Musuan Peak: The Most One

It was told that two lovers committed suicide in this place. As time went by, the place where they were buried rose up and became a mountain. A foreigner visited this place and was accompanied by the natives. When the foreigner arrived at the top of the peak, in utter amazement of the view, he exclaimed, “the most one”.

Location:  Musuan Peak, Central Mindanao University, Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon

Access Point: Sayre Highway, Musuan, Bukidnon (Near Philippine Carabao Center)

Mode of Transportation: Public Utility Vehicle (Bus, Jeep, Multicab)/Private Ride. *Can be hiked if you are from CMU, Musuan or Valencia City.

Arrangement: Entrance Php 20.00 with free use of Comfort Room. No need for a guide.

Activity/Attractions: Hiking/Trekking/Biking

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Musuan is located in Maramag, Bukidnon. Photo credit: PH Locator

We always tend to go to far places to discover them but I also believe that discovering our own place can be very exciting and fun. So I intentionally write about an attraction in my hometown in order to share to other people that they can come visit here. If you are living around Musuan or Dologon or even in Valencia, one’s eyes can’t get off Musuan Peak for it can be seen from these vantage points.

 This mountain is actually one of the 22 active volcanoes in our country belonging to the Pacific Ring of Fire according to PHIVOLCS. It stands at 2, 119 ft (646 m) above sea level. There were reported eruptions in 1866 and 1867; and seismic activities in 1976 and 2011. I used to hike Musuan Peak when I was still small and even promised at that time that I will not go back to this peak again. You see, “love your own” never occurred to me at that time. But I never fully appreciated this peak until I grow up and engaged myself in hiking and tripping. I think I’ve climbed this peak for 20 times more or less. Bukidnon is home to 4 of the Philippines’ top 10 highest peaks– Mt. Dulang-dulang, Mt. Kitanglad, Mt. Kalatungan and Mt. Maagnaw. If you are not yet prepared to climb these peaks, or do not have enough time, most hikers/bloggers would recommend you to climb Mt. Palaopao and Mt. Capistrano. And I would like to add Mt. Kalayo (which means Fire Mountain) or Musuan Peak (Mount Musuan) in that list should you have shorter time or if you are just starting your hobby on hiking.

A brief legend of Musuan Peak goes like this. It was told that two lovers committed suicide in this place. As time went by, the place where they were buried rose up and became a mountain. A foreigner visited this place and was accompanied by the natives. When the foreigner arrived at the top of the peak, in utter amazement of the view, he exclaimed, “the most one”. He found everything very beautiful from the top. The natives kept repeating what he said but because they couldn’t speak it the way that he did, they pronounced it instead as “mus-wan”. Later on, this became the name of the peak, thus Musuan Peak. As what they said, this is a legend.

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The start of the trail going to Musuan Peak.

Upon entrance to the peak, you will pay your entrance fee and write the names of those who will go for hike. You can find on your left side, beside the entrance, a Zoological and Botanical Garden although this wasn’t really maintained through time. Be sure that you have your drinking water with you because there is scarcely a water source at the peak. You may also use the comfort room for your convenience before hiking.

Be sure to bring a hat if you are hiking during midday or afternoon. Musuan peak is one of those very accessible peaks especially for impulsive hikes or nature trips. It can get very crowded during lenten season or holidays. But normally, you can enjoy the peak on your own on non-peak season.

There are two ways to climb the peak. You can go by the main road (where you can also go biking). This is good for relaxed or leisure walks where there’s no time constraint. You may be able to reach the peak in 1 hour with rests.  The second way is that you can trek at the short cuts though this can cause tachycardia (fast heartbeat) on your part. This is applicable if you want an intense hike or if you want to reach the peak in 3o minutes more or less.

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The shape of Musuan Peak is likened to this Conical Shaped Rice Farmer’s Hat.  Photo credit: 123RF

The shape of the mountain is likened to a conical shaped rice farmer’s hat. Upon going up the peak, you can start to see different wonderful views, the plains, rice fields, highways and the adjacent peaks. It’s nice to have a morning walk here where you can see the sunrise and experience the freshness of the air.

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Overlooking CMU and the rice fields.
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The hardly recognizable sea of clouds from afar.

This is on the way to the peak after conquering the base part of the mountain. Sometimes, it can also get foggy here depending on what season you climbed.

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Nearing the peak, you can see pine trees along the way.

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There is also a short cut here.

When you are almost on the top, you can see clearly the surrounding mountains, view of CMU, Valencia and the Sayre highway.

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Bukidnon feels.
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Last curve going up.
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The view when it is foggy.

And finally, after how many minutes, you are able to say “Thank God” upon arrival at the peak at the same time wiping your sweat. You will be welcomed by the barking of the dogs here but they are tied.

