SOCCSKSARGEN Travel Guide

SOCCSKARGEN used to be just Cotabato or Kota Bato. It’s an administrative region of the Philippines and can be found in South-central Mindanao. It’s also classified as Region XII. The acronym stands for South Cotabato, Cotabato City, Cotabato Province, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City.

Gumasa Beach - SOCCSKSARGEN Travel Guide photo by Jenny Tanedo via Flickr CC
Gumasa Beach – SOCCSKSARGEN Travel Guide photo by Jenny Tanedo via Flickr CC

South Cotabato

The province is the main producer of pineapple, papaya, abaca, corn and cassava for Region XII Dole Philippines. It’s also where you’ll find Kablon Farms which is the producer of many jams, jellies, and other preserved sweets that ‘in the know’ Filipinos love. You’ll also find Blooming Petals farm in South Cotabato. They produce hundreds of thousands of chrysanthemums, anthuriums, and roses.


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Lake Sebu Travel Guide Photo by Peter V Sanchez via Wikimedia Commons
Lake Sebu Travel Guide Photo by Peter V Sanchez via Wikimedia Commons

How to get there

Take the flight from Manila going to General Santos City. Once you’re there, ride a tricycle going to the bus terminal. Ride the bus going to any town or city in South Cotabato.

Where to Stay: Featured Hotel

Sunrise Garden Lake Resort
Sunrise Garden Lake Resort in Lake Sebu
Sunrise Garden Lake Resort in Lake Sebu

[Check Rates and Availability]

  • Contact No. 09364169344
  • Email Address: [email protected]

What to Do

Mt. Matutum stands alone on the valley of Tupi, South Cotabato. It provides a picturesque backdrop for the pineapple fields near the foothills. It’s an active volcano and they say many passersby are tempted to climb it for its unique and irregular appearance.

Mt Matutum and pineapple farms in South Cotabato
Mt Matutum and pineapple farms in South Cotabato

The volcano is considered an ecotourism spot wherein climbers are required to plant one seedling at a given area for every climb to the volcano. The climb from the camp to the summit will take 3-4 hours and it will take climbers to a dense forest full of floras, mosses, and vines. The volcano also has different animal species like the Philippine Eagle. They have a list of 110 plant species and 57 species from the animal kingdom.

Also see: Lake Sebu Travel Guide

Cotabato City

Located in the Southern part of Mindanao, Philippines is where the largest river in the Philippines, Rio Grande de Mindanao is located. Being 182 kilometers long and 96 meters wide, the river is ideal for water sports and boat racing. Cotabato City is also rich in natural attractions like the Kutang Bato Caves and religious structures like Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid.

Cotabato Grand Mosque
Cotabato Grand Mosque

How to Get There

You can get there from Manila by taking the direct flights to Cotabato City Airport and taking the tricycle to the highway and riding the multi-cab going to Cotabato City proper.

Where to Stay: Featured Hotel

Alnor Hotel and Convention Center
  • Contact No. (064) 552 0188
  • Email Address: [email protected]

What to Do

One of the best things to do in Cotabato City is to visit the Al Jameelah Weaving Center where traditions of weaving are kept by their women locals. The weaving tradition they’re doing is the Inaul which is a multi-purpose type of woven product. They make malong, turban, prayer mat, shawl, and other products from the woven textile.

Also see: Cotabato City Travel Guide

Cotabato Province

Asik Asik Falls in Alamada, Cotabato
Asik Asik Falls in Alamada, Cotabato

Formerly known as North Cotabato, Cotabato is nestled in the middle of Lanao del Sur, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, and Maguindanao. It’s a major producer of vegetables, fruits and other crops in Mindanao. The province is also rich in raw and semi-processed rubber and industrial trees. Visitors can enjoy internet use in the province.

How to Get There

You can fly directly to Cotabato City from Manila and go to your destination by ferry, bus, taxi or tricycle.

