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.

DAPITAN CITY: More Than Just A Shrine City

It was an invitation I have long wanted to get. In fact, years ago, I was invited to visit this very important destination in Mindanao but for some reasons I wasn’t available. But being on my bucket list, seeing this city has always been my dream. Finally, a very enticing invitation came to travel and experience the wonders of this phenomenal destination – the Shrine City of Dapitan.

Like those other destinations in my bucketlist, this beautiful and tranquil city is among those places that topped on my Sibika at Kultura Book. How can I forget those lessons I learned about Rizal in Dapitan? Or that commercial ad of Dakak Park and Beach Resort played repeatedly on Eat Bulaga? And with this invitation, seeing, experiencing and relishing Dapitan is a dream unfolding.

One week before the trip, the whole island of Mindanao was placed under Martial Law. Checkpoints were everywhere. Strict security measures have been implemented. Many tourists and travelers cancelled their trips to many destinations in Mindanao even to those that are not directly affected by the crisis. I, on the hand, found myself traveling to Dapitan on the 5th day of Martial Law in Mindanao. From Davao, I flew to Dipolog City via Cebu and headed straight to the famed Shrine City of the Philippines.

Unlike other trips I have, I did not do any research about Dapitan. In fact, I did not check the photos and images in the internet. I wanted to be surprised. I wanted to be amazed by the things and wonders that I will see in Dapitan. And true enough, Dapitan City did not only surprise me but amused me with so many things that I never expected to experience.

Here are some of the most exciting things that made my stay in Dapitan City more fun, memorable and worth-sharing.


If you grow up in the 90’s, you probably heard and watched that of Dakak Beach Resort’s advertisement played on Eat Bulaga. That TV Ad actually ignited the interest in me to experience this famed Beach Resort of Northern Mindanao. And just like what that old ad said, DAKAK BEACH RESORT is indeed a paradise to enjoy. Staying there is like reliving that childhood wish of experiencing this Northern Paradise that has enticed tourists from all over the world including the beautiful Misses of the Universe. I was booked at the Deluxe Room. It’s a very spacious room with amenities that promise comfort, ease and relaxation. The beachline is clean. And the food is incredibly good.


Dakak Beach Resort now boasts of its newly constructed Villas situated in the Cliffside. These beautiful villas provide an amazing view overlooking the calm waters of Dakak Cove and the famous sunset of Dapitan. This beautiful array of exquisitely designed villas is called Villa Angelina Luxury Suites. This is located just adjacent to Dakak Beach Resort but unlike Dakak, Villa Angelina Luxe Resort is exclusive and more luxurious than the regular rooms of Dakak. The construction is still in progress but some 20 luxury suites are now open for its valued guests. These suites are called Cliffside Casitas and each villa comes with amenities that promise luxurious, relaxing and comfortable stay.


Dakak never runs out of fun and exciting things in store for their guests that sometimes they get from online stores as Sheepskin Town. Aside from its beach and aquafun activities, it also boasts of its facilities apt for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkie – the Dakak Adventure Zone. It is home to the longest dual zipline in Asia that stretches up to 1.3 kilometers long and said to be one of ziplines in the country offering the most scenic view.  Aside from the zipline, there is also an ATV Thrill Ride that offers extreme adventure and fun-filled drive.


Dapitan City takes pride as home to the only theme park outside of the island of Luzon and that is courtesy of the Gloria’s Fantasyland. With its theme “Everyday is a Festival!”, spectators are assured of one magical experience. The theme park features a line-up of thrilling rides and attractions and spectacular quality entertainment. The Grand Night Parade is a must-see. It features a Fire and Thunder Show, a parade of Festival Colors and Cultures of the world and a specular Firework Display. Indeed, one’s stay in Dapitan is not complete without a visit a Gloria’s Fantasyland.


Aside from Dakak Beach, another synonymous phrase to Dapitan is “Rizal sa Dapitan”. Our national hero’s exile to Dapitan has made remarkable significance to the city to be coined as the Shrine City of the Philippines. Rizal spent 4 fruitful years in what was then a laid-back town of Dapitan and helped the community develop significant changes that until now can be sensed. The works, life and great contribution of Ka Pepe is preserved until now.  The Rizal Shrine tops as the number historical and heritage spot in the whole city.


I was wrong when I thought that Dapitan is just all about Rizal and Dakak. Truth is, this Shrine City of Mindanao is home to a number of natural wonders that is truly something that Dapitan can boast. It has long coasts, majestic waterfalls, pristine cave system and rivers that remain untainted to this day. In Ba-ao, the Kamanganon Cave is a must visit. It is about 20 minutes trek from the jump off area passing through series of streams and waterfalls that make the whole experience more exciting and fun. The city is also home to a vast mangrove reserve. In fact mangrove trees thrive everywhere and have become sanctuary for marine life. River cruising can also be experienced here. It is something one should experience when visiting Dapitan away from the usual tours.


As a Spanish settlement, Dapitan is a home to a number of heritage sites in Mindanao. Being Jose Rizal’s official home in Mindanao, Dapitan boasts of its rich heritage roots tracing back pre-Spanish times. The City Poblacion boasts of its rich heritage sites that until now are carefully preserved not only by the City Government but even by the people. Some of these heritages sites are already marked as National Historical Site by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.


Dapitan will soon become one of Mindanao’s Golf Destination. This is courtesy of Dakak Championship Golf Club being developed in the vast acre of Dakak Park Complex.  The golf course is eyed to become one of the best Golf Courses in the Philippines and in Asia. The nine hole championship golf course is designed by no less than Greg Norman, an Austrailan golfer who used to be world’s number 1 Golfer. My favorite area is the Balete Hole with an amazing view of Dakak Park and the Sulu Seas.


It’s not hearsay. It’s a record and it’s a Guinness World Record. The shortest man alive is in the Philippines and now lives in Dapitan. He is Junrey Balawig from Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte. He is 23 years old now and stands 69.93 centimeters (23.59 inches) tall. He was declared the shortest man alive during his 18th birthday. Junrey the record of Khadendra Thapa Magar of Nepal who is 0.67 meters tall. With the help of former Congressman Nonong Jaloslos, Junrey and his family now live in Dapitan City and resides at the Heritage House, the building occupied by the City Tourism Office.


Among the cities and towns that I have visited in the country, I find Dapitan’s New City Hall as one of the most impressive. It perfectly sits in an area that commands a perfect view of nearby river and the bridge that connects the City to the mainland. For me, I consider it a perfect sight as a welcome treat to people entering Dapitan City. The City Hall is a newly constructed building. It houses the office of the Mayor, the Vice Mayor and the Sanguniang Panglungsod and the key offices government officer of the city.


If you’re on a gastronomic journey, Dapitan City will never fail you. With a good number of restaurants and cafes scattered in the different areas of the city, Dapitan is a delectable choice for you. Seafood is one of the city’s specialties. Some of Dapitan’s good food choices can be found at Gloria’s Fantasyland complex.

These are just among the many spectacular sights to see in Dapitan. There is more to see and more to experience in this city that was once loved and nurtured by no less than our National Hero Jose Rizal. And like Ka Pepe, if given a chance, I want to be exiled here – a sweet beautiful exile. After all, Dapitan City is more than just a shrine city – it has everything one is looking for in a destination.



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.