There are cottages where you can eat, sit and relax. And view decks too.They are located on the lower and uppermost part, so you can just choose wherever you want to hang out.  You have all the time here to do whatever you like. Just be mindful of not leaving any trash behind.

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View deck and cottage on the uppermost part near the tower.

This is also found on the lower park of the peak.

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It isn’t surprising to see vandalism here on the cottages though it is highly discouraged. Perhaps, people come here to vent out their feelings which may not be socially and environmentally acceptable all the time. I strongly discourage vandalism but reading through some of what the people write in here makes me laugh sometimes.

 

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It says, “Wala’y 4ever (forever)”. The person who wrote this don’t believe in the concept of forever such as that popularized by the Philippine soap opera Forevermore.

Reflections:

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The view of Musuan Peak from College Park, Musuan, Bukidnon.

I don’t know about the others who went here, but for me, going up in this peak has always been therapeutic. The ambiance, cool breeze, surrounding views, being able to reflect, the comfort of being in your hometown– all these contribute to “the most one” concept.  Granting the Musuan legend is true, the foreigner must have these things in mind (at least) when he said “most one”. This place has really been the most one. Truly, this peak, the view, is scenic, giving you a soothing relief from all cares. So when you are up in the peak, do not go down right away. Enjoy the peak, the view and live for the moment and listen to what God wants to impress on your heart of the spiritual lessons from nature.

 

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A view of Musuan Peak from Lumbo.

There may be other places where we can say “most one” though Musuan has really gotten it’s title. But when I think of the concept of “most one”, I couldn’t help but attribute it to God- our most one (who can give us “most one” and Musuan), lover of our soul and the one with the greatest love able to sacrifice everything for us. When we talk of the place where we can say it is the most one, it is truly in the feet of Jesus where we can cast our burdens and cares. How wonderful it is to be able to reflect God’s love in my own Musuan Peak. It’s just reassuring. Sweet. And tranquilizing.

So as we enjoy Musuan Peak, may we also enjoy God– the most one.

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View of Musuan Peak from Pacangan.

Going down the peak will usually take 15-30 minutes. This means a lot of control on your part going down since it seems to be unstoppable sometimes.

And finally, there is a feeling of accomplishment when you arrive at the entrance.

For those who usually climb this peak, you may notice the new tire swing on the side.

If you are not vegan, you can visit the Philippine Carabao Center and drink fresh milk and some of its products which is just nearby Musuan Peak entrance.

Enjoy Musuan Peak! And don’t forget to come again.

 

 

 

Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur: Building Memories with the Beach Capital

Tukuran, which came from the Cebuano word “tukod” which means “to build” or “to construct”, is regarded as the Beach Capital of Zamboanga del Sur.

Location:  Sirena Beach Resort, Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur

Access Point: Highway of Tukuran,  Zamboanga del Sur

Mode of Transportation: Motorcycle/Jeep/Private Ride

Arrangement:Entrance (Php 10.00-20.00 pesos as far as I can remember); Cottage for resting or eating (Php 300.00-1,000.00).

Activity/Attractions: Swimming (beach)/Bamboo Rafting/Floating Cottages (free)

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Maranding, Lanao del Norte.

I intentionally planned  to go to Maranding, Lanao del Norte in this trip to accompany a friend. We visited a friend whose domicile is in this place. In the place where we stayed lies wide rice fields and a lot of coconut trees.

Houses are not built very close to each other because of the vast fields.With this, life is peaceful and I appreciate the simple life in this community.

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Maranding sunrise.

Mr. Sun greeted us the next day as we planned to tour around the place. Our host planned on bringing us to a beach but little did we know that we are crossing another province/region.250px-Ph_locator_zamboanga_del_sur_tukuran  Tukuran, which came from the Cebuano word “tukod” which means “to build” or “to construct”, is regarded as the Beach Capital of Zamboanga del Sur. This municipality is bounded by Lanao del Norte on the East which explains its proximity.

This coastal municipality served as a passageway for Regions 9 and 10. This made me amazed because of the ways going to Iligan City and then to Cotabato City. I felt geographically lost since I’m not good with geography (I think).

They brought us to Sirena beach and this view welcomed us.

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Tukuran coastline.

The place has an amazing view and I am excited because I was able to set foot on Zamboanga which was my first time. Although I never thought it is that extraordinarily special, this place marked a special place in my heart and brought out the child in me.

This is the view going down the shore. Cottages can be rented for eating and staying.

One can notice that the shoreline of this beach is not that prominent. It is filled with rocks and boulders.

