PILOT BEACH: Baganga’s Newest Beach Craze

Among the 11 municipalities of Davao Oriental sharing these untouched coasts, the Municipality of Baganga secretly possesses long beaches and lengthy coastline teeming mostly with captivating white sand shores. Secluded from crowded commercial tourism, these coastlines remain exquisitely unspoiled keeping its old world magic that exudes quaint setting of untouched nature – the kind of beach so perfect for those who love off-the-beaten type of beach adventures.

Adding to the many coastal wonders of Baganga is the newly opened PILOT’S VIEW BEACH RESORT located in Baybay Bobon, Salingcomot, Baganga, Davao Oriental.

VISIT BAGANGA and be mesmerized by the Coastal Wonders of the Eastcoast Jewel of Davao Oriental.



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.


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


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


The Children’s Mini-playground at Mansion 2


Senator Manny’s Office and Bulwagan at Mansion 2


The Louis Vuitton and Hermes Bikes at Mansion 2


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.

Moda Mindanao 2016 1

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.


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.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 63 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 35

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 : www.farmatcarpenterhill.com

MOUNT HAMIGUITAN: The Most Treasured Jewel of Davao Oriental

In the Philippines, out of the six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, only one can be found in Mindanao. That is the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary found in Davao Oriental, the only mountain range heritage site in the country. It is for this reason that the province deems it as its “Most Treasured Natural Jewel”.
Mount-Hamiguitan-In-Davao-OrientalInscribed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2014,the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary boasts of a unique pygmy forest of century old trees in ultramafic soil considered by many as one of the very few all over the world and hosts a rich biodiversity of endangered, endemic and rare species of flora and fauna. Among the residents of this wildlife sanctuary is the country’s national bird, the endangered Philippine Eagle.

Mount Hamiguitan Davao Oriental (3)Mount Hamiguitan lies in the middle of a narrow peninsula with the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Davao Gulf to the west. Situated at the southern end of the Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridor, Mount Hamiguitan covers 31,879 hectares of beach, lowland, montane, and mossy forest types. It occupies the land area within the political boundaries of San Isidro, Governor Generoso and the province’s capital, the City of Mati.

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The Mount Hamiguitan Range (Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan)

On July 30, 2004, Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary was declared as Protected Area by virtue of Philippine Republic Act No. 9303 “declaring Mt. Hamiguitan Range and its vicinity as protected area under the category of wildlife sanctuary and its peripheral areas as buffer zone”.

Mount Hamiguitan Davao Oriental (6)

The Mount Hamiguitan Range (Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan)

In 2007, Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon led a highly ambitious initiative to have the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary inscribed in the highly prestigious World Heritage List. She believes that the inscription of the wildlife sanctuary to the World Heritage List is an excellent opportunity to draw the attention of visitors and remind local residents of the “Outstanding Universal Value” of the mountain range.

HAMIGUITAN 4Seven years after, during the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee in June 2014 in the City of Doha, Qatar, the crown jewel of Davao Oriental was finally enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first inscribed mountain range in the Philippines and the first World Heritage Site in Mindanao.


Being part of the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List, it is expected that Mt. Hamiguitan will not only attract more tourists but also scientists and researchers coming from both national and international communities. Hence, public awareness of Mt. Hamiguitan and its outstanding values to the world will be heightened to raise global awareness.

Mount Hamiguitan Davao Oriental (5)

The Mossy Forest (Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan)

Long before it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary is a favorite among mountain climbers and outdoor enthusiasts. It’s not only because of its amazing landscaped Pygmy Forest but also with other natural wonders that abound the mountain range. Two of other favorite features of Mt. Hamiguitan are the Tinagong Dagat (Hidden Sea) and Twin Waterfalls.

Mount Hamiguitan Davao Oriental (1)

Tinagong Dagat (Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan)

As a World Heritage Site, the Provincial Government is required by the UNESCO to develop an interpretation site to purposely promote and educate the locals as well as tourists about its outstanding universal value. With support coming from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) of the Department of Tourism, the Provincial Government then spearheaded the development of a tourism facility complex at the buffer zone area of the heritage mountain. This world class facility is known as Mount Hamiguitan World Heriatge Park and is situated in the town of San Isidro.

HAMIGUITAN 11 MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (23)The Eco-Park covers 12.84 hectares and features a Natural Science Museum with an interpretation center for tourist who wants to have an experience of the area, especially the pygmy forest. It has also a Research Center and cabins for researchers. For outdoor enthusiasts, the complex also boasts of exciting mountain trails, a hanging bridge, adventures tree top, butterfly trails, bird watching deck, gardens and camping grounds. It has also souvenir shops and a restaurant.

MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (3) MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (4) MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (5) MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (6) MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (7) MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (11) MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (12) MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (13) MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (14) MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (18) MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (19) From the highway up to the site, the Department of Public Works and Highways provided the access concrete road. On the other hand, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources set up a Hamiguitan Biodiversity Research Center within the site.

MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (10)The construction of the entire complex including all the buildings, museum interiors, park amenities outdoor interpretation as well as its landscaping took 13 months to complete. The construction started on November 2014 until December 2015.

MOUNT HAMIGUITAN (8)Five months after its completion, finally the Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Park is open to the people and the rest of the world. The historic unveiling was spearheaded by the mother of the Province, Governor Corazon Malanyaon with President Benigno Aquino III as the special guest of honor.

HAMIGUITAN 3Truly, the UNESCO inscription together with the development of the Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Park provide a great prestige and honor not only to the leaders and the people of Province of Davao Oriental but the country as a whole. It showcases and celebrates the fortitude of its people in protecting and conserving their natural treasures.


Our very energetic mother of the Province, Governor Corazon Malanyaon

As someone who hails from Davao Oriental, I feel so honored to share this greatest achievement with my Province. There is so much pride in my heart knowing that my home province is now known as home to world-class destinations like our most treasured jewel, the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary. My shout-out of gratitude to our dearest outgoing Governor Corazon Malanyaon. Your legacy and dedication will never be forgotten.