Travel to Mindanao, Philippians – Episode 890

categories: asia travel

Tourist Spots in Mindanao including Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, and Siargao - Philippines (Podcast)

Hear about tourist spots in Mindanao, the southernmost island in the Philippines, as the Amateur Traveler talks to Lonely Planet guidebook author Michael Grosberg and co-founder of about his many trips to Mindanao.

Why should you go to Mindanao?

Michael says,  “Most people that go to Mindanao these days go directly to the island of Siargao, which is one of the hottest, most happening places in all the Philippines for people to travel to. We’ll get to that and it’s deservedly popular. However, there’s so much more to see in Mindanao. Mindanao has one of the largest cities in the Philippines the city of Davao. Davao is in the far south of Mindanao. It’s got a cosmopolitan culture, amazing, wonderful food. The mountains and the islands around Davao are incredible. You can spend a month there. The highest peak in the Philippines, Mount Apo, which you can climb, and people do is only a couple hours or so from Davao.”

“There are endless coastlines to explore. There is indigenous culture. There are surfing spots. The city of Zamboanga, also has its own unique culture, a combination of Muslim influence, Malaysian, and Spanish cuisine. The whole coastline, the north, the east, really all over, are dotted with incredible beaches, and a lot of them are not really traveled to by foreigners, but Filipinos love to travel, and so Filipinos that go to Mindanao go to all these places.”

For a one-week itinerary, Michael recommends a visit to Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, and Siargao.

Starting with Cagayan de Oro can offer you a blend of urban and outdoor experiences. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Arrival in Cagayan de Oro (CDO): The city itself might not be visually stunning, but it has a vibrant atmosphere, especially with its university culture. Upon arrival at Laguindingan Airport, which is about 32 kilometers west of Cagayan de Oro, you can take a shuttle van directly to your hotel. There are various hotel options available, with some attached to shopping malls for convenience.
  2. CDO Night Market: One of the highlights of Cagayan de Oro is its night market, known as the Cogon Public Night Market. Here, you can immerse yourself in a bustling atmosphere filled with a variety of local and exotic Filipino foods, fruits, vegetables, clothing, and more. It’s a great way to experience the local culture and try different delicacies.
  3. Outdoor Adventures: South of Cagayan de Oro lies a beautiful countryside with mountains, canyons, and plantations. You can explore the Bukidnon province, known for its scenic landscapes and indigenous communities. Activities such as trekking, mountain climbing (Mount Tlingit being a notable peak), and visits to pineapple plantations like the Del Monte Pineapple Plantation offer a glimpse into the region’s natural and historical heritage.
  4. Whitewater Rafting: For an adrenaline-packed adventure, try whitewater rafting on the Cagayan de Oro River. Several companies offer guided rafting trips with varying levels of difficulty, suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters. It’s a thrilling way to experience the river’s rapids while enjoying the picturesque surroundings.
  5. Transportation: Getting around Cagayan de Oro and its surrounding areas can be done via taxi, shuttle vans, or rental cars. While driving may be a bit hectic, especially in the city, it offers flexibility and convenience for exploring the countryside. Alternatively, you can opt for guided tours or shared transportation options.

Overall, Cagayan de Oro serves as an excellent starting point for exploring the northern part of Mindanao, offering a mix of cultural, culinary, and outdoor experiences. From urban delights to natural wonders.

Visit the Island of Camiguin:

  1. Getting to Camiguin: While it may seem a bit complicated to reach Camiguin from mainland Mindanao, flying directly to the island is a convenient option. Camiguin is a small island located off the coast of northern Mindanao, known for its stunning landscape dominated by the massive volcano, Mount Hibok-Hibok.
  2. Exploring the Island: Once you arrive at the port of Benoni in Camiguin, you’ll find various transportation options to take you to your accommodation in the capital or largest town, Mambajao. Consider arranging transportation in advance with your accommodation, or hop on a tricycle to reach your destination.
  3. Accommodation: Camiguin offers several fantastic accommodations, with two notable choices: the Bintana Sa Paraiso and Balai Sa Baibai. These establishments provide breathtaking views, luxurious amenities, and a tranquil atmosphere, perfect for a relaxing getaway.
  4. Island Tour by Motorbike: Renting a motorbike is highly recommended for exploring Camiguin at your own pace. The island’s circular road, spanning 64 kilometers, offers spectacular views, natural springs, waterfalls, and historical landmarks. Don’t miss the Stations of the Cross, Sunken Cemetery, Karibawasan Falls, and Tuasan Falls along the way.
  5. White Island: A must-visit attraction in Camiguin is the stunning White Island, a pure white sandbar located a few hundred meters offshore. Enjoy snorkeling, sunbathing, and capturing Instagram-worthy photos of the picturesque scenery. Plan your visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the scorching heat.
  6. Lanzones Festival: If you’re fortunate to visit Camiguin in late October, immerse yourself in the vibrant festivities of the Lanzones Festival. This annual celebration showcases the island’s iconic fruit, featuring pageants, music, food, and cultural performances.
  7. Giant Clam Sanctuary: While the Giant Clam Sanctuary may be closed due to a property dispute, you can still enjoy snorkeling and diving at Mantigue Island, another popular spot for underwater exploration. Keep an eye out for giant clams and other marine life while exploring the island’s pristine waters.
  8. Mount Hibok-Hibok: For adventurous souls, consider climbing Mount Hibok-Hibok for a thrilling experience. Guided tours are available for those interested in conquering the 1,320-meter peak, offering panoramic views of neighboring islands on clear days. Alternatively, visit the volcano monitoring station to learn about its volcanic activity and seismology.

