♫ “Pinoy kapwa Pinoy ang naglalaban doon sa Mindanao
Marami ng dugo ang dumanak sa lupa ng Mindanao
Whenever I hear this song played on radio, I often wonder if the great Freddie Aguilar had really spent a day or two, or perhaps lived a month or a year in all the places in Mindanao to claim that the Philippine’s second largest island is generally in chaos, in conflict or in war. I have so much respect for the guy, but for this particular song, I deem it deceiving. You see, Mindanao is such a gigantic island. Agreed, there are conflicts and insurgencies occurring in some of parts of the Island but to say Mindanao as a whole, a proud Mindanaoan like me will absolutely disagree. However, this post is not about Ka Freddie or Mindanao, the song. This is about my Mindanao, our Mindanao, and its heavenly bliss that has exceptionally captivated the hearts of those who brave to come and relish the beauty of the “Promised Land”.
Much has been said about Mindanao. This dreadful sweeping generalization threatens tourism progress and economic growth of the whole Island. Enough, we clamor. Mindanao is such a gigantic island. There is peace in Mindanao. There is harmony in diversity in our Island. Mindanao is an island of blissful wonders to behold away from those generalized negative views about her. Ask those who came, those who braved, and those who experienced Mindanao – they’ll all say; there is “Mindanao Bliss”.
Having born, raised and lived my entire life here in Mindanao, I have so many stories to tell about the many beautiful things about our Island – its people, picturesque places, diverse culture, proud heritage and other attributes said to be “Trademarks of Mindanao”. But my one single voice is not enough to attest the truth of what I say.
So, the brightest, the smartest and the bravest Pinoy Travel Bloggers unite together to prove that Mindanao is “a blessed land to an unpolished gem, the beauty is within, and only the keen traveler can see, and find charm even in the most mundane situations.” This is the November Edition of Pinoy Travel Bloggers Blog Carnival with the theme “Mindanao Bliss”.
JOIN ME and my fellow Filipino Travel Bloggers as we take you to the best destinations in the Islands of Mindanao where beauty of nature, richness of culture, warmth of its proud people are beyond compare! This is our collective efforts to showcase the many blissful things to experience, discover and see in the 97,530 square kilometers land area of the Island once dubbed, “The Land of Promise”.
Journeying James during his Mindanao Challenge 400 for 16 days embraced a true Mindanaoan hospitality given away by Kaalim Family while couchsurfing in the Island Garden City of Samal. His short stay ended up having a second family ready to welcome him back on his next visit to the Island. Kaalim Family hosted James throughout his stay and accompanied him in exploring the many spectacular places to see in the Island City. Experiencing this, the Journeying James said the warmth and hospitality of the people are enough to attest the goodness of the Mindanaoan people that truthfully is bliss to stranger like him.
Marky Ramone Go grew up listening to his favorite folk band Asin and their Song “Cotabato” that speaks conflicts and religious differences of the province. Somehow, it gave him the bad reckoning reputation of Mindanao as a whole. But during his Nomadic Experiences at the Lake Sebu in the South Cotabato where he met the community of peace loving Tibolis, beheld the beauty of 7 falls of Lake Sebu, rode on the two heart stopping ziplines, savored the nature and wonders of this mystical town gave him a positive perspective about Cotabato and Mindanao as a whole. He said, “It’s true that there are still parts in Mindanao – just like in every place in the world, where peace remains elusive – BUT mostly it is the opposite”. Had he listened to the derogatory media reports about Mindanao in general and not braved enough to come our island; he wouldn’t have experienced that yet another different Mindanao Bliss only Lake Sebu can give.
Jason Montana, the Explorer, on his very first solo trip to Mindanao, chronicled what he called a total jam-packed of nature tripping. Having gone to the many exciting places to see in Davao City and the fun filled visit to the thrilling places in the Island Garden City of Samal, Montana The Explorer acclaimed this visit, Amazingly Davao! A blissful Davao!
