Finding my Freedom...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Diwalwal, the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Modern Days?

"A mountain peak covered with snow-like eroded limestone during Typhoon Pablo" 

Call it a chance, but honestly it was not planned on how I was able to explore this popular place in this part of Compostella Valley. Diwalwal - a place so popular and yet, less traveled, if not traveled by most popular travel bloggers in the Philippines. I say popular, because even when I was still so young at the age of seven or so, I already heard about this place. A number of young male neighbors of us left to dig gold in Diwalwal when my family was still living in Zamboanga del Sur, a place where I was born and raised. In my youngest years, I heard a lot of horrible stories and even promising stories of wealth which one can only find it in this half-heaven/half - hell place, if there is hell - as how the locals describe the lifestyle of the settlers of this little town in Monkayo, Compostella Valley. Why? I'll leave it to your curiosity, discover the answer of that mind boggling descriptions given by the locals, but to give you a hint, the locals also refer this place as the "Sodom and Gomorrah of the Modern Days."

"A view where you can only enjoy if you are standing at Buenas on the way to Tinago"

How I find the chance of exploring Diwalwal? It was fortunate that my aunt whom was our neighbor in Zamboanga del Sur set foot in the town of Monkayo, Compostella Valley after my cousin got married with a local settler. It was because of typhoon Pablo who recently brought havoc in this part of Davao that paved the way, because unfortunately my Aunt's family was one of the many family who got displaced but among the few who luckily survived from typhoon Pablo after it destroyed almost everything and most of the territory of Compostella Valley in the late 2012. After almost losing everything specially their house and source of income, my Aunt together with her husband and only son moved in Iligan to work in a construction company. To cut the long story short, I heard that my aunt is planning to go back to Monkayo to check their house at the relocation area where their little house provided by the religious organization where they are part of is built. I got this interest of meeting my cousins whom I've never meet and seen for about 17 years already. I decided to go with my aunt!

From Iligan City, we took a bus ride for an hour or two to Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City. Then, another bus ride from Agora, Cagayan de Oro City to Butuan City which took us seven long hours of travel. From Butuan we took another five hours of bus travel to Monkayo. We left in Iligan at about 7:00 AM and we arrived in Monkayo at 9:00 PM roughly.

Upon arriving at Monkayo bus terminal, we were fetched by my cousins husband with their local motorcycle with side car transportation and we traveled more than half hour to reach at the relocation center where my Aunt's house is located. Alighting the tricycle my Aunt ask me if I saw those twinkling lights pointing at the top of the mountain in a not so far distance. I said, yes with a wrinkled forehead. Then, my Aunt told me, "It's actually Diwalwal! My eyes began to grow bigger and with disbelief I told her, "really? how far is that from here?" because in my mind a dark plan is creeping. So I began to inquire more info on how can I explore the place.

I learned that from the town of Monkayo, it would take an hour to reach the peak of Diwalwal in Mt. Diwata that is by the local popular single motorcycle called "habal-habal," with a fare going to Diwalwal at P150 and going down at P100. The locals said repeatedly that going to Mt. Diwalwal is never easy - because the road is extremely rough. Local people said that in early 1990's Diwalwal can only be accessed through a chopper or helicopter ride or if you cant afford you have to walk and trek for one day and one night. But then, I do love adventure, I love challenges, so who am I to say no to such amazing adventure?

It was a deadly experienced, if asked how was my habal-habal ride going to and going from Diwalwal. The road was really rough to the point where even though I was holding so tight on the habal-habal with all my might just to avoid being thrown away I still can't be able to successfully get a gripped. If I recall, roughly three times when the habal-habal seem to fly on mid-air with all of us on it and all I can do is close my eyes and without expectation that I'll still be able to land on the same seat, before the habal-habal actually flew into the mid-air, when the wheels touches the ground again. With all the prayers I uttered every time we flew into the mid-air, luckily we'll always land on the same seat still, but with a groan coupled with a loud cry out "Agay!" repeatedly,  because it was really painful!

