GLAN, SARANGANI PROVINCE: Yesteryears’ Heritage is Today’s Treasure

I was wrong when I thought all that matters to Glan is its pristine white sand beach. You can’t blame me. The famous Gumasa Beach where Sarangani Bay Festival is held every year is located in this town and this six-kilometer stretch of white sand is said to be among the finest in Mindanao. So, if someone talks about Glan, the first thing that comes to mind is Gumasa Beach.

Glan Centennial Celebration CoverBut there’s more to Glan than its coastal wonders. Being the oldest municipality in the whole SocCCSKSarGen Region, Glan is a heritage town that played a significant role in shaping the whole region’s vibrant history. Forget about those white sand beaches, Glan’s substantial historical value makes this coastal town the most interesting place to discover in Sarangani Province. And those who come here to search for nature and pure pleasure find themselves more fascinated when the olden charms of Glan that are frozen in time are laid before their eyes. For some, they even call this beautiful place a little museum town. 

Glan’s Heritage of Yesteryears, Today’s Treasures.

Glan Centennial Celebration 4COLONO MARKER

In 1914, Don Tranquilino Ruiz from Alegria, Cebu was appointed by Gov. Gen. Francis Burton Harrison as Superintendent of Agricultural Colony No. 9. It was one of the Agricultural Colonies sent to then Moro Province now called Mindanao thru Colonization Law of Don Sergio Osmena, Sr., then Speaker of the House of Representatives. Don Tranquilino Ruiz together with other 16 Cebuanos were among the first Christian settlers who came to Glan on October 8, 1914. They were welcomed by the natives and together created a harmonious and progressive community. As town’s tribute to this first meeting of Christians and natives, this town’s foremost historic structure, the Colono Marker, was erected. If you happen to meet any local, ask him and he’ll probably name those in the structure.

Glan Centennial Celebration 3CENTURY OLD ANCESTRAL HOUSES

If you stroll around Poblacion, your eyes will surely be glued to the ample rows of ancestral houses standing still and resilient with time. Mostly built in the 1920’s, these colonial homes still house stunning collection of antiques and priceless heirlooms handed down from generation to generation. Some of these houses were originally constructed by those Colonos who came to Glan carrying with them furniture pieces and stuff from Cebu. Some of these houses now are occupied or maintained by either third or fourth generation of the family. If you’re lucky, owners will allow you to come inside their homes and let you take a glimpse of its colorful past. But even viewing them from the outside, you’ll absolutely be mesmerized by their high balconies, canopies, capiz shell windows, calado embroidered walls and wide wooden staircases. Take your time. Lavish your eyes with such vintage sight you can only see in Glan.

Glan Centennial Celebration 2EMILIO ALEGADO COLONIAL HOUSE

Perhaps the most visited and most photographed ancestral house in Glan is the E. Alegado Ancestral House. It was constructed in 1949 after the Japanese-American with both Spanish and American architectural influences. Emilio Alducente Alegado, the one who built it, was the first elected Municipal Mayor of Glan. He was endeared to his people that not just a street but also a barangay in Glan was named after him. Visit this home. It is now occupied by Councilor Martin Alegado, grandson of the late E. Alegado and you’ll surely be amazed by the intricate calado embroidered walls that abound inside. Of course, antique collections of the family can be seen everywhere.

Glan Centennial Celebration 1CENTURY OLD ACACIA TREES

Walk around the town proper and you will see several century old trees lining up along the streets, in schools and town plazas. At one glance, they almost resemble like those talking Ents in the Lord of The Rings. These trees are as old as the early Christian settlers of this quaint town and they’re undeniably the mute witnesses of how Glan becomes what it is now. Take a brisk walk under these trees or maybe sit on a bench under their shades, it will make you feel the antiquity of this rustic town and somehow would make you wonder how it was like living here 100 years ago. Honestly, I’ve never been to any town or city in this country with this number of century-old trees thriving like in the real forest. While some towns and cities in the country are cutting their heritage trees in favor of modernization, here in Glan they’re taken care of. They’re well-preserved for they too are part of the town’s heritage.

Glan Centennial Celebration 7SANTA CATALINA DE ALEXANDRIA CHURCH

It may not be as old as baroque or stone churches in the Visayas where Christianity was first introduced, Santa Catalina de Alexandria Church, the Parish Church of Glan is worth a visit. The Catholic Faith in this part of Mindanao was brought by Christian Settlers who came to this town from Cebu. Majority of them came from the town of Carcar where Santa Catalina of Alexandria is the patron saint. This explains further why the patron saint of Glan is the same as that of Carcar. Though Christians Cebuanos migrated to Glan in 1914, the Santa Catalina de Alexandria Church was built in 1949. It is now 65 years old and considered a built heritage. When you visit there, never miss saying a prayer for Santa Catalina or St. Catherine. Just so you know, she is the patroness of philosophers and preachers.

Glan Centennial Celebration 5THE RUIZ ANTIQUE COLLECTION

There’s no one in town who doesn’t know this walking encyclopedia of Glan. His name is Dr. Jose Tranquilino “Dodong” Ruiz III and he is the grandson of no less than the great Don Tranquilino Ruiz. He is a current Municipal Councilor and physician by profession. More than that, Dr. Ruiz is an antique collector and lover of something that has historical value. His museum-like home houses his family memorabilia which he prudently preserved over the years. Most of these antique collections speak about the history of his hometown. Over the years, Dr. Dodong Ruiz has built a reputation as the greatest local historian with his collection of antiques, local stories and personal account of his town’s heritage. And so when you visit this rustic town, drop by the Ruiz House to fully appreciate the history and legacy of Glan.

