OZAMIZ CITY | Knowing and Visiting Ozamiz

I was so tired from my Hindang Adventures that I was adamant on taking travelling, but that was my maternal grandparents death anniversary — so I had to go. I only agreed to travel if my mom and I would stop by the Fort Santiago of Ozamis City. It was my first time to visit the Fort Santiago even if I’ve traveled down this road since my toddler days. 

My mom hailed from the Green City of the Philippines — Oroquieta City, but never once did we, as family, stopped by the Fort Santiago. This trip, I made it a plan to visit the lonely fort of Ozamiz by the bay.

We started off our travel from Iligan City, taking the Rural Transit bus for Ozamis City. It was a weekend, and commuters from Lanao Del Norte to Ozamis City is usually in heaps on the weekends. Good thing my mom and I started early on the road. We took a barge or the Daima’s Roll On, Roll Off (RORO) ferries that transports passengers, cars/trucks and goods across the Panguil Bay.

Here’s a sight to take. Less than 5minutes from the Mucas port is this sight not to disregard. Lining the shore are thick mangrove plantation by the locals, playfully framing the bay. Mangroves are either tree or shrubs growing in saline coastal habitat, it helps in anchoring erosion, as well as, host young marine organism as it networks the it’s coastal food webs.

Ozamis is officially known as OZAMIZ with a “Z”, unfortunately, I was one of those that knew no better using the Ozamis term for some time now. So, I guess, we can start off, thogether — or I , alone, with knowing Ozamiz with the “Z”. When we got to city, we headed directly off to Cotta Shrine, which is at the right side of the Ozamiz Port (Map : HERE). 

Before I loose you. The Fort Satiago was built by Jesuit Fr. Jose Ducos in the 1700’s  and is also known as Kota, or what it is now spelled as, Cotta It is an old Spanish seafront Cotta Fort called Fuerza de Senora De Concepcion del Triunfo de Pangsi, and its western walls now hold the Cotta Shrine of the miraculous growing image of Nuestra Señora del Triunfo (Our Lady of Triumph). 


Am I am about to go through it’s gates and visit this fort by the Panguil Bay.
TRAVEL NOTES:
+
 Commute! If you’re travelling solo or less that 5, it is better to commute. Saves the carbon footprint and helps the environment too..^^
+ Don’t just stay inside the ferry boat. Get out and check out the Ozamis from Mucas’ point of view. It’s nice to travel when the sun is about to rise or set. But best if you travel early. Commuting crowd is thick during the early evening.
+ Bring your cap / hat / bandanna / Headware just because. Rarely does is it windy but you can never tell.

You might like to read and check the rest of the OZAMIZ CITY SERIES:


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“Like all great travellers,
 I have seen more than I remember, 
and remember more than I have seen.
 ~Benjamin Disraeli
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ILIGAN CITY | Dodiongan Falls

Two days after Hindang excursion I got to visit Brgy. Bonbonon, Iligan City. The Brgy. Bonbonon is the host barangay of Dodiongan Falls, which is 14.5 km from the city proper — distance and leg cramps from Hindang Cave trail didn’t stop me. 
The visit was unplanned and had adventure written on it at every angle. LotLot invited me to join her visit the falls as they make a delivery to Brgy. Bonbonon. It was a far-from-city-proper barangay and somehow she made their client (Kagawad of the barangay)  to have her daughter take us to the trail to the falls. LOL! Who was I to decline — anak ng kagawad na ung mag.to-tour s’min. Since it was a weekday, I only contacted those who were available, and Xy-za of PurpleSlipperz was the one who could only make it.


Like I said, it was unplanned and we just hitched on a delivery truck. We were crammed up inside the truck on our way to the barangay with all our excitement bottled and cramped inside with us. It turns out, we passed by the subdivision where Xy-za resides. She kept laughing saying she never went far beyond the subdivision. When we got to the barangay, they transferred the load off the back of the truck and had driver take us to the start of the trail. Xy-za and I took the rest of the drive at the back — ofcourse! *grins*

The road going to Dodiongan Falls is both developed and undeveloped, it being the Bukidnon-Iligan Road that is currently under construction. Expected you will have smooth sailing trip on the road and then some rugged rough road ahead. The road would then split to a smaller rough road just before Brgy. Digkilaan, and from there we knew that waterfalling was just few kilometers away.


The trail starts with a metal foot bridge. The delivery truck had us “delivered” to the start of the trail, LOL!, and from that point on, it will be an a trek under the scorching heat of the sun. So it is best to wear appropriate clothing, sunblock, and bring enough water to keep you hydrated.

What I love about the Dodiongan Falls trail is that it was so easy to take, which was good for me, given I had leg  cramps and was in total discomfort. The walking trail was so easy to navigate that I could go back there without any tour guide to get me by. This is because this trail is used by people in some remote settlements around the area. You would see a nipa hut here, a woman washing clothes there, and evidences that people live around the trail.

We get to cross the stream and had our feet wet. Our guide, Jam, traverse through rocks on the stream and had not one of her toes wet. I don’t trust my feet for those maneuvers, so LotLot, Xy-za and I made our way to the other bank with wet feet. The trail will then follow the water upstream, and an assurance that you won’t get lost along the way. We kept on asking how far we were from the Falls and as soon as we heard crashing waters, we knew it was minutes away to get us there. This is the first peak you’ll get of the falls. The trail leads you to elevated footholds and land areas and you will also realize that you’ve ventured into a corner of the mountain with it’s sides covered in rich foliage.