Behold! because when we were on the peak of Mt. Diwata, a priceless view is waiting for us! Its really a place of heaven so to speak of the view. Upon gazing this view I remember a bible verses when Satan was actually offering Jesus Christ the World to him. "All the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them will be yours, if you'd fall down and worship me." Truly, Diwalwal is heaven for the view and the riches "gold" you can mine, but at the same time "hell" again if there is hell, for the deadly habal-habal ride. Actually, it took me two days to recover and fully move normally after that deadly habal-habal ride, but I am still willing to go back to Diwalwal in the future.

Planning to visit Diwalwal? I recommend you have to contact local people to guide you. By the way do you want to have idea what kind of road and how it looks like the roads in Diwalwal? See this photo from Rappler.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte: The Malinas Peak Exploration Series, Part 1.

"We are actually preparing ourselves to cross the swaying bamboo bridge"

The town of Kapatagan is one of the 21 municipalities in the province of Lanao del Norte. The name "Kapatagan" is derived from the local root word "patag" which means "plain" or "valley" therefore, "Kapatagan" means "plains" or "valleys." Since, its a "patag" place its primary commodity is rice. This town take covers from typhoons through the mountain ranges located in the southern and eastern part of its territory like the Malinas Peak in Brgy. Malinas. Offsetting the presence of mountains are the flat coastal lands and valleys in the eastern part. There are five major rivers that flow through Pangil Bay, the Maranding, Panoloon, Botadon, Kitados and Balili rivers. Two waterfalls are found in Kapatagan, the famous Cathedral Falls located within the boundaries of Brgy. Cathedral and Brgy. Waterfalls and the Sta. Cruz Falls located in Brgy. Sta. Cruz.

"The mountaineers taking a break at the Malinas Brgy. Hall"

How I arrived there? I received an invitation from the local Tourism office with regards to the upcoming climb with the group of mountaineers from Iligan Computer Institute. I am not a mountain climber nor a trekker, but I am an adventure seeker! It was a blessing for me to be invited in such opportunities to explore the neighboring towns of Iligan as Iligan is used to be the capital city of the province of Lanao del Norte - now Tubod.

"A climber taking her moment reminiscing and enjoying the view at the peak of Malinas"

After a two hour and a half bus travel you will arrived at the newly inaugurated Kapatagan Town Center which I considered the most modern Bus and Jeepney Terminal I've visited in this part of the country. Its comfort rooms are well cleaned and ventilated though it comes with a price because if you use their public toilet you will be charged, but I don't mind paying as much as P5.00 for a clean toilet and a comfortable waiting area. The waiting area is air-conditioned and its actually a wi-fi hot spot. No street vendors scattered along its vicinity and those people whom you would suspect as snatchers who will try grab your personal belongings and charge you some amount for carrying your luggage. I think thats something big cities should achieve like Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

"Photo ops and meeting new friends"

The climb to Malinas Peak was set to explore the hidden treasures of the town. That is the magnificent caves that are scattered in Brgy. Malinas which will be told in my next article. The trek was scheduled at six in the morning to avoid the much heat of the sun, but due to some delays we started the trek at eight which really made the climbers suffer. The pathways are really challenging, I remember one part of the trek when we are made to choose between to options, first crossing the river by walking through the waters which means you will get wet or cross the hanging bridge which has missing floors. The first choice was easier right, but you bet, no one from the group choose that, which means all of us cross the slippery hanging bridge which really took us time to get to the other part of the river.

"Having fun with the group after a tiresome exploration of the caves at Malinas"

For me it was hell-like during the trekking part of the climb. The mountain was not so steep, but a prolong climb for three to four hours carrying an approximately 10 to 15 kilos of back pack is something that would make one surrender. I remember, when I was already near the peak where we will erect our tent I was about to pass out it was just good thing when some of the locals who guide us offered to help me carry my backpack. What a relief!

"One of the prize when at the top is glorifying the marvelous and alluring beauty of the Malindang Mountrain Ranges"

Look at that! Isn't that a site to behold? Definitely, gazing the colorful sky during sunset over the Malindang Mountain Ranges made all pains and sufferings disappear. Everything is paid off! This one is something priceless. I could not exchange this view with something more precious like a piece of chocolate cake. Being at the peak of Malinas made me realize that there is really a Creator who cares about me, who cares about you and who really cares about the world.

