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Mindanao travel guide

Mindanao & Davao Island travels 

Philippines Journey
A typical south Philippine journey
The idea of the journey was to visit a part of ASEAN, in this case, southeast Asia with a Philippines travel blog in mind.

To explore interesting beaches and issue some Philippines travel tips. What we found out? It's worth to do it, we never had any problem except for the really bad roads. We traveled through the center of the island and stumbled every couple of kilometers into some roadblocks. 

Not all were manned but the idea is not bad, this way the uniformed guys tell the self-appointed Islamist "he' we are still here". Considering that the people who are not happy with the almost total neglection the central government shows them it definitely would be better to sit together to straighten the things and try new things too, just a bit of a creative thinking. 
South Philippine Photos
Mindanao living is not so good for the majority of the people

It is somehow romantic from a tourist view and sometimes quite hard for the native people on the island.

In particular, the continuous violence of misguided Islamists effects the whole island since tourist travel dropped dramatically after this problem became extreme virulent. There is always the question why people terrorize others just to satisfy their misguided ego.

On the other side traveling Mindanao gives the impression that the government in Manila does nothing for the people (infrastructure), it's somehow a "chicken and egg" problem.
  1. Mindanao waterfall at Iligan
  2. Maria Christina Warerfall on Mindanao
  3. motorbike tour to Mount Apo
  4. a ride to Mount Apo

A Day tour to General Santos City

As usual in the Philippines the roads are the big problem, they mostly are less than lousy.

Actually, I must say if I would live here I would get quite restless with the government in Manila too because the infrastructure shows clearly that the central government doesn't care about the people. General Santos City is also known as the "The Tuna Capital of the Philippines")

It was an easy drive after we left Davao the capital of Mindanao with the rented car we booked from a local car rental company. Koronadel City was next and beyond Cotabato, Imelda, and Zamboanga City.  

It's a bit risky to do that because they have no insurance at all, but what can we do? That's the way here, now the idea was to use the coast road to Cotabato City (we are here in South Cotabato Province). Driving along the coast opens breathtaking panoramas and amazingly the road was not as bad as expected which was only true after about 50 km behind General Santos City because there the asphalt surface ended and an awful dirt road started. This is for sure not a great tourist spot but they are working, maybe it will get better.

A real bad road

Now what to do in Mindanao under this circumstances? I drove a couple of kilometers on but there was no indication of any improvement and I don't want to get a breakdown already at the beginning of the journey. 

After some discussions with my Philippino friends, the conclusion was to turn back to General Santos City and stay overnight in Koronadel City because they were from there and operated a small farm which I financed some years ago. The day tour will continue again to General Santos City another time since the next destination is the great other tourist spots in the deep south of the Philippines  

The Trip to Zamboanga City
Mindanao Photos
Mindanao is an interesting place with plenty of things to discover it is a unique piece of ASEAN and Philippines to travel.

We thought to start in Davao City and make a journey to the southwest visiting Zamboanga Peninsular and the city via General Santos plus Cotabato. 

As you can see at the routing indicated on the map there are a couple of roads to take to the final destination, all of them offer great journeys. The heydays of Philippines vacation in the south were about 30 years ago (today is 2016) before the Arabs started to finance and the guys in Malaysia did it to kick the southern Thai and Philippino insurgency.
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day tour to explore general santos city
day tour to explore general santos city
idyllic day tour to general santos city
philippines tourism
Tourist spots in the south Philippines including a tour to Zamboanga City.
south cotabato
Mindanao journey
day trip to zamboanga

A genuine Mindanao road travel destination guide

We drove further south to Imelda through a marvelous green countryside which hasn't seen any substantial change since the Spaniards landed several centuries ago.

They came in search of gold and brought the catholic clerics which was the real disaster together with the backward oriented Islam it stopped any development and created an avalanche of people since both religions block any birth control. Everyone know when there are too many people everyone gets poor.

Great views pop up on the round trip, it definitely is one of the most scenic parts of the island from any point of view. Zamboanga City in the far south bordering the Celebes Sea. This is a trading town since centuries with great nature in the 'hinterland'plus the Sulu Sea to the west which is part of the South China Sea. Here and on the Malaysian side are fascinating diving sites, mountain climbing, caving, and other outdoor adventure.It looks like the authorities got the security problems on the main island somehow under control and tourism is slowly rising again (2016).

Some new tourist attractions, scenic spots, and festivals are promoted, beach resorts and good hotels are available, and it looks as if also the notorious inflation is not so bad anymore which bring reasonable prices to hotels and resorts. From a tourist point of view, it doesn’t look very good since prices are quite high (relative to Thailand and other countries in the region and the performance, in general, is less).

Beautiful tourist spots in far south Philippines
west of general Santos city
archaic rice planting
rice planting philippines

Beyond Cotabato and the Rio Grande river

Part of Mindanao River
Here is rural life, we head for Imelda in the south passing very attractive places and most people have an amazing level of education also English is quite commonly spoken. Just imagine what a great place this could be when some stubborn people wouldn't always fight against each other in the name of some useless philosophy they call religion.


Most of them have the ideal environment tourist and holiday maker prefers. Almost white sandy beaches, palm trees a clean sea in front just the right set up. Only prices are much higher and hotels & accommodations on a lower level than Thailand and Malaysia.

Zamboanga Beaches are countless

  1. Cotabato River Life
  2. cotabato river
  3. cotabato city main street
  4. Day trip on the Philippines
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
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  8. Managing Director
day trip through Imelda and to Zamboanga City
holiday in general Santos
holiday in general santos (1)
holiday in general santos (2)

Fort Pilar in Zamboanga City

The place was founded as the southern outpost of the Spanish Domain under the supervision of Melchior de Vera.

The fort was attacked in 1635 by the Dutch. In 1646 the place was abandoned because the troops were concentrated in Manila to fight Chinese Pirates. In 1663 it was given a new life by the Society of Jesus. In 1666 it was "resurrected" under Juan Siccara , in 1719 it was stormed by Dalasi King of Bulig together with 3000 moros. In 1720 the guns started to "talk" again, this time, the British were firing. In 1872 the place was abandoned by the Spaniards again and taken over by the Americans 1898 under General J.C. Bates. Seized by the Japanese in 1942 and taken over by forces of the Republic of the Philippines on 4.July. 1946.
Spanish colonial leftovers
Fort Pilar outer wall

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Our Lady of Fort Pilar Zamboanga's Heritage

Photos of Zamboanga
The Philippines still have a lot of Heritage around from colonial times which mean connected to Spain and US.

Some decades ago the government had declared it a historical landmark. The Philippines have a strong relationship with the catholic church which finally was the trigger to got the Lady of Pilar involved at her shrine in the Fort. This was the southern end of our Mindanao roundtrip after we slowly went northwest.

Visiting   Iligan City plus Tigano and Maria Christina Waterfalls .
  1. Fort Pilar and Philippines heritage tourism
  2. the fort interior today
  3. orchids around the corner
  4. here is the lady and some people really belive that
  5. old zamboanga city wall
  6. many forces tried to conquer but nobody managed
  7. zamboanga memories
Philippines Journey
Fort Pilar