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. 

Mt. Palaopao in Sumilao: A Rocky Adventure

Not in Scotland, Ireland or New Zealand. This rocky adventure turned out to be a great blessing for me. With Palaopao as my favorite mountain, I can always say “Wala’y makalapaw sa Mt. Palaopao (Nothing beats Mt. Palaopao)!”

 

Location:  Mt. Palaopao, Sitio Palaopao,  Sumilao, Bukidnon

Access Point: Sumilao Public Market/Bus Terminal, Sayre Highway, Sumilao, Bukidnon

Mode of Transportation: Bus/Private Ride

Arrangement: You need to ask permission from the Purok Leader of Sitio Palaopao.

Entrance: Php 20.00; Guide: Php 250.00

Activity/Attractions: Hiking/Trekking

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Photo credit: PH Locator

Since I was a child, Mt. Palaopao has been my favorite mountain and it has captured my heart since the first time I saw it.  Standing at 836 ft above sea level, it is also dubbed as Palaopao Hills because of a chain of mountains in it. When traveling to CDO, I can always see this from the highway and it made me feel like it was from another place outside of our country, like those seen in the movies. I didn’t know a lot of people hike here, especially during the Holy Week, until my best friend asked me to join the climb. I said yes of course!

I saw someone who posted on facebook about Palaopao Hills with a caption “not in Scotland, Ireland or New Zealand… but in Mt. Palaopao”. True enough, this rocky mountain resembles those mountains seen in the aforementioned countries. With this fact, I couldn’t help but go and climb this mountain for the love of exercise, hiking, photography, nature and God. Why go to these countries when you haven’t been to Palaopao yet? But of course, I would love to visit these countries someday.

Bukidnon is home to 4 of the Philippines’ top 10 highest peaks– Mt. Dulang-dulang, Mt. Kitanglad, Mt. Kalatungan and Mt. Maagnaw. If you are not yet prepared to climb these peaks, or do not have enough time, most hikers/bloggers would recommend you to climb Mt. Palaopao and Mt. Capistrano. I also added Mt. Musuan (Musuan Peak) to the day hike list.

From Valencia City, we took a bus going to Sumilao. We started traveling at 7 am and arrived past 8 am. Before starting our this rocky adventure, we stopped by and ate our breakfast at the food court of Sumilao Public Market.

To be able to go to the mountain, we need to hike through the wet market. In here, we were able to observe the way of life of the people.

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Wet market with Palaopao Hills on the back.
Before we even climbed there, we took pictures as we were amazed of our favorite mountain.

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With my best friend, Ai-ai, who also loves to climb mountains.
We passed by the rice fields and were able to observe the livelihood of the people living here.

At this point, we were able to have an overview of Mt. Palaopao. As one blog stated “it is deceitful yet breathtaking”. It is deceitful because you need to go down into a gorge, then go up again to a community to be able to arrive on the foot of the mountain.

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Just wow! What a beautiful view! The first 2 mountains on the left side is where we will be trekking.
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Hiking down, a lovely view awaited us. We passed the Kulaman River through a hanging bridge.

We finally arrived at this small community in the foot of the hills for about an hour.

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We had to wait for a few minutes for the Purok Leader so we can get the permit. This is necessary so that the purok leader will know that a group of people (with names listed) went up the hills and also for security purposes. We also asked a kid, Marvin, to be our guide. We started our hiking at past 10 am and passed by these places.

2015-10-02 09.25.05-1There were only three of us who hiked in this mountain plus the guide. Since this was planned just a day before, we weren’t about to prepare physically. So that I really palpitated. On day hikes, especially for open trails which was very hot for us, it’s very important to be well hydrated to avoid or minimize discomforts. Thankfully, nothing happened to me. We just hiked at our own pace and my buddies were very patient enough to wait for me. So that it’s really important to have a regular exercise program.

We had a glimpse of of the rocky mountain on the first part of our hike.

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Not in Scotland, Ireland or New Zealand.

We arrived on the top of one hill and saw this wonderful view with the thought in my mind, “If God can make the nature beautiful, then He can certainly make our lives beautiful too.”

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Going further is the cross stationed on this hill.

On our right side is the rocky part of the mountain. One can notice this when you are traveling to Cagayan De Oro city along the highway.

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On this side of Mt. Palaopao, the lime stone wall.
And of course, you wouldn’t want to miss taking a picture on this angle.

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Lime stone wall of Mt. Palaopao.
We hiked further going to the top of that rocky side. You can see the community on the foot of the mountain from this part here.

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Finally we arrived on the top of the mountain. It took us about 2 hours from the foot of the mountain (with rests). We spent at total of 3 hours together with the waiting time and our hike from the public market. We discovered through an article that, before,  the top part of the mountain was covered with virgin forest. The side contained caves, rock shelters, lime stones overhangs containing wooden coffin and artifacts which can be traced back to metal age. Wow, this must be like Sagada before.

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The locals also told us that the place used to be submerged in water (perhaps hundreds/thousands of years ago). Thus, the term Palaopao from the Cebuano word “lapaw” which means spill or overflow. This would also explain the rock formations which are coral-like; thus, it may really be possible that this place was submerged before.

We arrived past 12 pm and ate our lunch at this rocky top. I settled myself on a tree where I enjoyed the view. My buddies settled themselves on the rocks.

We cherished the time spent here by meditating, reading, relaxing and sleeping for 1 hour plus. It was worth it!

Beware: There may be snakes around here so just be careful. We find one but we saw it first and it was a bit distant from where we were hanging out. Thankfully, we weren’t harmed and this didn’t hinder us from enjoying.

Reflections:

  • IMG_5329
    “I am the way, the truth and the life…” John 14:4
    The only way is the way to the cross. People come here during the Holy Week as their pilgrimage. Such is paralleled with our Christian walk. Life is a journey; but the only way for us not to be lost in this world is to look to the cross for this is the only way. On our way going up, we saw the cross and we were sure we are going the right way.

 

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    “The Lord is my rock…” Psalm 18:2
    I always love to read while in nature. This made me more receptive to spiritual lessons. In time for this rocky adventure is the statement I came across with, saying, “Are our feet planted on the rock of God’s immutable word?” This is a thought-provoking and sobering question. Do our daily decisions reveal that we are founded on God’s immutable word? or do our reading of His word not manifested in our lives at all?
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    “I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
    Where do weary hearts go? To the mountains. Why? Because Jesus is there. Don’t get me wrong here. But I believe that when we are in nature, we think of the Creator and it makes us more likely to contemplate about Him. Hiking means work and obstacles. So that being at the top of the mountain means success, overcoming and REST. At this time, I was able to find the solace and rest that I needed.  Indeed, I purposely came here to take away the stress as science would prove it very helpful. But most of all, I came here to commune with my Savior, the only One who can give me rest.

It was past 1 pm when we started going down.This is the view on the top of the mountain with my trekking buddies.

We went back to our trail.We need to cross again this area in order to go back.

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Friendship Goals.
Because we couldn’t get enough of the beauty of Palaopao…..

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…..we took pictures again.
We stayed for awhile in the community, rested and asked for water. We crossed again Kulaman River Bridge.

This rocky adventure turned out to be a great blessing for me. With Palaopao as my favorite mountain, I can always say “Wala’y makalapaw sa Mt. Palaopao (Nothing beats Mt. Palaopao)!”.

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The mountain in four vantage points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.