Travel Guide: Marawi City, Lanao del Sur

Marawi City, officially known as the Islamic City of Marawi, is the capital city of the province of Lanao del Sur on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. The city is predominantly Muslim inhabitants which accounts for 99.6% of the population.

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King Faisal Mosque

Due to its high elevation, Marawi’s weather is cool. The city is also called the Summer Capital of the South, a nickname shared with Malaybalay City, Bukidnon which legally holds the title.

Some Points of Interest

Mindanao State University: Founded in 1961, it serves as an educational institute and a center of social and cultural integration. Marawi City draws the most number of visitors within Lanao del Sur in which the MSU is located.

Lake Lanao: The largest lake in Mindanao and one of the deepest in the Philippines. It is one of the 15 ancient lakes of the world.

Kilometer Zero Point Marker: An important landmark in Lanao del Sur, from which all distances in Mindanao are measured, similar to the Kilometre zero marker at the Rizal Park in Manila.

Aga Khan Museum: Located inside Mindanao State University,the museum was named in honor of Sultan Aga Khan who contributed to the realization of the museum. Indigenous art and cultural material are being displayed.

Sacred Mountain National Park: The 94-hectare park and protected area was established on August 5, 1965. The park is dominated by Mount Mupo, a 900-foot extinct volcanic cone.

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Gate to Mindanao State University
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Inside MSU
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Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Arts

How to get to Marawi City: 

Iligan to Marawi City

From Iligan City’s South Bound Terminal, board an FX van or jeepney with a Marawi City signboard. Travel time is 45 minutes.

Cotabato City to Marawi City

From the downtown central area of Cotabato City near market area, you can take a van going to Marawi City. Travel Time is nearly 4 hours.

If you are planning to visit Marawi but hesitant because of stories of danger lurking around the infamous city, get in touch to the Provincial Tourism Council of Lanao del Sur prior to your trip to get some tips and the needed assistance. You may contact Ms. Raifa through mobile number +63 917 706 8838.

About The Featured Image 

Battle of Marawi: The painting was conceptualized by Aga Khan Museum director Minerva Saber-Sani illustrating the fight between the Spanish-Filipino soldiers and the Meranao defenders. On March 10, 1895, the Spanish through its mighty 5,000 armies, took possession of Fort Marahui of Marawi.

Disclosure: TheTravelad personally writes his blogs for informational purposes. All photos and content provided in this blog are owned by TheTraveLad. Photos may not be used without permission. For more comments and suggestions, you can send an email to thetravelad@yahoo.com.ph

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Maguindanao’s Inaul Weaving at Al Jameelah Weaving Center

Located just outside Cotabato City in Tamontaka, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao province is Al Jameelah Weaving Center where the famous Maguindanao handwoven fabric “inaul” is made. For Magundanaons, inaul is a treasured cultural tradition as it captures the Maguindanao symbol of distinction and royalty.

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Where the weaving takes place

The weaving center which employs women was established by H. Bai Aleizzah Albaya B. Wampa. The workshop displays examples of local weaving and patchwork, including a number of vintage pieces. Women wear it as a malong skit and as garments for formal or royal events such as weddings.  Men can wear it as a trouser for formal wear.

The intricate art of inaul weaving have various designs with different symbolical colors. Colors of yellow and orange represent royalty while red means bravery.  Green signified peace and tranquillity.  White, the color of purity spoke of sadness and mourning.  Black means dignity.

The number of days to finish the inaul depends on the difficulty of the design and pattern. Prices per meter usually ranges from 600 up to 1000 pesos or more depending on the materials used.

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Weaving patterns

How to get to Al Jameelah Weaving Center?

If you’re coming from the downtown central area of Cotabato City, take a jeepney (Highway-Awang route) and ask the driver to drop you in front of Datu Odin Sinsuat Municipal Sub Office. From there you can hire a tricycle or just walk towards the weaving center.