Rain Amantiad’s article about her little barrio of Minaulon in Bacolod, Lanao Del Norte proves that even little rustic barrios like hers can be a blissful destination to visit. Minaulon may not have famed tourist spots but its friendly community of peace loving and hopeful people is enough to experience an authentic Mindanao bliss. Like other barrio’s children, Rain used to be a little star of hope of her people. And as tribute to her roots, she wrote this article in the hope of luring travelers to go beyond the big cities of Iligan, Pagadian or Ozamis and discover her little humble beginnings. This is blissfully inspiring.
Fung Hu’s virtual journal takes us to the Islands of Simunul, Sibutu and Sitangkai in Tawi-Tawi. He described these peaceful islands in the south as great potentials for tourism development because of its historical and cultural interests. Simunul, being the seat of Islam faith in the Philippines; Sibutu, being the home to the Sama people known to be skilled seafarers and boat builders of pre-colonial time; and Sitangkai, known as the “Venice of the Philippines” are three of most important Islands in Tawi-Tawi worthy to be explored and experienced. Three blissful Islands of Tawi-Tawi.
AUDREY GLADYS TAMAYO of Byaheng Barok vowed she would never travel back to a specific place once already visited. But her passion and love for photography made her travel back to the places she’d been including the Island Garden City of Samal to capture what she called “chasing the light moments”. Her photos of a glorious Sunrise at Balet, cascading waters of Haguimit Falls and that Blue Christmas at Bluewaters absolutely attest on what she called “Samal Island in New Light”. A blissful Light!
CHRISTINE FERNANDEZ, the Jovial Wanderer, listed her Top 5 Adventures during her various visits to the many places in Mindanao. Water Tubing in Sibulan River in Sta. Cruz, Davao Del Sur; Toploading Ride in Kidapawan, North Cotabato; her motorbike Tour at the Volcanic Island of Camiguin; Spelunking at Sumalsag Cave in Bukidnon; and, her Waterfalls Adventure also in Bukidnon tops this list. Having experienced all these, the jovial wanderer finds Mindanao a blissful destination of perfect adventures!
JEROME BALUYUT spent 9 days backpacking some parts of Mindanao including the provinces of Surigao Del Norte and Surigao Del Sur. Surigao! Surigao! He yelled out in amusement experiencing adrenaline, fun and excitement in the two Northern Provinces of Mindanao. Not only the beauty of Surigao that captivated Balintanaw but the kindness and warmth of the Mindanao people that he met along the way. He left Mindanao with a grateful heart knowing there are a lot of things to discover and kindest souls to meet in the Island. Indeed a blissful Surigao!
WENDELL GLENN CAGAPE, a proud Mindanaoan, featured DayawanTorogan located in the Islamic City of Marawi in Lanao del Norte. DayawanTorogan, which literally means sleeping place, is one important historical place that played a pivotal role in Mindanao. This piece of architecture unravel the Muslim-Filipino ingenuity and creativity of building a structure without the use of even a single nail and yet remains earthquake proof. It has historical significance worthy to be learned and discovered. Journeys and Travels lures every travelers to come and visit this place to get to know Mindanao’s rich culture and heritage. A blissful discovery of Mindanao’s heritage!
MARCUS CASTLE, a beach bum from Kidapawan City who is also a proud Mindanaoan, listed the Top Beaches he visited in Mindanao. Being the second largest island in the Philippines, Mindanao is endowed with beautiful pristine beaches one “son of a beach” would die to bum and laze around. Mindanao is generally typhoon free where mighty sun shines throughout the year. Among these top beaches Marcus visited are the beaches of Kisulad, Davao Del Sur, the pink sand beach of Sta. Cruz Islands of Zamboanga City, the untouched beaches of Tawi-Tawi, Camiguin Island, Bislig, Suriago Del Sur, Siargao Beach, Dahican Beach of Mati, Davao Oriental, Dakak Beach, the Island Garden City of Samal. Topping the list is the pristine beaches of Gumasa, Sarangani Province. These are the blissful beaches of Mindanao!
