I set out on a solo trip to Davao and ended up with an adventure with family in Cagayan but I was a year late for the reunion. This was a trip by air, land and sea; from adult responsibilities and adventure; for myself and family! ✈ 🚌 🚢
In my last write-up here, I recounted my trip that stretched from the streets of Davao to the roads of Cagayan which focused on a solo travel. This is a different side to the story. This write-up has been hanging for a week as I immediately went on another trip and now I get to share this different perspective. The part where the solo trip became a family adventure that stretched from dinners in Cagayan to trekking in Jasaan and going extreme in Bukidnon.
On the same month last year, our clan (yep, we have a clan. haha) held our periodic grand reunion. It’s usually done in Bohol but last year’s reunion was held in Cagayan. I remembered being excited for the event and ended up disappointed for missing it. I had an exam in review class that time and I had to be present for the discussion. My father called me in the middle of the class to tell me how I would've enjoyed the extreme activities in Bukidnon. Really? I couldn’t concentrate on the discussion after that. Haha.
I flew to Davao to pursue a career and I wasn’t entirely sure if I could push through with my plan to go to Cagayan after as I had to focus on the exam first. I had a purposeful stay in Davao – to take an exam for a career and hopefully pass it. After facing the challenge of the exam I decided to make the most out of my trip rather than go home and anxiously wait for the results so I hopped on a bus bound for Cagayan, leaving the pressure of adult responsibilities behind.
At one of the checkpoints on the road to Cagayan.
I arrived at night time exhausted from the 8-hour ride and numerous checkpoints. It’s been around a decade since I visited my family in Cagayan and since I missed the grand reunion last year, this was my mini reunion with them.
I stayed at my grandparent's house and my relatives were already going on about places they wanted me to see and activities that they know I would enjoy. I was hyped by the idea but also tired from the day’s event – the taxing exam and the long bus ride took a toll on me and sent me to a much-needed sleep. It was Sunday morning the next day so I went to church to pray for the results of my exam and thanked the one above for a safe trip. The rest of the day was spent with family.
A lot has changed in Cagayan since my last visit. There were new malls that are within walking distance from one another. We ate at Mango Mania Healthy Desserts Restaurant in Limketkai Center. The restaurant is a great place for those who love everything mango. There is every kind of food variety that involves mangoes. After a sweet meal and a quick catch up, we indulged in innocent fun at the arcade for my nephew and niece but the adults enjoyed playing as much as the Kids. I joined in the fun!
I played darts for the first time and I hit 2 out of 3. Inside the target balloons were prizes and I won candies for hitting 2 of those. I felt really cool until I saw the prize. It wasn't much of a prize but it seemed like an achievement. 😎 I'm thinking of getting into a new sport, again! 😁
Oh well, it's the thought that counts. 😉
The evening was spent at Lifestyle district with a bit of social drinking while listening to a band. The place features restaurants to choose from, clubs and a hostel. It’s a convenient place to stay for travelers if you don’t mind the noise.
The bed and breakfast
After a day at the city, we drove outside of Cagayan and made the trek to Sagpulon Spring Falls in Jasaan the following day. The fresh air and relaxing atmosphere wouldn’t make you feel that you’re on a climb towards the Falls. Even my grandparents made the trek and they didn’t feel exhausted. I guess the adventurous soul runs in the family!
The entrance is 7 kilometers from the main road and 1 kilometer away from the Falls.
Entrance: Php 20 for adult | Php 10 for children
Table: Php 100 | Cottage: Php 150
Life jacket: Php 30 rental
Note: Wearing a life jacket is a must if you want to swim in the spring water.
My grandparents in action. It seemed like a stroll in the park.
The Falls gang
Beauty in all its simplicity
Sagpulon Spring Falls with its 6 feet pool
The view during the climb was captivating and the destination even more so.
With a life jacket on, I let myself and my worries float away. I honestly would say that it felt like I was in a totally different and secluded Island when I looked up to admire the scenery, perhaps because so much of the natural terrains I’ve been to are not as raw anymore that I was enchanted with the place. I allowed myself to indulge in the luxury of enjoying the moment, the here and now, and not think of anything else even my exam. It's places like these that make you feel grateful for the opportunity to travel and marvel in the raw authentic beauty of nature. I floated with the thought of gratitude in mind –a full appreciation of the privilege to travel, to pause and enjoy the blessings I have, and of the gift of family.
We dined at Panagatan Restaurant in Opol after a soothing time at Sagpulon Falls. It's a sea side restaurant where you can enjoy sumptuous food while getting serenaded. We went to Cagayan Town Center (CTC) for dessert at Espressini Café but I took a pass on the coffee as we were bound to leave early for Bukidnon the next day. Here's my nephew and niece chilling at the Espressini Cafe.
Cagayan Town Center with the Sky bar on the roof top
CTC is where the Sky Bar is located along with other restaurants to choose from. You can unwind and enjoy the view at the roof top venue of the Sky Bar.