#ByahengMindanaw Team at Gumasa Beach
#ByahengMindanaw Team at Gumasa Beach

GUMASA WHITE SAND BEACH

Like most of those who came to Glan, your visit to this coastal town is not complete without visiting Gumasa Beach. After luxuriating yourself with your heritage tour at the town proper, hit the beach and surrender yourself to the town’s tropical allure. Gumasa is the priced beach jewel of Glan. It is nestled amidst the turquoise waters of the Sarangani Bay with long stretch of powdery white sands beaches and coves favorite among locals and foreign tourists. After engaging yourself all day beach bumming or suntanning, you can settle down and lounge by the seashore and gaze at the glorious sunset setting in the waters of Sarangani Bay. It is the perfect thing to do to end the day in Gumasa.

Glan Centennial Celebration
The Travel Teller inside the E. Alegado Ancestral House

Today, Glan remains to be the home of proud Glanians who take pride of their roots and their rich heritage. They are warm people and they welcome everyone to their beloved town with warm smiles. True that the sights and sounds of modernity have established their presence in the town but they cannot drown the stillness and elegance of the past as embodied by century-old trees and colonial houses of Glan. The town and its people may have opened themselves to rapid change but they have not sacrificed the bountiful wealth of their heritage. They chose to protect it, conserve it for their next generation of Glanians to see, appreciate and preserve.

This is GLAN. Its Yesteryears’ Heritage is Today’s Treasure.

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DCIM100GOPRO
An Ancestral House located in Hacienda Don Juan

This coming October 8, Glan will celebrate its 100 years as a town – the oldest town in the whole Region 12. This will be the most celebrated event to be staged in the whole town where every Glanian from all over the world looks forward to. Thus, the celebration is made even bigger and grander. COME VISIT GLAN and join the Glanian celebrating its 100 Years Legacy of Great Heritage and History. For more details, please like and follow GLAN100 on Facebook to get updates about this Centennial Celebration of the Oldest Town in SOCCKSARGEN.

Glan Centennial Celebration logo1A thank you shout-out to Ms. Lodar Dagoy Escobillo, the ever energetic Tourism Head of Glan for making this Heritage Tour possible.

Glan Centennial Celebration logo

SARANGANI PARAGLIDE: Up Up And Away

The sun was up scorching at 34 degrees Celsius that day. It’s hotter than I expected. I wish I didn’t wear my tank top. My arms were dreadfully grilled and itching was becoming unbearable. But instead of complaining, I just I reminded myself why I’m here submitting myself to the burning weather. This is sizzling Sarangani and I’m here for what I called the flight of my life – at the Sarangani Paraglide.

Paraglide at SaranganiWhen my good friend Jonalier laid down the itinerary for our Sarangani Tour telling me excitedly about the inclusion of Sarangani Paraglide, I couldn’t contain my excitement at once. It’s just that this kind of adventure is way too far from the usual outdoor things I do and knowing how this would change me made me more excited. The thought of free flying thousand feet above the ground and me up there kissing the skies thrilled me eagerly. And now that it’s unfolding, I picture-painted the freedom that comes with it.

Sarangani Paraglide 5

Sarangani Paraglide is the first and the only paragliding company in Mindanao. It is located at Safii Ranch Paragliding Flysite in Barangay Seguil, Maasim, Sarangani Province. The site is about 950-feet above the sea level making it a perfect spot for paragliding because of its vast ridges and cliffs needed for the foot launch. Paragliding, as you know it, is an air adventure that uses a foot launched glider aircraft that solely relies on wind conditions. Sarangani Paraglide promises one helluva flight.

Sarangani Paraglide 46

There are only three paragliding sites in the Philippines. One is in Carmona, Cavite, the second one is in Bontoc, Mountain Province and finally the Sarangani Paraglide in Sarangani Province. It was three years ago when paragliding was first introduced in this very site. It was the group of paraglide enthusiasts from General Santos City who started this air adventure and has since become one of the most sought after extreme adventures in Mindanao. It was also three years ago when I started dreaming to try this type of thrill I’ve never experienced before.

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Safii Ranch Paragliding Flysite is about 30 minutes ride from General Santos City. To get there, we took a passenger van bound to Maasim and dropped off at the entrance of the SAFII Ranch. From there, aboard 4X4 van, our host and pilot Titoy Romano, drove us to the launching site which is on a hilltop overlooking the stunning view of Sarangani Bay. The ride going up to the site was bumpy we roved through very rough, sharp and stony limestone-clad trails bouncing up and down inside the vehicle. “What a challenging way to start this extreme adventure” were the only thoughts I could imagine.

Sarangani Paraglide 29Sarangani Paraglide 41

At the launching site, the breathtaking view of Sarangani Bay became more inviting. It was a perfect day. The azure skies complimented the bluish bay and warm wind caressing my face signaled a perfect and extraordinary flight. But knowing I’m almost a thousand feet above the sea level and it’s where I’m taking the leap, I shivered. I never had acrophobia. In fact I always love being on top but free flying across the skies is beyond doubt different. Yes, there was fear now but I told myself to keep calm, focus and enjoy this flight of my life.

Sarangani Paraglide 55

“Relish it. Savor it. Feel it.” I commanded myself over and over again as I began suiting up for my turn. Titoy was my tandem pilot. He made sure harness are properly secured and promised me for a remarkable flight that day. As he started his instructions, I keenly listened to him trying to absorb every word he said. “One mistake and I’m done”, I told myself. But honestly, I couldn’t process all of them. My mind was too busy entertaining thought of what will happen in case we crash or fall. Oh yes, I was paranoid. But somehow I managed to stay calm and believed that this wanderlust and this appetite for great adventure would mean no harm to me. So, there I was waiting for my turn.

TITOY, my ever reassuring tandem pilot and co-owner of Sarangani Paraglide
TITOY, my ever reassuring tandem pilot and co-owner of Sarangani Paraglide

Minutes later, I found myself geared up to launch with Titoy as my tandem pilot. I must admit, there was this sudden rush of fear that made me panicky at an instant. Titoy noticed it but he calmed me down and reminded me to stay focus and free my mind from all thoughts and just think about flying – free flying. At his signal, we ran so fast and in few seconds we gently took off into the wind. It was fast as that all I can remember I was shouting at the top of my lungs. “This is it. This is the flight of my life”, I shouted out.

