MAGUINDANAO: It’s MagandaNOW

NATURE | CULTURE | HERITAGE | PEOPLE | FLAVORS

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

MAGUINDANAO: It’s MagandaNOW

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.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE PHOTO TEASERS THAT CAN ENTICE YOU
TO TRAVEL TO MAGUINDANAO

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.

CELEBRATE THE CULTURE AND HERITAGE OF MAGUINDANAO THROUGH INAUL FESTIVAL

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.

 

CAMPAWAN CURTAIN FALLS: Davao Region’s Widest Waterfall

Among the five provinces found in the Davao Region, the Province of Davao Oriental is considered as the Water Wonder.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-33White sand beaches are dotting the shorelines of the Province. A number of beautiful islands can also be found here. It also boasts of its unspoiled lakes, pristine riverine system and even hot springs. And when it comes to waterfalls, Davao Oriental is the place to be.

The highest waterfalls in the Philippines and considered as one of the most beautiful is found in Davao Oriental, the Aliwagwag Falls of Cateel. Now adding to the list of the most beautiful falls in the entire Davao Region is the CURTAIN FALLS located in Barangay Campawan in the town of Baganga.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-28CAMPAWAN CURTAIN FALLS has come to fame when the doors of tourism in the eastcoast of Davao Oriental opened last year. For many years, this water wonder was kept preserved and only the local residents living nearby got to enjoy its natural beauty. But with its tourism potential, the roads going to Campawan were cleared and widened giving the way for other locals in nearby towns to come and see the town’s hidden water gem.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-16When a number of photos of Campawan Curtain Falls broke out in social media, many have mistaken it as Tinuy-an Falls found in Surigao Del Sur because of its similarity to the later. Like Tinuy-an Falls, Campawan Curtain Falls boasts of its wide water curtain extending to a width said to be the widest in the whole Davao Region.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-1 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-2 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-7Being situated in the heavily forested hinterland of Baganga, getting to the Curtain Falls entails a long travel from either the town proper or from the town of Cateel. The road is not yet concrete and others may find it uncomfortable. But the green and forested sides that can be seen along the way assured fun and adventure. From the parking area, you need to cross a river and walk for about 5-10 minutes to get to the area of the falls. And the moment you get there, the unparalleled view of the waterfall will keep you in awe as you marvel at its magnificent beauty.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-8 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-9 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-12 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-13 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-14The absence of modern developments around the waterfalls plus its remoteness from the highway promised that Campawan Curtain Falls is still a natural beauty to behold. Unlike Aliwagwag Falls Eco Park, there are no concrete developments made in the area yet. Although there are stores and cottages, one can tell that the place is still unspoiled retaining its natural splendor.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-20 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-25There is no entrance fee. You only pay for parking fees in the area where owned privately. The cottages can be rented as low as 150 pesos. If you’re going there and you intend not to rent a cottage, that’s not a problem. There are shaded places where you can leave your things and enjoy the scenic view right in front of you.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-27Taking a natural shower under the falls and swimming in its shallow basin is among the best way to enjoy the waters of Campawan Curtain Falls. Getting closer to the cascading water is very easy and accessible. Everyone who goes there take time to come closer to the falls and enjoy its cascading waters. If you’re into selfies, go to one side and take that selfie shot for yourself.

Campawan Curtain Falls is now considered as one of Davao Oriental’s must-visit destinations. So, when you visit the eastcoast of the Province, include it in your list of places to see. In fact, most of those who visit Aliwagwag Falls, they also make way to visit the Curtain Falls. Doing so, you get to see and experience not only the highest waterfalls in the Philippines but also the widest falls in the whole Davao Region.

HOW TO GET THERE:

The best way to get to Campawan Curtain Falls is through the towns of Baganga or Cateel. Both towns can be reached by taking a bus or van from Davao City via the Compostela Valley Road or Mati City Road. Buses and vans are on daily schedule located at Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT). When you get to Baganga or Cateel, you can take a habal-habal and tell the drivers to take you to Campawan Curtain Falls. You can hire the habal-habal for Php 500.00 for one day.

THE PACMAN TOUR IN GENERAL SANTOS CITY

Without a shred of doubt, boxer turned politician Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is the most famous personality who hailed from the Tuna Capital of the country, General Santos City and Sarangani. Christened as the “People’s Champ”, the Pacman continues to bring pride to the Philippines and has put the country in the global map in terms of boxing and sports in general – something that his hometown cherishes the most.