The trail leads you to a path with thick shrubs and grasses around you. This is how Dodiongan Falls looks like when you’re in front of it from that part of the trail. Pardon the bushes upfront, I’m not tall enough to take a shot pass it. *grins*

We excitedly made our way through these bushes. Which BTW, is the reason that you may need to use insect repellent with insects flying and crawling around.


It was near noon when we got to there — but we didn’t mind. Dodiongan Falls is handsome in it’s 65 ft water drop. Massive. Daunting. Beautiful in a strong way. And we made it here! 

The Falls has a huge, irregularly shaped boulder for the water to flow on, and just in the middle is a protruding rock that separates the flow of the water drop into two. It has the same characteristic as the Hindang Falls of Brgy. Hindang, as both are slide falls,  gliding through a large slab of rock and in continuous contact with it. The diffence is Hindang Falls is quiet calm and serene while the Dodiongan Falls is massive and heavy on the water.


It has a large plunge pool ideal for swimming. The water is clear and cold as it makes it’s way downstream through large boulders framing the plunge pool.

This one in particular is used as diving/jumping spot for locals to the plunge pool. LotLot braved up and climbed up that rock and was a perfect shot to take. Believe me that I am in no other way programmed to do climbing stuff! But still..
I was not able to swim that day and I was confident not to because I’ll be visiting Dodiongan Falls some time soon — for a tree planting event. My next visit to it would be a dip in the pool waters and a swim towards it’s rock shelters — if it is safe to, that is. I was happy having I to see it and enjoy my lunch there.
TRAVEL NOTES:
+ Wear appropriate clothing for trekking. Bring umbrellas or caps to shield away the heat of the sun.
+ You will have to cross the stream twice, wear appropriate footwear. You will get your feet wet. There’s no other way —- do not say, I did not warn you! =D
+ Use sunscreen and insect repellents.
+ Bring with you your own provisions, there’s no store in sight once you start on the road to Brgy. Bonbonon.
+ Bring your swimsuits and use them! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to swim on this first visit
Directions | How To Get To Dodiongan Falls:
***Post Date: July 2011
      Updated: October 2012
1. Iligan City City proper to Dodiongan Falls, Brgy. Bonbonon
    A.1. Jeepney: City Proper to Barinaut Terminal
            Map: HERE, Fare: 7.50 Php, Time Travel: ~10mins.
             — Take the Habal-habal: Barinaut to Dodiongan Falls Trail Start Point
                   Fare: 30Php/head, Time Travel: 20-30mins
    B. 1. City Proper to Bonbonon and Digkilaan:
             — Take a Digkilaan Jeepney Line at the Public Market Jeepney Terminal (Old Iligan City Boulevard)
             — Tell the driver to drop you off the Dodiongan Falls
                   Fare: 30-45Php, Travel Time 30-45mins
             — Take the Habal-habal: Forked Road to Dodiongan Falls Start Trail
                   Fare: 10-15Php/head, Time Travel: 30-45mins
                    *** Note: It may take you awhile to get Habal-habal.
    C. Taxi (no metered taxi available, rate as agreed by passenger and driver)
         *** Note: It might be VERY costly!
    D. Private Car
2. Dodiongan Falls Trail (Trek Time: ~20mins upstream)
    — Start Point: Pre- TS Sendong: Metal bridge
                           Post – TS Sendong: Location of Washed Away Metal Bridge
    — Take the upstream trail, you get to cross the stream at twice. Just follow the trail or stream and you won’t get lost.
    — Trek Trail Level of Difficulty: Pre – TS Sendong:  Easy 
                                                      Post – TS Sendong: Easy to Moderate

You might also like to check out the rest of the ILIGAN WATERFALL SERIES posts:
Ma. Cristina Falls    Tinago Falls       Limunsudan Falls
Mimbalot Falls         Hindang Falls    Kalubihon Falls
Dodiongan Falls       Pampam Falls   Dalipuga Falls

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 “To awaken quite alone in a strange town
is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”
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OZAMIZ CITY Transportation Guide | How To Get There & Directions

Misamis was an Old Spanish town, which existed as far back as the Spanish era and was conquered strangely not by force of arms, but through faith by some Jesuit Missionaries. Though obscure, the origin of the name “Misamis” is believed to have been derived from the Subano word “Kuyamis” which is a variety of coconut. During the years the name persisted as an inference of geographical location and upon the advent of the Spanish settlers. The word “Kuyamis” easily gave way to the more conveniently pronounceable but corrupted word “Misamis”.

