Down South, Mindanao
Philippines, Mindanao, 7 falls in the Province of South Cotabato
Image © 2009 Ronald de Jong
The province of South Cotabato may not be the most obvious place to consider for a vacation, but for anyone looking for something out of the ordinary it is worth giving it a chance, the unique atmosphere, the exceptional landmarks and exotic attractions may surprise you.
If appreciation of natural beauty and exploration are what you look for in a holiday, a trip through South Cotabato might just be your ultimate excursion, an exciting and very challenging way to experience the most diverse and fruitful landscapes in Mindanao.
South Cotabato, a landlocked province is often named as the Land of Bounty is a real eco-tourism hub of Mindanao, it has refreshing, cool springs, majestic waterfalls, beautiful lakes and forests, rugged mountains with mysterious caves and mighty rivers. Also named as the promised land, South Cotabato has a few well-known outdoor attractions, rich biodiversity and many picturesque locations, like Lake Sebu which is the heartland of the T'boli people and the surrounding forest, enabling visitors to commune with nature and enjoy the fascinating bird life. Wild fauna and flora endemic to South Cotabato can be found in Lake Holon, also named lake Maughan, an idyllic, water-filled crater of the dormant volcano Mount Parker. This volcano is believed to have been named after an American pilot who crashed at the volcano.
If you are interested in local culture you could make a daytrip to one of the mountain tribes, the T'boli. A colorful tribe and one of the few of remaining tribal groups in Mindanao.
A visit to the T'boli Tribal House in T'boli, the Lake Sebu Museum and the Cultural Village is a unique opportunity to understand the soul of the people South Cotabato and a great way to explore this region in a nutshell. The B'laan are another indigenous group found that live in South Cotabato. Unlike the other indigenous cultural communities who tended to cluster in a particular area, the B'laans are scattered in pockets all over the province. This tribal group still believe and practice their indigenous customs and rituals, they are a tribal society with a distinct culture and language. Just like the T'boli this group is also well known for their embroidered costumes and jewelery made from brass.
The B´laans can be found in Polomolok, the name of the place was derived from the B'laan word "Flomlok' which means hunting grounds, for its abundance of wild life. Like any other city in the Philippines Polomolok has it´s own festival, the Flomlok festival, celebrated in September. The people of Polomolok celebrate by showcasing the local products and a mix of social and cultural activities. One of the main tourist attractions in Polomolok is the Salkak Cave, a place where nature lovers can enjoy the cool springs and the fresh mountain breeze outside and the thrilling adventure of caving.
Durian Garden is a local resort in Polomolok and one of the main agri-tourism destination of the South. It is well known for the best Durian fruit in many different varieties in South Cotabato. The garden is also abundant with rambutan and lanzones and has many durian trees and beautiful exotic flowers that can only be found there.
At the boundary of Koronadal city lies the Del Rio Splash Resort, an all inclusive family vacation getaway where both children and adults can enjoy their stay. It is a unique spot in South Cotabato, it has a swimming pool with slides for adults and children, pool cottages, a restaurant pavilion and much more to cater to your needs.
In short, South Cotabato offers a fantastic vacation for everyone who wants to go somewhere out of the ordinary and would like to combine nature, culture, heritage and relaxation.