Backpacking Philippines,  Mindanao,  Travel Guides,  Travels

The Ultimate Mindanao Philippines Bucket List

This ultimate Mindanao Philippines bucket list gives you an idea about the activities, places and food that you should not miss when visiting the provinces in this region. Go over the list and check which of these have you ticked off and which should you look forward to on your next travel!

The island of Camiguin from afar
Photo by Jameson Go

About Mindanao

Mindanao is composed of the group of islands in the southern Philippines with its mainland as the second largest next to Luzon. It is dubbed as “the Land of Promise” due to the treasures that it holds – from the gifts nature bestowed on its people to their diverse, rich and well-preserved culture and traditions. It is also the region of the country with the highest Muslim population.

Despite its beauty and the wonders that it offers, people feared of exploring Mindanao due to the threats of terrorist attacks and encounters here and there. Unfortunately, this has left most of its natural gifts unexplored and untouched. Shall you decide to travel to the provinces with high risk, though, establishing a coordination with the Local Government Unit is a must. While this may be true to few of its provinces, most parts of it though is proven safe especially for travelers coming from different parts of the globe.

Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Tagalog are among the languages that are spoken at large in Mindanao. However, a number of indigenous languages are also spoken in some regions. These include Suriganon, Binukid, Yakan, Tausug, Bagobo, Maranao, Kinamiging, Manobo and more.

Region 9: Zamboanga Peninsula

Zamboanga del Norte

  1. Get to know more about Jose Rizal’s exiled life at the Rizal Shrine
  2. Take a day tour at Dakak Resort
  3. Buy Montano Spanish sardines for pasalubong
  4. Take 3003 steps up to Linabo Peak and get to see the silhouette of Mindanao’s famous mountains

Zamboanga del Sur

  1. Ride their iconic inclined tricycle
  2. Visit Rotunda park
  3. Wait for the Puting Balas to show up
  4. Eat seafood and their two-peso skewers

Zamboanga Sibugay

  1. Take a selfie in the Rotunda Obelisk
  2. Visit the Provincial Capital
  3. Take a refreshing dip at the Buluan Marine Sanctuary
  4. Go bird watching at the Kabug Mangrove park and Wetlands

Region 10: Northern Mindanao


  1. Eat steak and drink pineapple juice at the Del Monte Club House
  2. Go on a day trip and go extreme at Dahilayan Adventure Park
  3. Cruise on a bamboo raft at Apo Lake
  4. Try rock climbing in Kiokong white rock wall


  1. Wait for the sunset at the Sunken Cemetery
  2. Eat all the lanzones you can during the Lanzones Festival
  3. Buy some sea glass at treasures Camiguin
  4. Try Vjandep’s famous pastel
  5. Hike Mt. Hibok Hibok
  6. Swim and hover above giant clams at the Giant Clam Sanctuary
  7. Watch the sunrise at White Island
  8. Be amazed by the rich underwater life in Mantigue Island Sanctuary
A cross at the surface of the ocean
The Sunken Cemetery in Camiguin

Lanao del Norte

  1. Try their lechon at the road side rotisseries
  2. Buy Chedding’s Peanuts for pasalubong
  3. Visit the Maria Cristina Falls
  4. Go chasing waterfalls all over the province. Among the must see waterfalls are Tinago Falls, Mimbalut Falls, Limunsundan Falls and Cathedral Falls.
a lady standing on a post in front of a waterfalls
Maria Cristina Falls, Iligan City
a lady in bikini standing in front of a waterfalls
Tinago Falls, Iligan City

Misamis Occidental

  1. Witness a “Christ the Redeemer” feels at Caluya Shrine
  2. Go on top of Hoyohoy Highland Mountain Park
  3. Celebrate Binalbal Festival to welcome the new year
  4. Trek Mt. Malindang
White Water Radting experience in Cagayan de Oro City

Misamis Oriental

  1. Brave the rapids in a raft at Cagayan De Oro City
  2. Explore the Initao-Libertad Landscape seascape
  3. Buy some Duhat wine and visit the Divine Mercy Shrine at El Salvador City
  4. Visit Sagpulon Falls, swim at Agutayan White island and look for Sail fin lizards at Jasaan, Misamis Oriental
  5. Get that fun water experience at the biggest Pirate-themed water park in the country, The Seven Seas Waterpark and Resort
Sven Seas Waterpark and Resort, Opol-Baral, Misamis Oriental

Region 11: Davao Region

Davao de Oro

  1. Get warm at the Mainit Sulfuric Hot Spring in Maco
  2. Explore Maragusan, the Summer Capital of Davao
  3. Dive and swim at the town of Mabini, the only coastal town in the province
  4. Munch down some of the province cacao products

Davao del Norte

  1. Visit the largest rosary in the world found at the Rosary Gardens in Tagum City
  2. Take a day trip in Samal Island and go beach bumming into its white sand beaches
  3. Visit the Monfort Bat Sanctuary
  4. Immerse yourself at Tagum City’s Night Market
  5. Bask in the sun at Hijo Plantation’s Banana Beach

Davao del Sur

  1. Meet the Philippine Eagle at the Philippine Eagle Center
  2. Climb Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in the country
  3. Try some of durian products
  4. Explore the largest city (in terms of land area) in the world, Davao City

Davao Occidental

  1. Explore Balut Island and don’t forget to try the hot spring there
  2. Beach bum at their “little Boracay” in Santa Maria
  3. Go on top of the light house in Olanivan Island
  4. Make a trip in this hidden paradise at Tuke Maklang

