Find us on Google+ Love Mindanao: 2013

Climbing Mt. Mingan| The Mystical Mountain of Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija

Ending 2013 would be too boring without any death defying adventure to close the year. Away from Mindanao, I couldn’t think of any outdoor activity during this holiday after cancelling my North Luzon adventure because of the Gale Warning from the PAGASA that stopped our shoes from crossing Calayan Group of Islands.

Bantayan Island Experience | A Reflection of Life and Freedom

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Being waken up by the morning rays in Bantayan Island is one of my best mornings ever that could really boost a positive mood for another inspiring day to appreciate God's gift of life. The soothing sea breeze of the Visayan Sea could put you in total calmness relieving all your worries in life, a sought after feeling wished by everyone who'd been bugged and psychologically harassed living in the cruel concrete city.

Things I am Missing in Bantayan Island | Before Super Typhoon Haiyan

Crossing Visayas and Mindanao in the Philippines was the best therapeutic remedy I could think of to cure my pathetic depression.  My addiction to traveling downgraded when I left Mindanao last June 2013, resulting to losing my tongue somewhere in the clouds. This condition left  a lot of blank pages on my personal travel journal.

Pushing myself to return to the world of traveling and blogging, I have wished to start with a clean slate and reborn anew in an inspiring environment. God is so generous that He answered my prayers through my friends after being tagged in a tour across the Visayas Region. I was very glad that I met friends who have helped me along the way to cope up with this stupid depression.

Climbing Mt. Kofafey | Maligcong, Bontoc, Mt. Province

Set to do anything crazy and stupid, me and my buddy Kurt, the Wind Trekker, hit the road with zero-itinerary on hand and decided to visit Mt. Province and scout the area except the famous Sagada and Banaue.

Maligcong, Bontoc, Mountain Province: A Road Less Traveled (Day 1)

Maligcong is an indigenous community in Bontoc, Mountain Province, Philippines and is currently isolated from the radar of most local travelers. Finding a jewel in Bontoc must have been a quite a boredom for "hardcore" travelers as Bontoc have had been treated just like a bridge in reaching other popular destinations like Sagada.

Bontoc surprised me to find a hidden paradise that crossed our path using my spontaneous zero-itinerary trip to Northern Luzon. This crazy adventure resulted into the discovery of new wonders worth sharing to fellow outdoor enthusiasts.

Visiting Lake Holon of Mt. Melibingoy (Mt.Parker) | A T’boli, South Cotabato Outdoor Adventure

It’s a rare invitation that was really hard to resist. My gratitude soared to heaven when Alfred "Red" Allaga of AVLDA& LGSP-LED requested me to be part of the familiarization tour in South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat or simply the ALLAH VALLEY Familiarization Tour 2013.

I may have traveled far to reach T’boli for the first time, but this place have already stimulated my senses upon arrival to a great level of excitement with its tribal ambiance and ethnicity. The Municipality of T’boli is home to the indigenous people of T’boli, B’laan and the Ubo tribes. Our visit to T’boli was timely as the province of South Cotabato was set to celebrate the famous T’nalak Festival.

South Mindanao's Allah Valley Tour | A Prelude to Extreme Adventure

The word dangerous has been tagged  with  the Island of Mindanao and has been sensationalized by the tri-media, creating lots of negative impressions about the island which results to the establishment of paranoia for those who have no idea about Mindanao. This part of the Philippines had been stereotyped with unstable security due to some political issues in the ARMM and has placed the tourism industry of the whole region in peril. 

And I Shall Rise Again | Love Mindanao Returns

It was one of the hardest  blows in my life and I felt a part of my soul was lost upon leaving Mindanao. It seemed my world forever stood still and imploded to breaking and my urge to share my thoughts suddenly dissipated into the thin black air of the city. Depressed and restless , writing again became so difficult on my end and finding the perfect words to express my emotions  have slipped into a sinkhole of total darkness.

To my beloved followers you deserve better and my apologies to the people who continuously supported me despite of my huge imperfections.

