Foreigners in our own country



How far can your 6,209 pesos go?

The view from the view deck of Mt. Parker / Lake Holon via Kule trail in T’boli South Cotabato

Gen San  Kiamba, SarangganiMaitum, Saranggani  Gen San Koronadal Surallah  Lake Sebu  Surallah  Lake Holon in T’boli  Surallah  Isulan, Sultan Kudarat Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat  Cotabato City  Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao  Dato Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao  Cotabato City  Dato Odin Sinuat, Maguindanao  Marawi  Iligan  Cagayan De Oro. All in eight and a half days!

The sunset view from the golf course of MSU-Marawi

Today we conclude our travel around the land of promise Mindanao. Traversing through the regions of SOX, ARMM and some cities in Northern Mindanao.

When we hear about Mindanao most of the things that are commonly attached to it are the words ‘dangerous’ and ‘war stricten’ as portrayed by the media. But all through out our 8 day adventure we have experienced the exact opposite. We found the hidden gems of Mindanao and were at awe by its beauty and at the same time felt sad that a lot of people are missing out on what SOX and ARMM has to offer just because of the notion that Mindanao is ‘unsafe’.

The symbolic tuna statue just outside the fish port here at General Santos City


Tuka Beach in Kiamba, Saranggani (Manny Pacquiao has a mansion here :D)
The Kiamba Municipal Hall along with the hundreds of doves that are found in their plaza
White Water tubing in Maitum, Saranggani
Stop-over at Surallah Municipal hall
Foggy afternoon just outside our campsite here at Lake Sebu
Lotus Photography in Lake Sebu


We also felt the warm hospitality of the people of Mindanao, who welcomed us to their respective communities in each place that we went and even helped us in our times of need.

Trying out my new bird flute under Falls no. 2 Here in Lake Sebu
Falls no. 1 in Lake Sebu
Another angle of falls no. 2
Photo op with the Hugot Trek poster in Sitio Kule prior to our climb to Mt. Parker/Lake Holon
Too much gold in one picture! All their furniture are made from 18-Karat Thai gold! Only here in Sultan Hall at the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol
Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol at night
The Blue Lagoon in Margues, Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao

We also experienced the rich culture and diversity of this part of our country where Bisayas, ilocanos, illonggos, Meranaos and Maguindanaons live side by side day after day in peace. I truly appreciated my stay in Maguindanao and Marawi where I had the chance to be with our Muslim brothers and further enrich my understanding and knowledge about Islam and their culture.

The Pink Mosque (Masjid Dimaukom) in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao
The White Mosque in Capiton, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao
The Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Grand Masjid (The Grand Mosque the biggest in the Philippines) in Cotabato City
Mt. Minandar in Brgy Kusiong, Dato Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao
The guides and BPAT of Mt. Minandar together with Sir Halid, Maam Marie Kris and Maam Leah
Inside Aga Khan Museum, MSU-Marawi
KM Zero in Marawi City


I entitled this post as foreigners in our own country because we Filipinos are such. We are becoming foreigners in our own country because we tend to single out some of the places of our country which had difficult pasts and to the fact that we tend to live in that past. Yes, things did happen here in Mindanao but do you think the people here wanted it to happen? People here are peace loving, warm, kind and they are trying to move on from the trials that has long plagued their place. But how can they move on if we continually associate Mindanao with it’s past.

If we continue to be afraid we will never truly experience what Mindanao is. The land of promise.

Our campsite in Lake Holon, T’boli, South Cotabato

I’d like to thank Sec. Nelly Nita Dillera of DOT-Region 12 for connecting me with Maam Jellybee Madres Baay who helped me with my itinerary in SOX. Sec. Ayesha Mangudadatu Dilangalen of DOT-ARMM and her staff Sahara K. Ali for accomodating me Shukran maam! Especially to maam Marie Cris Batuampar 🤗, Sir Halid 🤗 and Dindo 😁 for being our guides and buddies in Maguindanao 😉. To Sir Co J Tamano for welcoming us in Marawi.

To everyone we met along the way, Pastor Louie of Maasim, Maam Jane of Kiamba thank you for your hospitality.

To Reggie Ondong, Joel Ikan and Lolo Sinam Muan for being our family in Lake Holon.