Davao Oriental

  1. Try skim boarding, surfing or ride an ultralight plane at Dahican Beach in Mati
  2. Take a selfie and be amaze with the highest fall in the country Aliwagwag Falls
  3. Visit Mt. Hamiguitan one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country
  4. Go down south to Governor Generoso to visit Cape San Agustin



  1. Witness the majestic curtain waterfall of Asik Asik Falls
  2. Take another trail going up to the highest mountain in the country Mt. Apo
  3. Visit the historical fort in Fort Pikit
  4. Sample their local delicacies like Baye-baye, Kalalaw or tinagtag


  1. Try paragliding and witness the beauty of Saragani Bay from above
  2. Go to the town of Malapatan and buy their woven “malong” and “inaul” cloths
  3. Acquaint yourself at the Lamlifew Tribal Village Museum
  4. Experience the Muna Toh “first people” Festival and also see the old relics in Maitum

South Cotabato

  1. Ride a wooden canoe in the calm and peaceful Lake Sebu and snap those selfies
  2. See all seven waterfalls of Lake Sebu while riding a zip line
  3. Attend their T’nalak Festival and learn how the T’boli tribe weave by using their dreams as their patterns
  4. Relax and camp out at Lake Holon

Sultan Kudarat

  1. Take a selfie at their Provincial Capitol that will remind you of the Taj Mahal
  2. Go bird watching in Baras Bird Sanctuary in Tacurong
  3. Experience island hopping in Balet island
  4. Try out their local Pastil

Region 13: CARAGA Region

Agusan del Norte

  1. Visit one of the branches of the National Museum
  2. Go to the Balangay Shrine Museum
  3. Chill at the man-made cave pool in Vinapor Blue Water Resort
  4. Enjoy the beach and cliff jump at Bolihon beach

Agusan del Sur

  1. Look for some crocodiles and appreciate the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary
  2. Be amaze at the 300-feet Giant To-og Tree
  3. Experience the Naliyagan Festival

Dinagat Islands

  1. Try out their Binaga a roasted mudfish Dinagat Islands
  2. Get those Palawan feels in Bitaog beach
  3. Explore the beautiful Cabacungan Cove
  4. Commune with nature at Lake Bababu
  5. Go on an island hopping at the Libjo Islets

Surigao del Norte

  1. Dive the underwater world and explore the pebble beaches of Mabua
  2. Surf in the waves of Cloud Nine in General Luna
  3. Swim in Mapupungko Tidal Flats
  4. Go island hopping in Siargao and enjoy their boodle fight
  5. Jump from the iconic dive board of Sugba Lagoon
Cloud 9, Siargao, Surigao Del Norte

Surigao del Sur

  1. Visit and marvel at the Enchanted River
  2. Go on an island hopping at the Britania Group of Island
  3. Enjoy the big waves at Laswitan Falls and Lagoon
  4. Appreciate the beauty of Tinuy-an Falls
Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

BARMM: Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao


  1. Soak in a lot of sun and walk on the fine white sand at Malamawi White Beach
  2. Be amazed by and take a dip in Bulingan falls
  3. Go on a food trip and taste their lokot-lokot and panyalam
  4. Buy some Yakan weaving for pasalubong

Lanao del Sur

  1. See the remnants of the Marawi Siege
  2. Take a snap shot of the beautiful Lake Lanao
  3. Sample their Maranao dishes like palapa
  4. Learn about the rich culture of the Maranao by visiting the town of Tugaya an art town and learn weaving in Pualas


  1. Visit the “pink mosque” Masjid Dimaukom in Datu Saudi Ampatuan
  2. Take a selfie and explore the largest mosque in the country the Grand Mosque of Cotabato, the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid
  3. Take a tour of the traditional Maguindanao Houses
  4. Taste their pastel a glutinous rice with chicken wrapped in banana leaves


  1. Try their local delicacies like bangbang and their coffee called kahawa sug
  2. Visit their beautiful provincial capitol
  3. Go island hopping in Panglima Tahil
  4. Beach hopping unlimted! Like Tandu Beach, Istambak Beach, Sionogan Beach, Maubuh Beach


  1. Trek to Bud Bongao, the highest peak in Tawi-Tawi and see the 360 view it has to offer
  2. Explore Panampangan Island the longest white sandbar in the Philippines
  3. Visit the Badjao Village and learn their culture
  4. Wear a traditional Muslim attire and visit the oldest mosque in the country in Simunul Island
Mt. Hibok-Hibok
Photo by Jameson Go

The Philippines Bucket List Series

There is seriously a plethora of places to visit and activities to try in the different provinces of Mindanao. This Mindanao Philippines bucket list only serves as a guide at the same time gives you an idea as to what you can expect to those places. The above mentioned ones were just few in the top list of the many travel enthusiasts. You can always go on and embark on an adventure in a different path and try new things so you can make the best out of your adventure.

Check out our Visayas and Luzon edition of this Ultimate Philippines Bucket List series. If you intend to visit all the provinces in the Philippines, hence the Project 81, this list is something that can surely help you with.

Did we miss anything in this Mindanao Philippines bucket list? Let us know about it!

Special thanks to Jameson Go for contributing to the completion of this ultimate Mindanao Philippines Bucket List!

Anne Elizabeth Gumiran, also known as Queenie, is a 20-something, full-time public school teacher, a part-time travel blogger and a freediver. She started putting her stories of adventures and misadventures into words and pictures in 2017 and continues to do so as she shares her advocacy, Sustainable Traveling.

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