Davisol: Master of Magkono Woodcraft (The Fate of Philippine Iron Wood)

Small lagoon of Davisol with lush green mangroves 
Davisol or Divine Arc Victory Instituted in Sion Omnipotent in this Latter Days of Christ wasn’t familiar to me until I was assigned to tour our guests in Surigao del Sur. Not much of high end resorts to be found in the area, we end up checking every establishment we passed by along the national highway. Unaware of what to see, we just let ourselves be surprised with anything we find.

SCUBA Diving at Punta Bilar Dive Center in Surigao City, Philippines

SCUBA diving must be one of the activities most people in the world would want to place in their bucket list before parting this world. SCUBA diving from someone who is not familiar with this sport would look on it as an outdoor activity for the well off people aside from being a dangerous sport to venture into, which happened to be half true and half myth.

Press Release: The New Tiger Airways Philippines

Flights operated by Tiger Airways Philippines

A new Tiger has arrived - and it brings with it a promise of a great adventure, memorable experiences, and the excitement of a new journey.

Known as the leading and most trusted value-for-money carrier in Southesast Asia, Tiger Airways Philippines will make its formal debut in the skies beginning July 10. 

“Tiger Airways is the leading airline and travel partner connecting people across Asia Pacific. It is a distinguished regional brand that differentiates itself in terms of safety and reliability,” says newly-appointed president and chief executive officer (CEO) Ms. Olive Ramos.

Britania Group of Islands | El Nido of Mindanao

The beach of Naked Island of Surigao del Sur
For my Tri-Aqua Surigao del Sur Adventure series, I included the Britania Group of Islands as part of the must see places in the Province of Surigao del Sur in Mindanao. Located in Brgy. Salvacion/Britania, Municipality of San Agustin, this tourist destination is more or less 2-3 hours drive if you are coming from Hinatuan's Enchanted River. And just like any town in Surigao del Sur, Brgy. Britania is home to our humble farmers and fishermen.

Featured Wildlife: Alocasia and Corpse Flower of Guinumhay Peak, Agusan del Sur

Documenting one of the most threatened species A. sanderiana

Traversing the trail going to the Peak of Guinumhay in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, Mindanao surprised me to encounter some of the most noted species of aroid particulary Alocasia and Amorphophallus. Based on their ecological status, some are endangered  and some are rapidly dwindling in numbers in their natural habitat.

Guest Post: Fun in the Fuerteventura Sunshine

If you're after a laid-back beach break where the focus is placed firmly on rest, relaxation and fun in the sun, a Fuerteventura holiday could be right up your street.

Ognop Cave | The Newly Discovered Cave in Agusan del Sur, Philippines

The Royal Staircase 

Now that "Lolong" is dead,  the world's record holder for the biggest crocodile in captivity, the province of Agusan del Sur in Mindanao has lost one great treasure enough to paralyze its tourism industry. This event prompted us to help the locals of the province by discovering another untapped tourist destinations in the nearby municipalities and to promote eco-tourism activities in the vicinity.

Isla Reta, Talicud Island, Samal | Where Love and Hate Collide

The Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) in Davao del Norte has a charm that naturally draws me back for more. This time, I decided to explore another tourist destination in Mindanao which I've heard much popular only among the locals of Davao Region.

Libtong's Blue Lagoon | Cantilan, Surigao del Sur

It's been a while since my 13 Days of Summer Escapade ended last April 2013. And due to my chicken pox episode, I had been bed driven for almost two weeks where I was required for some visits to the community hospital in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.

With summer was still around, the weather was just so perfect to waste  inside the house and it's hard to think doing the art of nothing, waiting 'til all of my scars are healed off.  This scenario was so unbearable for an  outdoor guy like me, so when my blisters have shown signs of drying, I went on searching for my next travel destination.

