SoCCSKSarGen x Maguindanao

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.

SoCCSKSarGen stands for the region’s four provinces – South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Saragani and one of its cities – General Santos. Located in south-central Mindanao while Maguindanao belongs to Autonomous Region Muslim Mindanao and it’s only 1 hour away from Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato kaya pwedeng mag sidetrip dito.

Day 1 of 5 – Sarangani

Gumasa beach in Sarangani was dubbed as “The little Boracay of Southern Mindanao” because of its white sand and clear waters. From General Santos, we went to our “connection” para sa free ride going to Sarangani. But it almost ruined our trip. Hahaha! Ang tagal namin nag-antay para lang maki-hitch, we left GenSan around 9:00am. Sayang yung oras na inantay namin. After 2 hours we arrived at Isla Jardin Resort in Glan, Sarangani. 1 hour away lang ito from GenSan, pero dahil malaki yung sasakyan na dala namin, ang tagal bago kami nakarating. 😦 Nag-lunch nalang kami dito at nagpicture-picture sa beach. Hindi na keri mag-swimming, bes at grabeng init! Hahah!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0969.Stopover at Sarangani Bay view deck!

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Isla Jardin Resort

 √ COOL THINGS TO SHARE:  

■ Getting to Saragani – From General Santos Airport, ride tricycle to KCC Mall and from there, you can ride van going to Glan Terminal. Travel time is 1 – 1.5hour, fare is Php100.

■ From Glan Terminal, hire a habal-habal to any resort in Gumasa Beach. The farthest is Isla Jardin Del Mar Resort, travel time is 15 minutes.

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

 After our Saragani tour, we went to Lake Sebu. Medyo malas kami ng araw na ‘to, dahil late na nga kami dumating sa Sarangani, on our way pa to Lake Sebu, may natumbang pang puno na humarang sa dadaanan ng mga sasakyan. Kaya gabi na din kami nakarating sa Lake Sebu. Hahah!

Pag dating sa terminal, nakipag-meet muna kami kay kuya Jorie, our habal-habal driver / tour guide for tomorrow’s activity. Then hinatid nya kami sa Punta Isla Resort, dito kami nag-stay for overnight. We got our dorm type room for only Php150 per head. Wala naman masyadong guests, kaya parang solo na din namin yung room. 😀

Must try ang mga Tilapia dishes nila dito specially the Chicharon Tilapia.

IMG_2118Chicharon Tilapia and Sinigang na Tilapia for dinner!

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Floating restaurant of Punta Isla Resort

Day 2: Lake Sebu and Sultan Kudarat

Kinabukasan, gumising kami ng 5:30am para sa first activity namin, the Lotus viewing. Mga 5 mins. walk lang sa likod ng Punta Isla then  you will ride a traditional boat of the T’boli called Owong para makapunta sa mga Lotus flowers. Best time is early morning, dahil sa umaga lang naka-open ang mga flowers. We also visited the T’boli Museum, Lake Sebu Landmark and ofcourse, the 7 Falls zipline. Said to be the highest zipline in Asia.

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View of Lotus flowers! Mukha akong pilit dyan mag-pose. Nakakatakot kasi yung owong. Walang katig. ahahah!

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T’boli Museum

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0988.
The whole signage says “Kemdol I

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Pak na pak ang aurahan namin, mga bes! hahah! T’nalak costume rental Php50/each 😀

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Ofcourse, one of the highlights of our trip, zipline in 7 falls Lake Sebu. Highest in Asia! 🙂

 √ COOL THINGS TO SHARE: 

■ Getting to Lake Sebu – From Bulaong Terminal in General Santos, ride van directly to Lake Sebu. Travel time is 2.5-3 hours, fare is Php100.

■ From Lake Sebu Terminal, hire a habal-habal for a halfday tour it will cost you Php400 for 1-2 pax and Php600 if whole day for 1-2pax . Highly recommended habal-habal tour guide is Kuya Jorie – the president of the Lake Sebu Public Terminal Tourist Drivers Association.

■ Zipline Schedule : 9am-11:30am and 1pm – 4pm (still depends on the weather)
Zipline Rates : Php250 – weekdays and Php300 – weekend

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

We bid kuya Jorie goodbye after we finished all the activities at dumirecho sa terminal. Excited na kami sa next province na mapupuntahan namin, ang Sultan Kudarat. Kahit sidetrip lang ito, nag enjoy pa din kami. Ang ganda kasi ng Provincial capitol nila. Napakalawak, pwede kang mag baseball. Haha! And yung structure ng capitol nila parang mosque! Second time ni Moo dito at sabi nya, mas maganda daw dito sa gabi dahil madaming mga ilaw-ilaw.

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Tadaaaa! Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol! 