RENZ BULSECO, the Traveling Nomad from Mindanao, used a fictional character named Luis Serafico in his articled “A Promised Land”. Here, like any other individuals living outside Mindanao, the idea of living in the island filled with negative news is downright scary. But Luis’ job as a journalist demanded him to be relocated in Mindanao. Hesitant, he flew to Mindanao filled with desperation. But his relocation to Mindanao paved way to see the many hidden wonders of the Island, beautiful and hospitable Mindanaons and superb destinations truly amazing to behold. From the beaches of Samal to the waterfalls of Iligan, from the valleys for Bukidnon to the historical city of Dapitan were among the places Luis explored. Two years have passed and Luis is still based in Mindanao, in Davao, madly in love with the beauty of the Islands and genuine hospitality of Mindanaons. Luis finds true bliss in Mindanao. Renz finds true bliss in Mindanao.
CHIN CHAN, a Juanderful Pinoy, traveled to Mindanao to discover Dipolog City. Alas, when he got, he found out there’s more to Dipolog than a bottle of the city’s renowned Spanish-style sardines! He toured around the many interesting things about Dipolog. He learned that the City is the home of the longest boulevard fronting the beachline in entire Island of Mindanao. Foodtrip, church visits and city tour fascinated the Juanderful Pinoy. But the mixing and mingling with the Dipolognon made Chin Chan’s visit to Dipolog most memorable. At the end he exclaimed, “Dipolog blissfully rocked my world!”
DING FUELLOS, the Pinoy Explorer, finds the Enchanting Lake Mainit in Surigao del Norte an imposing natural beauty one should not miss when in this northern part of Mindanao. She’d been to Laguna Lake, the man-made Burnham Lake in Baguio City, and Lake Sebu of Caotabato but she finds the beauty of Lake Mainit just naturally awesome that vivid reflections of the blue skies can be visibly seen. Ding recommends to visit Lake Mainit, whether a short trip or a quick stop. Lake Mainit is worth visiting and surely one can be captivated and enchanted by its beauty. A blissful natural beauty endowed to the Province of Surigao.
ENRICO DEE, the man behind the Byahilo, spent an afternoon at one of the B’laan Villages in Malungon, Sarangani Province. Having read an article in the Lonely Planet Magazine Philippines featuring this Tribal Village, Enrico decided to visit the Village situated in small sitio named Lamlifew in Barangay Datal Tampal in Malungon. When he got there, Enrico was fascinated by how B’laan women gathered and work together to put up the School of Living Tradition, a school that traditional way of life of the B’laans is continued and taught to the younger generation. Preservation of tradition and culture abounds the place. This is one best example how Mindanaons value their love for culture and the arts passed from generations to generations. They are blissful B’laans.
LAI MARIE MIRASOL, a Pinay Travelista, revisited the Islamic City of Marawi and discovered herself the rich cultural heritage of the Muslim Maranao preserved at the Aga Khan Museum located at Mindanao State University Marawi. Here, the Pinay Travelista who also is a proud Mindanaoan took pride in learning the affluence of culture and heritage of our Maranao brothers and sisters. Museums like Aga Khan are perfect venue to educate oneself about significance of culture and tradition of one place. Gladly, in Mindanao, there are numbers of museums preserving Mindanao blissful culture.
IZAH MORALES, the Tripadora, journeyed to the land of the peace loving T’bolis in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato to experience culture and traditions at its best. The T’bolis of Lake Sebu are known to be among the remaining IPs in Mindanao where its rich culture and tradition are still practiced even to this day. During her visit, the Tripadora was treated to an authentic T’boli dance and had given the chance to meet the famous dream weaver Lang Dulay, the living national treasure of the T’bolis. In Mindanao, Lake Sebu is indeed a perfect place to discover both culture and nature at its finest.
BONZ PANGANIBAN, the man behind the Con Tour Blog, traveled one weekend to the valleys of Bukidnon to unveil the mysteries behind the Pyramid of the Monastery of Transfiguration in San Jose, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. He listed 10 significant traits behind the Pyramid that made him considered the Monastery of Transfiguration as “The Bliss of Central Mindanao”. Not known to many, the Church of Transfiguration was the last architectural work of the National Artist for Architecture, Leandro Locsin. Inside the church features interesting pieces of arts and designs that truly defines its uniqueness the many churches in Mindanao.
