Looking for Mindanao tourist spots? The region maybe one of the less traveled by in the Philippines because of the presumptions associated with it. Despite the complicated background and controversial history it encompasses, one thing is incontestable, the place is beyond stunning. And one of the beautiful places in Mindanao that you can start exploring is Region XII or more popularly known as SOCCSKSARGEN.
One of the administrative regions of Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN meaning or acronym stands for its four provinces and one of its cities: South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos city. SOCCSKSARGEN is formerly known as Central Mindanao. Koronadal in the province of South Cotabato is the regional center. The most populous city, General Santos, is considered as the center of commerce and industry.
SOCCSKSARGEN is also fondly called or nicknamed, “SOX”.
SOCCSKSARGEN 4 Days and 3 Nights Itinerary
This four-day SOCCSKSARGEN itinerary starts with Cotabato and finishes in General Santos. This involves flying from Manila to Cotabato and General Santos to Manila. Moving from one province to another is via land travel.
Since situated between Cotabato City, Cotabato province, and Sultan Kudarat, some parts of Maguindanao are also included as they are near or along the way during land travel.
Flight: Manila to Cotabato, General Santos to Manila
Day 1: Cotabato City
Maguindanao Tourist Spots: Masjid Al-Nasser Abpi – White, Mosque.Margues Blue Lagoon
Cotabato City Tourist Spots: Grand Mosque, People’s Palace (new Cotabato City Hall)
Accommodations: Asia Novo Boutique Hotel – Midsayap
Masjid Al-Nasser Abpi – White Mosque
Located in the province of Maguindanao in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Masjid Al-Nasser Abpi is a beautiful white mosque that is only 10 minutes away from Cotabato City Awang airport. It was opened to the public in 2016.
Margues Blue Lagoon
Just like Masjid Al-Nasser Abpi – White Mosque, Margues Blue Lagoon is also located in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. It is easily accessible along the main road. Even the locals are fond of swimming in the clean, aquamarine water of the lagoon.
Also known as the Grand Mosque of Cotabato, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque is the largest mosque in the Philippines with the capacity to accommodate 15,000 people. It is truly stunning with its domes in gold adorned by crescent moons and its towering, beautiful minarets.
Across the mosque is a sari-sari store where you can rent a traditional Muslim attire for PHP100.
People’s Palace (new Cotabato City Hall)
Quickly drop by the new Cotabato City Hall or what they call the People’s Palace for the iconic I Love Cotabato City signage.
From People’s Palace, travel for around an hour to Midsayap, Cotabato to spend the night at Asia Novo Boutique Hotel.
Day 2: Cotabato + Sultan Kudarat
Cotabato Tourist Spot: Asik-asik Falls
Maguindanao Tourist Spot: Masjid Dimaukom – Pink Mosque
Sultan Kudarat Tourist Spot: Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol
Accommodations: Mountain Lodge – Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
From Cotabato City, travel for around 1.5 hours to Alamada in Cotabato (formerly North Cotabato) to explore Asik-asik Falls.
Located in the town of Alamada, Asik-asik falls was named after the local Hiligaynon term “asik” that means sprinkle. The waters of Asik-asik seemed to just sprinkle through the rocks covered by lush vegetation. It is unique and lovely at the same time. This hidden gem can be reached after a short trek, roughly around 30 minutes.
Masjid Dimaukom – Pink Mosque
Masjid Dimaukom or simply known as the Pink Mosque is a famous landmark in Maguindanao. Going to Sultan Kudarat, you cannot missed this ravishing structure. The mosque was painted in pink to symbolize peace and love.
Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol
Located in the province’s capital town of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol embodies a contemporary Arabic architecture. It has a spacious ground decorated at the center with the giant statue of Sultan Kudarat. The capitol houses the provincial government offices for the province of Sultan Kudarat.
From Sultan Kudarat, travel for around an hour to Lake Sebu, South Cotabato and spend the night at Mountain Log Resort.
Day 3: Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
South Cotabato Tourist Spots: Lake Sebu, Seven Waterfalls and Zipline, Blooming Petals Agri-tourism Park
Lake Sebu is a first-class municipality town in South Cotabato. The place has these three sacred lakes namely, Lake Sebu, Lake Seloton, and Lake Lahit. Lake Sebu is a favorite destination and there are resorts you can stay with that conveniently offers boat tour. Lake Sebu is beautifully adorned by pink lilies that only bloom early in the morning.
Seven Waterfalls and Zipline
Definitely one for the books, ziplining over Lake Sebu’s Seven Waterfalls is not for the faint hearted. The highest zipline in Southeast Asia, the swift ride will mesmerize you with the view of some of the waterfalls. It is a short two-part ride and you can have it solo or with a partner. They have official photographers and there are photo packages you can choose from. You can rent an action camera as well.
You can also try wearing a traditional T’boli costume here and have your photograph taken with a gorgeous nature backdrop. T’boli costume rental is only PHP50. You can rent it in two areas: near the first waterfall, before you take the zipline (walk past the zipline starting point) and the other one is after your second ride (located at one of the souvenir shops, closest to the waterfall viewing area).
Blooming Petals Agri-tourism Park
The first agri-tourism park in South Cotabato, Blooming Petals flower farm mainly houses a sunflower plantation. Aside from the seasonal sunflower, the place also cultivates array of vegetables and other kinds of flowers as well.
From South Cotabato, travel for around an hour to General Santos city and spend the night at RSG Microhotel.
Day 4: General Santos City + Sarangani
General Santos City Tourist Spot: General Santos Fish Port
Sarangani Tourist Spot: Maitum White Water Tubing
General Santos City Fish Port Complex
Tagged as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines, you can visit the General Santos City Fish Port Complex at the early morning to catch the busy market scene. Take note that you have to pass by the tourism office first because they will provide you proper clothing (pants and boots) to be able to enter the complex.
Maitum White Water Tubing
What an exhilarating and refreshing way to end your SOCCSKSARGEN tour than to trudge the cold waters of Pangi river in Maitum, Sarangani. How? By means of white water tubing. Aboard a rubber tire with a guide, have fun stumbling and falling with the rapids along the 1.6 kilometers river stretch that lasts for an hour.
From General Santos city, you can reach Maitum, Sarangani in 2.5 hours.
SOCCSKSARGEN Travel Tips
- For convenience and safety purposes, you can join an organized tour to SOCCSKSARGEN. One recommended tour provider is Bernation. A DIY trip is also possible. There are guides and/or drivers that can accompany your group.
- Depending if you’re joining a tour provider or organizing your own, approximate budget for this 4 days and 3 nights itinerary can range from PHP5000 to PHP8000 inclusive of food and accommodations.
- Make sure to wear proper attire when visiting mosques.
- There are designated checkpoints across the region.