If road trip, mountains, sea of clouds, stargazing, topped with cool weather excite you, then you might want to consider climbing Panimahawa Ridge in Barangay Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.
I’m no mountain climber, in fact I have only tried trekking once to Barangay Buscalan in Mountain Province to see Apo Whang-Od, so I’m not really sure what to expect when we trekked to Panimahawa Ridge. I did several wall climbing in Power Up few years ago but there was a harness and you can let go anytime you want since there’s a belayer. So that’s really different, right?
Anyway, if you want to witness sea of clouds early in the morning, there’s no need for you to climb Mt. Pulag for 4-6 hours. Instead, you may just head to Northern Mindanao in Bukidnon and trek Panimahawa Ridge. Panimahawa Ridge is one of the five known ridges in Barangay Impasug-ong. It has an elevation of 2, 687 ft and only takes 2 hour to reach the summit from the jump of point. Of course this depends on your pace and the weather.
Ready for an exciting adventure? READ ON!
I. Fly from Manila to Cagayan de Oro
II. Prior to your travel, make sure you already have pre-arranged a car rental from CDO to Bukidnon. You have the option to hire a car and a driver, or drive the car by yourself. When in CDO, you can contact Kuya Roger of Yanaro Rent a Car for your car rental needs. Contact him via their WEBSITE or FACEBOOK. He’s a very nice guy who can even drive for you if he’s available.
III. CDO to Bukidnon, specifically up to Dahilayan, is an approximate 3-hour drive.
IV. On the way to Dahilayan, you’ll pass by a breathtaking pineapple plantation in Manolo Fortich, if you’re not in a hurry, feel free to do a pit stop.
V. Spend the night at Dahilayan Forest Park or Pine Grove Hotel located at Dahilayan Adventure Park. Make sure you have also contacted Sir Bob of Ant Farm prior to your trip in Bukidnon. Ant Farm is the tour operator and the jump off area going to Panimahawa Ridge. You can also contact him at 0975-0466-532 for updated rates.
VI. Drive to Barangay Impasug-ong the next morning. Drive will take at least one hour if you are coming from Dahilayan.
Pinegrove Hotel. Pinegrove is located inside Dahilayan Adventure Park and a great place to stay if you plan to try Dahilayan Adventure Park rides, especially their famous 840m dual zipline. Room rates starts from Php2,800 for a standard room, up to Php6,000 for a Family Room.
Dahilayan Forest Park. Located few meters away from Pinegrove Hotel is the Dahilayan Forest Park. Room rates starts at Php3,300 for a Standard Room, up to Php7, 200 for a Barkada Room that’s already good for 12-13 pax.
Tent. No brainer. You are going to need this if you plan to spend the night on top of Panimahawa Ridge.
Car Rental (Sedan):Php5,000-Php6,000 (good for 2.5 days)
Ant Farm Registration Fee & Tour Guide: 300 per pax (if less than 5 pax or you are only 2 in the group , you need to pay extra 300)
Meal: Php2, 000
Contingency (tips, incidentals, etc.): Php4,000
TOTAL BUDGET: Php20,000 is a very safe budget already for two people (exclusive of airfare).
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Make sure you get enough cardio exercise before trekking. You may experience shortness of breath during the trek.
- Weather in Bukidnon is very unpredictable so better pack gears and outfit good for hot , rainy or cold weathers. Please be reminded that rain showers or thunder storms usually occur in the afternoon.
- Trek would approximately take 2 hours depending on your pace and the weather. In our case, we started our trek at almost 1:00PM but reached the summit at about 5:20PM already because…
1. It rained very hard and the slope was very slippery and muddy.
2. When it rained hard, we were forced to make a stop over at a waiting shed with another group, ate noodles to kill time while also waiting for the rain to somehow subside.
3. Walked again to a nearby house and stayed there for more than an hour (with the other group and guides) while deciding if it’s still a good idea to trek to the summit considering it’s almost evening and the rain hasn’t stopped yet. However, when we saw a couple planning to still go up the summit, we told our guide that we also want to go up despite the rain. Good thing it somehow stopped raining already and we were just in time to to catch the sunset. We’re very thankful we met the couple because we had the courage to continue our climb. =)
If you can pitch your tent on the top most portion of the ridge, away from the other tents, that would be perfect. Otherwise, just go to the other side. Too bad we did not check the said area of the ridge so we were forced to endure our noisy camper neighbors. Too much for nature and Halloween! Yes, we went up the ridge on October 30 hoping less people will be there.
NOTE: If you have no plans of staying overnight at the summit, you can opt to trek to the ridge as early as 3:00AM so you can still catch the sunrise and the sea of clouds, then go down before 8:00AM before it gets hot because there’s no shade at the ridge. If you still want to reach the summit of the Panimahawa Ridge but feel you are not fit enough to do the climb, there’s an easier way, hire a habal-habal for Php200. But I need to warn you that the habal-habal ride is a different adventure itself and not really for the faint- hearted, especially during rainy season.
THINGS TO REMEMBER AND BRING:
- Use non-slip rubber shoes lest you want to slip, especially when it’s raining.
- Learn to pitch your own tent in case your guide doesn’t know how.
- Learn first aid or ask for a guide who knows how. This is very important especially if you are a novice.
- Pack enough water for hydration but be very careful not too drink too much to avoid hyponatremia.
- Bring few snacks that you can eat while trekking to give you enough energy. Granola bar, nuts, Jelly Ace, dried fruits, beef jerky,Cloud 9 to name a few.
- If you and your companion can, bring at least 3 liters of water. That would be enough during the hike and the overnight stay.
- If you have a portable mini camp stove, buy the butane and other necessities in CDO because there are few groceries and convenience stores in Bukidnon.
- Food suggestions: Noodles, bread, corned beef, pork and beans, Libby’s sausage, coffee. Pack light! You will thank yourself for it.
- Don’t forget: Insect repellent lotion, lots of wet wipes, extra plastics and plastic bottles (just in case you need it since there’s no restroom at the ridge), trash bags, alcohol, medicines and first aid kit.
- PLEASE BE MINDFUL OF OTHER CAMPERS! If you want to listen to some music while stargazing, use earphones. Let other campers sleep or enjoy the sound of crickets and nature.
- BRING YOUR TRASH WITH YOU. You can ask your tour guide where to throw them once you start your descent.
Postscript: If you still have enough days to spare to visit other places in Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro, you may want to read my Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon Travel Guide.