initial idea was to again climb the majestic Mt. Apo with ecoactivist-mountaineer friends in Mindanao but luckily, Anne agreed to join me – so this trip was my birthday gift to her. changed the itinerary to birdwatching and more relax trekking in Baguio and Marilog Sub-districts. the Mt Apo climb will be set for another date this year…
who wants to join? :)
first stop was the Philippine Eagle Center, a research and education facility for the care and propagation of the endangered Philippine Eagle through captive-breeding. Standing in front of the majestic Philippine Eagle, felt humble and meek, as if in the presence of the King of Kings. the center is also a rehabilitation facility to other raptors such as scops-owls, sea eagles, hawk-eagles and kites that were caught or recovered from wildlife traders and poachers.
next in the list, Epol Waterfalls in Marilog. the bus conductor missed our drop-off so we end up in Bukidnon, another unplanned trip hahaha.
we took the return bus, for free, courtesy of the helpful bus inspector. the drop-off point (N7 27.196 E125 14.231) was difficult to spot because there are no markers or road signs.
the trek to Epol was relaxing. we saw a yellow-breasted fruit dove, a lifer, and lovely sunbirds, flowerpeckers and white-eyes. also spotted endemic pitcher plants and a snake along the trail.
the small waterfalls is beautiful and the water is cold, sarap mag-swimming. of course, every adventure should be accompanied with good native food like the balbacua and the bitter baklay na baka.
sadly, missed the durian because it’s off-season, tsk
our gratitude to Ate Wella, her kids and five-ten-lost the count lovable dogs, except the two masungit na great dane (and to my dear friend Willie Garcia) for hosting us and to Lia Esquillo and family for a very wonderful breakfast.
a cheap and comfortable accommodation in the durian city is the Mindanao Resource and Training Center (http://www.dmsf.edu.ph/iphcs/services.htm) located in DMSF, Banaja, Davao City.
From Davao downtown to PEC, take a bus/jeep to Calinan (bus costs P45). From Calinan, take habal-habal or trike for only P15. In front of the bus stop in Calinan, there is also a restaurant that offers a good variety of meals for budget price.
From Davao downtown to Epol, take a non-aircon Rural Tours bus to Cagayan (CDO) for P100 but remind the conductor to drop you in Epol Watefalls (formerly Green Valley). You can also take the aircon bus but the fare is P260, quite expensive. Need to pay two houses (P10 each) before you reach the waterfalls. Marilog District is also a wanderer’s haven, lots of waterfalls and caves. But you need to set 2-3days to explore the said areas.