Exactly 15 days already when I started my adventures in Mindanao. That’s more than halfway already from our #TravelMindanao project of showcasing the best of Mindanao and entice people to travel to the region. The slew of activities continue and our adventure starts again in Quezon, Bukidnon. Shugah of Wandershugah fetched us at Dream Haven in Valencia then took a Van down south for Quezon Bukidnon. Our first object? Explore the Blue Water Cave.
This plankwalk spanning 3.5km seems to have become part of the primary forest eco-system already having been built more than a decade ago. I can’t help but stop ever so often as we were headed to Niah Cave located inside the Niah National Park in Miri, to look closely at the many critters, like the millipedes, the bugs and slugs that have seem to have found this wooden walkway as their home. On what should have been less-than-an-hour hike, took longer as we marvel at the unsullied forest. What more of the cave that lay ahead?
We’re still mid-way from a day of waterfalling in Iligan City and Iligan Bloggers Society still has a couple more in store for us. Satiated from lunch at Pampam Falls, the group was ready to move to the nearby Kalubihon Falls. It took us about a quarter of an hour’s hike, from gradual ascending hills to steep rock walls with some natural pools coming from a stream above. From the looks of the trail, this promises to be an interesting one.
A magnificent disruption. The first thought when I saw this lone limestone jutting out from the vast rice field surrounding it. “Andyan yung cave? (The cave is there?)” I asked. “Opo! Nasa loob nyan. (Yes sir! It’s inside)”, replied Dyna, who was also another surprise as this lanky girl of 22-yo would be our guide. We traveled about 22 km out of El Nido Town Proper, east to the direction of New Ibajay to visit the Ille Cave, one of the most significant archeological site in the country.
The view of the Pacific Ocean, the deep jagged cliffs from the island where I’m standing and Dinem Island, cutting through the ocean like a knife’s edge was stupendous. Here at the farthest inhabitable, northern island of Itbayat, I’m just lost for words on how I can describe the beauty I’m seeing from Torongan Hills. If I had my way, I can spend an idle afternoon here just looking at the sea and passing clouds. It was one of those moments that I’m so proud of the Philippines for having places like this.
Wandering around the streets of Cotabato City, It’s easy to assume that the city is predominantly a Muslim country with many minarets and crescent moons from Mosques jutting out from the city skyline. In fact, if it weren’t for the Hijab (women’s headscarf), it’s hard to tell whether one is Muslim or Christian. Both religions have been deeply intermingled since the birth of Muslim and Christianity in Mindanao. The Tamontaka Church, the oldest church in the city, stands in testimony on the harmonious co-existence of both religions.
For the more adventurous type, Sierra Cave, which is a very short distance from Callao Cave offers a lot more excitement with numerous cave formations in its pitch-black environs. We had our lunch after the Callao Cave exploration and then set off for a short hike up from the road. The cave mouth is barred with gates but since we informed them ahead, Ted was able to secure the key. Sierra Cave is one of my favorite caves because it’s a perfect example of a living cave which is ideal for studying various rock formations. Below I’m sharing an excerpt from an article I wrote back in 2005 for a magazine. It was my first visit to the cave. Nothing much has changed since then which is a good thing.