Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental

“Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give and nobody will care for you.”

The City of Cagayan de Oro is located along the north central coast of Mindanao island facing Macajalar Bay and is bordered by the municipalities of Opol to the west; Tagoloan to the east, and the provinces of Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte to the south of the city.

Before you go to Iligan or after your Camiguin escapade, you might wanted to drop by this park and experience adventure with nature.

Mapawa Nature Adventure Park

This property was initially a vacation house of Emmanuel N. Pelaez Sr. and soon opened to public for recreational activities for the past decade. This is located at Bgry. Malasag, Cugman Cagayan de Oro City.

There are several activities you can do at the site such as 20 ft. slide, 25 ft. cliff jump, 65 ft. waterfall rappel, horseback riding, zip line and nature trekking. It is said that the total land area of park is composed of a combined land area of Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon.


How to get to Mapawa Nature Adventure Park

When you in Cagayan de Oro city proper, you just need to ride jeep going to Brgy. Cugman for php10. Inform the driver to drop you off to the site. There are already motor cycle or locally known as “habal-habal” along the highway that will bring you to the park for php35 per pax. You can also ask the driver the exact time for pick up. Riding a cab going to the park but a bit expensive since it is 3km away from the national highway.

The Mapawa Nature Adventure Park is a perfect place if you are tired of the busy city life.  A quiet place suitable for relaxation and  renewal of soul because of its nature ambiance. You can have a trail hike and at the same time take photos with nature.

They are the people behind the Mapawa Nature Adventure Park. Their tour guides and facility assistance are very friendly and will take care of you in all of your activities.  I also appreciate the fact that they do not take advantage of their guests because they do not ask for tips after their assistance.

Mapawa Nature Adventure Park has a great rock formation fit for canyoneering activities.   Perfect for instagram and facebook profile photos.

This is the spot were the activities started. The mini van will tour you to the place first and will bring you to this site. The tour guide will give you a background on how the park started and what are the other amenities they offer.

They also have complete gears to ensure safety in your activities. Normally, they assign a specific tour guide per guest or group.  If you are a solo traveler, they will also assist you in taking pictures.

After your activity, they will ask you to visit one of the oldest tree in the country. It said that this is tree is more than 200 years old. When you are close to the tree, there is certain mystical feeling and you will be amazed on how tall the tree is.

Before  you leave the park, do not forget to ask the tour guide for you to visit the Pinnacle nature reserve area of the park.  It is a great place for a relaxing stroll or an energetic walk.

Going to Mapawa Nature Adventure Park  was such a great experience.  The  65ft waterfall rappel and 25ft cliff jump were the activities I enjoyed the most.
I will definitely recommend for travelers wanted to experience activities like horse riding through forests, trekking to see waterfalls and nature trails.

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Camiguin Island

“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”

Camiguin is an island province in the Philippines located in the Bohol Sea. It is politically part of the Northern Mindanao Region of the country and formerly a part of Misamis Oriental province. Camiguin is the second-smallest province in the country in both population and land area after Batanes. It comes with five municipalities, such as Catarman, Guinsiliban, Mahinog, Sagay and its provincial capital Mambajao.

The island is also known for its Lanzones Festival which is a yearly celebration every October.

How to get to Camiguin

From Manila, you will need to ride a plane going to Laguindingan International Airport for about an hour and 45 minutes. When you are arrive in Laguindingan International Airport, there are already vans waiting outside going to Cagayan de Oro or buses from Super 5 and Rural Transit for php120.

From Cagayan de Oro City, you will need to go to Agora Bus Terminal to ride another bus going to Balingoan Port, Misamis Oriental. The travel will take up to 2-3 hours depending traffic from city. It is better take the night trip so you can get the first boat trip to Camiguin the following day.

From Balingoan port, a ferry boat will take to you to Benoni Port for an hour depending on the weather condition. The time between trips varies during the day and starts from 4:00 am to 5:00 pm. The ferry fare is php170 and terminal fee if php15.