Directions, and How to Get There Details for  Ozamiz City:
*** Fares may change depending on approved rates:
***POST DATE : July 25, 2011
      UPDATED: June 11, 2012
CAGAYAN DE ORO – ILIGAN:
      ::: Private Vehicle
               Travel Time: 1H 30mins
      ::: Bus:  Bulua (CDO) – Northbound (Iligan) Bus Terminal
               Travel Time: 2H
               Travel Time Interval: 15mins.
               Fare: Regular      85Php
                        SP/Senior  85Php
***CDO-Iligan and vice versa bus fare is presently at 85Php. A discounted fare rate for TS Sendong (Washi) affected areas/cities.
*** No metered taxi
*** Fares: Regular       8.00Php
                 SP/ Senior  7.50Php
ILIGAN – MUCAS
   :::  Private Vehicle
        Mucas Map: HERE
        Travel Time: 1H 30mins
   ::: Bus to Ozamiz City via Mucas
      Take the bus at North/South Bound Bus Terminal of Iligan City (Map :HERE)
           Travel Time: 1H 30mins
           Fare: 95Php
MUCAS PORT – OZAMIZ PIER (Mucas Map: HERE, Ozamiz Map : HERE )
   ::: Ferry / RORO
           Travel Time: 30-45mins
           Ferry Fare:     20Php/child or senior
                                 25Php/head
                                 300Php/private vehicle, driver is free from ferry fare
*** Metered taxi available
            Flag down rate: 40Php
*** Rela/Pedicab
             Fares: Regular  10Php
                
You might like to read and check the rest of the OZAMIZ CITY SERIES:

ILIGAN CITY | Hindang Falls

Hindang Falls is approximately 20km from the city proper and is accessible through Brgy. Hindang. As we set off our Hindang Adventure our second itinerary was the Hindang Falls, and I was eager to get my feet wet and check out the falls. I was not disappointed. Not one bit. The trail going to Hindang Falls is better than Tinago Falls. It was short with a 7-10mins trek and manageable trail. It also brings in a surprise factor as the trail weaves it’s way to a secluded part of the mountain and takes you to a small opening where Hindang Falls calmly sits.
You can tell that not many visits Hindang Falls since the trail is covered with grass and we had to trust our guides to get us there. There are parts of the trail that was eroded, grasses have over taken the trail and gives you a difficulty in finding sturdy footing.
Hindang Falls is actually a 2-tiered waterfalls, with a total water drop of 40ft.  This is the second water drop as the first one is not accessible. It has lagoon with calm and cold water which is ideal for swimming. And I couldn’t wait to take a dip. And yes! — I was the first one in the water, ofcourse! LOL! The lagoon is small and it is about 4ft deep when I am 5-7m away from the falls. I would have loved to swim towards it but I didn’t trust my legs for a good swim after the trek we did to Hindang Cave.
So, I was satisfied to test-try the Hindang Falls water for you guys in the enclosed area that is calming, quite and be lost in trance at. You can see that the falls is a massive piece of rock with a smooth surface and somehow, the water manages to flow on a protruding curved part of it. This feature is what sets it apart from the waterfalls I’ve been to. The water trickles it’s way down the water basin just enough to cause ripples on the water surface in the lagoon.
Following the water, it tips off at the point where it drops of to large rock boulders below. You get to stare off into a view of the mountains and sky and a natural infinity pool. Nothing could beat that! This cozy area could be an ideal lunch or merienda spot for families and friends.
I like Hindang Falls for all it’s simplicity. It may not be as domineering as Ma. Cristina Falls,charming as Tinago Falls or as playful as Mimbalot Falls — there’s something to it that just hits the comfort zone. We were glad to have ended the Hindang Adventure at Hindang Falls. The day was long but the falls seemed to have took away the tiredness for the nature hike. It was one visit that was graceful in closing  this adventure.

TRAVEL NOTES:
+ Don’t forget to bring your sunblock, and swimsuits!
+ Take a dip. And if you can, swim across to the water drop of the falls if your a good swimmer. I haven’t tested it that far, I don’t know how deep the water is at that close to the falls. —> TELL ME HOW IT WENT should you’ve tried it!
+ Bring your camera/s, with it’s waterproof case/s if you must.

HOW TO GET THERE

1. Iligan City city proper to Kiwalan (Map: HERE, Time Travel: 30 – 45 mins)
*Jeepney (Fare: 14Php)
*Taxi (no metered taxi available, rate as agreed by passenger and driver)
*Private Car 
2. Kiwalan to Hindang: (Travel Time: 1 – 1 1/2 hrs)
*Jeepney (Fare: 35 – 40Php)
*Habal-Habal (Fare: 50 – 60Php)
*Private Car
3. Hindang Falls Trail (Trek Time: ~7-10mins uphill;  ~7-10mins downhill)



You might like to read the rest of the HINDANG SERIES:
Part1: Adventure Planning Mode
Part2: Attractions & Directions To Brgy. Hindang
Part3: Ambitiously Trekking the Hindang Cave Trail
Part4: Spelunking at Hindang Cave
Part5: Hindang Falls

You might also like to check out the rest of the ILIGAN WATERFALL SERIES posts:
Ma. Cristina Falls    Tinago Falls       Limunsudan Falls
Mimbalot Falls         Hindang Falls    Kalubihon Falls

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“Adventure is not outside man; it is within. “
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Photo Credits to Travel Jams

ILIGAN CITY | Spelunking at Hindang Cave

One of the scenic and must-to-go spots at Brgy. Hindang, Iligan City is the Hindang Cave. A ~1hour ride to get you to this barangay in the hinterlands from the city proper and a 2-3hour uphill trek to get to Hindang Cave. The trail is good for the experienced trekkers and for people who are physical conditioned for it. All I can say is that I was not cut out for this trek but am happy I’ve done it and came out unscratched.