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Just like any of us who wants to play in the sand, this beach may be a bit frustrating at first; but what made this special is that the people here are creative. So they put up floating cottages  so that you can enjoy the swimming despite the big waves and the rocks.

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One of the floating cottages.

These native and playful cottages can be reached with this bamboo raft. You just need to pull the rope so that this raft will move towards the floating cottages. Exciting and fun, isn’t it?

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Bamboo raft.
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Chillin’. Just like a boss!

 

The first cottage has a net on the center which makes it a netted swimming pool. So one can still enjoy swimming in the sea despite its depth because its safe since there’s a net. Children love to play here and also adults.

I just think that this is a very creative and cool idea! It just proves that you can really enjoy if you like wherever you are.

 

 

 

 

Then there’s this Play Therapy for kids… and for adults also. We enjoyed this tire-swing.

The second cottage is a little different than the first cottage in the sense that it has a diving board with a longer “netted swimming pool”.

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The second cottage is connected to the third cottage.

The view from up here.

We explored the area and visited the adjacent beach resort which was just accessible. The shoreline here is prominent where one can truly play with the white sand. This resort looks not operating though.

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Identified as Baguio’s beach resort.

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There is also a rocky part though most of it are sandy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reflections:

  • This place will always have a place in my heart because of the floating cottages that made us play like kids. Adults need Play therapy regularly so as to relieve stress and just be lighthearted. This place taught me not to be childish but to be childlike. God bids us to be like the children.To be like a child means to have full confidence and to fully trust in our Father that He has the best interest for us and that He will never leave us. This also implies that being child-like is to have a simple faith– trusting God always and obeying Him instantly whatever He says.A childlike spirit is trusting and forgiving. “The most childlike disciple is the most efficient in labor for God.”  Be childlike. 

“Let the little children come to me and do not forbid them for such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

I went home with a fulfilled heart from the fun of discovering something new and setting foot on a new place. It was indeed worth building memories with Tukuran, the beach capital of Zamboanga del Sur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview Nature and Culture Park (Quezon, Bukidnon)

Location: Kipolot, Palacapao, Quezon, Bukidnon

Access Point: Sayre Highway Quezon, Bukidnon (Bukidnon-Davao Route)

Mode of Transportation: Motorcycle/Bus/Private Ride

Arrangement: No entrance fee and can go there anytime.

Activity: Sightseeing/Rest Area for Travel Breaks

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Photo Credit: PH Locator

Located at Kipolot, Palacapao, Quezon, Bukidnon, one couldn’t ignore this area along the highway when one is traveling Bukidnon-Davao route. Bukidnon, which means “mountain dweller”, is known for its mountain ranges, and this overview park is one of the best spots to see them.

This park is an updated version of the old park and is now much developed. It is usually visited by travelers after long-hours of driving because this serves as a rest area. And true enough, the view provides restfulness to a weary soul!

One can see this sign/entrance along the highway.

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Entrance of Overview Nature and Culture Park at Kipolot, Palacapao, Quezon, Bukidnon

You need to walk a few more steps in order to reach a building where comfort rooms are also located. Upon walking further, one will reach descending stairs. Noticeable to one’s eyes are the statues of indigenous people which depict their way of life.

 

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Kids posed beside these statues.

These statues used to be in bright colors before; but through time, the colors faded away.

The highlight of the view here are the mountain ranges and the verdure of the surrounding areas. These are the mountains that you can see around.

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Upon going down further, you can truly see an overlooking view rich in vibrant colors and pleasing to the eyes.

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Captivating view!

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One can go down further in order to see the winding road. I felt so much joy upon seeing this view and the tiredness from the travel just simply went away.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mountains, hills and plains.

Reflections:

Aside from the picturesque view, I was able to draw lessons from this trip:

  • IMG_1960.JPGThe lofty mountains reminded me that “Faith can move mountains.” This means that when someone’s beliefs and confidence are strong enough, anything that is difficult is achievable. We are not talking here about self-confidence but God-confidence. And with that, we can truly be able to move and go through with our life’s “mountains”.

 

  • IMG_1976.JPGSomeday, all of us will have an overview experience later on in our lives. Just like when you are in the overview park, you will look back on your life and have the whole picture before you. You will see how far you’ve gone, how you’ve grown spiritually and how your life was carefully and beautifully crafted by the Master designer’s hand. At this time we will be able to understand and thank God for the disappointments, failures, growing experiences, withheld hopes and prayers. By that time, our “Why?” now will become “Oh, I see. That’s why.” A beautiful view (life) will be set before us on that day when we allow God to work in our lives.
  • “We will see that the prayers and hopes for certain things which have been withheld have been among our greatest blessings.”

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I am looking forward to that overview experience someday. Then will I understand how God orchestrated my life. I am glad I was reminded with this through this trip at Overview Nature and Culture Park.

