THE ISLAND OF
Treasure in the South
Mindanao is the second-largest and the most
southerly island, with a very different feel from the
rest of the country. A variety of Muslim ethnic groups
live here. In the southwestern tip of Mindanao is
Zamboanga City, considered by some as the most romantic
place in the Philippines and a favourite resort amongst
tourists. The city is noted for its seashells, unspoiled
tropical scenery and magnificent flowers. Zamboanga was
founded by the Spanish, and the 17th-century walls of
Fort Pilar, built to protect the Spanish and Christian
Filipinos from Muslim onslaughts, are still standing.
The city has a number of hotels, cars for hire, good
public transport and vintas (small boats), often with
colourful sails, available to take visitors round the
city bay. The flea market sells Muslim pottery, clothes
and brassware. About 2km (1.2 miles) from Fort Pilar are
the houses of the Badjaos, which are stilted
constructions on the water. Water gypsies live in boats
in this area, moving to wherever the fishing is best.
Plaza Pershing and Pasonanca Park are worth visiting.
Santa Cruz Island has a sand beach which turns pink when
the corals from the sea are washed ashore, and is ideal
for bathing, snorkelling and scuba diving. There is also
an old Muslim burial ground here.
province is the industrial centre of Mindanao, renowned
for its pearl and banana exports. Davao City is one of
the most progressive industrial cities in the country.
The province is the site of Mount Apo, the highest peak
in the country, while the Apo Range has spectacular
waterfalls, rapids, forests, springs and mountain lakes.
Cagayan de Oro: , on the northern coast
of Mindanao, is the gateway to some of the most
beautiful islands in the Philippines. By way of
contrast, in Bukidnon there are huge cattle ranches and
the famous Del Monte pineapple fields, and Iligan City
is the site of the hydroelectric complex driven by the
Maria Cristina Falls.
Lanao del Sur: is a
province characterised by its Muslim community which has
settled along the shores of Lake Lanao. Besides the
lake, other attractions include Signal Hill; Sacred
Mountain; the native market, Torongan; homes of the
Maranao royalty; the various Muslim mosques on the
shores of the lake; and examples of the famous brassware
industry centred in Tugaua.