10 Beginner-Friendly Places for Meandering in Mindanao

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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In spite of what you hear on the news, the fact that Mindanao plays hosts to some of the most beautiful places in the country cannot be denied. While it's true that some places pose more danger than your average travel destination, there are others that are perfectly safe to explore. If you're planning to travel there anytime soon, here is a list of some places you may want to include in your itinerary (just make sure to observe safety precautions before you proceed, like researching the current situation in your desired destination.):

1. ASIK-ASIK FALLS
Alamada, North Cotabato
Asik-asik Falls is a unique cascade that has been drawing tourists from all over the country. It features an expansive mountain slab covered in vibrant green foliage. Just over this verdant backdrop is a watery veil. Asik-asik stands at roughly 140 meters and is situated in a patch of forest in Brgy. Upper Dado. The falls is also part of the greater Libungan-Alamada Natural Biotic Area (LANBA). The falls can be reached by an easy trek through a paved path. It takes about 15-20 minutes to descend, and up to 30 minutes to go back up the cemented stairs. Check out this DIY Guide to this falls for more information.


2. GRAND MOSQUE OF COTABATO
Cotabato City
The Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid, commonly known as the Grand Mosque of Cotabato City, is the Philippines' largest mosque. Found along Tamontaka Bubong Road in Brgy. Kalanganan, this white-and-gold palatial structure was reported to have cost $48M to build. Fortunately, everything was taken care of by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei who sponsored everything and after whom the mosque is named.
Related Adventure: Rizal is Universal

3. PINK MOSQUE
Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao
Another distinctively different mosque can be found in Mindanao. Masjid Dimaukom – as it's formally known – dons the striking color of pink. Building was financed by mayor Samsodin Dimaukon, and the land on which the mosque stands also belongs to the mayor's family. The unusual paint job was to symbolize peace and love.
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4. LAKE SELOTON
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
One of the T'boli's sacred places is Lake Seloton in the town of Lake Sebu. On its waters, lilies bloom and aquaculture thrives. Traditional T'boli paddle boats called owung are also often seen gliding across the placid lake. Ringed by mountains, Lake Seloton also offers one of the most beautiful dawns this side of the country.
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5. HIKONG ALO
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
One of the most prominent and easily accessed of the seven waterfalls of Lake Sebu, "The Passage" proves to be an irresistible subject for photos. The gushing curtain also provides a stunning backdrop for your Instagram snaps.
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6. HIKONG BENTE
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
The second of the seven waterfalls, "immeasurable" is a great adjective for Hikong Bente which towers at about 70 meters high and is surrounded by lush vegetation and dramatic rock formations. This cascade can be reached through a descending paved path from Hikong Alo, but there's an alternative way where a habal-habal can take you directly to it.
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7. 7 FALLS ZIPLINE
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
The 7 Falls Eco-park, aside from hosting the septuplet of falls, also deals an extreme experience. Within the park is what is touted as the highest zipline rig in Southeast Asia. The zipline is suspended 180 meters above a section of Lake Sebu's natural landscape. It's a thrilling ride, especially when you catch a rainbow reflecting off one of the waterfalls as you dash by.
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8. LAKE SEBU
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
The largest of the three lakes and with which the town shares its name, Lake Sebu plays a vital role in South Cotabato's tourism industry. Through the various lakeside resorts and restaurants, it draws countless visitors with its relaxing view and fresh tilapia dishes. In Punta Isla Resort, the most popular gateway to Lake Sebu, traditional cultural performances are also regularly done by members of the T'boli tribe. It's a great stopover if you're looking to have a glimpse of the local culture.
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Related Adventure: Lake Sebu DIY Travel Guide

9. LANG DULAY WEAVING CENTER AND T'NALAK HOUSE
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
Started by the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan Awardee, the T'boli "Great Lady" Lang Dulay, the weaving center proudly continues the traditional art of making T'nalak – prized abaca cloth painstakingly made by hand in a process that involves 32 delicate steps. Here, you can learn all about these steps and even get a chance to meet Lang Dulay's protege and best friend Sebulan. Good quality T'nalak can also be purchased here as well as beaded and brass jewelry.
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10. GUMASA BEACH
Glan, Sarangani
If unspoiled beaches is your thing, the Gumasa Beach is for you. With a shore of powder white sands and waters clear as crystals, this beach is reminiscent of Boracay pre-party days. This getaway is not hard to go to as one would think, There are commuter vans in Sarangani that'll take you to Glan. From here, there are many seaside resorts that're just a tricycle away. Here's a DIY Guide for more information.
places to visit in mindanao


What other places in Mindanao are you planning to visit?

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