Because after a grueling trek uphill, we came into a canopy of trees and lush vegetation that changed our moods as well. This time we knew that the cave was near and I can stop my litany of question, “Are we there yet?”. *giggles*.. You can immediately feel the humidity in the area and hear the sounds of crickets and the like. The trail led to a downhill path. You can actually tell that the habitat for wildlife has changed with the kind of vegetation that now surrounds the area. You cannot get any cellular signal for this or any part of the trail. So it is best to leave the works and worries of your life and enjoy where you are at the moment. After all you are at ~600-700 feet above level (estimated level: DraftLogic) and about to see the not-so-visited gorgeous Hindang Cave.


We have yet to go down on what it looks like a basin of vegetation to get to the opening of the cave. But as soon as we saw it — it stopped us in our tracks. Covered with curtains of greens from the top, vines cascading everywhere, and framed with light-colored massive limestone rock facade, is Hindang Cave– I just knew I was blessed to have made it there and get to experience what Mother Nature has unfolded in front of us.


And then silence just got the best of us and that eerie feeling that you are somewhere deep in the mountains and this huge mouth hole of cave gaping at you. You’re awed for a second or two — or even few.

We finally made it — just before noon, for a break and our lunch. I was ecstatic for some spelunking! This will be my first suuuper massive cave to scare myself into with 6-8 cave cluster as my research said it was. LOL! Here’s the adventure seeker in me pushing out the fear of the dark, unknown, and closed areas away. I was half scared and half excited. It was the thrill that I will be willingly swallowed into this massive mouth hole of the cave. And I was, all, up for it.


We made it down the pathway through the cave opening. This was the biggest chamber of the all chambers inside. The view looking up the opening is just beautiful with the light shining in. 

Next to this “receiving” chamber is another chamber — but this one is dark and is massively walled up. The walls are irregularly shaped with jutting surfaces in odd shapes.

Shyly waiting for us at one side is a narrow opening just enough for you to bend down to a squat to get to the inner chambers. I was having second thoughts of going through but the guides ahead of us said that opening is pretty short.

This was some shots I took inside. It turns out that a digital camera has way better adjustment and clarity in photos than a DSLR would. Deep within the cave, lighting was a problem, and since SLRs actually uses light to take a shot, it was quiet impossible to make one here, in a few seconds, without proper lighting. So I would suggest to bring both types of camera’s or additional lighting if you can. 

The one small thing in this huge cave that saddened me is this. This is a stalagmite in eye-level. The guides told us that the locals had cut it off because they fear of the shape it was forming. And it broke my heart because what they thought was a good thing was actually a bad thing at the same time. Locals and officials should be taught about how to properly preserve these. And if you chance upon this same scenario, do it your best to tell the locals what these are and why and how they came to be what they are. The good thing is that if you check it out — this is still alive! *grins*



The stalactites in the cave chambers are alive and forming. So how do you know that a stalactite is alive? Check for drips of water at the tip. If it’s wet and you hear drops of water in a cave chamber and the surface has a powdery feel to it, you can bet that the stalactites in a limestone cave is still alive. The science to it is actually simple. Limestone contains calcium carbonate that gets dissolve in water (containing carbon dioxide) and  forms calcium bicarbonate that drips down to a tip. When it comes in contact with air, the chemical reaction is reversed and it will form back to calcium carbonate, hardening and forming into what looks like ice peaks from the ceiling.

But sour note and lectures aside, the caves are also inhabited by bats and — lots of them. Our guides were also trying to look for salag or bird’s nest for them to sell. I was impatiently asking if the “salag” I saw were the ones that they were looking for. But to my dismay, it was a bat’s nest — so they say. I only took a few shots with bats on the crevices. I know that they were more scared of me as I was of them.

 Hindang cave is by far the coolest cave I’ve been in. Inside, are connecting chambers that host darkness, dampness, and that eerie feeling that beyond is an unknown. They have 6 large chambers and 2-4 small ones. The ceilings are high and the chambers are massive. There are no stalagmites at any part of the cave. So the ground is damp and it is difficult to move around with but my dainty pink slippers. LOL!
I would have love to have stayed a little longer but the thought of having to go down the trail was torture. So we got out and readied ourselves for a downhill trek.
We were on our way down — the trek took us ~1-2hours. Much faster that we did uphill. Its a sad thought to know that I may not be able to visit Hindang Cave as much as I want to. The trail is too much for me. Maybe in some distant future when I am physical conditioned for it. For now, I’m happy to know I’ve set foot the Hindang Cave and off we go for Hindang Falls.

TRAVEL NOTES:
+ Bring flashlights.
+ Wear appropriate shoes. The ground is damp and slippery.
+ Bring cameras and it’s additional accessories.
+ budget your time. If you want to visit the Hindang Falls afterwards, it is best that you set schedules.


