Monday, September 24, 2012

The Mt. Capistrano Dayhike

When I was a young lad, I have been wondering of the mountain far east of the Sayre Highway everytime I go to school, (I went to Bangcud Central Elementary School 1998-2000). When my father and I went to Liguangan Spring (previous post), I can also see the majestic mountain in the east.

When I knew that it was Mt. Capistrano,  started to dream on getting up its peak, but because of student life, my dream delayed and I forgot about it until my co-members of the Bukidnon Photographers and Bloggers Society planned to trek the mountain last September 22, 2012. I never had second thoughts despite the threats I've been hearing about it.

Mt. Capistrano (located at Barangays Managok and Simaya).

Mt. Capistrano has an average height of 2,000 feet (609.60 meters), more or less the same height as Musuan Peak (also known as Mt. Kalayo) and Palaopao Hills (located at Brgy. Kisolon, Sumilao, Bukidnon). A notable peak, Capistrano can be seen along the Sayre Highway from Brgy. Aglayan, Malaybalay City up to Brgy. Mailag, Valencia City. Although accessible, it is a bit away from the highway and one has to stop at Brgy. Aglayan and hit a habal-habal ride to get to Sitio Binalbagan, Brgy. Simaya - our jump-off site.

Mt. Capistrano viewed from its base at Sitio Binalbagan, Barangay Simaya.
My co-trekkers are very unusual since it will be my first time hanging out and explore with them, they are Sir Dax Abitona, a veteran hiker (according to my instincts hehehe), Maam Gwen Balahay, an employee from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Maam Krishaleen Tago, and the two "bang-giitans" as I say when it comes to adventures and mountain climbing, Sir Earl Bolivar, the owner of Pulagoy and Bukidnon Photo Journal - the first blogs I read and inspired me to write my own and explore out, and the fearless Sir Christopher "Tupe" Diaz, the owner of Trekero. Having them as my companions eases my nervousness and fear about climbing the mountain.

Our assembly place was at the City Terminal at around 6:30am. We hit a bus and reached Barangay Aglayan. Barangay Aglayan is a crossroad barangay because National Highways from Lantapan and Cabanglasan Towns met at Aglayan. It is one of the urbanizing barangays of the city and part of the South Highway District.

Barangay Aglayan.
We then hit a ride on the habal-habal which would lead us to Sitio Binalbagan, which is still far away. It was a fun ride especially the cool air racing towards me and the spectacular views from both directions. Our travel will pass Barangays Linabo, Violeta and Simaya. These 3 barangays are part of the BASAKAN DISTRICT which is one of the 5 Districts of Malaybalay City. This explains the wide array of rice and corn fields at any direction. We reach Sitio Binalbagan and went to the base of the mountain. We started ascending at approximately 7:30am.

The journey up. The surrounding grass serves as handles.
The trek starts with the stairs. It was a tiring part because you have to raise your feet in order to go higher. The stairs run for a few meters and the land trail begins. Fortunately, there are grass in either side which can be used to hold on to ensure balance. The views were spectacular because you can see wide rice fields and we're not on the top yet.

Sitio Binalbagan and the wide rice fields and the Kitanglad and Kalatungan Mountain Ranges in the background.
The trail was open and tree less for a while and I enjoyed the view and then came the trees. Although blocking the view, it had provided us shade and cool environment which eases my exhaustion but that was far from what the mini-forest has in store.

It has rained hard in Malaybalay in the past few days and the ground is wet. I depend on the grass, trees and roots for support but there is one point in the trail that is probably the hardest point in the trek because there are barely grasses and roots to hold on - good thing I had breakfast which gave me energy to go up. Maam Gwen, my companion, had given up on that part but Sir Tupe helped her because its a loss to stop there and not sseing the wonderful peak of Capistrano.

The hardest point of the trail.
After we have passed the "zero point" as I call it, rocks suddenly peeped out on the trail. We even pass some cool rock formations and cave-like structures. I expect to find a rocky peak but the rocky trail is beyond my expectations. Some rocks were sharp and some are forming mini-caves and deep ravines which a trekker should be careful with.

One of the cool mini caves along the trek.

The mini forest serves as the habitat of some interesting fauna and flora. The ones I can't forget are the big reddish-black ants, the blue fern and a mold colony in the tree.

The blue fern growing inside a rock crevasse.

