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.

Lilingayon Rose Farm: Stop and Smell the Roses

A visit to the Rose Farm at Lilingayon, Bukidnon last March 2015.

“When the laborer has been under a pressure of work and care, and is overworked in mind and body, he should turn aside and rest awhile, not for selfish gratification, but that he may be better prepared for future duties.” {ChS 247.4}

 

I remember when I was still small I found a book and read this idiom “take time to stop and smell the roses”.  This idioms means to relax, take time out of one’s busy schedule in order to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of life. In addition, it simply means just to stop from the hustle and bustle of life, reflect on things and just appreciate what you have. In my young mind at that time, I never knew that I will need a lot of this when I grow up.

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I love to do nature trips during my day off. I’ve been planning to visit the Rose Farm at Lilingayon, Bukidnon since then. Hearing about the place stirred my curiosity. I asked a friend who is at Lilingayon at that time and fortunately she said that it’s near her place.

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You can see a Pineapple plantation in Lilingayon, Valencia, Bukidnon.

 

As the saying goes “Take time to stop and smell the roses”, I took it literally and headed to the Rose Farm. Lilingayon is one of the barangays in Valencia City. It is near Mountain View College, Mt. Nebo, Valencia, Bukidnon, my alma mater. From Bagontaas, Lilingayon is reached through a public jeep or a motorcycle.

 

It was not far from the house of my friend in Lilingayon. We just walked into the woods, enjoyed the undiscovered scenery that was just hiding there and of course took pictures.

 

Moving on, we were amazed of the Rubber trees that were just there all this time. We even thought of having a wedding ceremony there.

 

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Into the woods.

We passed through a bridge with a stream underneath and the water element was just so relaxing.

We passed through a house and I finally had a glimpse of the Rose Farm.

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The Rose Farm.

 

Honestly, when I heard of Rose Farm, my imaginations exceeded reality. I thought it was a very large company who invested on the roses, where roses are covered with a green house. But I actually asked before going there so that my expectations were managed.

 

Upon arriving there, we saw that it was indeed a very simple garden on a little hill with rows of blooming roses in different colors. Honestly, if you take a picture of the whole garden, it is not that photogenic since the leaves dominate the picture.

Looking closely, you can see the true beauty of a Rose. Some roses are just opening its bud and some are already blooming. The colors are mostly red; but fuchsia pink, light pink and yellow are also present. We asked permission from the caretaker to take pictures, have a tour and we were permitted to do so. We were also told that the owner was not there.

It was refreshing to visit this place. By that I mean it’s not every day that you get to see blooming roses unless of course if you live here. One tip to remember though is if you plan on surprising someone that needs a lot of roses, it’s a wiser decision to buy from here since it’s really cheaper and it’s wholesale price. You need to calculate the cost though if you are from afar.

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Up close.*

Reflections:

  • It is God’s plan for us that we should stop and smell the roses. Amidst the busyness of life, we do not just take time to slow down, appreciate and reflect on things but also commune with our Savior moment by moment. I find nature trips helpful for me because going to nature makes me think of the Creator.
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Loving the nature also means loving the One who created it.*
  • Appreciate what you have in life whether it be family, friends, job, ministry, nature, and everything you can thank God for.
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Thank God and thank them.*
  • Just as roses look better with close-up shots than when taken picture together as a whole, we can somehow appreciate something when we look at them closely. The same is true with things, people and situations. One doesn’t just look superficially, one also needs to examine closely.

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  • A Christian is also likened to a rose. One line in a song goes “If it never, never rains, then will never, never grow”. A follower of Christ can only grow through trials. With this in mind, may we bloom like the roses do in the Rose Farm as we grow in our spiritual garden.

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That day taught me the “stop and smell the roses” habit and I hope to apply this for everyday of my life.

*Photo credit: Ms. Ann Gabrielle Baragona.

 

Fall-ing in love with Sagpulon Falls (San Isidro, Jasaan)

In one of the barangays of Jasaan, Misamis Oriental, namely San Isidro, lies one of the beautiful waterfalls that I have been longing to see, the Sagpulon Falls.