In my next post "The Malinas Cave Explorations." Follow me @bagdokondaroad!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Maramag Bukidnon: Lake Apo Adventure

Lake Apo is the famous circular rift lake located about twelve (12) kilometers in Maramag, Valencia City, Bukidnon. It has an approximate area of 24 hectares and a depth of 85 ft. The lake through the effort of the locality has been dubbed as the cleanest landlocked body of water in Northern Mindanao.

How to go there? From my point of origin Iligan City, all you need to do is take a bus to Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City, from there you can take a jeepney ride to the Agora Terminal where you can take another bus ride to Valencia City. After arriving Valencia City, you can ask local people the direction to Lake Apo or hire a habal-habal taking you to the mouth of the lake.

What to expect while in Lake Apo? Basically, the best thing Lake Apo can offer to traveler and tourists is the incomparable display of colors of the sky during sunset and sunrise. The lake's serene beauty which is so magnificent that anyone who witness it might fall in love all over again and again. The landscape itself offers a great array of activities as the vicinity within the lake is covered with green carabao grass which is perfect for photography and other outdoor sports. While at Dr. Alfonso's rest house you can indulge yourself with water sports activities such as kayaking, riding and paddling with the canoe, jet-skiing.

While at the lake you can barely notice time. It's a "timeless place" as how Dr. Almer Alfonso the resort owner describe the place. While during morning you can feast your eyes with the colorful sunrise, while having breakfast at the floating cottages or play with the resort's toy for the big boys. I am actually referring to the amenities that the resort offers to its visitors. One could go to swimming at the resorts swimming pool or have a dip yourself on the lake. 

During mid-day you can challenge yourself to climb the not so high mountainous part of the place. The nearest peak will allow you to see the beauty of Pulangui River which generates electricity that saves Mindanao from more brown-outs.

When visiting Lake Apo one should take time, considering that the place is not near from the highway, therefore its best for you to bring food and make sure that you hired a transportation which is on call -meaning anytime you want to go down to the city proper the transportation is available. 

 Lake Apo is one of the best places of which you shouldn't miss when visiting Mindanao. It is a place where I can find myself in deep solitude. I consider the place as a place for reminiscing and pondering about the life that I have. The path that I am taking and the future. The place serves as my inspiration. Lake Apo reminds me of the place where I was born, a place where I can be what I wanna be. I place where I can set free all the worries and anxieties in the uncertainties of the future. 

Lake Apo means a lot to me that every time I think, write nor speak about it with my friends makes me shed tears. The place brings to me a lot of emotions, memories and even dreams.

Away from the busy streets and noise; it is actually a place where one can find himself celebrating life without indulging with alcoholic drinks and party bars. The place actually inspires anyone to keep dreaming and making it come true. 

Lake Apo is one of the destinations of the #TravelMindanao advocacy team where I am an advocate which imparts and encourage everyone to travel in Mindanao. If you visit Lake Apo we might be seeing each other there soon.

Do you like what I have written? Follow me on my next road adventure...

Surigao del Sur: Britannia Group of Islands

Hagonoy Island

I usually hate surprises! But my best friend a birthday celebrant and her family who is now based in Singapore did a very exciting surprise for me. Actually, I have no right to be surprised, because she is the celebrant and I am her stupid best friend who never remember birthdays of friends and even my own birth date. Blame it to religion, but I don't celebrate birthday.

"Leaving the vicinity of La Entrada Beach Resort and Restaurant"

Twenty-four (24) tiny and uniquely formed islets made up Britannia Group of Island, situated in Brgy. Britannia, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. It is the place where my best friend and her family brought me when she went home to celebrate her birthday. I was kinda ashamed of myself when I realized during the travel that its her birthday that's why there is a big treat. In my mind I was like "Uh! How stupid I am to be invited without even realizing it, because I was expecting something to happen or to be announced which is not.

The Britannia Group of Islands

Approaching the vicinity I was totally in awe, because I could see the exciting water and the inviting piece of land scattered and perfectly arranged like they are little munchkins wrapped in white chocolates which are floating in crystal clear water. Right there I knew it for sure that these group of beautiful islets is uniquely found in Agusan only, a place where most tourist do not visit, because of the so called conflict here in Mindanao, but thanks to that though, as most of these spots remains preserved and not yet abused like the sort of Boracay and others.

