Sunday, April 21, 2019

Exploring a hidden paradise in New Tubigon

“I PROMISED to lessen my travels this 2017,” I determinedly told myself.

Guess what? I just broke my first New Year’s resolution for 2017 (insert laughing emoji here).

Even as 2016 was just about to end, I received two invitations already to go and visit Mt. Capistrano in Bukidnon and a falls in New Tubigon, Sibagat in Agusan Del Sur that remains unknown yet to tourists.

The former was cancelled though since my cousin was “drawing” two days before our agreed date. But I was determined still on a quest to discover what New Tubigon has to offer.

Who could resist the wonders of nature, right? So I ended up backpacking in the first week of 2017 instead just to see the falls in New Tubigon, which the locals fondly called as the Pinandagatan Falls.

I first heard about the falls from my sister who is a new teacher assigned at the New Tubigon High School of Home Industries, which is under the Department of Education.

New Tubigon is a far-flung barangay under the municipality of Sibagat in Agusan Del Sur. To get there from Davao City, one can take a ride on a public utility bus at the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal that is bound for Butuan City and stop at the Bayugan Bus Terminal.

Just across the terminal, there are stationed “skylabs” or more known to locals as the “habal-habal,” a single motorcycle with wood extensions fashioned in a way that looked like the motorcycle’s wings where commuters can sit and ride. It is the popular means of transportation when heading to New Tubigon.

I packed light and brought my DSLR camera with me but I wasn’t able to use it to capture the mesmerizing green trees and shrubs that covered the mountains which one could see while traveling to New Tubigon since we need to place them inside large plastics to protect them from sudden downpour or the dust.

We wrapped all our stuff with the plastics that we bought at the public market in Bayugan City (it is just situated near the Bus terminal) but I intentionally tucked my smartphone on my pants’ pocket so I could take photos and videos along the way.

Different trees in all sizes, a view of a river, and the mountains and big rocks that seem to add beauty to the view are but among the sceneries along the way that seemed to signal that there are so much beauty amid the forest that are waiting to be explored yet which is concealed by the mountain.

When I got there with my sister, there were reports of low pressure area hitting Mindanao so the trek to Pinandagatan falls was put off on a later date due to the rains.

On my last day there, even though it was raining, my sister’s students were so determined to bring me to the falls since they had no classes that day. Together, we trekked up and down on a newly-paved road, crossed a crudely-made bridge over a tiny river, and trekked up and down again before we reached the jaw-dropping view of the Pinandagatan Falls.

I immediately savored the moment by taking photographs of the falls and watching it in awe. Right then, I had known that my decision to go there was not put to waste. It was worth the travel and experience. The locals were also nice and great.

While trekking to the falls, I was offered Macopas and Caimitos freshly picked from the trees. I also tasted boiled “Kamansi” seeds for the first time. It tasted like boiled Nangka seeds, only it’s more delicious.

I was glad that I went there to personally learn about the place. If there is a New Year’s resolution worth breaking, then that would include my visit to the Pinandagatan Falls in New Tubigon.
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