Who does not love alpine-like sceneries: surrounded by towering mountainscapes while trodding the hilly terrains of undulating topography embraced by the cool breeze. It is what, we, lowland dwellers would drool upon in every excursion and travel we could in the future. This very scenery will instantly dissipate the stress in our bodies. It is the total alleviating effect for exhausted urban dwellers bombarded by the towering concrete jungles mangled by the horrendous traffic at its root base. The province of Misamis Occidental harbouring naturally the majestic and captivating vast mountain range of Malindang – a known inactive volcano forming two vast calderas and a solid foothill base spread across the province, this is a great starting base for your highland activities. Here are the towns and suggested destinations you can experience for a highland activity:
CAPUTOL HEIGHTS OF ALORAN
Paving its grand entrance in Misamis Occidental’s tourism landscape, the town of Aloran, a rather rustic yet enchanting destination of the province, would offer you its auspicious and captivating destinations in their pristine state. With the continuing development of artery connections, soon, more and more spots would be favourable to its valued guests and visitors.
With the town sharing the foothills and hinterlands of the Malindang Mountain Range, one can enjoy a splendid view of the rolling hills, virtually virgin rainforest, wildlife watching, or best to enjoy the relaxing mountain scenery at the Caputol Heights Resort. Located on a ridge part, the developed part featuring an open-air hall and bespoke spots for lounging is a must-visit while in Aloran. With sprawling green spaces and upcoming A-Frame huts for your accommodation facing the green valley below, this is the best spot to rest the tired urban souls or awaken the creative sense of yourself and continue to produce ingenious and prolific works of art, literature or music. As the serene surroundings coupled with a melodic cacophony of wildlife squawks and coos, the faint distant symphonic rustling of thick tree canopies rhythmically swaying with the alternating dancing cool mountain breeze is the best therapy as your overworked body rest against the natural green turf illuminated by the cloudy blue skies above commanded by the towering Malindang ranges.
The Caputol Heights Park features spacious parking spaces, an open-air function hall with a staging area, an alfresco area, lounge seats, clean restrooms, wide turf spaces, paved pathways and many spots of interest for photos. It is about a 10-15 minute drive on a mild incline from the main road. However, cellular signals are weak to none in this area, so best if you love digital detoxification. The park is also your function hall of choice while in the vicinity of Aloran with working water and electric utility connections.
During our visit to Caputol Heights, we are warmly welcomed by their very own municipal chief executive, Mayor Insek Roa. With an amazing table setup and their very own staff serenading us with their rave 80’s music lineup, it is one of the best breakfast experiences while in Misamis Occidental. A scrumptious buffet spread with fresh beverages is what we devoured. Mayor Insek himself even participated with the band as the drummer which kickstarted everyone’s attention and pulled us to centerstage and danced the calories away.
Apart from the Caputol Heights, the town of Aloran boasts its miraculous church, plus three of the amazing waterfalls that yet I need to see and explore.
HOYOHOY HIGHLAND AND BELVEDERE VIEW DECK, TANGUB CITY
Sharing the slopes of the Malindang mountain range, Tangub City is naturally blessed to enjoy panoramic views of the province’s shore and the ultraslim Panguil Bay. With such a strategic incline, the City holds two of its amazing destination. The Hoyohoy Highlands and the Belvedere View Deck – two view deck parks equally captivating yet unique that poise a different story and ambience.
The Hoyohoy Highland Park positions itself as a natural park lined with stony pathways and a stone chapel where you can express your prayer intentions. There are more activities you can do at Hoyohoy which involve a lot of tackling its undulating stairways and footpaths leading to its different sections. Want to train your cardio endurance? Hoyohoy could be a good spot for you.
Belvedere Scenic View Deck is part of a tourism megaproject they call Garden of the World and is a work in progress. The natural hilly topography and great cool mountain climate would certainly render a perfect environment for such amazing and colourful blooms in the future.
On February 8, 2023, the Provincial Government of Misamis Occidental soft-launched the larger portions of the Gardens of the World featuring truly bespoke view decks and spawning still turf and its botanical details. To give you a bit of perspective, the ongoing development involves the higher elevations of the property, thus, providing its guests with the unparalleled experience of being in a sprawling garden scape and the breathtaking panoramic view below.
SUBANEN ECOTOURISM PARK, TUDELA
To keep the Subanen culture alive and kicking, the Municipality of Tudela supported by the Second District Representative of the province conceptualized this livelihood project. With all the materials sourced locally in building the site, the project made sure that they have respected and followed the Subanen culture and architecture making the tour as much as legitimate as they can. The Eco Park is located on a hilly terrain providing picturesque formation of the house structure with mother nature as their grand backdrop. Being there seemingly catapults as back in time when the indigenous lived as they were before the effects of commercialization and urbanization took place within the majority of the tribe.
Arriving at its gates during the blue hour, the warm lights exude a unique glow against the picturesque seemingly stacked huts as we witness a traditional Subanen dance of courtship performed by locals. After marvelling at the ritual performance, we sauntered around the park and tried to check the houses despite the dimming luminance surrounding us, as we devour the Niligkid delicacy and Pineapple Pie – yum! I wish I could experience and spend a night there.
With its apparent modest and simple design, the use of space is well thought off. The rooms are indeed spacious leading to a wide balcony. The common rooms enjoy a quite high ceiling plan where fresh cool air freely circulates. Huge windows and doors allow maximum ventilation, thus, one’s stay would not require air conditioning since of its natural high-altitude topology.
The Park is not yet in its full-swing operation as the LGU still manages its final touches, as of writing. I am excited for its official launch for the visitors to marvel at what can Tudela and the Subanens can offer.