Bukidnon: The Highland Paradise at the Heart of Mindanao
The Rugged Terrain of Bukidnon
Bukidnon is a landlocked province of the Philippines located in the Northern Mindanao region. Its capital is Malaybalay City. The province borders, clockwise starting from the north, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Sur, Davao del Norte, Cotabato, Lanao del Sur, and Lanao del Norte.
The province's total land area is 829,378 hectares (8, 293.78 square kilometers). It accounts for 59 percent (59%) of Northern Mindanao. Thirty-eight percent (38%) is alienable and disposable. The rest is classified as timberland.
Bukidnon is considered by Filipinos to be the food basket of Mindanao. It is the major producer of rice and corn in the region. Plantations in the province also produce pineapples, bananas and sugarcane.
Bukidnon is the home of Mount Dulang-dulang, the second highest mountain in the Philippines with an elevation of 2,938 meters located in Kitanglad Mountain Range. Mount Kitanglad (2,899m.), Mount Kalatungan (2,860m.), Mt. Maagnaw (2,742m.), Mt. Lumuluyaw (2,612m.) and Mt. Tuminungan (2,400m.), the 4th, 5th, 8th, 17th and 30th highest mountains in the country respectively, are also found in the province.
Bukidnon is a highland paradise in the heart of Mindanao. It is home to the world's biggest pineapple plantation boasting a classic golf course dating back to 1928. It is the biggest cattle-producing province in the region. It has been identified as one of the country’s richest in biodiversity and endemic species of flora and fauna. Bukidnon is in the heartland of Mindanao, linking Davao to the south and Misamis Oriental to the north of the island.
- Bukidnon became a part of Misamis in the latter part of 1850. The whole area was then called Malaybalay and the people were known as Bukidnons (mountain people). The Philippine Commission, then headed by Commissioner Dean C. Worcester, Secretary of Interior, proposed the separation of Bukidnon from Misamis Province. On August 20, 1907, the Philippine Commission Act No. 1693 was enacted the Province of Agusan and sub-province of Bukidnon. Bukidnon became a regular province on March 10, 1917 by virtue of the creation of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu under Act 2711.
- In 1942, invading Japanese troops entered Bukidnon. Mt. Capistrano was a civilian evacuation area in the World War II. In 1945, the province was liberated from Japanese occupation by Filipino and American troops with the aid of Bukidnon-based Filipino guerrillas during the Second World War.
- According to oral history of the indigenous people of Bukidnon, there were four main tribes in Central Mindanao: the Maranao who dwell in Lanao del Sur, and the Maguindanao, Manobo and Talaandig who respectively inhabit the eastern, southern, and north-central portions of the original province of Cotabato. When the civil government divided central Mindanao into provinces at the turn of the 20th century, the groups included in the province of Bukidnon are the Talaandig and the Manobo. The Bisayans, Cebuano, Boholanos and Ilonggos migrated into the province followed by various groups from Luzon, namely, the Ilocanos, Batangueños, the Igorots and the Ivatans. All contributed massive acculturation among the indigenous tribes. Most of those who moved to the mountains and forest continued to hold on their ancestors’ cultural heritage. The wide variety of Filipino groups are now the thrives in the province and contributed immensely in the socio-economic development.
Bukidnon is blessed with many tourist attractions categorized as Resorts and Recreational Parks, Caves and Rock Walls, Tree Parks, Reforestation Projects and Eco-Tourism Sites, Farms, Plantations and Agro-Tourism Sites, Waterfalls and Springs, Lakes, Rivers and Watershed, Mountains, Plateaus and Canyons, Agricultural Centers, Industrial Centers, Cultural and Educational Institutions, Roads, Bridges and Other Structures and Religious Sites and Edifices.
- Located at Poblacion Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. This stone, inscribed with Japanese characters, marks the grave of high-ranking Japanese official killed during the World War II. Roughly elliptical and measuring about 2 feet and 1 foot across, the stone bears two sets of inscriptions which when translated, means “On this spot died Miyazaki Yoshitoi, chief of army and Emperor Chiao. In memory of Kaji Battalion, May 8, 1942.”