Where to Stay: Featured Hotel

Eva’s Hotel
Eva’s Hotel Kidapawan
Eva’s Hotel Kidapawan

[Check Rates and Availability]

  • Location: 139 Quezon Blvd. Poblacion, Kidapawan City, Cotabato Province
  • Contact No. (064) 521 1229

What to Do

The word ‘Asik-Asik’ means ‘sprinkle, sprinkle’. Asik-Asik Falls is named that way because its falling water ‘sprinkles’ strongly against the rock formations. It’s a fairly new destination since continuous floods and forest fires have devastated the parts of the forest that goes through the falls. It’s located in the Alamada Region where heavy vegetation can be seen. They aren’t sure if the water sources are from springs in the mountains or underground river.

Sultan Kudarat

Endemic bird at Baras Bird Sanctuary in Tacurong
Endemic bird at Baras Bird Sanctuary in Tacurong

Sultan Kudarat is a province rich in agricultural resources such as durian and African palm. They are self-sufficient when it comes to poultry, swine, root crops, and Irish potatoes. There’s also a fishing industry in the towns of Kalamansig, Lebak, and Palimbang.

How to Get There

The most convenient way to get there is to take the flights from Manila to General Santos City and take the bus going to Tacurong City and another ride (van) going to Sultan Kudarat.

Where to Stay: Featured Hotel

Woodland Tourist Inn
  • Location: Alunan Highway, Purok New Negros, Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat
  • Facebook Page: Woodland Tourist Inn

What to Do

Kalimudan Festival is one of the reasons you should head to Sultan Kudarat. The festival is an annual event where several tribal groups join to give thanks for their harvest. It also commemorates the founding of the province. There are sports competitions and street dance during the festival.

Another place worth visiting is Baras Bird Sanctuary which at first was just a location for a peppercorn farm but after the owner discovering thousands of birds frequenting the place; he decided to make it a bird paradise.

Sarangani

As part of the SOCCSKSARGEN Region, Sarangani covers an area of 3,601.25 square kilometers. It’s at the southernmost part in Central Mindanao. It’s divided into two parts and has Sarangani Bay and General Santos located at the middle. Underwater beauties Sarangani Bay Protected Sea Scape, Gumasa White Sand Beaches, and Tuka Marin Park are all found in Sarangani.

Gumasa Beach in Glan
Gumasa Beach in Glan

How to Get There

Take the flight from Manila to General Santos then a ride to your destination in Sarangani.

Where to Stay: Featured Hotel

Isla Jardin Del Mar
Isla Jardin Del Mar in Glan Saranggani
Isla Jardin Del Mar in Glan Saranggani

[Check Rates and Availability]

  • Contact No. (083) 893 0031 to 32
  • Email Address [email protected]

What to Do

You can find Tuka Marin Park in Kiamba, Sarangani. There are 4 protected coves and 3 beaches in the area. Visitors are only allowed in one of the beaches. The local government wishes to maintain the pristine condition of the area that’s why they’re strict with visitors. You’ll need to go on a 20-minute boat ride to reach the area where you’ll see different species of flora, white sand, and clear green waters.

General Santos City

General Santos Fish Port Complex
General Santos Fish Port Complex

Not only known for its tuna industry, General Santos is also a province rich in volcanic soil, crops, other fish products and some amazing natural attractions like Amiskong Falls which means ‘hard to pass’ because you’ll need to pass by seven waterfalls first before you reach the actual falls where you can swim. Famous Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao hails from General Santos.

How to Get There

You can fly directly to General Santos Airport via Cebu Pacific or PAL from Manila.

Where to Stay: Featured Hotel

Greenleaf Hotel Gensan
Greenleaf Hotel Gensan
Greenleaf Hotel Gensan

[Check Rates and Availability]

  • Contact Nos. (083) 552 1111/ (083) 302 1111
  • Email Address: [email protected]

What to Do

Since General Santos is widely known for its tuna supply, you shouldn’t miss their Tuna Festival and eat at Tiongson Arcade where you can have your tuna and other seafood hauls be cooked. The Tuna Festival, on the otherhand, happens every September and highlights the tuna industry in City. The festival features street dance, float parade, and tuna dishes cooking competition.

You can also go to 5th Mountain Adventure Park where you can try the 800-meter zipline. It’s the fastest in the city and will only take 27 seconds to reach Point B from Point A.

Also see: General Santos City Travel Guide

Check out our complete list of recommended Hotels in SOCCSKSARGEN via Agoda or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

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