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Mindanao - Travel there, or no?

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BossHog

Marawi is indeed one place in Mindanao no tourist should even consider visiting.

 

Most students at the Mindanao State University in Marawi are themselves terrified of leaving campus and walking into town.

 

The 45-minute drive from Iligan to Marawi does take you to a very different world.

 

I'm no alarmist when it comes to Mindanao but this is real no-go territory.

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Kabisay-an gid

welcome-arch-to-marawi-city1.jpg

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udonthani

it is kind of tempting in one way when you drive past that turn off on the coastal highway west of Iligan because the city is, like some places and cities are - like Jerusalem and Johannesburg - at comparitive altitude. It would be cooler up there, than Iligan, in temperature, if not in mood. It would be a quite rapid ascent up there from sea level. I drove past that turn off many times and I knew it would be a good drive up there. But I never took it.

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Baywak

I lived in Bislig for two and a half years 2001-2003 was back there in 2010,missed the big fire about 6-7years ago.Other then the market being rebuilt everything else seemed the same as usual.People have a completely different attitude then when I first went there.Would I stay there more then a few days-NO!

I think we can be reasonably confident that Baghdad is somewhat more dangerous, than even Bislig.

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BjornAgain

There is a reason tha the U.S. embassy forbids its employees and diplomats going to Mindanao and if they do they need permisiion to go to that island. They do not want their people kidnapped.Most Western countries embassies advise their citizens against going to Mindanao. I've been there and it seemed no more dangerous than anywhere else in the world, but I would never go to Jolo, and would most likely not go to ZAMBANG!

other than that, unless there is a red alert at the airport I am flying into, if I have a reason to go..I'm goin.

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Knowdafish

There is a reason tha the U.S. embassy forbids its employees and diplomats going to Mindanao and if they do they need permisiion to go to that island. They do not want their people kidnapped.Most Western countries embassies advise their citizens against going to Mindanao. I've been there and it seemed no more dangerous than anywhere else in the world, but I would never go to Jolo, and would most likely not go to ZAMBANG!

other than that, unless there is a red alert at the airport I am flying into, if I have a reason to go..I'm goin.

 

True!

 

http://www.livingincebuforums.com/topic/63337-security-message-for-us-citizens-increased-security-threats-in-mindanao/

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JamesMusslewhite

I still love Surigao del Norte/ del Sur, Dinagat island, and Siargao island in Northern Mindanao.

 

Surigao del Norte/ del Sur

 

Dinagat island

 

Siargao island

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BossHog

Would I stay there more then a few days-NO!

 

Looks like I'm headed to Bislig for a few days in early October. (The kiddo qualified for a science competition being held there)

 

Please someone tell me it's a hazardous region of Mindanao with kris-wielding locals, marauding bands of leftist rebels, and restive Moros. (I really don't feel like going and the young-un ain't going unescorted by her dad)

 

It's seriously far from my place. really. really. far. I'm in the very northern part of Surigao del Norte and this is in the southern tip of Surigao del Sur. The trip would involve an hour to the port, a 2.5 hour boat trip to Surigao. A three hour bus to Butuan. And then a transfer to the four hour bus to Bislig. With noisy excited school children.

 

I can fly to Mactan in 35 minutes but a trip to the "regionals" will probably take 18 hours or so. Sheesh.

 

Pros:

 

  1. Home of Tinuy-an Falls, the "Niagara of the Philippines" ( believe this is featured in James' first video posted above)

 

   2. Former home of Picop, one of the world's largest lumber mills. The forests are a mecca for bird watching and supposedly the Philippine Eagle can be seen there along with wild monkeys.

 

   2.5 The Enchanted River in nearby Hinatuan.

 

   3. It's the easternmost city in the Philippines. Yay!

 

But seriously.  It's closer to Davao then Siargao.

 

Please tell me about the recent NPA attacks there, the persistent kidnappings of foreigners, etc etc.

(No documentation needed. Just need something to show my wife so I get out of this trip).

 

 

 

PS. Is the Paper Country Inn still the best hotel in town?

 

PSS. Failing evidence of violent natives I would be happy to hear about roads washed out by landslides, a dengue outbreak, or a looming tropical cyclone. Is the area overly prone to seismic events?

 

PSSS. On second thought. I'll just have Mrs Hog call the US embassy and ask them if it's advisable for an American to take long bus journeys around Mindanao while escorting minors. That should do the trick.