- A natural attraction located in north central Bukidon. It has an area of 31,297 hectares composed of more than a dozen mountain peaks, including Mt. Dulang-Dulang. The peak of the mountain could be reached through three trail routes, namely: Bolugan, Kaatuan, Lantapan / Lupiagan, Sumilao / Intavas, La Fortuna, Impasugong.
- The second highest mountain in the country, towers to more than nine thousand feet, serving as the base of the province’s long distance communication tower. It also offers a challenge to mountain climbers. To reach its summit, one has to scale its ranges for five hours passing through flora and fauna of genuine virgin forests. At the base of Lalawan, Dalwangan, is the home of the Philippine Eagle. It was declared as a National Park under EO 677 dated December 14, 1990. Rising up to 9,696 feet above sea level, this second highest peak in the Philippines, has been declared as highest in biodiversity. The temperature varies from 64 to 56 planted mostly with Alvizza Falcantria and other medicinal trees, most of which grow on trees which still drip with dew even at twelve o’clock high noon.
- Located at Guinoyuran, Valencia, the lake could be reached through jeepney and motorcycle. This twenty-four-hectare and eighty-five-foot-deep lake is surrounded by mountains. It is an ideal place for boating and fishing.
- Found in the Palaopao mountains of Sumilao, Bukidnon, it is a fifteen-minute-ride and an hour-and-50-minute walk from Sayre Highway in Kisolon. This well-preserved cliffside cave has created centuries-old formations as gleaned from undistributed stalactites and stalagmites.
- This serene and tranquil lake can be seen from the highway in Don Carlos, Bukidnon. Often used as picnic and fishing area.
- The 36-hectare, seventy-eight-foot-deep lake in Pigtauranan, Pangantucan, is located at the foot of the Kalatungan Mountains. It stands out because of its twenty-four floating islets of varying sizes, the biggest of which is 50 feet wide. Those islets float around the lake parallel to the direction of the wind.
- Located twenty kilometers from Malaybalay. Nasuli springs offers nature enthusiasts cool, clear water which is ideal for diving and swimming.
- Found in Sampagar, Damulog, breast-like mountain and 250 feet high with a slope range from 30 to 50 percent. Host of PLDT, PHILTEL, NAPOCOR & DOTC transmitters.
- Located at Poblacion, Damulog, fifty-nine-foot-high falls and 15 feet deep at the drop site.
- Composed of several interconnected passages and has several outlets. The width ranges from .60 m to 19.10 m. while its height ranges from 1 meter to 6 meters located at East Poblacion of Kitaotao.
- Found in Kiabo, Malitbog, about 30 to 45 minutes ride from Poblacion. Noted for its deposit of organic fertilizer or guano. Its creek discharges milky white water.
- Located in Barangay Kalingking, Malitbog and about a 15-minute ride from Poblacion, it is a hunting area for wild ducks, likewise a fishing ground for mudfish.
- Found in Kilabong, Sumilao which is known as the longest cave in the northern part of the province.
- Located in Bita-ug, Lantud, Talakag has a 300 meter vertical entrance and is almost a kilometer long. Bats thrive within the cave while its floor either flows with water or is covered with guano.
Del Monte Philippines Inc.
- This pineapple plantation is located in Manolo Fortich, Libona, Impasugong and Sumilao; considered the biggest single pineapple plantation in the Far East.
Del Monte Golf Course
- The evergreen, well-trimmed, world-class 18 hole golf course located within the Pineapple Plantation.
- Is zigzagged road along the Sayre Highway, with views of rivers & hills, making it one of the most interesting spots in Bukidnon.
Mangima Spring Resort
- A local government-initiated project. The resort comprises approximately 6 hectares. Presently, the resort has four operational swimming pools. It is deal for family gatherings, horseback riding, seminars and relaxation since the site is surrounded with hills and mountains.
Impalutao Reforestation Project
- One of the earliest reforestation projects situated along the Sayre Highway in Impalutao, Impasugong, Offering nature lovers beautiful forest and crystal clear waterfalls.
Bukidnon Forest Inc.