Don’t forget to drop by here. It will cost you nothing and it will be worth stopping. 🙂

Impasugong’s Communal Ranch: A Cowgirl’s Day Out

I feel regretful after going to this place.

Location: Capitan Bayong, Impasugong, Bukidnon

Access Point: Capitan Bayong, Sayre Highway

Mode of Transportation: Motorcycle/Private Ride (four-wheel vehicle)

Arrangement: No entrance fee but needs permission from the Municipal Hall.

Activity: Horse Riding (Php 250.00 per person for one horse with cowboy; unlimited).

Contact Person: Mr. Allen Baculbacul, Chief Cowboy (0935-740-0821)

When one is traveling from Bukidnon to Cagayan de Oro and sees this landmark (below) on the right side of the road, one knows that he is in the Home of the Country’s Finest Cowboys, Impasugong, Bukidnon.

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A family trip years ago. We stopped by at The Giant Statues of Dancers of Kaamulan Tribe at Impasugong.

Impasugong is dear to my heart because of a dear friend who is residing here in this place. The name Impasugong actually means “current that flows upstream” and this came from a Higaonon term. This is not surprising because the place is truly blessed with natural resources including mountains, rivers, falls, spring, forests, ravines and more. That’s why this place really captured my heart.

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Map of Impasugong, Bukidnon.

One place that I’ve been really wanting to visit though is the Communal Ranch at Capitan Bayong, Impasugong. For the record, this is the only government-owned ranch in the country which totals to 642 hectares. It is also known for being a Cinema Capital because of its motion picture-perfect scenery. A film entitled “Love Me Again” by Piolo Pascual and Angel Locsin was filmed in this place.

I have a privilege to have a veterinary doctor friend who arranged the permission for us. It was 10 am when I arrived at Capitan Bayong. Together with my friends, we started travelling heading to the Communal Ranch. You need to enter on this spot (found near RNPS Enterprises)  and turn left when you arrive at the intersection.

You still need to travel for a few minutes on a cemented road.

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As you go along, you will see a curve on the road and a few meters after, turn right upon arriving in this area.This is the first intersection after the curve.

The road going up is not that good and not cemented. There are big rocks and uneven surfaces but we survived!

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The road going up.

On the way, I noticed that I haven’t really seen much of Impasugong’s beauty. Its not even half of what I see in the highway when I travel from Bukidnon-CDO.

We were amazed of the views slowly unfolding before our eyes.

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The entrance of the Communal Ranch.

A wonderful view welcomed us. The deep ravines, majestic mountains, the verdure and brown fields combined and more were such beautiful sights to behold. I just couldn’t stop myself from saying “Wow!” for how many times.

This is where cows are kept but at this time they are grazing in the fields.

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We waited for awhile for our horse riding activity while the cowboys are preparing the horses in the stall. Before me is a mountain range which is perfect in its beauty. We went here at the time when it’s approaching summer so that the color is brown and not green.

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My view while waiting. The mountain range is my favorite part in this scenery.

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The photo above is the house where we ate our lunch. People who wants to spend the night here can rent this whole house for a night with the price of about Php 1,500.00 (as verbalized to me). You have to  bring your own mattresses and sleeping gears though as this is not fully furnished. They told me that you should bring blankets here as this place can get very cold at night should you plan to sleep over.

I mounted myself to the saddle with enthusiasm, very excited for the day’s activity. The cowboy told me that doing a proper mount and being able to balance yourself skillfully is the first step in riding a horse. One reminder though: when approaching a horse, you need to approach it from the front and not from behind because this may threaten them and they have the tendency to kick you. You don’t want this to happen, not ever!

I secured my feet to the stirrups.  Somehow, I was taught on the basics of horse riding. Kuya Jun-Jun, the cowboy, told me that for a horse to start on walking you need to make a certain sound “Tsk. tsk.” together with a kick of your one foot on its side. You need to hold the whip and just guide the horse with the direction you want him to go.  The ride went on smoothly though my horse didn’t walk that much at first. The highlight of it all, I enjoyed the views along the way.

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River in between the mountains flowing in a fashionable manner. What a beauty!

After beholding this view, we went up to a hill in order to see a clearer and more beautiful view.

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I went up to this hill riding in a horse.

At this time, I had a closer look with these beautiful mountains arrayed in brownish-greenish colors with trees in between. There were burnt parts as it is approaching summer and we were told it could get burned with the heat of this season.

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The cones of the mountains in different sizes and shapes appeal a lot to my senses. It’s just naturally beautiful! They told me that its more beautiful if we went here when everything is verdant in color. But I told them I still appreciate the brownish color and I don’t know why.

