#TravelMindanao: The Plan

Travel Mindanao

#TravelMindanao:  30 days. 8 provinces. 1 island.

How does that idea sound to you? Ambitious? Crazy? Borderline delusional?

For these 8 travelers, of course not! It's a sound plan. And well, it's the perfect excuse to embark on another epic journey together and explore many places, while working on an advocacy to showcase the best of Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines.

The Conception of #TravelMindanao

The idea of #TravelMindanao started towards the end of Waterfalling Adventure Tour 2.0: #ExperienceIligan hosted by Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc.  It was just a not-so-serious, out-of-the-blue suggestion of these clingy bunch of travelers to explore the rest of Mindanao. Having had a taste of chasing 7 waterfalls, experiencing an annual festival, and a gastronomic experience in Iligan City for 5 straight days, it left everyone wanting more. Surely, there are a whole lot more gems to discover in this beautiful yet often misunderstood island.

Extended WAT2.0 in Kapatagan. Photo by Escape Manila.

What started as a vague idea casually thrown into the group slowly took shape as the travelers headed home. Eventually, the "joke" had become a somewhat solid plan and had grown into something beyond the travelers behind it. It had become an advocacy to show the world the best of Mindanao and to capture the attention of potential tourists through the use of social media. The project was conceived with an idea of drawing a route that is accessible and an itinerary that is feasible for foreign and domestic travelers.

The Itinerary

The plan was to cover as much area as 30 days would allow, without compromising the total experience -- meaning, we should travel not just for the sake of seeing the places and ticking them off our bucket lists, but get to explore key destinations, taste great food, and have fun. Sounds like a good plan, yes?

Surigao del Norte

#TravelMindanao kicked off at Surigao City, the City of Island Adventures. With the support of the local government of Surigao City, we were able to explore Silop Caves, Day-Asan Floating Village, and Mabua Pebble Beach.  And of course, we were treated to a feast every single meal! Thank you to the generosity of City Tourism Office of Surigao City, who accommodated us despite the threats of a super typhoon.  More about that later.

Day-Asan Floating Village | Surigao del Norte

Surigao del Sur

Sohoton and Siargao were supposedly included in the Surigao del Norte itinerary, but super typhoon Yolanda had other plans.  So after being stranded for 2 more days in Surigao City, we headed off to Cathe Pacific in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur. After two days of chasing waves, building sandcastles, and feeling right at home, we were supposed to head off to Lanuza to witness a bunch of shirtless guys a surfing competition. But because of another looming typhoon (Zoraida), we decided to skip Lanuza, Cantilan, Britannia Islands, Laswitan, and Cagwait and head off to Bislig City and spend the night there and then visit Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls the next day.

Hinatuan Enchanted River | Surigao del Sur

Davao del Sur

After days and days of typhoons and the nagging worries of (and for) our loved ones at home, we went to Davao City. We prepared a very open itinerary for this leg of the tour, but we pretty much expected that a staycation would be a welcome treat for all of us. And the perfect place for a staycation in Davao City? Of course, Marco Polo Hotel! The rest of the team then headed to Philippine Eagle Conservation Center, which I had to miss because I had to take care of something else.

Marco Polo Hotel | Davao City

Also, while in Davao City, it would be a sin not to go and try Lachi's Sans Rival Atbp! I have always wondered if all those raving reviews I found online were true, and boy was I wrong to ever wonder. Everything was incredibly yummy, we could all suffer from food coma after that sumptuous dinner.

Davao del Norte

The group also decided to have a short side trip to the Palm City of the Philippines.  All thanks to Tagum Tourism Office and City Information Office, we were able to see a lot of the city in one day. We dropped by the City Hall, Provincial Capitol, Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex, San Agustin Botanical Park, and their interesting alphabetically arranged cemetery.

Sports and Tourism Complex | Tagum City

After the Davao leg, I had to come home for engagements I couldn't get out of.  Here are the spots that I missed and would definitely visit soon:

South Cotabato 

The team then proceeded to General Santos City, where they had an overnight stay before heading off to Lake Sebu. If their gorgeous photos of sunrises, sunsets, rainbows, and zipline adventure over a number of waterfalls won't convince you to visit South Cotabato, I don't know what will. 

Sunrise at Lake Seloton | South Cotabato. Photo by Ironwulf En Route.

North Cotabato

Then there's Asik-Asik Falls at Alamada, North Cotabato. The journey was difficult, but sooo worth it!

Asik-Asik Falls | North Cotabato. Photo by Bagdok on the Road.


I often pass through Bukidnon with the family when we travel to and from Davao City, but there are so much more to explore in this expansive province of Northern Mindanao. I was supposed to meet them back somewhere in Bukidnon, but there were inevitable changes with the plans. 

Anyways, the Travel Mindanao team enjoyed the cold at Lorega, Kitaotao, the Summer Capital of Bukidnon; rappelled and swam in Blue Water Cave in Quezon, relaxed at Lake Apo in Valencia City, visited a number of waterfalls and a endured a 6-hour river trek in Impasug-ong. Can you imagine what I missed? Boo! 
Blue Water Cave | Quezon, Bukidnon. Photo by Ironwulf En Route

Misamis Oriental

Then I joined the team again in Cagayan de Oro City. We stayed at Tune Hotels. Because they were understandably exhausted, most of the CDO leg was for food trip. Loved the food at Chubs Diner!

Do you think these 2 can win the Chubs Couple Challenge?
Foot-high burger + fries + 2 milkshakes in 7 minutes
And because I needed to be in Davao City, I missed the White Water Rafting adventure! 

*The Camiguin leg was rescheduled a couple of weeks later. Only Alex and Lisa went, along with our new friend, Caressa, a self-proclaimed joiner of #TravelMindanao.

The Travelers

Beyond the amazing destinations, mouth-watering food treats, and the adrenaline-pumping adventures, it is always the company of the people you are with that makes a journey more memorable. Hope to see you all soooooon. 

On to #TravelMindanao 2.0!

#TravelMindanao Project travelers would like to extend their sincerest gratitude and appreciation to the following partners and sponsors who trust and believe in the purpose of this campaign.


Surigao City Government Tagum City Tourism SouthCotabato.org


 Marco Polo Davao Greenwich R.O.X. Recreational Outdoor Exchange Zem Gear PhilippinesTune Hotels

Microtel by Wyndham - General Santos CityKagay Water Rafting CDO, Cagayan de Oro City Metro Surigao Shopping Center Surigao Fiesta Resort Cathe Pacific, Cantilan, Surigao del Sur Chub's Diner Dessert Strip Cafe, Cagayan de Oro City DDD Habitat IncLachi's Sans Rival atbp, Davao Cityle chard place bed and breakfastPunta Isla Resort Lake Sebu, South Cotabato   
[ Islands Restobar and Seafood Restaurant ] [ Miami City Suites ] [ One Hive ] [ Surigao Tourist Inn ] [ Nathalie's Homestay ] [ Caressa Leanne Lim ] [ Casa Santillan ] [ Dencio's Kamayan ] [ Allan Barredo ] [ Ababu Persian Kitchen ]

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