TRAVEL: Impasug-ong, Exploring the tribal capital of Bukidnon

By Earl Bolivar

IMPASUGONG-Bukidnon (BukidnonNews.Net/12 September) The Municipality of Impasugong  is fast emerging as a top eco-tourism destination in the Province of Bukidnon . Characterized by rugged terrain and endowed with mountains, ridges, canyons, rivers and waterfalls, it is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Inhabited by the Higaonon Tribe, Impasugong is dubbed as the Tribal Capital of Bukidnon due to its well-preserved cultural heritage and ethnic identity. Aside from this, the municipality is also named as Home of the Country’s Finest Cowboys as it hosts a number of cattle farms including the LGU-owned communal ranch.

I was recently invited to the documentation of Impasugong’s selected tourist spots. Initiated by StreetBy App and hosted by Hindu Kaw Ecotours, De Oro Mountain Explorers (DOME), Impasugong Tourism Board and Sir Bob Tinsay of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., the event aimed to promote Impasugong to a wider audience and make it a must-visit destination in the province.

Upon getting off the bus at the national highway, a giant headdress and ethnic statues greeted me at the tourism center. These landmarks signify the municipality and its people being proud of its cultural identity.

A short tricylce-ride took me to the Municipal Hall where I met the event organizers and also fellow bloggers Shugah and Edu. While eating breakfast, we were briefed with the day’s action-packed activities. The scheduled visit to the communal ranch was, however, cancelled due to the bad condition of its access road.

We went back to the tourism center and check out the local products and souvenir items available for sale. These include adlai (gluten-free grain), peanuts, guava jam, woven mats, mugs, tshirts and ethnic accessories.

Our next stop was the Center for Ecological Development and Recreation (CEDAR), a reforestation project in Barangay Impalutao. I am no stranger to this park since I have been visiting it since my high school days.

Activities inside CEDAR include camping, swimming, hiking, waterfalls hopping and river trekking. It has a man-made pool fed with spring water and bamboo bridges for crossing over rivers.

CEDAR’s main attractions are the three majestic waterfalls named Dila FallsGantungan Falls and Natigbasan Falls. The three falls can be visited within half-day as these are located not that far from each other.

Dila Falls 

Gantungan Falls 

Natigbasan Falls

Getting down to these three waterfalls can be tiring to newbie hikers as it involves hiking up and down steep slopes, holding on to tree roots, hopping on slippery boulders and a short river crossing on chest-deep waters. The effort will be all worth it though. You will be rewarded not only with the instagrammable front view of the falls but also with the ice-cold waters to soothe those tired muscles.

The falls hopping sure made us all hungry. We went back at the park’s main entrance where we ate our lunch. After taking more time to rest and relax, I have to bid goodbye to the group as I have some personal matters to attend to back home. They proceeded to Lampanag Ridge for overnight camping then went rapelling in Tugisan Falls the next day.

How to Get There:

Impasugong can be reached by buses from Cagayan de Oro, Davao City and General Santos City.

(Earl Bolivar is a banker, photographer and a travel writer behind the Suroy Pilipinas blog, where this article was first published. He is based in Malaybalay City, Philippines.)