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One of my favorite spots. The mountains with river in between.*

I couldn’t let the trip pass by without posing for a picture with my horse.

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A horse with a name– Runner Chief.*

After seeing these views, we went back on our way going to the house for the lunch break.

While riding, I asked a few questions to Kuya Jun-jun, the cowboy. He told me that he also joins contests in rodeos. Also, he mentioned that he was injured a lot for times from horse back riding.

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The house from afar.

From about 11 am, we stopped at 12:20 PM for lunch break. There were also two springs inside the ranch which made the view more wonderful.

Since the time that we can spend with horse riding is unlimited, we resumed the horse riding activity by 1:30 PM. We went out of the gate on the outside part to explore more of the surrounding mountains and ravines. I also tried riding on my own at times.

We climbed on a hill in order to see more of the view. This time, the elevation is higher. Unfortunately, Runner Chief, my horse, lost it balance and couldn’t go up. Kuya Jun-jun was about to give up but thankfully, my horse made it.

We didn’t know that more beautiful views await us.

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View of the ranch from the top.

I am truly blessed to see these views. It was such a privilege to discover another beautiful spot in my own Bukidnon home.

We need to go down through this steep hill and I have to admit I was a bit nervous but I just prayed hard so that no accident will happen.

Thankfully, we made it going down.

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Reflections:

Upon going back to the ranch, I realized a few things from this trip. The horse riding activity emphasized to me spiritual lessons that was made clearer through this experience. This made me understand my life more.

  • IMG_4743In life, we are like horses under the care of the Great Cowboy. Runner Chief, my horse, was a bit hesitant to walk at first when I first rode in it. He was hard-headed that the cowboy had to pull him in order for him to walk. There were so many times that I was like that horse, hard-headed, insistent, lazy, disobedient, resistant to the cowboy’s leading and just wanting things to be done my way. How patient must God be for all our inadequacies.

When led to a certain direction, the horse may be hesitant at first, questioning the guidance of the cowboy and that’s just so ME sometimes. I tend to question God’s leading through His word thinking that my ways are better than His. I’m glad that God is patient and persistent with meIMG_4797.JPG

  • As what I’ve told you that I was taught the basics on riding a horse. The cowboy told me that if the horse didn’t really obey you at your first “side-kick” you can beat it with the “whip” on its side for it to move, walk faster or run. Of course, I’m a bit shy to whip the horse at times because it might be painful for them. Although I would say that my whip is just like a touch.

Sometimes, life is just like that. We can receive a lot of whippings from the Cowboy.  He wanted us to move forward and do the work entrusted to us. This reminded me of a certain verse.

“For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth.” Proverbs 3:12

Just like the horse, I know my Father loves me when I receive all these beating and chastening.

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  • The highlight of this trip is of course the beautiful mountains. As mentioned, the cones and the shapes just appeal to my senses. Despite its imperfections, it is beautifully formed and it has stand the test of time, storm, and all those environmental factors. Also, you can appreciate it more when the sun is brightly shining over it. Our lives are simply just like the mountains. The asymmetrical cones symbolizes the imperfections, failures, successes and all our varied experiences– which make up our being human. There is still beauty in asymmetry. Someday our lives will be beautiful like these mountain ranges, not because we are perfect now but because we are made of successes and failures striving to be perfect each day; and most importantly when we allow Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, to shine in our lives, we will be like these beautiful mountains–a beautiful scenery to behold.

And before I forget. Why do I feel regretful after going to this place? I feel regretful that I didn’t visit this place before. I should have enjoyed the beauty of the scenery and the reflections from this trip earlier in my life. It was truly a cowgirl’s day out worth to be remembered.

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An amateur equestrian/frustrated cowgirl.*

*Photo Credit: Mr. Steph Haim (photos with asterisk).

Special thanks to Dr. Abram Pepito for arranging this trip for us. 

Cinchona Forest Reserve Escapade Part 3: Hug-A-Tree Campaign

Part 3: This third part includes our Hug-A-Tree Campaign. 

Location: Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park, ASEAN Heritage Park, Cinchona  Park/Forest Reserve, Kaatuan, Lantapan, Bukidnon, Philippines.

Activity: Tree Hugging

“The things of nature are God’s blessings, provided to give health to body, mind, and soul. They are given to the well to keep them well, and to the sick to make them well.” {CH 169.2}

IMG_3280Right from the start on our way going up the forest reserve, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the tall trees. Their grand nobility has always amazed me, not to mention the health-giving properties they could bring us. And so I always cherish the time when going to places like this.

