monarch, Rofous Night Heron and Ruddy Kingfisher.

In line with city’s advocacy of wildlife preservation, the city government in partnership with different line agencies and private sectors has led the annual celebration of Tacurong Bird Festival for three years now. The Festival is designed as a celebration of wildlife conservation and hopes to make locals and tourists aware about the importance of birds in the environment, encouraging them to take the pledge of conserving natural habitats such as the Baras Bird Sanctuary.

The bird festival featured various activities such as conservation forum on Philippine Birds where speakers come from Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. The forum was held outside of Baras Bird Sanctuary to accommodate more participants. The talks centered on eco-tourism and biodiversity conservation and the role of Birds in our environment.

At Baras Bird Sanctuary, where the center of the 3rd Bird Festival was held, highlights included bird watching with a license tour guide. A bird mural art stroke was also made available at the reception area. Other environment-friendly art activities include bottle recycling, keyholder/refmagnet painting, face painting, coloring and jigsaw puzzle and other activities that make the event more fun and exciting.

The 3rd Tacurong Bird Festival was spearheaded by the City Government of Tacurong in partnership with Department of Tourism (DOT) XII, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines and other stakeholders.

Groupie with Tacurong City Mayor Lina Montilla, Koronadal City Mayor Peter Miguel and DOT-12 Regiona Diretoc Nelly Nita Dillera

Sharing this frame with Tacurong City Mayor Lina Montilla, City Touris, officer Emelie Jamorqabon, Ida Damo of ChoosePhils.Com and Ian Garcia of M Magazine.

Congratulations to all the Tacurongnons for your undying efforts for the conservation of these baras Birds. Kudos to Tacurong City Mayor Lina Montilla and Tourism Officer Emelie Jamorabon!

Ten Most Strikingly Beautiful Mosques in the Philippines

Amazing Mosques in the Philippines

Definitely, the Philippines is home to breathtaking sites of worship. Proof to that are the four Baroque churches in the country which are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. And if you roam around the country, several stunning churches are scattered in the different regions of the country. But the Philippines is not just home to amazing churches. If you travel to Mindanao, some of parts of the island boast some of the most strikingly beautiful mosques in the country. Although these structures are places of worship, one can’t resist of admiring of how these Islamic structures are designed and constructed.

Amazing Masjid in the Philippines

Having gone to the different parts of Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, here I compiled 10 of the most strikingly beautiful mosques in the country – they’ll all found in Mindanao.

The Grand Mosque of Cotabato City

The Grand Mosque which is also called Masjid Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is the largest and said to be the grandest mosque in the Philippines. It is located along Tamontaka Bubong Road in Cotabato City. The construction of this grand structure is funded by the Sultan of Brunei to whom the Masjid was named, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

The Grand Mosque also know as Masjid Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Cotabato City

The Pink of Mosque of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao

Known for its strikingly bright pink color, the Pink Mosque of Datu Saudi Ampatuan in the Province of Maguindanao is the most popular and most photographed mosque among the many mosques in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Named after Datu Saudi Ampatuan Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom who initiated the construction of the structure, the Pink Mosque was painted in bright pink to represent peace and love. It is one beautiful way of showing another side of the province – something so different from what we hear in the news.

Masjid Dimaukom more popularly known the Pink Mosque, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao

Bacolod Grande Mosque of Bacolod, Lanao Del Sur

In the Mid-1900’s, this stunningly magnificent mosque is said to be the “Little Mecca of Lanao Del Sur”. This is the Bacolod Grande Mosque located in Barangay Lama, town of Bacolod-Kalawi, Province of Lanano Del Sur. The structure is painted in dark green colors. Like other mosques painted in green, the color green is a traditional color of Islam and has represented Islam for centuries. Some believe that green was the Prophet Muhammad’s favorite color, and it is mentioned in a number of verses in the Quran as the color that will be worn by the inhabitants of paradise.