There are also direct flights from Manila to Camiguin. Just check flight schedule of airline of choice. Their airport is located at  Mambajao, the capital province of the island.

Places to visit in Camiguin Island

When you go to Camiguin,  you can either check -in a beach resort or have a day tour. What I did was to rent a motorbike for  php 400 good for 24 hrs. Normally, once you arrive at the Benoni Port, locals will ask you if you wanted to rent either a motorbike or a mini-van to tour the island. For solo traveler, you can be accompanied by someone in your tour for a different price. But if you know how to drive then you can go ahead  take it but make sure you have a license.  The tourism office will provide you a map that will serve as your guide in the island.

Katibawasan Falls

Katibawasan Falls is Located 5 km (3.1 mi) southeast of Mamba, the Katibawasan Falls cascades 250 ft. (76 m) down to a pool surrounded by orchids and ferns. An invigorating dip on the pool is popular especially on warmer days and several hiking trails are within the park. This is also the favorite jump-off point for trekkers and mountaineers in search of adventure on the slopes of Mt. Timpoong. The entrance fee is php30 per pax.

Tuasan Falls

Tuasan Falls is located 6 km (3.7 mi) northeast of Catarman. Unfortunately getting to the falls no longer entails a scenic hike passing through the Barrio of Mainit, Catarman and along the rocky -river bed. There is no entrance fee when you enter the waterfalls premise. However, tourist are prohibited to go near the waterfalls because of its strong impact. No entrance fee.

Tansod Cliffs/ Tongatoc Cove

Before you reach the sunken cemetery in Bonbon, you will pass the cliffs of Nasaag and Yumbing area. You can stop over, take pictures and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. Though, the place is not suitable for swimming due to big waves going to the shore line and it is difficult to trek downhill. This side of the island has never been a tourist spot and only adventurous travelers do drop by this area just for a cliff photo.

Sunken Cemetery

During the volcanic birth of Mt. Vulcan that lasted from 1871 to about 1875, some areas in the town of Bonbon subsided, sinking the cemetery of the town to below sea level. The original underwater cross and the cemetery were damaged due to weather changes so the local government constructed another one which indicates the specific location. You will need to pay an entrance fee, environmental fee and obligated tour guide fee.

Bura Soda Water Swimming Pools

The Soda Water Swimming Pool in Camiguin is the first of its kind in the entire Philippines. It became part of the tourist destination in the island since 2007. It is made into a swimming pool for human enjoyment and satisfaction. The Soda Swimming Pool is located in the town of Catarman. It was named as Soda Pool because according to the locals, it used to taste like soda. But one thing has changed, it was not like the soda pool before, even though that the bubbles underneath the pool is still visible but then you will get disappointed when you taste the water. The entrance fee is php30.


White Island

This is one of Camiguin’s tourist destination. A strip of white sand bar which is 10 minutes aware from Yumbing or Agoho by a motorized boat. This area is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, scuba, free dive and fishing. The boat fee is php450 good for 6 pax. If you are solo traveler, the locals will let you join a group in order for you not to pay the entire fee. But you still have the option so take the boat by yourself.


Mantigue Island

Magsaysay Island or commonly known as Mantigue Island is a 4.9 hectares of forest and sandy beach. It is located northeast side of Benoni Port. The boat fee is php500 good for 6 pax. If you are solo traveler, the locals will let you join a group in order for you not to pay the entire fee. But you still have the option so take the boat by yourself.

 Giant Clam Sanctuary

The Giant Clam Sanctuary in Camiguin is located in a bay near Cantaan. In Kabila Beach where a sanctuary of giant clams awaits the tourist. Kabila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery homes more than 2,600 clams including the giant clams in which one can find the seven (out of nine) species of giant clams in the world. Kabila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery is a non-government project and all proceeds are used in the maintenance and conservation of giant clams as well as the marine sanctuary. An entrance fee of php25 which includes area tour at the clam laboratory and you can also enjoy the white sand beach. There is a table charge of php100 (big) and php50 (small). If you want to view the clams underwater, you will need to pay php150 with tour guide.