EARL BOLIVAR of Suroy Pilipinas, is one of those travelers enticed by the beauty of Impasugong, a town in the northeastern part Bukidnon that is said to become the next important eco-tourism destination in this landlocked province of Mindanao. Impasugong is a quaint first class municipality whose rugged terrain is defined by scenic mountains; deep canyons and gorges. Earl, like other travelers who traveled to Impasugong, instantly fell in love upon peeking inside and seeing the wonders of nature that Impasug-ong possesses. Coming from a Mindanaoan like Earl who has explored the many wonders of his home province of Bukidnon, certainly, this part of Mindanao is blissful haven of spectacular highland sights guaranteed to take one’s breath away.
Senyorita MICAELA RODRIGUEZ listed the island born out of fire, Camiguin, as one to the Top 3 destinations in the Philippines she would love to visit again and again. For her, Camiguin Island remains mysterious and beautiful even if she keeps on coming back. The island never bores her. Camiguin being one island but packed with natural wonders and great tourist spots is undeniably an ideal destination for blissful adventures.
MHE-ANNE OJEDA, a seasoned traveler, was convinced to visit my hometown Cateel after reading my entry to the PTB’s Blog Carnival Hometown Theme of which she hosted. My article features my humble beginnings and the many spectacular places to discover in my birthplace including the famed Aliwagwag Falls, the Philippine’s highest waterfalls. In her journey to my hometown Cateel, she discovered that this coastal town of Davao Oriental has a lot to offer not just the Aliwagwag Falls. Her passion for her Comings and Goings made her realized that the whole island of Mindanao is so blessed with ample of natural attractions just waiting to be explored and experienced. Experiencing Cateel, Atty. Mhe-Ann understands why I am so proud being a blissful son of my hometown and Mindanao.
FRANCIS NUNEZ BALGOS, the Pala-lagaw, finds the volcanic island province of Camiguin as one of the best places to visit in the entire Mindanao. And when in there, a visit to the Mount Hibok Hibok Ardent Hot Spring is a must. He considers this a perfect jump off site for mountaineers and a family hot tub. Indeed, there are plenty of things to do and see when in Camiguin. But after one’s day tour to the whole island, bathing and soaking at the warm healing waters of Ardent Hotspring is truly a great treat. And from my experience, I must agree there’s bliss in this part of Camiguin.
KARA SANTOS, in one of her travels to Mindanao, was brought to the foothills of Davao to witness the fiesta of the Matigsalog Tribe, who reside in the forests and remote barangays of Marilog. She called this as one of the most blissful and memorable places that she’s been in the country. That trip was few years back, but she still vividly recalls how special it was to feel and witness such blissful tribal fiesta. Having experienced ritual dances, heard stories, commune with the members and kids of the tribe, she realized that even people who are away from the modern world and digital age can find bliss in the own little way. That trip gave Kara one innate blissful experience.
BERNIEMACK ARELLANO’s Habagat Central chronicled his various travels to the different provinces, towns and cities in Mindanao entitled “Mindanao Saga: Return to the Land of Promise”. Like others, Bernie considers Mindanao as “The Wild West” of the Philippines. It was this year when the man behind Habagat Central traveled back Mindanao, the land of his ancestors, to learn more about its culture, commune with its people and appreciate more its unexplored wonders. From Marawi to Cotabato, Zamboanga to Davao, from Iligan to Gensan, these are among the many places Bernie traveled in Mindanao to rediscover his roots. Summarizing his journey through his article and photos, Bernie truly showed the uniqueness of every place he’d been in Mindanao and takes pride about the blissful things it can offer.
EDELITO SANGCO, the man behind Island Vacations, is lucky to be among the residents of Socorro, Surigao Del Norte. Socorro is the home of the Bucas Grande Islands, the islands I consider truly a gift to the whole Mindanao. Edelito defines the Bucas Grande Island as a destination of various natural attractions. I was among those who were lured by the beauty of these Islands and I say it is beyond doubt worth visiting. The up close and personal encounter with the non-stinging jelly fishes of the Bucas Grande Islands is by far the most unforgettable Island experience I ever had. But there is more to see, more to explore in this blissful part of Mindanao.
