It took us two trips to fully inspect and really appreciate this marvellous Jimenez Church particularly named San Juan Bautista Church. The day before, we passed by this church in haste after a tour of Oroquieta City. It was late afternoon and the church was closed. I wasn’t satisfied seeing just the faced. My fellow travel blogger, Apple of Sole Searching Sole had the same sentiments that we should get back here the next morning. It was a good decision lest we’ll miss one of the most beautiful and well preserved in the island of Mindanao.
It was an advocacy to entice more people to travel to Mindanao, the southernmost major island of the Philippines. A region much maligned due to isolated insurgencies which affected nearby regions. Born out of Iligan’s Waterfalling activity, Travel Mindanao is a project by a group of travel bloggers with a common zest for adventure and to showcase the best of Mindanao. The project was supposed to be in a span of a month but I had to catch up shortening my participation to 20 days. Still, after seven provinces, it was one of my memorable journeys in the country.
Another day of adventure awaits the Travel Mindanao team in Bukidnon. It was time to leave Valencia and we’re then headed north to Impasug-ong. The team regrouped again at the town market in Malaybalay with Lai of PinayTravelista rejoining us after she left us at Lake Sebu. And this time to guide us is another Bukidnon local travel blogger and runner Earl of SuroyPilipinas. He had already arranged our transportation going to CEDAR in Impalutao, Impasug-ong. I don’t know what to expect of the place except for some nature hikes and a few waterfalls.
Our caving and rappelling adventure along the Pulangi River may have ended but the day for the Travel Mindanao team in Valencia Bukidnon continues. Sated from hunger, we were off to another exploration in Valencia. This time, we were headed to Baranggay Guinoyoran, famed for its crater lake named as the legendary Lake Apo. At the helm again to guide us in her hometown is Wandershugah. We rode a bus bound for Valencia and alighted at an intersection in Kisanday, Maramag where we hired a couple of heavy duty habal-habal (motorbikes) to Lake Apo, an awardee for the cleanest inland body of water in Mindanao.
The “Joy Of Quiet”. I remember reading Pico Iyer’s New York Time’s article on black-hole resorts, where people are now paying a premium do get disconnected and having their mobile gadgets tucked away on their duration of stay. It seems that with some people, the more ways we have to connect the more people seem desperate to unplug. Island Garden Resort in Pangubatan in IGACOS (Island Garden City of Samal), Davao del Norte somehow reminds me of this article. Not entirely a black-hole resort, but the limited internet and cellular coverage gives visitors a choice to enjoy nature more. Which honestly was a personal struggle but later I fully embraced for this much deserved quiet getaway.
Davao was a much deserved brief respite from our arduous journey coming from Lake Sebu and North Cotabato for Asik-asik Falls. It was a time to recharge and regroup for another exciting leg of Travel Mindanao. Bukidnon was next, the cool highland region of Mindanao was another destination I was looking forward to explore. Our first stop is the DDD Habitat Bukidnon in Baranggay Lorega, Kitaotao, a charming house on a hill that offered us warmth in Bukidnon’s coldest region.
There was a little apprehension in the next leg of our #TravelMindanao adventure coming from Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. We were headed northern counterpart of Cotabato this time and we can’t help thinking about its tainted reputation of sudden insurgencies. I’ve traveled to places like this while most of the time its safe, it helps to keep a low-profile so we were cautious. What ensued was the most arduous journey of #TravelMindanao in my opinion but rewarded with the sight of Asik-Asik Falls in Alamada, North Cotabato. Personally, one of the most enchanting and surreal falls I’ve seen in the Philippines.