Edited by BossHog
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Baywak

Looks like I'm headed to Bislig for a few days in early October. (The kiddo qualified for a science competition being held there)

 

Please someone tell me it's a hazardous region of Mindanao with kris-wielding locals, marauding bands of leftist rebels, and restive Moros. (I really don't feel like going and the young-un ain't going unescorted by her dad)

 

It's seriously far from my place. really. really. far. I'm in the very northern part of Surigao del Norte and this is in the southern tip of Surigao del Sur. The trip would involve an hour to the port, a 2.5 hour boat trip to Surigao. A three hour bus to Butuan. And then a transfer to the four hour bus to Bislig. With noisy excited school children.

 

I can fly to Mactan in 35 minutes but a trip to the "regionals" will probably take 18 hours or so. Sheesh.

 

Pros:

 

  1. Home of Tinuy-an Falls, the "Niagara of the Philippines" ( believe this is featured in James' first video posted above)

 

   2. Former home of Picop, one of the world's largest lumber mills. The forests are a mecca for bird watching and supposedly the Philippine Eagle can be seen there along with wild monkeys.

 

   2.5 The Enchanted River in nearby Hinatuan.

 

   3. It's the easternmost city in the Philippines. Yay!

 

But seriously.  It's closer to Davao then Siargao.

 

Please tell me about the recent NPA attacks there, the persistent kidnappings of foreigners, etc etc.

(No documentation needed. Just need something to show my wife so I get out of this trip).

 

 

 

PS. Is the Paper Country Inn still the best hotel in town?

 

PSS. Failing evidence of violent natives I would be happy to hear about roads washed out by landslides, a dengue outbreak, or a looming tropical cyclone. Is the area overly prone to seismic events?

 

PSSS. On second thought. I'll just have Mrs Hog call the US embassy and ask them if it's advisable for an American to take long bus journeys around Mindanao while escorting minors. That should do the trick.

BossHog-I lived in Mangagoy(Bislig) for two and a half years,know it well.The PCI(Paper Country Inn Is Still the only hotel in Mangagoy,There are a few pension houses on espiritu street.Mangagoy by hired van from Davao is just under 5 hours travel if taking the rough road but you will be coming from the opposite direction.from butuan its more like 3 hours to mangagoy(Bislig)l.The PCI is a good clean inexpensive hotel,I know every employee and the owner real well.NPA activity is sporadic and kidnapping happens,I think in the last 15 years there may have been 2 kidnappings  and they were on the rough road coming in from Davao.As much as this may not be reassuring to you,I think you will have no problems being you will be there a short time.My wifes family lives up on the mountain about 5 kilometers out of town.The PCI is Safe.

Edited by Baywak

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BossHog

Thanks Baywak.

 

After I finish with the school stuff do you reckon it's worth hanging out for a few days to see the falls, that river, and a look around the old logging concession.

 

The latter would be our main interest due to the bird life.

 

I've been down the road from Butuan but only as far as PNU in Prosperidad. First trip to Bislig.

 

 

 

,I think you will have no problems being you will be there a short time

 

Please reread my post carefully. lol

 

I'll assume you moved away due to the repeated threats to your life. Were you one of those kidnapped?

 

 

NPA activity is sporadic

 

Isn't this the group that targets corruption at elementary level science fairs!?

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newbster

I really miss the north east of Mindanao from Butuan to Surigao. The people are so polite

and if you are a bike rider you will see things and meet people that will amaze you. I

have one ride that I would like to finish if anyone has a good XR250 or compareable that

can go over mountain roads and through the mud and sand for about two days.

Do you really notice a difference in how friendly people are in the Butuan to Surigao area? Has anyone else noticed this? There was an earlier post on this thread that mentioned Butuan was an uncomfortable place to be because the people there bought into every negative stereotype about foreigners and he felt uncomfortable hearing people talk about evil foreigners constantly.

 

I'm thinking of visiting Mindanao sometime and I've heard that it's really only safe to stay in Davao or maybe CDO (I know there is lots of other discussion in this thread that other parts of Mindanao are safe/not-safe, but I'm not sure what to believe).