Our family in Lake Holon: Reggie , Lolo Sinam and Kuya Joel

To Sir Anthony of the Sultan Kudarat tourism office for touring us around Isulan, to maam Emelie Jamorabon of the Tacurong tourism office for touring us around Tacurong and Sir Rey for welcoming us in Baras bird Sanctuary.

Selfie with Sir Rey of the Baras Bird Sanctuary, Sir Anthony from Sultan Kudarat tourism office and Maam Emelie from Tacruong tourism office
Baras Bird Sanctuary in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat

To Maam Leah Tarhata Mehila for being our camping buddy in Mt. Minandar 😊

To maam Juhaira Musa Juanday and Sir Shybenn Racman for conversing with us during our commutes 😁

Special thanks to Bj Bj, Jawwad Usman Djamla Devon Tomato Toni Le Gresley Jose Espenido for answering my questions about the area prior to my visit. To Sir Hajar Kabalu for welcoming us in Cotabato city 😀

Madamo gid salamat! Shukran! Magsukol! Daghang Salamat! Maraming Salamat po sa inyong lahat 🤗😍😙😊😉

Please do Subscribe to my blog as I’ll be writing my detailed experiences in SOX, ARMM and my previous Zamboanga peninsula-Basilan Escapade 🤗😍😙😊😉 Along with all the adventures I’ve had here in the entire Visayas Region


Reminiscing my first backpacking experience in Bohol (Part 1)

Having travelling a lot during the past few years I just recently had the urge to write a travel blog. Most of the upcoming posts may be from past travels as I have a lot of catching up to do.

This post is dedicated to my first ever backpacking experience which happened last April of 2012. I was a 3rd year college student back then when I decided to write a post on one of the threads found on about travelling and found two people who were going travel to Bohol, so I decided to join in.

To be honest I was quite skeptical at first having to travel with two strangers for the first time, but being  the impulsive and adventurous me I was just hoping for the best.

We met up at Pier 1 in Cebu City, to buy our tickets for our ferry to Tubigon, Bohol. Where a long queue of people was already present.

M/V Star craft ticketing office at Pier 1 Cebu City

After a few minutes we finally had our ticket and was ready to board our ferry M/V Star Craft 2. I know it sounds like a famous computer game from blizzard but mind you this is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to go to Bohol. It only costs us 170 pesos (less 20% for students) for the tourist accommodations and the trip will only take around 50 mins to an hour..

Here are my new found friends Mark (On the left) and Glenn (On the right)

So our trip begins.


During the hour long trip I had the chance to get to know Mark and Glenn. I was relieved to know that Mark was an Engineer and Glenn was a lawyer (WOW!!). All my doubts about my travel buddies at that time immediately went away as we continued to chat because I had a sense that these are genuinely good people.

After the hour long ride we finally arrived at Tubigon port and had a quick breakfast at the market place just outside the port.

After our breakfast we then proceeded to the near by bus and van terminal only to find out they are still waiting for other passengers before they leave. So I tried to talk with the tricycle drivers at the terminal luckily one agreed to be our ride to Sagbayan peak and Carmen (Chocolate Hills) for just 200 each which I found reasonable considering he would be waiting for us while we tour the place.

Our G ride to Sagbayan peak and Chocolate hills in Carmen.

The travel time to Sagbayan peak from Tubigon port took us about 45 mins to an hour. It could be less especially when you will be riding a bus/van or a private vehicle.

Sagbayan Peak

At Sagbayan Peak, you enjoy a view of some of the hills similarly found at Carmen’s Chocolate hills a few comical statues a butterfly dome and a water park. They also offer Tarsier viewing just before you ascent to the peak. Entrance fee is only 10 pesos at that time.

Here are some of the pictures during my brief stay at Sagbayan Peak:

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The Tarsier Viewing is available from 9am to 5pm.

After a few hours we then set off to our next destination Chocolate Hills in Carmen.

Total Expenses so far:

  • Ferry from Cebu to Bohol – 178
  • Breakfast – 50
  • Tricycle from Tubigon to Sagbayan peak and Carmen – 200
  • Entrance fee to Sagbayan peak – 10
  • Total : 438 pesos

Please keep posted as I’ll write a separate post about our travel to chocolate hills and our commute to Loay, Bohol where we had our lunch before proceeding to Jagna and Anda. Links will be added within this day.