 

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Titoy on the other hand being so used to this kind of flying was so reassuring letting me relish the freedom I was feeling literally up above the skies. He told me to unleash all the negative thoughts I have and savor the moment that I was there – up up and away.

4 5 6

Being up in the air more than a thousand feet above sea level, suspended in lines attached to an inflatable wing, was truly a magical experience – an uplifting exhilaration incomparable to other adventures I made in the past. It’s more like a mixture of fear and thrill – braving to launch on a cliff to soar high like a free bird. Yes, we soared high flying engineless across the skies. It was a crazy crazy flight.

7 8 9 10 11

As the flight went on, I relaxed myself and remained stunned with the wonderful panoramic view beneath my feet. I was in total and utter awe as my eyes met with a vast panorama that quite literally took my breath away. I can’t help but compared how much I admired the view of scenery from this kind of flight compared to the numerous flights I had with airplanes. Here, I had the 360 degrees view of everything that’s under me and that is something truly remarkable.

PANORAMIC VIEW FROM THE TOP

Sarangani Paraglide 73 Sarangani Paraglide 80 Sarangani Paraglide 84 Sarangani Paraglide 105

After 6 minutes of flying, Titoy signaled that it’s time to land. I wanted to fly more, to be on the air for a little longer but guessed every amazing experience such this should come to end. From a distant, we soared back from where we launched and slowly went down to land. It was a smooth landing. I felt like all the goodness of the skies connived to give me that one perfect flight. I walked fast to the shaded area so fulfilled and overjoyed with what I’ve achieved. I felt so high and that feeling lasted for more minutes. I was in high spirit. I can’t contain my happiness. Flying has done something so hard to explain. Yes, it’s magical.

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As we headed back to the 4X4 truck, I gazed the very spot where we launched our wings and I gazed with a smile knowing I’ve done something so incredible that I’ll never ever forget for the rest of my life. Because I remember, there were days I dreamt of flying, not inside the enclosed cabins or gigantic planes, but free flying where I can touch the skies and feel the wind beneath my feet, and I did them all gliding the mesmerizing skylines of Sarangani. What an uplifting experience!

THAT’S ME UP THERE TAKEN BY JONALIER

Sarangani Paraglide 3 Sarangani Paraglide 2

SARAGANI PARAGLIDE made that dream come true. Thank you! Thank you!

MORE PHOTOS FROM SARANGANI PARAGLIDE.

Sarangani Paraglide 8 Sarangani Paraglide 59 Sarangani Paraglide 115 Sarangani Paraglide 119 Sarangani Paraglide 128 Sarangani Paraglide 133

Sarangani Paraglide 6FOR MORE INFORMATION:

SARAGANI PARAGLIDE
Saffi Ranch 1, Sitio Seguil, Barangay Tinoto
Maasim, Sarangani province
+639228071961
+639333736871
Facebook Page: Sarangani Paraglide

WHY CHOOSE GUMASA

Imagine you’re on the beach idly sitting in a lazy chair sipping a chilled watermelon shake while listening to your favourite Café Del Mar music on your iPod. The sun is up scorching but you couldn’t care less. You are just there on the beach sitting at that chair disconnecting yourself from the fast-paced urban life and letting yourself drown to the unhurried pleasures of island time.

DSC_0521This is the kind of state that the pristine beach paradise called Gumasa takes you. Christened as the “Boracay of the SoCCSKSargen Region”, Gumasa offers a variety of fine white sand beaches where you can escape into a world surrounded by lush foliage and tranquil emerald waters bathed by golden sunsets at dusk.

DSC_0428_2Gumasa is the priced beach jewel of Glan, Sarangani Province. It is nestled amidst the turquoise waters of the Sarangani Bay with long stretch of powdery white sands beaches and coves favourite among locals and foreign tourists.

Isla Jardin Del Mar
Isla Jardin Del Mar
Coco Beach Resort
Coco Beach Resort

Gumasa boasts of beaches that are not only perfect for swimming but also for diving and snorkelling. Beach sports and activities are popular here – beach volleyball, beach Frisbee, kayaking, jet skiing and other water sports. What’s even better is that beach resorts and public beaches are located just a couple of minutes away from the town proper Poblacion.

DSC_0452In Gumasa, accommodation is not a problem. You can camp out by the shore or rent a room in one of the many resorts dotting the waterfront. There are many good beach houses and resorts to choose from – from the cheapest to more poshy ones. One of the best places to stay is Isla Jardin Del Mar, the newest addition to the must visit resorts in Gumasa.

DSC_0434After engaging yourself all day beach bumming or suntanning, you can settle down and lounge by the seashore and gaze at the glorious sunset setting at waters of Sarangani Bay. It is the perfect thing to do to end the day in Gumasa.

DSC_0476Gumasa Beach is fast becoming a popular beach destination in Mindanao. In fact, the famed Sarangani Bay Festival, the biggest beach festival in Mindanao is held every summer at this once-a-quaint-beach. This year, Sarangani Bay Festival will be staged on the same shores on May 24 and 25 and expected to draw thousands of beach enthusiasts around the region. If you are just in the area, never miss this chance to be part of this annual beach event.

SNAPSHOTS FROM GUMASA

Gumasa: Beach Jewel of Sarangani Province
Gumasa: Beach Jewel of Sarangani Province
Pristine Beaches
Pristine Beaches
Long Stretch of Powdery White Sands
Long Stretch of Powdery White Sands
Rock and Rocks Formations
Sea of Rocks
The Turquoise Waters
The Turquoise Waters
The Tranquil Sarangani Bay
The Tranquil Sarangani Bay
The Scenic Seascape
The Scenic Seascape
Emeral Waters of Saranagni Bay
Emeral Waters of Sarangani Bay
Beach View Like No Other
Beach View Like No Other
The Beach of Isla Jardin Del Mar
The Beach of Isla Jardin Del Mar
Gumasa Beach: One Great Summer Destination
Gumasa Beach: One Great Summer Destination
The Main Gumasa Beach
The Main Gumasa Beach
White Sand Beach of Coco Beach Resort
White Sand Beach of Coco Beach Resort
The Mian Gumasa Beach
The Main Gumasa Beach
This Blogger at Enjoing the Scenic Beach View of Isla Jardin Del MAr
This Blogger at Enjoying the Scenic Beach View of Isla Jardin Del MAr
The Sea, The Sun and The Sand
The Sea, The Sun and The Sand

SO WHY CHOOSE GUMASA?  It’s a place you’d like to call home during summer!