Nature is considered as God’s physician. One author wrote that “Outdoor life is the only medicine that many invalids need.” The sound of music in nature, the beautiful flowers, trees, bodies of water, fruits, valleys and hill, life-giving trees– gives health to the mind, body and soul. So at this time, we didn’t let this trip of ours pass without enjoying fully the reasons why we are here.

A friend told me that it is beneficial for our body to hug a tree. Because the trees here in this forest is so perfect for this activity, we really tried it. Later on, I read one article which explains how the vibrational properties of plants and trees offer health benefits– not just open spaces. It also tells of the trees’ different vibrational pattern which has a positive effect on various biological behaviors within the body.

So we stopped by the road and started this Hug-a-Tree campaign.

I don’t know if its a placebo effect but it really felt good afterwards. I should say it’s therapeutic! You can try this at home too or wherever there are a lot of trees. Just be careful with insects, snakes etc.

One thing very noticeable in the area is an abandoned cabin. We didn’t know its history but its a really good subject for photography.IMG_3283.JPG

We also didn’t let the opportunity pass without us having pictures with the trees. Of course, this will be incomplete without one’s signature pose.

The group picture on the right tells of an incoming motorcycle so we cleared the road right away.

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God loves to give bonuses. Upon going home, while still in Kaatuan, He let us see a wonderful overlooking view. I was able to easily identify MVC, my alma mater on the other side.

I took a picture of this signpost inspired by Kulas of #BecomingFilipino.

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Kulasihan.
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A promise.*

Our day ended with a rainbow along the way going home from Lantapan which was really a reminder of God’s promises and love to us. I am now fully recharged and ready to spend my Sabbath. Indeed, it was an escapade well spent at Cinchona Forest Reserve.

*Photo Credit: Mr. Steph Haim (photos with asterisk).

*Note:

You don’t want to miss Part 1 of the Cinchona Park Escapade which include the Biking Trail and Canopy Walk.

 Part 2 of the Cinchona Park Escapade which includes the Waterfalls Trek. 

 

Cinchona Forest Reserve Escapade Part 2: Waterfalls Trekking

Part 2: This second part includes our Waterfalls trekking at Cinchona Waterfalls.

Location: Cinchona Falls, Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park, ASEAN Heritage Park, Cinchona  Park/Forest Reserve, Kaatuan, Lantapan, Bukidnon, Philippines.

Access Point: Cinchona Forest Reserve,  2 km from the gate.

Mode of Transportation: Motorcycle/Private Ride with Tour guide

Activities: Multifalls Trekking/Tree Planting

After our Canopy Walk, we had our lunch and had to rest for awhile before we decided to go to the waterfalls. It was the first time for all of us and the person in-charge in the area told us that he can guide us and we will just take care of the tour guide fee. We somehow managed to arrive at a reasonable price. We actually planned to just walk on our way to the falls but to have more time to enjoy the falls, we decided to just ride in our car.

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Outside the gate of Cinchona Forest Reserve. This right way is going to the Cinchona Falls.

You can actually see this outside the gate. Unfortunately, we were told that there is no Rafflesia at that time. So I took a picture with the tarpaulin instead.

After a few minutes of driving, we finally arrived at our destination. Most of the road going up is not cemented.

We turned right going to the forest on our way to the waterfalls.

This is our trail on the way to the waterfalls. We were greeted by the chirping of the birds and the cool breeze. Kuya, our tour guide, told us that a lot of youth are engaged in tree planting activities here which I plan to do in one of my birthdays. He told us that we can just coordinate with them if we plan on doing so.

The trail was not so hard but it gave us a good exercise and few sweats since the place is really cool.

So this is what we saw upon arrival to another way nearing the waterfalls.

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Arrived.

We needed to go down after the signage through this cemented stairs.

Along the way, we saw a foretaste of what our eyes will be beholding in a few minutes.

It takes hard work to really see a beautiful spot. So we didn’t give up with the obstacles because this is what we were here for. I thank God for the opportunity to really get a good exercise plus a great view.

Finally, we are here on the Cinchona Falls number 1.

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Cinchona Falls 1/5.

The Cinchona Waterfalls has actually 5 falls. Some would call it a multifalls. Due to time constraint, we weren’t able to make it till the last 3 falls. On the first, as you can see on the left side, there is a small cave which we weren’t able to explore.

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Close-up picture of Cinchona Falls number 1.

After enjoying the view, taking pictures and just simply reflecting, we headed right away to the second falls which took us a few minutes with some few obstacles. Just below the first falls is the second falls. On our way to the second falls, we saw another cave. We also have to go down through this man-made wood ladder.

 

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Top view of the second falls.*

Cinchona Falls number 2.

The first falls can actually be seen from the second falls. We enjoyed by just simply sitting on the rocks and watching the waters fall from the top. This is our version of Chillin’. I’d rather sit in here and enjoy the view than be in the house and watch TV all day.