LOST BOY LLOYD finds Dakak Park and Beach Resort in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte a blissful place to stay when in this part of Mindanao. Being a premium resort, Dakak Park and Beach Resort’s great deal of facilities and amenities make it the perfect place to relax, unwind and commune with nature. The exclusivity and tranquility of the beach make it the ideal place to stay especially for those who are seeking for peaceful and serene getaway. Having experienced it himself, Llyod believes that his blissful place must be visited when coming to Dapitan.
ESTAN CABIGAS, a certified Langyaw, finds the rustic town of Maitum, a gem in Sarangani Province, an interesting place to explore in Southern Mindanao. Discovering its interesting history, rich culture and picturesque sights is bliss in itself. Visiting the Pawikan Nesting Sanctuary, the anthropomorphic burial jars, watertubing in Pangi River, bat watching in Pinol and the close encounter with town’s T’boli are the among the must-experience things to do in Maitum.
NATHALIE PENADOS in her Chronicles of My Wandering Soles highly regards Barangay Day-asan in her home city of Surigao as one of the best places to visit while in the City. Barangay Day-asan, a typical floating village situated at Arellano District, is considered as the Little Venice of Surigao. The simple houses of more than 400 residents of this water village stand on wooden stilts or piles of rock and mostly with fish cages. Visiting Day-asan can be blissful experience in this part of Mindanao because it is one ecotourism destination that showcases great reforestation and conservation of mangrove forest.
ALEAH PHILS, a Solitary Wanderer from Surigao, considers spelunking at Danakit Cave at Tandag, Surigao Del Sur another great blissful experience to try when visiting this northeastern part Mindanao. When Aleah was home for vacation, she braved to explore some of the most unexplored and unexploited caves in her town. For spelunking enthusiasts, Danakit Cave is a must-explored cave. Amazing stalagmite and stalactites formations abound the cave. Tandag is very accessible from Butuan City, Surigao City and even Davao City.
EILEEN CAMPOS, the friendliest girl behind Possibly Pinay, traveled to Davao to experience the lures and beauty of the Island Garden City of Samal. With my help, Eileen was able to make her Do-It-Yourself Samal Tour one huge success. In two days, Possibly Pinay visited the awesome colony of Fruit Eating Bats at the Monfort Bat Sanctuary, climbed the Mount Puting Bato, Samal Island’s highest peak and a lot more. “What a blissful tour!” Eileen commended after enjoying the must-try things to do in Samal.
DANIEL KARLO DE LEON, an experienced traveler who’s been in and out of Mindanao, listed 10 things that he misses about the Islands. He had great memories while visiting some of the key cities and towns in the Island. Mindanao becomes an important Island destination for Karlo. It gives him a lot of experiences he learned for the first time. It gives him photographs that he considers masterpieces. It gives him gastronomic experiences until now he craves. It lets him experience authentic culture and tradition. Things he now misses. Above all, Mindanao gives him the blissful reason to come back, again and again.
AS FOR THE TRAVEL TELLER, Mindanao is my home. My blissful home. Mindanao is an abode of my ancestors who like me are passionate about living a life full of happiness, serenity and respect. Simply put, a blissful life. Cliché as it may seem, Mindanao is indeed a “land of promise”. It is a land of Mindanaoans who promise to live in peace and harmony despite of differences and diversity. Like my fellow Filipino Travel Bloggers who believe that Mindanao as a blissful place to find great adventure and worthy travel, we Mindanaoans believe that our Island is a gift to every Filipino in this country. A gift that needs to be seen, experienced and loved.
COME TO MINDANAO. THERE IS BLISS IN THIS ISLAND. THERE IS “MINDANAO BLISS.
To all the PINOY TRAVEL BLOGGERS who contributed to this Blog Carvinal, I sincerely thank you for showcasing the beauty of our Island. Mindanaoans like me will always be grateful. To my fellow Mindanaoans, this post for you. We are great blissful people living in this great blissful island of Mindanao.
To read previous BLOG CARNIVALS of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers, you may visit Estan Cabigas’ LANGYAW for the full complilation.