HOW TO GET THERE: Glan, Sarangani Province is just 45 minute away from General Santos City, the Tuna Capital of the Philippines. From General Santos City, take a VAN that will bring you to Glan’s Poblacion. From there take a habal-habal to bring you to Barangay Gumasa where these finest beaches await for you. Enjoy!

FALLING IN LOVE WITH OLANIBAN ISLAND

It was the reverberating sounds of flying fox bats that wakened me up that early dawn as they all flew back to the tall old trees in the hillside of Tuke Maklang in Sarangani Island. It lasted for almost an hour I couldn’t go back to sleep. Hence, I got up, fixed my things and readied myself for our final day at the seemingly enchanting Islands of Sarangani, Davao Del Sur, the southernmost town of the whole Davao Region.

OLANIBAN ISLAND, BALUT ISLAND (151)As settled, our last day at Sarangani will be spent at most prized Island gem of this island town – the sparkling Island of Olaniban. I was as excited as everybody else for this Island is known for its powdery pearl white sand beach and vast shoreline the encircled the whole oval-shaped island. What’s more, the name of the island sounded clearly like my first name and the thought of it got me more excited.

“My name is OLAN and I am at OLANIBAN ISLAND.”
Sounds cool, I thought

It was still early when we left Tuke Maklang. The waters were gentle and quite friendly this time. Olaniban Island is quite far from where we stayed but the boat ride didn’t bore us because to we got see other interesting places that this island town boasts. We got to glimpse the view of the scenic Bolae Cove, some quiescent coastal villages and long stretch of white sand beaches nearby.

Olaniban Island From Afar
Olaniban Island From Afar

As we sailed further, the tiny view of Olaniban Island became clearer. Seeing it, I rushed to the edge of the boat to get a closer look and hoped to capture its enticing view.  And it didn’t fail me. The oval shaped island is just so striking we wanted the boat to get there straight away. Its white sand beach sparkled luring us to bask and frolic on it.

OLANIBAN ISLAND, BALUT ISLAND (24)
“My name is OLAN and I am at OLANIBAN ISLAND.”

When we finally reached the island, I was the first one to go down from vessel and immediately hurried to the white sand shore and yelled at the top of lungs the line I had been rehearsing in the boat. “My name is OLAN and I am at OLANIBAN ISLAND”, I shouted. I was like a little kid thrilled by sheer excitement. Finally, my feet touched the sparkling sands charming us from afar. And at one moment, I fell in love with the island.

The White Sand and Turquoise Sea
The White Sand and Turquoise Sea
Sarangani Island as seen from Olaniban
Sarangani Island as seen from Olaniban

It was high tide when we docked at Olaniban. I learned that the best way to enjoy the waters of the island is to go there during high tide as water level reaches the powdery white sand shores. At an instant, the call of the sea became so irresistible I wanted to soak to the waters but the view of the beach was most appealing I ended up photographing every captivating sight instead.

Powdery White Sands encircle the whole Olaniban Island
Powdery White Sands encircle the whole Olaniban Island
The Powdery White Sand Beach
The Powdery White Sand Beach

I walked around the 24-hectare island for two hours enjoying the powdery white sand that encircled the whole island. It is covered thickly by coconut trees although some mangrove trees of different species also abound the side. Talisay trees and dwarf coconut trees on the other hand are planted near the shores making it the best spot to just sit and enjoy the scenic view around.

Scenic View of Olaniban
These abound at the Island
The Greens of the Island
The Greens of the Island

As I walked further, I was amazed to see the powdery white sands slowly turning pinkish. I have been to a few pink sand beaches in the country but I didn’t know I can see one here at Olaniban. Red pipe organ corals abound at the island. The presence of these corals when mixed with white sands made the sands pinkish in color. Seeing this made me admire the island more.

Red Pipe Organ Corals abound at the shores of Olaniban
Red Pipe Organ Corals abound at the shores of Olaniban

Another photogenic site at Olaniban is the White Lighthouse built few meters from the shoreline. It was built in the area facing the great Sarangani Strait. I learned that the old lighthouse was built by the Americans during the American regime in the country to guide their ships en route to Australia. Today, the old lighthouse is an added attraction when visiting Olaniban Island.

The Lighthouse
The Lighthouse

The sun was high and scorching but I couldn’t care less. The island is just so perfect I could bask there for the whole day under the sun. And though the mighty sun was shining down pitilessly upon my sun-kissed skin, sea breeze in contrast was fanning the heat away. And the best way to cool down is to simply dip into the enticing waters of the island. And one second, I found myself rushing to the turquoise waters luxuriating in Olaniban’s own charm of island living.

MORE PHOTOS OLANIBAN PHOTOS

OLANIBAN ISLAND, BALUT ISLAND (39)
The Obligatory Jump Shot
OLANIBAN ISLAND, BALUT ISLAND (64)
Dwarf Coconut Trees
The Island Worshiper
The Island Worshiper
OLANIBAN ISLAND, BALUT ISLAND (80)
The Island’s Charm of Island Living
OLANIBAN ISLAND, BALUT ISLAND (82)
Beach Life
OLANIBAN ISLAND, BALUT ISLAND (115)
The Travel Teller and Drift Woods
OLANIBAN ISLAND, BALUT ISLAND (142)
Frolic in the Sands
OLANIBAN ISLAND, BALUT ISLAND (128)
Drift Woods

Olaniban Island is truly Saragani’s precious gem. Every visitor – beach lover or not – would certainly fall in love with island’s fascinating charm. Staying there for one day is not enough. I left the island along with my equally-adventurous friends filled with hope of coming back here and perhaps stay longer to relish its incomparable allure.

