#SoxIsNext  in your bucket list

Most people assume that some provinces in Mindanao are not safe places to travel, so this region is perhaps one of the less visited in our country. From a recent visit, allow me to show some things that will enlighten every explorer.

If you looking for beautiful places in Mindanao, start in Region XII — more popularly known as SOCCSKSARGEN and formerly known as Central Mindanao. The name was coined from the names of the four major provinces and a highly urbanized city that make up the region: South Cotabato, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City.


SOX for short

This region is one of the most exciting and unique trips for thrill-seekers and nature lovers. Along with stunning sceneries is the region’s well-preserved culture and extraordinary hospitality.

Ideally, a minimum of five full days will let you get a real feel of the place, and you have to choose entry and exit points at either General Santos City Airport or Cotabato Airport.


Sarangani Province

The first destination is Sarangani Province, the capital of which is Alabel. It takes about three hours to get there from General Santos City.

A popular activity there is the whitewater tubing in New La Union at the Municipality of Maitum. On the other side is the Municipality of Glan where one may find majestic white-sand beaches.

KingKim Beach Resort in Glan, Sarangani.


General Santos City

Also called GenSan, this place is known as the Tuna Capital of the country. Being highly urbanized, the city is easy to explore.

General Santos City Fish Port Complex.

You must visit the General Santos City Fish Port Complex, claimed to be the largest producer of tuna in the country. You will be amazed by the sight of the fresh, huge tunas. For local fare, you can head to the Tiongson Arcade where they serve fresh and delicious grilled seafood.


Sultan Kudarat

Named after Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat, one of the greatest leaders who ruled this area under the Sultanate of Maguindanao, this province is known for its rich cultural heritage and warm hospitality.

It is gradually gaining attention as a tourist spot in Mindanao because of attractions like the La Palmera Ridges located in the Municipality of Columbio.

La Palmera Mountain Ridge in Sultan Kudarat.

You will also love with the mesmerizing sights and perfect rock formation of Pangadilan falls.

The grand capitol in Sultan Kudarat is also an attraction in the province and is labeled as the biggest capitol in the country. It is open to the public.


Lake Sebu

Lake Sebu is the Land of the Dreamweavers and first-class municipality of South Cotabato. It is surrounded by placid lakes and mountains.

Most of the residents here are T’Boli, an indigenous people of South Cotabato. Tourism here is slowly booming because of the activities, one of which is the zipline in 7 Falls, also known as the highest zipline in Southeast Asia — perfect for the adrenaline junkie.


Lake Sebu’s famed T’nalak is a sacred cloth woven by the T’boli people. Traditionally made by women of royal blood, these fabrics depict different kinds of patterns that reference folklore and stories.

Lake Sebu is also known for its majestic waterfalls, lakes, rivers and springs, its rich biodiversity and culture, and for being a major supplier of tilapia in nearby areas.


Cotabato City

Cotabato City does not belong to the Province of Cotabato or South Cotabato, as it politically and geographically belongs to Maguindanao Province.

It was formerly a part and the regional center of Region XII, but due to the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, it is now part of Bangsamoro and serves as its regional center. It now has an independent component city status.

One of its attractions is the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque or the Grand Mosque. It is the second-largest mosque in Southeast Asia after the Istiqlal Mosque of Indonesia, and the largest Mosque in the Philippines. It is considered an Islamic architectural masterpiece.

Pastil is one of the most popular Maguindanaon delicacies. It is steamed rice with shredded chicken that is wrapped in banana leaves. It is available in every street in the city.

Languages spoken here are Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Maguindanao, Cebuano and Chavacano, but they also speak Tagalog. Most of the residents are Islam and Roman Catholic.

SOCCSKSARGEN is a treasure trove of experiences. To further promote safe travels to this region, the Tourism department created the hashtag #SoxIsNext.