It’s my fifth day, traveling alone on business here in Mindanao and I'm feeling lonely.
We made a quick stop at the Cuadra Resort where I was able to ride a nice, big horse that actually competes on show jumping events. Since there wasn't enough time, I was only able to ride it for a few minutes which turned out to be an inexplicably amazing experience. It's like a combination of feeling helpless (because you're just a passenger on top of a huge creature) and powerful (because you get to control the horse up to a certain extent). I can't wait to ride again - which is pretty weird for me because I used to detest horses.
After my brief experience with the horse, we proceeded outside of the town proper for our main adventure.
I finally got to try whitewater rafting in CDO ! Together with my two guides from Red Raft – Everson and Dudex, we did a four hour whitewater rafting trip along the Cagayan River starting from the advanced rapids to the beginner’s ..Yeah, can you believe it, there was just me and two funny, knowledgeable professional guides in the raft. I drank a lot of water while body surfing (jumped from the raft and let the current sweep me away) which got the two laughing because I burped so loudly after that. I was so beat up after that but it was so worth it!
Day 4 : Tuesday – June 29, 2010
Tried the longest dual zipline in Asia which is 840 meters long in Dahilayan Adventure Park nin Manolo Fortrich. I initially thought ziplines are boring because all the pictures and videos that I’ve seen about it weren’t enough to convince me how exciting it can be. Plus, I’m acrophobic and still trying to get over it. You know, there was a time when I thought I was cured from it, then when I crossed a foot bridge in Q.C., the fear went back full force and I barely made it through the other side of the bridge.
The zipline in Dahilayan is not to be missed when in Bukidnon. I was surprised to see lots of clients traveling on SUV’s on a week day. When I finished, there were several other groups waiting for their turn. The adventure park is situated up in the mountains at more than 1000MASL (can’t remember the exact figure, Doc. Chi has a Suunto watch which has an altimeter that’s why I knew). On your way there, you will pass by the Del Monte plantation which offers a great view of the Mt. Dulang-Dulang and Mt. Kitanglad Mountain range.
Later, I’ll go back to CDO then fly back to Manila via the CDO-Cebu route of Cebu Pacific. I miss Cebu so hopefully I get to do a little sight-seeing even if it’s just inside the airport before I get back to Manila. Then Thursday, I’m back to the office but not for long because I still have to go explore two more destinations in the coming weeks.I dare not say back to reality because fortunately – this is my reality.
By the way, I'd like to share with you some travel information about Bukidnon:
HOW TO GET TO BUKIDNON
1. Get a flight from Manila to Cagayan De Oro via Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific
*not sure about the other airlines
Price : Round trip ticket costs about 4,600 pesos inclusive of travel insurance, cheaper if you book about 6 months ahead. I booked the ticket three days before the flight.
*there are no direct commercial flights from Manila heading to Bukidnon
2. Upon arrival in Lumbia Airport, CDO you may take a cab to Agora Bus Terminal which is about 15-20 minutes away. This will cost 300-350 pesos. A cheaper alternative is to ride a jeep outside the airport (not sure how many jeeps you need to ride, just ask the locals, they'd be more than happy to help you out). You can also get a cab outside the airport and request them to use a meter. Actually, they ought to use the taxi meter but it does not seem to be a regular practice here when you're coming from the airport.
3. At the Agora terminal, ride a bus going to Bukidnon - this will cost you 130 pesos - aircon. Capital of Bukidnon is Malaybalay city.
*not sure about the time of the bus trips. Travel time from Cagayan De Oro to Bukidnon ranges from 1.5-2 hours.
ACCOMMODATIONS IN BUKIDNON
1st Avenue Appartel
Address : Propia Street, Sumpong, Malaybalay City Air-Conditioned
Room Rates :Single Bed – 600 pesosTwin Bed – 750 pesos
Non-Air Conditioned Rooms :Single Bed – 400 pesos
*All rooms have :Free wifi Colored TV with CableToilet, bath and showerContact Numbers : Number : +63 (88) 221-3224 (landline)+63 0926-4325382 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +63 0926-4325382 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (mobile number)*12 air-conditioned and 12 non air-conditioned rooms
D’ Stable Eco Resort (also known as Quadra)
Address: Sta. Cruz St., Malaybalay City (near Shepherds Meadow) Owner: Mrs. Carmencita David Tel No. (088) 221-3338Rates : 4 Family room (good for 5)1,200 pesos with toilet and bath Campers : (bring own tent)150 pesos per headcommunal restrooms
Pine Hills Hotel
Address: Fortich Street, City of MalaybalayTel Nos. (088) 221-3211to13 / 813-2055 Rates : 1,200-2000 pesos Additional Person : 200 pesos/head Extra Bed : 200 pesos Children aged 9 years and under (max of 2) are free of charge when sharing the room with their parents
Fully air-conditioned, with individual bathrooms w/ tubs, cable TV & phonesFree local calls Credit cards honored: VISA, Mastercard, Diners; Check-in time is 1:00 pm and Check-out time is 12:00 nn *Mostly wealthy guests stay here.
