Lake Pinamaloy: Lessons from the Water Lilies

Location:  Don Carlos, Bukidnon

Access Point: Sayre Highway, Don Carlos, Bukidnon

Mode of Transportation: Public Utility Vehicles (Bus, Multicab/L300) to Don Carlos, Bukidnon.

*If you are from Musuan or Valencia City , the fare ranges from Php 25.00-35.00.

Arrangement: No entrance fees.

Activity/Attractions: Strolling/Walking/Jogging/Camping

 

It wasn’t my first time to visit this place. In fact, I visited the lake when I was still in high school though I’m not yet a full-time nature lover at that time. The lake is said to be guitar-shaped.

Compelled to have an ecotherapy session, I decided to visit this place and asked my friend Sam to accompany me.

The entrance to the lake is still being constructed although there are other ways to access the lake from different directions.

It was one summer afternoon when I went here and I can only hear the crisp snap of dry leaves under my shoes.

People sitting by in their mats, friends having their picnic or family strolling around either by motorcycle or just walking are the common scenes you can usually find here. I have friends who camp here over night though I haven’t experienced that one.

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The lake.

IMG_6726Very apparent in the lake is the presence of water lilies. In fact, they occupy about two-fifths of the lake. That’s from a nurse’s estimation point of view, and it may not be accurate like those with engineers. I was told that there’s too much water lilies now. They need to be taken out in order to balance the ecosystem in the lake. I don’t know much about this one though as I’m not into Biology or Ecology but I love the fact that lilies are occupying the lake to remind me and us of their purpose.

“And why take me thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matthew 6: 28, 29

Reflections:

  • The lessons taught to us through the lilies are captured beautifully in this statement.

“If the lilies of the filed are objects upon which the great Master Artist has bestowed care, making them so beautiful that they outrival the glory of Solomon, the greatest king that ever wielded a scepter; if the grass of the field is made into a beautiful carpet for the earth, can we form any idea of the regard which God bestows upon man, who was formed in His image?- 5BC 1086.7

Now that is powerful! The lilies are indeed beautiful. If this is so and if God can make the nature beautiful, then how much more our lives? The worries of this world and its cares have stressed us a lot but God told us to consider the lilies and learn from them. What reassuring thoughts!

  • “Every flower is an expression of the love of God.”

IMG_6715God didn’t just make us to survive, pay our bills, work hard and strive hard in order to live in this cruel world. He made us to enjoy too His wonderful creation. He is the one who nourishes every root of the plants. Should this give us peace that He is much more concerned with the details in our lives more than the flowers and plants? Will He regard us (for whom He sent His son to die) more than these flowers? Certainly Yes!  And this should always remind us of His love every time we see flowers. God offers something more than any earthly lover could offer.

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I continued my lake stroll to finish my one round and found out that it will take you more or less an hour to walk around the lake.

The lake is also the main source of water district for their water supply. I saw one truck here filled with water from the lake. My friend told me this is used to water plants in a plantation.

When I was done with my one round, I didn’t linger any longer and went home as it was starting to get dark. It was one of those lily-filled, lesson-filled and “moneyless” ecotherapy sessions with God through His great classroom- the nature.

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Mt. Capistrano: You Rock!

Mt. Capistrano, located at Sitio Simaya, is part of Malaybalay City. This mountain is famous in social media. People get curious of the photogenic rocky mountain which is a trending destination for most people around Bukidnon. To complete my day hike list and to experience the so-called Capistrano Rocky experience, I enlisted myself for the hike

Location:  Mt. Capistrano, Sitio Binalbagan, Barangay Simaya, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon

Access Point: Sayre Highway, Bangcud, Malaybalay, City, Bukidnon

Mode of Transportation: Private ride (until Mt. Capistrano,Simaya); Bus (until Bangcud Sayre Highway only); then Hired Multicab for big groups/Habal-habal (motorcycle) for smaller number of people– Bangcud to Simaya.

Arrangement: No entrance fee yet. You can ask around for guides or you can go without guide. Ideally, it is best to go to the Barangay Hall and log in the names of the people going. You can also log out upon going down.

Activity/Attractions: Hiking

IMG_6383Home to four of the ten highest peaks in the country, Bukidnon has always a lot to offer in terms of nature. If you are not yet a certified mountaineer, but planning to tread this path, you might want to consider day hikes in Bukidnon. The infamous Mt. Palaopao, Mt. Capistrano and Mt. Musuan should be on your list. Or should you be preparing for a major climb like Mt. Apo, then these day hikes are among the best mountains for you to practice.

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Photo Credit: PH Locator

Mt. Capistrano, located at Sitio Simaya, is part of Malaybalay City. This mountain is famous in social media. People get curious of the photogenic rocky mountain which is a trending destination for most people around Bukidnon. To complete my day hike list and to experience the so-called Capistrano Rocky experience, I enlisted myself for the hike.

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If you are from Valencia, and you see this intersection in Bangcud, turn right.

