ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY

WHY VISIT ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY?

  • It is the home of Sibug-Sibug Festival, a colorful ethnic street dancing filled with various activities.
  • It is known as “the Kalamansi Capital”, 2nd largest rubber plantation  and 1st on export.
  • Surprisingly, few do know that it is the official TALABA/oyster capital of the Philippines”. They produce the largest, freshest, heaviest, export-quality oysters. It was awarded as the home of the world’s longest oyster grill💙💙💙 Read about the seafood capital of the Philippines: PANAY ISLAND: Roxas City, Capiz to Aklan
  • It is strategically located at the heart of Zamboanga Peninsula.
  • It is the 4th youngest province and the 81st in the alphabetical arrangement of provinces.

HOW TO GET THERE?

Point of entries are: Zamboanga, Pagadian or Dipolog. There are buses heading to Zamboanga Sibugay. Ipil is the capital; tricycle and jeepneys are common transportation.  It is easy to get to places since people are friendly here.

 

KALAMANSI is the counterpart of lemon in the Philippines. They are commonly used as a dip or marinade to sour the meat or as juice drink. It is also best squeezed on pancit, a local noodle. In Zamboanga Sibugay, softdrinks are not the most sought after thirst quenchers but kalamansi juice.

If you haven’t seen stilt houses and are afraid to visit the farther south like Tawi-tawi and Sulu, then Sibugay is the perfect place to witness and experience them. Read about: TAWI-TAWI:the backdoor of the Philippines

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If you think that this province is small, think again. It is one of the underrated tourist destinations in the south yet one of the best.

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OTHER PLACES TO VISIT:

  • Tagbilat Falls
  • Buluan Island in Ipil
  • Moalboal Cave in Titay
  • Litayon Island
  • Sibugay Sinking Island in Alicia
  • Bangan Island
  • Looc-Labuan in Tungawan
  • Baluran Falls in Imelda
  • Pandilusan Island in Payao
  • Tigpalay Falls in Tungawan
  • Sea Snake Sanctuary in Olutanga
  • Crocodile Sanctuary in Siay
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This is what it looks like inside the most beautiful capitol in the Philippines (in terms of facade/exteriors). Interior-wise, Sultan Kudarat’s capitol tops it. This is just my personal opinion.

For comparison, check out: NSOCCSKSARGENM: Sultan Kudarat

Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX) is divided into three regions: Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Sur. Read my adventures on the other provinces and you can base your travel itinerary from my experience.

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE:Dapitan & Dipolog City

ZAMBOANGA CITY

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“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.”

-Rachel Wolchin

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NSOCCSKSARGENM: Sultan Kudarat

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This trip is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with my venturous friends. It woudn’t have been possible without the people who helped us as these places are known to be risky for tourists.

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HOW TO GET THERE SAFELY? Fly from Manila to General Santos City then head to the bus terminal leading to Koronadal City. Ask for a connecting bus to Sultan Kudarat’s capital which is Isulan. Otherwise, you may begin your itinerary with South Cotabato’s Lake Sebu in the morning (see my related post), then take a van to Surallah in the afternoon and explore the area, lastly ride a trike or van to Isulan and look for a local hostel within the city. You may Also stay overnight at Lake Sebu: NSOCCSKSARGENM: Lake Sebu and the T’boli Tribe

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You will notice that Mindanao has a strong cultural significance as depicted in every park or rotonda.

Take note that there aren’t much modern restaurants in Sultan Kudarat but you can find a number of grilled meat along the streets of the city center. Very unusual in Luzon, they stick them on banana shoot/trunk like this in most parts of Visayas and Mindanao.

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NSOCCSKSARGENM stands for our DIY trip: North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Saranggani, General Santos and Maguindanao. See my other posts on every province in these links: NSOCCSKSARGENM: NORTH COTABATO’s Asik-Asik Falls

The province was named after the courageous Muslim hero who conquered many parts of the Philippines from the Spaniards. He is considered as the greatest Sultan of Maguindanao and most powerful person in Mindanao during his time. Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat lived between 1581-1671. He died at 90 out of old age. He was declared as a national hero under the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos.

The 7th sultan of Maguindanao, Sultan Muhammad Kudarat’s legacy is honored in every part of the province. Visit the provincial capitol and check out its grand and gold interior. 👑

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“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”

-Mark Twain

 

NSOCCSKSARGENM: Lake Sebu and the T’boli Tribe

 

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The view in the resort is similar to Sampaloc Lake of Laguna with tilapia fish pens overlooking the mountains of the said province.

WHY VISIT LAKE SEBU?

  • It is a prime eco-tourism destination in South Cotabato for dining, activities like hiking, riding a zipline, boating, siteseeing and staycation.
  • You can dance with the T’boli and Ubo tribes and try their local clothes.
  • Try out the various tilapia recipe served at Punta Isla Lake Resort on a floating restaurant.

HOW TO GET THERE?

Best point of entry is via General Santos City. From there, you may ride a bus to Koronadal then van to Lake Sebu or why not take advantage of an early itinerary and head first to Surallah via bus then jeep ride to Lake Sebu and allocate some time to visit Sultan Kudarat before 5:00 PM. Don’t miss the last trip in Lake Sebu unless you are planning for an overnight stay. Read my related posts: NSOCCSKSARGENM: Sultan Kudarat

Lake Sebu is a natural lake that serves as a major watershed in Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato. It has the 3rd longest zipline in Asia after Davao’s Zip City and Eden Nature Park. Lake Sebu’s zipline is the highest in southeast Asia standing at 600 feet. You can take a quick yet perfect topical view of the seven waterfalls upon riding the zipline. For those who are acrophobic, waterfalls view decks are provided for a closer look.

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Overnight at Punta Isla Lake Resort and other lodges are affordable. For 1,000 Php you can have a decent room for two. But what I really enjoyed is the variety of tilapia dishes to choose from. I was too preoccuppied with the mouthwatering viands that I forgot to try on the T’boli clothes and jam with the indigenous people. You may dance with the locals while on the garden or just listen to them play their wooden instruments.

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MY FAVORITE PART: The Food Trip

TILAPIA is a common term for cichlid fish. These are freshwater fish that are mostly seen in rivers, streams but mostly raised in pond lakes. In the Philippines, we commonly fry, grill or steam it. I like it stuffed with tomatoes and onion, wrapped in aluminum foil and grilled. Tilapia fillet is quite a work that’s why I loved the menu at Punta Isla Resort.

They serve tilapia in sweet and sour, sizzling, kinilaw and fried but I chose the most uncommon ways for a change.

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Tilapia fillet in creamy vegetable sauce

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Crispy Tilapia chicharon dipped vinegar

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Tinolang Native na Manok ( Native Chicken)

TIPS:

  1. Don’t forget to plan your mode of transportations and point of entry/exit before the trip. Avoid staying outdoors after dinner. It is best to be safe than sorry.
  2. Bring your sun protection spray or lotion, shades, cap and towelettes. It gets really humid in the afternoon and insect repellants help a lot as this is a forest reservoir.
  3. Wear rubbershoes and leggings if you are planning on riding the zipline. You will be sliding from 600 feet.
  4. There are no ATMs in the area so prepare sufficient cash for souvenirs and food.
  5. You could either stay at Lake Sebu overnight or head on to Sultan Kudarat for overnight depending on your itinerary.
  6. Wifi and cellphone reception is intermittent.
  7. Check out neighboring provinces to include in your itinerary: NSOCCSKSARGENM: NORTH COTABATO’s Asik-Asik Falls

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“Grace is finding a waterfall when you were only looking for a stream.”

-Vanessa Hunt