The “Land of Promise” has received its fair share of flack over the years for being dangerous and unsafe to explore, but, in recent times, has had many moves in the right direction. Many are now taking time to research and explore this southern-most part of the Philippines, home of the now-president, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. Other than having a vast majority of its agri-exports come from here, Mindanao does have a lot to offer when it comes to almost untouched nature, and this piece will discuss three places to set up camp for a night or two to enjoy all this beauty!

Boslon Island +Britania Group of Islands


The Britania Group of Islands are a little cluster of 24 islands and islets that are easily accessible from the mainland by banca, a boat with outriggers. Boslon Island is highlighted here because it is one of the only islands that camping is allowed, as there is are multiple resorts that hold access to the islands. However, do not let this dissuade you from making the trip, as an overnight stay on the island, coupled with the stunning views of the islands surrounding, help alleviate the stresses of the day-to-day.

Lake Holon

Image: Jullius Mella

This lake combines two things in one; not only do you get to spend the night by a gorgeous crater lake, you also get to scale Mount Melibengoy (Parker to tourists) to get to it! While, at first, the daunting task of trekking may not appeal to many, the beauty of Lake Holon is 100% worth the effort. Its camp ground does not fit too many, so be sure to check that they are not full up on your preferred dates, but it is because of that that the serenity is pretty much unmatched, and the lack of cellphone coverage only adds to the primal, relaxing nature of camping.

Balut/Sarangani/Olanivan Island


A little off the coast of Davao Occidental lie the three-island group named the Sarangani Islands. Not only are they the southern-most islands of Davao City, Mindanao’s largest city, a world of culture can also be found there. Camping is open on most parts of the three islands, except amongst the gentle B’laan tribe, locals of Olanivan Island. Otherwise, the trio of islands offer a world away from all else, and if it is peace and quiet you desire, this is the perfect place to set up camp. As a bonus, the waters in these parts seem clearer than anywhere else in the country, and the banca ride will yield satisfaction for lovers of all things marine.

Mindanao is much more than President Duterte. With enough research, a resilient spirit, and a happy heart, you will find that the region has so much to offer to lovers of the great outdoors. White sand beaches and pristine, well-kept lakes await you when you make the trip, so ready your essentials, pack your tent, and get to camping!