South Cotabato, Philippines · 5 hotels available
See a different side of Mindanao and head to the diverse city of Koronadal also popularly known as Marbel. Although, it has a primarily Hiligaynon population, the city celebrates various ethnic groups that also call the place their home. Drive through the city center to grab a bite of good food and visit one of a kind tourist attractions like the largest library in Mindanao and the South Cotabato Community Museum. Go out to the outskirts as well and observe the plains turn into mountain ranges. Explore the rainforests and take a swim in the many hidden waterfalls.
With its growing urban community and vibrant country life, Koronadal City has been dubbed the Crown City of the South. Apart from the city sites and all its conveniences, Koronadal City boasts of stunning waterfalls, lakes, mountain ranges, and vast fields of farmlands. The city also celebrates being a center of trade and education in the region and is proud of its pool of various ethnicities, cultures, and religions.
From Manila, book a direct flight to General Santos City and once you arrive, take a bus to Koronadal. The bus ride usually takes about 2 hours.
Although it takes longer, riding a ferry is definitely a cheaper option. If you’re looking to cut costs, take a ferry from Manila to Cagayan de Oro. Shipping lines like 2go, Sulpicio Lines, and Negros Navigation have scheduled trips headed to CDO, which takes about 48 hours. When you get to Cagayan de Oro City, take a 6 hour bus ride to Koronadal.
If you’re travelling from nearby Mindanao provinces or from Mindanao sea ports like the one in Cagayan de Oro, you can easily access buses that go to Koronadal City.
The primary mode of transportation here is the tricycle. When you arrive in Koronadal city, you will see various colorful tricycles passing through the city streets. The fare is usually 8 pesos for the first two kilometers but you can also negotiate prices depending on your destination.
This small city has a number of spots that different types of travellers can enjoy. If you want to take in the sites at the urban city center, you may want to go to South Cotabato Community Museum and Tantoco Memorial to learn more about our country’s various cultures and ethnicities. You can also try going to the Notre Dame of Marbel University Library and Museum, which is the largest library in Mindanao.
Visit Lake Sebu and enjoy the fresh breeze or enjoy the scenic view through the lake’s zipline attraction.
Another top destination is the El Gawel Resort and Wildlife Sanctuary. As a protected wildlife area, you can observe a variety of animals and also enjoy the area’s natural spring pools and waterfalls with your family or friends.
Check out Lake Sebu’s seven waterfalls and brave their 740-meter high and 400-meter long zipline for a unique view of most of the falls. If you’re up for more waterfall adventures, Koronadal is also known for famous falls like Suppon Falls, Saravia Falls, the 70-foot Siok Waterfall, and Cabillon Falls. You may also want to try spelunking at Cadidang Cave in the Roxas mountain range, which only around 30 minutes from the city center.
If you’re looking for something relaxing, try going to Mambukal Hot Spring to rest your sore muscles or The Farm at Carpenter Hill resort for an Asian-inspired vibe. Paraiso Verde Water resort has a fun wave pool and olympic sized pool for you and the kids to enjoy.
One of the best times to go to Koronadal is during the July 16 to 18 period, where in the city celebrates its annual T’nalak Festival. During this occasion, the people celebrate the T’boli tribe and the unique blending of cultures in the city.
If you’re a fan of all things beef, you might like Manny’s Balbacua and Bulalo. The restaurant serves great savory meals from all cow parts. If you’re not really a meat lover and prefer seafood instead, head to Ranchero Nuevo Grill and try their delicious tuna belly. Pair it up with a fresh dragon fruit shake as dessert.
Top restaurants in the city that you should also keep in mind are Salabai Bistro, which serves a great variety of Philippine Cuisine; Cinco Nanas, which has a modern urban dining ambiance; and Apareho’s, which is for their famous halo-halo served in coconuts.
After a good rest from the day’s activities, cap the night off with food, beer, and lively music at popular nightlife spots in the city like Jims Resto Bar, 99 Brewery, and Titanium Ultra Lounge. Get your groove on at the Cubez Disco bar and enjoy a night of dancing with your friends. If you’re looking for a different nightlife experience, head to the popular comedy bar, Paparonis Grill and Restobar, for a fun-filled night of drinks and laughter.
Looking for the best bang for your buck? Some of the best hotels in Koronadal that should be on the top of your list include The Farm at Carpenter Hill, FB Hotel, Cresta del Rio Splash Resort, Grand Westerly Inn, Greenstate Suites, and La Pamela Suites. If you’re working with a budget, you can check out more affordable Koronadal hotels like Casa Gemma Hotel and Restaurant, Danielle’s Pension House, EMR Suites, Lax Citi Hotel, MD Square Pension House, and ELM Mansion.
When you’re hiking mountains, heading to waterfalls, or spelunking in caves, Be careful of slipping and make sure you have a guide to your destination.
Instead of going for the usual fast food chains, try eating at local city restaurants to experience South Cotabato food and to support local businesses.
Take great selfies and bring a waterproof camera if you’re going to be heading to waterfall spots.