They have also dive gears for rent such as snorkel mask (php100), flippers/fins (php100), goggles (php50) and life vest (php50). However, if you have your own swimming gear, you will still need to pay 50% of what they charge per gear. For example, you have your own flipper/fins, it will be php50 instead of php100.

 Travel Expenses

  • Cagayan de Oro City to Balingoan – Php120 (php240 round trip)
  • Balingoan to Camiguin- php170 (php340 round trip)
  • Terminal Fee- php15 (php30 round trip)
  • Motorcycle Fee – php400 (24 hrs usage)
  • Gasoline -php200 (full tank twice filled)
  • Katibawasan Falls- php30 per pax
  • Bura Soda Pools- php30 per pax
  • Giant Clams Sanctuary- php150  per pax
  • Swim Gears Corkage – php75 ( flipper & goggles)

Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. “

Laguindingan is a fourth class municipality in the Province of Misamis Oriental. The most notable landmark is the Laguindingan International Airport which is in between Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City.

How to get to Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental

From Manila, you will need to ride a plane going to Laguindingan International Airport for about an hour and 45 minutes. There is no sea transportation going to the place. You can either go there coming from Cagayan de Oro or Iligan City by bus through Super 5 or Rural Transit for Php65. The land travel normally takes an hour either of each origin.


Tubajon Aqua Marine Park and Fish Sanctuary

An aqua marine park is consist of an area of sea or lake sometimes a protected zone for recreational use but most of the time, set aside to preserve an specific habitat to ensure that the ecosystem is sustained for the organisms that exists there.

Most marine parks are designated by governments, and organized like ‘watery’ national parks. The government has made efforts to maintain the sanctuary and made sure that there will be no illegal fishing.

The Tubajon Aqua Marine Park and Fish Sanctuary is located at Tubajon, Laguindingan which has a size of 22 hectares.

From the national highway, there will be another 3 km ride within 10 minutes through motorcycle or locally called as “habal-habal” before you reach the area.

There is entrance fee of php20 adults and php10 for kids before you can enter the park. If you are with a group, you can rent a cottage for php300 (small) and php500(big). Please take note that you will need to pay php20 corkage per liter bottle of beverage when purchased outside.

You may also inquire if they have available life jackets for rent. If you are solo traveler, you can ask the motor cycle drive to wait for you or you can ride another one instead. Take your time and enjoy swimming. Make sure to clean as you go. Even if there is an entrance fee, the visitors are also responsible in maintaining the cleanliness of the park.

A project by the Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group based in Minchinbury, New South Wales, Australia, the statue was completed in 2014. After you visit the aquamarine park, you can ask the driver to drop you off to this location. This is about a kilometer away from the national highway.

Travel Expenses:

  • Iligan to Laguindingan – php50 (100 back&forth)
  • Motorbike –  php50
  • Aquamarine Park Entrance –  php20 (adults) or php10(kids)
  • Cottage Rent – php300 (small) or php500 (bi)

Jasaan, Misamis Oriental

“Pain makes you stronger, tears makes you braver and heartbreaks makes you wiser, so thank the past for a better future.”

Jasaan is a second-class municipality in the province of Misamis Oriental, Philippines. It is approximately 28 kilometers (17 mi) east of the capital city of Cagayan de Oro. It borders on the municipalities of Villanueva, Claveria and Balingasag, while Macajalar Bay is to the west. Although its land is mostly rocky, it is able to maintain and support its lush vegetation and its main rivers, Cabulig and Mandangisiao.

How to get to Jasaan, Misamis Oriental

From Manila, you will need to ride a plane going to Laguindingan International Airport for about an hour and 45 minutes. When you are arrive in Laguindingan International Airport, there are already vans waiting outside going to Cagayan de Oro or buses from Super 5 and Rural Transit for php120.