In one of the barangays of Jasaan, Misamis Oriental,  namely San Isidro, lies one of the beautiful waterfalls that I have been longing to see. The Sagpulon Falls was introduced to me by a cousin who posted her picture on facebook. The falls caught my attention because of a series of smaller waterfalls at the bottom of it. In short, it was really beautiful!

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Jasaan is part of Misamis Oriental, a province in Mindanao, Philippines.

I was with my family because we visited Claveria. It was actually my first time to go to this place and we were blessed to see the sign right away. It looks like this. If you are from Cagayan de Oro City, you will turn right upon seeing these signs.

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On the way to Sagpulon Falls, San Isidro, Jasaan, Misamis Oriental.

The “Habal-habal” (motorcycle) drivers were kind enough to give us directions. From the highway, it would take us 7 km in order to reach the falls which is accessible by a four-wheel vehicle and motorcyle.

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This is what you can see as you go along the way.

The road is mostly cemented and thankfully, we didn’t have any problems going there.The locals were very kind to give us directions too.

Upon arrival in the place, we were greeted by tarpaulins at the entrance. My heart almost sank when I read it but I was glad that they will let the public visit the falls provided that we wouldn’t eat or swim there.

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The entrance.

Nature has its ways of unfolding things. We have to walk a bit more and climb through some steps.

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And finally….

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A breath-taking view.

Seeing for the first time something you’ve been longing to see is such an inexplicably joyous experience. As you can see, the place is still undergoing renovation and some cottages and halls are being constructed. This means that when you come here and this construction is still ongoing, no fees will be collected. How cool is that! The downside of course is not being able to swim in this majestic waterfalls.

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An ongoing construction.
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It says “No Swimming” since it’s not yet really officially open to public yet.

The falls has a major waterfall from its crest.

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From the top.

On its base are found a series of smaller water falls which appears man-made to me. But no, they’re 100% natural!

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At the base.
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The full view of water falls through a fish eye lens.

The stream bed resembles a greenish blue water which makes this attraction very photogenic. On each side of the falls are thriving flora which makes it really full of life.

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It took us about 2 hours to behold the beauty of this attraction and at the same time reconnect with nature.

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Surrounding areas.

Every time I do nature trips, I have the temptation to take pictures as much as I can from all angles but doing only this will defeat the sole purpose of the trip. To reconnect with nature and mostly to the one who made it should always be the major purpose. So,  I try hard to live in the moment, meditate and thank God for such gift.

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Living in the moment.

 

Reflections:

Nature teaches us a lot of lessons that we might be missing had we been more receptive to it. These are some of the things I associated with the falls experience.

  • My experience with the falls has always been a refreshing one. With this in mind, can we also say that our presence to other people has always been a good one? Are we a “season of refreshing falls on the hearts of men”? Or are our presence wearying? This may be true, this may be false, but may we always be like the falls.

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  • The falls symbolizes zeal. Once the water drops, it’s unstoppable. In our Christian life, if we are filled with the streams from above, we can never contain it and it will just flow or drop and it can simply be seen. It will be a source of water, a source of life. A soul who possesses Christ could not be hindered from witnessing to others. He or she will be unstoppable and may we always have this zeal.

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  • When you are within the vicinity of a water fall, you will feel the moist from the falls. You can even feel the coolness of the place. Are the things we are doing moistened with love? Or do we project a very dry religion to other people? I pray our answer goes with the first question.

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  • In life, it’s very important to note that making a certain decision will have a cascading effect. This means that when you started something wrong, you cannot expect the next events associated with it to be right or good. Furthermore, one sin committed can also lead to other sins. The only safety we can have is to have Christ fill us with the living water.

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It was a very refreshing encounter with nature and a wonderful bonding for me and my family as well. I’m glad to say that I fell in love with Sagpulon falls. I hope to come back again, next time, with friends.

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Mom and Dad. Don’t forget to try this couple shot once you’re here. P.s. Don’t forget to bring your loved one too!
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My family (minus 1) who loves to do nature trips.