After enjoying the falls, we went back to our trail. We hope to see falls numbers 3, 4 and 5 next time. God-willing.

Reflections:

 

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A mini photo shoot that happened when we were in the falls. #leafycrown*
  • The group came up with a thought along the way. When we were still small, there were a lot of superstitious beliefs about fairies who will get you and bring you to their kingdom when you go to rivers, forests and falls. Although being abducted or punished by “them” is usually equated to a bad deed, it just doesn’t feel comfortable to have this mentality. As a child, I was somehow affected with this misconception that it makes me afraid sometimes to go to nature and enjoy. Now that I’m a grown up already, a thought came to my mind “Could it be that these superstitious  beliefs are hindering us to spend time with nature and commune with God?” The nature is made for us to enjoy and to think about God’s great love for us. With this in mind, we are stewards of God’s creation and we ought to preserve them as much as we can, not for the fear of being abducted by fairies but, because we love God and we know it is our duty as His stewards. 
  • IMG_3727We often hear of this statement “Failures are stepping stones to success.” I was somehow thinking of this when I stepped on the stones when we were in the falls. While it may take a hard work, few failures and decided effort in order to be successful, we are also reminded that when we are doing God’s will and His business, “not once should we even think of failure. We are to cooperate with One who knows no failure.” {COL 363.1} We are assured of this if we give ourselves wholly to God and follow His directions in our work.
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    Going down to Cinchona Falls number 2.*

    Most of the best things in life can be achieved through hard work. God gives us different trials and obstacles, in order for us to grow and be the person God wants us to be. We are to climb daily in the ladder of life in order to overcome ourselves and become better versions each day. Our character, health, relationships etc. are among the things that need hard work and maintenance. When we grow each day through hard work, perseverance, decided effort and trust in God, we will not regret of these investments that are of eternal value. We can only wish we have given more.

 

 

 

*Photo Credit: Mr. Steph Haim (photos with asterisk).

*Note:

You don’t want to miss Part 1 of the Cinchona Park Escapade which include the Biking Trail and Canopy Walk.

Part 3 of the Cinchona Park Escapade which includes the Hug-a-Tree Campaign.

 

 

 

Cinchona Forest Reserve Escapade (Kaatuan, Lantapan, Bukidnon) Part 1

The verdant trees which were all around us were just so refreshing. Seeing everything in green is such a relief. I can say that the scene and all the elements of nature gave me a boost of happiness. I have been thanking God that He gave us nature, not only to relax and enjoy, but for us to think of His great love towards us.

Part 1: This first part includes our activities inside the Cinchona Forest Reserve (Biking Trail and Canopy Walk)

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Photo: PH Locator

Location: Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park, ASEAN Heritage Park, Cinchona Park/ Forest Reserve, Kaatuan, Lantapan, Bukidnon, Philippines.

Access Point: Aglayan Highway, 28 km.

Mode of Transportation: Jeep/Motorcycle/Private Ride

Activities: Biking/ Picnic/Camping/Waterfalls Trekking/Tree Planting/Canopy Walk

That day, it appeared like it was about to rain in the morning but the weather cooperated throughout the day. It was not so hot and not raining either. From Aglayan, our GPS informed us that we need to travel 28 km to reach there. We had a private car and road was good and cemented.

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We passed by Kulasihan, Lantapan and then finally reached Kaatuan.

Upon arriving at this signage, you need to turn right which would mean 8 km more in order to reach the forest reserve. The road is not cemented going there but it’s not bad. Thankfully, we didn’t encounter problems with road or engine.

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Going up, you can really notice the change in temperature. It’s cold and the oxygen-filled air was just so refreshing.

We passed by the forest with the main road on it. Both tall and small trees greeted us. We finally arrived and we went directly to the reception area.

IMG_3604.JPGWe were told that we need to get a permit first from the Malaybalay DENR office or from the Barangay of Lantapan which would cost us 100 pesos each person. Thinking that this might be hard on our part, considering the time left, we asked for any alternatives or other negotiations. We were told that the one in charge can process the permit for us and allow us to get in. We paid 50 pesos per person. Needless to say, we accepted the offer which was very fair enough.

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Though officially named as Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park, the place is also known as Cinchona Forest Reserve/Park. I just knew later on that the word Cinchona actually refers to  plants that are characterized as large shrubs or small trees with evergreen foliage. I haven’t remembered seeing them though when I was there. When a forest is declared as part of ASEAN Heritage Parks, this means that it is an “existing protected areas of the ASEAN member countries which have been recognised as regionally important based on their conservation value”. This means that they are protected areas of high conservation value, unique, diverse, outstanding regionally and internationally. There are 35 ASEAN declared heritage parks and reserves. Out of the 7 heritage parks in the Philippines, Mt. Kitanglad Range is one of them. For a list of the ASEAN Heritage Parks, kindly click this link.

