Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines · 1 hotels available
Pagadian City, capital of Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines, is for anyone looking for a unique travel experience. It’s mostly hilly terrain that shapes its towns and nature spots will surely satisfy thrill-seekers like you.
Pagadian City, located down south in Mindanao, Philippines, is called “Little Hong Kong of the South” because it is hilly to mountainous just like Hong Kong. However, unlike Hong Kong, it does not have high-rise buildings, neither is it a shopping destination. Instead, the city has steep slopes and uphill and downhill main roads, streets, and residential areas, much like Baguio City in Luzon. It is known for its iconic inclined tricycles (motorcycles with enclosed sidecar) that are designed for traveling on hilly roads. Other tourist attractions include rich natural spots like beautiful waterfalls, lush mountains, and islands.
Riding the plane is the best and fastest way to reach Pagadian City because it is 497 miles away from Manila and located in the large island of Mindanao; Manila is in Luzon island. There are daily flights going from Manila to Pagadian airport via Cebu Pacific airlines.
A ferry or boat ride is available from Manila PIER 4 to PPA Port in Zamboanga City. Then, you can take a bus or taxi to Pagadian City with four to five hours of travel.
Another option is to take a boat that sails to Ozamiz City Pier. Ozamiz is located in Misamis Occidental. From there, you can take a two to three-hour bus ride to Pagadian City.
If you want to while away the time and go to Pagadian mostly by road, then the trip will be a combination of land transportation by bus or car and by sea but through ro-ro (roll-on / roll-off ships designed to carry wheeled vehicles). The best route will be travel by land to Batangas Port and take a ro-ro ferry to Masbate. The next routes will be Masbate to Cebu, then Cebu to Cagayan de Oro. Drive your car or ride a bus from Cagayan de Oro to Pagadian.
The best way to go around Pagadian City is of course by its iconic tricycles. To reach the nature spots, ride on jeepneys. Buses, minibuses, and jeepneys are the means of transportation from Pagadian to neighboring municipalities of Zamboanga del Sur.
Pajares Avenue is the best place to take your adventure tricycle ride. Traveling in these tricycles feel like a rollercoaster ride. But outside the main city, Pagadian’s famous natural attractions can provide a nice respite or adventure to vacationers, whichever you prefer.
Relaxation is best at the Lourdes Hot and Cold Springs which is just 32 kilometers away from the city center or at the waterfalls that are surrounded by lush greens and wild orchids. The Manga Falls in particular is just 7 km away from Pagadian and is home to white monkeys. Iliana Bay is popular for the picturesque island of Dako and Dao Dao Gamay islet, which are ideal locations for swimming, boating, and fishing activities.
Riding the inclined tricycle around town is definitely the number one must-do in Pagadian. Horseback riding is also popular at the Pagadian Rotonda. And since the city is mountainous, mountain trekking and hiking should be next in your list. Mt. Palpalan, which is at 684 feet above sea level, is a good place to see a panoramic view of Pagadian City.
For more adventure, you can go spelunking at Kendis Cave, which has a limestone tunnel and an open-end that has growing plants and vegetation, and at the twin Manga Caves located along Manga Waterfalls.
If you are itching for some sand in between your toes, a visit to Puting Balas sandbar is the way to go. However, the beach only appears during low tide.
Food finds in Pagadian City include fresh and dried seafood and local sweet delicacies. For more upscale dining, head to Greenhouse Fishing Station and Restaurant which is one of the better and more upscale restaurants in the city. It is located in Brgy. Dumagok, Purok Sweet Rose. They serve fresh seafood and are popular for serving different types of Tilapia (St. Peter’s Fish) dish.
Meanwhile, there is Yammy’s Seafood Grill, a no-frills dining nook located in Fajares Street, that serves Filipino food like Sizzling Mixed Seafoods, Adobo Fried, Yammy’s Crab Guisado, and Beef Nilaga, among others, at affordable prices. They also serve fruit shakes.
If you want entertainment plus good food, Kamayan sa Pagadian at FS Pajares Street should be your hangout place.
Owing to its hilly landscape, nightlife is mostly spent going uphill to see a scenic night view of the city. Pagadian is not without bars but they are not as eventful as some bars and party places in other tourist destinations in the Philippines.
Three luxury hotels can provide you that quiet, cozy stay suitable in a place like Pagadian. They are Hotel Guillermo, Hotel Camila, and Hotel Alindahaw. Pension houses and inns for budget-travelers are also available.
Pagadian City is not a very big city so you can try many activities in just a short stay.
If you intend to go to bars to experience nightlife, it is best to find a local to accompany you. Nonetheless, Pagadian is usually safe and quiet.
The city is outside the country’s typhoon belt so it’s best to wear light clothing.
You can visit the Gaisano Capital Mall, the biggest mall in the Zamboanga Peninsula, if you find yourself missing going to malls and food chains or needing to buy some emergency necessities for your trip.