With its natural beauty, rich culture, and diverse attractions, Camiguin promises an unforgettable adventure for travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path destination in Mindanao.

Siargao is a hot destination in the Philippines for its beaches, waterfalls, and especially its surfing,

  1. Getting to Siargao:
    • Flight Schedule: Plan your flights carefully as direct flights to Siargao might not always align with your travel schedule. Consider flying to Cebu and then to Siargao if necessary.
    • Ferry Option: If flights don’t work out, taking a ferry from Camiguin to the mainland of Mindanao and then traveling eastward is an option, albeit with some waiting and potential discomfort. Buy your ferry ticket the night before to avoid long lines in the morning. Opt for the fast ferry, preferably with a first-class seat for a more comfortable journey.
  2. Accommodation: Stay at Hotel Tavern for convenience, even though it might be slightly overpriced. Enjoy the boardwalk, night market, and dining options along the Surigao City Boulevard.
  3. Surfing: Experience world-famous surf breaks like Cloud 9, especially if you’re an experienced surfer. For beginners, Pacifico Village offers suitable learning conditions.
  4. Island Exploration: Rent a motorbike and explore the island’s attractions like Coconut View, Maasin Bridge and River Swing, Taktak Falls, and Burgos Beach.
  5. Boat Trips: Take day trips to nearby islands for surfing, snorkeling, or beach visits. Consider visiting Sohoton Cave for a unique cave and lagoon experience. Enjoy a boodle fight lunch at the end of your boat trip, a communal feast with a variety of Filipino dishes laid out on banana leaves.
  6. Safety Precautions: Ensure safety on boat trips, especially regarding boat capacity, availability of life jackets, and comfortable seating.
  7. Exploring Further: If time allows, explore other destinations in Mindanao like Zamboanga City or Davao for unique cultural experiences and natural attractions.



This episode is sponsored by MasterClass. With MasterClass, you can learn from the world’s best minds – anytime, anywhere, and at your own pace. Get 15% off an annual membership. Go to

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Show Notes
Davao City
Mount Apo
Zamboanga City
Cagayan de Oro
Seda Centrio Hotel, Cagayan de Oro
Limketkai Luxe Hotel, Cagayan de Oro
New Dawn Pensionne House, Cagayan De Oro
Cogon Night Market, Cagayan de Oro Today
Mount Tlingit
Cagayan De Oro Travel Guide: Whitewater Rafting Capital of the Philippines | Guide to the Philippines
Del Monte Plantation
Camp Phillips
Bintana Sa Paraiso (Hotel), Camiguin
Bintana sa Paraiso Binunsaran (Hotel), Camiguin
Balai sa Baibai (Hotel), Camaguin
Camiguin’s Stations of the Cross
Katibawasan Falls
Tuasan Falls – All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)
White Island
Lanzones Festival
Giant Clam Sanctuary
Mantigue Island
Mount Hibok-Hibok
Balangay Shrine Museum, Butuan
Siargao Island Philippines
Surigao City
Hotel Tavern Surigao, Surigao
Cloud 9 Surfing Tower
General Luna, Surigao del Norte
INARA Siagao (Hotel)
Siargao Beach Resort
Typhoon Rai
Trogon’s Perch (restaurant & resort), San Isidro
Coconut Trees View Deck
Maasin Bridge and River Swing
Tayangban Cave Pool
Magpupungko Rock Pools on Siargao Island
Pacifico Beach Resort
Burgos, Surigao del Norte
Tak Tak Falls
Sugba Lagoon Tours
Sohoton Cave Tours
Zamboanga City
Agong House – Kublai Art Garden


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Tourist Spots in Mindanao including Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, and Siargao - sea caves, white water rafting, beaches, giant clams, stingless jellyfish, night markets, volcanos, surfing, and sea caves - Philippines (Podcast) #places #itinerary #Philippines #mindano #travel #vacation #trip #holiday #beaches Tourist Spots in Mindanao including Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, and Siargao - sea caves, white water rafting, beaches, giant clams, stingless jellyfish, night markets, volcanos, surfing, and sea caves - Philippines (Podcast) #places #itinerary #Philippines #mindano #travel #vacation #trip #holiday #beaches

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

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