Pagadian City: The Little Hong Kong in the South | Mindanao Travel Series Part 1

in Pinmapple3 months ago (edited)

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” – Dalai Lama

My year is not complete without me traveling somewhere outside Cebu. Ever since I’ve had a job and have been earning, I’ve made an oath to myself to save a portion of my earnings and use it for traveling. For me, the world is so big that I can’t just stay in one place. I always have the urge to go someplace I’ve never been to and discover new things about the place, and at the same time, learn new things about myself as well.

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Hi there, wholesome reader!

I think the best way to know more about someone is to visit his/her hometown; learn about how they grew up, and hear the stories from people they have lived with before. Fortunately, I found an opportunity to visit one of my closest friend’s hometown – Pagadian City.

Pagadian City is situated in Zamboanga del Sur. According to my friend, their city is dubbed as the Little Hong Kong in the South because of its steep hilly terrain. It is also notable how Chinese families seem to dominate the city. A lot of trading businesses are already present in the city, ever since she was born.


From Cebu, we took a direct flight to Pagadian City. Unlike my previous trips, the aircraft for our flight is significantly smaller than the usual. And so far, this was the first time I’ve ridden a smaller plane. Arriving at Pagadian’s airport was a refreshing sight as I am used to Cebu’s cityscape. Their airport is small yet we were greeted with the lush green grass and trees.




We were picked up by my friend’s father from the airport and our first stop was at their old home. This place meant a lot to my friend as this was where she grew up and had her formative years. It’s amazing to see the exact spaces where my friend spent her childhood and the people who influenced her to become the person she is today. I felt very grateful for having the opportunity to visit the place. However, I was not able to take some photos of the place as I was too immersed at the stories that her father narrated to us.

According to my friend, there's not a lot of attractions present in the city as of the moment. The places we visited were the City Plaza and the Unity Park, a place built as training grounds for boyscouts and girlscouts. Beside this park, a stadium is currently in progress. We were also able to visit the Disneyland castle-like structure of their terminal.







From what I have observed while touring around the city, a lot of restaurants were springing up in the city, especially on the steep hilly road going to their Rotunda. Unfortunately, we were not able to explore more on that part, maybe next time!

After we had a little tour around the city, my friend brought us to a restaurant, named Out of Nowhere, to have lunch. I'm not so sure if the owner is Muslim but they don't have pork on their menu.




We ordered Satay Chicken, a dish that is kinda similar to that of Zamboanga City’s Satti. Satay is a boneless-grilled chicken thigh with special soy sauce and sesame infused oil, which is served with rice and corn. This is also a famous dish in Singapore and Malaysia and geographically, Zamboanga is just near these countries. Since Pagadian has become a trading place a long time ago, the exchange of goods and culture also happened in this city.

Satay Chicken

Kani Mango Salad

It's a feast!

We also ordered two kinds of salad - the Kani Mango Salad (which is currently my favorite), and my friend's order is Grilled Chicken with Honeydill Dressing. We also ordered a platter of baked scallops. And for our drinks, we had their Watermelon and Mango shakes. We had a great time eating lunch at the restaurant; an indication that we were having so much fun on our trip so far.


Our next stop was a cafe just below the restaurant we had had lunch at - the Kai Coffee! At that time, a lot of locals flocked the place as there was no electricity in the city. Since the shop had a generator to power the AC and lights, and a lot of electric outlets were spread in the cafe, too, a lot of people stayed there until the electricity came back. We stayed at the cafe til sunset.








Came dinner time, my friend's family brought us to a newly-opened Japanese restaurant in the city. The owner is just a friend of theirs and recently, the restaurant, Izakai, has become one of their favorites! They ordered a lot of food, like a lot a lot! At first, we thought that we'd bring home some leftovers, but guess what? We consumed them all, ha! That was the moment I knew why this has become their favorite Japanese resto in the city. Their food is truly tasty.








While eating, my friend's parents started to talk about their daughter, her experiences during her early years, how they raised her together with her other siblings. It was so heartwarming to be able to hear her parents reminisce the old days. My friend wasn't able to hold back her tears while listening to her parents. I'm definite that she made her parents proud and grateful with the person she is now.

It was unfortunate that we were only able to spend a day in Pagadian City. But hey, this is just the start of our trip in Mindanao. Stay tuned for the next part and I am very excited to share to you where we went next!



A glimpse of Pagadian City at night

Mindanao Travel Series:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Thank you for reading my post up to this point. I hope you have a great time ahead!

I'll take delight in writing for you again soon.

Sam ♡

All photos in this post are owned by me, unless stated otherwise.


Hello, in case you have not read my intro post, my name is Samantha. You may call me Sam for short. I am from Cebu, a beautiful island in the Philippines. I created this space in an attempt to put all the good things in one place, thus, my blog name @wholesamdiaries.

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Welcome to Pagadian City! hahaha

Thank you! Are you from Pagadian City po? 🙂

yes po. haha

Babalik po ako ulit. Di ko kasi nakita yung dancing fountain na sinasabi ng kaibigan ko 😅

I love the christmas decors. Pagadian City is full of charm. Thanks for taking us virtually.

Hi @bluepark. Every place has its own charm and I think, for Pagadian City, its food businesses bring charm to the city.

Thanks for dropping by 😊

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