We went extreme at Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon the next day. We stopped over Del Monte Pineapple Plantation on the way to Dahilayan for me to get a closer look as it was my first time to be there and I wanted to get a full experience on my trip.
Sitting like a king
I was captivated by the view on the way to Dahilayan and with a front row seat to the 2-hour drive, I snapped photos of the scenery.
Captured on the drive
I excitedly read the welcome sign as we arrived at the adventure park and adrenaline immediately kicked in. I was thrilled of the extreme rides but was also in awe of the its picturesque view. Pine trees surrounded the place giving it a cool sensation and the view was soothing to the eyes.
With its fresh atmosphere, adrenaline pumping rides and picturesque view the adventure park offers a variety of amenities that ranges from cozy accommodation to exciting activities. It is featured as an extreme playground and is a fitting place for adventurers wanting to go extreme and for families wanting to bond. This was one of the places my family visited during the grand reunion last year. As I've said, I was a year late for the reunion so I had to make up by doing the rides. 😆 To have a closer look of what the adventure park offers, visit here.
There are packages for the Zip rides that range from Php 600 to Php 1,200 but it was almost lunch time when we arrived, thus I had limited time and couldn't try all the rides. I decided to pick out those I haven't tried in other adventure parks so I went with the Drop zone and Skytower base jump.
The Skytower base jump is one of their newer rides where you go up an 80 feet tower to jump off from the platform and land in a trampoline below. This ride costs Php 400 and a thousand pound of courage.
I looked below and smiled at the view and the peace I felt before making the jump. It was quiet and I breathed in the wind that touched my face. A sense of calm washed over me then I jumped. For a fraction of a second I felt my soul split from me as I made the jump! 😅 It's been a while since I jumped off such a high place without water below to catch me. I landed on the trampoline and bounced happily. I felt like a kid! 😆
With my very supportive Uncle, I made the walk down the hill towards the lake for the Drop zone ride
The Drop zone is a free fall ride where you lay on your belly on a superman position and get pulled by a suspension 120 feet high with a lake below you. From there, you are instructed to pull the string as the guide reaches a count of 3 and scream your heart out as you go on a pendulum swing after the fall. _You can ride solo for Php 500 (single) or go with a partner for Php 750 (tandem).
..1, 2, 3, scream!! 😱
I found myself smiling again from above as I took in another deep breath. I looked around to admire the view. It's not very often that you get suspended a hundred feet high and feel taller than a tree. I get to experience what a drone sees midair. Along with the quiet, a sense of gratitude washed over me this time; gratitude for the opportunity and ability to do exciting things that make me feel alive.
With an additional Php 150, I got my certificate and souvenir photos for conquering the drop zone.
My friends get puzzled as to why I do these kinds of heart-stopping extreme activities. I do get scared but I choose to face those fears and in an unusual way, I find a certain kind of peace that emerges from the buzz of nerves. I tune out everything unnecessary and get to focus on the moment. It's the same kind of calm I feel when I'm in the zone during competitions or high level training. Something I cannot fully explain but are very grateful of. These are moments I get to fully appreciate the gift of life. It does sound ironic but it's my kind of peace. 🙃
After an exhilarating morning, we headed to the Forest Park which offers a different set of rides that are more fitting for children. We had lunch at the Forest Park Cafe and let my nephew run around the playground while my grandparents enjoyed a relaxing time admiring the view and fresh air.
Weekend: Adult: Php 100 | Kids: Php 50
Weekday: Adult: Php 50 | Kids: Php 20
You can enjoy this view while dining at the Forest Park Cafe
I rode this barrel train to accompany my nephew. This ride is for Php 50.
My awesome grandparents featuring the view of the Forest Park
A date on the park
My very supportive grandparents and uncle knows my interests that they bought me a ticket (Php 50) without asking so I could climb up and conquer this tall challenge. When a blessing comes, grab it –and so I did! 😉
It wasn't a competition or anything but I felt proud and happy knowing that my grandparents are rooting for me to reach the top. They haven't seen me in training or any competition because we live on different regions and this is just one way I could make them proud so I did my best.
Conquered the Monkey tree top!!
After a day full of adventure, we headed back to Cagayan for dinner. During my stay, I spent every night with family catching up. It didn't feel like it's been years since I've visited. They don't hold back in celebrations. Even days without occasions are turned into something special.
Dinner with family at the Kagay-anon restaurant to celebrate my cousin's birthday.
Heading home by sea.
I went on a 12-hour boat ride heading back to Cebu feeling contented. I didn't plan much of this trip except flying off to Davao for an exam but the solo trip led me to my family. The 8-hour ride to Cagayan and the 12-hour boat ride to Cebu was worth the trip because it gave me the time to spend with myself and my family. My parents and I live in Cebu, my grandparents in Cagayan. Visayas and Mindanao may not be that far but the complexities of life and adult responsibilities create a huge gap between my home and theirs. As I've grown older, I have realized that I should make time to bridge the gap because nobody is getting younger and family should also be on top of the priority list. So, I head home already thinking of my next trip back to Cagayan. 😁