Libtong's Blue Lagoon | Cantilan, Surigao del Sur

It's been a while since I went on traveling after my 13 Days of Summer Escapade ended on April 2013. Due to my chicken pox episode, I was bed driven for almost two weeks where I was required for some visits to the community hospital in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.

With summer still around, the weather was just so perfect to waste  inside the house and it's hard to think doing the art of nothing and just waiting 'til all of my scars are  healed off.  This scenario was so unbearable for an  outdoor guy like me, so when my blisters have shown signs of drying, I went on searching for my next travel destination.

Heathrow Duty Free: Is It Worth Stocking Up?

Duty free shops are hard to miss when you enter an airport lounge or take a ferry.  Chances are you will have some time to kill whilst waiting for your flight if you are travelling by air, and it can be hard to stay away from the promise of a good deal.  Having woken up in one of the Heathrow hotels from Travelodge, and successfully checked in your luggage, take a little time to see what the departures lounge has on offer.

Cantilan: Huyamao Island a.k.a Homer Simpson Island

If there is one icon that represents Cantilan , that would be the Island of Huyamao due to its distinct image that resembles the popular cartoon character of Homer Simpson from afar.

Aside from the lush vegetation  , the island is littered with white sand beaches that are comparable to the sugar fine white sand of Boracay.  The whole island is reported to be inhabited by isolated wild monkeys and some raptors or big birds dwelling in the secluded place.

Island Fever!

Are you looking for your next island paradise? Asia’s tropical seas are filled with little island gems just waiting for you to visit them. However, each place contains it’s own character and culture - some are better for relaxing on the beach while others have a more active party scene. To help you plan your next island getaway, here are some of the best islands the Asian seas have to offer.

Surfing the Dahican Way!

Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental is now getting popular because of the big waves suitable for surfing and other water sports. Aside from the waves, the beach itself possesses grandeur beauty, accentuated with white sand and turquoise blue water. It was only a couple of years ago that skim boarding became the main attraction in the area.

My Journey Back Home | 13 Days of Summer Concluded

My 2013 summer erratic travel from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao gave me a lot of  challenging experiences that pushed me to my limits only to reaffirm  my passion and love to discover places in less traveled roads in the Philippines. The provinces of BatangasNueva VizcayaLeyteBiliran and Surigao del Norte surprised me with their best kept secret travel destinations that made my summer of 2013 very special.

To the Island Paradise of Sambawan | A Biliran Summer Escapade

Day 10: Off Coast Biliran

The Island of Biliran, just north of Leyte, is another emerging tourist destination in the Philippines. It may be new to our senses  but this neophyte province holds some of the nation's treasured jewels that could challenge the nearby commercialized tourist spots.

Biliran Island Mainland Tour | 13 Days of Summer of Love Mindanao

Day 9: Mainland Biliran

Visiting the Island Province of Biliran has  long been due on my list of places to wander in the Philippines.  With my delight to finally see the jewel of the eastern Visayas,  I decided to scrap some of my trips in Mindanao and set a 3-day escapade to Biliran Island.

Cachero's Farm, Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya: 13 Days of Summer of Love Mindanao Part 3

Day 6 : Extension

Our trip to Nueva Vizcaya never ended in Mt. Ynordenan after we had been invited to visit another leisure farm  not far from Bone South in  Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.  We rode on a jeepney bound for Aritao proper and rushed to the public market first to buy some supplies and food for our overnight stay in the  farm resort.

Mt.Ynordenan, Nueva Vizcaya: 13 Days of Summer of Love Mindanao Part 2

Day Five

Fresh from a trip in IvoryCoast , Calatagan, I was invited by the  song writer /composer Rodolfo Fernandez to visit their beloved province of Nueva Vizcaya. When I received this invitation I was a little hesitant, as I have never heard of any must visit places in the onion and  garlic granary of Luzon . Nevertheless , I am more curious on places less visited and I was breathing deeply, crossing my fingers to discover something new and interesting in the not so known place when it comes to tourism.