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The Datu Odin Sinsuat Municipality Sub Office which is just across the street going to the weaving center

Disclosure: TheTravelad personally writes his blogs for informational purposes. All photos and content provided in this blog are owned by TheTraveLad. Photos may not be used without permission. For this side trip TheTravelad again thanks Cotabato City’s Department of Tourism for the kindness to bring him at the inaul weaving center. For more comments and suggestions, you can send an email to thetravelad@yahoo.com.ph

The Grand Mosque of the Philippines

The Grand Mosque or the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid is one of the major landmarks in Cotabato City, Philippines attracting not only Muslims but different kinds of tourists of different religions because of its magnificent structure.

The mosque is located in Barangay Kalanganan in Cotabato City and it’s the largest mosque in the entire country. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam to whom the mosque was named funded the construction of this mosque at a reported cost of US$48 million to help the emerging Muslim population in the Southern Philippines.

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The height of the mosque is equivalent to a 15-storey building. Crescent moons adorn the domes painted in gold.  Its minarets measure 43 meters high (141 feet) on top of which are pilot’s lights to avoid aerial accidents at night. The mosque can accommodate 800 male and 400 female worshippers.

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How to get to the Grand Mosque?

From the downtown central area of Cotabato City, ride a jeepney (Highway-Awang route) and go to Husky Bus Terminal along Sinsuat Avenue. From the terminal, you can hire a tricycle and experience a scenic 2-3km ride going to the mosque.

If you want to explore more of Cotabato City, read the previous blog Travel Gude: Cotabato City

Disclosure: TheTravelad personally writes his blogs for informational purposes. All photos and content provided in this blog are owned by TheTraveLad. Photos may not be used without permission. Again for this particular trip TheTravelad  thanks Cotabato City’s Department of Tourism for the generosity to bring him at the Grand Mosque. For more comments and suggestions, you can send an email to thetravelad@yahoo.com.ph

Travel Guide: Cotabato City

Cotabato City is one of the independent component cities located in Mindanao, Philippines. It is known to be one of the rare places in the country where Christians, Muslims and Lumads live in harmony.

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The People’s Palace

The city is the regional center of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but the city is administratively part of the Soccsksargen Region.

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Brasswares within ARMM ORC Complex

Getting to Cotabato City

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have daily flights to Cotabato City. If you’re coming from Davao City, you can travel via buses and vans going to the city. Travel time is nearly five hours.

Some tourist destinations

Church of the Immaculate Conception of Tamontaka: The oldest church, of Spanish architecture and design, was built by the Jesuits.

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid: The largest Muslim center of worship in the Philippines which reportedly costs $48 million.

Kutawato Caves: The only caves in the country that is right in the heart of the city.

Timaco Hill: The place is overlooking the Illana Bay and is a good resort with bluegreen waters, sandy white beach, lake and cave, wooded park and a river.

People’s Palace: The structure combines ethno-modern architectural with Muslim-inspired roof symbolizing its royalty and Roman art symbolizing the existence of Christianity in the City.

ORC Complex: The regional seat of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which composed of different government offices of the entire region of ARMM and some offices of the SOCCSARGEN.

Tantawan Park: A park built at the foot of Pedro Colina Hill which stand the huge golden statue of Sultan Kudarat.

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Old Cotabato City Hall
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The majestic Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid

Where to stay?

Here a list of hotels, inns, lodging and pension houses in Cotabato City:

Diamond Hotel
Cor. Makakua & Jose Lim Sr. St., Cotabato City

El Manuel Hotel
Quezon Avenue, Cotabato City

Estosan Garden Hotel
Gov. Gutierrez Avenue, Cotabato City

Hotel Filipino & Restaurant
Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City

Vision Inn
Bonifacio Street, Cotabato City

Citi Plaza
Makakua Street, Cotabato City

Pacific Heights Pension House
San Vicente Street, Cotabato City

Hotel Castro
Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City

Sardonyx Pension House
Gov. Gutierrez Street, Cotabato City

Azaleas Pension House
Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City
City

Pension Rafael
San Isidro Street, Cotabato City

Hotel Cirilo 
Sultan Makakua Street, Cotabato City

For further assistance you may contact Madame Lenie of Cotabato City Tourism Department through mobile number +63 919 562 4175.

