Explore Mindanao This Summer!
If you think Boracay, Baguio, and Palawan are all the Philippines has to offer, think again. From up north to down south, the Philippines is filled with wonders spread all over the thousands of islands that comprise the country. What if you were to consider exploring the second largest island in the Philippines? That means you can only marvel at an endless list of adventures waiting for you there! Dubbed by many as the Land of Promise, Mindanao is famous for its rich land and various indigenous tribes untouched by colonizers. In case you didn’t know about any of the awe-inspiring locations in Mindanao, check out this list of some of the sights that the Southern Philippines has to offer. Explore Mindanao!
Explore Mindanao, the Second Largest Island in the Philippines
Enchanted River in Surigao del Sur
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Many locals believe that the Enchanted River is home to supernatural spirits responsible for the river’s unique color. Diving expeditions have found that the river is in fact part of a vast underwater cave system that has yet to be fully explored. From January to April 2017, the local government closed the river for rehabilitation. When it reopened, swimming was no longer permitted, and a separate swimming area has been provided nearby. Guests can still view the blue lagoon from the viewing area.
Grand Mosque of Cotabato
To explore Mindanao means to marvel at Islamic wonders. One of the most popular landmarks of amazing Cotabato City in Mindanao is the Grand Mosque of Cotabato, which is also widely famous as the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid. The mosque is indeed an incredible place, and you simply can’t stop admiring the impressive architecture of this mosque. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei funded the mosque at a reported cost of US$48 million. It is the largest mosque in the Philippines!
Mount Apo in Davao
You never fully explore Mindanao without climbing its highest point. Mount Apo, King of Philippine Peaks, is one of Southeast Asia’s highest mountains, and it’s right here in Davao. The mountain’s peak reaches an elevation of 10,311 feet, which is 3,144 meters above sea level. A 500-meter-wide crater lake created by volcanic activity waits for you at the top. The mountain is home to rubber plantations, a 150-meter-tall waterfall called Tudaya Falls, and wild boar and deer.
Lake Sebu in South Cotabato
Lake Sebu, the municipality, features an ecotourism destination. The town itself rests 1,000 meters (over 3,000 feet) above sea level. The T’boli, Severa, and other indigenous groups, as well as three majestic lakes and an equally majestic ecosystem, call Lake Sebu home. There are many activities you can do in Lake Sebu, but the most popular are the trek to the Seven Falls and boating in any one of the area’s three lakes. Also notable is the T’boli Museum, which showcases the culture of the tribe.
Tinuy-an Falls in Surigao del Sur
This 95-meter-wide waterfall plunges 55 meters high from the top of the three-tiered waters that look like a huge white curtain! There is a bamboo raft on the side of the pool, and you can ride it to approach the falls. If you have more time, you can follow the staircase beside it. It will bring you to the second and third levels of the waterfalls. The falls in both levels are smaller, but the beauty is still incomparable due to its unique formation. Farther from the three-tiered waterfalls, a smaller one hides near the entrance.
Pink Mosque in Maguindanao
Mosques are sacred sites, but this pink mosque (Masjid Dimaukom) of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao, makes mosques more approachable to non-Muslims! Painted bright pink, its minarets stand out among all the mosques in the country. Datu Saudi Ampatuan’s mayor, Samsudin Dimaukom, who financed the building, said that he and his wife chose the color because, first, Dimaukom’s wife considers it her favorite color and, second, because they said that pink symbolizes peace and love.
Located off the coast of Surigao del Norte, Siargao is also known by its other name: the Surfing Capital of the Philippines. There are several resorts on the island offering a good place to spend the night after a day of surfing. However, surfing is not the only thing you can do here. The island’s natural attractions, such as the largest mangrove forest in Mindanao and the coral reefs teeming with rich marine life, also draw in visitors. Catch the annual surfing competition, the Siargao Cup, every September!
Pink Beach in Zamboanga
A pink mosque and now a pink beach? The beach at the Great Santa Cruz Island in Zamboanga offers quite a unique experience. What makes this beach pink? Crushed red organ pipe corals (Tubipora musica) wash ashore and blend well with the white sand, making it look pink in broad daylight. Walking along the beach, you’ll find some of these corals brought in by the waves. This pink beach is said to be the only one of its kind in the country and is part of a marine protected area, so trips to the island are regulated. No overnight accommodations are available. Aside from swimming and snorkeling, we also recommend bird watching, especially in the lagoon.
The Sunken Cemetery in Camiguin
In the 1870s, a volcano nearby erupted, sinking the cemetery along with the capital city surrounding it below sea level. In order to commemorate this place of loss, people built the looming cross in remembrance. Visitors all over the Philippines and the world come to admire this man-made wonder filled with legend and enchantment. It has been more than a century since the cemetery sank, so it isn’t at all surprising how marine life has taken over—from different varieties of colorful fish and other sea creatures to healthy corals and giant glowing clams. This is a memorial park decorated with marine gardens.
Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte
Considered as a diving paradise located in the northern part of Zamboanga, there is so much to see and to do here! Explore Mindanao in Dakak Park and Beach Resort, a resort acknowledged for its beautiful coral reefs and the rich, scenic refuge it provides to diverse marine flora and fauna. In addition to that, Dapitan is also famous for its Rizal Shrine and inspiring Historical Walking Tour. Another popular destination is Gloria’s Fantasyland, the best go-to destination for families with kids (or childish adults). It’s a world-class commercial center and amusement theme park comparable to Disneyland! Featuring 35 rides, Gloria’s Fantasyland is the biggest theme park outside Metro Manila. It’s usually best to visit the theme park at night so you can enjoy the scenic wonders, light combination, and stage performances.
Eden Nature Park in Davao
In the district of Toril in Davao City, you’ll find Eden Nature Park at the foot of Mount Talomo. Across 80 hectares, you’ll have a chance to explore a wildlife sanctuary full of exotic birds, plants, flowers, and insects. This nature park is actually 95% man-made, but it has jaw-dropping scenery, including 100,000 tall forest trees and 100,000 pine trees. It smells so fresh! If your feet grow tired from exploring the 80 hectares, hop on their 45-minute shuttle tour, which ensures that you see the very best that this park has to offer.
The Land of Promise Awaits You
Do not confine your trips in Luzon and Visayas. Mindanao is a huge paradise to make adventures in. Explore Mindanao this summer!
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