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Adored and loved by many not only in the Philippines but around the globe, Manny Pacquiao charmed the world not only with his greatest triumphs in sports but with his humility, sincerity and pure heart of helping and serving the needy especially his people in the Province of Sarangani.

The Pacman Mansion 1

The PacMan Mansion 1

Together with his wife, Jinkee who once served as Vice Governor of Sarangani, the couple founded Emmanuel and Jinkee’s Heart Foundation, Inc., a foundation which main objective is to help finance various activities and livelihood programs to help uplift the socio-economic life of the less fortunate people especially in their hometown.

The PacMan Mansion 2

The PacMan Mansion 2

As part of the Foundation’s Tourism Project, the couple opened the doors of some of their properties as tourist sites to tourists who’d like to take a peek of the life of the People’s Champ. Sites include Mansion 1, Mansion 2, Wildcard Gym, PacMan Stadium, Pacman Beach Resort, PacMan Farm and PacMan Hotel.

Facade of the PacMan Mansion 1

Facade of the PacMan Mansion 1

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The Boxing Glove Shape Pool at the PacMan Mansion 1

Looks like a Heart but that’s a shape of a Boxing Glove

Accompanied by my Wrangler friends, we had fun visiting these properties and was astounded by the triumph and success of the great boxer exemplified by the places we visited. Like those who took the tour, we found ourselves inspired by the life’s story of the people’s champ who was once a struggling boxer rising to fame, eventually become a pound-for-pound king and now a Senator of the land.

PacMan's Framed Boxing Fights in Display

PacMan’s Framed Boxing Fights in Display

The Wranglers inside PacMan Mansion 1

The Wranglers inside PacMan Mansion 1

Maka-proud si PacMan

Maka-proud si PacMan

The places and structures we visited are concrete proof of PacMan’s humble beginnings and his victorious road to become who he is now. But what’s very noble about this is that some of the structures are utilized to hone and train more talents and athletes especially in the field of boxing and other sports.

Basketball Court and Multipurpose Gym at Mansion 2

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The Children’s Mini-playground at Mansion 2

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Senator Manny’s Office and Bulwagan at Mansion 2

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The Louis Vuitton and Hermes Bikes at Mansion 2

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These Louis Vuitton and Hermes Bikes deserve a groupie.

Another property we visited is the 2-hectare Mansion 3 which is undergoing construction to this day. This will be the biggest residential property of the couple among the many properties they own. Taking photos are not allowed, so I can’t give you the picture of how big the property is but, swear, when I say BIG, it really is!!!

The Pacman Sport Stadium

The Pacman Sport Stadium

Inside Pacman Sport Stadium. It's BIG!!!

Inside Pacman Sport Stadium. It’s BIG!!!

Our tour ended with a sumptuous lunch, of course, at the Manny Pacquiao Hotel which is also known as the Road Haus Hotel. Roadhaus is one of General Santos City’s finest business and leisure hotel. It is situated in downtown area and is 30 minutes away from the Airport, 15 minutes away from the pier and just a short ride to shopping malls, convention areas and other recreational spots. For bookings and reservations, you can reach them at (083) 553-8888 or at 09174195727 and 09257002750. Aside from spacious and comfy rooms, PacMan Hotel has a restaurant serving delectable cuisines. Of course, must-try are the tuna dishes. the-pacman-tour-1 the-pacman-tour-2

And so when in General Santos City, whether you are a PacMan fan or not, try the Pacman Tour and you’ll go home inspired by the life’s story of this living legend and you’ll end up prouder because of what this greatest athlete has contribute to our country – even to you as a Filipino.
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LVA Travel Care and Allied Services arranges the PacMan Tour in General Santos City. You call them at 0933-104-6098 for booking and reservations. If you’re lucky, the beautiful Vienna Q. Borro, the owner, will be your official tour guide and will inspire your more with the stories of our great Pacman. Part of the proceeds of the PacMan Tour will go to the the Emmaneul and Jinkee’s Heart Foundation, Inc.

Special thanks to Ms. Vienna Borro for arranging this tour. Same goes to our handsome tour guide Jao. Salamat gayud kaayo!!!

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.

EVENING GOWN FOR WOMEN

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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.

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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.