Monday, March 2, 2015

Kibalabag, Malaybalay City: Where the Water Falls (Part 2 of 2)

With waterfall no. 1 successfully explored, Tupe, Dax and I followed our guide Darwin trekked down the river, hiked up the hill and descended back to the main road. It was approaching noon time and the light rain continues to drizzle in Brngy. Kibalabag.  Tupe, however, assured that the trails to our next two destinations are much shorter and easier than the first one we visited earlier. We could also see a silver lining on the overlooking spot of the hill, the weather seems clear on the southwestern side which is Malaybalay City proper.

At the main road, the two waterfalls we’re going to next can be seen neighboring each other. However, despite looking so near, going towards its basin still requires trekking on a moderately difficult river trail. We walked towards the north direction then after a short downhill portion we came across another stream traversing the road. It must have been the sixth river we came across in this barangay and I am very much impressed how abundant this place is in terms of water sources.  It is the river we’re about to trek to get to the next waterfalls. But since our stomachs are already growling in hunger, we decided to first eat our lunch at the shaded portion of the riverside.

We started trekking once again shortly after lunch. Large boulders provided imposing obstacles and the fact that we’re heading upward made the trek far from easy. Thankfully, it did not lasted long and in less than 30 minutes we already reached Dumagongdong Falls.

Dumagongdong Falls is impressively tall but has a slim cascade flowing down polished rock boulders.  It is double tiered with a shallow pool on its bottom. According to Tupe, the first basin on its upper level is more suitable for swimming. However we did not dare go there as the trail is very steep and the light rain even made it more slippery. So we just sat on the rocks and relaxed while admiring the falls beauty.

Photo taken by our guide Darwin Tala 

In getting to the next falls, simply named Kibalabag Falls, we went back to the main road, walked a few hundred meters more then came across another river which we then trekked upward.  Distance from the main road to Kibalabag Falls is nearer than Dumagongdong, however the trail is steeper and more difficult. The rainshower also got a bit stronger making it difficult to take photos with rain droplets smudging my camera lens.

As we approached the falls, we found out that a landslide occurred on the left side of the mountain. It uprooted some of the trees surrounding the falls and the clearing made it more visible from down below. We then climbed through a short but very steep portion, holding on to tree trunks to keep us from falling down. After that came a short descent and finally we reached Kibalabag Falls.

Photo taken by Tupe The Trekero Diaz

Just like the first two waterfalls we visited earlier, Kibalabag Falls has a tall height and is multi-tiered. Its drop is more powerful than Katihan and Dumagongdong but the pool on its basin is very shallow. The shallow pool, however, did not stop us from enjoying the falls thoroughly, we gave in to the temptation and showered underneath its cascades!

The ice cold waters dropping from up above washed away the tiredness our bodies felt from the day long trek. Mother nature brought out the child in each one of us as we soaked on her goodness.  The refreshing outdoor shower naturally was the highlight of this memorable hike.

Photo from Tupe The Trekero Diaz

The waterfall shower made us feel more energized in going back to the barrio. The rain still drizzled on and off and but we did not seem to mind anymore as we truly enjoyed the waterfalls hopping we just had in Kibalabag. Upon arriving at the barangay proper, we changed clothes in a shed near Darwin’s house. Her wife then served us coffee while we waited for habal-habal motorcycle to bring us home to Malaybalay.

Click this LINK to read Part 1 of Exploring Kibalag series.

Travel Tips:

1. Kibalabag is a barangay of Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. Malaybalay can be reached by bus from Cagayan de Oro City (2-3 hours), Davao City (6 hours) and General Santos City (9-10 hours).

(Image from Wikipedia)

2. Barangay Kibalabag is about 20 kilometers away from Malaybalay City proper. The fastest way to get there is by habal-habal motorcycle. Habal-habal terminal is at corner San Isidro-Moreno Streets, across Arbee’s Bakeshop and RJ Appliance (same terminal with motorcycles going to Brngy. Can-ayan).

3. One way fare is 200 pesos per motorcycle, good for 2 persons (or 100 pesos/person). If you travel solo, you still need to pay 200 pesos or wait for another passenger to share the fare. 

4. From Kibalabag proper, the hike to Katihan Falls is about 1:30-2 hours. Bring enough food and water (clean water sources are abundant here though) for the trek. Also include in your budget the food for your guide. 

5. As of this writing, there are still no established guide fees in Kibalabag. We paid 300 pesos to Darwin for the 3-falls trek which lasted from 8 AM to 2 PM.

6. You may contact Darwin at 09068622055 if you want to hire him as your guide. 

7. There are sari-sari stores in the barrio but there are no accommodations if you want to stay overnight. If you are friendly enough, you may ask to stay in one of the local homes.  Just be courteous and respectful of their customs and traditions.

8. Abaca-made products are being sold as an alternative source of livelihood for the locals. Support the community by buying some for yourself or as pasalubong. 

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