There is more to Mindanao than the wars, martial law and the kidnappings you hear almost everyday.
Truth is: this side of the country is teeming with natural spectacles begging for your visit; white sand beaches sprawling the islands, watched by the towering mountains and ridges. (5 of the country’s 10 highest mountains is in Mindanao).
Now, if you happen to be in Davao or Cagayan de Oro, take a day to sidetrip in these tuhod-tested, pabebe dayhike destinations in Mindanao
Panimahawa Ridge (Bukidnon)
With its lush vegetation and picturesque landscape, it’s easy to see why a lot of millennials are lured by its beaute. Probably one of the most popular hiking destinations in Bukidnon, Panimahawa Ridge is an easy 3-4 hours PUV ride from Cagayan de Oro or Davao. Be sure to bring with you your umbrella or any covers to protect you from scorching heat of the sun. Yes, this is an open trail.
More about Panimahawa Ridge: Suroy Pilipinas.
Mt. Puting Bato (Samal, IGACOS)
Mt. Puting Bato is the highest point of the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS). Trail is well-established but as a general rule, be prepared to zip through the humid, partly shadeless and grassy entrance to the peak.
From the jump off area, it takes 1.5-3.5 hours to get into the peak. Going to Mt. Puting Bato is best combined with a trip to Canibad beach, where you can chill or do the heart-pumping cliff jumping.
Mt. Capistrano (Malaybalay, Bukidnon)
Arguably one of Malaybalay City’s ‘most iconic spots, Mt. Capistrano gives you a commanding view of the city of Malaybalay and its nearby town. The assault can be an unforgiving one, especially if you’re not physically prepared. But it’s a feat worthy of your calories burned.
There are a number of organised trips who can take you here from Davao or CDO for a minimal fee with multiple side trips. So be sure to consider this in your next itinerary when in Mindanao.
Sanchez Peak (Gensan)
Sanchez Peak is Gensan’s highest peak, it’s an easy 1-3 hours hike from Sitio Balakayo, a popular jump-off to the peak. The busiest days of this peak are during weekends, where locals and travellers alike flock to camp on its vast expanse, offering a unique unobtrusive view of General Santos and Sarangani.
Best to trip in this side of GenSan is during weekdays, where trail runs and hiking activities are minimal.
Sleeping Dino (Mati)
That iconic island that resembles a sleeping saur when you’re heading to the zigzaggy Mati, Davao Oriental? That’s increasingly becoming one of the most popular destinations in Mati, next to Dahican. Well, it’s not actually an island, but a nearly-separated open veld connecting Brgy. Badas.
From Dahican, it just takes 30mins to reach the jump-off area in Sitio Baso in Brgy. Badas and additional 2–3 hours for the trek up to the peak.
Why the influx of hikers?
Sleeping Dinosaur Island offers a breath-taking Batanes-esque view of the lush vegetation in the area split by the turquoise waters of the Pujada Bay.
Best time to hike is 5am where you can see the glorious oriental sun rising from the
Pacific or during late afternoon where heat is bearable. Be sure to bring enough covers, sunblocks and lots of water as this is an open and painfully humid trail.
Next time you’re in Davao or Cagayan de Oro, try to steal a day and experience something different. Coz, beach is too mainstream. Agree?