Another day of adventure awaits the Travel Mindanao team in Bukidnon. It was time to leave Valencia and we’re then headed north to Impasug-ong. The team regrouped again at the town market in Malaybalay with Lai of PinayTravelista rejoining us after she left us at Lake Sebu. And this time to guide us is another Bukidnon local travel blogger and runner Earl of SuroyPilipinas. He had already arranged our transportation going to CEDAR in Impalutao, Impasug-ong. I don’t know what to expect of the place except for some nature hikes and a few waterfalls.
CEDAR stands for Center for Development and Recreation. The area, with an approximate area of 1,703 hectares is a reforestation project of the local government and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). From Malaybalay our van travelled for at least half an hour until we reached a turn from Sayre Highway. It’s hard not to miss the CEDAR signage by the road which leads to a dirt path to the main entrance. Towering mahogany trees line up the path and the clime slight cool since the whole area is has an elevation of 600-1,200 meters above sea level on the surrounding peaks.
Trail to the Falls
From the main entrance to the falls there’s an estimated 45 minutes hike towards the last of the three falls in the area. That’s about a kilometer of cutting through dense forest vegetation. The trail isn’t that hard but some parts where the ground is soft and muddy can be slippery. We came there somewhat late in the afternoon so we were going double time to reach all the falls. We passed by a man-made pool fed by natural cold spring water first which led to the forest trail.
Gantungan Falls was the first waterfalls we reached (about 720 meters walk), we had to cross a bamboo up a stream then descend to the rocky portion near the brink of the falls. Since we were in a hurry, we only managed to view the pour from the brink and I tried hard to get a good angle of its falls. I heard there’s a trail leading to a full view of this waterfalls.
Natigbasan Falls is an intriguing one (780 meters down the trail) viewed from the trail. It looks like a majestic and towering falls obstructed by trees and vines. Earl told me its quite tricky to go to main falls but its possible. For the meantime, I enjoyed viewing it from afar.
From here on, there were a few trail ascents then one major steep descent to the creek below to get a grand view of Dila Falls. It’s one beautiful falls probably named dila (tongue) as it looks like a tongue sticking out of the rock walls. Oh I was tempted to get closer but it was already getting dark and my companions were already making their way back. I was already last in line.
Unexpected Night Trek
Darkness did caught us in the trail and good thing we had some handy torch lights at our disposal. While the darkness considerably slowed us down, I had fun chatting with my companions which made the night trek more bearable. It was also a relief to see the rest of the group doing fairly well up ahead. We got back to our multicab and despite a bit of exhaustion from our little adventure in the darkness, we had a fun trek here in CEDAR.
The day is nearly at its end but we had one more travel to do. A pickup truck was waiting for us by the road to take us in a private estate in Impasug-ong that evening. We bid our friend Earl goodbye and thanked him for guiding us in CEDAR. Our truck then started rolling and we were off to our next adventure in Bukidnon.
Center for Development and Recreation (CEDAR)
Syre Highway, Impasug-ong
Entrance Fee: Php 10.00
From Malaybalay, Bukidnon, ride a bus to Impalutao. Travel time is around 30 minutes. Fare is Php 20.00.
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.