Showing posts with label Compostela Valley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Compostela Valley. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Compostela Valley: Rafflesia flowers, Marangig Falls & Tagbibinta Falls in Maragusan

Gold had attracted me to Compostela Valley. Gold mining is actually a major industry of Compostela Valley. And Mt. Diwalwal is its most popular gold-rush site, especially after the film I Come with the Rain starring Josh Hartnett was shot there. But the gold I'm talking about is the natural beauty of the province.

Traveling by bus around Mindanao is quite orderly and easy because there are centralized bus terminals in each town, not like Metro Manila's chaotic system where each company has its own bus terminal.

From Mati, I took a bus to the Tagum Terminal. Then from there, I boarded a Butuan-bound bus which had several stops in Compostela Valley and Agusan del Sur. I got off at Nabunturan, the provincial capital, since I had an appointment at the tourism office. After making arrangements for Maragusan, I went back to the Nabunturan Terminal to catch a bus to Maragusan. Mati to Tagum was 3 hours, Tagum to Nabunturan was 1 hour, and Nabunturan to Maragusan was another 2 hours.

Later I would find out that there is actually a jeepney route directly-linking Mati to Maragusan. It was dark already when I arrived in Maragusan. So after dinner, I called it a night.

The next day, I went around Maragusan's attractions with the help of a guide arranged through the local tourism office. We also hired a habal-habal to take us to the different destinations since they were very far from each other.

My first stop for the day required some trekking. In the forests of Maragusan are pockets of Rafflesia clusters. We visited the one in Purok Malinawon, Barangay Mapawa. It was a moderate 15-minute trek up to where the Rafflesia mira buds could be found. Unfortunately, none of the flowers were in bloom.

The only time I got to see a Rafflesia in full bloom was during a visit to the Bogor Botanical Garden in Indonesia. They rarely flower so seeing one in bloom is reason enough to consider yourself lucky. The hike also afforded me some nice views of the banana plantations that dominate the Maragusan landscape.

From the Rafflesias, we proceeded to Barangay New Albay to check out Marangig Falls. Again, this one required some trekking too. Not bad since I like waterfalls. But I've seen more majestic ones.

The next waterfall seemed like it was on the opposite end of town. We motored to Barangay Coronobe to check out Tagbibinta Falls. This was the larger falls and thank God the trekking was minimal. It's actually very popular to locals and facilities have been built in the area for rest and recreation.

Although Maragusan is all about bananas, none of the bananas actually reach the local market since they all go to Dole. After having visited Kalsangi several years ago, I wanted to check out the processing facility to see how things are done.  But unfortunately, visitors need prior permission to gain access. What I didn't like about the whole thing though was their security (the ones on motorcycles) were very rude.

After lunch, I took a bus back to Nabunturan where I was to stay for the night.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ivan Henares sets foot on all 79 provinces of the Philippines

When I got off the plane this morning at the Masbate Airport, there was a strong sense of fulfillment. I could truly say that I have seen the Philippines. Masbate was the last province I had not visited. And with my arrival this morning, I am proud to say that I have visited all 79 provinces of the Philippines.

The last few weeks was hectic. I wanted to achieve the goal before 2010 ended. In October, I found myself breezing through the last four provinces of Mindanao which I had not visited yet - Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur. I endured several hours at a time on buses and boats given my limited time. And on my last day, I virtually traveled from morning until early morning the next day. I got to visit Dahican Beach, a popular surfing area in Mati, the waterfalls of Maragusan, stayed a night with the Manobo community of Sitio Panlabuhan in the Agusan Marsh, and marveled at the spectacular Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig.

Just yesterday, I had arrived from a 1800-kilometer drive around North Philippines to visit Abra, Apayao, Kalinga and Quirino. The views during the drive were so refreshing. It made me even prouder of our country. Highlights of the trip included visits to the Tayum Church, a National Cultural Treasure, the ruins of the Pudtol Church, the Chico River and Dam in Tabuk, and a peek inside the Aglipay Caves.

And just as soon as I arrived home, I found myself packing my bags again for Masbate. The Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary is a must-visit when in Masbate City. It has an islet or sandbar with various species of mangrove trees. During high tide, you might be lucky to spot a pawikan amongst the trees since there are a lot of them there.

I still can't sleep since the high from having visited all the provinces of the Philippines is one-of-a-kind! The Philippines is such a beautiful place.

Update: Dinagat Islands was reinstated as a province in March 2011. With my visit to Dinagat Islands late last year, I've visited all 80 provinces of the Philippines.
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