Apr 14, 2013

Last month we as a family went to Mindanao for a road trip with our awesome Aunt Zeny and Uncle Fernie.  Most of us grew up in Iligan City with occasional trips to Lala, Lanao del Norte and Cagayan de Oro, you could say that we also feel very much at home down south.  We stayed over at the Dahilayan Forest Park in Barangay Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.  The park is located at the foot of Mount Kitanglad 4,700 ft. above sea level.  Before going on further, let me trace you back to the genesis of this road trip.  Warning, awesomeness right after the jump.

Dolphin Island

Siblinghood of the Traveling Shoes

We endured some 10-hour trip from Tagbilaran City to Plaridel, Misamis Occidental and went straight to Sincaban to visit the dolphins at Dolphin Island. 

Sinacaban Aquamarine Park

The Sinacaban Aquamarine Park is your port to Dolphin Island.  There's a 1 km bridge platform until you reach the restaurant which we took our brunch and the docking area where you load up for Dolphin Island.

All Aboard

It has been my experience that most of the best trips made are the ones not planned.  We didn't plan to come to visit Dolphin Island but we did have a great time with the dolphins.  Here in Bohol, dolphin watching is one of the main attraction in a island hopping package but never have I heard of swimming with the dolphins.

Dolphin Island

Dolphin Island Aquamarine Park is located in Libertad Bajo, Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental, Philippines.

Dolly and Phinny

When we got there we put on our life jackets and snorkelling gear and some briefing from the tour guide.  They brought some small fish so we can feed the dolphins with a one rule not to raise the fish above water, always submerge it with your hand out.

Excited Much

Yes, we were pretty excited meeting the dolphins.  The one thing I could never forget is the similarity of the feeling of playing with Maska.  The way they come up in front of you and you hand them out a treat and they take it away and circles around you hoping for an another treat.  Just like my Huskinois.

Something Fishy

Sea Creatures

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Country Home

After a splash with the dolphins we drove to Ozamis City and crossed over to Mukas at Tubod, Lanao del Norte.  Only a few kilometres more and finally arrived at Magpatao, Lala, Lanao del Norte.  Aunt Zeny and Uncle Fernie's country home.  I made up the country home part.  I just love the look and feel of this place.  We saw how this place was transformed from a very rugged small brick house, renovated to this beautiful haven.  I don't know a big deal about architecture or interior design but they say, exposed beams are awesome and those beams are not for show, those are for real.

The Driveway

My brother and I stayed at the little guest house at the back and it was amazing.  It's a two-storey guest house, with an area of approximately 72 square meters.  It has a small living room and a kitchen with counter in between.  A toilet and a shower and a very spacious bedroom on the second floor with a balcony.


Guest House Bedroom

The main house was of course beautiful with a large garden near the driveway, a swimming pool and a lower and upper deck. 

Home Away From Home

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Steel Town

A couple of days rest and we were off to our roadtrip to Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.  My brother Charles and I took turns on driving the Navara.  I drove from Lanao del Norte until Iligan City.  We stopped over at our old home in Sta. Elena also known as "Steel Town".  It sure brings back a lot memories and the place seems so small now. 


Let me just get into memory lane here.  There used to be a lot of kids in our block during summer.  7am we're already all over the place running and playing, getting our hands and feet dirty.  We climb small hills, hunt for spiders, steal peanuts and slide on the hillside using some old palm wood.  Now, it was just empty.  No kids running around, no kids playing marbles or rubber bands.  Things have changed. 

Block 5, West Side

Block 5, East Side

I still have that memory like it was just yesterday.  I could still remember us cousins playing on our lawn.  The fence was still in the works and I rolled over the grass not knowing I was heading towards the edge.  I fell, blacked out and the next thing I remember I was dizzy as my uncle pours another bucket of water on my face.  To this day, I have this malformation on my right ear.  The wound brought about the accident was mostly on my right side, from the head part to my thighs.  The ear wound was swelling massively and doctors have to drain it from time to time until it became a hard lump. 

Moving on.

Dahilayan Forest Park

Forest Park View

My brother drove from Iligan City to Cagayan de Oro only stopping at the famous Limketkai Center for lunch.  After a few stops and shops, we head to our final destination (promise, no people dying) at Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.  We went up some 4,000 km above sea level and it was cold.  We drove through the vast pineapple farms.  It was raining when we got there and it was freezing cold.  We stayed at a Family Suite and the view was awesome.

In the morning we could hear people zip-lining their way through the trees.  The air was cold and fresh, we toured some parts of the park by ourselves by following a path.

Vintage Cars

The park has a lot of fun activities including a Bungee Trampoline, Net Trampoline, Tree-top adventure, Luge, Astrozbit and the like.  We were particularly interested in the ATV ride.


Lace and Scarlet ended up with the Buggy, since closed shoes are required when using the ATVs.  They exchanged drivers when came to the track's halfway.

View from the ATV & Buggy Track

The track was slippery fun because of the night's rain.  Our ATVs would slide from slide every sharp turn, drift galore!

Yeah, I tried filming the whole ride but without a GoPro Camera, it was difficult.  I just let my cam dangle on my neck.  It was much a pretty fun ride and friends on Facebook were like asking where the place was.  I don't know how good the ATV and Buggy rides here in Bohol but we definitely had a blast on Dahilayan Forest Park. 


We came down from Bukidnon feeling refreshed.  That is one thing I love about traveling, you get to take a look at a bigger picture and give your perspective a refresh.  Yes, the journey was tiresome, the drive was long but it was all worth it. 

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Lazlo Kovacs

So where are you heading for this summer?