How I arrived there? From Iligan City I took a bus for an hour and half to Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City, then another six to seven hours of bus ride from Agora, Cagayan de Oro City to Butuan City, then to Bayugan I where my best friend live. I spent a night at their residence and was told to prepare for a beach the next morning. Barely had enough sleep cause we spent the night telling stories, because we have a lot to catch up we wake up at exactly 5:00 AM and after a few minutes of preparations we are then inside the van which my friends family hired. After an hour or two, voila! we were greeted with the sea breeze and that familiar sound of waves in the shore. The great ravine going to the destination provided  me a great time clearing my thoughts as memories of our friendship came afresh again. I used to travel with her into their residence during break at school.

While in Brgy. Britannia, we were accommodated at La Entrada Resort and Restaurant. A resort located just at the shore surrounded by green healthy mangroves. My best friend's family booked us a room which was good for the whole group (For room rates please visit the resort website). We stayed for a night and prepare ourselves for the highlight of the trip "island (islet's) hopping."  

The morning comes and we are set ready for the most exciting part of the trip for me - the island hopping! We took a pump boat which I think is big enough to accommodate at least 15 individuals. The weather is so clear and the tiny islands looks awesome and my eyes are glued on each of them. I guess I was too excited to take my eyes away from them, while being busy playing the shutter speed of my point and shoot Nikon camera which didn't failed my expectations.

"It feels like I am already part of their family"

Prominent islands or islets which catches my heart are first the Hagonoy Island, I believe its name is coined from the green medicinal "hagonoy grass" that grows in the island. It shape is uniquely formed from the waves of the sea and the sand is so white which is comparable to those of Boracay and Palawan. Secondly, the island called, Hiyor-Hiyoran - an island where coconut trees are uniquely grown along its white sand beach.

Hiyor-Hiyoran Island

Another is the Island called - Naked Island. Naked, maybe because basically its actually a sand dune, you see nothing in the island but white sands surrounded by crystal clear water, a few stones and dead corals. I find it unique and fascinating because its not really covered with the usual green grasses and mangroves like the other islands. Its a perfect island for sand bathing, but what we did was run around the island. We really cant get enough of it.

"This little young man is not aware that I was actually taking picture of him playing the sand"

Other Islands that we visited are Bonbon Island which has a long stretch of white sand beaches, Boslon Island where we actually took cover for a while when there was a strong wind and rains during our island hopping, the Panlangan Cave Island and the rest of the little islet's which names I can hardly remember.

"The Boslon Island"

The Britannia Group of Islands adventure with the Cahinosayan family was a super fun-filled adventure for me. Unexpected and yet it really rocks my world! Until now, I haven't forget how I screamed for excitement and the promise I made to go back and visit these paradise group of islands in Surigao del Sur. I hope you will join me in my next road adventure!

Posing with the Birthday Gurl! Happy Birthday!

Singapore: Universal Studio's Seven District Zones

The Seven District Zones. Is Universal Studio Singapore seven district zones in the park which has a total of 24 unique rides and attractions.
Hollywood. The entrance and the first zone of the park which replicates the glamorous life in Hollywood and the buildings of 1940′s and all of the possible things you can see in the real Hollywood.

Along the streets of this zone are unique shops, live Broadway Musical, also you will have the first meet and greet with Hollywood films famous characters such as Marilyn Monroe and more cartoon characters such as Puss in Boots and a lot more.

New York. The City of New York in Universal Studios Singapore is the next zone. If you have been to that city in the 1940′s then this is your chance to reminisce its glory.

Sci-Fi City.  Basically, this is the third zone of Universal Studios which is the haven of those who are addicted to Science and Fiction. Along its street, you can see the enthralled adaptation of the movie Battle Star Galactica roller coaster. It has two features, the human coaster (on the red tracks) which is designed for riders who want a roller coaster experience with no inversions. While the cylons, are for those riders who alley themselves to the (blue tracks) that travel on a space craft that will perform more intensive maneuvers such as one inverted loop, one cobra roll and one helix spiral. It also plunge into a 5 meter deep pit filled with artificial fog to give thrill seekers the sensation of a near mist with the ground, since part of the ride will take place at a lagoon. The two exciting loops will have a sudden turn’s breathtaking drop and thrilling near-collisions that will make everyone scream their heart out. So, if you are scared take another rides.