My name is OLAN and I fell in love with OLANIBAN ISLAND!

"...and my name is OLAN and I've been to OLANIBAN ISLAND!"
“…and my name is OLAN and I’ve been to OLANIBAN ISLAND!”

 

valium from uk

A BLISS CALLED MINDANAO

♫ “Pinoy kapwa Pinoy ang naglalaban doon sa Mindanao
Marami ng dugo ang dumanak sa lupa ng Mindanao
Mindanao, Mindanao”♫

Whenever I hear this song played on radio, I often wonder if the great Freddie Aguilar had really spent a day or two, or perhaps lived a month or a year in all the places in Mindanao to claim that the Philippine’s second largest island is generally in chaos, in conflict or in war. I have so much respect for the guy, but for this particular song, I deem it deceiving. You see, Mindanao is such a gigantic island. Agreed, there are conflicts and insurgencies occurring in some of parts of the Island but to say Mindanao as a whole, a proud Mindanaoan like me will absolutely disagree. However, this post is not about Ka Freddie or Mindanao, the song. This is about my Mindanao, our Mindanao, and its heavenly bliss that has exceptionally captivated the hearts of those who brave to come and relish the beauty of the “Promised Land”.

Much has been said about Mindanao. This dreadful sweeping generalization threatens tourism progress and economic growth of the whole Island. Enough, we clamor. Mindanao is such a gigantic island. There is peace in Mindanao. There is harmony in diversity in our Island. Mindanao is an island of blissful wonders to behold away from those generalized negative views about her. Ask those who came, those who braved, and those who experienced Mindanao – they’ll all say; there is “Mindanao Bliss”.

The Travel Teller’s Blissful Images of Mindanao

Having born, raised and lived my entire life here in Mindanao, I have so many stories to tell about the many beautiful things about our Island – its people, picturesque places, diverse culture, proud heritage and other attributes said to be “Trademarks of Mindanao”.  But my one single voice is not enough to attest the truth of what I say.

So, the brightest, the smartest and the bravest Pinoy Travel Bloggers unite together to prove that Mindanao is  a blessed land to an unpolished gem, the beauty is within, and only the keen traveler can see, and find charm even in the most mundane  situations.”  This is the November Edition of Pinoy Travel Bloggers Blog Carnival with the theme “Mindanao Bliss”.

30 Pinoy Travel Bloggers, 30 Travel Stories, 30 Sets of Photos, 30 Reasons To Prove A BLISS CALLED MINDANAO.

JOIN ME and my fellow Filipino Travel Bloggers as we take you to the best destinations in the Islands of Mindanao where beauty of nature, richness of culture, warmth of its proud people are beyond compare! This is our collective efforts to showcase the many blissful things to experience, discover and see in the 97,530 square kilometers land area of the Island once dubbed, “The Land of Promise”.

Journeying James’ Kaalim Family of Samal Island, Davao

Journeying James during his Mindanao Challenge 400 for 16 days embraced a true Mindanaoan hospitality given away by Kaalim Family while couchsurfing in the Island Garden City of Samal. His short stay ended up having a second family ready to welcome him back on his next visit to the Island. Kaalim Family hosted James throughout his stay and accompanied him in exploring the many spectacular places to see in the Island City. Experiencing this, the Journeying James said the warmth and hospitality of the people are enough to attest the goodness of the Mindanaoan people that truthfully is bliss to stranger like him.

Marly Ramone Go’s Nomadic Experiences at the 7 Falls of Lake Sebu

Marky Ramone Go grew up listening to his favorite folk band Asin and their Song “Cotabato” that speaks conflicts and religious differences of the province. Somehow, it gave him the bad reckoning reputation of Mindanao as a whole. But during his Nomadic Experiences at the Lake Sebu in the South Cotabato where he met the community of peace loving Tibolis, beheld the beauty of 7 falls of Lake Sebu, rode on the two heart stopping ziplines, savored the nature and wonders of this mystical town gave him a positive perspective about Cotabato and Mindanao as a whole. He said, “It’s true that there are still parts in Mindanao – just like in every place in the world, where peace remains elusive – BUT mostly it is the opposite”. Had he listened to the derogatory media reports about Mindanao in general and not braved enough to come our island; he wouldn’t have experienced that yet another different Mindanao Bliss only Lake Sebu can give.

Jason Montana’s Amazingly Davao!

Jason Montana, the Explorer, on his very first solo trip to Mindanao, chronicled what he called a total jam-packed of nature tripping. Having gone to the many exciting places to see in Davao City and the fun filled visit to the thrilling places in the Island Garden City of Samal, Montana The Explorer acclaimed this visit, Amazingly Davao! A blissful Davao!

Rain Amantiad’s MINAULON: Recollections from a Small Town’s Big Star

Rain Amantiad’s article about her little barrio of Minaulon in Bacolod, Lanao Del Norte proves that even little rustic barrios like hers can be a blissful destination to visit. Minaulon may not have famed tourist spots but its friendly community of peace loving and hopeful people is enough to experience an authentic Mindanao bliss. Like other barrio’s children, Rain used to be a little star of hope of her people. And as tribute to her roots, she wrote this article in the hope of luring travelers to go beyond the big cities of Iligan, Pagadian or Ozamis and discover her little humble beginnings. This is blissfully inspiring.