The Bacolod Grande Mosque of Lanao Del Sur

Masjid Al-Nasser Abpi of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao

About 30 minutes from downtown Cotabato City, another town of the Province of Maguindanao boasts of its imposing white Mosque called Masjid Al-Nasser Abpi. This is situated in Magelco in the town of Datu Odin Sinsuat. This is a newly built mosque and painted mostly in white. The color white is perhaps the second-most associated color with Islam symbolizing purity and peace.

Masjid Abpi also known as the White Mosque of DOS, Maguindanao

Hja. Sitti Raya Mosque of Talipao, Sulu

In the province of Sulu, another quaint town boasts of its uniquely designed and painted mosque – this is the Hadja Sitti Raya Mosque of the Municipality of Talipao, about an hour ride from the Capital of Bongao. Unlike other mosque painted with one single or two colors, Hadja Sitti Raya Mosque is painted in different colors with different patterns. This is built the former local chief executive of the town Mayor Sitti Raya Tulawei for the people of Talipao.

Hja. Sitti Raya Mosque of Talipao, Sulu

Masjid Kapunan of Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi.

In the island provice of Tawi-Tawi, its biggest mosque is situated in the quiet town of Panglima Sugala. It is called Masjid Kapunan located in Batu-Batu, Panglima Sugala and said to be the most beautiful mosque ever built in the whole Tawi-Tawi Province.

Masjid Kapunan of Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi

Buluan Mosque in Buluan, Maguindanao

The capital town of Maguindanao, the town of Buluan is also home to one of the beautiful mosques in the entire Province. Named Buluan Mosque, it is built by the family of Maguindanao Governor Toto Mangudadatu for the people of Buluan. This magnificent structure is located in Barangay Maslabeng.

Buluan Mosque of Maguindanao

Buadi Sacayo Masjid in Marawi City

There are plenty of beautiful mosques scattered in the many parts of Marawi City, the capital of the province of Lanao Del Sur that I have yet to visit and see. For now, one of those that attract me most is the Buadi Sacayo Masjid located in Barangay Bangon.

Marawi City’s Buadi Sacayo Masjid

The White Mosque by the Sea of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi

In the small village of Bongao in Barangay Tubig Tanah, a tiny white mosque gleams just a few meters from the seas of Tawi-Tawi. Despite its tiny size, there’s something about this mosque that visitors love about. Some even describe it as an igloo-inspired mosque. But what I love about this mosque is its quaint setting sitting quietly by the bay amidst the blue sky on a clear day, a manicured Bermuda grass and old tall coconut trees around.

The White Mosque by the Sea of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi

Sheikh Karimul Makdhum Mosque in Simunul, Tawi-Tawi

It may not be as grand as the Grand Mosque of Cotabato but the country’s oldest Islamic worship site situated in the island town of Simunul in the Province of Tawi-Tawi is a sight to behold – this is the Sheik Karimul Makdum Mosque, named after the first Arab missionary to set foot in the South to propagate Islam. What’s amazing about this mosque is the four columns found and preserved inside it believed to been erected since the mosque was built in 1380 – that means they’re 636 years of age. Amazing!

Sheikh Karimul Makdhum Mosque in Simunul, Tawi-Tawi

THERE YOU GO! Ten of the most strikingly beautiful mosques I have visited in the country. And so, if you’re into culture and architecture, never miss visiting these #ARMMazingMosques when you visit MINDANAO.




These are some of the things that await you in the #ARMMazing Province of Maguindanao – all at their best.


What used to be a laid back province in the Philippines is now an emerging tourist destination in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – an emerging destination that has created buzz and interest especially in social media. Blessed with majestic mountains, unspoiled waterfalls and springs, magnificent lakes, vibrant and rich culture, warm people and delectable flavors, Maguindanao is an amazing destination to explore and experience.