Ancient Egypt. Basically, this zone has two features. You can take the ride “Revenge of the Mummy,” or the Desert Treasure. If you want to take the Revenge of the Mummy ride, be ready to queue for an hour or more.

The Lost World. This zone features two movie adaptation the movie “The Lost World,” and the movie “Water World” filmed in 1995. Witness a breath taking stunts, along with gun fires and other water exciting scenes. Warning! “Do not seat in the front rows…there are a lot of surprises!

Kingdom Far-Far Away.  Are you a fan of Fairy Tales? Behold and join the adventure of Shrek by entering this enchanted castle “Kingdom Far-Far Away” of the hilarious movie “Shrek” and have fun watching the 4D Animation movie. You’ll definitely don’t get bored! Never I could imagine that I would be able to set foot on the land and of the Kingdom of Shrek—Kingdom Far-Far Away. From a distance the sight of the magnificent kingdom is so inviting and made me feel thrilled and excited. Yes, for me it was fairy tales come true. Look at my smile, it came out naturally, because of the feeling that I have inside me…thrill!
While gazing at the kingdom that I used to see on a film and on print ads right at that moment I felt at home. I felt that I was a prince who wanders from place afar and just returned home. Then, I exclaimed jokingly “There’s no place like home” to my classmates and they were smiling and even ride with the joke.

Madagascar. The Madagascar is the last zone in the park. Yes, its the adaptation of the movie “Madagascar.” You can see them dancing on the stage by their lovely music and beat. Your children can dance along with them.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Singapore: The Essence of Today's New Asia

The muti-cultural and sophisticated city-state of Singapore, officially called “Republic of Singapore,” lies in the South-Eastern of the Philippines. It has a total land area of 660 sq km. Most of its citizens are known to be living at their public housing under the Housing and Development Board (HDB). Majority numbers of the population are English speaking, aside from other local language such as Malay, Mandarin and Hinduism.
Over the years, this city-state has grown into a center of industry and commerce. Singapore is my first outside the country travel. I was surprised to discover that Singapore is not just one island. The mainland is surrounded with about 60 islets.

Getting There
Basically, you arrived via airplane and will land at their only airpot Changi Airport. With the new card “EZ-Link that are available at any Transitlink Ticket office, you can travel on all trains and buses in Singapore. So before hopping in the train or bus, get this card first. After securing one card for yourself, you can then either take a bus, or a train. I highly recommend train because its cheaper. Its the most affordable and convenient way of traveling in Singapore. When you ran out of credits all you have to do is go to the nearest top-up station to buy or fill in more credits. How to use this card? Better be observant, but its easy. All you have to do is tap it at the gate. Then you can pass once the way is open. The same when you go out from the station once you arrived in your destination. Warning! Do not seat on the seats provided for the elderly and handicapped. Do not hand-carry a drink or a food and munch it inside the station or inside the train. You will definitely get a punishment.

No other Asian country that is safer, reliable and convenient transport system than Singapore. Their transportation system is considered to be well established. With integrated fare, information and networks of their Singapore Mass Rapid Transport (SMRT) and their buses that makes everyone easy to travel.

Housing and Accommodations
When I visit Singapore for an educational tour back in July 2011, we stayed at a very low cost accommodation. Being a develop country, it is expected that the standard of living will go up in parallel. Though, hotels in this country is expensive, there are still low cost and budget dorms type accommodation that you can find as long as you are an intelligent traveler. During our visit we stayed at Urban Hostel Backpacker. However, if you can afford such luxurious hotel, why not! After all a vacation is really worth the spent!

During my visit, I had this chance of meeting my long time and best friend working in Singapore. My group that I travel along with went home one day and night ahead of me. I had this chance of staying in my friend’s place. One friend told me that housing in Singapore is pretty much different from the Philippines.


During our stay in Singapore, we ventured and walked a lot, but food is not a problem when you get hungry. There are lots of local restaurant who are more willing to serve you. If you don’t like the local food, there are also popular fast food chains across the country like Jollibee, McDonals and etc.

