ANGARAY’S TAKE: River trek in Migtambol

By Loreta Sol L. Dinlayan

PANGANTUCAN, Bukidnon (BukidnonNews.Net/20 May) My childhood days were mostly river-wading only because unlike my cousins, I was not a swimmer. This is true up to now.

The author stands on a shallow portion of Migtambol. Photo a courtesy of Crystal H. Flores

The author stands on a shallow portion of Migtambol.
Photo a courtesy of Crystal H. Flores

I had a favorite rock in Kalawaig River where I used to station and watched the other kids frolic in that river. I was only a fan to those who jumped into the clear water and successfully emerged from that brave splash. I could still remember the echoing sounds of kids and yes, also the pine trees’ scent.

The Sawaga River had its share in my childhood. I had to be braver each time I engaged with its raging waters. I was always imprisoned in its shallow portion while other kids advanced for the deep dip, leaving me behind. Those were the days when I started to learn to comfort myself with what I had, flatter rock, shallower water, slower river flow and colder shivering body, while others plunged into the deep.

As expected, I had fewer stories to tell as we got home. Despite that I entertained myself with the other kids’ stories as they narrate it with pride. Anyhow, I love rivers.

After a long time that I have not engaged with a river, I finally have one this morning. I joined a group of river trekkers, mostly from the Municipality of Pangantucan. Our group picture, taken outside the grand house of Rene and Amor Amigleo, signaled the beginning of that adventure to Migtambol Falls through a 45-minute river trek.

From Barangay Lantay, we traversed rough roads and passed by green landscapes and farm workers. I thought of my past experiences with rivers while calculating the time we spent in the rough roads. My buddies and I were so euphoric without knowing that the river we were about to trek would demand a challenge from us.

After a prayer and a brief orientation from Amir Flores, one of that adventure’s organizers, we marked the starting point in Barangay Gandingan, one of the barangays in Pangantucan.

In the north-west side of this town lies the Kalatungan Ranges with which Migtambol Falls is connected. The slim rainfall of this summer made our trek quite comfortable though our feet were tickled with coldness. My first plunge was above knee-level and I remember those days when I crossed Pulangi river to reach a Matigsalug community in San Fernando, Bukidnon. Like doing it in mountain-climbing, I double checked my every step to evade slippery rocks. Some rocks are taller and bigger than me. Moss-draped river rocks in varied sizes were artistically scattered just beneath the greens. The therapeutic rivulet’s sound dominated that moment as we headed towards the dead-end, there where Migtambol Falls is.

Bukidnon is known as a head-water province for it supplies water to major rivers in Mindanao. Springs, rivers and falls are scattered in Bukidnon. Migtambol Falls is only one of the many. It has a single thick strip of falling water landing into a wide basin-like pool where swimmers would surely delight.

Some of my buddies dipped in the natural pool’s deeper area. Me? I stayed in the shallow portion – reminiscent of my childhood’s first engagements with rivers.

But don’t get me wrong. I am a bit braver now in facing either a river or life’s challenges. I am wiser now. I now understand minimalism – be it flatter rock or shallower river, it doesn’t matter for as long as I find my place in it. A simple life offers more freedom.

That one-and-a-half hour stay in Migtambol Falls gave me not only pictures but experiences and friendships, too.

As we headed home, traversing a forest, we momentarily intruded the territory of leeches. Leeches suck! More than five leeches boarded in my shoes throughout the 30-minute hike. You could hear our screams and shrieks. But to no avail. We were intruders in their ecosystem. Every life has to be respected.

The local government of Pangantucan is developing Migtambol Falls into a local tourist attraction. If they add environmental awareness and protection program, then local residents can experience what we experienced. I invite everyone to explore Migtambol!

(Loreta Sol L. Dinlayan is currently the in-charge of the Ethno-cultural Museum of Bukidnon State University, where she teaches social science and other subjects. She is the daughter of the late Datu Bagangbangan Lorenzo “Aki” Dinlayan. Angaray’s (lady friend’s) Take is her column for BUKIDNON VIEWS. This piece was originally posted in “Balugto,” her blog “of the colors of life, of the people, of culture in Bukidnon”. She can be reached through angaray_bsc@yahoo.com.)