November was a kick-off of the TravelMindanao Project. It was a thrilling whirlwind 20-days (and would have been more if not for Super Typhoon Yolanda’s unexpected arrival) for me but was quite fulfilling in discovering (and re-discovering) different facets of Mindanao. So what started as a joke from the recent WAT 2.0 in Iligan evolved to an advocacy, a call to action to Travel to Mindanao. With a group of 8 travel bloggers we explored Mindanao to showcase the sights, the people, the experience and hoping you consider Mindanao on you next travel plan. Here’s a snippet on some of the highlights of this project.
Surigao del Norte. I caught up with the group a few days later after the TravelMindanao kicked-off November 6 in Surigao City. The group was supposed to go to Bucas Grande after but Super Typhoon Yolanda spoiled our plans as the resort we were supposed to stay at sustained some damage. We just enjoyed some downtime in Cantilan hosted by the ever generous Cathe Pacific.
Surigao del Sur. I found myself back to Hinatuan Enchanted River but this time the team certainly enjoyed it as we had the river all to ourselves. Aside from enjoying the surface, we were able to free-dive to explore its depths.
Davao and Tagum. Yolanda may have screwed our schedule but we managed to go back on track in Davao. Big thanks to Marco Polo Davao for our pampered stay in the city and the Tagum Tourism office for a quick tour in their highly developing city.
General Santos and Lake Sebu. We had another pampered stay at Microtel GenSan before moving into an arduous commute in the next series of TravelMindanao legs. Lake Sebu is always a pleasure to visit even having been there several times already. The group certainly enjoyed the serenity of the place couple by its awesome zipline and a scenic stay at Punta Isla Lake Resort.
North Cotabato. Probably the most taxing in terms of travel but certainly worth it as Asik-asik Falls is one of the most beautiful and unique waterfalls I have seen in the country.
Bukidnon. This was a new territory for me and one of the most exciting of the TravelMindanao legs. From hitching trucks, river treks, waterfalls hunting to night treks, spelunking and rappelling off bridges, it’s just fun all the way. Not to mention that I love cold weather especially in Lorega. (Thank you DDD Habitat for our stay there).
Cagayan de Oro. This was the last leg I joined for TravelMindanao. CdeO has constantly been a transit city for me but this time I had the chance to experience its famed rapids. Many thanks to Kagay Whitewater Adventure for that extremely fun tour as well as Tune Hotels and DDD Habitat for our stay in Cagayan de Oro.
Travel Mindanao was quite an experience thanks to the sponsors who believed in our advocacy like Greenwhich Pizza for joining us along the way, and Zemgear, as our official footwear. Big thanks also to personal sponsor Cebu Pacific Air for bringing me to Mindanao and back. There are more actually which we’ll get into detail once we go start writing our posts. I also had an awesome time with my co-travel bloggers during this 20-day tour. I’ve always believed that if you really want to get to know a person, travel with them and indeed this was such a rewarding experience of getting to know each other more. Mindanao is awesome but the people you travel with and the ones we met along the way are more so.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.