CATEEL, DAVAO ORIENTAL – The Travel Teller’s Humble Beginnings

“Ang taong hindi marunong lumingon sa kanyang pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa kanyang paroroonan”. With that, I will officially begin my travel story featuring my birthplace CATEEL, DAVAO ORIENTAL.

Cateel's Rizal Monument, the tallest in Mindanao

With heads up high, I’m proud to say that I am a true probinsyano by blood and by heart. I was born and raised in the charming little town of Cateel, Davao Oriental.

St. James the Apostle Parish Church
St. James the Apostle Parish Church

Cateel is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Davao Oriental, the easternmost part of the mainland Mindanao. It lies at the very mouth of the Great Pacific Ocean in the East, the green Valleys of Compostela in the West, the rustic town of Boston in the North and the municipality of Baganga in the South.

Sunrise in Cateel Bay
The Pacific Sunrise

I would say my passion for traveling traces back its roots from the place of my birth. Simply because Cateel has it all. Beaches, coves, mountains, hotspring, waterfalls, caves, rivers, mangroves, people, culture – and all other things that I avidly love to see, enjoy and experience today.

Santa Filomena Beach
Tongkip Beach
Baldo Beach, my childhood’s favorite.

THE BEACH. My first swimming lessons took place at Baldo Beach, the most famous beach for kids at my age then. Baldo Beach is actually a Sabang, a body of water where Cateel River and the mighty Pacific Seas meet. Waters were cold and deep blue. It is also a legendary beach spot in our town. Until to this day whenever I visit home, I never fail to come to Baldo Beach. It remains so special to me. The Sister’s Beach named after the Sister’s Convent fronting the Pacific Seas is also famous. It is one of the favorite places I grew up beach combing with. The waves are ravaging so perfect for swimming. Soon, stories of these beaches, coves and other beaches in Cateel will be featured here.

The Majestic Aliwagwag Falls
This Blogger enjoying the Cascading Waters of Aliwagwag Falls

THE WATERFALLS. For those who do not know, Cateel is the home of the Philippine’s highest waterfalls, the majestic ALIWAGWAG FALLS.  It is a towering waterfalls regarded as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Mindanao with a series of 84 falls appearing like a “stairway to heaven” from afar. This very recent, it has become one of the adventure destinations of many outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers in Mindanao. And being famed as the country’s highest cascades, Aliwagwag Falls is Cateel’s prized pride. But Cateel is not just Aliwagwag Falls. My first waterfalls escapade is the DANOG FALLS in Barangay Mainit. It is a two tiered cascades not frequented by many because of its inaccessibility from the highway. Nevertheless, we braved the unpopularity and made it to see the spectacular view of the falls. Also, MAHAN-OB FALLS, TRES MARIAS (Mantunao Eco Park) and MABUYONG FALLS are among the other must visit waterfalls in my hometown Cateel.

The Cascading Water Source of Cateel River

Aliwagwag Falls is the one of the water sources of Cateel River.THE RIVERS. Cateel River is touted as one of the cleanest Rivers in the Davao Region. I had once explored river cruising its waterways and I found it rich in aquatic resources and home to the different Mangroves stretched all over Cateel River. I wish to do it again one day.

One of the new Concrete Roads in Cateel.

Surrounded by MOUNTAIN RANGES, Cateel can be a perfect venue for a day hike or two. I never tried one but heard it very exciting. Numerous CAVES can also be found there. The famous one is LANGYAWAN CAVE. Some caves were believed to be homes of the Mandaya Tribe long time ago, the early settlers of Cateel. Some of these caves were undiscovered until to this day.

Just one of the many Rice Farms in my hometown.
Copra is also one of the main sources of income of my townfolks.

Growing up in a town used to be 10 hours away from the urban City of Davao, life in Cateel was rustically laid back. I contented myself with rural pleasures there is in my hometown. Rice farming is one of the main sources of living in my town. My parents taught me the value of this agriculture. So as kids, we’re taught to come to the farm and learn the basics of rice planting. Hence, our rice fields became a huge playground for me and my siblings. The muddy pilapil, the little farm hill, the pili tree and the fruit bearing mango trees are things that until now I still would love to visit. These are undeniably unforgettable.

Kutoo Festival celebrated every October 29th of the year.
Playful kids at Cateel Centennial Park.

There are many things I’d like to share about my hometown Cateel but this post is even enough to describe the many wonderful stories I have in my town. Now that I am living in the big City of Davao, I sometimes long to go back there again and savor the simplicity of life only my hometown Cateel can give. A lot has changed there now but what never changed is the fact that Cateel is my birthplace, my home and my refuge.

RIZAL STREET, where our humble abode is situated. My humble beginning.

“Home Sweet Home” as they call it. Cateel is indeed my home sweet home. Wherever this journey called life takes me, wherever I may go, I will never ever forget that what I am today is part of who I was before – a probinsyano born and raised in a charming little town called CATEEL, a home sweet home.