A mold colony living in a tree's bark.
Finally, after almost 4 hours of ascending, we finally reached the rocky peak of Mt. Capistrano. We reached the peak by 11am. The view was awesome so are the rocks. Everywhere I look the views of ricefields and mountains took my breath away - how amazing God is!

Mt. Capistrano's peak and highest point.

The view of rice fields stretching from Barangay Laguitas, Malaybalay City to  Barangay Bagontaas, Valencia City (North-South) and from the Kitanglad and Kalatungan Mountain Ranges to Barangay Simaya, Malaybalay City (West-East).

View of Barangay Managok and the National Road leading to the Municipality of Cabanglasan and Upper Pulangi District of Malaybalay City.

Some rocks found at the peak.
My mind was blown away with the views. This mountain is a must visit for trekkers and even locals of Bukidnon. The rock formations, rice fields, high alluring mountains, huge rivers - the best view I've seen as of this moment. We had our lunch at the peak. We brought packed lunch and snacks to supply us with energy as we go head down.

As I view the rice fields at Valencia City, I noticed dark clouds and the City Proper could not be seen anymore. We have to trek down to avoid as much as possible the heavy rain. We started heading down at 12:30pm. We decided to take the trail we trekked upward for convenience.

The weather was still okay as of that moment but rain clouds starts to race northward towards us.

Rain clouds heading northwards towards us.
Unfortunately, the rain caught up and raindrops start to fall. Because of this, the trail became slippery, but because we really want to get down, we "slide" downwards at some points in the trail. Funny thing is I enjoyed "mountain sliding" and I slide down more often that standing up.

Descending Mt. Capistrano.
Finally!! After 1 hour of sliding and descending, we reached our starting point at Sitio Binalbagan. It was rainy but worth it, its nice to be wet in the rain after a nerve-racking trek.

We hit a "expanded habal-habal" as I call it back to Barangay Aglayan, but our adventure haven't stop there. Our ride unexpectedly cannot bear our weight. Because of that, me and Maam Gwen rode a habal-habal while Sirs Earl, Tupe and Dax remained in the ride.

We reached Aglayan and we decided to sip and eat especially the yummy and hot Bulalo at Jaslyn. Sir Tupe immediately went home to Pangantucan.

Jaslyn Seafoods & Bulalo - where we had our Bulalo moments.
Mount Capistrano trek was a very hard yet satisfying one. Finally I have realized my dream of reaching its peak and seeing its amazing sights that I have only seen through internet.

For avid mountaineers and adventure lovers, try MT. CAPISTRANO - a mountain worth climbing.

Although bring the following:
  1. Rope
  2. Packed Lunch
  3. Rain Gears
  4. Trail Foods/Snacks
  5. WATER
  6. Insect Repellent (optional)
  7. Sunblock (optional)
The trail at Sitio Binalbagan is a great trail - you will have 10-20% chance of getting lost.

Mount Capistrano Dayhike
September 22, 2012
Sitio Binalbagan, Barangay Simaya

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Endangered Spring of Cabangahan

When I was young, my father usually brought me along to his trip to Liguangan Spring which is located in Purok 1, Barangay Cabangahan. This spring is approximately 500 meters away from Sayre Highway and is owned by  my father's family friend way back in their time. I had visited and took a bath on it 5 times at that time but due to the busy life of being a student, I haven't visited it again until last September 1, approximately 10 years after my last visit.

The spring has clear and pristine waters and has an approximate length of 200 meters from its source up to its end point where it meets with the Sawaga.

Part of Liguangan Spring

This spring was my favorite getaway in my childhood days. I always ask my father to come here and have some swimming fun. We usually go here every Holy Week until 2002. Its waters are very cold and relaxing and if you soak yourself in you feel like you have no problems in life.

This year, I saw very great changes. The Sawaga, Malaybalay City's major river and a tributary of Pulangi River, has become large and has eaten land for its route. Sawaga forms a natural boundary between Barangays Cabangahan and Simaya and in the spring's location, once you cross the river, you have reached Barangay Simaya. I can also see the majestic Mt. Capistrano in the background.

Mt. Capistrano and Sawaga viewed from the spring.

Because of my excitement of being back in the spring, I went closer to Sawaga and capture some of its surroundings. I also traced the location where the Sawaga and Liguangan Spring meets.