We arrived at 5 am and planned it this early in order to catch the sunrise and to avoid the summer heat on the later part of the morning. Sam, our friend who used to go here, is our guide and we just followed him.

IMG_6276It was still dark and we started with the concrete stairs going up. Sam told us that this consisted of 300+ steps. One technique I learned is not to hurry so you will not get tired easily. Sam taught us to climb with one foot, then put the feet together then repeat and alternate; rather than climb with one foot then another foot in ascending. This may be a slow pace but this really didn’t tire me easily. I just felt it was really a good start. I wasn’t so tired but I’m starting to sweat.

True enough, the trail going up is really steep. We were blessed because the soil is not so dry which will not make us slip easily. We also stopped at certain points to hydrate ourselves. This is really important.

The darkness was starting to fade away and upon looking around, the view of the rice fields welcomed us.

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Another steep trail awaited us. We were gripping to anything we can hold on to. This has been one of the challenging trails I’ve been to so far. I can really see that the trees here are lying down. We managed to climb up (thank God!) without slipping. You really need to use your arms also upon going up.

We arrived at the Bamboo area and rested for a while. It was a relief after that sloping area experience.

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As we proceeded, the rocky area starts to reveal itself. Our trail was mostly composed of rocks. We climbed and went down. This went on like a cycle. We usually ask Sam if we are near in order to manage our expectations.

We arrived at the camping site. Some people tend to camp here during the night in order to experience sleeping here and the breaking of the dawn and sunrise.

When we saw the rocky formations, then we were sure we are already at the summit. Sadly, there were garbage around left by some climbers. I hope this shouldn’t be the case next time.

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The view unfolding before us.

When we arrived there, there were campers who stayed overnight at the site. We ate at an area between two boulders and enjoyed my vegetarian (always) breakfast. We arrived at 7:05 am. That’s about 2 hours of hiking and resting as well.

After that, we explored the summit area and there are just rocks everywhere. Most of the area are covered with rocks. There’s not much flat ground I should say. Meanwhile, we enjoyed climbing up on them and we effectively used some of our rock climbing skills.

Visible on the rocks are vandalism. This is not a good thing though. :(. This is the view around the summit.

We spent about 2 hours at the top. We joked around that we spent 30 minutes for eating, 30 minutes for rock climbing and picture taking then another hour for negotiation. It was really hard to climb to the rocks since you might really fall down as there are gaps in between them. We spend a lot of time thinking whether to go or not. But it’s good that Sam, our climber friend, is willing to assist us because the rest of us are girls.

The heat of the day didn’t hinder us from exploring more. There are 2 major rocks here where people usually take a pose. It’s a bit dangerous without precautions. So always think of safety first rather than thinking of a feat you can post on social media. Thankfully, we were able to make it to the 2 big rocks (with much prayers).

The famous rock here and my favorite shot.

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Overlooking the rice fields and surrounding mountains.
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Finally, my sister made if after a few minutes of negotiation. We just have to be careful though. “At the top of the world” feeling!*
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We captioned this as “Parang nasa bahay lang”. I positioned myself comfortably (and safely) in that rock as if watching a TV in my living room. It was a nice feeling to conquer your fears.*
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It’s nice to share your victory with someone. Sisters goals met.*

The mountain is strategically located where most of the famous mountains around can be seen. It has a really good view I should say.

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View of Musuan Peak.
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Mt. Dulang-dulang on the left; Mt. Kitanglad on the right. These are two of the ten highest peaks in the Philippines.

After spending two hours on the summit, we decided to go back. There were other groups also who went climbing. This has really been a famous mountain in Bukidnon.

Bidding my farewell to this mountain.

It was actually a great accomplishment for us to reach the summit. But we were actually worried a bit upon our descent. It will sure be a steep one.

True enough, I had to go down backwards just so my feet won’t hurt. Another thing we discovered is that we can go mountain sliding in order to go down. It was really challenging not to mention the heat of the scorching sun.

Upon seeing this, we were sure we are nearing the base.

Finally arrived at past 11 am. Most likely our climb here in Mt. Capistrano is a half-day activity.

Reflections:

Every mountain conquered is not only a physical feat for me. This activity is always a time to learn lessons.

  • IMG_6273It was still dark when we went up and we couldn’t see  the peak. At the back of my mind are what ifs. What if there will be a snake or harmful animals? What if we fall down on the cliff? What if there are bad guys around? These were the thoughts going on in my mind but I just kept climbing up. Life could just be sometimes like that. It could be that we are in our darkest times right now, we don’t know what lies ahead. We are afraid– afraid of the unknown because we couldn’t see anything, we couldn’t have a glimpse of our future. But what keeps us going? It is our faith in God. When we take God at His word, we just keep going even though we can’t understand why. It is trusting Him that He has the best interest for us and believe that the breaking of the dawn will come and things will be clear to us at the right time.
  • IMG_6284When we were on the steepest part of the trail, Sam told us that we are near. This made a mark on my mind. I was thinking that when we experience severe trials in our life, it could mean that we are nearing home. Indeed, when we are on the closing part of the Earth’s history, each one of us will be severely tested. Just like on that steep part of the trail.

