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. 🙂

 

 

 

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 (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.

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.