Philippines · 8 hotels available
Showcasing a unique mix of culture and natural resources in Northern Mindanao, Misamis Occidental is a cozy hideaway from the busy city life.
Located close to the Philippines’ Summer Capital of the South, Misamis Occidental is a tourist destination for both adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. Its name Misamis is derived from the Subanen ‘kuyamis,’ the local variety of coconut. And just as its name suggests, the province is rich in natural resources.
But apart from nature, expect plenty of heritage. The province’s most popular city, Ozamiz, is a center for historical relics and religious sites in the region. One of the oldest stone forts in the region, Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo, dates as far back as early as the 16th century.
Tourists can fly directly to Ozamiz City from Manila, cutting travel time significantly. Another option is to book a flight from Manila to Pagadian, where you can ride or drive to Misamis Occidental. However, this will take an extra two hours from the original four-hour trip from Manila to Ozamiz.
Similar to other modes of land transportation to Southern parts of the Philippines, travelers can ride a bus from Pasay. From there, they will be transferred to a ferry to Cebu, where they can get a ride, either by bus or taxi to Ozamiz.
This option seems to be a more roundabout way of travel. But the upside is that tourists are also offered a brief trip around Cebu, another popular tourist site in the Philippines.
Public transportation vehicles are directly available to tourists from Ozamiz to other parts of the province. For those who are going to beach getaways or mountain climbing, renting a private vehicle would be a faster way to reach your destination.
Misamis Occidental is well-known for its marine biodiversity. Among its top tourist destinations is the “Dolphin Island” at the Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP). The site acts as a rehabilitation site for injured dolphins, and guests can watch these friendly marine creatures in their natural habitat.
As for its cultural and historical sites, tourists can enjoy a glimpse of Spanish colonial architecture in the heritage houses at Ozamiz City. These well-preserved relics were once owned by affluent families in the area. Visit the Jose Ozamiz ancestral house to learn a bit more about the city’s history and the man behind the name.
Aside from houses, other religious and historical monuments are present in the city. The Shrine of the Nuestra Señora de la Conception del Triunfo in particular is a famous heritage site. Pilgrims and tourists alike go to the because of its historical significance. The Shrine is located in one of the oldest strongholds in Ozamiz against sea pirates in the 14th century.
As part of their festive culture, the people of Misamis celebrate the Dalit Festival in Tangub City every September 29th. According to local tales, the festival is an offering to the Archangel Michael. In Ozamiz, locals also host the Subayen Keg Subanon Festival. The week-long festivities mark the celebration of the Subanon people every July.
Another way to immerse in the province’s culture and history is by giving the Handurawan Museum a visit. The museum is in Tangub City, and features a collection of the district’s historical artifacts.
But of course Misamis Occidental’s crowning glory is its pristine beaches. Get a glimpse of the sunrise and sunset on the province’s Sunrise Beach. Located in the Baliangao district, this untouched natural beauty remains unspoiled by too many commercial establishments. It will really be an experience close to nature.
Fresh seafood is the first thing tourists will want to check out with Northern Mindanao cuisine. For those looking for a quick fix near tourist spots like MOAP, Big J Grill House and Xian’s Finest Restaurant offer fresh seafood off the grill. This is a good way to experience the best Misamis seafood right at the heart of the city.
For those looking for a cozier ambiance to chat and relax with friends, Mooon Café in Ozamiz is a good spot. The place is homey and the interiors are decorated with colorful wall art to ease the eyes. The café is definitely modeled as a hangout spot for intimate gatherings.
Rice delicacies are also popular among the peoples of Misamis Occidental. The province’s specialties are two sticky rice dishes: the Suman of Clarin, and the Moron of Plaridel. To taste these delicious desserts, travelers can stop by Clarin’s House of Suman.
Misamis Occidental is best known for its morning attractions, not so much for its nightlife. Even the city of Ozamiz sleeps during earlier hours in the evening. However, for those who don’t want to rest just yet, nightlife is concentrated to a few establishments.
Gats Bar & Restaurant, a popular hangout spot in Ozamiz, is especially best for large groups of friends looking to enjoy the night. The bar doesn’t just offer drinks; its meals range from Filipino snacks to American finger food. And of course, no Filipino bar is complete without karaoke. Gats lets guests sing their hearts out all evening long.
Tourists can also try out a calm stroll along the Cotta beach, right behind the Fort area. Since there is also a resort nearby, guests can easily enjoy the cool sea breeze without needing to go too far from their accommodations.
Bulawis Resort and other resorts like it also have their pools open for guests who want to go night swimming. This is a good alternative if you don’t want to head out too far to the beach, and want to go straight to your quarters after a quick dip.
A number of small hotels in Misamis Occidental offer lodging for travelers. The Royal Garden Hotel in Ozamiz City is well-recommended, mostly because of its proximity to major tourist spots. The lodging and accommodation is best for a backpacker’s quick stay.
Executive Hotel is also located quite close to the center of the city. It’s only a walking distance away from commercial centers and tourist attractions, which will save guests travel time. Tourists will find staff extremely warm and accommodating, and the lodging quite fit for those on a budget.
Bethany Gardens Hotel and Restaurant offers the same clean lodging with a cozy natural ambiance. The meals at the hotel come from fresh ingredients, and will remind guests of a signature lutong bahay style in Filipino households.
Misamis Occidental’s top attractions often involve the beach or a day at the water park. Either way, coming in contact with the water can be a bit inevitable. Make sure to bring extra clothes when you go out on activities, especially when you visit the MOAP.
Expect plenty of walking as you explore Misamis’ heritage sites. Most of these are found in Ozamiz, but walking around the entire city can wear you out. Comfortable shoes and a bottle of water are important to avoid getting burnt out during the trip.
Like most street dances, Ozamiz’s festivals will start early in the morning. Make sure to find a good spot to watch, since the area gets crowded quickly.