While in Bukidnon, start the day by climbing the Two Trees Mountain of
Bukidnon Provincial Tree Park. This is a popular trekking destination
for students and locals. The trail via Gawad Kalinga Village is quite
easy, even non-climbers won’t have a hard time reaching the top. The
summit offers a majestic view of the farmlands of Sitio Tigbawan of
Barangay Can-ayan at the eastern side while on the west hikers will get a
panoramic view of Malaybalay city. The 4th highest peak in the
country – Mount Kitanglad is also clearly visible here. Mount Kitanglad
Range Natural Park is an ASEAN Heritage Park.
Stroll at the evergreen Kaamulan Nature Park, a place dotted with pine trees and native-inspired cottages that provides a leisurely highland ambience. The Bukidnon Provincial Capitol fronting the nature park is also worth checking.
A few minutes ride from the city is the Monastery of the Transfiguration
in San Jose, home of the Benedictine monks. It has a pyramid-shaped
church designed by the National Artist for Architecture, Leandro
Locsin. This is the last project of the artist before he passed away.
Staying at the monastery is also popular among visitors on retreat. An
overnight stay here costs around Php 750, inclusive of food. If you’re
pressed for time, you can just drop by and buy their famous products
like Monk’s Blend Premium Coffee, Monk’s Peanut Butter, roasted peanut,
peanut brittle and tablea. A Malaybalay also houses two other spiritual
destinations: the Monastery of Carmelite Nuns and Jesuit Retreat House.
If you are looking for a place to dine with a scenic view, head to
D’Stable Eco Resort (Quadra). This ranch offers affordable rooms for
tourists. They also offer short or day-long horse rides. The place is
dappled with charming nipa huts where visitors can dine. D’Stable Eco
Resort also serve delicious and reasonably-priced dishes. But if you’re
looking for a great picnic spot or if you’re itching to swim, local
favorite Nasuli Spring in Bangcud, is ideal.
Bukidnon also boasts of having the sweetest pineapples, exported all over the world. The Lapanday Food Corporation has a pineapple farm near Malaybalay’s city center. They grow and pack pineapples under the brands –“Estrella” and “Aloha” including the super-sweet line of Honey Pines. Bukidnon also houses the Del Monte Golf Course at Manolo Fortich. To commute here, take a bus bound to Cagayan de Oro, and drop off at the intersection going to this pineapple plantation. Must try is the famous steak at the Clubhouse.
Aside from its scenic view and relaxing atmosphere, Malaybalay is a
perfect destination for budget travelers. Rooms are priced as low as
Php 300 (twin sharing) and getting around the city will only cost P8 per
ride on a motorcycle and P10 on a multi-cab to the Monastery of
For souvenirs, take home the Malaybalay native product called hinabol. This woven fabric is made of abaca fibers and used for making house decors, fashion accessories, purses, blinds, flowers, placemats and bags. You can find hinabol fabrics at Nida’s Handicrafts, Malaybalay Choice Handicrafts, Zeta Trading and Valdez Handicrafts.
How to commute to Malaybalay:
Nearest airport and port to Malaybalay is located at Cagayan de Oro (CDO) city. From CDO, Malaybalay is roughly 2 1/2-3 hour ride. Take a bus bound to Valencia (Bukidnon) or Davao from Agora Terminal in CDO. Get off at Malaybalay Bus Terminal. Ride a motorela to take you to the city center.
Gael Hilotin is the author of The Pinay Solo Backpacker.