Mindanao Philippines
map of Mindanao Philippines
 
The southern island group of Mindanao is dominated by Mindanao Island (the second largest island in the Philippines after Luzon) and the Sulu Archipelago, to the southwest; the Sulu Archipelago is made up of several large islands and hundreds of tiny tropical islands, stretching all the way to Indonesia and Malaysia.
 
Mount Apo highest mountain in the Philippines Davao Mindanao
Mindanao is home to the highest mountain in the country, Mount Apo, and of all the Philippine islands Mindanao offers the greatest diversity of topography. Its 95,000 square kilometers are made up of rugged mountains ranges, isolated volcanic peaks and high rolling plateaus, vast tracts of rainforest, broad, swampy plains and wide river deltas, and an equally varied coastline of rugged, high cliffs and long sandy beaches, some stretching for miles.
 
photograph indigenous peoples Tigwahanon tribe Bukidnon Mindanao
Mindanao also offers a multi-cultural diversity unlike anywhere else in the Philippines. More than 50 of the Philippines 89 indigenous peoples groups live in the region and practice the colourful traditions and culture of their forebears. Mindanao hosts 18 major indigenous peoples' tribes, that have thrived here since time immemorial, plus 17 recognised sub-tribes that have resulted from inter-marriage between the major tribes. In the AD1300s Muslims, mainly from Borneo and Sulawesi, invaded the ancestral domains of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao and displaced a number of the tribes. Today, approximately 20% of the land area of Mindanao (focused around Cotabato) is claimed as the traditional centre of the Philippines’ Muslim population. Subsequent invasions ("migrations") by Christians (starting with the Spanish in the AD1500s) have seen the indigenous peoples retreat from many lowland areas into the more mountainous interior of Mindanao, but their retreat has always been with a spirit of tolerance for others despite many betrayals by the interlopers. The truly indigenous peoples of Mindanao are very special people.
 
photograph exclusive resorts Pearl Farm Samal Island Mindanao Philippines
While the West of Mindanao is not yet a completely safe destination for travel – particularly the Sulu Archipelago, where Islamic insurgents are sometimes active – the capital, Davao City, and other major cities attract large numbers of local and foreign tourists every year. Davao City is a thriving modern metropolis and the economic center of Mindanao, just an hour and a half flight from Manila. The Davao International Airport handles international flights to Singapore. Davao is also one of World’s largest (in area) cities, offering a well-developed tourism infrastructure of hotels, casinos and beach resort facilities. One of the Philippines most exclusive (and most expensive) beach resorts - The Pearl Farm - is on Samal Island close to Davao City.
 
Mt Apo’s 9,465-foot peak rises in the clouds behind Davao City and is a popular destination for hikers and climbers. Its foothills are also home to the Philippine Eagle Center and the Malagos Garden Resort, both a must-see for the any visitor to Davao. There are numerous beaches and several popular scuba diving sites within easy reach of the city. Samal Island, only a 10-minute ferry journey from the city’s eastern outskirts, offers pristine white sand beaches, snorkeling, scuba diving and a multitude of water sports with accommodation, ranging from inexpensive native cottages to luxury beach resorts. The newest adventure sports in or near Davao are caving & spelunking, wakeboarding, zip-lining, zorbing and whitewater rafting . . . all within two hours drive from downtown Davao City. Davao also offers a treasure trove of antiques and native & local handicrafts, plus an astonishing variety of fruits and inexpensive seafood - some people travel to Davao City just for the seafood, especially fresh tuna.
 
Philippine fruit fest lanzones festival Zamboanga Camiguin Mindanao
Zamboanga City was Spain’s principal outpost in Mindanao and the Spanish influence is reflected vividly in the language, architecture and traditions of the city. The local dialect, Chavacano, is largely Spanish based and unrelated to the mainly Malay origins of other Philippine dialects. Fort Pilar, a 17th-century Spanish fort located on Zamboanga’s waterfront, is one of the city’s major attractions and the location of a popular resort hotel that overlooks the city’s colourful harbour. The Bajau sea-gypsies regularly hawk their handicrafts and trade goods from outrigger vintas along the sea wall of the hotel, and it is close to many of the city’s other sights including the famous barter market and the hanging gardens of Pansonanca Park. It is also the stepping off point for boat trips to the pink sands of Sta. Cruz Island and other nearby beaches.
 
Mindanao’s colourful ethnic minorities can be found almost everywhere in the region. Cotabato’s Lake Sebu is home to the T'boli tribe and has become a very popular holiday destination, particularly during the T'boli Lem-Lunay festival, held each September. The T'boli are renowned for their traditional dances, colourful costumes and adornments. They are one of the last remaining Philippine tribes whose customs and traditions are still well preserved. T'boli woven fabrics, embroidery, beadwork and brassware are much sort after.
 
white water rafting Cagayan de Oro Mindanao Philippines
Cagayan de Oro City is the entry point for Northern Mindanao, one hour by plane from Manila. Whitewater rafting on the Cagayan de Oro river has become very popular, while Camiguin Island and the Muslim city of Marawi, on the shores of Lake Lanao, are within easy reach. Lake Lanao, is one of the 15 "ancient lakes" of the World, is the largest lake in Mindanao and the deepest in the Philippines. The lake has been home to the Muslim Maranao people since they displaced the indigenous peoples of the area in the AD1300s, offering a unique cultural legacy set in one of the most scenic landscapes in the Philippines. Camiguin Island is truly a wonderland of natural beauty, its steep volcanoes, lush jungle and white beaches attracting nature lovers from all over the World.
 
Philippines best surf breaks cloud 9 worlds top ten Siargao Mindanao
Mindanao also boasts the most acclaimed surfing destination in the Philippines, Siargao Island, off its northeast corner. Accessible by ferry boat from Surigao City or by airplane from Cebu, it hosts several international surfing events and attracts surfing enthusiasts from all over the World. The main event is Cloud 9 - a large, powerful, Hawaii style, left-hand break that is ranked among the top ten surfing breaks in the World. The best months for surfing at Cloud 9 are August through December. On Siargao Island a range of beach resorts are available to suit almost any budget. scuba diving, kayaking, game fishing and windsurfing are new and growing sports in Siargao.
 
 
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