June 17, 2018 – Good Times Come To An End
And just like that, our Northern Mindanao adventure is about to wrap up. But before finally closing out another chapter, Joy and I have one more destination to tick off our list. Planning our last did was no walk in the park for we had so many choices. In the end, we settled for Dahilayan Adventure Park in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. Our other options included hopping off a bus to Iligan City and taking the entire day off while waiting for our departure flight.
Just like our other adventure in Northern Mindanao, we had to rely on the internet for information; our itinerary was merely a framework but it wasn’t complete. From our hotel, we rode a taxi to Agora Bus Terminal; it is the main jump off point to the other areas in Northern Mindanao. At the terminal, we asked around until we spotted shuttle vans plying the area. Shuttle vans convey passengers only up to Camp Phillips but visitors can request to be transported up to the Adventure Park. However, we had to pay extra for this.
A cheaper option for travelers is to take a bus headed to either Camp Philips or Manolo Fortich. Inform the bus conductor your destination so that it won’t be missed. Alight at the junction. From the junction, negotiate with habal-habal drivers to take you to the Adventure Park. Fare is around PHP 300 one way and the habal-habal can accommodate up to two passengers.
After a nearly two-hour ride, we reached Dahilayan Adventure Park. Parts nature park, adventure park, themed park, and resort, Dahilayan Adventure Park is a vast landscape dedicated for outdoor leisure tucked in the slopes of the Kitanglad Range. It is also slowly emerging as a premier destination for thrill seekers and those who are also seeking refuge in nature. The atmosphere and the view in Dahilayan reminded me of home. The cold breeze, the towering pine trees, and the vibrant view is reminiscent of the Cordilleras.
Before one can enter and enjoy the park, however, one must pay the entrance fee. For kids (10 years old and below), entrance fee is PHP 80.00 whilst for adults, entrance fee is PHP 130.00. As it was Sunday, the adventure park was teeming with activities. For Filipinos, who are known to be family-oriented, Sundays mean spending quality time with the family. Children and parents are up and about. The air is filled with glee and puerile joy.
A variety of rides and activities is available for adventure seekers of all ages. You can check their website for a list of all available rides and activities with the corresponding rates. Despite the wide range of activities, Joy and I agreed to try the park’s most popular activity – the zipline. Dahilayan’s 840-meter dual zipline is Asia’s first, and with a drop of 100 meters, it is not for the faint of heart. It was, however, an activity I was looking forward to as it is going to be my first zipline experience. This Northern Mindanao adventure is indeed memorable for its many first-times.
When we paid for the zipline fee of PHP 500.00, Joy and I were transported to the launch tower via a four-wheel drive cruiser. The bumpy ride through the wilderness was in itself a part of the adventure. Actually, I was a little reluctant about all of this and my heart was racing. Perhaps it was adrenaline rushing. Whenever I am on the cusp of a new experience, my heart beats wildly and this is no different but I am already invested. Yes to first time!
Whoo. Breathe in, breathe out. And before I knew it, I was soaring above the canopy. It was adrenaline rushing and I was exhilarated. If only I could capture it all through the lens. The view was amazing and the sensation was unbelievable. The breeze hitting my face while I accelerate down was refreshing. As quickly as we launched, we reached the base. It was all too quick but it left such wonderful impressions on me. I wanted to go back and relive the experience but that is enough for a first time.
To while away the time, Joy and I explored the area. As we wouldn’t want to miss our flight, we left early in the afternoon. But before leaving, we purchased keepsakes. In the parking area, there were vendors who were selling their produce. The avocados immediately grabbed my attention. They were plump and inviting. It was also sold at a cheaper rate so I didn’t hesitate in purchasing a couple of kilos. Dang, I have to think of the excess baggage now. Oh well.
We left early also because returning to Cagayan de Oro is challenging and we’re not really that familiar with the area. To go back to Camp Phillips, we negotiated with habal-habal riders who were waiting for passengers. With the negotiation done, we departed for Camp Phillips. Thankfully, the habal-habal rider we hired was amiable and was very willing to tour us around the area. Bukidnon prides itself as the food basket of Mindanao. It is also home to stretches of pineapple plantations.
On the way back to Camp Phillips, we stopped and walked around these plantations. The vast expanse converted for plantations was unimaginable. The plantation stretched far and wide and this is all dedicated for pineapples. The plantations, from what I understand, is owned by one of the biggest pineapple manufacturing companies in the world. There were some pineapple fruits that dropped to the ground and there were some that stayed intact to their stalk.
It wasn’t my first time seeing a pineapple plant as we planted some in our backyard when I was still young. However, it was my first time seeing a plantation. Such sights are ubiquitous in rural Philippines. Apart from pineapple plantations, the country is dotted with sugarcane plantations, mango plantations, and banana plantations. In stark dichotomy to the nature park, the plantation was bereft of activities. It was serene and peaceful. After snapping pictures, we resumed our journey back to Camp Phillips.
To cut the story short, we managed to catch our flight with plenty time to spare. Whilst waiting for our flight, I can’t help but reflect on my first Mindanao trip. It was, as I have mentioned, filled with first times. I can finally say that I have been to all three major island groups of the country. Despite this, I want to fly back to Mindanao because it has so much to offer. Yes, insurgency is prevalent in some parts but Mindanao is more than that. It is the promised land after all.