Zamboanga Peninsula


Zamboanga Peninsula is an exotic melting pot of ethnic lore, culture and spectacular attractions. Zamboanga Peninsula is an administrative region in the Philippines, designated as Region IX. The region consists of three provinces, namely: Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay, its component cities of Dipolog, Dapitan, Pagadian, and two independent cities of Isabela and the highly urbanized City of Zamboanga.


Dipolog City (Zamboanga del Norte) is known for its wild orchids and its sardine industry which stems from the rich fishing area off its shores. It is known as the “Gateway to Western Mindanao” through the Western Nautical Highway and has also been called the “Bottled Sardines Capital of the Philippines.”


Dapitan (Zamboanga del Norte) is also known as the “Shrine City in the Philippines” because the place where Jose Rizal, the National Hero, was exiled. It is also known for the old St. James Parish and the beach resort of Dakak. (c)Photo: Ric Canizares CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


Pagadian City (Zamboanga del Sur) was the center of barter trading among the Malays, Chinese and the local Tausugs, Samals, Subanons and Badjaos in the 13th century. Pagadian City is also known as the “Little Hong Kong of the South” because of its topographical feature that is reminiscent of Hong Kong. It also has an affluent Chinese community that officially celebrates the Chinese Lunar New Year. The city of Pagadian is designated as the regional center of Zamboanga Peninsula. (c)Photo: jackoss0001 – Pagadian Project


Isabela (Basilan) was the southernmost outpost of the Spanish in the Philippines until the fall of Jolo in 1878. Having hosted Catholic residents since 1637, and a Spanish Fort (destroyed in World War II) since 1848, it was likewise the primary naval base of the Spanish in Mindanao until 1899. Named after Queen Isabella II, the city is the southernmost predominantly Christian enclave of the Philippines, and serves as an entry point for trade and commerce of Basilan island. Isabela City is a component city and capital of the province of Basilan. Isabela City continues be under the jurisdiction of Basilan for the administration of provincially-devolved services and functions. But for the administration of regional services, the city is part of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region despite the rest of Basilan being under the authority of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (c)Photo: Boarding Gate 101 – Guide to Malamawi Island (a must read article)


The City of Zamboanga is the only highly-urbanized city in the region. The city is the lone member of BIMP-EAGA in the Zamboanga Peninsula. The City holds the title as the second richest city in Mindanao next to Davao City. Zamboanga City holds more than half of the economy of the region. Zamboanga city also has the largest airport and seaport and the only city in the region with most investors. (c)Photo: Wowzamboangacity – MGM, CC BY 3.0

Daily flights to most parts of Zamboanga Peninsula is available.

Dako Island


One of the finest best beaches in the Philippines is found in Dako Island, Siargao Island. The biggest among the three popular island destinations (the other two being Naked and Guyam Islands) in Gen. Luna, Siargao, “Dako” is derived from the Visayan word for “Big”.

Inhabited by only a number of families, Dako Island is so amazing with long powdery white sand and clean and cool blue waters. No wonder visitors are enticed to swim in such resort with very clean surroundings. The cool winds can induce you to sleep on the fine sand as there are only a few guests around who just happen to be island hopping. The winds in the island are pretty cool since they are those that come from the Pacific Ocean, so you expect that to be quite strong and gentle. Overnight stay in simple native huts is enjoyable and security is guaranteed. With just the moon as your source of light, spending the night on the beach with your loved one could be as romantic. Visitors are truly impressed of the beauty and serenity of the place.

Without a doubt, Dako Island is truly spectacular that you can even see your own reflection through the crystal clear water! You can have fantastic snorkeling near the surf spot and around the southern tip of the island. Surfers racing the waves are such a sight to behold. Double kayak can be rented in Siargao at an affordable price and you can kayak as long as you wish.

Guests experience cool vibe and island culture. As you walk through the village, there’s a wondrous friendly feel that you’re like stepping back in time. The place is bereft of electricity and the hustle and bustle of city life. No commercial establishments, just full of tranquility and picturesque scenery. Seaweeds are non-existent either. And the best sweet-tasting fresh coconuts are a-plenty.

Siargao Island


(c)Photo: backpackerbanter.com

Siargao is situated at a coordinate of 9°52′N 126°03′E. It is composed of municipalities of Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, General Luna, San Benito, Pilar, San Isidro, Santa Monica and Socorro.

Siargao Island contains the largest mangrove forest reserves in Mindanao, at Del Carmen. Long stretches of wetlands indicate a potential for commercial seaweed propagation. Siargao Island is greatly influenced by the winds and currents coming uninterrupted from the Pacific Ocean, intensified by the Mindanao current running westward through the Siargao Strait.


Offshore, a classic tropical island lies protected within its surrounding coral reef with dozens of coconut palms dressed in the center circle of the island. Off to the right, well within the massive coastal reef, lies a shining white sand bar, (Pansukian, or Naked island) some 200 meters long. The tide of Siargao is diurnal with tidal curves typically present, especially on the east coast of the island.

The Island’s Pacific-facing reefs are situated on the edge of the Philippine Trench, and the extremely deep offshore waters assure the ocean swells have undiluted power when they encounter the many coral and rock reefs. Siargao has excellent surfing conditions, particularly during the southwest “habagat” monsoon from August to November, when the prevailing wind is offshore.

Siargao is well known as “The Surfing Capital of the Philippines” with a reputation among surfers within the Philippines and the International scene.

One of the best known surfing waves on Siargao and the Philippines, with a worldwide reputation for thick, hollow tubes is “Cloud 9”. This right-breaking reef wave is the site of the annual Siargao Cup, a domestic and international surfing competition sponsored by the provincial government of Surigao del Norte.

The wave was discovered by travelling surfers in the late 1980s. It was named after a chocolate bar of same name, and was featured by American photographer John S. Callahan in the United States- based Surfer magazine in March 1993. Cloud 9 also has a reputation for being a relatively cheap destination for surfers with many cheap hotel and resort accommodations and restaurants and bars to choose from.

There are several other quality waves on Siargao and nearby islands, but Cloud 9 has received more publicity than any other surf spot in the Philippines. It is the only wave easily accessible without a boat, leading to overcrowding and the nickname of “Crowd 9” among surfers. Eager foreign and locally owned accommodation and tourist facilities have profited from the magazine publicity and the influx of visitors drawn by the annual Siargao Cup competition in September.

In the past, going to Siargao is by domestic flights from Manila to Surigao, and then by boat to Siargao Island. The island is now also served by Cebu Pacific flying direct to Siargao Island via Cebu.