Disclosure: TheTravelad personally writes his blogs for informational purposes. All photos and content provided in this blog are owned by TheTraveLad. Photos may not be used without permission. In this particular trip TheTravelad wholeheartedly thanks Cotabato City’s Department of Tourism for the generosity to tour him around the city. For more comments and suggestions, you can send an email to thetravelad@yahoo.com.ph

Panabo City: Banana Capital of the Philippines

Panabo City, Davao del Norte is part of Davao Metropolitan Area which also includes the cities of Davao City, Digos and Sta. cruz in Davao del Sur province; Tagum, Panabo,Samal and two municipalities of Carmen in Davao del Norte province.

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At the Panabo City Municipal Hall

Known as the “Banana Capital of the Philippines” due to its thousands of hectares of banana plantations, Panabo City is home to the world’s biggest banana plantation, which is owned by the Tagum Agricultural Development Company (TADECO). TADECO covers around 6,900 hectares of banana fields. Aside from producing millions of boxes of export-quality bananas, Panabo City is also a major source of milk fish in the Davao region. The Panabo Mariculture Park which covers 3 out of 4 coastal barangays of the city produces class-A quality milkfish (bangus), siganid (danggit), groupers (lapu-lapu), saline tilapia and lobsters.

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One of the numerous plantations around Panabo City

How to get to Panabo City?

You can reach Panabo City from Davao City via Davao-Butuan, Davao-Mati, and Davao –Tagum bus routes. Other public vehicles such jeepneys, vans and metered taxis are also available. It is 32 kilometers or approximately 45 minutes away from Davao City.

Getting around…

The simplest way to get around the downtown area is by tricycle. If you want to go in farm areas outside downtown, hop on jeepneys, multicabs or motorbikes.

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The Freedom Park
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Old Panabo City Hall turned into Panabo Museum
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View at Panabo Sea Wall
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Panabo Food Centrum at night

Where to stay?

Panabo is a simple city. There are no luxury hotels within the city as inns and apartelles are also limited. Here are some places where you can stay:

3-One Inn and Apartelle
National Highway, Km.31, Cagangohan, Panabo City

Casa de Julia
Garcia cor. Narra St., New Pandan, Panabo City

Jam’s Apartelle
National Highway, Sto. Niño, Panabo City

Panabo City Inn
Wharf Road, Sto. Niño, Panabo City

Residencia de Cristita
Mabitad Extension, Sto. Niño, Panabo City

Madonna Homotel and Suites
Quezon Street, Panabo City

Disclosure: TheTravelad personally writes his blogs for informational purposes. All photos and content provided in this blog are owned by  TheTraveLad. Photos may not be used without permission. For more comments and suggestions, you can send an email to thetravelad@yahoo.com.ph

Travel Guide: Samal Island

Samal Island is one of the best visiting islands in Mindanao as it houses numerous beach resorts, abundant marine reefs and tranquil waters that attract tourists to visit them. Samal Island along with Talikud Island comprises the largest resort city in the Philippines – the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte.

How to get to Samal Island?

Davao City is the jump-off point for Samal Island. If you’re coming from downtown Davao City, you can take a jeepney ride or hire a cab going to any of these three entry points going to the island:

  1. Sta Ana Wharf – motorboats are available to ferry passengers directly to Kaputian and Talikud Island. The wharf is located near Magsaysay Park.
  2. Sasa, Km 11 Ferry Boat Landing – passengers will be riding the Island City Express Bus from R. Castillo and Cabaguio St.and be transported by a ferryboat to the Brgy. Caliclic, Babak District.
  3. Sasa, Km 11 Wharf – motorboats are available to ferry passengers direct to Babak wharf.
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View of Sasa, Km 11 Ferry Boat Landing Wharf

If you’re going directy to Kaputian in Samal Island or you’re visiting the other island which is Talikud Island go for option 1. On the other hand, if you’re going to Samal Island take option 2 or 3. I recommend you choose option 3 as the drop-off point in Samal Island is directly to Babak wharf where the tourism desk of Samal is just near. If you need assistance getting around the island, the assigned tourism officer will help you and can even give you various options on where you can stay.

