Travel Period: February 10 - 12, 2012
Destination: Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Ozamiz, Marawi and Cotabato City
Region X - Northern Mindanao
Northern Mindanao is one of the regions here in the Philippines and its interesting to know that this region is adjacent to the rest of the regions in Mindanao namely the Zamboanga Peninsula, ARMM, SOCCSKSARGEN, Davao and Caraga region. Among the 5 provinces that comprises Northern Mindanao, only Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental that I haven't been to. I have already visited Bukidnon and Misamis Occidental including the island province of Camiguin. This time, I wanted to explore the remaining provinces where visiting the City of Majestic Falls was the main plan.
The Grueling Ride
My travel buddy this time was Jesisa aka Dora as the side-kick of the explorer. Hehe. We met at the DCOTT bus terminal at Ecoland around 11pm and left Davao bound to Cagayan de Oro as the first stop. I must say that night travel is the one of the things I don't like in commuting because I don't have a chance to witness and capture the vista of a countryside. So, the only choice we have is to sleep but that time our seat positions was not that ideal for sleeping since there is no front seat that we can lean on. And it ends up that we have a staggered naps during the whole bus ride and finally reached the first stop at CDO after a 7 hours of grueling ride.
The Soothing Ride
We arrived at Agora bus terminal around past 6am, we took our breakfast at the terminal, hailed a cab bound for Bulua bus terminal where bus bound to west are stationed while we looked for some ATM machines en route for cash withdrawal. At the bus terminal, we aboard a bus bound to Iligan and this time, we chose the comfortable bus seats positions. After all of the sleepless night, able to take our breakfast, I finally regain my strength and the best thing is that we're traveling in broad daylight while going to our destination and have the opportunity to witness those wonderful panoramas along the roadside.
City of Majestic Waterfalls
When we arrived at the entry of the city, it's sad to say that the damage of the typhoon Sendong is still evident. The calamity destroyed properties, displaces family and even killed people that devastated last December 2011. Nevertheless, we continued on our journey, finally checked on the my visited province list for Lanao del Norte and dropped by at the bus terminal where a Tent City for evacuees was setup nearby. We rode a jeepney bound to the city proper, alighted then rode another jeepney and finally alighted at the crossing of NPC Nature's Park where the majestic Maria Cristina Falls is also located.
Maria Cristina Falls
We paid an entrance fee at the park, board the service vehicle and started the tour. The first stop was the Botanical and Zooligical Gardens, it houses to crocodiles, ostriches, insects like butterflies and a small pond for fishes. After spending some minutes at the garden, we decided to proceed unto the next stop, the Maria Cristina Falls and upon seeing the falls, undeniably this is really the city of majestic waterfalls. The falls can be viewed from a building where the power generation thing is happening and you can have a vantage point of the falls when you are in the third floor of the building.
After touring at the park, we hired a local for a motorcycle ride to Tinago Falls. Tinago in local dialect means hidden and with its location, surely it is hidden. Getting to Tinago Falls is not an easy thing. You need to hire a motorcycle or navigate the rough road using your private car up to the entrance of the falls. From there, you need some local guides to lead you the falls. After that you need to trekked down a series of stairs to finally reach the falls. When we arrived at the site, we were amazed of how the falls is really beautiful and unluckily, swimming that time was not on our plan, maybe will try it next time will visit the falls. We spent few minutes at the area, took some photos and later decided to back track up to the city. Just a note though, trekking up and down requires a lot of physical strength, my buddy almost fainted during the course and thank God she didn't.
Serenity At Ozamiz City
After Tinago Falls, we took our lunch at the city proper of Iligan and then boarded a bus bound to Ozamiz City by afternoon. Ozamiz City can be reached from Iligan thru a 1 and half hours of bus ride and approximately 30 minutes travel of RORO ferry boat. Arriving at the city. we went to Country Lodge for our accommodation which is only a walking distance from the pier. We navigate at the city proper, took some photos, went to a church, strolled at the plaza and bought some foods at the mall.
February 12, 2012, Sunday is a travel day. Why travel day? Because this is the day starting from early morning up to late night where we only travel from Ozamiz up to our hometown Davao City. Can you imagine yourself seating, transferring from one vehicle to another for the entire day and travel for more than a hundreds of kilometers in distance? Well, we just enjoyed the scenery that we passed by.We wake up really early in the morning, leave the city back to Iligan. We then boarded a jeepney bound to MSU-Marawi which is part of my plan to pass through the ARMM and SOCCSKSARGEN provinces. Arriving at the Islamic state of Marawi is a another experience, lots of checkpoints on the road and its my first time to actually saw a Muslim woman who dressed up completely in black, only their eyes can be seen and the rest are covered. The MSU - Marawi campus has a cool environment just like in Baguio but not that really cold. From Marawi City, we boarded a van bound to Cotabato City. And from Cotabato City, we took a bus bound to Davao and finally, its a home sweet home after an entire day of traveling.
After all the hours of travel back and forth, witnessed those magnificent waterfalls, explored to places I've never been to, I just want to thank God for this wonderful journey that we have and for keeping us safe for the entire trip.
Thank you and God bless us all!