Pagadian Mindanao

pagadian-mindanao-010Pagadian Mindanao

Pagadian has a unique character that appeals to me. It has a Dunkin Donuts, Jolibees, a Guisanos and all the other franchise stores that are found in any sizable city in the Philippines, but the blend of Catholic and Muslim people makes it appealing.

If you head east on the road towards Cotabato you can find yourself to feel strangely alone as you pass through the often unmanned army and ARMM checkpoints.


mindanao-mosque-001 The landscape is brightened from time to time by a small blue trimmed mosque wedged in between the banana and coconut trees. I didn’t see any buses on the road connecting Pagadian and Cotobato.

This mosque is between Cotabato and Isulan in the flat country.


pagadian-mindanao-005In Pagadian, I stayed at Napsallys Pension House on Cabrera Pajares Ave. A room with 2 beds and inside cr was 500 pesos. The Camila was recommended  but it’s  not backpacker’s lodging. I looked a bit rough, having just spent 10 hours driving up from General Santos in heavy rain, and was told that Camillas was fully booked, (perhaps I was a bit too shabby for that place but the rates were very reasonable).

mindanao-travel-002This computer store is directly across the street from the Camila. I needed a new cord for the charger  on my laptop but had to get one at the hardware store by the Dunkin Donuts.

My stay in this town seemed to be based around cups of coffee at this donut shop.

mindanao-travel-003The Yllana Hotel, across the street from the Dunkin Donuts, might be the best value in town. They are running a promo rate right now – 390 pesos for an economy room.

They offer wireless internet, parking, air con and cable tv, 24 hour back up generator – standard room for 599 pesos.

yllana-yllana-yllana-002The staff of the Pension de Yllana – corner Rizal Ave and Arioso St

I stayed at this place on my return trip through Pagadian. The staff was great  and there is 24 hour security to watch the vehicles parked out front.



Ylanna Hotel staff

yllana-yllana-yllana-004Yllana Hotel – Pagadian

The rooms are small but clean. This hotel is brand new so there are still a few fixes that have to be looked into.

The cable on my TV was not connected, but the rooms sparkled and you got a free toothbrush and tube of toothpaste – wow wowie! The towels were also thick and fresh.

There is an on site coffee shop but it is a bit too sterile for my needs, and Dunkin Donuts is just across the street!

mindanao-internet-0011There’s a good internet cafe next door to Napsallys Pension- 15 pesos per hour. As always there will be a large crowd of screaming schoolboys internet games during their lunch break so your speed will drop dramatically.

Fishing boat.

Huge piles of dried fish are sold down near the pier. Tourists are not common in this Pagadian so you will attract a fair bit of attention wandering about.

pagadian-transport-001Oddly enough, the most striking thing about Pagadian to me, is the way the tricycles are set up.

The front seat is way up in the air and the passengers sit at a 30 degree angle. They say it is to compensate for the steep roads in town.

I have not seen that combination anywhere else in the Philippines!


Jul 9, 2009

35 responses to “Pagadian Mindanao”

  1. hi,
    i discovered your pagadian blog while searching for tire balancing in the philippines.

    i’m from pagadian or grew up in pagadian but is now based in manila. but i try to go to pagadian at least once or twice a year.

    across napsaly’s is the manhattan hardware but in the afternoon a “turo-turo” style canteen is set-up and it does have one of the cheapest but tasty BBQ in the city, most of what they offer is tasty but the menu is always the same. :)

    you are right about dunkin donuts being the coffee corner but i think camila has a more secluded coffee shop.

    but next door is a coffee shop with wifi.

    anyway, your blog is one of the first i’ve read about pagadian from a foreigner’s eyes.

    what you are doing is really amazing, traveling all over. good luck!

    steve sagun

  2. This brought memories DP, last time I was in Pagadian was back in 1991 and strange but also I remember being amazed by the tricycles. As I can recall the town is very hilly and the tricycles extremely loud. They really looked unusual with their rocket style set up and loud exhausts. Strange how some things stick you.

    The place was full of garbage at that time, looks like its been cleaned up now. Could be worth a trip back, how ever will for go the other run to Cotabato

  3. hi! your blog was included in my search results for ‘pagadian tricycle’. i just came back from zamboanga for work and we also stayed in pagadian city. it’s my first trip to mindanao and i loved it! it’s very contrary to what most people think of mindanao. i would love to go back there and have a real vacation there. and if you’ll ask me, i can actually possibly live there. i’m glad there are other people who liked pagadian city. i hope this blog will help people change their perception in zamboanga and in mindanao. that most places in mindanao are quite peaceful. :)

  4. that case is isolated only, may be because of the coming national election.

    but generally, the city is very peaceful and in fact many big malls are already operating in the city and we have now the under-construction CITY COMMERCIAL CENTER [C3], which is 5 floor.

    roads going to the new pagadian city airport are now being widen and the PAGADIAN BINGO AND ZAMFUN, is one of the city best bingo place to play.

    more subdivision are coming up on the up-town part of the city.

    if you are tourist, try to visit DAO eco-tourism area.

  5. Hi guys,

    Its great to hear that there’s something to see at Pagadian. I’ve been browsing the lonely planet guide and can’t find anything useful.

    I’ll be travelling around Mindanao on Jan ’10 and would like to stop there, how to I get to Cotabato from Pagadian? Is it recommended for a gal traveller? I’m hoping to blend in coz I’m half filo, but if there’s significant risk, I might skip pagadian and cotabato and continue on to Gen San :( .

