MODA MINDANAO SEASON 11: Highlighting the Unique Mindanaoan Heritage

It has been 5 years now since the first time I watched Moda Mindanao. Since then I vowed not to miss this event every Kadayawan Festival.

_DSC0280Moda Mindanao is longest running fashion design competition in the entire Davao Region. Staged every year during Kadayawan Festival, Moda Mindanao aims to promote contemporary Mindanaoan fashion and pave the way for young and emerging local designers to become a recognizable name in Philippine and global fashion.

_DSC0357In its earliest conception, Moda Mindanao was part of the Urog Etnika, a Mindanao Fashion Show that was once an official event of Kadayawan Festival. From Urog Etnika, Moda Mindanao was staged separately to provide local fashion designers and accessory artists from different regions in Mindanao a platform to showcase their skills and creativity as they create fashionable garments and accessories highlighting the fabric, colors and patterns of Mindanaoan culture.

_DSC0356Now on its 11th year, Moda Mindanao is moving to its new home from SM City Davao to SM Lanang Premier. Aside from its new venue, it is now redefined as a “Young Fashion Designers Competition with a new format, new look and new perspective but with the same global aspiration – to highlight the unique Mindanaon heritage in a modern, contemporary and fashion forward way.

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Participating Young Fashion Designers from Mindanao

Ten local designers from Davao, SoCCSKSarGen and CARAGA Region competed in this year’s Moda Mindanao. The 10 equally talented designers vied in two categories – Pret-a-Porter and Evening Wear for women. Their astonishing and unique creations were showcased in a runway show highlighting the fabrics, patterns, and materials that reflect the unique Mindanaoan heritage.

Moda Mindanao 2016 5All the participating local designers created dazzling and eye-catching creations but it was Jay-R Gamboa Flores, a local designer from Sultan Kudarat who amazed not only the distinguished judges but spectators as well with his skillful ability to bring to life the Mindanao culture and colors through his exceptional creations. He was the runaway winner winning both Pret-a-Porter and Evening Gown categories.

Pret-a-Porter for Women

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According to him, his creations are inspired by the four indigenous tribes found in his Province of Sultan Kudarat – the T’boli, B’laan, Maranao and Maguindanaoans. The evening gown that he fondly called the “Empress of the Four Tribes” is an intricate work combining weaving, beading and handmade works. The fabrics used were from Cotabato City while bells and other accessories were from South Cotabato. The pret-a-porter on the other hand was inspired by Maranao and Maguindanaoan culture.


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Every year, Moda Mindanao features a Mindanaoan artist who has excelled in his field. This year, Moda Mindanao Season 11 featured and highlighted the works of young international accessories designer Ken Samudio. He is the very first Filipino designer selected by Vogue Italia as one of its talents for accessories in 2014 and who was also featured on its 50th Anniversary issue.

Ken Samudio’s Award Winning Accessories

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Aside from Jay-R Gamboa Flores of Sultan Kudarat, other local designers who joined this year’s Moda Mindanao are Aloha Lelani Begin of Agusan del Norte, Arwin Mark Meriales of Davao Occidental and Alexis Nickole Rule, Jonas Andrew Amora, Aries Buenvenida, Mimi Tandingan, Bianca Sabellano, Kian Plaza Deocariza, and Neil Patrick Jimlani – all from Davao City.


Jay-R Gamboa Flores and his winning creations inspired by the four tribes of his province of Sultan Kudarat.

Personally, being there watching the grand runway of Moda Mindanao Season 11 for another year is another astounding opportunity for me to see and be mesmerized by those extraordinary creations that depict the rich culture of my own identity as a Mindanaoan.

Moda Mindanao 2016 2 Moda Mindanao 2016 3Moda MindaNOW, a fashion showcase of what is truly “made in Mindanao”.

Congratulation SM Lanang Premier for hosting yet another successful Moda Mindanaw Fashion Event.

KADAYAWAN FESTIVAL 2016: The Sights and Sounds of Indak-Indak Sa Kadalanan 2016

The sun was up hiding from the cirrus clouds that day. The weather wasn’t that scorching but it was warm enough make the celebration more vibrant and lively. At seven o’clock, thrilled people not only from Davao but from other parts of the country and even foreigners started occupying the sidewalk of the city’s main thoroughfare where performers of the Street Dancing Competition will pass by. Colorful buntings were all over giving more colors to the major streets. The mood was extra cheerful. Like the previous years, everyone was tremendously excited to witness and be awed again by the sights and sounds of the Indak-indak sa Kadalanan, the most watched event of the Kadayawan sa Dabaw.