This Blogger at Molye


The best way to get to Cateel is by taking a Bus from Davao City via the Compostela Valley Road or Mati City Road. Buses are on daily schedule located at Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT). These buses are operated by Mallen Express, Lyra Express, Floremel Express and Bachelor Express.

This is my entry to the 7th Blog Carnival of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers called “HOMETOWN” hosted by a fellow PTB Member  Mhe-anne L. Ojeda of My Comings and Goings.

57 Replies to “CATEEL, DAVAO ORIENTAL – The Travel Teller’s Humble Beginnings”

  1. There’s indeed something in Cateel that captivates you. It’s magical! You try to visit the place and you end up saying,” I will be back.”

  2. Congrats on your new homeblog Olan. What better way to start your journey than to write about your hometown *wink*wink*. thanks for Sharing Idol.

  3. I hope Cateel will remain as a “home sweet home” for numerous citizens of our town who are in foreign lands and yearn to come back despite the long absence.

    1. Salamat ng marami. We are so blessed to come from a place like this – home of natural wonders. 🙂 hope you guys could also come and visit the place. 🙂

  4. ang ganda nung aliwagwag falls.. pero may question ako.. hndi po ba ma.cristina falls ang highest?
    wel it doesnt really matter.. basta maganda yung aliwagwag..

    ngayon ko lang binasa yung 7th blog carnival.. hehe

    1. Hi Ivan. Maria Cristina Falls is the tallest waterfalls while Apiliwagwag is the highest. 🙂 Read you post too on our PTB Blog Carnival’s “Hometown” 🙂

  5. This is so lovely; very beautiful pictures; Did you use DSLR on these? amazing; I really want to go to Cateel; my Mom was born and grew up there; I want to see all the beaches, especially the San Victor island. I also want to observe the way of life, the culture, the everything about Cateel, Davao Oriental. 🙂

    1. Thank you Noy for the wonderful comment. 🙂 Cateel has it all. 🙂 beaches, waterfalls, hotsprings, rivers, caves. Anything a lakwatsero like you needs. So, coem back and discover your roots again. Yes, i used D5000 in taking all these photos. Again. Thanks. 🙂

    1. No, huwag please Cateel, Baganga and Boston are NPA infested towns. We have to eradicate this problem before dreaming this place as your retirement…..

      1. Yes, Cateel and nearby towns may be infested by NPAs but that does not mean PEACE and TRANQUILITY do not prevail there. Still – a great place for retirement especially for people like me who came from there.

  6. Thenks for the information. My wife and I wondered if we would find things of interest there.
    We live in Mati and often see buses displaying the Cateel sign.
    Hopefully there are places for visitors to stay overnight? We’re not sure how long the journey is?

    Regards James

    1. Hi James. 🙂 Thank you for dropping by my blog. 🙂 yes, my hometown Cateel is a place of so many wonders. From Mati City, it is around 4 or 5 hours Ride. 🙂 there are buses travelling there everyday. FOR PLACES TO STAY, you may stay at the EDARS PLACE, TUGKI or THE OAR INN. These Inns are known to everyone there. You can just ask them to bring you there. 🙂

      PLACES TO SEE includes:
      4. MAHOC BEACH

      Please go over my blog, i have posted photo and blog articles here. 🙂

  7. Hi there, I always wanted to travel to Cateel but I have heard rumors about insurgence (i.e. NPA) are around the area and I have been planning to go by private car. Is it safe going there? How is the peacefulness when i’m on the road?

      1. I think the Tagum route is much more nearer though, Is it safe if i used a private car using that route to go there instead? Are you really sure it’s safe? No NPA or rebels there?

  8. whew!!!! what a nice place!!!, i missed this place really, this is my place also…..see you soon Cateel, thank you idol…

  9. My wife and I were nearly ready to make the journey after all this time, here we are the day before our departure from Mati City, I have developed an illness that prevents us from going.
    What is equally upsetting, a friend who came to visit us was going with us.

    So they have now gone to spend the day in Dahican whilst I remain at home in Mati.

    Here’s to the next time. 🙁

  10. Hi, im just playing around the net looking for a place to visit here in Cateel and gladly found your blog. Indeed your place is beautiful. Dami mapupuntahan and enjoying be here. Still exploring other places. heard there is a cave here and planning to visit someday.

    1. Thanks for visiting my hometown. 🙂 Cateel is blessed with so many things and even it is now ravaged by Typhoon Pablo, she will soon come back to her old shape and become what she is again – a paradise for us Cateelenos. 🙂

  11. Sir, I love your blog..very informative indeed. I had visited Cateel twice already but I was not able to tour on the other falls you have there. We went to Aliwagwag falls last March 2015 and the government is really doing something beautiful for this wonderful tourist spot.. very fortunate for us they were not charging entrance fee at that time since the place is under development…We’re looking forward for the next summer, hopefully get a chance to visit there again and try the zipline at the Aliwagwag falls.

    1. WOW! Great to know you love my hometown. Thank you so much and please continue to tell the world how nice and beautiful our hometown is. We dearly welcome people like you in our town! 🙂 Thanks for dropping a line!

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