Since, it was my first step in Singapore. I made sure that I shall have the taste of their flavor. The next morning we hurried to the local restaurant and had a chance to discover what great food they have. “Lo mai kai” is a local recipe which I deliberately like after tasting it. There are still several Singaporean cuisines that I am sure you will surely love. How about drinks? Well, they got a lot of drinks which are fruit flavored. I was kind of interested to try Singaporean Sling. It’s a cocktail drink which is developed through the long years of history before the year 1915. Someone told me it’s really worth the try. It’s sad that I was with a group of students…No alcoholic drink is allowed throughout the travel. Its recipe includes a gin, benedictine, fresh pine apple juice and cherry heering. Next visit I will plunge myself with this drink!
Traveling in Singapore is very easy, of course it is made easy because of their healthy economy, developed infrastructure, strict and well implemented laws. Its just sad to know that many of their citizens are lonely. More and more of their citizens got bored that eventually commit suicide. It is in this fact that I was caught into thinking. Happiness can never be guaranteed and fostered by development. It is subjective in the sense that. One can never tell what makes a person happy. This will make us realized that the happiness of one person is always relative. Anyone can be happy with a small amount of money despite lacking the luxury of life. Money is not a guarantee for happiness, perfect and harmonious life.

Rediscovering Initao, Misamis Oriental

Travelling to Initao gives me such familiar feelings—general sense of joy. The first time I set foot in this land was when I was with a group of students going to Cagayan de Oro City to have an educational trip. We got down, because of their famous “bibingka.” The second time was when I was invited in a birthday celebration of my then board mate “Hym Hym.” The third time was when I was with a friend singer Ruby when they had a band gig. The fourth time was when Iligan Blogger’s Society Inc., had our annual strategic plan. However, in this recent visit to Initao whats all in my mind is to rediscover the place. Adventure! Why? Because I was with my friends who are also my fellow bloggers and not just an ordinary bloggers they are Philippine Travel Bloggers.

Though, Initao is just an hour or so from Iligan City. People rarely stop by and pay a visit this town. It’s true, a town situated between two competing cities—Iligan and Cagayan de Oro will really groped to have that attention from people who are more fascinated with malls and etc., For me, the town of Initao is not an attention seeker. I just thought that people have noticed the place, but they are too busy to stop and experience what are the best things yet to enjoy in this humble land.
However, for some people the town of Initao is as precious as the other. There are things that are found in Initao that cannot and will not be found in Iligan and in Cagayan de Oro City. I hope that through this writing these things will then become a reason for people to stop and visit Initao.

Midway White Sand Beach
Amazing! that was the only word I have in mind when I discover that Northern Mindanao has a white sand beach! Yes, I was really amazed because all along I thought white sand beaches in Norther Mindanao are only at the island of Camiguin. But, during the Strategic Plan of the Iligan Bloggers Society which is held at Midway White Sand Beach—I realized I was wrong!
Initao National Park
Whenever I am on a bus from Iligan going to Cagayan de Oro City or vice versa, when I was a kid, every time the bus passed by at the forested highway over at Initao I would surely closed my eyes. Wonder why? The reason is that I have heard a lot of stories of “Aswang” that are living Initao and every time I’m on a bus and it passes that forested area, it scares me to death. Pathetic right, but that was long ago. Later did I know that the thick forest along the highway is a protected area. Trees in that forest lived hundred years already and I just discovered that. The entire area is divided into two. If you are from Iligan the left side of the highway is the Initao National Park where you can see the cliff over the troubled water, bat caves and etc. On the right side is the Lasang Secret Adventure where you can climbed a spiral stair and walk from one tree top to another tree top.

Canopy Walk at Lasang Secret Adventure
At P250 you can conquer your fear of heights by challenging yourself to try their Canopy Walk Adventure. Basically, you are required to wear a helmet before allowing you to the canopy walk which involved a short walk towards this spiral stair. While walking a tour guide will introduce you to the kind of species of trees that are found in the said forest. Then, you have to take this spiral stair towards the first station. For people who are not used to being far from the ground I guess this is the time you really have to calm yourself—It’s a swaying spiral stairway so be careful. When you are at the first top station all you have to do is enjoy the view from above. It’s quite refreshing above. Hearing the birds sing and feeling the gentle breezy air while being swayed. Then you will realize the true essence of being free!