Kadayawan Festival - 2016Like those who vowed to never miss Kadayawan Festival every year, the Indak-indak sa Kadalanan has always been my personal favorite. I considered this event as a Mardi Gras of Indigenous Music and Dances featuring different cultures of Mindanao. In fact, it is the only event among other festivities that gathers different festival winners from different towns and provinces in Mindanao to compete and be hailed the grand champion among other festival winners. This is also the reason why Davao City’s Kadayawan Fest is tagged as the Mother of Festivals in Mindanao.

Kadayawan Festival 2016 11Being the city’s grandest and biggest festival celebrating all that is good in the city, the Kadayawan sa Dabaw celebrates the city’s bountiful harvest and continues to honor the rich, diverse, artistic, cultural and historical heritage of the land. Indak-indak sa Kadalanan depicts the core of this celebration – the bountiful harvest as well as the wealth of the city’s culture.

Kadayawan Festival 2016 14In this year’s street dancing mardi gras, 13 contingents from various parts of Davao and SoCCSKSarGen Region came not only to compete but also to showcase the culture of their region. Performances of each contingent feature a story line in a well-rehearsed choreography of dances, songs and other theatrical acts accompanied by the rhythm of their music and sound while dressed in colorful costumes and flanked by multihued props.

Kadayawan Festival 2016 16While tribal chanting gave goosebumps to the spectators, the deafening sounds of the smashing drums ecstatically set the whole street in a jovial mood. Despite the intense heat, people didn’t leave their place for 4 hours to patiently wait for every other contingent to perform. In the end, all the participating groups did not fail to mesmerize the spectator with their spectacular performances.


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The overall winning performance of James L. Chiongbian National Trade School from Kling, Kiamba, Sarangani Province bested 11 other contingents bringing home Php 500,000.00 cash prize. The entry from Kapatagan National High School of Laak, Compostela Valley was adjudged second place with Php 400,000.00 cash prize while Purok Sison Elementary School of Surallah, South Cotabato placed third and brought home Php 300,000.00 cash prize. This year’s Champion will also represent the city in the annual Aliwan Festival in Manila.

Kadayawan 2016Kadayawan’s Indak-Indak Sa Kadalanan is truly an amazing cultural event that honors the rich heritage and cultural diversity of Mindanao. And just like these multicultural differences showcased during this remarkable street dancing festivity, truly, there is unity in diversity.

Indak Indak 2016 Winners


Surrounded by tall old trees and the myriad of flowering and ornamental plants, the Aviary Bar and Café of The Farm at Carpenter Hill is remarkably a perfect place where great gastronomic experience is more than just a good taste. With a very warm staff and a cozy ambiance, you will get to savor and enjoy a variety of Koronadal’s famous culinary favorites.

The Aviary at The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 18During my recent stay at The Farm, I had the chance to lavishly enjoy scrumptious dining at this Café considered as one of the local favorites. For those who frequent here, they would always say that the restaurant is home to some of the must-try food not only in Koronadal City but in the entire Province of South Cotabato.

The Aviary at The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 20The Aviary Bar and Café offers a wide array of local and international menu. Personally, top on my list are the Filipino dishes I tried during my stay. My personal favorite is the crispy, juicy and flavorful Lechon Kawali. It has the crispiest rind and the moistest meat I’ve ever tasted. At first glance it looks like the ordinary pork belly fried deeply in a pan of oil but when tasted, ahhhhhh, damn good. Really good.

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The crispy, juicy and flavorful Lechon Kawali!!! WINNER!!!!!!!!


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The Farm Chicken Salad

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Fried Noodles with Seafoods

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Huat Sai Soup

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Beef Bulalo Steak with Mushroom Peppercorn Sauce

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Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs

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Steamed Pompano with Szechuan Sauce

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Crispy Lechon Kawali

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Binagoongang Baboy

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Seafood Chopsuey

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Tinolang Tuna Belly

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Beef with Broccoli in Huat Chai and Mushroom Sauce

For cake lovers, the Aviary Bar and Café is a haven. They have a number of flavorful cakes here. The ones I like so much are the Ube Cake and the Durian Cake. Honestly, since I came from Davao and have tasted mouthwatering cakes from my favorite restaurants in our city, I thought the cakes here won’t delight me. But voila, both didn’t fail to affect me. In fact their Durian Cake is now one of the favorites.