Fung Hu’s Islands of Simunul, Sibutu and Sitangkai

Fung Hu’s virtual journal takes us to the Islands of Simunul, Sibutu and Sitangkai in Tawi-Tawi. He described these peaceful islands in the south as great potentials for tourism development because of its historical and cultural interests. Simunul, being the seat of Islam faith in the Philippines; Sibutu, being the home to the Sama people known to be skilled seafarers and boat builders of pre-colonial time; and Sitangkai, known as the “Venice of the Philippines” are three of most important Islands in Tawi-Tawi worthy to be explored and experienced. Three blissful Islands of Tawi-Tawi.

Audrey Tamayo’s Seeing Samal Island in New Light

AUDREY GLADYS TAMAYO of Byaheng Barok vowed she would never travel back to a specific place once already visited. But her passion and love for photography made her travel back to the places she’d been including the Island Garden City of Samal to capture what she called “chasing the light moments”. Her photos of a glorious Sunrise at Balet, cascading waters of Haguimit Falls and that Blue Christmas at Bluewaters absolutely attest on what she called “Samal Island in New Light”. A blissful Light!

Christine Fernandez’s To 5 Mindanao Adventures

CHRISTINE FERNANDEZ, the Jovial Wanderer, listed her Top 5 Adventures during her various visits to the many places in Mindanao. Water Tubing in Sibulan River in Sta. Cruz, Davao Del Sur; Toploading Ride in Kidapawan, North Cotabato; her motorbike Tour at the Volcanic Island of Camiguin; Spelunking at Sumalsag Cave in Bukidnon; and, her Waterfalls Adventure also in Bukidnon tops this list. Having experienced all these, the jovial wanderer finds Mindanao a blissful destination of perfect adventures!

Jerome Baluyut’s Surigao! Surigao!

JEROME BALUYUT spent 9 days backpacking some parts of Mindanao including the provinces of Surigao Del Norte and Surigao Del Sur. Surigao! Surigao! He yelled out in amusement experiencing adrenaline, fun and excitement in the two Northern Provinces of Mindanao.  Not only the beauty of Surigao that captivated Balintanaw but the kindness and warmth of the Mindanao people that he met along the way. He left Mindanao with a grateful heart knowing there are a lot of things to discover and kindest souls to meet in the Island. Indeed a blissful Surigao!

Wendell Cagape’s The Lost Legacy of the Dayawan Torogan

WENDELL GLENN CAGAPE, a proud Mindanaoan, featured DayawanTorogan located in the Islamic City of Marawi in Lanao del Norte. DayawanTorogan, which literally means sleeping place, is one important historical place that played a pivotal role in Mindanao. This piece of architecture unravel the Muslim-Filipino ingenuity and creativity of building a structure without the use of even a single nail and yet remains earthquake proof. It has historical significance worthy to be learned and discovered. Journeys and Travels lures every travelers to come and visit this place to get to know Mindanao’s rich culture and heritage. A blissful discovery of Mindanao’s heritage!

Marcus Castle’s Sun, Sea, Sand – The Top Beaches in Mindanao

MARCUS CASTLE, a beach bum from Kidapawan City who is also a proud Mindanaoan, listed the Top Beaches he visited in Mindanao. Being the second largest island in the Philippines, Mindanao is endowed with beautiful pristine beaches one “son of a beach” would die to bum and laze around. Mindanao is generally typhoon free where mighty sun shines throughout the year. Among these top beaches Marcus visited are the beaches of Kisulad, Davao Del Sur, the pink sand beach of Sta. Cruz Islands of Zamboanga City, the untouched beaches of Tawi-Tawi, Camiguin Island, Bislig, Suriago Del Sur, Siargao Beach, Dahican Beach of Mati, Davao Oriental, Dakak Beach, the Island Garden City of Samal. Topping the list is the pristine beaches of Gumasa, Sarangani Province. These are the blissful beaches of Mindanao!

Renz Bulseco’s A Promised Land

RENZ BULSECO, the Traveling Nomad from Mindanao, used a fictional character named Luis Serafico in his articled “A Promised Land”. Here, like any other individuals living outside Mindanao, the idea of living in the island filled with negative news is downright scary. But Luis’ job as a journalist demanded him to be relocated in Mindanao. Hesitant, he flew to Mindanao filled with desperation. But his relocation to Mindanao paved way to see the many hidden wonders of the Island, beautiful and hospitable Mindanaons and superb destinations truly amazing to behold. From the beaches of Samal to the waterfalls of Iligan, from the valleys for Bukidnon to the historical city of Dapitan were among the places Luis explored. Two years have passed and Luis is still based in Mindanao, in Davao, madly in love with the beauty of the Islands and genuine hospitality of Mindanaons. Luis finds true bliss in Mindanao. Renz finds true bliss in Mindanao.

Chin Chan’s There’s More to Dipolog than a Bottle of the City’s Renowned Spanish-Style Sardines!

CHIN CHAN, a Juanderful Pinoy, traveled to Mindanao to discover Dipolog City. Alas, when he got, he found out there’s more to Dipolog than a bottle of the city’s renowned Spanish-style sardines! He toured around the many interesting things about Dipolog. He learned that the City is the home of the longest boulevard fronting the beachline in entire Island of Mindanao. Foodtrip, church visits and city tour fascinated the Juanderful Pinoy. But the mixing and mingling with the Dipolognon made Chin Chan’s visit to Dipolog most memorable. At the end he exclaimed, “Dipolog blissfully rocked my world!”

Ding Fuellos’ Enchanting Lake Mainit

DING FUELLOS, the Pinoy Explorer, finds the Enchanting Lake Mainit in Surigao del Norte an imposing natural beauty one should not miss when in this northern part of Mindanao. She’d been to Laguna Lake, the man-made Burnham Lake in Baguio City, and Lake Sebu of Caotabato but she finds the beauty of Lake Mainit just naturally awesome that vivid reflections of the blue skies can be visibly seen. Ding recommends to visit Lake Mainit, whether a short trip or a quick stop. Lake Mainit is worth visiting and surely one can be captivated and enchanted by its beauty. A blissful natural beauty endowed to the Province of Surigao.