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Obligatory photo with Sultan Kudarat 😀

After ng sidetrip namin dito sa Isulan, pumunta kami sa Tacurong para mag lunch at i-meet yung aming second “connection”. Akala namin isang araw lang yung malas namin. May kasunod pa pala! hahah! Our original plan / itinerary was to visit Pink Mosque in Maguindanao and Grand Mosque in Cotabato. But unfortunately, itong si “connection” namin, takot pala dumaan dun! 😦 Sobrang sira ang schedule namin. Gusto ko maiyak sa inis. hahah! Pero hindi, nag isip nalang kami ng Plan B.

Isulan-Maguindanao-Cotabato-Midsayap was the original plan pero naging Isulan-Midsayap nalang. Hahah! Well, He has a better plan for us at na-feel namin yun sa mga sumunod na araw namin sa Mindanao. Anyway, upon arrival in Midsayap nakipagmeet na kami kay kuya Yson – Ang habal-habal driver / guide namin sa Asik-Asik Falls.

Pagdating sa Alamada, na-meet namin si Ate Sally, meron syang kubo kung saan pwede mag overnight ang mga guests for only Php100/head! Pwede na dba? Ready to trek na agad kinabukasan going to Asik-Asik Falls.

 Our mini kubo 😀

√ COOL THINGS TO SHARE: 

■ Getting to Isulan, Sultan Kudarat – From Lake Sebu terminal, ride jeep or van going to Surallah. Travel time is 30-45mins. Fare is Php35 jeep and Php50 van

■ From Surallah, ride another van going to Isulan. Travel time is 1 hour. Fare is Php50

■ From Isulan hire a tricycle going to Provincial Capitol and if you want to go in Tacurong, just ride a multicab.

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

Day 3: Cotabato and Maguindanao

5:30am kami nagstart mag trek to Asik-Asik Falls and it took us 15mins to go down and mga 30mins to ascend, nakakapagod para sa mga walang exercise. Hahah! 600 plus steps yung hagdan. Maayos yung trail kaya hindi ka maliligaw.  Sobrang ganda ng falls! Kaya daw tinawag na Asik-Asik dahil yung tubig dun parang nag-sprinkle. 😀

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Your trail and view going down. 🙂

bridgeTo go nearer to the falls, you have to cross the improvised bridge.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1096.The majestic Asik-Asik Falls. Umulan nung gabi kaya hindi clear ang water 😦 (no filter)

From Alamada nagpahatid kami kay kuya Yson sa Libungan terminal to catch a van going to Cotabato and visit Sultan Haji  Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid also known as Grand Mosque. The biggest mosque in the Philippines and can accommodate 5,000 people according to kuya Abdul, the caretaker of the mosque.

DSCF6777 Sultan Haji  Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid also known as Grand Mosque. Ganda! Parang palasyo! 😀

Since 1 hour away lang ang Maguindanao dito, nag sidetrip na din kami to visit Masjid Dimaukom or Pink Mosque. Mayor daw yung nagpagawa ng mosque na ito at kaya daw Pink, kasi yung wife ng mayor favorite color nya yun and it symbolizes Love and Peace. 🙂 Hindi ka maliligaw dahil kitang-kita yung brightness ng Pink. Kahit saan may color Pink. Hahah!

DSCF6821No filter shot of The Pink Mosque. Must visit para sa mga Pink lovers! Hahaha!  

IMG_2191I searched the meaning of “Ahlan Wasahlan” in Google and it says “Hello or Welcome” 🙂

√ COOL THINGS TO SHARE: 

■ Getting to Asik-Asik Falls – Ride double-tire jeep bound for Brgy Dado Alamada or hire a habal-habal. Kuya Yson is highly recommended. Travel time from Midsayap or Libungan to Alamada is 1.5-2hrs.

■ You may contact Ate Sally if you want to stay in Alamada, near Asik-Asik’s jump off point. She can also cook you dinner for a minimal charge and try to visit their Strawberry farm.

■ Getting to Grand Mosque – From Cotabato city terminal, ride a multicab with “Awang” signboard and alight at Kalanganan or Grand Mosque junction then hire a habal-habal going to Grand Mosque. Total travel time is 30mins.

■ Wear proper attire when visiting Grand Mosque. Sleeveless and shorts above the knee is not allowed. For girls, you need to have “Pandong/balabal” or hood. You can also rent Muslim attire for only Php60. For couples, holding hands or PDA is also not allowed inside the mosque.

■ Getting to Pink Mosque – From Cotabato or Grand Mosque junction, ride a van with “Isulan or Gensan” signboard. Alight at the color Pink rotonda (roundabout) then walk to Pink Mosque. Travel time is 1 hour.

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

Pink Mosque was our last destination para ma-accomplish ang SoCCSKSarGen with Maguindanao trip namin.  Safe naman sa Cotabato and Maguindanao tsaka mabait yung mga tao, willing to help sila pag nagtanong ka sakanila. Wala kang mararamdamang tension pag nandito ka. 🙂

This is the part 1 of our SoCCSKSarGen-ARMM-Northern Mindanao adventure. Pumunta na kami sa Kabacan Terminal Complex at dito kami sumakay ng van going to our next adventure – Northern Mindanao: Iligan, Marawi and Cagayan de Oro

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