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Located in a plateau some 915 meters above sea level, Bukidnon presents a myriad of land and water adventures for those in search of a natural high. In addition to adrenalin-inducing activities, the province also boasts majestic mountain peaks, thriving flora and fauna, and fertile grounds that support the livelihood of its people and cultivate the rich culture of several indigenous tribes.
Bukidnon is a paradise for anyone who has ever dreamed of retreating to the peace and quiet of the mountains. Taking its name after the term for highlander or mountain dweller, the landlocked province is surrounded by caves, lush greeneries, rising peaks, and roaring rivers. This pastoral plateau is home to 7 indigenous groups, each named after the bodies of water near their initial dwelling places. These days, the province is known for its traditions and cultural, aesthetic, and artistic heritage, as well as nature trails and activities. These attractions can be seen and accessed year-round, but most of the adventure resorts and hotels in Bukidnon fill up with tourists during the Kaamulan Festival.
While there are public and private airstrips in the area, there are actually no direct commercial flights to the province. If coming from Manila, the fastest and most convenient way to get to Bukidnon is by booking a flight going to Cagayan de Oro or Davao City. Upon reaching these points, you will have to travel by land to get to the province.
Bukidnon is a landlocked province and, as such, there are no direct ways to reach the area by sea. However, there are ferry services that connect Bohol, Cebu, and Manila to Cagayan de Oro Port. From there, one only needs to take the bus to reach Malaybalay.
From the airport in Cagayan de Oro, you can rent a taxi, hire a van, or get on a bus heading to Malaybalay, the capital city of Bukidnon. The ride lasts about 1.5 hours and covers a total of 104 km. If you’re coming from Davao City, you can take a 3-hour ride to Salawagan, Quezon, Bukidnon.
Traveling in and around the province is typically done by riding buses and multicabs. Near city centers such as Malaybalay, the best way to get around is by riding a motorela, a motorcycle-powered 8-seater version of the jeep.
A trip to Bukidnon will definitely thrill anyone with an affinity for conquering challenging peaks. Among the province’s top destinations is Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park. This expansive nature preserve offers a collection of lush mountains, virgin forests, and exciting trails that go through different towns and villages. In addition to these, there are many caves in the area that are just begging to be explored.
Despite its landlocked location, the province also boasts several rivers, waterfalls, and lakes. Valencia City’s Lake Apo, in particular, is a popular destination due to its serene, crystalline waters. It also has spectacular views framed by viridian hills and mountains. Aside from lakes and rivers, the province also has a selection of springs and waterfalls.
The flora and fauna in the province are also worth your attention. Bukidnon is one of the homes of the Rafflesia and the Amorphophallus paeoniifolius — both of which are rare flowers. But don’t keep your eyes on the ground, as there are equally rare sights to see in the air.
Birdwatching can prove to be a rewarding activity in Malaybalay City and Mount Kitanglad, as these places serve as homes to parakeets, owls, fly catchers, and raptors, such as the Philippine eagle.
Visiting Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park is a must for anyone who wishes to see the best sights in the province. From here, you can take on a trail that passes through different towns. Mount Kitanglad, the 4th highest mountain in the country, is a challenge for any avid mountain climber. But if you’re pretty casual about climbing peaks, you can go on a day climb in Mount Capistrano or Mount Palaopao.
Aside from reaching for the clouds, you can also explore the bowels of the earth and go spelunking in any of Bukidnon’s numerous caves. You can start with Paiyak, Basag, and Sumalsak caves in Sumilao, and the lovely Salawaw Cave in Valencia City.
Aside from trekking and spelunking, you can also get a natural high by trying out the excellent facilities at Dahilayan Adventure Park. The park has a canopy glider, an 840-meter zip line facility, and an 8-story high base-jumping platform. If you time your visit between mid-February and mid-March, you can also join the Kaamulan Festival, a colorful event that proudly highlights the rituals and celebrations of the 7 indigenous tribes of Bukidnon.
A trip to the province is never complete without visiting Del Monte’s pineapple plantation, which is said to be the biggest in Asia. You can taste their fresh produce by ordering any of the hearty dishes at Del Monte Golf Club House. You should also head to the Monastery of Transfiguration to view the lovely temple and to get a taste of their Monk’s Blend coffee.
Not a lot goes on in Bukidnon after dark since most of the tourist-oriented establishments here are geared towards communing with nature. But if you feel like going for a drink or two, you can check out the bars and restaurants in Valencia City and in Malaybalay.
It’s quite easy to find hotels in Bukidnon that are located close to top tourist attractions. Dahilayan Forest Park Resort, for one, offers a great location and comfy accommodations. In addition to the hotels, there is also an abundance of bed and breakfasts, lodges, and inns in the area. Whether you’re in the province for a romantic rendezvous, a business trip, or a backpacking adventure with friends, you’re sure to find a holiday home that will live up to your standards and fit your budget.
The presence of mosquitoes can put a damper in an otherwise amazing nature trip, so make sure you bring insect repellent with you all the time.
Remember to be safe when engaging in water activities. Make sure you wear a life vest when visiting any of Bukidnon’s falls, lakes, and springs.
Don’t forget to protect your skin from UV rays when you go trekking or birdwatching. Apply and reapply sunblock to avoid getting sunburned.