Enrico Dee’s An Afternoon at the B’laan Village at Lamlifew

ENRICO DEE, the man behind the Byahilo, spent an afternoon at one of the B’laan Villages in Malungon, Sarangani Province. Having read an article in the Lonely Planet Magazine Philippines featuring this Tribal Village, Enrico decided to visit the Village situated in small sitio named Lamlifew in Barangay Datal Tampal in Malungon. When he got there, Enrico was fascinated by how B’laan women gathered and work together to put up the School of Living Tradition, a school that traditional way of life of the B’laans is continued and taught to the younger generation. Preservation of tradition and culture abounds the place. This is one best example how Mindanaons value their love for culture and the arts passed from generations to generations. They are blissful B’laans.

Lai Marie Mirasol’s Maranao Culture Educated at Aga Khan Museum

LAI MARIE MIRASOL, a Pinay Travelista, revisited the Islamic City of Marawi and discovered herself the rich cultural heritage of the Muslim Maranao preserved at the Aga Khan Museum located at Mindanao State University Marawi. Here, the Pinay Travelista who also is a proud Mindanaoan took pride in learning the affluence of culture and heritage of our Maranao brothers and sisters. Museums like Aga Khan are perfect venue to educate oneself about significance of culture and tradition of one place. Gladly, in Mindanao, there are numbers of museums preserving Mindanao blissful culture.

Izah Morales’ Lake Sebu: Home of the Peace Loving T’bolis

IZAH MORALES, the Tripadora, journeyed to the land of the peace loving T’bolis in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato to experience culture and traditions at its best. The T’bolis of Lake Sebu are known to be among the remaining IPs in Mindanao where its rich culture and tradition are still practiced even to this day. During her visit, the Tripadora was treated to an authentic T’boli dance and had given the chance to meet the famous dream weaver Lang Dulay, the living national treasure of the T’bolis. In Mindanao, Lake Sebu is indeed a perfect place to discover both culture and nature at its finest.

Bonz Panganiban’s The Monastery of Transfiguration: Behind the Pyramid, Unveiled

BONZ PANGANIBAN, the man behind the Con Tour Blog, traveled one weekend to the valleys of Bukidnon to unveil the mysteries behind the Pyramid of the Monastery of Transfiguration in San Jose, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. He listed 10 significant traits behind the Pyramid that made him considered the Monastery of Transfiguration as “The Bliss of Central Mindanao”. Not known to many, the Church of Transfiguration was the last architectural work of the National Artist for Architecture, Leandro Locsin. Inside the church features interesting pieces of arts and designs that truly defines its uniqueness the many churches in Mindanao.

Earl Bolivar’s Bukidnon: Highland Bliss in Impasugong

EARL BOLIVAR of Suroy Pilipinas, is one of those travelers enticed by the beauty of Impasugong, a town in the northeastern part Bukidnon that is said to become the next important eco-tourism destination in this landlocked province of Mindanao. Impasugong is a quaint first class municipality whose rugged terrain is defined by scenic mountains; deep canyons and gorges. Earl, like other travelers who traveled to Impasugong, instantly fell in love upon peeking inside and seeing the wonders of nature that Impasug-ong possesses. Coming from a Mindanaoan like Earl who has explored the many wonders of his home province of Bukidnon, certainly, this part of Mindanao is blissful haven of spectacular highland sights guaranteed to take one’s breath away.

Micaela Rodriguez’s Camiguin Island: Mysterious and Beautiful

Senyorita MICAELA RODRIGUEZ listed the island born out of fire, Camiguin, as one to the Top 3 destinations in the Philippines she would love to visit again and again. For her, Camiguin Island remains mysterious and beautiful even if she keeps on coming back. The island never bores her. Camiguin being one island but packed with natural wonders and great tourist spots is undeniably an ideal destination for blissful adventures.

Mhe Anne Ojeda’s Mindanao Bliss: Cateel, Davao Oriental!

MHE-ANNE OJEDA, a seasoned traveler, was convinced to visit my hometown Cateel after reading my entry to the PTB’s Blog Carnival Hometown Theme of  which she hosted. My article features my humble beginnings and the many spectacular places to discover in my birthplace including the famed Aliwagwag Falls, the Philippine’s highest waterfalls. In her journey to my hometown Cateel, she discovered that this coastal town of Davao Oriental has a lot to offer not just the Aliwagwag Falls. Her passion for her Comings and Goings made her realized that the whole island of Mindanao is so blessed with ample of natural attractions just waiting to be explored and experienced. Experiencing Cateel, Atty. Mhe-Ann understands why I am so proud being a blissful son of my hometown and Mindanao.

Francis Balgos’ Camiguin | Mt Hibok Hibok Hot Spring

FRANCIS NUNEZ BALGOS, the Pala-lagaw, finds the volcanic island province of Camiguin as one of the best places to visit in the entire Mindanao.  And when in there, a visit to the Mount Hibok Hibok Ardent Hot Spring is a must. He considers this a perfect jump off site for mountaineers and a family hot tub. Indeed, there are plenty of things to do and see when in Camiguin. But after one’s day tour to the whole island, bathing and soaking at the warm healing waters of Ardent Hotspring is truly a great treat. And from my experience, I must agree there’s bliss in this part of Camiguin.

Kara Santos’ Finding Bliss in a Tribal Fiesta

KARA SANTOS, in one of her travels to Mindanao, was brought to the foothills of Davao to witness the fiesta of the Matigsalog Tribe, who reside in the forests and remote barangays of Marilog. She called this as one of the most blissful and memorable places that she’s been in the country. That trip was few years back, but she still vividly recalls how special it was to feel and witness such blissful tribal fiesta. Having experienced ritual dances, heard stories, commune with the members and kids of the tribe, she realized that even people who are away from the modern world and digital age can find bliss in the own little way. That trip gave Kara one innate blissful experience.