When you are at the top you will then walk through this shaky, swaying and hanging interconnected bridges. Basically this bridge is connected from one giant tree to another giant tree. By the way, make sure to make enough distance with your peers while walking on these hanging bridges. I guess five meters is enough? By doing this the bridge will not sway so much and of course the weight will be equally distributed. After moving from one tree to another, you can rest for a while before the guides will dressed you up for the final feature—zipping down that will signal the end of the walk.
Where you can eat while in Initao? 
When hungry while traveling and passing through the highways over at Initao one would really notice this boys wearing a reflector blowing their respected whistle giving the signal to commuter and travelers to park. Then why not stop and have your meal at this eateries along the highway?
Based on my experienced I would highly recommend the Kambingan and Native Chicken Restaurant—Lami ang ilang food compared sa atbang ^^
All the experienced that I had at Initao can be summed up into one statement “It’s awesome to rediscover Initao!”
So if you love travel and adventure—get your travel plan now and write “Initao, Misamis Oriental” ^^

Traversing the Islamic City of Marawi

Officially known as the Islamic City of Marawi is the capital of the province of Lanao del Sur, the spiritual and cultural center of the Filipino Muslims of the Philippines. It is located in the southeast of Lanao del Norte, about 37 kilometers away from its Christian gateway City, Iligan. A dominant physical feature of this potential travel destination is the Lake Lanao to which the province economy is very much dependent.
How to go to Marawi

From the south bound Integrated Bus and Jeepney terminal of Iligan City located at Camague, Brgy Tomas Ll. Caili, you have to take a jeep or a van which will cost you more or less P50 pesos which would take more or less one hour travel. If you are a Christian and it would be your first travel to Marawi, I would strongly recommend that you should find a local trust worthy contact for your safety. If you are a woman, you should dress decently, if its not too much you can wear their “kombong” a local term for turban  which is made from Maranao fabric.


My recent visit to Marawi gave me a glimpse of the culture of the city’s dominant tribe, the Maranao.  The Maranao’s or the “People of the Lake,” together with the Tausug and Maguindanao are among the three major Muslim groups of the Philippines. My history class back in college teaches me about the craftsmanship of the Maranao tribe. They are a superb craftspeople who are known for their excellent malong waving and brass-wares. The brass-making town of Tugaya is accessible by boat upon crossing the Lake Lanao from the busy market. It is a municipality situated for about 23 kilometers on the western shore of Lake Lanao.
The MSU Main Campus

Mindanao State University Main Campus. The MSU Main Campus is founded in 1962 with a total area of 10 sq. kilometers. The campus that showcases Muslim culture, intellects and aspirations. The University is run by Muslim and Christina educators and the students are both Muslim and Christian coming from the different parts of Mindanao. The university serves as the vehicle for integration between the Christian and Muslim cultures.
The Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Arts
Inside the MSU main campus is the Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Arts. The museum has two sections; one that displays Muslim and the Maranao tribal artifacts, textiles, and some Chinese pottery; while the other section contains exhibits of history.
The People of Marawi and the Lake
Majority of the settlers of Marawi are the Maranao or “the people of the lake.” The Maranao dialect is the local language of communication. The word “Lanao” came from the word “ranao” means “lake” a body of water in the native dialect. The Maranao’s are very sensitive to maratabat which is a term that derives from Arabic and signifies rank and its due respect. They are the most status-conscious among the tribes settling the 7,107 islands of the Philippines. Maratabat serves as the controlling factor of the Maranao’s social actions, which determines not only what they do, but what they avoid doing so as not to offend the maratabat of their fellows. Sometimes it is intricately linked with family honor and afronts against it that may seem trivial to outsiders can lead a Maranao to demand retribution or exact violent revenge.
The Mosques and the Madrasa
In my recent travel to Marawi, I had this chance of visiting and taking photos with their famous Mosques. Marawi as the cultural and spiritual center of the Filipino Muslims, it has built several Madrasas, a religious schools whose curriculum includes instruction in the basic principles of Islam, performance of the tribes rituals, and the reading of an Arabic Kor’an.