It was an advocacy to entice more people to travel to Mindanao, the southernmost major island of the Philippines. A region much maligned due to isolated insurgencies which affected nearby regions. Born out of Iligan’s Waterfalling activity, Travel Mindanao is a project by a group of travel bloggers with a common zest for adventure and to showcase the best of Mindanao. The project was supposed to be in a span of a month but I had to catch up shortening my participation to 20 days. Still, after seven provinces, it was one of my memorable journeys in the country.
“Rapids ahead! Give me your paddles and lean forward on your side of the raft! Hold on to the rope tight!” our guide yelled. Before I could blurt “What?! Why?!” from my head, the three of us followed his instruction in an instant, With our bellies resting on the raft, the next thing I noticed our guide was paddling madly at the rear, our raft was turning on one side and we’re facing the wild river water upfront! The raft rocking heavily on turbulent waters. Before I could scream, splash of water engulfed us! It was crazy but it was fun! And that was just part of our our 2-hour Cagayan de Oro White Water Rafting experience.
We are now at the last leg of our Travel Mindanao journey and our final stop is the city of Cagayan de Oro in the province of Misamis Oriental. After our adventure-packed, the group needed a much-deserved breather and we are glad our Cagayan de Oro stay offered those and more. For the first two nights we were billeted at the fast growing budget hotel chain Tune Hotels and in out final night the small but cozy lodging at DDD Habitat Pension House CDO.
As if our unexpected night trek from Dila Falls in CEDAR Impasug-ong would quell our adventurous spirit that day, we are again lurched into the unknown adventure. Well not completely unknown but the degree of activity would challenge not only to our group in this trek but also the people who are attempting to organize the Atugan river Trek in Impasug-ong as an eco-tourism destination. Members of the Travel Mindanao team were willing guinea pigs in this exploration of trekking more than 8km of the Atugan river stretch.
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.
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.
Nevermind our wet clothes coming from our exploration and a quick dip at the Blue Water Cave by the banks of Pulangi River. We excitedly hiked back to Kiokong Eco tourism station and prepared ourselves for another plunge of adventure. This time, it is rappelling Pulangi Bridge. That’s 155 feet high descend into the washing machine like waters of Pulangi. I’ve done some rappelling before but this is a first for me from a bridge.