Mindanao has always been associated with rebels and violence to which always affect their tourism. Well, we can exclude Davao as it was just been dubbed as the 4th safest city in the world but as for the rest, tourism really struggles.
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.
From Manila, the nearest jump off point is at General Santos. From there, other provinces are at least 1.5 hours away.
We hired a local tour driver/guide to tour us around the SoCCKSarGen region, transportation included.
WHAT WE DID
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!
Spots to visit:
Zipline at 7 Waterfalls
I think the most sulit zipline ride you can actually have. For an affordable price, you can get to ride to not one, but two ziplines! How’s that for experience?
Note that only Falls No 1 & 2 can be reached by foot and the remaining 5 waterfalls can be spotted when you ride the zipline.
It’s not only that you get a glimpse of the view of the magnificent waterfalls but you can also get to experience the awesome feeling of flying.
Us excitedly walking towards the falls.
Chill at Lake Sebu
Try staring at the lake and you’ll feel your senses calm down. There’s something about Lake Sebu that make you feel relaxed.
We stayed at Punta Isla, a ‘lake-front’ resort and the room they gave us was elevated so we have the vantage point of the whole lake.
Take to consider that the resort accommodations are fan rooms only as the cold breeze from the lake will make most of the warm weather.
Pasalubong Center in Surallah
According to Mindanao Tourism Council, they are currently working in making Surallah as a pasalubong center for tourists.
Also, try to take a picture in front of the Surallah municipal office.
WHERE WE STAYED
We stayed overnight at Punta Isla Resort to which room for 4 people starts at 1,100/night.
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.
• 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?
• 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!
• As we were at the Durian Garden in Polomolok in South Cotabato, we tried their durian specialties as candies, ice cream and pie (though I am really not a fan of the pie).
• 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.
Special shout out to the people who helped us make this trip possible. In behalf of my travel crew, T’boling Salamat po!
Mang Ross, our tour driver. Contact him at 09164042247.
Jon Perez of Mindanao Tourism Council.
TRAVEL EXPENSE SUMMARY