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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
After beholding this view, we went up to a hill in order to see a clearer and more beautiful view.
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.
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.
I couldn’t let the trip pass by without posing for a picture with my horse.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- In 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 me.
- 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.
- 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.
*Photo Credit: Mr. Steph Haim (photos with asterisk).
Special thanks to Dr. Abram Pepito for arranging this trip for us.