Bukidnon DIY Trip Day 1 : Sleepless Day to Malaybalay

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Video credits: Jean Beltran via bitLanders

I barely had slept, it was eleven in the evening when I had set up my alarm to one thirty, our flight was at four in the morning and it will take us 30 minutes or more to reach the Mactan International Airport plus preparation, James and I had to be out of the house by at least 2:30 AM. My DIY itinerary states we should be in Cagayan De Oro City's Agora Bus Terminal so we can take the double-decker bus going to Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

Thank goodness our preparation was smooth. Our Grab driver arrived on time, there was zero traffic so we had reached the airport before three! It was amazing, I guess that was the fastest trip I had towards the airport. As you can see, I am blogging now regarding our newly concluded Bukidnon Trip!

Arriving at Laguindingan Airport

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I have a confession, I actually thought that Cagayan De Oro is a separate province and that it is like Cebu which has Cebu City as its capital city. Anyway, I was informed by my husband about it being a part of Misamis instead. I was in total shock upon realizing that though.

Back to the travel story, it was two minutes past five in the morning when we got out of the arrival area, a long display of bus liners and travel tour buses' stalls lined up facing the airport's arrival. As I read each name, I found what I was looking for, Super 5. I read they should be the fastest vehicle which can take us to the Agora Terminal. So I inquired and without asking anything, the lady and the driver pointed us towards their comfortable and spacious van. I personally told them we have to be in Agora before six because we need to take the double-decker bus of Pabama Bus Tours and of which they nodded, even securing that we'll reach there on time.

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At that time of assuring, it was still ten minutes after five, the driver went out, came back with a few passengers. Then he went out again until I realized it was already 5:30 AM! I thought we were heading already so I asked him and he confirmed he just needs one more passenger. I was a little disappointed and felt betrayed. He promised me we'll be in Agora before six and now its just twenty-five minutes before six and travel time takes 40 minutes at least. I turned to my husband who calmed me down with a soft tone to let it go. I felt really bad about him lying and fooling me, I wished I had looked for some other vehicles which might have been more honest.

Agora Terminal Commotion

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Fast forward, we reached Agora Bus Terminal at 6:30 AM. I knew already that the bus had left, I really want to experience riding that bus though.

There's an entrance fee of Php 3 per person. Upon entering the bus terminal, a personnel from Rural Bus Liner showed us towards their bus which he said was already about to go. I asked about the Pabama buses and it was as if he didn't know anything but when I went down, I found the Pabama buses at the opposite side. I inquired and found the double-decker bus was rented the entire day so there was no six-morning schedule that day. I was relieved by knowing that and decided we should instead take their 7 AM airconditioned bus which we didn't regret taking.

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To give you an overview, this was our first land trip which offers entertainment tablets for each passenger. James found a documentary movie about basketball players and he was already tuned in just a few minutes after sitting down. I, on the other hand, explored it and found it really cool that kids can even play games while traveling. The seats were nice and spacious, there are feet pedals and seats can be reclined.

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There's a crew inside who announces, offers a snack, assists passengers and even lead the prayer before leaving the terminal. I was definitely loving this bus line. However, I still want to be able to try the double-decker. I am aiming to take one on our next day trip back to Manolo, Fortich. The only issue is the schedule. Anyway, we can still try on the third day when we go back to Cagayan de Oro City.

Getting Lost on our Way to Mt. Kitanglad

Upon reaching Malaybalay City's public market where the bus stopped, I went looking for any motorcycle for hire or locally referred as "habal-habal" but one vendor recommends that we take a jeepney first to a location called Kisolon.

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For some reasons, I didn't check my itinerary and my own Google maps for that although the town has 4G connectivity, it was a mistake I regret. It took more than 20 minutes before the jeepney started its engine.

Another 20 minutes on the road and I was already wondering why we seem to be going back to the same route. I checked Google Maps and found out that we are indeed lost this time. I approached the driver, verified the address and he stopped the vehicle, advised that we have to go back to the public market and go from there.

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We hopped into another jeepney, now I asked the new driver and he had no clue where to drop us, thankfully a good Samaritan told the driver to drop us to Sumpong or the Midland. I was still unsure but we got out and indeed find "habal-habal" drivers taking visitors there.

That was the start of the bumpy ride to Mt. Kitanglad Agro Eco Farm.

Unbelievable 50-Minute Bumpy Ride

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When a "habal-habal" driver says the road is not good and it will be challenging, you must believe it. Our motorcycle trip from the main highway of Sumpong towards Imbayao was totally an unexpected surprise.

It was concrete than soil and then concrete again for a time and afterward was all soil, rock, and stones with a combination of murky muddy and maroonish types of land. There were several times that my butt got separated from the motorcycle seat as we traverse the steep rocky road of Imbayao.

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But mind you, the scenery was superb. There were several banana plantations at the sides, there were multiple times that I was in awe of the wide plantation but I could site one favorite spot, that would be the end of the bumpy ride, it was such a relief to find the farm.

Mt. Kitanglad Agro Eco Farm

It was on social media that I found out a spot in Bukidnon which has DIY hobbit houses. It stuck on my mind and even after months of learning that, I had noted it and made sure that we will visit it on our DIY trip to Bukidnon.

Benjamin Mapute Jr. has a creative mind, we met him and even exchanged stories with him about his plans and his other projects. His humble presence made us feel really special and his way of taking care of his guests is outstanding.

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The entire day, we spent taking photos of the location, we planned we should wait for the golden hour to shoot but it rained, thank goodness we already have taken a couple of shots before it poured.

When it poured, James and I were stuck inside our hobbit house, the highlight of this Bukidnon trip. The accommodation just opened this month and we were lucky and blessed to be the second renter.

Video credits: Jean Beltran via bitLanders

Although not yet fully finished, I can definitely see the potential of this attraction. I know that there are also other travelers out there who would like to spend a day or two inside a hobbit house. I will post a separate blog for that instead.

That's it for now for our first day in Bukidnon! Thanks a lot for reading!


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About the author:
Jean Beltran-Figues is a photography enthusiast. 
A traveler who wants to promote her beloved country, the Philippines.

About the author


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