How To Get There:
1. Iligan City city proper to Kiwalan (Map: HERE, Time Travel: 30 – 45 mins)
*Jeepney (Fare: 14Php)
*Taxi (no metered taxi available, rate as agreed by passenger and driver)
*Private Car 
2. Kiwalan to Hindang: (Travel Time: 1 – 1 1/2 hrs)
*Jeepney (Fare: 35 – 40Php)
*Habal-Habal (Fare: 50 – 60Php)
*Private Car
3. Brgy Hindang Proper to Start of Trail: (Travel Time: 5-7mins)

*Habal-Habal (additional Fare: 5 – 10Php)
*Private Car
4. Hindang Cave Trail (Trek Time: ~2-3hrs uphill; ~1-2hrs. downhill)


You Might like to read the rest of the HINDANG SERIES:
Part1: Adventure Planning Mode
Part2: Attractions & Directions To Brgy. Hindang
Part3: Ambitiously Trekking the Hindang Cave Trail
Part4: Spelunking at Hindang Cave
Part5: Hindang Falls

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Remember what Bilbo used to say:
It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
 You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet,
there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.
–J.R.R. Tolkien
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Photo Credits to Travel Jams & Adventures In Life

ILIGAN CITY | Ambitiously Trekking the Hindang Cave Trail

It was a friend who asked if I’ve ever been to Hindang Cave or Falls, and because that I haven’t — searched for previous posts regarding both — but I couldn’t find any! 
Which saddens me.

Then frustrated me.

And made really want to go there. 
How could anyone not write about something when random people have been raving about it for some time now? After planning it for 2-3 weeks — directions to Brgy Hindang was the problem. Once I got over that, I was in it — excited nerves and all.

We had a pick-up truck, which is an ideal vehicle should you be traveling on, on some rough roads which the road to Brgy. Hindang, is. Big space for your stuff and enough leg room should  you ride on the back.
It took us an hour and a half to get to the Brgy. Gymnasium where Kagawad Aguilar met and greeted us. We signed our names on the logbook and we were officially off for a trek with 3 young men as our guides.
THE TRAIL:
We parked the car at the start point and had our guides in slippers and a large bolo which frightened me that I has to asked what it was for. He explained that it was for removing salag on the cave should they find any. I just nodded not knowing what a salag was. LOL! But I’ll get to that later. This is also a spot were you’ll get a cellular signals for all networks.. When you get to the trail, SMART network could only get one bar signal, and the rest — none! So better to send out messages that you’ll be out of coverage area for awhile while you’re here.
The trail started as easily as a flat trail with no other elements that gets in your way. Our guide took us at a fast  pace on the early leg of the trail, where it was still easy to trek and manageable for the inexperienced and the unconditioned trekkers.
Then there’s slight elevation here, a couple of streams to cross there, and tall grasses everywhere! I suggest you wear tights, cargo pants, or long shorts — something light and easy for you to move around with. After 15mins. we were told to take a break as the the next leg would be quiet difficult to take — and we did. Not because we were told to but because we had to.
And it will get worst than it already was, since I was not programmed for trekking. You get to climb a steep portion — which is by the way, the start of the grueling part of the trail. About ~60-70 deg. angle, you get to feel your knees up your chest, toes flexed as much as it can be towards your shin, and hug Mother Earth for life, *giggles* the way I did when I didn’t trust my feet anymore.
We had three guides to take us, one upfront, another at midsection, and one at the rear — for a group, this set up is full proof on not getting lost, get accidents, or other hazards you might encounter. After the steepest portion of the climb, we had a few minutes break and went up a weaving uphill climb of what is now  a constant ~30-40 deg. angle in elevation with but only foot holds, rocks, shrubs and trees for you to hold on to. Expect that either or both sides overlooking the sides of the mountain — DOWNHILL.
When hiking in groups it is best to let the slow-paced hikers take the trail with a guide uphill. This will set the pace for the rest of the group. That way, when they get exhausted and stops for a break they can still catch up and won’t be left behind. So yes, I was the one of the first uphill. I make it a mission not to follow a pack behind because I tend to tire easily and have the tendency to get lost. LOL!

Pace yourself. One of the dangers in hiking is dehydration, and exacerbation of pre-existing medical condition.  I had to take the front uphill because I know that I will tire 2-3 times faster than anyone doing the same activity I did — so I did stop and rest periods knowing I’m not the last one on the trail. And remember: also control your breathing on this part of the trail because hyperventilation may get to you.
Two-thirds on the way up was a landing area from the steepest part of the trek. we took refuge for a few minutes. and I had to take off my now torn shoes ( I slipped while crossing a stream and it got the best of of my shoes) and put on my slippers.
I know, this isn’t the appropriate pair of slippers to bring! LOL! But I had the Hindang Falls visit in mind when I packed these. So I have to use this for the remaining 1/3 left of the trail, for spelunking, going downhill!, and for the Hindang Falls trail. I was doubtful! But I had no choice. So watch out for the survival of the dainty slippers on this adventure!  LOL!
What’s remaining of the trail is a walk towards a secluded canopy of trees after through jutting rocks and lush vegetation. and before we knew it, we’ve finished our trail and we’re bound to do some spelunking. It took us hours to trek to the cave but it was all worth it. But I would visit the Hindang Cave anytime if not for the trail. It was one ambitious trek I took being inexperienced and unconditioned for it — for this is not for the faint-hearted.

TRAVEL NOTES:
+ Use your backpacks! The ones that is just enough for the things you need.
+ Wear apprpriate lothing — something you’re comfortable with.
+ Must brings: Water, Food, Sunblock & Insect Repellent, Flashlight, & Emergency Kit
+ Ask for a guide if you don’t know the trail.
+ Trek in good weather condition. The trail can be VERY slippery when it rains or had rained the days before.
+ Pace yourself . Do not go in hurry and be sorry, afterwards.

