Looking back at the photographs of my past travels, I can’t help but miss all the fun that comes along with each unique trips I made through the years. And as I reminisce every moment captured, the memories of the past motivated me to share one of the unwritten saga of my wanderlust.
It has been two long years yet I still can vividly remember all the details of how, a newbie hiker like me, was able to survive the difficult (or considerably dangerous) assault to the top of the mighty Bani Falls of Arakan.
Bani Falls also known as Matigol Falls of Arakan Valley was one of the majestic multi-tier water falls you can discover in the mountains of Arakan and Bukidnon. While Arakan was part of North Cotabato, it can be easily accessed at Sitio Inamong, Datu Ladayon.
From Davao City, Sir Olan, Sir Jonallier, Fra, Ate Kikit, Kuya Dan, Erwin, Deejay, Jem, Abdul and Me rode the rural transit bus bound for Cagayan via Bukidnon route. After an hour of bus ride, we then alighted at Kampo Uno to ride a habal-habal going to Sitio Inamong. The habal-habal ride itself was already a hell of adventure. While a rogue 30 minutes of downhill and uphill ride will make you shiver, the view of the mountain ranges might be the best antidote to counter your fears. So, just a tip, keep yourself busy over the view. We reached the campsite/jump off point safe and sound and the locals greeted us a warm welcome.
Chasing Bani falls was quite draining. The first few kilometers toward the grassland is very dehydrating as there are no shades where you can take your respite under the heat of the sun. Although at some time, the clear sky turns cloudy giving us a temporary relief.
The trail is muddy but we did not mind it at all as we are enjoying the superb curves with a healthy green foliage of the mountainous ranges, with the 360 degrees view of the Marilog, Arakan and Bukidnon region.
Getting into the bottom of Bani falls is another challenge itself given a slippery descent that we need to endure. Along the way we have encountered several small tier falls. We rested at the foot of Bani and there we had our lunch.
A few more walk from where we had our lunch lies the stunning view of Bani Falls. The gigantic falls surging down the mountain sprinkling mists all over us who adored its stunning beauty. And then we feasted in celebration of witnessing a spectacular view nature has carved in this almost hidden spot in Arakan Valley.
As soon as we finished enjoying this rare view and have gathered enough energy to continue the hike, we packed up our things and made a daring assault on the daredevil trail beside the falls itself. The trail was many times harder than the descend we made going to the bottom of Bani. It was a lot more challenging and dangerous as you can encounter loose rocks coming down your way at some point in time. There are bamboo trees and other tree branches hurdling your way to the top making it more difficult for us to ascent. The trail is very steep at almost 90 degree. We also did cross the falls vice versa in search for a better trail to get to the top where the basin was waiting for us.
The trail. The thrill. The chill. And the risky decision was all worth it after we reached the basin at the top. All struggles and challenges was all worth it.
Communing with nature was never been this rewarding and fulfilling. Chasing falls is among the best antidote and a getaway from the stress of the city. I encourage you all to live your life. Have fun and enjoy! ika nga nila "Enjoyin mo lang ang buhay habang buhay ka pa!"
How To Get Here:
- There are direct flights from Manila to Davao City
- Take a bus going to Cagayan De Oro via Bukidnon-Davao highway
- Alight at Kampo Uno (just tell the conductors and they will drop you there)
- At Kampo Uno ride a habal-habal to sitio Inamong or better yet tell the driver to drop you at the camp site for bani falls.
If you plan to visit this place, please do bring some common medicines (like antibiotics) or medicine kits for the indigenous people living in the campsite area. It will be a big help to them.