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.


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.