Direction and How To Get To Hindang Cave Trail:
1. Iligan City city proper to Kiwalan (Map: HERE, Time Travel: 30 – 45 mins)
*Jeepney (Fare: 14Php)
*Taxi (no metered taxi available, rate as agreed by passenger and driver)
*Private Car
2. Kiwalan to Hindang: (Travel Time: 1 – 1 1/2 hrs)
*Jeepney (Fare: 35 – 40Php)
*Habal-Habal (Fare: 50 – 60Php)
*Private Car
3. Brgy Hindang Proper to Start of Trail: (Travel Time: 5-7mins)
*Habal-Habal (Additional: 5Php)
*Private Car



How to Get Started on Hindang Trek: READ HERE
Trek Duration:
–Uphill: ~2-3hours
–Downhill: ~1-2hours
Fees:
–Trekking Fee: 5Php to be paid at the Brgy. Hindang Office beside the gymnasium
–Trek Guides: 300-400Php for 3 guides
You might like to read the rest of the  HINDANG SERIES:

Part1: Adventure Planning Mode
Part2: Attractions & Directions To Brgy. Hindang
Part3: Ambitiously Trekking the Hindang Cave Trail
Part4: Spelunking at Hindang Cave
Part5: Hindang Falls


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“Two roads diverged in a wood and I
 – I took the one less traveled by.” – Robert Frost
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Photo Credits to Travel Jams & Adventures In Life

ILIGAN CITY | Attractions & Directions To Brgy. Hindang

Finally! How to get to Brgy. Hindang

I’ve been trying to get someone to point me the directions on how to get to Brgy. Hindang for awhile now. I’ve mustered up confidence to write emails to people and offices just to get details on directions. Fortunately, I know the people who maintain the email address of Iligan City Tourism Office. So I was off Brgy. Hindang to visit the Hindang Cave and Falls after a 2-3 week planning for a Hindang Nature Hike with no progress. Imagine my excitement!
Brgy. Hindang is one of the 44 barangays in Iligan City, it is accessible through Kiwalan (map: HERE)by public utility jeepneys, habal-habal, or private vehicles. It’s one of those barangays in Iligan City that is located in the hinterlands. I was eyeing on this place because I knew that there was Hindang Cave and Waterfalls that is visited but not often enough that you don’t hear much from it. So, I wanted to get to know how to get there and find out for myself.

We started from the city proper to Brgy. Kiwalan, which is approximately 30-45mins taking the nat’l highway north bound to Cagayan de Oro City. Just tell the driver to drop you off at  the Granex main gate. Take the road that leads to the Kiwalan public market, a couple few steps from there, you will find jeepneys parked at the side of the road. 
The makeshift mini terminal is for the residents of barangays Bunawan, Kabacsanan, and Hindang — the barangays in hinterlands of Iligan City, the jeepneys has to be packed for it to take off, since there’s not much of them that travel on road. 
Sir Pat was nice enough to accommodate our trip on a Saturday with a vehicle to take us there and to be indispensably at our disposal — or something like so. But I will give you a blow by blow details on how to get there as we got off to ask the locals for it. 
The good thing about the vehicle we had was it was a pick – up truck. I got so excited to take pictures that I asked the driver to stop so that I may be able to ride behind — enough leg room, and a view without distractions. Good thing ma’am Binky and Jam came out with me. The bad thing was the roads are, uhhhhhmmm, how will I put it? half developed?! Well, there are parts ton the road that is cemented and the there are rough roads in between. I didn’t get it — really. But ma’am Bing explained that these are brgy. budgets that I guess is not enough to develop the whole length of the road.
This is simple living here. There are a few with private vehicles, but mostly people commute — on foot, on hilariously packed jeepneys, or in sardined in habal-habals. It’s a long drive and you get to cross 2 barangays to get to Hindang. The view is amazing. The road would curve and if you’re an observant, you’ll realize that you’ve been taking a road that weaves around the mountain sides.
It was a long drive but took us 1 day for both Hindang Cave and Falls — so the drive was all worth it. We had to visit both spots para makasulit. I would recommend this trip to anyone, but the trail for Hindang Cave it not for the faint-hearted. The reason behind it —is for another blog post.
TRAVEL NOTES:
+ Visit Hindang Cave: 6-8 clusters of cave after a 2-3 hour trek climbing up the mountain sides. 
*****Read: HERE
+ Visit Hindang Falls: 2 tiered waterfall with a water drop of 40ft. The water basin is ideal for swimming.
*****Read: HERE
HOW TO GET HERE:
1. Iligan City city proper to Kiwalan (Map: HERE, Time Travel: 30 – 45 mins)
*Jeepney (Fare: 14Php)
*Taxi (no metered taxi available, rate as agreed by passenger and driver)
*Private Car 
2. Kiwalan to Hindang: (1 – 1 1/2 hrs)
*Jeepney (Fare: 35 – 40Php)
*Habal-Habal (Fare: 50 – 60Php)
*Private Car
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All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
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Photo Credits to Travel Jams & Adventures In Life

