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Mindanao, the second largest islands of the Philippines, is a land of towring mosques and malong-clad women, where boldly-striped vintas ply the waters between houses perched precariuosly on stilts. Here, ethnic tribes weave glorious tales of brave warriors and haughty princesses into colorful tapestries and fabrics.
Mindanao is also a nature lover's paradise: Tiny Camiguin isle enchants with its white sand islands and volcanic chains. Zamboanga has pink sand beaches for beach-lover and rolling greens for the golf enthusiast. Davao's caves promise adventure for spelunkers; in this land of fruits and flowers, parklands are planted with groves of durian, rambutan and other exotic tropical fruit trees, intersperesed with tropical blooms and exotic orchids. Cotabato's pineapple plantations and Bukidnon's citrus farms delight with nature's freshest harvests.
The adventurous travel would probably wish to conquer Mindanao's vast mountain wilderness or explore the many forests and wildlife reserves. Mt. Apo in Davao del Sur is the country's highest peak. Climbers are trekkers will find on its slopes forests exotic flora, steaming geysers, rainwater lakes, swift flowing rivers and cascading waterfalls; and at itsbase, Mount Apo Science Foundation, an agricultural institutuin surrounded by woodlands ideal for bird-watching.
A plethora of water falls awaits the visitor to Lanao del Norte. Its provicial capital, Iligan, is home to the legendary Maria Cristina Falls, 100 feet higher than the awesome of Niagara. Lanao del Sur, around majestic Lanao Lake, is the Islam Center of the South. Here are found repositories of Muslim culture such as the Mindanao State University, the King Faisal Center for Arabic Studies and the Aga Khan Museum.
The artistry and diversity of ethnic tribes lend a richness to local color. The Maranao have their okir, a curvilinear carving tradition that sets off their houses, musical instruments, personal ornaments and household implements in brilliant colorful motifs. Visitors will find unique souvenir items among the handicrafts of the T'boli, who weave theirfamous t'nalak patterns. The Sama tribes hand-weave cool mats in jewel colors along the walks of their stilt houses inviting spectators to bargain for their wares. The sea-faring Badjao dive for coveted South Sea pearls. Arts and crafts demonstration tours, tribal, festivals, and visits to ethnic villages provide insight into the everyday lives of the cultural minorities.