Just on our right side is the Biking Trail. They have no bikes to be rented though so you may bring your own bike if you like to try this activity.

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Going farther, we saw a small bridge with bamboo trees. The place is really photogenic.

We went up in order to go back to the area. We passed by the hall where people can pitch their tents.

We also reached the landmark area.

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Under construction.

On our left side is a building and on the right side is a white American house where people can also be accommodated. The place can actually be rented for camping activities.

We were greeted again, this time with flowers that we do not usually see everyday. As one person told me, “Every blooming flower is a reminder that God loves you.”

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Directions.

We went directly for the Canopy Walk which we anticipated from internet reviews.This can be accessed through the hanging bridge. It was a bit frightening at first but the beautiful sight melted all the fright in me. We were hesitant to walk at first at the bridge but the inviting scenery has drawn us.

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The Canopy Walk is accessed through the Hanging Bridge.

The verdant trees which were all around us were just so refreshing. Seeing everything in green is such a relief. I can say that the scene and all the elements of nature gave me a boost of happiness. I have been thanking God that He gave us nature, not only to relax and enjoy, but for us to think of His great love towards us. Peaceful. Calm. Scenic. These are the words I can think all the time.

Tip: If you happen to visit a forest, never forget to do deep breathing. This helps you well with your oxygenation in your body especially your brain which is very beneficial to you. This can also take away depression and stress.

We enjoyed as much as we can during our Canopy Walk– from walking, doing jump shots, sleeping in the bridge as if it was a hammock, sitting, posing and it was just a great time to enjoy nature with friends.

Though the cable is strong, safety should always be our main concern. It may be hard for a person to fall here unless if he really wanted to; but your small things like your cellphone may fall and pass through the 2-inch sized gaps in between the bridge if you are not careful.

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Gaps in the bridge.

After our experience with the Canopy Walk which we can’t really get enough, we headed right away to the Picnic area for our lunch.

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Cool breeze+great company+healthy food=hearty lunch!

Reflections:

  • IMG_3673.JPG“He shall be like a tree.” Psalm 1:3. The Bible likened a righteous person to a tree. In this forest, needless to say, I have seen different kinds of trees in different sizes and looks. God created the trees to remind us of its spiritual value. The tree exemplifies well a well-ordered life which is a life lived in love, honored by God and man. As one observes the trees, one can see that the trees look upward and reach upward. They get all the sunlight that they can, seeking to live where the air is clearest and the conditions are best. Also, they bear fruits which usually grow at their top part (Family Bible Lesson, Y1Q1, p.9). These though-provoking observations made me realize certain areas in my life. Am I like the tree looking upward and reaching upward or am I focused on myself only? Is my life a well-ordered one which glorifies God and blesses men or is it a life that needs a lot of pruning and straightening? Am I getting all the light that I can from the Sun of Righteousness or am I contented in darkness?  Am I bearing best fruits (which are at the top part symbolizing the highest character I can attain) or I am contented with mediocrity? I know the answer is in my hands.

 

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Life is journey with Jesus only.
  • Going through the hanging bridge may be scary at first. Although this bridge is a bit trustworthy at least compared to others that are made of wood, but this will not take the fear during the first time. This reminded me of a minister who told us in a sermon that “Life is a journey with Jesus only.” Going through this bridge reminded me of that concept. When we first stepped into the canopy walk, we went in group since its a bit scary at first. Later on, we had to do our individual businesses such as taking picture or meditating or simply discovering the views by your own. Life is kinda like that. Although our lives are built in relationships with others, its more of an exclusive relationship with God, faith walk with him and most importantly a journey with Him. Soon you will find yourself alone and you do not have any one to rely on because this is the reality in life. The people you trust the most and love the most may not be able to help you or may even disappoint you but remember that this is your walk with God. Sometimes, God will remove the influence of family and friends from you because He has a work to do for you and He know that they will be a hindrance to it. And lastly, I love how this quote is penned, “You can be happy in Him if you had not another friend in the wide world.” {11MR 357.3} Indeed, “Life is a journey with Jesus only.”

Disclaimer: I enjoyed the day with my friends. I couldn’t imagine going here without them. But I also enjoyed the time I had with my Creator during this nature trip. 🙂

*Photo Credit: Mr. Steph Haim (photos with asterisk).

*Note:

You don’t want to miss Part 2 of the Cinchona Park Escapade which includes the Waterfalls Trek. 

Part 3 of the Cinchona Park Escapade which includes the Hug-a-Tree Campaign.