Pitcher Plant Farm (An Eco Lodge)
Location: Purok 2, Kalasungay*3KM from Malaybalay cityBy appointment only
Website : http://pitcher-plants.com/
You can book via email which I did. Range : 1000 pesos-2000 pesos with free wifi (no aircon or fans here)
Meals must be arranged in advance at 150 pesos per meal (good deal) The guy who runs the place is German and is very warm and friendly.
OTHER ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS : click here
OTHER TOURIST SPOTS IN BUKIDNON:
1. Alalum Falls – located in Sumilao, Bukidnon; very tall powerful falls, view deck is located a few steps from Sayre Highway. Easy to miss if you don’t know where it is. I didn’t see any signboards either. (more information about it here : http://outoftownblog.com/alalum-falls-in-sumilao-bukidnon/)
2. Mt. Dulang-Dulang
3. Mt. Kitanglad Mountain Range
*A traverse from Dulang-Dulang to Mt. Kitanglad or vice versa is possible and is actually highly recommended by the locals so you can maximize your trip.
Go to these site for climbing information :
4. Canyons – they have three canyons and unlike the one in Nevada, their canyons are filled with trees.
5. Caves – I was told that there are about 90 – most of them are unexplored. I’ve only been to Sumalsag cave which is a must see in Bukidnon. But if you’ve got serious hydrophobia, you should bring tons of nerves to survive this one because you will get wet and to exit the cave, you will have to submerge your head in water for a few seconds.
6. Del Monte Plantation – located in Manolo Fortrich
7. Monastery of Transfiguration (Benedictine monks) –perhaps the most popular destination in Bukidnon; you can buy souvenirs here such as Monk’s blend coffee, St. Benedict’s Medal – believe to protect the wearer from evil spirits
To get more information on the above destinations, kindly go here:
But seriously, to see more than the Benedictine Monastery , you have to hook up with an adventure company to bring you where the action is. Bukidnon is a huge province with destinations requiring some tedious road travel. And I’m not saying that because I work with a tour company, hehe..it’s just that people here are so used to their natural resources that they don’t really see it as a destination so when you ask them where you can go, they’d just point you to the Benedictine monastery.
WHERE TO EAT IN BUKIDNON (one of my fave parts of traveling)
1. Pinutos sa Kanto - Don’t miss the roast beef stew. I normally stay away from unprocessed beef because I’m having difficulty digesting it but this one should be an exception. Easy to chew and does not taste like the normal beef. It’s located in San Miguel, Manolo Fortrich - about 45 from Malaybalay City. You can see this one from the right side of Sayre highway coming from CDO. I was told that the bake shop across the street also sells yummy pastries. Price ranges from 70 pesos above net per meal - drinks excluded
2. Edward’s – serves Filipinos dishes; has a wide Price ranges from 70 pesos above net per meal - drinks excluded.
3. Mindy’s – located at the Malaybalay City town proper – serves chicken meals ; very nice place to eat; reminds me of Hard Rock Café – backpacker’s rates and stylePrice ranges from 70 pesos above net per meal - drinks excluded
4. Amadeo – high end restaurant in Bukidnon
5. Cawayanon Clubhouse - inside the Del Monte Plantation. I haven't tried the food here but my friend swears it's amazing.
Bukidnon Brew Cafe
Location:51 Bonifacio DriveMalaybalay, Philippines, 8700
Open : Mon - Sat:8:00 am - 9:00 pm Sun:3:00 pm - 9:00 pm
You can also add them in Facebook. Just search for Bukidnon Brew Cafe.
*You can also bring your friends and drink at Edward’s and Mindy’s
By the way, here's a map of Bukidnon for your reference. Got it from this site. This map is way too small so just go to the link I gave to get an eye-friendly copy.