Ivory Coast, Calatagan: 13 Days of Summer of Love Mindanao Part 1

I was just a lucky guy who was given an ample time off from work to beat the summer of 2013. I was counting  all my remaining days of vacation for the first quarter of this year and I have realized that I still got thirteen days remaining and what better way to spend it but to visit and discover places off coast of Mindanao.

Exploring Iniyakan Island | A Cantilan Summer Escapade

It's been a month since the last time I escaped my usual lax weekend from my temporary abode in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur. Maybe I got depressed during the time when my most precious and cheap camera got damaged  during the Kaamulan Festival in Bukidnon (sigh).

Maxima Experience in Samal Island

Scream all you can adventure in Samal Island

The best season of the year has come and with the scorching heat intensified by the concrete jungle in the city, it's time to take a break and  visit some of your favorite summer destinations.

One of the favorite places to visit during the summer days in Mindanao is the Island Garden City of  Samal (IGACOS) or simply Samal Island, off coast from the main land province of Davao del Norte. Getting to Samal is a no brainer for commuters because of the available boats and buses bound for IGACOS .

Dinagat Islands Exposed | A Prelude to a Great Mindanao Island Escapade


In 2007, I started my first island adventure aiming to visit the exotic  places in the Philippines that I could only spot in the glossy pages of travel magazines. My very first grand island getaway was in Palawan and I was blown away with its majestic beauty and I have thought that I've seen  the most beautiful place in the Philippines until I had my escapade  in the neophyte province of Dinagat Islands.

Once Upon a Time in Davao: 76th Foundation Day

The smell of Durian once again flourished in the narrow streets of downtown Davao City as it celebrated its 76th Foundation day last March 16-17. It was a coincidence that I came to  the city  on the day of a grand merriment  of the people of Davao.  

Rio Hondo: The Other Face of Zamboanga City

There was this particular place in Zamboanga City that many visitors and even locals are afraid coming to as if it the name of the place is  synonymous to death as far as security is concern. Rio Hondo, which means  "deep river" is currently inhabited  by Muslim brothers  and tribes in  Mindanao.  

Zamboanga City: Souvenirs from Badjao and Yakan

I have been to Zamboanga City many times but never had a chance to look and buy  for souvenirs that would remind me of my travels in the Latin City of Asia.

After my trip to Tawi Tawi , I landed in Zamboanga with  lots of time waiting before my flight back to DavaoCity in the afternoon, so I decided to look for a couple of places where I can look around to shop. My idea of souvenirs are far from the usual key chains, bags, necklaces, refrigerator magnet and so on. It has to be unique and the piece it self tell a rich history before I buy them.

Kaamulan Festival 2013:Dancing to the Beat of Ethnic Life (Street Dance Competition)

(Pardon the quality of my pictures, taken from video since my camera malfunctioned in the most crucial time.., camera failed! g-r-r-r-r-r)

Male dancers of Pangantucan beating the vibrant rhythm of drums with shields and spears.

The highlights of the Kaamulan 2013 may have concluded, but the rhythmic beating of the drums still lingers and the soaring ethnic chants of the tribes continuously echo  to the steep mountain ridges of Kitanglad in Malaybalay.

Visiting this city for the first time gave me a boost to be excited once more to witness another story of one great promising land in Mindanao. The 17 hour nonstop land based travel was not a waste upon experiencing the vibrant celebrations in Bukidnon, the Kaamulan Festival 2013.

Tagudtongan, Maguindanao: Coconut, Faith and Life

The cheap source of livelihood in Tagudtongan, Parang Maguindanao, copras.

"farmers and producers gain almost nothing from the extracted and planted resources that built the economy of this nation"

A quick visit to the white beach of  Limbayan, Bongo Island revealed to us the other coastal community that exist on the other side of the Island, known as Tagudtongan. This barangay  is another remote island community of Parang, Maguindanao.
where the port of the barangay serves as  the primary gateway to other barangays in  Bongo Island . 