 

Is it safe to rent a motorcycle and travel around the eastern and northern part of Mindanao? i.e. ride from Davao to CDO then up to Surigao and back down to CDO or Davao while spending a few nights in various cities along the way (i.e. Malaybalay, CDO, Butuan, Surigao)?

Edited by newbster

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BossHog

Do you really notice a difference in how friendly people are in the Butuan to Surigao area? Has anyone else noticed this?

 

The biggest difference between the two cities, besides their relative size, is that Surigao has the port in the city proper whereas the port for Butuan is in Nasipit. Due to this, I'd say Surigao is the slightly seedier of the two, but then again I get offered drugs on the street in Butuan but never once in Surigao. Butuan is the wealthier of the two with all the logs and inland agricultural products coming down the river. It's been a center of trade for a thousand years.

 

As to people, Butuan has a large population of street kids/beggars for its size. Also, a sizable Chinese merchant class in addition to many more Muslim stall sellers. The foreign population has a larger percentage of missionaries than I've encountered elsewhere. Never noticed any pronounced negativity towards expats in Butuan. (I lived there for six months a decade ago and pass through often)

 

 

I'm thinking of visiting Mindanao sometime and I've heard that it's really only safe to stay in Davao or maybe CDO

 

I'd consider both of the above mentioned cities, and others in the area you've described, as well within the parameters of "safe" for the Philippines.

 

 Also, the town of Cabadbaran east of Butuan is developing

nicely and a great model of what a small town can be in northern

Mindanao. Worth a stop and look around if you're passing through.

 

 

Is it safe to rent a motorcycle and travel around the eastern and northern part of Mindanao? i.e. ride from Davao to CDO then up to Surigao and back down to CDO or Davao while spending a few nights in various cities along the way (i.e. Malaybalay, CDO, Butuan, Surigao)?

 

Not taking road hazards into consideration, that itinerary sounds reasonably free from trouble. There have been vehicular hold-ups along that highway from CDO to Surigao (fake check-points) but infrequent and you should be fine. They've been known to target hire vans. Wear a helmet and have your paperwork in order, obviously. It's a long shot, but if you get hit up for a "revolutionary tax" pay 100-200 php happily and be on your way.

 

Biggest hazard I could see would involve getting off the beaten path and ending up in a local drinking session in an unfamiliar village.

 

You're much more likely to encounter the indigenous Manobo along that route than organized trouble-makers. They're friendly but communication is difficult.

Edited by BossHog

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Baywak

Thanks Baywak.

 

After I finish with the school stuff do you reckon it's worth hanging out for a few days to see the falls, that river, and a look around the old logging concession.

 

The latter would be our main interest due to the bird life.

 

I've been down the road from Butuan but only as far as PNU in Prosperidad. First trip to Bislig.

 

 

 

 

Please reread my post carefully. lol

 

I'll assume you moved away due to the repeated threats to your life. Were you one of those kidnapped?

 

 

 

Isn't this the group that targets corruption at elementary level science fairs!?

I did read your complete post and decided to reply with what seemed most important to your safety being you showed quite a bit of concern for everything from a caribou farting right down to the possibility of an earthquake while your in Bislig LMAO.So not to get you paranoid I avoided rapping about the local attractions you list.They may not be safe for you being you feel YOUR going to get kidnapped-the kids will be ok though for sure.

I have been to all of them several times with no problems but I also do not moved around the Pinas  in a state of paranoia,i believe that kind of midset will bring the trouble to you.If you knew anything about the Pinas you'd know it is no less safe in Bislig then it is where you live.How you came up with having to move because of threats-is beyond me man.To make you feel better about your trip-I have not known anyone in bislig ever getting a threat or fear of kidnapping anymore then they would fear where you are travelling from,I hope.The pinas is full of  kano bullshitters who many are afraid of there own shadow,some of the armchair warriors on here feel they impress others with information on places they have never been too.Say hello to Marilyn at the front desk of the PCI for me,alma and tita in the canteen,cording room cleaner and laundry.Be careful though because off duty they are NPA .

Edited by Baywak

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BossHog

Our girl just arrived back from MSU in Marawi for a few weeks break.

 

She was at the old Gaisano in Iligan over the weekend and they had a bomb scare.

 

Likewise a bomb was discovered at 1am in the Butuan bus terminal last night as she was transferring busses to Surigao.

 

 These events are so sadly common they often go unreported altogether.

 

Anyone see anything in the regional news?

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