If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera. -Lewis Wickes Hine
The internet can get too overwhelming sometimes and what you see online isn’t exactly what it seems. For my trip in Bukidnon, I had zero planning, as per usual. I did not even read any travel blogs on where to go, what to do, place to visit, and the likes. Nothing against travel bloggers and blogs but it’s just a personal choice. Although I know it saves you time but I might get disappointed and feel short changed if it’s not what I expect the place to be. And most times, bloggers use all adjectives there is, that it’s missing the point. As for this entry, I’ll share my experience of Bukidnon through photos. You can say that there might not be any difference from the rest. For one, I think places are not something we tell readers about but something that should be experienced. Well, Bukidnon is not something you should read or search about. It’s definitely a place you need to cross out your bucket list. Let this be a visual diary of my travel in Bukidnon.
I traveled to Mindanao by boat, bus, and bike. My boat trip from Cebu to Cagayan via 2GO shipping was a bit frustrating. The departure time was supposedly at 8:00 PM but it was delayed for 5hrs. No explanation was given by the management and passengers were sitting ducks at the terminal. No one knew why it took so long for us to board. None of the crew from the shipping line gave any explanation and it’s as if nothing happened. That’s a sad thing when it comes to shipping or even airline companies. Zero customer service and even if you complain, nothing happens anyway. To think I hurried my way to the port thinking I would be late and have to re-book my trip. On the brighter side, I made it. I haven’t experienced travelling with my bike on a plane. I think it would cost me more. As for travelling by boat, I only had to pay a hundred for my cargo. I also carried my own bike without asking any help from a porter. From Cagayan, I pedaled my way to the Agora bus terminal where I felt robbed from the bus porters. I never asked and I don’t need anyone’s help in carrying my bike. I can do it on my own. And I really hate when people offer to help you, when you didn’t even ask nor need any, then charge you money right after. I only asked what’s the next bus en-route Bukidnon and then they forcefully took my bike from me. I was left speechless and forced to pay them money for putting my bike in the cargo area. That’s something I can do myself. That’s really a terrible thing to do to tourists or travelers.
Kalamagan and Pineapple Plantation
After the 4hr bus ride from Cagayan, I met up with BMV, who was waiting for me at Valencia, Bukidnon. No time was wasted when I arrived and I had to bike my way to their house in Lurugan. It’s approximately 13km from the highway or more. It was all dirt/off road and comparing it here in Cebu, it’s so much different in Bukidnon. It’s purely dirt road with zero to less tire tracks from motorbikes that could have at least made it easier to to pass through. Not that I want it easy, alright. The road really seemed endless, too. Even if I just arrived from Cebu, I didn’t care. No rest for the wicked. I took my bike, and cruised through pineapple plantations, with BMV as my guide. Bukidnon is to die for beautiful. To say they have awesome trails is an understatement. What they lack in white sand beaches and blues, they make up for it with their mountains. Everything is instagram worthy. And whatever I felt during the trip, it made it all worth it. And it was just my first day! Pineapple plantations were just everywhere, even on the highway. If I had a choice, I would gladly live there on a heart beat. I’d look for work in the pineapple plantation. Because I already learned how to slice and peel a pineapple. I know it’s not rocket science but it’s another achievement unlocked for me.
Just when I thought Cebu bus riders and drivers are rude to cyclists then I was wrong. Well, theirs is really the highway to hell. The bus drivers really go for the kill. It’s like they don’t even care at all. This is based on my experience while riding on the highway. We all know there’s higher percentage of bike crash on the road compared on the trail. Because we have a lot of jack asses of a driver. In Bukidnon, they have longer and wider roads but bus riders are more brutal. It could be because of the long distance drives but that should not be an excuse. Roads should be shared to cyclists.
We had to pedal our way to the peak. So it’s really inevitable to bike on the road, my least favorite. The uphill climb was a short one at 2km but I had a hard time. I even have to stop occasionally cause I was always gasping for breath. The uphill climb isn’t that steep but air is thinner because of we’re at 646 meters asl. When we reached the peak and view deck, I nearly wanted to cry. It was so beautiful up there. I have no more words. If I was to describe it, it’s exactly the same feeling when you watch viral videos of a guy proposing to a girl. That momentarily awwww… That kind of thing. Totally different from the trails I’ve ridden in Cebu. If you want to have high altitude training, it’s better to do it in Bukidnon. Cyclists here are legit and strong. I mean, c’mon, if you’ve only seen their training grounds. They talk the talk and walk the walk.
Most of the the activities of the Kaamulan Festival is held in the Kaamulan grounds. On normal days, it serves as one of the nature parks in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Everything looked awesome and there wasn’t even any entrance or maintenance fee. This was just a side trip while on the way to the Monastery of the Transfiguration. I was told they have a coffee plantation and I cannot miss the opportunity to be in a coffee plantation! I live for coffee so I need to be there. We biked a total distance of 70km plus from Valencia to Malaybalay, Bukidnon. All that for monk’s blend coffee. So, yeah, it’s not just coffee. It’s blood, sweat, and tears.
Monastery of the Transfiguration
If there’s anything I regret not doing during my one week stay in Bukidnon, it’s failing to immerse in their local culture. It’s one thing to explore the place by bike, and and amazing one at that, but learning their way of life is also different. I prefer immersion over reading about it on Wikipedia or Google. Perhaps on my next visit. Staying there for a week ain’t enough. I loved how simple life was in Bukidnon. We never even bothered looking at the time cause there wasn’t any need for it. All we had to do was eat, sleep, bike. It’s just sad that there are a few places that we can’t go to even if it’s very much accessible by bike cause of the presence of bandits. But I’m more concern and afraid of “elements” and those who live among us. I know what you’re thinking but yes, I’m chicken like that.