7 Travel Spots in Mindanao Safe for Tourists

Check the newest travel spots in Mindanao and discover the smallest island province in the Philippines

By: Arrah Camillia Quistadio-Manticajon | August 03, 2017
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Mindanao came recently into the spotlight due to the Marawi crisis. While President Duterte has yet to decide on extending martial law or not, this doesn’t mean that the whole island is not safe for tourists.

In fact, Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo has said that there are prime tourist destinations in Mindanao worth visiting despite the imposition of martial law.

Up for a trip to the Food Basket of the Philippines? Below are some of the travel spots in Mindanao that you can go.

1. Samal Island

attractions in Mindanao

A seemingly endless stretch of white sand beach in Samal Island (Image: Samal Island Guide)

Officially known as the Island Garden City of Samal, Samal Island is a popular tourist destinations in Mindanao it is located just two kilometers away from Davao. Samal Island is the largest resort city in the Philippines, with more than 70 resorts lining its coast. A diverse range of activities can be enjoyed here, from popular island-hopping tours, to mountain climbing at Mt. Puting Bato, and water sports like windsurfing, water polo, and jet skiing, to name a few. From Davao, Samal Island is accessible by ferry boat from either Sta. Ana or Sasa Wharf, as well as private boat and bus.

2. Mt. Apo

attractions in Mindanao

Rolling green hills at the boulders of Mt. Apo (Image: Kidapawan City Tourism OfficeNews)

For nature-loving tourists, nothing beats the experience of hiking up Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in the country. Known as The Grandfather of Philippine Mountains, Mt. Apo rises 2,954 meters above sea level. After a fire broke out in March 2016, Mt. Apo reopened to trekkers last April 12. To reach the peak, trekkers can choose from four trails: the Sibulan trail, Ko-ong Kidapawan trail, Kapatagan trail, and Tamayong trail. During the hike, one can see huge boulders alongside sulfur vents. After trekking, one can cool down at many of the hot springs at the foot of the mountain.

3. Museo ni Rizal sa Dapitan

attractions in Mindanao

Museo ni Rizal sa Dapitan lets visitors revisit Rizal’s life while in exile. (Image: National Historical Commission of the Philippines)

History buffs can retrace the life of the Philippine national heroes while in exile at Dapitan. The Museo ni Rizal sa Dapitan, a 34-ha. farm located in Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte holds four galleries filled with Rizal’s personal effects, letters, and other memorabilia. The museum is the same site where Rizal built a farm, school, and boys’ dormitory while he spent four years in exile. Visitors can also enjoy online lessons from the National Historical Commission on Philippine History at the e-learning room of the museum. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

4. Sunken Cemetery

attractions in Mindanao

The breathtaking view of the Sunken Cemetery in Camiguin (Image: Rommel C. Bundalian)

Camiguin, the second smallest island province in the Philippines, does not have a shortage of natural wonders to visit. The island has volcanoes, springs, and waterfalls to occupy any traveler’s wanderlust. One of the destinations that Camiguin is known for is the Sunken Cemetery in Bonbon, Catarman. The island used to be connected to the land area of Catarman until Mt. Vulcan erupted in 1871, sinking parts of the town undersea, including the gravesite now known as Sunken Cemetery. Today, it is a dive site teeming with rich marine life. Divers can expect to pay PhP150 for the tour guide and a PhP50 environmental fee.

5. Fort Pilar Museum

attractions in Mindanao

Fort Pilar is named after the patroness of Zamboanga. (Image: Bernard Bernal Bangaysiso)

Another place where history lovers can get lost in time is the Fort Pilar Museum in Zamboanga City. Fort Pilar, also known as Real Fuerza De Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza, was built in 1635 by a Jesuit missionary engineer to fend off attacks from foreign invaders. Today, it stands as a museum classified as a National Cultural Treasures of Mindanao. After reconstruction efforts in the 1980s, the museum now holds historical collections, including archaeological excavations of British trade ship Griffin which sank in Basilan in 1761. The museum is open from Mondays to Fridays, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

6. Tinuy-an Falls

attractions in Mindanao

Tinuy-an Falls is our answer to the Niagara Falls in Canada. (Image: Alyckssa Maye Jc)

If seeing the Niagara Falls is on your bucket list but don’t have the budget to go there, you’re in luck. One alternative is to visit Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig, Surigao del Sur, dubbed as the little Niagara of the Philippines. Measuring 95 meters wide and 55 meters tall, Tinuy-an is a four-tiered, white water curtain waterfall. Visitors going to the falls between 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM will be treated to a seeing a rainbow. Tinuy-an Falls is 30 minutes away from Bislig City and is accessible by private car or habal-habal (modified motorcycle). Entrance fee is at PhP50.

7. Siargao Island

attractions in Mindanao

The long walkway towards Cloud 9 in Siargao (Image: Eva Carmela)

Known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, Siargao is most famous for Cloud 9 surf beach. Local and international surfers flock to its shores around October when the surfing season begins. However, there is more to Siargao than the sport. Visitors can also go island hopping across Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island. Nature lovers can swim with stingless jellyfish at Sohoton Cove National Park or see bioluminescent plankton at Hagukan Cave. With various food offerings ranging from fresh seafood to Italian fare, you could also go on a food trip in Siargao.

While it has had its share of conflicts, Mindanao is blessed with many natural wonders worth visiting.

Make sure to visit Yoorekka to learn and find out more about the best places to visit in Mindanao.

Have you been to any of these travel destinations in Mindanao? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below!

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About Arrah Camillia Quistadio-Manticajon
Arrah Camillia Quistadio-Manticajon is the current content supervisor for the Visayas region of ShoppersGuide Marketing, Inc. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication degree from UP Cebu. She has previously worked for a business process outsourcing company, a community newspaper, and a global technology company. When not writing, she putters about in the kitchen, baking or testing new recipes.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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