ILIGAN CITY | Hindang Adventure Planning Mode

 I’ll be on an eco-adventure with a few blogger friends  this weekend. I’ve been on an Iligan City waterfalls series for some time now and I’ve only covered three, yet, of the 23 waterfalls that Iligan City hosts in it’s terrain: the Ma. Cristina FallsTinago Falls, and the Mimbalot Falls. Here’s one to add to that. I know there are a few accessible waterfalls around Iligan City, but I’m trying out the big ones first, ika -nga, this is for the show! LOL!
Hiking Trail Sign Stock Photo - 6994278

ACTIVITY: Nature Hike: Spelunking and Swimming

DESTINATION: Hindang Waterfalls and Cave
LOCATION: Brgy. Hindang, Iligan City; 20km from city proper
ESTIMATED BUDGET: 200-300Php (Fare: City proper – Brgy. Kiwalan – Brgy. Hindang)
WHAT TO WEAR:
+Hiking shoes/Sandals
+Cotton Shirt & Leggings
+Backpack & Cap
WHAT TO BRING:
+Cameras and other gadgets I guess
+Bottled Water
+Lunch; some extra food to munch on & keep me happy
+Extra Shirt/Shorts, Swimsuit ofcourse!
+Small Towel/Scarf
+Umbrella if it gets too hot
+Flashlight for spelunking
+Medicine/s
+Emergency Kit and other MUST bring stuff
EXPECTED THINGS TO DO:
Travel by road 15mins or so, and take the trail which supposedly is good for 2 hours on foot. Get to the cave first since it’s furthest from the main highway. After we go through, some if not all, 6-8 cave clusters, we feed on our packed-lunch and make our way back to the trail and take the other forked road that leads to Hindang Waterfalls. 
MY FEAR:
Narrow cave passageways! But I’m mentally preparing myself for that. It’s one of those things you don’t want to do but would enjoy doing it anyways. I’m up for this for the experience! Woohoo! LOL!
WHAT I”M Soooooo LOOKING FORWARD TO:
Taking a dip at Hindang Falls lagoon! Yey!
The Hindang Waterfalls and Cave is a territory that only a few have ventured to. I’ve tried researching for routes and hiking trail, previous trekkers may have taken. Sadly, you don’t get post like that because those who had gone there had not posted up their experiences blow by blow. So I wrote to a couple few people I thought could help me on this trip but none of them replied. So my last resort was to write an email to Iligan City Tourism Office because I was pretty sure that they can point me to the right direction or to the right people that could help me out. The reply was very short of the very formal email I sent them. It turns out that I knew the people maintaining the I.C. Tourism Office website — truly a blessing in disguise! Thanks to Sir Pat and Ma’am Binky, am off to Hindang confidently knowing I won’t get lost along the way and amidst the stalactites! LOL! ’til my Hindang entry..^^
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 “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
 by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. 
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. 
Catch the trade winds in your sails. 
Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
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How To Plan a Travel Adventure

Any good adventure should parts-planned and parts-leave-it-all-by-faith, that is how I look at travelling at the tips of your fingers. here are some prior to actual travel that can help you get started on answering to that travel itch that you’ve been getting these days.
1. Select and Research a Destination.
This is where it all starts. From all the places and activities you want to go and try out, you get to narrow it in one destination (or may two or three) and loads of activities in between. always choose the one that fits the other elements on your planned travel — budget, weather, and security. Researching is also about mentally preparing yourself of what’s to come ahead and expect in your adventure. Read as much about your activities as you can. there are lots of reviews from travelers online that can help you with it.
2. Estimate your Total Budget.
The good thing about today with the invent of technology, you can get just about anything online! Use that to your benefit. check out the present air travel rate, accommodation, entrance fees for adventure parks, and food rates in the area. In your total estimated budget, add at around 30-40% for any excess spending.
3. Plan and Make Your Travel Arrangements.
Arrange your flights and accommodations online and ahead of time. Before booking a flight check out promos to lessen your expense. The earlier you book these the bigger chances you get to have discounts, and even have your host plan ahead with you. 
4. Plan the Things that you Need to Bring.
Don not under estimate the little girl scout because you will always need that little girl in you once in a while. This is where you may need here. Welcome the girl-scout in you to plan and pack the things you need for the travel. I didn’t say “might need” but “need”. Because if you’re a little bit like me. I go for little bags cramped with the stuff I “might need” which I would regret halfway the travel. So plan and always think on travelling light!!!
5. Get your “Paraphernalia’s” Ready.
Get the updated map of the country your visiting, a compass if you’re going on a trail, a Point It Book, cameras and lenses, gadgets and it’s chargers and the likes. Proper storage is a must! Make sure they travel in shock-proof and water-resistant bags/compartments.
6. Always Travel With an Open Mind.
A lot can go wrong even on a well-planned travel. Always be open to new and spontaneous circumstances. Prepare yourself to step out from your shell and immerse yourself in a culture much different from your own. the more you’re open to the new things and stuff — the more surprises you meet and the more you get to enjoy your experience.
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“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, 
and instead of thinking how things may be, 
to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson
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Healthy Saturday Routine

I’ve been taking jogs early mornings when I saw that Iligan City Rizal Park was full of people, one summer  Saturday morning. My mama told me that there’s a Saturday morning program for a healthy exercise routine open for everybody.

