Bukidnon: Landlocked Highland

Bisan pa hindu a
Lalag ku’g uli` a
Dini ta Bukidnon
Kanak ha banuwa
Buntod ha matangkaw,
Kalasan…makapal,
Patag ha malu-ag,
Na tungkay madagway

–Provincial Hymn (Binukid version)

Landlocked but not isolated, Bukidnon is a vast elevated land in Mindanao. It is a province blessed with good earth and cool climate, protected by the several tribes and the mighty Kitanglad.

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Lake Apo, Guinoyoran, Valencia City

Bukidnon is my 20th province.

It is accessed in the north through Cagayan de Oro City and Davao City if you come from the south. The province’s name refers to the highlanders or the mountain dwellers. Bukidnon after all, has 6 of the 30 highest mountains in the country. Landlocked, it is heavily dependent on several river systems and lakes, notably the Polangui River, to support its agricultural economy.

My first visit to Bukidnon was in the late 1990s when there was already an option to reach Davao City from Cagayan de Oro thru the BuDa (Bukidnon-Davao) highway. At present, the province can already showcase several spots and places to visit.

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Dahilayan Forest Park

Bukidnon has 2 component cities, Malaybalay and Valencia. Malaybalay City is the provincial capital while Valencia is the economic center. Other popular towns include Manolo Fortich, the site of Del Monte plantation and Dahilayan Forest Park; Maramag, the university town; Don Carlos, said to be the future site of a domestic airport; and Quezon, where a sugar milling and refining plant is located.

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Dahilayan Forest Park

For those who want to visit and explore Bukidnon, here are some of the places to check out.
1. Dahilayan Forest Park – a tourism magnet in Manolo Fortich which offers outdoor activities ranging from luges, zipline, bungee jumping, barrel train and bumper boats.

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Barrel Train Ride, Dahilayan

2. Mt. Kitanglad – the 4th tallest mountain in the Philippines found near Malaybalay City. It is within the Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park

3. Lake Apo – a crater lake in the inner barangay of Valencia City. It was awarded as the cleanest body of water in Mindanao a few years back.

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Valencia City

4. Monastery of the Transfiguration in Malaybalay City. The iconic pyramid-shaped architecture by the late National Artist Leandro Locsin. The monastery is run by the Benedictine monks. People also near the area to buy the popular Monk’s Blend Coffee.

5. Alalum Falls – a 45m cascade in Kisolon, Sumilao.

6. Kaamulan Festival – a festival held in Malaybalay in the months of February and March for the foundation of Bukidnon as a province and to celebrate the culture and tradition of the 7 tribal-ethnic group of the province. Street dancing is one of the main events during the festival.

7. Kaamulan Park – located in Malaybalay City, this park was created as an appreciation of the seven tribes of Bukidnon.

8. Visit the Blue Water Cave in Quezon, Salawaw Cave in Valencia and the Sumalsag Cave in Sumilao.

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Oppie at Lake Apo

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Bunturan, balalayan
Basakan, kapatagan
Pastuhan, kapinyahan
Alan-alan kauyagan
Langit din piglambungan
Pig-aldawan, kalamagan
Singanam, uranan
Ba Alan-alan kauyagan

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