    Can anyone recommend a nice eco-place in Pagadian? Oh, is there any boat or ship from Pagadian to General Santos?

    Thanks Heaps, I think the lonely planet guide needs to add extra pages on mindanao.


  6. dutchpickle

    this is really amazing!!!. thanks for visiting my hometown.. im now base here in manila where i earn for living, but every now and then i browse the internet to check latest developments in pagadian.. until i found your blog..

    certainly, pagadian offers different travel experience..

    im looking forward to be home soon this christmas..

    come again to pagadian.. cheers mate!!!

  7. dutchpickle

    well yeah,, i think it would be great if we could meet up someday.. and maybe i could tour you around pagadian..

    have a merry xmas too..


  8. I’m an American,never been to the Philippines.I’ve met 2 filipino women on the internet and would like to visit them.1 lives in Dipalog and the other on Mactan Island.
    I’ve been reading about the violence that happened in Mindanao(57 people massacred) and that it’s not safe to travel in Zamboanago.Can anyone give me some advice.
    I’m reading about the culture of the philippines and the more I read the better I like the idea of someday marrying a filipino woman.
    But there is this nagging problem about the violence.Being American I will stick out like a sore thumb.
    Any advice would be appreciated.


  9. hi dutcpickle,

    I’m from pagadian.. but studying in NorthMin. Thank you very much for your visit in pagadian…

    The next time you visit pagadian.. try the Pagadian Bay Plaza HOtel… The hotel is really nice.. and you can also check the HOtel Alindahaw..

    you can also visit the LakewOOD. Its a HUge LAke, it has a HOtel along it.. The name is Alindahaw LakeView HOtel… Its about an hour from the city proper… You can ride a van in front of Best Emporium..

    Try also to ride a HOrse at the Rotunda hills.. While riding you’re also viewing the town city from the top..

    The City will be celebrating its patron saint fiesta on the third sunday of this MOnth(January). Their will be a street dancing competitions, beauty contest, motorace and many other.. Pls try to be part of that day.. it will be a colorful day.. the street will be in the state of excitement. And Try to visit the Plaza LUz,is a Plaza in front of the City Hall, were you can found the Mindanao Shell…

    Thanks again, hope for your next visit…

  10. Hey DP,

    No I’m not from Pagadian but yes, Pagadian is lovely. The first time I visited Pagadian in the late 90’s with my dad pretty much reminded me of old San Francisco minus the tram.

    I’m presently based in Manila working in a PR firm but originally from Zamboanga City.


  11. Nice page you got. Last time i visited Pagadian i did not see Yllana. Do you know if they have a homepage?



  12. hi dutchpickle!

    I discovered your blog about Pagadian City while searching about what’s new in pagadian city…

    Yeah, Pagadian is a nice place to stay especially during vacation. This is actually my hometown next to guihulngan, somewhere in negros oriental. This city has unique tricycle where you can experience a thrill and amazing ride.

    Now, I’m base here in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where i earn for a living with my family here. Every year, we’re going home to Pagadian for a vacation, usually every December.

    If you are a tourist, just try and visit Springland Resort and hotel, there you can experience cool water(swimming pool) from the spring, with a lot of sea foods. The newly renovated and widened airport is already opened and also the new hospital which is the Zamboanga Del sur Medical Center located in patag, Dao is also opened for service.

    Thanks for your visit in Pagadian City. Hope to see you there!!!

  13. try PADAYHAG HAUS very clean, free wi-fi,very affordable, lumbia highway in front of Honda Odyssey.Good for transients and backpackers. 100 pesos per head. call 09187963626

  14. Nice page. Does The Yllana Hotel have a website? Going to Pagadian in july :O)

  15. Hello Dutchpickle,
    Thanks for helpfull Page,Its very kind of you.I,m planning to visit Pagadian in a month time I was wondering if you can help me. I,m planing to cross over from Malasia or Singapur I wonder witch one is more usefull?? And witch transportation is better .I,ll be very glad if you can help me with this question.Thanks in Advance.

  16. hello guys ,

    i have been in Pagadian city last week,,and when i am there i was just confused in their IBT IT SO hard for me to ride from my distination going to town ,due of my economical problems and time availabe.But thanks to the ff; person i really most appreciated…..the Warrior of dawn and the duddly girls


  17. dutchpickle,

    I’m a Filipino from California and I’ve never been to pagadian. And I want to explore the place.

    I saw that you wrote in your blog that you came from General Santos before going to Pagadian. I’m planning on going to visit Pagadian from General Santos. I was wondering what is the safe and better route and a cheaper way from General Santos to Pagadian? Please help me. Btw, how many hours does it take if I take landtrip?

  18. Mr. DP,

    Hi! I enjoyed reading your blog, where I was able to get some tips from our recent trip in Siquijor.

    I will be travelling to Pagadian on the last week of this month with my wife and 3-yr old boy, planning to see any of the following:

    Dao Dao islands
    White Beach
    Manga Falls and Twin Caves
    Bulatoc Hill
    Muricay Beach
    Pulacan Falls

    If you’ve seen these places, which of them are worth the visit, considering that we only have 2.5 days to stay in Pagadian? My wife and kid has short patience on long walks/hikes unlike me. Any tips on how to get there, transportation/boat fares will also be appreciated.

    We’ll probably stay in Yllana Hotel now that you’ve recommended it.

    Thanks in advance.


  19. i am travelling from gen san to pagadian soon and i wondered how many hours by bus is it ? I also want to stay in a hotel with a pool or on a beach can you recommend any please?

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