The Saturday after that. I was there. With my mom.  And a friend. I got hooked ever since! Hataw Na Iligan is an ongoing program of Councilor Marlene Young for and with the public. This is to promote healthy living and lifestyle among Iliganons. There’s no age or medical condition/status required. In as long as one can dance and follow the instructor, then you’re welcome to join in.
What got me hooked?!
Nothing beats the energy of the people doing the routine.
This is how it looks! Iliganons from different backgrounds taking part as one in a full-packed-fast-paced dance exercise routine. In some mornings, I would have a teenager at my side, an aged at the other, and middle-aged in front. Not minding the sweats and the early sun light. Everyone seems to be in trance. You can’t help but enjoy.

What makes it click?

MUSIC! Yes, all types of songs from different genres are used from
one routine after another. There’s always something for everyone, I might say.
I’ve been seeing these people in Iligan City street and in the back of my mind I would say “Hala! klasmayt na ko sa Hataw Na” (Translate: Oh! A “classmate” in Hataw Na). Because people there are enjoying too much at staying healthy that you’ll find them a regular at it.
PinayTravelista (author)  Kayex, and Atty. Marlene Young

I’m not much of a health-buff person, but I get some kicks at having fun. I have to say that this program is one-thought-of-program. No wonder the young, and old gets to enjoy it at the same time.
If you’re staying in Iligan City or planning for a visit — stop by the Rizal Park on the Saturdays. The dance exercise starts at 6 A.M. and ends at 8 A.M. Bring a bottle of water, face towels, and extra shirts, and brace yourself for one wake-up-weekend-routine you’ll find yourself hooked at.
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Photo Credits: Photos grabbed from Atty. Marlene Young’s Facebook Account…^^
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Disclaimer: This in no other way a promotional or paid article. 
The author is a Hataw Na regular.
If you wanna bet on it —- I’ll see you there!!
**Once you’re IN you can never get back OUT… Or something like that in movie lines.. LOL
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P.S. So okay, I’ve been in these Saturdays for some time now.. There was this one Saturday that there will be an Aikido Sunday announced.. I actually saw pictures in Atty. M. Young’s photo albums that had me in funny poses! ahahahahahahaha! But that’s another blog post! 

EL SALVADOR | Tallest Divine Mercy

The Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy at El Salvador, Misamis Oriental is a MUST place to visit as it being the tallest Divine Mercy in the world. Around 30 minutes drive from Cagayan De Oro City, Philippines, this shrine sits atop a hill with 9.8 hectares of landscape that allows one to meditate and solemnly pray. It has an additional parking space to safely park vehicles out of traffics way, a land area total of 11.8 hectares. To this date it is continually developed with buildings, chapels, and additional landscaping. 
My first visit was with my friends, Jeddy and Ed Michael. We traveled by bus and stopped at the foot of the Divine Mercy trail. By there, we rode a habal-habal (motorcycle). We were dropped off at the main stairwell of the Shrine. 
It was a pretty long way up the stairs. At the bottom were white crosses that weaves around the lawn as stations for the Via Crucis or Way of the Cross. As we made our way up the stairs, we stopped by the midsection where the Virgin Mary stands on her garden. Making your way up the stairs is a challenge, and not for the faint-hearted or the aged. You can enter through the back portion of the shrine where the vehicles are parked. The walk around it is long but has even walkway for those who find it hard going through the stairwell.
We were chatting our way up when we got the last 3-4steps and saw the Sacred Heart of Jesus standing massively on a hilltop with it’s beautifully orchestrated blooms and greens in it’s gardens. It was on Sept. 8, 2009 that more than 20,000 pilgrims journeyed to Divine Mercy Hills at northern Mindanao for the dedication and blessing of a 50-foot Divine Mercy statue and to celebrate the Blessed Mother’s birthday. I could only imagine how it was with thousands of pilgrims on it’s lawn looking up to it with the sky as it’s backdrop.
The statue of Divine Mercy in itself is breathing taking as it massively stands at the highest point of the hill set to be captured with the sky as its natural back draft. On a hill 500 feet above sea level, the shrine looks out to Macalajar Bay and a view of the embattled villages in the mountains of Lanao. The location is not deliberate, the priests, who take care of the shrine, say that God chose the place to be a center for dialogue and healing for the people of Mindanao.
TRAVEL NOTES:
+ Wear appropriate clothing. No shorts, sleeveless shirts/blouses, tight fitting bottoms or leggings allowed. I made a mistake on my second visit by wearing leggings, I was made to wear a gartered skirt in blue or red. thus, the minimum camera exposure I had then.
+ Bring bottled water for drinking and an umbrella. It gets hot around midday.
+ Light a candle at the back portion of the shrine for prayers of request or thanksgiving.
+ Bring a water canister. There are pipes and faucets of flowing water said to be blessed. If you must, bring some for home.
HOW TO GET HERE (MAP: Here)
1. Travel to Cagayan de Oro City
*** Daily flights
2. Travel by bus liners (Rural transit, Super Five, etc)
***Fare Rate: 30-60Php
3. Ask the driver to drop you off El Salvador Divine Mercy Shrine
4. Take a Habal-Habal or motorcycle ride
***Ask the driver to pick you up at a specific time, you can ask for their mobile numbers to be sure
*** Fare Rate 25Php
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People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, 
the kind of people they ignore at home.” – Dagobert D. Runes
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