Friday, July 19, 2013

Allah Valley Tour 2013: A Fleeting Glimpse

"Sometimes the best decisions are the ones you make in an instant with your heart rather than the ones long-debated in your mind.", I once read.

Not too long ago, more than 7,800 kilometers away, I said 'yes' to an Allah Valley Familiarization Tour email invite (from LGSP-LED and AVLDA) as if it was the marriage proposal I had been waiting for all my life. Like, I was ready to drop everything cause my gut was nagging me with the words this is the one  and I didn't even know where in the world Allah Valley was.

We were then encamped in a Yerevan Airbnb-listed apartment, and in the middle of a long backpacking trip. Next to Armenia, we had two more countries to wing, after which we were to let whim dictate the rest of our route. But since the invitation came, all the other overseas plans for July 14-19 were sacked. I was that committed.

Was it worth the change of itinerary? Heck yeah! It's a journey of epic proportions. Let me take you on a tour with these chunky fragments while I weave my sappy sentiments. For now, I simply cannot conjure the right words. I am that happily hungover.

Folks, this is the merry face of Mindanao that should be out there. On print. On the web. And in people's minds. Not that negative travel advisory.

Lake Holon. Worth the arduous trek! And I say arduous cause I'm totally unfit.
Top: Day 1 brekkie at Sarangani Highlands. Bottom: Pinoy Travel Bloggers on a colossal Snakes and Ladders board at Dole Philippines Kalsangi Clubhouse.
Top: Travel bloggers with LGSP-LED and AVLDA. Bottom: Dole Plantation, Polomolok, South Cotabato.

Top: Day 1 dinner at Aviary Bar & Restaurant of The Farm @ Carpenter Hill, Koronadal City, South Cotabato. Bottom: With multi-awarded photographer George Tapan *faints*!
Top: One of Surallah's attractions, made by artist Kublai Ponce Millan. Bottom: Ehek Lemsnolon Community, T'boli, South Cotabato. 
Top: Climbing Mt. Melibingoy (also known as Mt. Parker). Bottom: Lake Holon canoeing. So they call me Pocahontas.
One-hour Lake Sebu cruise over brekkie care of Mountain Lake Eco Resort.
Top: With T'boli dreamweaver Be Lang Dulay, a National Living Treasure. Bottom: Lake Sebu Seven Falls Zipline. In tandem with The Poor Traveler.
Provincial Capitol of Sultan Kudarat, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. What. A. Looker.
Top: Baras Bird Sanctuary, Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat. Photo by travelmate Eazy Traveler. Bottom: Marquez Hot And Cold Spring Resort, Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat. With We Are Sole Sisters and Journeying James.

Top: T'nalak Festival Street Parade. Bottom: T'nalak Fest cray-cray foam party!

See?! This is something I wouldn't miss for the world!

Some photos were taken by,, and


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Olan Fernandez Emboscado said...
July 21, 2013 at 7:07 PM

My Mindanao. Followed your Allah Valley trails guys and twas really an awesome trip. Can't wait to read the rest of your posts Gay.

docgelo said...
July 21, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Meeting a National Living Heritage in the person of Be Lang Dulay is something to be envious of, plus rubbing elbows with THE George Tapan made your tour in the south a remarkable one. I'm sure they're also pleased to meet THE one & only gorgeous Pinay Travel Junkie :)

Pepe Alas said...
July 21, 2013 at 7:35 PM

The last photo is the most memorable part of it all. said...
July 21, 2013 at 7:50 PM

It was oozing with awesomesauce! I'd love to return soooon! said...
July 21, 2013 at 7:53 PM

Gotta love candidness! said...
July 21, 2013 at 7:54 PM

Grabe, ngayon pa lang namimiss ko na ang trip... And everyone I rubbed elbows, shoulders and hair with. LOL. Seriously, what an honor! *himatay ulit*

southDUDE said...
July 21, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Thanks for visiting Allah Valley and promoting it.

The Nomadic Pinoy said...
July 22, 2013 at 5:29 AM

Good to see you having a great time in Allah Valley (love that name!)
Gay, was this your first time in Mindanao?

Sherv said...
July 22, 2013 at 6:20 AM

Pity it is risky for foreigners, otherwise if I was Filipino I'd come for sure! said...
July 22, 2013 at 6:39 AM

Bubba, you and baby doll are safe in South Cotabato. Let's go! said...
July 22, 2013 at 6:41 AM

Nope. Been to CDO, Iligan, Zamboanga and Basilan. When will you be back in Davao? Err, that's where you're from, am I right? Hihi. said...
July 22, 2013 at 6:42 AM

It's sooo beautiful!

Mustachio said...
July 22, 2013 at 6:43 AM

Hello Pocahontas! So greeeennn with envy! :-)

Ephraim Arriesgado said...
July 22, 2013 at 9:21 AM

This is indeed a wonderful place to explore. Great photos too! :)

Eileen of The Super Tourists said...
July 22, 2013 at 11:26 AM

ummm... when a mountain-climbing all-star mom goes "im not fit" and the trek was "ardous" --- ummm... ano pa kaya kaming mga hamak na nilalang lang?

thank allah for photography para maexperience ko man lang through photos :D

Mel Indiongco said...
July 22, 2013 at 11:27 AM

This takes my breath away! It's such a grand and vibrant place :)

soloflightEd said...
July 22, 2013 at 6:01 PM

saya nyo dyan, Ayos na ayos na trip ah! And the view is gorgeous! said...
July 23, 2013 at 7:53 AM

Sooobrang saya! Tawa lang kami ng tawqa the whole trip. said...
July 23, 2013 at 7:54 AM

Haha! said...
July 23, 2013 at 7:55 AM

Thank you Ephraim!

Jho VD [mountains&beyond] said...
July 23, 2013 at 8:41 AM

agree with you... we should promote the beauty of Mindanao.. not the sad news as highlighted by most media outfits :)

Dennis said...
July 27, 2013 at 8:04 AM

Yep, am from DVO. Going there hopefully by the end of this year :)

Sarah Garcia said...
August 6, 2013 at 3:36 PM

This post reminded me of your comment ( from one of my first blog posts in 2008 and how you wanted to visit Lake Sebu. Glad it happened this year. From your Lake Sebu Cruise photo, sa right side, yun na yung "hidden garden" kung tawagin ng ibang locals dun. Sobrang hidden at di talaga halata na may property pa sa baba. I super enjoyed your post Gaye :) said...
August 8, 2013 at 1:38 AM

Thanks Sarah! My dream finally came true <3 Can't wait to go back someday!

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