From Cagayan de Oro, you will need to go to Agora Bus Terminal to ride another bus going to Jasaan. You can take the Butuan route and inform the bus driver to drop you off to the place for php50. You can also ride a jeep but if you are time conscious, it is better to take the bus.

Sagpulon Falls, Jasaan, Misamis Oriental

The Sagpulon Falls in San Isidro is a tourist attraction. The local tourism office of Jasaan maintains the area to preserve is natural allure. From the national highway, there are already motorcycle “habal-habal” available to take you to the site. It will take 3 more kilometers before you reach the destination.

An entrance fee of php10 for the maintenance of the area is nedeed. The local government of the Misamis Oriental has been working to re-construct the site for the convenience of the tourist.

When I went to the place, there is still an on-going construction and the hanging bridge was re-painted. The  Provincial Office of Misamis Oriental wanted this to be one of the tourist spots of Misamis Oriental. Their goal is to also create jobs to the locals to be self-sustainable.

Though I have been through a lot of waterfalls already but it is nice to note that at least Jasaan, Misamis Oriental has its own tourist destination. Make sure to clean as you go. Even if there is an entrance fee, the visitors are also responsible in maintaining the cleanliness of the area.

Travel Expenses:

  • Cagayan de Oro to Jasaan – Php50 (100 back & forth)
  • Jasaan to Sagpulon  – Php50 (100 back & forth)
  • Sagpulon Falls Entrance Fee – Php10

Initao, Misamis Oriental

“A simple life is good with me. I don’t need a whole lot. For me, a t-shirt, a pair of shorts, barefoot on a beach and I’m happy.”

Initao is a third class municipality in the province of Misamis Oriental, Philippines. The partly urban town thrives mostly on fishing and agricultural farming; however, different small and business establishments have flourished, making the town self-sustaining in many ways.

How to get to Initao, Misamis Oriental

From Manila, you will need to ride a plane going to Laguindingan International Airport for about an hour. When you are arrive in Laguindingan International Airport, there are already vans waiting outside going to Initao or buses from Super 5 and Rural Transit.

From Cagayan de Oro, you will need to go to Bulua Terminal to ride a bus going to Initao. The fare usually php50for air-conditioned buses. You can either take Rural Transit or Super 5 bus.

From Iligan City, you can either take a bus or jeep going to Initao for php50. However, I strongly suggest to take a bus instead to save time. Normally, if you take the air-conditioned bus, they will still charge you of the bus fare to Cagayan de Oro. If you are in a budget, just take the regular bus to have the right fare.

Where to Stay in Initao, Misamis Oriental

There are a lot of beach resorts and motels in Initao depending on your budget. The rates vary from php250 to php1, 500 per night depending on the hours of stay, location and room amenities. I suggest you stay in beach resort in which most of them are situated along the highway. You can easily locate them since they have large signs.

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Where to Eat in Initao, Misamis Oriental

The Echavez Kitchenette at the Lasang Secret Adventure is one of the must try restaurant when you are in Initao. They offer budget friendly food and you can also have choice of boodle fight type food which is compose of buttered shrimp, grilled tuna, fish ceviche’, seaweed salad and rice. Prices depends on the food variety and number of persons. There also food houses along the highway on the Initao and if you are in a budget, there are also “carenderias” available.

Initao-Libertad protected Landscape and Seascape

This is a protected area in western Misamis Oriental, Philippines. At 1,300.78 hectares (3,214.3 acres), the park includes the limestone forests of the old Initao National Park, locally known as Lasang (Cebuano for “forest”), as well as their adjacent marine waters in the municipalities of Initao and Libertad. An entrance fee of php15 for the forest tour but if you want to do spelunking, it will be php100 per 1-15 person per cave.  A tour guide will accompany you to the three caves for a total price of php300.

