Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bukidnon: Hiking, Trekking, Swimming and Getting Lost in CEDAR

The Center for Ecological Development and Recreation, more popularly known as CEDAR, is located in Impalutao, Impasugong, Bukidnon. This reforestation project is jointly developed and managed by the Local Government Unit of Impasugong and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. CEDAR is now an emerging destination for those seeking highland adventures on its dense forests, cold springs and natural waterfalls. 

It was a non-working holiday when I and my two friends James and Dax went for a day hike in CEDAR. From our hometown Malaybalay, we boarded the RTMI bus which took us 17 kilometers to our destination. The moment we stepped off the bus along Impalutao highway , I instantly felt the coldness in the air.

Tall mahogany trees lining up on both sides of the unpaved path welcomed us as we made our way inside the park. A small but beautiful wooden house stood on the right. About 300 meters away from the highway is the CEDAR office where we paid the entrance fee of 10 pesos person and registered our names in the logbook. We continued our walk,  passed by a basketball court, then made our descent on the fairly wide dirt road shaded by age-old trees.


Moments later, we arrived at the man-made swimming pool, still deserted on this early morn. Students from a Cagayan de Oro City university are on the stream below the pool, collecting some sorts of samples for their class experiment. After crossing the bamboo bridge, the trail became more narrow, steep and slippery.


Natigbasan Falls was the first waterfall we passed by. But since it is facing the opposite side and is concealed by the cliff, bushes and trees, we could not actually view it from the trail. We went on with our hike and later on came face to face with the second water drop, the Gantungan Falls. To view the falls on its entirety means having to go down a very steep and slippery slope, and without the necessary safety equipment for such, we decided to be contented with seeing half of its entire length from the trail.

Gantungan Falls

At the roadside, springwater gushes out of the woods and flowed through a bamboo pole split in half. We stopped for awhile to freshen up a bit.


Crossing the second bamboo bridge made me a bit nostalgic. I could vividly recall my high school years when my classmates and I went swimming at the river below a number of times. It took me almost two decades to get back here again and I truly felt blessed to be given the opportunity.


Recalling the instructions given by the man guarding the CEDAR's entrance, we followed the trail going to the left after crossing the bridge. Though the three of us haven't gone that trail  before, we decided to follow it to see where it would lead us to. About 50 meters later we heard the rumbling sound of water falling down--Natigbasan!

 Natigbasan Falls

Still partly hidden by the mossy branches and vines, there was a bit of clearing where we caught a glimpse of its beauty. With the sunlight creeping through the woods, a small rainbow formed on the base where the water drops. Simply wonderful.

After snacking on toasted bread, we continued to follow the trail. It became more steep and slippery later on as we made our way down, holding on to tree trunks and roots for some sense of stability. Finally, we reached the river down below and marveled at the sight of the third waterfall inside CEDAR, the Dila Falls.

Dila Falls (photo by James Paulican)

We felt its misty spray even at a distance. Again, it made me remember my high school classmates, my companions the last time I went here. And that was approximately 18 years ago. God, it's been so long, and after all these years, she is still a beauty to behold.



Going up back to the trail took a bit of effort and upon reaching the top, we decided to take the left road instead of going back where we came from. It leads us to a viewing area right on top of Dila Falls. Following the same trail, we found out that it is much wider and easier to navigate than the one we previously passed.  Before we realized it, we were back on the bamboo bridge near Gantungan Falls.


After crossing the bridge, James suggested we'd turn left and enter the woods. We still have plenty of time left before lunch anyway. According to a local we met in Dila, there's another waterfall in this side and we intend to discover it. As we go deeper into the dense forest, the trail became hardly visible and some portion are covered with fallen trees. After about an hour, we realized that we're going nowhere so we decided to turn back. As we made our way back, we found out that we've already took too many wrong turns and we could not already locate the trail we previously followed. It made us decide to make a descent towards the river side. Thinking that following the river would lead us back to the bridge, getting lost in the woods gave us the opportunity for another adventure: river trekking!


The clear water felt cold on my feet as we trek along. There was one portion where the water is calm and it would have been nice to take a dip. But since we're still trying to find our way back, we continued to follow the river flow. 

After a few anxious moments we finally caught sight of the bamboo bridge. We managed to climb challenging cliff and find the trail once again. We got lost for an hour, though it just made our day hike more exciting.


We went back to the swimming pool and ate our packed lunch. We then went swimming on the freezing cold water. We really took our time to relax and share some good laughs on the (mis)adventures that we just had.

Expenses:
Bus Fare (Malaybalay to Impalutao): Php20.00
CEDAR Entrance: Php10.00
Snacks (Toasted Bread): Php20.00
Lunch: Php0.00 (we brought our own packed lunch)
Bus Fare (Impalutao to Malaybalau): Php20.00

TOTAL EXPENSES: Php70.00 (!)

This day hiking experience is my entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers' Blog Carnival for the month of October with the theme "WALKING TOUR" hosted by Glenn Martinez of Traveler on Foot.


Click the carnival logo to read previous carnival topics.

15 comments :

  1. I am looking forward to visit Bukidnon this year- sana matuloy na since I am presently assigned here in Northern Mindanao. As usual ganda ng mga shots! specially yung baging at last photo- keep it up!

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  2. balik mo dinhi earl, uban dayon mi. hehehe.

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    Replies
    1. kuyogon nato si Tupe kay kabalo to unsaon pag-naog sa Natigbasan...

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  3. Wow! Amazing.. i love the place ang ganda naman dito

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  4. wow ang ganda madmi ata talgang pwede puntahan ata sa bukidnon :)

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    Replies
    1. yes, there are plenty of outdoor adventures here waiting to be discovered. thanks for dropping by! : )

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  5. Replies
    1. Yes Cris, it was nice trail hike for less than a hundred bucks! : )

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  6. what an adventure! i wanna try this too! thanks for sharing Earl! :)

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    Replies
    1. Easy hike lang to Mervz and very accessible from the highway. : )

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  7. Hi. I am from bukidnon but never had the chance to explore this part of the bukid.. that is why, i'm going to invite friends to have the trek this november.. i am thrilled!!!

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  8. anonymous kaau ka Car.haha i know it's u!!! I'M EXOITED TO EXPLORE BUKIDNON!!!!!!!!! NOVEMBER 10-12 is fast approaching!!!!!!!!! =)

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  9. How do you get to the place? Diba sudlu-non? :o kei magroad trip mi sa akong barkada karon summer... :)

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  10. Looking forward to trek this spot. It's definitely an underrated tourist destination here in Northern Mindanao.

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  11. sooooonn, i'll let my daughter see the beauty of nature there in CEDAR....

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