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Babak Wharf

Here are the popular tourist attractions of Samal Island aside from its numerous good beach resorts:

Monfort Batcave – home to more than 2 million fruit bats and is adjudged by the Guinness Book of World records as the largest concentration of bats in the world.

Hagimit Falls – the many mini waterfalls about a 30-minute ride from the port of entry in Babak.

Magongawong Falls – located in Kaputian District, it can be reached after a 45-minute ride from the port of entry in Babak.

Taklobo Tours – located in Barangay Adecor, it is home to more than 3,000 giant clams in different stages of growth.

Sanipaan Marine Park – located in Barangay Tambo, Babak District.

Kaputian Beach Park – located in Kaputian Poblacion, an hour away from from Sta Ana wharf.

Mt. Puting Bato – trekking destination which is highest peak of the island at about 1,786 feet about sea level.

Anggas Peak – for those who want to see a clear view of the whole island.

Tamburong Cave – wet cave situated in a private property with a length of 144.3 meters.

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Isaland Garden City of Samal Map courtesy of Samal Tourism Desk

Disclosure: TheTravelad personally writes his blogs for informational purposes. All photos and content provided in this blog are owned by  TheTraveLad. Photos may not be used without permission. For more comments and suggestions, you can send an email to thetravelad@yahoo.com.ph

D’ Japanese Tunnel | Davao City

There are quite a number of discovered tunnels in Davao City, Philippines but this tunnel along the Diversion Road has become one of the major tourist attractions of the city. At D’ Japanese Tunnel Family Resort, you will find this 300-meter deep tunnel which dated back during the World War II.

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Entrance at the tunnel

The tunnel was accidentally discovered by the owners of the land while constructing a hotel. They were excavating the area when they uncovered passageways and rooms underneath the land, and soon discovered that those were tunnels used by the Japanese soldiers during the war. The tunnel was carved out of the hilly section of Matina Balusong. It is said that it was used by the Japanese as a hide-out, and as a means of transporting their equipment and mobilizing their forces against the American liberating army.

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One of the passages within the tunnel

Several life-sized statues of Japanese soldiers can be found inside the tunnel. Various vintage weaponries found during the discovery are also displayed inside the tunnel such as machine guns, bombs, explosives, and several ammunition and bullets. Deeper into the tunnel are compartments of water bankers, and makeshift offices used by the Japanese soldiers, and a dungeon for the prisoners of war. A chapel as well, where a replica of a Golden Buddha and gold bars can be seen.

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Some of the several Japanese statues found inside the tunnel
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The Chapel with a Golden Buddha
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Various vintage weaponries inside the tunnel

How to get to D’ Japanese Tunnel?

The location which is in Diversion Road, Matina Balusong is easily accessible by public or private transportation. It is only 20 minutes drive from downtown city proper. Entrance fee to the tunnel is 50 pesos.

What else can you see?

Since the location is actually a resort, a three-storey hotel with a number of air-conditioned rooms suitable for families is in there. There is also an outdoor swimming pool, and a restaurant that serves delectable Chinese, Filipino and Japanese dishes, including Western steaks.

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The three-storey hotel
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View of the pool area and restaurant

 

Disclosure: TheTravelad personally writes his blogs for informational purposes. All photos and content provided in this blog are owned by  TheTraveLad. Photos may not be used without permission. For more comments and suggestions, you can send an email to thetravelad@yahoo.com.ph