 

  • IMG_6369In connection with the trials along the trail, I saw vine ropes along the way which I used in gripping for the steep trail. When there are trials and challenges along the way, God will not leave us but He will send help along the way. We are not left to battle our own challenges. And with this, we are sure not to fall because the help is from Him.
  • I also realized that when we are rooted in God’s love and in His word, just like the vine ropes, we will not be uprooted. We just have to abide in Him always.

 

With my Capistrano experience, I can always say “Mt. Capistrano, you rock!” It was worth climbing up and I still would want to go here in the future.

Photo Credit: Mr. Sam Mabolo (photos with asterisk)

Special thanks to the Mr. Sam Mabolo for inviting us. 🙂

 

 

 

Revisiting Nasuli Spring Resort

Nasuli (which means National Summer Linguistic) has been part of my life. American missionaries (from Summer Institute of Linguistics) used to be here and live here but since their mission was finished, they went back to their place.

Location:  Nasuli Spring Resort, Bangcud, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon

Access Point: Sayre Highway, Bangcud

Mode of Transportation: Multicab/Bus/Private Ride

Arrangement: Entrance: Php 20.00 (Adults), Php 10.00 (children below 12 y0); Wooden Tables and Chairs (for eating): Php 150.00-200.00

Activity/Attractions: Swimming/Eating

A visit last August 2015.

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The Welcome sign.

Despite the absence of seas in Bukidnon, it is blessed with an abundance of springs. One of which is the Nasuli Spring Resort. Nasuli (which means National Summer Linguistic) has been part of my life. Years ago, American missionaries (from Summer Institute of Linguistics) used to be here and live here but since their mission was finished, they went back to their place. The name was based on a Bisaya term which means “reversed.” According to my research, the locals named it ‘nasuli’ because “the spring’s headwaters’ elevation is much lower than the lagoon.” Thus, this seemed like the water is flowing in reverse.  I used to visit this place when I was still a child for church gathering or recreational purposes.

After 15 years (perhaps) in my life, I went to this place together with my family. It was a Sunday and we planned to eat our breakfast somewhere with a natural ambiance. We thought of revisiting Nasuli which was perfect for that purpose.

The spring is located in Bangcud which is not very far from Valencia. If you are from Valencia, you need to turn left if you see the sign going to the spring.

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The view that welcomed us.

This used to be filled with trees and nature before. But it was now replaced with cottages/tables and chairs on the surrounding areas. There is not much facilities here (like lifeguard etc.) so you need to bring your own food and be careful when you are swimming. It’s better to go in groups.

We were the only people when we went here so at that time it was very peaceful. It was a lovely place to just reflect and reconnect yourself with the nature.

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Bluish water is evident in this place which makes it really attractive and photogenic. Not many people visit here often but I usually like places like this.

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Simple nature, not so many people and just peaceful ambiance.

If you didn’t rent a cottage, you can just place your things here in the benches.

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An addition that I have seen after I revisited are the diving boards. If you didn’t intend to to do swimming, then at least pose for a picture here.

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Amazingly, this red diving board is really photogenic. We didn’t really swim here at this time so we spent our time taking pictures. The place is just so lovely and serene!

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Because we went here to eat, we rented for the wooden tables and chairs. You can find this if you go further to the Red diving board.

 

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The view of the spring from where we ate.

Reflections:

It always amazes me how God teaches us through nature. At this time, I was impressed of object lessons regarding springs.

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  • Most of the reviews I read from the internet about this spring is that it is beautiful but not well-maintained. This is somehow true! As someone who have seen the place before, I can say it is more “natural” before compared now. This taught me that it could be our lives are beautiful but it is not well-maintained. The complacency may come from the view that “I am okay” or “I have arrived” or it may come from our failure to drink daily of the springs of living water. We are to obtain spiritual refreshment from the living spring of God’s grace and mercy always.

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“But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14 NKJV

 

 

  • This is my favorite shot of Nasuli. This shows the groundwater flowing up with weeds around characterized by a bluish color. The text mentioned above gives us a really good lesson relating to springs. The first line “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst”- this means that we do not thirst for the world’s advantages and attractions but our desire is to only drink from the water that God can give. 
  • Another aspect of this text is that we are God’s channels through which the water of life will flow. Because we have an indwelling Savior, He will be unto us a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. If we have God as our source of springs of living water, then this can be evident in our lives and it will spring forth to others.

“The water of life flowing from the heart always waters the heart of others.”

{5BC 1134.2}

I hope that the beauty of this spring will be maintained but may it also be kept clean and may there be more improvements without compromising its natural beauty. Let us help in keeping this spring beautiful for our future generation.

Special thanks to Ms. Krian Soreño for some of the information in this article. 

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. 🙂

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.