Our caving and rappelling adventure along the Pulangi River may have ended but the day for the Travel Mindanao team in Valencia Bukidnon continues. Sated from hunger, we were off to another exploration in Valencia. This time, we were headed to Baranggay Guinoyoran, famed for its crater lake named as the legendary Lake Apo. At the helm again to guide us in her hometown is Wandershugah. We rode a bus bound for Valencia and alighted at an intersection in Kisanday, Maramag where we hired a couple of heavy duty habal-habal (motorbikes) to Lake Apo, an awardee for the cleanest inland body of water in Mindanao.
A Joy Ride
Situated on a hilly terrain 640 meters above sea level and about 11 kilometers from the city proper, our habal-habal had to navigate an interplay of rough and paved roads for at least 20 minutes. Despite the three of us cramped at the rear of our habal-habal, it was hard not to notice the picturesque vast landscape of cogon grass fields with their fluffy white bloom dancing graciously in the wind. The low afternoon sun yielded dramatic shadows and casted golden colors on the field. I see Marky behind me who seem to have the same appreciation of the scenery, opening his arms graciously to the world, embracing the gust of wind as we ride through fields. I would have done the same if I was in his place.
Placid Lake Apo
We reached the jump off at Lake Apo in a smallish rural community with a dirt path leading to the banks of the lake. As we walk farther, Lake Apo and its expansive 24 hectare body of water revealed its silent wonder. An idyll volcanic crater disturbed slightly by human intrusion on the surface. A group of youngsters enjoying their time on a bamboo raft, their jovial laughs echoing the otherwise quiet atmosphere of the place for a time.
Shugah led us to a private residence of her friend, a beautiful hacienda by the banks with wide open fields, scenic wooden benches, a charming little tree house with a small wooden jetty. The squishy moist ground didn’t hinder our exploration of this lovely place. The clear water was placid and reflective invoking one’s pensive mood in this contemplative atmosphere. If I were to build a dream home, this would be an ideal place. I never thought about living outside Metro Manila, but after I read this article, it made me think that maybe living close to beautiful landscapes isn’t such a bad idea. Imagine living close to Lake Apo!
We had fun by Lake Apo, taking posterity shots, jumping around or doing cartwheels. Since we’re nearby Shugah’s home, we thought of dropping by her residence so she could pick up pack for the next leg of our Travel Mindanao. We had fun going topload on a jeep to her residence. Meeting her family then excitedly hitchhiking on a huge truck in the evening to head back to the city. It was a fitting way to cap an adventure – filled day.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.