October 8, 2010. Dawn came. I was awake the moment my alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning. People were still singing so I figured my companions might still be struggling from lack of sleep. I plugged my ears again and set my clock at 5:00 AM. By the time the alarm started, I was drowned by the sudden silence. The singing stopped and the drunken revelers had packed and gone. It was still dark outside though so I went back to snooze.
I was suddenly awakened by someone grabbing my foot. It was 6:00 AM. The sun was about to rise. I was filled with awe the moment I stepped foot on the beach. The low tide exposed a wide desolate beach. The cumulus clouds had a tinge of orange. It was a moment inspired by God. Acknowledging this, we started our morning devotional on the beach facing the rising sun. It was a glorious moment. The majestic sunrise signified the presence of God on our trip.
Afterwards, everything was a rush. By 7:00 AM a van was already waiting to bring us to DIvisoria. We still had our tents pitched so we had no time to take a shower or eat breakfast. Immediately we packed our gears and set out to DIvisoria.
The Metro Manila concept of Divisoria is a large marketplace for all sorts of things. There you could buy the cheapest clothes, fruits, vegetables and all sorts of odds and ends. The Cagayan De Oro concept is very different. It is a park or plaza flanked by fast food restaurants and shops.
There are fruit stands which sell the local produce but they’re nothing like the Manila Divisoria which offers domestic and imported fruits in wholesale.
We ate a quick breakfast. Then we located the next van which will take us to the zip lines, the major activity for that day in our itinerary.
It was along ride to the zip lines. From Cagayan de Oro we were to travel to Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich Bukidnon. I slept most of the way (not surprising!), I was awakened when we reached the rough roads. I was amazed when saw the scenery. I have known Bukidnon to be the pineapple plantation of the Philippines, but I never expected that we would get a tour of the place. We were at the Del Monte Pineapple plantation and we couldn’t see anything but pineapple plants for miles around. It was such a great sight that I was grateful that I woke up. There were amazing sceneries that really had to be captured on the camera.
Minutes later, we entered the gates of Zip Zone. The drive was approximately 1-2 hours, but it was all worth it. We had a go at the zip lines by 10 or 11 AM. There were three zip lines in all. One is shortest is 180 meters, the second is 340 meters and the longest is 840 meters. The 840 meter line was boasted as the longest in all of Asia.
The first leg of the line was the 340 meters, then the shortest 180 meters. First, a harness that supported from the waist to the thighs and a helmet were worn tightly. Then in a sitting position, we would ride the first line of steel cables in groups of two to the other end of the mountain. It was like floating a few hundred meters above the ground. At first impressions, 340 meters was really short, however, upon seeing the line itself, you’d find yourself riding the length of two hills. Afterwards, we were to carry the steel contraptions on the steel wires to the next line. This time we had to line up one at a time. It was short but sweet. Afterwards, you had to remove both harness and helmet and then walk the short stairway back to the main entrance of the park.
To ride the longest line, we had to ride a huge 4 x 4 ride waiting at the main entrance to reach the starting point of the zip line. Prior to riding, we were given helmets to wear. The 4×4 ride was in itself an attraction of the place. It was like a roller coaster ride on the ground. We were shouting and joking around as the vehicle bumped on cracks, sped on turns and nearly tumbled on the wild rough roads. Upon reaching the starting point of the zip line, we were each fitted with a harness that covered your whole body. If the first two lines were done sitting down, the last and longest was done lying down. You were literally hanging on what seemed like a basket and going down with the speed of 60km/h on an 840 meter long steel cable. If for years, men had difficulty imagining what it was like to fly, riding the zip line gives you the whole experience. It was really like flying. The line would pass by a rain forest with lots of conifers and mossy growths. At one point, you’d notice that you were flanked by two mountains in an instant. I was shouting with joy while on the line and was screaming hoarse after the trip.
Packages for the zip lines range from 600 to 2000. We took the highest package which included snacks and lunch as well as a 21-rapids white water rafting ride. However, the rafting would have to wait as we would test those rapids on another day.
“Camiguin is of volcanic origin and composed of four young stratovolcanoes overlying older volcanic structures. The last eruption was fromHibok-Hibok in 1953, and it is still considered as active. The other major volcanic edifices are Mt. Vulcan,671 meters (2,201 ft), northwest of Hibok-Hibok; Mt. Mambajao,1,552 meters (5,092 ft) in central Camiguin; Mt. Guinsiliban,581 meters (1,906 ft), southernmost Camiguin; and Mt. Uhay, north of Mount Guinsiliban. The other domes and cones are Campana Hill, Minokol Hill, Tres Marias Hill, Mt. Carling, Mt. Tibane, and Piyakong Hill.”
From the zip line, we had to get back to Cagayan de Oro. From there, we awaited another van that would take us to Balingoan port area to take the ferry to the island. The trip lasted for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. We reached the port area by 3:00 PM. The ferry would board by 4:00 PM and would take another 1 ½ hour voyage to the island. From there, another van was ready to pick us up.
In these kinds of trips, a delay should be expected. Instead of leaving the port by 4:00 PM, the ferry left by 4:30 due to an unfortunate incident. Another ferry needed repairs, so the passengers had to be transferred to our ferry. There were also cars and vans that had to be loaded on the ferry. Thus, we arrived at Camiguin Island by 7:00 PM.
From the port area of Camiguin Island, our van brought us to TESDA where we will spend two nights. At 500 pesos per person, we got a fully air conditioned dormitory type rooms that could fit a minimum of 10 people per room.
Upon settling down, we immediately headed to Ardent Springs Resort, where we had a nice dip at the hot springs (sauna hot). The waters on the resort were natural hot springs from the volcano, thus it was really relaxing and therapeutic. You could enjoy the moment sitting in one corner of the vast pool. The resort had several pools with different levels of heat. The topmost was the coolest, the second was the shallowest and the hottest of all. The water would then flow down the wider 3rd pool which was warm. The lowest was probably the lukewarm pool but I haven’t tried it, preferring the warmer 2nd pool.
The day was filled with fun and excitement. I realized that I really should invite other people here and experience the wonderful sights of the pineapple plantation in Bukidnon, as well as the Zip lines. Then the boat ride to Camiguin Island where the hot springs are really therapeutic.