Berniemack Arellano’s Mindanao Saga: Return to the Land of Promise

BERNIEMACK ARELLANO’s Habagat Central chronicled his various travels to the different provinces, towns and cities in Mindanao entitled “Mindanao Saga: Return to the Land of Promise”. Like others, Bernie considers Mindanao as “The Wild West” of the Philippines. It was this year when the man behind Habagat Central traveled back Mindanao, the land of his ancestors, to learn more about its culture, commune with its people and appreciate more its unexplored wonders. From Marawi to Cotabato, Zamboanga to Davao, from Iligan to Gensan, these are among the many places Bernie traveled in Mindanao to rediscover his roots. Summarizing his journey through his article and photos, Bernie truly showed the uniqueness of every place he’d been in Mindanao and takes pride about the blissful things it can offer.

Edelito Sangco’s Bucas Grande Island – 3 Compelling Reasons To Visit The Mindanao All-In-One Destination

EDELITO SANGCO, the man behind Island Vacations, is lucky to be among the residents of Socorro, Surigao Del Norte. Socorro is the home of the Bucas Grande Islands, the islands I consider truly a gift to the whole Mindanao. Edelito defines the Bucas Grande Island as a destination of various natural attractions. I was among those who were lured by the beauty of these Islands and I say it is beyond doubt worth visiting. The up close and personal encounter with the non-stinging jelly fishes of the Bucas Grande Islands is by far the most unforgettable Island experience I ever had. But there is more to see, more to explore in this blissful part of Mindanao.

Lloyd Lost Boy's Mindanao Bliss: Have You Ever Seen Dakak That's Beautiful?

LOST BOY LLOYD finds Dakak Park and Beach Resort in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte a blissful place to stay when in this part of Mindanao. Being a premium resort, Dakak Park and Beach Resort’s great deal of facilities and amenities make it the perfect place to relax, unwind and commune with nature. The exclusivity and tranquility of the beach make it the ideal place to stay especially for those who are seeking for peaceful and serene getaway. Having experienced it himself, Llyod believes that his blissful place must be visited when coming to Dapitan.

Estan Cabigas’ Why visit Maitum in Sarangani?

ESTAN CABIGAS, a certified Langyaw, finds the rustic town of Maitum, a gem in Sarangani Province, an interesting place to explore in Southern Mindanao. Discovering its interesting history, rich culture and picturesque sights is bliss in itself. Visiting the Pawikan Nesting Sanctuary, the anthropomorphic burial jars, watertubing in Pangi River, bat watching in Pinol and the close encounter with town’s T’boli are the among the must-experience things to do in Maitum.

Nathalie Penados’ A Visit to the Little Venice

NATHALIE PENADOS in her Chronicles of My Wandering Soles highly regards Barangay Day-asan in her home city of Surigao as one of the best places to visit while in the City. Barangay Day-asan, a typical floating village situated at Arellano District, is considered as the Little Venice of Surigao. The simple houses of more than 400 residents of this water village stand on wooden stilts or piles of rock and mostly with fish cages. Visiting Day-asan can be blissful experience in this part of Mindanao because it is one ecotourism destination that showcases great reforestation and conservation of mangrove forest.

Aleah Phils’ Danakit Cave: Spelunking in Tandag, Surigao del Sur

ALEAH PHILS, a Solitary Wanderer from Surigao, considers spelunking at Danakit Cave at Tandag, Surigao Del Sur another great blissful experience to try when visiting this northeastern part Mindanao. When Aleah was home for vacation, she braved to explore some of the most unexplored and unexploited caves in her town. For spelunking enthusiasts, Danakit Cave is a must-explored cave. Amazing stalagmite and stalactites formations abound the cave. Tandag is very accessible from Butuan City, Surigao City and even Davao City.

Eileen Campos' Samal Island Itinerary: How To Do It And Do It Good

EILEEN CAMPOS, the friendliest girl behind Possibly Pinay, traveled to Davao to experience the lures and beauty of the Island Garden City of Samal. With my help, Eileen was able to make her Do-It-Yourself Samal Tour one huge success. In two days, Possibly Pinay visited the awesome colony of Fruit Eating Bats at the Monfort Bat Sanctuary, climbed the Mount Puting Bato, Samal Island’s highest peak and a lot more. “What a blissful tour!” Eileen commended after enjoying the must-try things to do in Samal.

Daniel Karlo De Leon’s 10 Things I Miss About Mindanao

DANIEL KARLO DE LEON, an experienced traveler who’s been in and out of Mindanao, listed 10 things that he misses about the Islands. He had great memories while visiting some of the key cities and towns in the Island. Mindanao becomes an important Island destination for Karlo. It gives him a lot of experiences he learned for the first time. It gives him photographs that he considers masterpieces. It gives him gastronomic experiences until now he craves. It lets him experience authentic culture and tradition. Things he now misses. Above all, Mindanao gives him the blissful reason to come back, again and again.

The Travel Teller’s Blissful Images of Mindanao

AS FOR THE TRAVEL TELLER, Mindanao is my home. My blissful home. Mindanao is an abode of my ancestors who like me are passionate about living a life full of happiness, serenity and respect. Simply put, a blissful life. Cliché as it may seem, Mindanao is indeed a “land of promise”. It is a land of Mindanaoans who promise to live in peace and harmony despite of differences and diversity. Like my fellow Filipino Travel Bloggers who believe that Mindanao as a blissful place to find great adventure and worthy travel, we Mindanaoans believe that our Island is a gift to every Filipino in this country. A gift that needs to be seen, experienced and loved.

COME TO MINDANAO. THERE IS BLISS IN THIS ISLAND. THERE IS “MINDANAO BLISS.


To all the PINOY TRAVEL BLOGGERS who contributed to this Blog Carvinal, I sincerely thank you for showcasing the beauty of our Island. Mindanaoans like me will always be grateful. To my fellow Mindanaoans, this post for you. We are great blissful people living in this great blissful island of Mindanao.

To read previous BLOG CARNIVALS of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers, you may visit Estan Cabigas’ LANGYAW for the full complilation.