I just realized it was almost three years when I last went to Banaue. This part of the Cordilleras has a special place in my travels being one of the first few places I visited in the Cordilleras. Ever since my first visit to Batad, I’ve gone back here more often than I could remember. But this time I was here to run my first 21k road-trail. Team Malaya organized a Banaue-Batad Marathon and I excitedly singed up. Since it was my first halfy I wanted to have a good rest before the race. When in Banaue, I often go straight to the towns of Batad or Bangaan but this time I have to stay in town. I looked through Agoda and glad to find Banaue Hotel listed there. A familiar sight for me since I’ve visited it before and explored the village behind it. I guess it was it’s about time I stay in this already an institution of an accommodation in the home of the 8th wonder of the world.
“Rapids ahead! Give me your paddles and lean forward on your side of the raft! Hold on to the rope tight!” our guide yelled. Before I could blurt “What?! Why?!” from my head, the three of us followed his instruction in an instant, With our bellies resting on the raft, the next thing I noticed our guide was paddling madly at the rear, our raft was turning on one side and we’re facing the wild river water upfront! The raft rocking heavily on turbulent waters. Before I could scream, splash of water engulfed us! It was crazy but it was fun! And that was just part of our our 2-hour Cagayan de Oro White Water Rafting experience.
Coming from a brief stop at the copra workers of Tagbaobo, we continued driving for about 10-minutes before finally reaching Tagbaobo falls entrance. Tagbaobo Falls, found in Barangay Kaputian is less frequented by visitors since its farther southeast of Samal Island unlike Hagimit Falls. There’s a small shed for registration and entrance fee (Php 40/head) for visitors. The falls is also known as Mangongawong Falls by the locals but they prefer the former name since it is easier to pronounce.
We are now at the last leg of our Travel Mindanao journey and our final stop is the city of Cagayan de Oro in the province of Misamis Oriental. After our adventure-packed, the group needed a much-deserved breather and we are glad our Cagayan de Oro stay offered those and more. For the first two nights we were billeted at the fast growing budget hotel chain Tune Hotels and in out final night the small but cozy lodging at DDD Habitat Pension House CDO.
Coconuts spread like a carpet out under the sun, flanking the dirt road of a small community in Tagbaobo. I see people busy and absorb with what they are doing with the coconuts. “They are copra workers!” my motorbike driver, Ginjan tells me. I was supposed to go to my next waterfall destination coming from Hagimit Falls in Peñaplata, north of Samal Island but this scenery of copra workers in a small community of Tagbaobo caught my attention. Since I had the luxury of my own vehicle, I told Ginjan to head back.