The port is located strategically in a cove section of the island, safe and  protected from the harsh tides of the sea and has a with very deep anchorage for bigger marine vessels to dock in. There aren't much to do and to see in the area, as of the time of this writing, other than the vast coconut plantation as source of copra business and small scale local fishing activities.

Love on Top…of the Tree (The Sex Life of Polypedates leucomystax, a Tree Frog )

Actual amplexus and  fertilization process of  Polypedates leucomystax

Mindanao is blessed with so much wonders and most of it is hidden in front of our plain sight. We are now much accustomed to the modern lifestyle that most of us have forgotten to rediscover the beauty of nature hidden in the dwindling forest of our country. Not much left forest in the Philippines, the island of Mindanao presents as last frontier being a natural refuge habitat for our declining wildlife.

Tinago Waterfalls of Iligan City

The Legend of Tinago Waterfalls
  "The legend of Tinago Waterfalls started when Sultan Agok and her wife were appointed as King and Queen of their village. But they became too proud and selfish to their people. One day an enchantress disguised as a beggar and asked for help but rejected and ordered to put into exile. During that time the wife of Sultan Agok was pregnant, and the enchantress put a curse onto their child to become as ugly as their attitude.

When the baby was born, the once proud parents became so disappointed and hid their baby in a cave of the forest to avoid embarrassment.  They name the baby as Tin-ag which means hidden face.

Tin-ag grew alone and constantly weeping because of loneliness. One day she went out of the cave and got amused of the wonderful and beautiful environment that dwells outside the cave. In her wandering, she met the enchantress who cursed the parents and show pity to the child. The enchantress offered her to be beautiful and Tin-ag accepted no matter what the consequences. She was turned into a majestic waterfalls that everyone who sees it are awed by its enchanting beauty."

Tawi-Tawi | I Dare, I Bare and I Rock Bongao

I  am always a believer that my being is a work in progress. Even though most people expect so much from me, perfection is not  in my vocabulary. I am not afraid to commit mistakes because after all , mistakes are just lessons to be learned. 

Needless to say, I always make sure that each day I live my life in the most audacious way one could ever imagined which  includes thrilling escapades. This adventurous side of me led to challenge myself to visit the farthest province in the south of the Philippines, part of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Tawi-Tawi.

Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig, Surigao del Sur:Travel Guide

Tinuy-an Falls in March 2012
Surigao del Sur, a province in Mindanao, is a sleeping giant for potential tourism in the Philippines. Despite of its exposure to travel magazines and televisions, such as Living Asia, the place is unpopular to Mindanao outsiders and only few manages to experience  its magnificent beauty . Most visitors are in doubt to visit the place due to the image projected by the tri-media about the entire Mindanao. To them, Mindanao is a place of insurgencies, kidnapping and the homebase of Abu Sayaff, a terrorist group. Sad but those are sweeping statements and irresponsible journalism. I have lived and worked in Surigao del Sur for almost two years, and all I can see are potential tourist destinations waiting to be unveiled. In this blog, I shall present series of articles showcasing the real jewels of Mindanao based on personal experiences.

Visiting Waniban Island | Paradise Found in the Remote Province of Davao Oriental

Waniban is a very small island located just across Brgy. Tamisan, Mati, Davao Oriental. When you travel going to this paradise island via boat or locally known as baroto, you will have a glimpse of the enigmatic land formation resembling to a sleeping dinosaur. Waniban island serves as  a temporary shelter for fishermen during unexpected rough sea weather.

Siargao: The Ultimate Surfing Experience (Part 1)

My first visit in Siargao was a grand experience to remember. Given that I am just a six hour bus ride away from Surigao City, I never had a chance to visit the famous island until a collaborative plan with a friend Mervin or Pinoy Adventurista was placed into reality. I was anxious to go there but good thing we met some local residence and active surfers Janice and Kyong that gave us an idea on things we could expect from  the island.