Liguangan Spring is a tributary of Sawaga. In the picture above, Sawaga is the one in brown while the spring has very clear waters.

I went back to our site in the banks in the spring and had rest for a while. After 30 minutes, I went on to the source of the spring to capture it.

The head/source of Liguangan Spring.
Adjacent to the head water of the spring is the Sawaga which is approximately 3 meters away from their nearest points with each other. Clearly, floods brought about by recent calamities including "Bagyong Sendong" contributed to this new landscape and has eaten some land in its bank.

Sawaga's bank in which it is the nearest point to the spring. Sawaga has eaten its banks brought about by calamities.
Heading back to our site, I saw a part of the spring which is deep enough to swim. I immediately went down and captured the photo below. It was a stunning view!!! My feet are shaking because of the cold water. 

Probably my best shot of the spring. :D

I continued on with my trek back to the site by following the spring. When I arrived, I was stunned with the cold water of the spring. It gave me chills! Bbbbrrrrr!! The spring is also surrounded by old trees, evidence that the spring is old.

Trees like this can be found in the spring.
I'm very eager to swim once again on this lovely spring so I went on and swam on it (although parts of the spring has a depth up to my feet only, perfect for kids that's why I liked it when I was young). Finally, lunch is served and I'm very hungry because of my wanderings and photoshoot. We brought rice and cooked "Sinugbang Isda" and "Sinugbang Karne" which are my favorite outdoor dishes.

The kubo near our site.
The sun was very up a few hours ago but when 1pm struck, rainclouds suddenly crowd in the sky and by 2pm heavy rain poured and we went inside a kubo for shelter, but no rain can stop me from capturing the surroundings. Suddenly, I saw Sawaga overflowing itss banks and its current suddenly got stronger and faster!

Sawaga overflowing due to heavy rain pour and also the floodwaters from Malaybalay City proper.
 When I saw how mighty Sawaga is during flood, its no wonder why my father is fearing that the river might engulf the spring and the precious spring will be gone forever.

The flood in Sawaga caused current halt in the spring, causing it to deepen .
I was amazed with what I saw! Now I know that there is something to be done. Before Sawaga will engulf Liguangan Spring, I hope the Barangay Officials could see the endangered spring. It would be a great loss if it would be consumed by Sawaga. Nearby residents from both Brgys. Cabangahan and Simaya get their drinking water from the spring!

The spring during Sawaga flood. The spring became stagnant because of the current halt in its endpoint.
If anyone would like to visit the spring, local residents of Purok 1, Cabangahan can direct you to it. I hope there would be an action from the Local Government to stop Sawaga from engulfing the spring, many lives are depending on it.

Here are more pictures of Liguangan Spring:

Liguangan Spring Adventures
September 1, 2012
Purok 1, Brgy. Cabangahan

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"Let's Map Up the City in the Forest" in Google Maps

Last August 25, 2012, the Bukidnon Photographers and Bloggers Society - a group composed of bloggers and photographers based in Bukidnon in which I'm also a member - met and join together with the aim to correct and edit Malaybalay City's map in Google Maps - an online map by Google in which it is widely used worldwide - because a traveler would really be lost if he will base his directions on Malaybalay's Google Map.

Engr. Bonzenti R. Panganiban, the society president, initiated the activity which is in entitled "LET"S MAP UP THE CITY IN THE FOREST" and called on help from General Santos City Bloppers (Bloggers and the same time Mappers) to guide us on how to use

The event happened at Green Ridge Restaurant and Apartelle located near the Old Provincial Hospital in Malaybalay City.

Green Ridge Restaurant and Apartelle - the venue of the Map Up.

I had a fun time during the seminar and workshop because I learned many things about editing Google Maps.  It was also the first time the BPBS members actually met and my co-members are very friendly and they are willing to help me and the others in map editing.

Sir Avel Manansala, leader of the SOCCSKSARGEN Bloppers, lecturing us on how to edit Google Maps.

Google Mapmaker.

Food! Food! Food! hehehe.

It was a fruitful activity considering the fact that in just one day we had many edits on the map. Next stop is Valencia City, Bukidnon and hopefully we could map up all of Bukidnon because our motto is:


"Let's Map Up the City in the Forest"
August 25, 2012
Green Ridge Restaurant & Apartelle
Brgy. 6, Malaybalay City