The Initao–Libertad Park extends from the northern foothills of Kitanglad Mountain Range to the northeastern entrance of Iligan Bay which includes a buffer zone of 800.45 hectares and is located on the main highway of the Iligan–Cagayan–Butuan Road which divides this mossy virgin forest into two parts: the Initao portion in the barangay of Tubigan and the Libertad portion in the barangay of Gimanlayan. source: wikipedia

Inside the protected area are the different classes of plants and trees. A 2-3 kilometers trail was constructed to provide a pathway for the tourists. This will at least give convenience as they walked from the start to the end of the trail.

You are allowed to swim in the seascape area but if you waves become bigger and stronger, the management prohibits the tourist to swim because the waves might push you towards the rocky shore. It is vary dangerous because the sea shore is composed of sharp coral stones.  However, if the sea is clear and calm, it is ideal for snorkeling and free diving. since it is a fish sanctuary, expect 100% fish visibility.

Make sure to clean as you go. Even if there is an entrance fee, the visitors are also responsible in maintaining the cleanliness of the park.

White Beaches of Initao, Misamis Oriental

There are a lot of beach resorts in Initao, Misamis Oriental and the cheapest is Hapitanan  Resort which means “Drop-in” in local dialect. The entrance fee is only Php10. You can also check their room accommodations and cottages ranges from Php300  to Php800.

 

Before going to back to Cagayan de Oro or Laguindingan airport, you check out their white beaches or might as well have an overnight stay.  Normally, the beach area is crowded during summer and weekends. I went there Thursday, so there were only a  few people swimming at the beach.

I had my own time by doing what I love the most. The  clear waters and white sand is suitable for free diving. You can also ask the locals and rent a boat for php1000 good for  20 to have a tour. Their floor of their boats are made of fiber glass in order for the tourist to see  underwater.  You can also negotiate with the locals for the price if you are a solo traveler.

Though there are a lot of beach resorts in the area, if you are in a budget and will not stay overnight, I suggest to go to Hapitanan Beach Resort.

Travel Expenses:

  • Iligan City to Initao – Php50 (100 back & forth)
  • Initao–Libertad Park  Entrance Fee- Php15
  • Initao- Libertad Park Cave-  php 100 per 1-15 pax per cave.
  • Hapitanan Beach Resort Entrance Fee- Php10
  • Boat Rental – php1000 for 20 pax

Iligan City, Lanao del Norte

“There is a hidden message in every waterfall. It says, if you are flexible, falling will not hurt you.”

Iligan City is bounded on the north by the 3 municipalities of Misamis Oriental. Iligan is known as the Industrial Center of the South and its economy is largely based on heavy industries. It produces hydroelectric power for the Mindanao region through the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), the site of the Mindanao Regional Center (MRC) housing Agus IV, VI and VII hydroelectric plants. It also houses industries like steel, tinplate, cement and flour mills.

Iligan is known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls because of the numerous waterfalls located within its area. There are about 24 waterfalls in the city. The most famous as well as the city’s major landmark, is the Maria Cristina Falls. It is also the primary source of electric power of the city, harnessed by Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant.

How to get to Iligan City

From Manila, you will need to ride a plane going to Laguindingan International Airport for about an hour and 45 minutes. When you are arrive in Laguindingan International Airport, there are already vans waiting outside going to Iligan City or buses from Super 5 and Rural Transit for php120.

Rural Transit (RTMI) and Super 5 Transport are the dominant public bus companies with daily trips from Laguindingan to Iligan.

Where to Stay in Iligan City

There are a lot of hotels in Iligan City. The room rates vary from php200 to php1, 500 per night depending on the hours of stay, location and room amenities. Most of the budget friendly hotels do not accept phone reservations and would rather advise their customers to go directly to the hotel to book a room.

