BUDGETARIAN SERIES: SoCCSKSarGen Barkada Thrills for Only Php 7,000 ($140)

BUDGETARIAN SERIES: SoCCSKSarGen Barkada Thrills for Only Php 7,000 ($140)

You might heard of it but I bet you can’t place where SoCCSKSarGen is located. This might not be a popular tourist destination but this place has a lot of barkada activities to brag about.

Region XII is in Central Mindanao and is comprised by the provinces of South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos.

With the adverse media that Mindanao is still receiving, it is understandable that tourists flock away from the region. It is the sad truth. However, as I’ve said before:

“Mamasapano, Basilan, Sulu or other places with conflict does not equate to the whole lot of Mindanao.”


If you are from Manila, the nearest jump off point is at General Santos. We flew via Cebu Pacific and travel time is only

From there, other provinces are at least 1.5 hours away. We hired a local tour driver to tour us around the SoCCSKSarGen region, transportation included.


I must admit that after the country wide news about the Mamasapano incident plus the ‘praning’ comments of some of my friends, it made me concerned as well. Most especially I’m with my siblings. I almost got this trip cancelled. Glad I didn’t.

Besides, being afraid will get you nowhere. So what can be done in a place where you might just heard during your HeKaSi class? A lot, actually.

Day 1: General Santos Tour

We touched down on this province twice as we landed as well as have to exit from General Santos.

We made GenSan our gateway to get to other nearby provinces though we couldn’t miss taking a peak at the Pacman’s mansion. Read here to know more about our experience.

Spots to visit:
>> Pacman and Mommy D’s mansions
>> Wildcard Gym
>> Sarangani Highlands

Day 2: South Cotabato Tour

Doing the SoCCSKSarGen trip made me realize that Mindanao is indeed not what I think it is. South Cotabato in particular is relatively safe than other parts of the region as well as many activities can be done in this province.

We traveled straight to South Cotabato right after we indulged ourselves in Gumasa Beach early that morning. And our first activity? Ziplined across the 7 waterfalls! Oha, iba kame eh!

Read here to know more about our experience.

Spots to visit:
>> 7 Waterfalls
>> Lake Sebu
>> Surallah

Day 3: Sarangani Tour

This place surprised me as there are numerous barkada activities that can be done. And I mean, these  are exhilarating and not your usual stuff.

Read here to know more about our experience.

Spots to visit:
>> White Water River Tubing
>> Gumasa Beach
>> Dive at Lemlunay Resort


General Santos
We stayed overnight in Sarangani Highlands to which room for 4 people starts at 2,450/night.

We stayed overnight in Glan Training Center which is just near the plaza.

South Cotabato
We stayed overnight at Punta Isla Resort to which room for 4 people starts at 1,100/night.


BALBAKUA & CHICHARON BULAKLAK – Gamay Eatery and Aweng’s Balbakuahan are the famous hole-in-the-wall venues and these are must places to dine when in GenSan. A serving of balbakua costs P25-30.

BUKO HALO-HALO – Don’t miss out on tasting the famous Apareja’s Buko Halo-halo in Koronadal! A new take on the traditional merienda that we always love, this halo-halo is served in a fresh coconut topped with ube ice cream and the juice can be used as your ‘panulak’.

TILAPIA DISHES –  May it be fried, sinabawan or chicharoned, they all have one thing in common. Being surrounded by the Lake Sebu, we indulged ourselves with tilapia dishes from Punta Isla.


• What is GenSan without tuna? My sister and my bf have ‘hoarded’ tuna before we went home because it was that cheap in GenSan.

• Ensure to have your waterproof camera ready especially on the river tubing and diving activities.

• You may also want to visit the Dream weavers in South Cotabato. T’boli women are gifted with dream weaving because they literally dreams of the Tinalak patterns they are to weave. Amazing, right?

• Kablon Farm has so many pasalubong items to choose from. From virgin coconut oil, fresh juices and even spicy dark chocolate, they have it. And, all are organic.

• It is also recommended on taking home some of their bukayo as a pasalubong (or for self-indulgence). I tried it myself and it is delicious!


Special shout out to the people who helped us make this trip possible. In behalf of my travel crew, maraming salamat po. Sa uulitin.

Mang Ross, our tour driver. Contact him at 09164042247.

Jon Perez of Mindanao Tourism Council.


**Our SoCCSKSarGen tour has been done last Mar 13 – 16, 2015. Pics were taken using Nikon D3100 and Sony Cybershot TX30.                                                                                                                 

Also read:
Cagayan Trip for less than Php 5,000
Romblon-Bora Trip for Php 6,300
Davao Vacay for Less Than Php 6,500
Exploring Batanes for Only Php 8,500

Amazing Bali for Only Php 11,000
Dream Krabi-Phuket Trip for Php 15,000
Myanmar Temple Run for Less Than 20K
Taiwan Nature Trip for Less Than 30K

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Written by Tody Dino

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