Bukidnon: Of Nature and Kaamulan

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Monday, May 5, 2014


IN preparation for this year’s Kaamulan, the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Cagayan de Oro City Travel and Tours Association (COOTA) conducted a market research tour on April 21 to 22, 2014.

The members present in the tour were Maria Teresa Picardal (Bohemian Express Travel and Tours Inc.), Denn Jose Pimentel (Golden Aero Travel), Jules Baril (Mediterranean Cruises and Travels), Ritchie Tan (Trip Travel and Tours), Tito Noel A. Mora (Swift Travel+Tours) and Joy Bonita (CDO Travel).

The Kaamulan Festival is an annual activity where the municipalities of Bukidnon showcase traditional street dances from the seven tribes of Bukidnon - the Talaandig, Higaonon, Bukidnon, Manobo, Umayamnon, Tigwahanon and Matigsalog.

It is expected that there will be an influx of visitors because this year’s festival is going to be special.

This year’s Kaamulan Festival promises to be better than ever for its centennial celebration on September 1st.

For the first time and probably the only time, the 20 municipalities and two cities of Bukidnon will join the celebration.

They will also have celebrity guests such as Vice Ganda, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla joining the festivities.

The market research tour is an instrument for tour agencies to create their packages for their clients by following up on development updates and becoming familiar with what new Bukidnon has to offer in order to make their clients’ experience a complete one.

Agriculture

Kampo Juan – It is an Eco-Adventure Farm founded by its namesake Dr. Juan C. Acosta, PH. D. He is a scientist very known in the world of Philippine agriculture. Their furniture made from recycled materials and they stay true to what is Bukidnon, which is essentially known for its agriculture. Their pineapples are a must-have item because of its sweet and tangy taste all the way to its core.

Adventure

Kampo Juan – It also caters to adrenaline seekers with a taste for adventure.

Zipline – An experience that feels like flying from the height of 180 feet (ft).

Anicycling (Sky Bike) – It is the only one in the country. Like riding your bicycle 100ft in the air and of a distance of 600 ft.

Hanging Bridge – It is 360 ft in length and 200 ft drop and the experience will really get the heart pumping and hanging on for dear life.

Rappelling - Another attraction where the adventurer descends down the mountain from 180 ft.

Nature

Lake Apo aka the Oasis in the City– It’s one of the country’s rising destinations. The ambience allows one to be so in touch with nature as one becomes surrounded by scenic mountains, green flora and tranquil waters.

According to the legend, the lake was formed because the deities wished to punish an elderly man who sinned by defiling his young grand-daughter. “Apo” means elderly man in Filipino.

Architecture and Faith

Monastery of Transfiguration – Both a spiritual destination and architectural masterpiece. At first it may seem like the architecture is inspired by the Egyptian pyramids. In fact, it is sometimes called the Pyramid Church. From the inside it however, it is more like a modern take of the Philippine Nipa House. This is known for being the last architectural masterpiece of National Artist, Leandro Locsin and the one closest to his heart.

Museum of Transfiguration Monastery – The museum is to promote the beauty of the traditional Philippine culture and arts.

The museum is home to the “Filipino Liturgical Vestments Exhibit.” The exhibit features 50 pieces of hand-woven liturgical vestments, each one being a piece of art from 20 tribes all over the country.

It also has painting by former president Corazon Aquino given as a gift by the former president herself.

The Sto. Nino Gospel Book Cover and Sacramentary Book. The book covers were handmade using traditional Filipino weaving techniques by the weavers of the B’laan tribe of Mindanao.

Restaurants

Ranchers - Bukidnon is known for being “The Home of the Country’s Finest Cowboys.” That is exactly what inspired its motif. The inside has a very country interior with cowboy hats and boots on the walls and shelves. While, the outside even has a horse pen for visitors who want to take ride on their horses.

Amadeo Steaks and Asian Cuisine – The décor is a rustic and laid back, which make sense in Bukidnon. The walls are decorated with an assortment of paintings from different artists, including the owner’s (Llamita Ayop Salang). The food is delicious and cheap, as well.

Bukidnon Brew Café – This café’s interior was also inspired by the American country motif. They use Monk’s Blend coffee for their menu and have a culinary work of art in their blueberry cheesecake.

Food

Binaki (Corn Cake) – It is one of the most famous delicacies of Bukidnon. It is made from corn or maize.

Philippine Carabao Center (PCC at CMU) – They sell the region’s freshest carabao’s milk and other treats such as durian ice cream, white cheese and chocolate milk.

Corn Coffee – It is caffeine free and is considered a healthy alternative.

Monk’s Blend – Coffee made by the Benedictine monks of the Monastery of Transfiguration.

Fried Chicken Necks – The specialty of Centro Folkhauz. Crunchy and absolutely scrumptious. Customers keep coming back for more.

Accommodations

Loiza’s Pavillion – The rooms are air-conditioned and have a Modernist design. The bathrooms’ showers also have a selection of hot and cold water. It has beautiful grounds with pavilions ideal for weddings, while the open veranda is also ideal for corporate meetings and other functions.

Hotel de Susana – It is said to have the accommodations in the city. They are not stingy when it comes to space. Despite it’s the cheap prices, there is plenty of space in one room for their clients’ guests.

Uno Business Hotel and Café – Its specialty is one of the best-tasting ‘Binaki’ (Corn Cake) in the city.

Challenges

The promotion wasn’t without challenges though. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri, Jr., governor of the province of Bukidnon says that while Bukidnon can offer beautiful mountains and perfect weather for agriculture, he admits that they have not developed the province for tourism.

“The worst problem I have in Bukidnon is the facilities. We don’t have the best facilities. We are limited in many ways, ” Zubiri said.

“I need your help [COOTA] to promote the centennial. I hate to say this, but it has to be promoted limitedly,” he continued.

He estimated that the festival will attract more than 100,000 visitors coming from all over Mindanao for the celebration.

This doesn’t yet include the visitors from other parts of the country.

There are only an estimated 250 hotel rooms in Malaybalay and more or less the same number in Valencia.

There would always be the challenge of finding housing for the duration of the Kaamulan festival.

The DOT and the members of COOTA have accepted this challenge.

Decius Esmedalla, tourism operations officer for DOT, assured that they are not discouraged,

“For the Kaamulan, they [COOTA] are going to make packages intended for day tours. This [the challenge] is only for the duration of the festivities. There won’t be problems the rest of the year because there will be plenty of facilities then,” Esmedalla said. (Jan Michelle Dumlao-MUST Intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 06, 2014.

Lifestyle

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