Northern Mindanao: Iligan, Marawi & Cagayan de Oro

Our journey was to visit 8 provinces in south-central and northern Mindanao for 5 days. That includes SoCCSKSarGen, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental.

After our SoCCSKSarGen & Maguindanao adventure, pumunta kami sa Kabacan Terminal Complex in Cotabato. It was already 5:30pm and I was already hopeless na makakasakay kami ng van or bus going to Cagayan de Oro. But luckily, there’s a van that will go to Maramag, Bukidnon kaya sinabay kami ng driver nito! Yes at hindi totally nasira ang aming itineray!

We arrived in Cagayan de Oro at exactly 12:00 midnight, Cinderella ang peg! Nag stay kami sa Hotel Sogo, kasi wala na kaming choice! Hahah! besides, it’s only 10 minutes away to Bulua Terminal kung saan kami sasakay ng bus to Iligan City.

DAY 4: Iligan and Marawi

We first went to the Islamic city of Marawi, Lanao del Sur.  Madami satin ang takot pumunta dito dahil sa mga balita ng terrorist attack or kidnapping. Lahat na ata ng masasamang balita, binato na sa Marawi. So, prior to this trip, I searched for a reliable source that can assure us na it’s safe to visit. I met a co-traveler in Facebook, Glen Pasagui. He have been to Marawi a week ago bago kami pumunta at sinabi nyang safe naman dito, nagbigay din sya ng mga do’s and don’ts. Mas lumakas loob ko na pumunta nung makausap ko ang isang tourism officer ng Marawi , si Mr. Coj Tamano na isa din Meranao.

Pumunta kami sa MSU Marawi or Mindanao State University Marawi, dito yung safest place na mapapasyalan. Parang University of the Philippines ang peg nito sa sobrang laki at lawak ng school and because of it’s high elevation, malamig ang weather dito!

DSCF6852Aga Khan Museum. Ang daming magagandang collections and history ng mga Maranaos dito pero bawal mag take ng pictures. Sad! 

Dito sa museum namin na-meet si Kuya Yong, sinamahan nya kami sa golf course ng MSU at inassist sa King Faisal Mosque.

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View of Lake Lanao from MSU golf course. 

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1169.
King Faisal Mosque –  donated by the King of Saudi Arabia.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1174.The huge Qur’an, sacred book of the Muslims

We went back to Iligan after visiting Marawi at tama nga sila, safe naman pala dito. Malayo sa description ng iba na magulo. Masaya din yung mga tao dun na may bumibisita sakanila. Hindi nakakatakot, baka sila pa ang matakot sayo. Hahah! 🙂

√ COOL THINGS TO SHARE: 

■ Getting to Marawi City – From Iligan, ride jeep with 1-C or 1-F signboard to South Terminal. Travel time is 10-15 minutes.

■ From South Terminal ride another jeep with signboard “MSU”. Travel time is 1 hour, fare is Php50.

■ Observe proper attire (long pants, shirt) as people in Marawi are used to conservative clothing.

■ You may contact  Marawi city tourism officer, Mr. Coj Tamano. READ: Travel Guide to SoCCSKSarGen, ARMM and Northern Mindanao for complete itinerary.

Kuya Jecil was our habal-habal driver / tour guide in our waterfalls chasing in Iligan. We visited Maria Cristina Falls, Mimbalot Falls, Tinago Falls, Paseo Santiago and Chedings Pasalubong center.

On our way to Maria Cristina Falls, nag-expect na kong sarado ‘to dahil may bomb threat nga daw and since September pa daw ito closed. But we’re so thankful kasi na-meet namin ang family ni Mr. Ryan and Ms. Joy Gabila kasama ang kanilang dalawang kids na gusto din makapasok sa Maria Cristina. Pinayagan sila ng guard at naki-sabit kami! Hahaha! Blessing in disguise talaga sila!

DSCF6897Finally! Maria Cristina Falls in real life! Hahah hindi ka lang pang libro! 😀

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1183.with the Gabila Family! Thank you, sir Ryan and Ms. Joy for tagging us along. 🙂

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1224.Next stop: Mimbalot falls. Ito yung falls na pinaka madaling puntahan.

DSCF6933
..and this one’s the hardest! Nakatago e. Hahah! the Tinago Falls. 400 plus steps going to this falls.

DSCF6925Kubo shade in Tinagao Falls.  Ang cute lang! Hahah!

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Kunwari-hindi-takot pose! hahah! Bamboo raft rental is Php 10/head

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1256.Paseo Santiago. Ang tagal namin hinanap ito at first time din nung guide namin makapunta dito. Haha!

IMG_2212Cheding’s pasalubong center, peanuts overload! 😀

It was a long and tiring day but full of fun and unforgettable memories! Time to go back in Cagayan de Oro for the last leg of our adventure.

√ COOL THINGS TO SHARE: 

■ Getting to Iligan – From Cagayan de Oro, ride Rural Bus in Bulua Terminal. Travel time is 1.5-2hours.

■ Hire a habal-habal for your whole day tour. Highly recommended is Kuya Jecil. His rate is Php250/head from Buru-un, Iligan to Mimbalot and Tinago Falls only. Wala syang fixed rate for whole day tour, we just gave him Php 800.

■ Going back to Cagayan de Oro – From Iligan city, ride jeep with “bus terminal” or “Tambo” signboard. Ask driver to drop you off at Terminal to CDO then ride Rural Bus back to Bulua Terminal in Cagayan de Oro.

■ As of this writing, Maria Cristina Falls is still closed. I think you need to have a “connection”  before you can enter the National Power Corporation, where the falls is located.

DAY 5: Cagayan de Oro

Vacation is over! Pero bago bumalik sa realidad, pumunta muna kami sa Divine Mercy Shrine located at El Salvador, Misamis Oriental. Parang bago lang ito kasi I was here 9 years ago pero wala pa itong shrine.

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Maong pants and sandos are not allowed. Pwede mag rent ng detachable skirt or Sarong.

DSCF6960Welcome to Divine Mercy Shrine!

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Unique yung facade ng church, may crown of thorns tulad kay Jesus. 🙂

√ COOL THINGS TO SHARE: 

■ Getting to Divine Mercy Shrine – From your hotel in CDO, go to Bulua Terminal and ride jeep going to El Salvador, alight at Divine Mercy Shrine jump off point. From there, hire a habal-habal going to the shrine.

■ Observe proper attire, maong pants and sandos are not allowed.

■ READ: Travel Guide to SoCCSKSarGen, ARMM and Northern Mindanao for complete itinerary.

We were so thankful to Him for keeping us safe during our entire stay in Mindanao specially when we’re in Maguindanao and Marawi. Kahit na nasira yung schedule/itinerary namin nung first and second day, naging okay pa din lahat dahil may dumating na mga blessing in disguise! Hahah! Indeed, it was a nakakapagod-pero-panalo experience! Sobrang ganda talaga sa Mindanao at napakarami pang pwedeng ma-explore.

See you in our next Bodex Kets Adventure! 🙂

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