Where to Eat in Iligan City


Jaime’s Lechon Bayug has been existing in Iligan City for years serving quality food. Their lechon or roasted pig cooked over charcoal is their best-seller. The pig is placed over the charcoal, and the stick or rod it is attached to is turned in a rotisserie action. The process of cooking and basting usually results in making the pork skin crisp and is a distinctive feature of the dish. You may contact them at 09063045464 or 091779668011. They also have a store across Gaisano Mall. The store was also featured in one of the episodes of Bihaye ni Drew, a travel show in the Philippines.

You can also try B-Bu-Q Barbeque Haus located near the city post office and another branch in Pala-o. Their barbeques are delicious for only php13 per stick. They are open daily until 12mn daily. This is one of must try food when you are in the city.

 Where to have Coffee & Desserts in Iligan City


Lola G Café is one of the best coffee shops in Iligan City. They serve hot and cold drinks, whole-bean coffee, espresso, caffe latte, tea products, cakes and pastries. It is the very first Coffee Library in Mindanao. It is owned and managed by Joseph Raymond Purganan. The owner of Lola G Café is also the founder of Guild of Iligan Young Artist and an advocate of education that is why the concept of his store is library- type conducive for group studies and any literacy related activities. You may contact them at 09177161149 and is located Door 8, Chelina Arcade, Tibanga Highway. Store hours is from 11am to 10pm daily.

Frapella Crib Iligan is one newest desserts shops in Iligan City. They also offer desserts, milkshakes, fruits juices and their best sellers are their Frappuccino drinks. They have two branches, one in Tibanga and the other in Poblacion. The price ranges from php99- php239.


Tinago Falls

Tinago Falls is a waterfall in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Iligan, a city known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls. The name Tinago is a filipino term meaning “hidden”, the falls being hidden in a deep ravine. Trekking to the falls requires approximately 365 descending steps called the winding staircase and you will witness a 120ft water falls.

How to get to Tinago Falls

From the city proper, you will need to ride a jeep going to Buru-un for php14. Just inform the driver that you will be going to the falls. The motorcycle ride from the baranggay proper to falls is php25 per head or if solo php50. Ms. Barbara Viray is the caretaker of an abandoned resort which is the main entry to the falls. Since there is no entrance fee, you can at least give donations in any amount for maintenance or might as well buy souvenir items from her.

Please make sure to be ready because you will need to trek 365 steps going to the falls. I also suggest to bring food if you are planning to stay there longer.

If you are not a swimmer, you can rent the life jackets for php25 from Neil Morales (09267609750). He also has a souvenir shop where in you can buy items such as keys chains, fridge magnets and shirts.

If you wanted to go near the falls, you can ride their bamboo raft for only php15 per ride. You will experience the thrill and excitement under the waterfalls. There are also tourist guides that will assist you during the ride. This is definitely a must try “chasing waterfalls” experience and just one of the 23 waterfalls in the city.

Make sure to clean as you go. Since there is no entrance fee, the visitors are also responsible in maintaining the cleanliness of the area.

Iligan City Hydroelectric Power Plants


Hydroelectricity is electricity produced from hydropower. Hydropower or water power is derived from the energy of falling water or fast running water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. The cost of hydroelectricity is relatively low, making it a competitive source of renewable electricity.

I had a chance to have a tour from Agus 5, Agus 6 and Agus 7. Unfortunately, Maria Cristina Falls was closed for public viewing due after the bombing in Davao. Underneath the waterfall is gigantic turbine that converts kinetic to electrical energy which is the main source of power of many provinces in Mindanao.

Good thing, I was able to meet a local and gave me a tour. Below are the sample shots of the hydroelectric plant.

Breakdown of Expenses:

  • Laguindingan to Iligan Bus Fare – Php120 including van transfer from the airport.
  • Iligan City Proper to Buru-un –  Php14 (php24 round trip)
  • Buru-un to Tinago Falls – Php50 (100 round trip) or  Php25 per pax for group.
  • Tinago Entrance Fee- Free
  • Bamboo Raft Fee- Php15
  • Life Jacket – Php25