Aside from the excellent peace and order situation, Initao, once an outpost of the Spanish armada in Northern Mindanao in the 19th century has been tagged by local tourists as a favorite spot to unwind, refresh, picnic, beach trek, swim, dine, dance and nourish the body, mind and spirit in all the place’s panoramic beauty of an idyllic white beach and emerald sea, glittering under the sun.

Sparkling blue-green waters turn into dancing golden spikes of undulating waves as the midday sun approaches its zenith. From the balcony of the Midway White beach Resort’s conference room, one can see the vista of Macajalar Bay magnificently spreading on the horizon with fishing boats traversing the sea.

The “Midway” area of Initao is more popular among the locals from Iligan City to Cagayan de Oro City, since it has developed itself into a resort area with small restaurants and eateries lined along the highway, and travelers coming from both cities stop at midway for refreshment. There are already upscale restos where travelers can also stay for the night like the Midway White Beach Resort, Bahay ni Kuya, and Minkay Restobar.

Borge Echavez, Midway’s manager says that Initao’s midway is becoming more of a tourist destination due to the facilities that are offered like a glass-bottom boat for exploring the sea, sea scooters, kayaks and zip lines to add more enjoyment to frolicking. Add to this the nightly hot grills of barbecue, bonfire and beer by the beach and you have an explosive combination of fun, laughter, zest and a lust for life. Who says Mindanao is a backward backyard? The midway strip is becoming one of the most exciting tourism destinations in Mindanao that can offer pristine ambience, unquestioned security, quality cuisine and services, and great privacy at fair cost.

However, local government support to private initiatives has been lacking in this area prompting the midway businessmen to seek support elsewhere like the media and other regional government agencies.

Recently, the midway strip came up with an “Okberfest at Midway,” a month long socially globally-relevant festival of sorts designed to enhance business, peace and biodiversity together. It begins on October 2 and ends on October 31 with a calendar of activities lined up for everyone. It includes a free lecture-presentation on climate change and “Explore the Sea” environmental appreciation, a free seminar-workshop on peacebuilding to enhance peace in the community, combined with live folk singers, ballroom dancing, videoke singing, and hot grills. It’s a package that puts together the best of tourism, peacebuilding, and enhancing biodiversity through climate change awareness.

No less than San Miguel Brewery has supported the project and Borge Echavez says we need to boom the tourism business in Midway Initao if we want people in Manila to look at Mindanao as a real alternative tourism destination venue.

article by Ted Khan R Juanite of Mindanao Goldstar Daily

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