- A 36,000 hectare-reforestation project under the assistance of the New Zealand government under the auspices of DENR.
- Located at the back of the Provincial Capitol, the area is best used for camping and rodeo activities. It has been the site for provincial fairs, foremost of which is the Kaamulan. The park in its natural setting abounds with pine trees.
- Located at Dologon, Maramag. The resort is popular for swimming and relaxation.
Luan-Luan Spring and Swimming Pool
- Located within the Poblacion, municipality of Quezon. It is a place where several springs flow out the whole year round. It is popular for swimming.
- A high point located in Sitio Kipolot, Palopao, Quezon. The landscaped area offers the viewer a panorama of beautiful rolling hills and plains of Bukidnon.
Atugan Swimming Pool
- In Sumilao is managed by the Department of Public Works and Highways. It has a pool for adults as well as for kids.
- Located in Lalawan, Dalwangan, 6 kms from the National Highway, is the home of the Philippine Eagle and host of rare bird species like the Philippine Hanging Parakeet. Giant scoops, owls, species of the flycatchers, brahmine kite and jungle fowl.
Seagull Valley Mountain Resort Swimming Pools
- Located at Barangay Lorega, Kitaotao, with parks, benches, cottages and lodging house.
- Proposed Golf Course contained with in an area of about 80 hectares. About 25 minutes' ride from Poblacion, Malitbog.
- A place which provides an overview of the whole municipality of Manolo Fortich. MENZI produces oranges, pineapples, cutflowers, cacao and coffee.
RPA Ventures, Inc.
- The Area formerly known as Farms Incorporated, which engages in cutflower production. Located in Barangay Diclum, Manolo Fortich. The area houses anthurium blooms of different Holland varieties.
- A vast agricultural area devoted to different agricultural experimentation. Also produces grapes, banana, langka and freshwater fish.
- Located in Barangay Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich. This is where one can enjoy houseback riding and a camp-out night with the soothing caress of the cool breeze.
- Located in San Gabriel, Manolo Fortich. This is an 18 hectare area, which is devoted to the production of cut folfiage-potted ornamentals of both local and imported origins.
Where to Stay
Here is the list of accommodations that can be found in Bukidnon.
- Hotel Valencia - Sayre Highway, Valencia, Bukidnon
- Haus Malibu - Bonifacio Drive, City of Malaybalay
- Pine Hills Hotel - Fortich Street, City of Malaybalay
- Plaza View Tourist Inn - Saver's Plaza Building, City of Malaybalay
- Villa Alemania Inn - Fortich cor. Moreno Sts., Malaybalay City
- QUADRA - Sta. Cruz St., Malaybalay City (near Shepherds Meadow)
- Bukidnon Travellers Lodge - Sawmill Site, Malaybalay City
- Small World Travellers Inn - Rizal St., Malaybalay City
- 1st Avenue Apartel / Inn - Propia Street, Malaybalay City
- Waig Crystal Spring Resort - Purok 8-A, Spring Site, North Poblacion, Maramag, Bukidnon
- MGM Mountain Resort - Dologon, Maramag
How to get there
Although there are public & private air-strips in Bukidnon, there are no commercial flights going directly to the province. The nearest airport is the Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City, catering domestic flights from the cities of Manila, Cebu, and Davao. From Cagayan de Oro, a travel by land must be taken to reach Bukidnon.
Taking the bus is one of the convenient ways to reach Bukidnon by land. About 104 kilometers road distance from Cagayan de Oro and that is approximately one-hour-and-a-half land travel straight to the capital city of Bukidnon, Malaybalay. The capital city could also be reached from Davao City via Salawagan Quezon Bukidnon and that is about 208 kilometers with an estimated travel time of three and a half hours.
Other public transportation is also available, like public utility jeepneys and vans for hire.
Since Bukidnon is a landlocked province, sea transportation is generally through its closest port, the Port of Cagayan de Oro City then takes the transportation by land to reach the cities and municipalities in Bukidnon. Several ferry services are available connecting Cagayan de Oro City to seaports in the cities of Cebu, Manila, Bohol and other ports in Luzon and Visayas.