Lanao del Norte, Home to Mindanao’s Best Kept Secrets

lanao_del_norteI am from Lanao del Norte so I know what exactly the province really has to offer. Lanao del Norte is not as vibrant as the bustling life in the city but when it comes to nature, 101% sure Lanao del Norte has several of the most stunning natural wonders in Mindanao.
Situated in north-western Mindanao, Lanao del Norte is home to some of the country’s unspoilt eco-tourism landmarks. It may not be the best in the country but for serious nature lovers who seek undiscovered, untouched and on its very innate state natural spots, Lanao del Norte simply is the place. Lanao del Norte is the home of the popular power generating Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City. Though technically, Iligan City is officially no longer part of Lanao del Norte, Maria Cristina Falls remains a landmark in Mindanao associated with the province.

Bounded by dense forest reserves, lush vegetation and fertile farmlands on the eastern part and stretch of rich fishing ground bordering the province’s western section, Lanao del Norte has the resources that both peace loving Muslims and Christians ultimately enjoys. With a relatively cheap cost of living, countryside life moves a lot easier compared to urban living and this makes Lanao del Norte one of the country’s most ideal place to live not known to many.

Few towns in the province have pension houses. The only place in the province to find a hotel is in the town of Tubod only. Some local residence offers very affordable board and lodging services but it is difficult to find one unless you will be referred by someone from the place.

Lanao del Norte is one of Mindanao’s entertainment and sports capital. It is the venue to several live performances by popular local and foreign artists , beauty pageants and host to major sports events like PBA Championship Games and Motocross expo. Live performances of David Pomeranz, Martin Nievera, Sarah Geronimo, Kuh Ledesma, Jovit Baldivino and Mocha Girls to name a few was hosted by the province in the past and more of these star studded major entertainment events are likely to happen anytime of the year especially on the approach of the province’s week long “Araw Ng Lanao del Norte” celebration.

With the province’s several waterfalls to explore, few beaches to hang around, modest and grand festivals to see, elaborate town and barangay fiestas to experience, visiting Lanao del Norte is not just all about fun and exhilarating adventure but more about knowing and rediscovering the real existence of Lanao del Norte.

Getting There
The fastest and most convenient access to Lanao del Norte is by air. The province is in close proximity to three airports with regular daily flights from three of the country’s air hubs – Manila, Cebu and Davao. Depending on which part of Lanao del Norte you are visiting in, the province is close to Laguindingan International Airport in Misamis Oriental, Labo Airport in Ozamis City and Pagadian Airport in Pagadian City.

Getting in to Lanao del Norte by ferry may not be that fast but the sea voyage from Manila has few port stopovers and that gives visitors an island hopping experience. The closest seaports to Lanao del Norte are the cities of Ozamis City, Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City.

Series of bus and ferry travel from Manila is absolutely the most exciting way in getting to Lanao del Norte and it is highly recommended for the more adventurous travelers.

Getting Around
Getting around the towns by tricycle is very common. Habal-habal is more popular in getting to remote areas.

Shopping
For Lanao del Norte souvenirs, a visit or short stop at “Pasalubong Center” in Tubod should make the countryside trip complete. Pasalubong Center exhibits handicrafts, delicacies and some other stuff indigenous to the towns of the province. One of the most notable souvenir displays are the skillfully crafted clay products from the clay town of Baroy.

Roadside park-and-go shopping
When traveling along the main highway, expect to see makeshift roadside booths selling seasonal fruits like sereguillas, lansones, mango, marang, durian and bananas. Another tasteful roadside treats for Lanao del Norte transit travelers are the fresh sea catch like crabs and shrimps in Mukas and the farm fresh sweet corn in Baroy.

Eat and Drink
Nightlife in Lanao del Norte is basically not that exuberant compared to the highly vivacious and extremely glittery nightly scenes in the cities, especially in large cities. Restaurants in most of the towns provide karaoke or videoke entertainment during night time while few restaurants in some towns offers live local band performances especially during weekends. The people of Lanao del Norte especially the younger generations also enjoy some wild night of dance events and singing competitions during the approach of barangay and town fiesta celebrations.

Take a turn from the highway and into the off beaten track to Lanao del Norte’s best kept untouched nature offerings. Take a refreshing splash into the cold springs or simply be charmed to the cascading waterfalls. This is what Lanao del Norte is all about – nature.

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