Cantiasay | Bridges to Life ( Nonoc Island, Surigao City)

Bridging Life, San Pedro & Cantiasay

It was just another sleepless night of travel as I hit the road  to Northeastern part of Mindanao with an invitation of a blogger friend Jeffrey of Traveling Morion . To energize from my non-stop jaunt, I snap a little break in Butuan City  and had a relaxing thermal massage to ease my aching feet and back. When the clock hit midnight, I ran towards the central bus terminal and waited for a bus bound for Surigao City.

Tawi-Tawi's Muslim Royal Wedding | A Sacred Love Sealed Under the Moon

Being a spontaneous traveler, I always love the idea of not knowing what I might go through in every places I visit especially in this isolated province of the country, Tawi-Tawi.

As I set foot in the island’s capital, I already felt a smooth smell of love in the air and the nostalgic flare of  passionate emotions that was simply contagious. Little did I know that there was a big celebration in the island; the union of hearts between two Muslim lovers set during the rising of the bright full moon in December.  

Manobo Exotic Food: The Untold Story of Bibang (Varanus cumingi)

Living with the Manobos in  Sitio Inadan in San Miguel Surigao del Sur is an experience that I will treasure forever and a worthy story I am proud sharing to everyone. This is the moment in my life where I have encountered overwhelming  discoveries about cultural diversity and the true meaning of the word simplicity and  humility. I would say , working and living  in this part of Mindanao have totally altered my view in life upon experiencing first hand the difficulty of living conditions of our brothers in the mountainside.

Gumasa,Sarangani | Life is a Beach

Traveling to the southernmost part of the Philippines will surprise you to find some of the most under rated places and some are not even heard before but possesses high potential for tourism. It was only by chance that I accidentally found myself in one of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines and the name of the place never crossed my head for the last 30 years of my existence. 

My original plan was to visit the Tuna capital of the Philippines, General Santos City, but after hearing some rumors from the locals on how relaxing to bathe in the cool beach of Gumasa, I decided to gamble my whole itinerary by visiting the unheard place.

Tawi Tawi's Common Local and Exotic Foods

After a tiring trip around the island of Bongao, it was time to please my growling tummy and give in to my wondering sensitive taste buds for some local food and exotic delicacies from Tawi Tawi.

My lunch was hosted by the staff of Tawi Tawi’s Vice Governor.  I was served  with five types of unfamiliar and exotic dishes but enough to gratify my longing to have a taste of a local Halal prepared food.

Syagul (Php 30.00)

A very spicy and tasty meat of stingray cooked with coconut milk then added with burned coconut grated meat that gave the sauce its olive like color. Since I am a seafood fanatic, I almost finished the whole thing! This is a must try on your visit.

Tungkalang Beach, Bongao, Tawi Tawi:Retreat under the Crimson Sky

I call it ' a leap of faith' in Tawi Tawi

One way to enjoy Tawi Tawi is to have a self reflection under its beautiful setting sun. Passing through the Sanga-Sanga Bridge that connects Bongao and Sanga-Sanga Islands, is one of the grandest location to spend your  late afternoon . With the Bud Bongao on the side of the crimson sky, the view is simply captivating.

The Sanga-Sanga Bridge is a favorite hangout among the local youth in the vicinity, executing their most daring acrobatic stunts over the bridge and fearlessly diving into the whirling waters that separate the two of the many islands of Tawi Tawi. 

Cast Your Vote Now for the Best Travel Blog in Travel Bloscars 2013 and Win A KindleFire

What an incredible opportunity to kick off 2013 by receiving a nomination as Best Newcomer Blog in The Bloscars 2013, The Skyscanner Travel Blog Awards.  

I have been blogging for six (6) months and I am simply awed by the feedback of the public and being recognized by some institutions or groups . The recent was top notching the Filipino Bloggers Worldwide (FBW) Top Travel Blog for 2012 held last December 2012.

Being nominated alone is already an overwhelming honor as there are hundreds or thousands of travel bloggers out there who are unique in their own writing and storytelling techniques.

I am appealing to my avid readers and followers to support me in this quest.