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The Durian Cake partnered with The Farm’s freshly brewed coffee

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Chocolate Cake

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Ube Cake

The Aviary Bar and Café supports the local products of the Province. Here, you will find bottles of wine locally made in the neighboring province of North Cotabato.

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South Tropics from Kabacan, North Cotabato

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That T’nalak Cloth draped over those wines were weaved by the late Lang Dulay, a Gawad Manglilikha Awardee.

And why called Aviary? Because the restaurant is surrounded by old trees in the middle of a tropical garden and birds fly freely from branches to branches providing a soothing avian sound.


Brgy. Carpenter Hill, National Highway,
Koronadal City, South Cotabato

Telephone Number: (083) 228-1888 / 228-9010
Telefax Number: (083) 228-9010
Mobile Numbers: (Smart) 09189210425 / (Sun) 09228489098 / (Globe) 09177260721
Email Address : [email protected]
Website :


Many of those who travel to Southeast Asia find Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia as just a stopover especially those with connecting flights bound to another destination. But what these travelers actually miss is the fact that Kuala Lumpur is one of the most pulsating cities in the whole Southeast Asian Region with amazing places of interest considered worthwhile to explore. And if you choose to stay in the city, Kuala Lumpur promises to let you experience an extraordinary mix of culture and fascinating things to do. For online bookings, click here.

Malaysia-001First and foremost, no trip to Kuala Lumpur is complete without a fascinating trip to the world’s tallest twin towers, the Petronas Twin Towers. These soaring masterpieces used to be the tallest structures in the world towering to a striking height of 1,483 feet. While completely contemporary, the architecture is actually inspired by Islamic art – the shape is based on an Islamic geometric shape that resembles an eight-pointed star. Although the towers rise to 88 stories, the best view of the city and the surrounding country is on the double-decker Skybridge that joins the two towers – this is located on levels 41 and 42. The visiting hours are between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., but it is a good idea to arrive as early as possible – only a few tickets are issued to go on the Skybridge each day, and there is huge demand. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to book in advance.

Petronas-Twin-Towers-Malaysia-101To experience Kuala Lumpur’s taste of culture that is completely diverse, a trip to the Batu Caves is highly recommended. A 30-minute drive from the center of the city, Batu Cave is a large limestone hill and home to a series of caves and Hindu scared temples. The largest of the caves is the Cathedral Cave where a number of ornate Hindu shrines can be found. Bear mind, however, to reach the opening of the cave you have to climb a steep set of 276 steps. For those who are into rock climbing, the Batu Caves are one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in Southeast Asia attracting thousands of professional and amateur climbers from around the world each year.

Malaysia-Trip-2013-2684After a day of touring around the city, never fail to pay a visit to Lake Gardens. It is one of the few remaining parks situated in the heart of the city. Building of this eco-park dates back to the period of British colonial rule in Malaysia and was designed to remind visitors of London’s Kew Gardens. The park covers a massive 92 hectares, and is home to lush native foliage, as well as an Orchid Garden that boasts no less than 800 species of the delicate flowers.

Malaysia-Trip-2013-3121For those who love local gastronomic pleasure, Kuala Lumpur will never fail you. Top on my mind is the Jalan Alor. It is  a unique food destination in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and something one should try. When you step onto the street of Alor, the whole character of the city seemed to change taking you to the taste, aroma and flavors that truly depict the rich culture of Malaysia.  Jalan Alor is located within the Bukit Bintang area, it can be easily found if you are staying somewhere in the city center.

Malaysia-Trip-2013-2907Visit these places with you chance Kuala Lumpur. Sure thing, you will find the city as vibrant and exciting like those who came here. Booking a place to stay is not a problem. You can book your hotel though, the leading flight and hotel booking platform in Indonesia. The company focuses on solving online booking for a new generation of travelers, providing its users with a fast, transparent and easy-to-use booking process. They are noow growing fast in Southeast Asia including Malaysia and the Philippines.



