Mindanao travel

Mindanao travel: 1828 KM, 14 days


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I am a son of Mindanao with Subanen blood flowing through my veins.

Last 30 May till 13 June, I undertook a land trip of 1,828 kilometers for a mix of business and leisure across 11 chartered cities and provinces. Starting from Cagayan de Oro City flying from Manila, I traveled to Malaybalay for a workshop. From there, I traveled back to Cagayan de Oro City to catch my night bus for Zamboanga City. Made a side trip to Isabela City in Basilan, rode the 2 AM bus to Dipolog City and then continued to Oroquieta City for the night.

From Oroquieta City, I stayed overnight in Ozamiz, took the ferry to Iligan and made it my base for the next three nights with trips to Kapatagan and Marawi City. From there, I went back to Cagayan de Oro City for the night, traveled all the way to Gingoog City to pay my respects for the dead and headed back to Cagayan de Oro City for my flight to Cebu.

The following are short notes on the destinations that I went to.

During a Photography workshop in Malaybalay City

During a Photography workshop in Malaybalay City

Malaybalay City, Bukidnon (101.4 KM)

I came mainly to Mindanao for the scheduled Photography workshop that I had there. It was nice to be back at this cool and windy city, which, by the way, is a great place to live. Didn’t go around much except covering a local run.

At the Bulua West Bound Terminal of Cagayan de Oro City where I rode for Zamboanga City

At the Bulua West Bound Terminal of Cagayan de Oro City where I rode for Zamboanga City

Cagayan de Oro City (101.4 KM)

From Malaybalay City, I didn’t spend the night in Cagayan de Oro City upon learning that bus trips to Zamboanga City, around 500 KM away are only during nights. While waiting for the bus trip, I just spent time at one of Centrio Malls’ local cafes.

Zamboanga City's Pueblo with the Rizal Park and City Hall

Zamboanga City’s Pueblo with the Rizal Park and City Hall

Zamboanga City (507.2 KM)

Zamboanga City was my base in my travel to Isabela City in Basilan where I needed to do an architectural shoot of the Roman Catholic Cathedral there. Not much going around but my stay here was a bit disappointing. But of course, the food is always great.

Capitol of Isabela City in Basilan

Capitol of Isabela City in Basilan

Isabela City, Basilan (30.2 KM)

It was my 4th (or 5th) visit to this southern city to shoot the cathedral. But to maximize the light and time, I went here early in the morning, did the shoot and just wandered around the adjacent plaza and capitol. Returned to Zamboanga City after lunch. Yes, it was safe here.

An old house in Oroquieta City

An old house in Oroquieta City

Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental (432.7 KM)

I was supposed to shoot the art deco Capitol structure but was renovated at the time of my visited. Instead, I stayed overnight and went around this quaint little city with interesting old house architecture, great halang halang food and hospitable people.

Ambulant vendor in Ozamiz City selling 'burgers'

Ambulant vendor in Ozamiz City selling ‘burgers’

Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental (38.9 KM)

Heady and steamy night, a trip to dreamland… Ozamiz was just a stop over but it was one of the most memorable of my trip. Haze, zombie like and smoke. I wasn’t able to visit the old structures except for the Cotta but the ambulant vendor above and her wares were interesting. Think of burgers but instead of patties you have spaghetti, biko (rice cake) and pansit (noodles).

Fontina Cafe in Iligan has good food

Fontina Cafe in Iligan has good food

Iligan City (57.6 KM)

Ah, Iligan. It was where I spent a longer time. Three nights. Wasn’t able to go around the waterfalls but I did some familiarization as well as tried some restaurants. It’s an interesting city that had its time but the mainly 70’s architecture kept me on my feet. I made this as a base for Kapatagan and Marawi visits.

Spectacular Cathedral Falls

Spectacular Cathedral Falls

Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte (80 KM)

Upon the invitation of the Tourism LGU, I was awestruck with visiting Cathedral Falls! Beautiful with its interesting rock formations over which the spectacular gush of water flows. Within just a few kilometers from the town center, it is very much accessible.

Facade of the Aga Khan Museum in Marawi City

Facade of the Aga Khan Museum in Marawi City

Marawi City, Lanao del Sur (106.5 KM)

I visited Marawi City mainly to look for contacts to shoot a torogan, the traditional Maguindanao royal house of which there are still standing examples. But to go to these structures, a guide is a must. Didn’t went around the city but I will be back for more.

A local lad at Gingoog City's plaza

A local lad at Gingoog City’s plaza

Gingoog City (245.4 KM)

The Gingoog City of my memories. Finally, after a few months of putting it off, visited and prayed at the grave of a departed loved one. It was nice to be back and reminisce the good times here. Tiring trip with a total of 6 hours for this but pretty worth it.

Cagayan de Oro's Lumbia Airport

Cagayan de Oro’s Lumbia Airport

Cagayan de Oro City (126.2 KM)

My final stop and I was fortunate enough to witness the swan song of Cagayan de Oro’s Lumbia Airport, two days before she was closed for good. I rested for a day here, catching up with some online chores as well as eating at Thai Me Up and fell in love with its interior.

Some of the images above are from my Instagram account. Follow Me.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

6 Comments

  1. Micole l Philippine Traveler
    June 27, 2013 @ 22:16

    Kakaiba ang Burger ni Ale! =) I find this trip tiring but I think, the whole concept of the road trip or trip by land is facinating especially when in one day you can visit various places. Feels like being in two places at once.

  2. estancabigas
    June 27, 2013 @ 22:52

    yup, tiring. but i don’t know why like it so much. lol

  3. Jherson Jaya
    July 21, 2013 @ 12:06

    When can I do this… only time can tell. I have this great love-feel for Mindanao not only because the other half of my roots is there but also for the reason that i cannot fathom… great journey estan 😉

  4. estancabigas
    July 21, 2013 @ 16:11

    Jherson, if there’s a will, there’s a way. And Mindanao is such a beautiful and interesting place.

  5. Traveling in Northeastern Mindanao
    July 26, 2013 @ 7:51

    […] post follows my two previous Mindanao travels: 1828 KM in 14 days and 1036 KM in 6 […]

  6. The Aga Khan Museum Marawi City
    August 21, 2013 @ 13:42

    […] the surface of Marawi City, my second visit when I went back there last June as part of my 1828 KM travel around West Mindanao. But more importantly, I was looking for a torogan, a traditional Maranao royal house for a […]

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