Raw adventure, real fun in Comval-A A +A
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
THE "Heart of Eastern Mindanao" -- that is how the province of Compostela Valley (more popularly known as Comval) is called. Almost a landlocked territory, it is home to unique flora and fauna, towering mountains and fertile valleys, white beaches and island, and diverse ethnic communities.
Lies on the northern edge of Davao gulf and south of Caraga region, "it is a raw land and a destination for people who love raw adventure and real fun," said Christine T. Dompor, the provincial tourism officer.
Are you ready for that adventure of your life? Here are ten ways of doing it in Comval.
1. Ride the so-called skylab in Montevista. If you don't what skylab is, it's a single motorcycle with added contraptions not unlike the wings of an airplane. It has a roof above to protect the passenger from the rain or the sun and can carry up to ten passengers.
"Skylab is just like riding a flying seesaw where passengers are treated to an exhilarating ride as the motorcycle careens up and down rocky roads and climbs slopes, allowing you a view of the chasm below and the vista beyond," Dompor said.
2. Dare the challenge of doing spelunking. About 12 kilometers away from Tagum City and two kilometers from the highway is the Mahayahay Cave. Located in Mawab, the cave has natural features like stalactites and stalagmites. It hosts animal life like the small fruit bats locally known as "kabyaw" and the cave blind fish.
3. Freshen yourself at the Mainit Sulfuric Waterfall Hot Spring. This steaming waterfall is the main charm of a barangay resort tucked on the side of a hill in barangay Mainit. The sulfuric hot spring and its perimeter is surrounded on three sides by forested slopes from where the spring cascades into a hot waterfall. Hot sulfuric water cascades on ledges from vents on the hillsides to form waterfalls.
4. Conquer the White Peak. A portion of Mt. Pagdadagsaan, the peak is characterized by white, almost sparkling, rock face appearance in direct contrast to the greenery of the thick forests surrounding it. Once you get there, you get the pleasure of seeing a panorama of Comval and other Davao provinces, a full profile of Mount Apo and neighboring Mount Candalaga of Maragusan.
5. Eating something exotic. During the Lyurot Festival, you can feast what the warriors of Mansaka and Mandaya tribes eat. Actually, "lyurot" is a food cooked in bamboo. "In the heydays of tribal warriors and before the arrival of the Spaniards and migrants from Luzon and the Visayas, cooking of this exotic food was strictly a warrior's task," Dompor said. The reason is now shrouded by time.
6. Explore Mount Diwalwal. A mineral resource rich area, it has a barangay that literally sits on top of vast gold deposits. Houses, stores and ball mills are concentrated in areas near the portals of various tunnels. Dompor described the place as having hills that "are pockmarked with tunnels that crisscross the bowels of the earth for flecks of gold."
7. Join the amazing race. This is done during the Summer Beach Sports Festival, a national champion in the 2010 National Search for Best Tourism Practice Awards. The event, which is done in Mabini, features a series of beach sports events like water volleyball, beach volleyball, the 700-meter Kopiat swimming challenge, fire dancing, body painting, and regatta sailing.
8. Discover the world's biggest flower. There are about 27 known species of Rafflesia and all of them are found in southeastern Asia, including the Philippines. The species found in Maragusan is named Rafflesia mira.
9. Jump into the water. You can do snorkeling and scuba diving at Kopiat, an 87-hectare island of powdery white sands off the coastline of the province. Its waters, particularly the west and east sides of the island, abound with rich coral formations.
10. Visit the Amakan crater in the highlands of New Leyte. On cold or rainy mornings, mist shrouds the hills. The crater is a 30-minute ride to the base of the hill and an hour and 30-minute climb through the hillside forest and thick foliage. Visitors who will opt to take the easier trip may take the old mining road and after an hour walk of scaling shallow ledges that are in fact part of the winding mining road, the crater is less than a 20-minute walk.
Compostela Valley can be reached by air via the Davao International Airport. The capital town of Nabunturan is only a two-hour drive from Davao City. Buses from Luzon and Visayas going to Davao will pass by the province before reaching their final destinations.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 10, 2013.