MOUNT MINANDAR in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao

The historic Maliga Walay or Red House of Datu Piang, Maguindanao

The Masjid Dimaukom which is more popuparly known as the Pink Mosque in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao

The Masjid Abpi, a beautiful white mosque in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao

The magnificent lake Bulan in the town of Buluan, Maguindanao.

The old Capitol Building at Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao

The enchanting Blue Lagoon of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao

#ExperienceMindaNOW team at the magnificent Lake Bulan in the town of Buluan, Maguindanao.

#ExperienceMindaNOW team at the Pink Mosque of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

#ExperienceMindaNOW team at Masjid Abpi in the town of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

#ExperienceMindaNOW team at the Kusion Beach in the town of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

The famous Pastil of Maguindanao

The Inaul, the colorful weaves of the Maguindanaoan that speaks so much of their vibrant culture and tradition.

The Travel Teller at MOUNT MINANDAR in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao

Travel to Maguindanao and be inspired by the stories of its people, be at awe by the spectacular view of its landscape and seascape, be filled by the deletable flavors and be amazed by their wonderful culture.

This is Maguindanao. It’s #MagandaNOW.


For the very first time, the Province of Maguindanao in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will be celebrating the Inaul Festival, a festival honoring the Province and its people’s identity and cultural heritage – the Inaul.

INAUL, a Maguindanaon word that literally means “weaved”, is a unique fabric manually and meticulously woven mostly by Maguindanaon women weavers in Mindanao. More than just piece of textile used traditionally as a “malong”, it is considered as a “Bara-Bangsa”, a term tantamount to something with royalty, dignity and nobility. In the past, the use of inaul in Muslim Mindanao was a status symbol and worn always with pride and respect.

Inaul weaving is said to have more than twenty designs, with the royal heirloom piece being the rarest since it is no longer being produced. Other ways of inaul weaving include the “umpak”, “binaludto”, “panigabi” or “taro” and “binaludan”, which is also called “ikat” by the T’boli and the tribes of Cordillera. There are three types of threads used in weaving the inaul: the cottony “tanor”, the silky “rayon”, and the shiny “katiyado”.  “Rayon” and “tanor” can be combined to form a malong called “mestiza.”

The colors of the inual fabric reflects the vibrant culture of Maguindanao. Each color used in weaving corresponds to a specific meaning. Yellow and orange is for royalty while red represents bravery. White is the color of purity that speaks of grief and mourning, whereas, green indicates peace and harmony. Black denotes nobility and dignity.

Today, the inaul is no longer confined to “malong” and other traditional garments. The beautiful woven fabric of Maguindanao is now being made into modern outfits, such as gowns, long and short sleeved shirts for men, trousers, accessories, among many others. An example of the modern evolution of the inaul are the fashionable and glamorous ball gowns worn by the Miss Universe candidates during the recent Mindanao Tapestry Show in Davao City.

With inaul in the spotlight and on the world stage, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao gives honor to this regal fabric of Maguindanao along with the weavers who painstakingly create them with the celebration of the first Inaul Festival sa Maguindanao on Febreuary 9-14.

The Department of Tourism-ARMM supports this endeavor and commits to align its tourism promotions program in helping preserve, protect, promote and develop this intangible cultural heritage of Maguindanao.



Every Januray, the peace loving Municipality of Bansalan celebrates DORONGAN FESTIVAL. This festival is a thanksgiving celebration honoring the child Jesus known to the FIlipinos as Santo Niño. A Sinulog-based celebration, Dorongan Festival is Bansalan’s way of reliving the tradition and culture of the Visayans whose devotion to the miraculous Santo Niño is widespread. The population of Bansalan is said to have roots in Cebu and other towns in the Visayas.

Since Bansalan is also home to the indigenous group called Bagobo, the festival is also adopted to symbolize Bagobo’s acceptance of Christianity when Catholicism was brought to Mindanao. The festival is also a celebration of unity and oneness despite diversity of culture and belief. Dorongan is a Bagobo term which literary means THANKSGIVING.