A QUICK VISIT TO MARAWI CITY, LANAO DEL SUR - a Travel Guide

tourist spots in Marawi City
Marawi City, the capital of Lanao del Sur, is one of the cities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Marawi has a colorful culture and is overflowing with stunning tourist spots and destinations. Prior to my solo-backpacking,  whenever I share my itinerary, the common response of my friends was "it is not safe in Marawi," that negative statement did not affect my travel plan. From Iligan City proper, I rode on a habal to the Southbound Terminal where I rode in a van to Marawi City; travel time was about 45 minutes to an hour.

ILIGAN CITY, LANAO DEL NORTE: Itinerary, Travel Guide, How to Get Here and where to Stay

tourist spots in Iligan City
Iligan City is dubbed as the "City of the Majestic Waterfalls" because of the established and non-established waterfalls. Though the city is independent, it serves as the center of commerce and tourism in the province of Lanao del Norte. Maria Cristina falls is the grandest among the 20+ waterfalls but it was close during my visit. Transportation is not a problem, like the other provinces in the Philippines, "habal-habal" is one of the mode of transportation to visit the tourist spots and destinations in Iligan City.

SOLO-BACKPACKING: Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Davao City

Tourist Spots in Mindanao

CASH ON HAND: 10,300 PESOS
SUB-TOTAL EXPENSES WITHOUT AIRFARE: 9,464 PESOS
AIRFARE: 2,189.84 PESOS
TOTAL EXPENSES: 11,653.84
 

TAPPIYA FALLS, Banaue, Ifugao - a travel guide

Tappiya Falls Batad
In the middle of the mountains of Ifugao, we found a hidden gem called Tappiya Falls situated in "Batad," a secluded village in Banaue. Getting to this majestic beauty includes 7 to 12 hours land travel and 2 hours trekking. It's a bit challenging but you will be rewarded with a breathtaking landscape that can only be found in this region, including the world famous Batad Rice Terraces. Not just artistic in creating the terraces, the people of Batad also know how to value and preserve whatever their ancestors left, such as their rituals.

BATAD RICE TERRACES, Banaue, Ifugao - a travel guide

Batad Rice Terraces
The amphitheater like rice terraces of the Cordillera region captured the eyes of the world in 1995 as it was included  in the UNESCO World Heritage Site List and Batad Rice Terraces is one of the five spectacular rice terraces of Ifugao. It was less than a thousand years when the people of Ifugao mastered the agricultural practices and than includes the creation of the terraces. This agricultural landscape is a living proof that the early civilization already had the knowledge on how to improve their crops by adapting on the natural factors through terracing.

Batad Rice Terraces and Tappiya Falls, Ifugao

Batad Rice Terraces
Banaue Rice Terraces, Sagada and Mt. Pulag are just three of the famous tourist spots in the Cordillera region. I usually see them on the post cards before but please don't calculate my age. Honestly, traveling to these gorgeous spots is a bit challenging because of its geographical location; seven to twelve hours are needed just for transportation. In the contrary, let's proceed to the reason why you should visit the Cordilleras, especially the Province of Ifugao. Here are a few of the photos I captured during our visit for you appreciate the magnificence of nature hidden in this region.

THE SMALLEST PLAZA, Guimaras - a travel guide

The Smallest Plaza Guimaras
The Smallest Plaza in the Philippines is located in Guimaras, the first tourist destination we visited. It was also the former Guinness Book of World Records holder of the same title. From the port of Guimaras, it's 15 to 20 minutes habal ride. The plaza is around 200 to 300 square meters area with the Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal in the middle, and right beside the highway and residents houses. According to Kuya Ken, my habal driver/tour guide, during their annual fiesta, all the attendees are being fit into this small plaza. This means that this tiny plaza also witnessed most of the gigantic historical events in the province.

GUISI LIGHTHOUSE, Guimaras - a travel guide

Guisi Lighthouse
Touching the walls of Guisi Lighthouse or Faro de Punta Luzaran is the most exciting part of my backpacking in Guimaras. It is the second oldest light house in the Philippines, lighted up for the first time in 1894. This structure was erected in 18th century to guide the mariners passing by the waters of Ilo-Ilo and Guimaras. Its structure is made of metal from France, tisa from Portugal and cement from England. The floor plan, base on the ruins, is similar to Burgos Lighthouse in Ilocos Norte and the Cape EngaƱo Lighthouse in Palaui Island. Today, the thick walls covered with mosses and plants and the rusty metal lighthouse remains erected. The ambiance in the area is relaxing because of the cool sea breeze.

HOW TO GET TO GUISI LIGHTHOUSE:
The nearest airport in Guimaras is in Ilo-Ilo City. From the airport, take a cab to Parola Port (the gateway to Guimaras). In my case, since I stayed in Ong Bun Pension House Ilo-Ilo City, I followed the instructions provided by the guard. Just two blocks away, I rode in the jeepney with ARU/GPU signboard and alighted by the entrance of Parola Port, for a minimum fare. Then, bought a ferry ticket bound for Guimaras Wharf. The dock and go of the ferries are continues every 30 minutes. The travel time from the port to Guimaras is only 15 minutes.

GUIMARAS WINDMILLS - from Renewable to a tourist destination

Guimaras Windmills
My last destination in Guimaras was Guimaras Windfarm with 27 gigantic wind turbines that harness electricity from the wind. The island is surrounded by the seas, so it’s a perfect location for renewable because of its sea breeze. According to Kuya Ken, the harnessed energy is being transported to Ilo-Ilo City via cables submerged into the water. There’s a registration but no entrance fee. Also, we talked about the proposed bridge that will connect Guimaras to Ilo-Ilo, however, it was rejected because it can damage the living underwater creatures. By the way, Bangui Windmills is the most prominent wind farm in the Philippines which brought a lot of tourists in Ilocos Norte and just recently, I featured the Tanay Windmills in Tanay, Rizal.

ALUBIHOD BEACH, Guimaras - a travel guide

Alubihod Beach Guimaras
A Trappist Monastery, we headed to Alubihod Beach in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. Traveling to this gorgeous beach via habal is easy because the roads are all concrete. I was welcomed by the courteous staff of Raymen Beach Resort. Settled the entrance fee and walked to the beach area. Though the shoreline is not white as Boracay Island and Anguib Cove in Cagayan, Alubihod Beach is pretty on it's own way. The picturesque is instagram worthy because of the rock formation highlighted by the creamy white sand with corals and pebbles. The ambiance by the beach is relaxing because of the sea breeze is cool.