Mindanao Loop

March-April 2006

I did a nine-day loop tour of Mindanao... I had a great time.

Lady of our Good Voyage

I left my home in Cebu onboard Cebu Ferries'
Lady of Our Good Voyage, an overnight slow boat to Cagayan de Oro.

Cagayan de Oro City

Cagayan de Oro City is located on Mindanao's north coast and is the biggest city in northern Mindanao. It was crowded, bustling, friendly and hot (summer was beginning.)
I think Cagayan is OK: smaller then Cebu City, but full of noisy motorized tricycles which here are called 'motorillas.'


Next day I rode a bus south from Cagayan into mountainous Bukidnon Province. Heading south from the narrow coastal plain, the road immediately starts climbing up into the beautiful green mountains. About four hours south, I stopped for the night in Malaybalay, a pleasant mountain town. Living here might get boring in a hurry for a city guy, but it's a pleasant and cool place for a short visit.

Malayabalay mural #1

The hi-light of Malaybalay was this series of recycling murals painted on a long wall along the main highway in town. Even if recycling and environmental protection are still foreign concepts to most Filipinos, nice to know that SOMEBODY here is thinking about them.

Malayabalay mural #2
Mountain view

Continuing south the next morning, the road continues high in south Bukidnon Province before crossing briefly first into Cotabato province, and then drops down into sprawling Davao City.

Davao City

Davao City's municipal border goes right up to the edge of Davao Del Sur Province (geographically speaking, it's the largest city in the Philippines.) It is a big, bustling metropolis of over a million... another crowded, bustling, friendly and hot place. Davao is also famous for its strong-arm mayor, Ramon Dutuerte, who has decided to deal with crime by means of an anonymous vigilante squad that is rumored to have killed several hundred suspected/known criminals over the past several years. Davao's vigilante squad has inspired a similar phenomenon in Cebu City, where the local vigilante squad has killed over 120 victims since its inception a year and a half ago.

Durian fountain

This is also a city famous for the durian fruit which most people either love or hate. Durian is said to 'smell like sex' so you gotta decide for yourself if you like it or not (Me like!!) This bronze durian sculpture is on the plaza outside city hall. Guess somebody in the Mayor's office likes the aroma....?

I took a side trip to Mati in Davao Oriental, crossing Compostela Valley Province. Not much in Mati but it does have a brand-new Jolibee (the only air-conditioned business I observed in town.)

Gensan City

Next day I rode the bus south to General Santos City, or 'Gensan' as it's known. The most important fishing port in southern Mindanao is home to a large tuna fishing fleet and numerous canneries (half of which are reportedly closed now due to a shortage of tuna.)

girl in Marbel

I took a side trip to town of Koronadal (locally known as Marbel) in South Cotabato. Nothing much to remember about this place except the beautiful Filipina I met when I was saroy-saroying (strolling) around town.

Travelogue continues: Stupid Is As Stupid Does