In my recent visit to South Cotabato, I was very privileged to be hosted by one of the finest hotels in the entire South Central Mindanao, the charming The Farm at Carpenter Hill in the Koronadal City, the capital of the province.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 4The Farm @ Carpenter Hill remains to be the only garden resort in Koronadal. With a fascinating 11-hectare area, it reflects the warmth and cultural charm of South Cotabato while it exudes an atmosphere of luxury and comfort in total harmony with nature.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 3Conveniently located along the National Highway, The Farm is about six kilometers away from the city proper. Being the only garden resort of its kind in the city, it has since become the most favorite among the locals and even guests coming from the neighboring towns and cities. Those who frequent here consider the place as their quick escape from a busy day and some just come back to enjoy the food that have become Koronadal’s signature dishes.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 52The sprawling 11 hectare property consists of Japanese-inspired Garden Villas and Hotel, convention centers, recreation facilities including spacious karaoke rooms, a number of restaurants serving good food, large functions halls, children’s playground, a butterfly garden and a lot more.

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Among the many astonishing features of The Farm, the Japanese Hall and Bonsai Garden is my personal favorite. The garden is a unique showcase of well-crafted bonsai trees in a Japanese setting. I really enjoyed the construction architecture of the place, as a retired Orlando roof restoration services expert. The wooden structure, the thatched roofing, the man-made stream, the bamboo fence, pebbles and rocks and the marvelous bonsai collection were incorporated to complement that Japanese feel. I learned that this is also among the favorite features of the resort especially for those who are first time guests.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 34 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 35 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 37 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 49 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 54Another personal favorite is the Japanese Courtyard Hotel where we stayed at for two nights. The cozy layout of the 22 rooms is designed to exude comfort and ease to its guests. All rooms are facing an indoor garden with a pond of brightly-colored koi in the center. The pond is accentuated with bamboos and other tropical plants in every corner. All rooms come with complimentary breakfast, complete morning kit, hot and cold shower, cable TV, and telephone with access to outside line. Room rates ranges from Php 2,000.00 to Php 4,000.00.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 62 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 63 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 64Aside from the Japanese Courtyard Hotel, another best feature of The Farm @ Carpenter Hill is the 6 well-appointed Japanese-inspired villas. Each is uniquely designed with individual gate, terrace and a Zen garden. The villas are equipped with high-end fixtures with orthopedic beds and pillows assuring guests of comfort and a stress-free stay. The villas are just facing the Courtyard Hotel. Room rate of Garden Villa is Php 3,500.00 and comes buffet breakfast for two.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 7 Adding to the many exquisite features of the property is the newly constructed Swimming Pool built in the middle of the lush verdant portion of the property. A clubhouse is also being constructed beside the pool. The themed pool which is designed for both children and adults is a perfect venue for exclusive pool parties and special events. It is not open to the public yet but in-house guests are allowed for the free use of this new pool. Once the construction of this facility is complete, I believe this will be among the must-visit destinations in the whole Koronadal City and South Cotabato.

Talking about good food, The Farm boasts itself as home to some of the must-try food in Koronadal City. The Aviary Bar and Café serves some of the most delectable flavors I’ve tasted in South Cotabato. It offers a wide array of local and international menu. For me of course, Filipino dishes top the list of the must-try food here. There are also other Asian cuisines as well as some continental dishes serve at the Aviary Bar and Café. And why called Aviary? Because the restaurant is surrounded by old trees and tropical garden while birds freely fly from branches to branches providing a soothing avian sound.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 23 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 56 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 108 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 91 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 97 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 101Staying at The Farm @ Capitol Hill is truly remarkable. It doesn’t only provide comfort and quality service but it lets their guests to commune with nature as verdant life abounds in this 11 hectare property – a serene kind tropical set up perfect for a very soothing stay.

I have stayed to a number hotels and resorts in the different parts of South Cotabato but I must say, I am charmed by The Farm @ Carpenter Hill and staying with them is among the most remarkable. Highly recommended!

Brgy. Carpenter Hill, National Highway,
Koronadal City, South Cotabato

Telephone Number: (083) 228-1888 / 228-9010
Telefax Number: (083) 228-9010
Mobile Numbers: (Smart) 09189210425 / (Sun) 09228489098 / (Globe) 09177260721
Email Address : [email protected]
Website :