For the second time around, I was invited to sit as one of the judges of the most celebrated festival of hats in the Philippines, the colorful and action-packed TALAKUDONG FESTIVAL. This is one of my personal favorite festivals in MINDANAO. Since I got to witness it in 2014, I never stop to come back to the City of Goodwill to experience it over and over again. And this year is another amazing for Talakudong Festival.

A neo-ethnic festival, Talakudong Festival is TACURONG CITY’s tribute to the most prized symbol of the city’s history – the kudong, a head covering worn by early settlers of this city. Talakudong which comes from the word kudong refers to something that covers the head against the sun and rain. It is said that the early people of Tacurong gave the Sultan of Buluan, now Buluan town in Maguindanao, a golden kudong as a special gift for his enduring efforts in instituting peace and progress in the area. Hence kudong becomes symbolic to the city and its people. In fact, the name Tacurong is derived from this emblematic Talakudong.

Coined as the festival of hats, Talakudong Festival has become a historical and cultural spectacle in South Central Mindanao that draws attention from nearby provinces and region. It is highlighted by street-dancing and field demonstrations with well-decorated talakudong accompanied by the lively sound of bamboos and drums. The dances and performances showcase the history of Tacurong from being a barrio of Buluan into a multi-cultural town of Sultan Kudarat and eventually into a bustling city.


Journey to Tawi-Tawi, the Southernmost Jewel of the Philippines (Video Blog)

I have so many beautiful stories to tell you about my travels to the southernmost province of the Philippines, the fascinating island province of Tawi-Tawi. Stories that have occupied a special place in my heart. Stories that have concreted how beautiful and amazing this part of Mindanao really is. Beautiful stories that reflect not only beauty of Tawi-Tawi but the goodness of its people and the richness and colorful their culture is.  Along with those thousands of people who were once lured to come to Tawi-Tawi, I will share my exciting stories about my wonderful experience romancing the pristine and natural magnificence of this province I consider as “the southernmost jewel of the country”.

From the charming islands and islets dotting the seas of Tawi-Tawi to the breathtaking peak of its tallest mountain, from the flavorful traditional cuisines of its people to their colorful dances and lively music, from the busy pier of Bongao to the bustling barter trade of Panglima Sugala, from the stilt houses of Badjao to the peace loving town of Simunul, from the sand bars of Panampangan to the awe-inspiring Turtle Islands Heritage Protected Area – amazing things that are truly and uniquely Tawi-Tawi’s.

ARMMazing DESTINATIONS | Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (TRAVEL VIDEO)

It’s almost a year since I started traveling and documenting the many amusing and awe-inspiring sights to see and experience in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). From beaches to mountains, lagoons to lakes, islands to highlands, traditional cuisines to colorful weaves, exhilarating adventures to peaceful immersion to its people – these are just some of the many many amazing things I learned and experienced wandering to its charming provinces and municipalities.

Allow me to share to you some of my humble journeys to some of the remotest places in the country found in this region. These are wonderful places that have remained unexplored, raw and pristine to this day.

I hope this will entice you to come to this part of our country, the Philippines, and experience that kind of thrill, fun and happiness I feel while going to these places. There are actually more to experience, more to enjoy, more to discover.


#ARMMazing #ARMMazingTravels #ARMMAzingJourneys

Special shout out to Department of Tourism – ARMM sa pangunguna ni Secretary Ayesha Mangudadatu Dilangalen sa pambihirang pagakakataon na ito. Shukran ARMM! Napakaganda mo!

INDAK-INDAK SA KADALANAN | Kadayawan Festival 2017

Kasaganaan ng pamayanan
Kahiusahan natong tanang
Napulo ug usang kaliwatan”

Amid Martial Law extension in the whole Island of Mindanao, Davaoenos, Mindanaoans from nearby provinces, local and foreign tourists gathered in the major thoroughfares of the city to witness the much awaited, most watched highlight of Kadayawan Festival, the Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan. This spectacular event has been considered as the biggest gathering of different festivals in Mindanao to compete and be hailed the grand champion. This has made Kadayawan the King of Festivals in Mindanao.

This year, eighteen contingents coming from different schools and communities in Davao City and nearby provinces assembled in the city’s downtown district for this most prized competition.

Kadayawan Sa Dabaw celebrates not only the city’s bounties of nature and the gifts of bountiful harvest but also highlights the rich heritage and diverse culture that define Davaoeños’ affluent history and colorful past. All these are all portrayed and beautifully reflected In their well rehearsed dances and choreography.


The vibrant colors of captivating Red and Yellow dominated the streets while the heart pounding drum beats reverberated all over the city’s downtown district. These were the colors and rhythms brought by 18 contingents as they performed rituals and dances of their respective places while dressed in multihued costumes and flanked by colorful props. The resounding ethnic chants and the deafening beat of the smashing drums ecstatically set the whole district in a jovial groovy mood.

Being a Dabawenyo, seeing these performances made me feel proud of the heritage of my city. This made me realized despite differences of culture coming from different ways of lives; we all got to embrace the multicultural diversity of the city. And despite great challenges like the threat of our serenity of living, we can still find the courage in us to find time and celebrate the bounties of our harvest, the gifts of nature and our rich culture. After all, we are Davaoenos, we are Mindanaons – WE STAND TALL. UNITED. RESILIENT.


Davao City’s premier hotel, the Apo View Hotel, continues to prove its legacy as Davao’s true home of heritage and hospitality as they carry on their tradition of celebrating the city’s grandest festival that pays tribute to the rich and colorful culture of the Dabawenyos, the bountiful harvest and everything that is good in the City.

Year after year, the Apo View Hotel showcases the best of what Kadayawan Festival has to offer by bringing in all the colorful sights, lively sounds and the blissful vibe of the festivities inside the premises of the hotel. Hotel guests who stayed and dined at the Apo View during this week-long celebration were treated with in-house festivities to feel the vibe and spirit of Mindanao’s grandest Festival.

Upon entering the premises of the Apo View Hotel, guests are welcomed by a beautiful centrepiece adorned and filled by the symbols of Kadayawan Season – the bountiful harvest, the fresh fruits and the colorful flowers. Think of anything about Kadayawan, they’re all there. These are sights and sounds depicting the festive colors, cheerful sound and jovial spirit of the celebration – all gathered inside the hotel.

Being Davao’s premier and the second oldest hotel in the Philippines, Apo View Hotel’s own version of the Kadayawan Festival embraces the city’s invaluable effort in honoring, preserving and promoting the artistry and rich culture not just the bustling City of Davao but of the Island Mindanao as a whole.

For many years now, Apo View Hotel’s celebration of Kadayawan Festival has always been a favorite among its valued guests and loyal patrons. At one point, it is renowned being the only hotel in Davao with such festive and most colorful event every Kadayawan Festival season. And being situated in the heart of the city, the city’s premier hotel is just walking-distance to the different venues of the various events made in line with the celebration of Kadayawan Festival.

Kadayawan Festival has always been the city’s grandest celebration of life, a thanksgiving for the gifts of nature, the wealth of culture, the bounties of harvest and serenity of living. And kudos to the Apo View Hotel for continuing its tradition of bringing the festive colors, cheerful sounds and jovial spirit of this celebration inside their walls and unto the hearts of their valued guests.

Indeed, Apo View Hotel is a history of heritage and hospitality – a perfect home for Kadayawan Season.

***I would like to thank Ms. Leah Adolfo for my Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival 2017 weekend experience at the Apo View Hotel.