Mindanao Travel

Another Mindanao travel: 1036 KM, 6 days

View Larger Map

I can’t seem to get enough of the 14 day travel around North and West Mindanao a week it finished that, because of another ticket available to me, went on another, much shorter land trip. I traveled across 11 chartered cities and provinces starting at Gensan where I landed from Cebu, motored up to Cotabato, then to Iligan and Kapatagan (again), Cagayan de oro City, a side trip in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental and Davao City via Bukindon before going back to Gensan for my flight back.

Below are short notes on the places I stopped and stayed for the night.

Payong-payong tricycle of Cotabato City

Payong-payong tricycle of Cotabato City

Cotabato City

With hotels and pension houses full, I got no choice but to spend in one that, god, I just didn’t like. The comfort room is just bad. No choice. Things like these happen. I just spent a few hours in Cotabato as early in the morning, went directly to the van terminal for Pagadian. I do find those payong-payong tricycles interesting.

The tunnel along Sec. Narciso Ramos Highway in Lanao del Sur

The tunnel along Sec. Narciso Ramos Highway in Lanao del Sur

Sec. Narciso Ramos Highway

For many years, I’ve yearned to cross this highway but due to the security situation, wasn’t able to make it. In this long trip, I finally made it! Bonus? There’s a very short tunnel excavated from the mountain, which, I think, is the only one in the Philippines (Malinta Tunnel in Corregidor doesn’t count).

At the bus terminal in Iligan City

At the bus terminal in Iligan City

Iligan City

It was my base for this trip. To meet a good friend as well as spend more time around Iligan with a brief trip to Kapatagan. Food trip, going around the city… But I still have to go back again.

Beautiful Sta. Cruz Falls of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte

Beautiful Sta. Cruz Falls of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte

Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte

I went back to Kapatagan with a friend for one thing: visit Sta. Cruz Falls. My first attempt wasn’t successful as it was already late in the afternoon and with the 1 kilometer distance from the road, might not be advisable as one has to do a river crossing first and it was about to rain. With this visit, I finally came face to face with this wonder. But better to visit in the morning.

Delicious pansit guisado of Bagong Lipunan in Cagayan de Oro City

Delicious pansit guisado of Bagong Lipunan in Cagayan de Oro City

Cagayan de Oro City

Ah, all throughout, I was thinking of Bagong Lipunan’s pansit and its claims as the best noodles in the city. I just had to try it. Not disappointed though. Other than this, I had a great time shooting the main branch of Thai Me Up where the owners also came by and treated me to dinner. Nice.

Sculpted effigies of men bear the second floor of t he Vega ancestral house on there shoulders. Balingasag, Misamis Oriental

Sculpted effigies of men bear the second floor of the Vega ancestral house on there shoulders. Balingasag, Misamis Oriental

Balingasag, Misamis Oriental

I was putting off visiting Balingasag for the nth time but, finally, decided to visit. Two heritage structures that I was looking for: the Spanish colonial era church, which by the way, is still intact, walls only, and the Vega ancestral house with interesting effigies of men bearing the second floor on their backs. The town itself has lots of old wooden houses but not from the Spanish colonial era.

Inside Davao City's San Pedro Cathedral

Inside Davao City’s San Pedro Cathedral

Davao City

Didn’t go out of my room in Davao City. Spent instead catching up with emails and stuff. I was just there for the night but early morning, had to pack up and travel to Gensan. Along the way to Kusina Davao for breakfast, passed by the San Pedro Cathedral. While I spent two years and countless travels here, it was my first time to go inside. Beautiful.

Flight going back to Cebu

Flight going back to Cebu


I was supposed to go directly here from Cagayan de Oro City but when I arrived at the terminal in Agora, there were just too many passengers that I opted to make a detour and go to Davao City instead. This city is vibrant with wide roads. I still have to familiarize myself with the place but just spent the morning at Blugre with their durian coffee and durian cheesecake before going to the airport.

Some images from my Instgram 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.


  1. Micole l Philippine Traveler
    July 1, 2013 @ 14:52

    Haha same experience in Cotabato. Stayed at a place that I did not like.. Ganun talaga. One thing about the San pedro Cathedral though, its much nicer now than before. It has been quite renovated a little. They changed the altar just about a year ago I think.

  2. estancabigas
    July 1, 2013 @ 15:41

    Im not sure since i havent seen the original San Pedro Cathedral. But the architecture now is also interesting 🙂

  3. Lookback to 2013 and travel plans for 2014 » langyaw
    January 2, 2014 @ 8:06

    […] was also traveling extensively in Mindanao with several trips covering 1828KM, 1036KM and 1000KM. By August, Langyaw.com turned 6 years old and my Schengen Visa arrived in September in […]

Tell me what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.