The new year of 2015 started with a challenging road trip with family and friends, such a good jumpstart for what was yet to come. 2015 was full of challenges from organizing my big move to settling down in a foreign land. I needed this hike, I needed this boost and it was definitely worth it.
It exists!That enchanting space in between heaven and earth, a magical odyssey probably inhabited by angels, a lush forest with vibrant shades of green, brown and touches of yellow, framing a beautiful waterfall cascading down like liquid silver… One of the 2% left of original Philippine Forests…. A beautiful piece of heaven that doesn’t belong to any industrial or commercial group, it should forever remain with the indigenous people until the end of time. A hope that no monetary interest would cloud their judgements to sell out this rare jewel of the earth.
One of the most memorable hikes in my life was this hike to Limunsudan Falls in Mindanao. Limunsudan Falls is a two-tiered waterfall situated in Brgy. Rogongon, Iligan City, in the province of Lanao del Norte, Philippines. It is situated 55 kilometers away from the city proper. It is said to be the Philippine’s highest waterfall with the height of 870 feet. This is still under the protection of the Ancestral Domain Law, Republic Act (RA) No. 8371, otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997, which has been around for almost fifteen years, IPs’ rights continue to be denied and violated. The rights unique to these groups are the rights to their ancestral domains and lands. Let’s educate ourselves with these issues in our country and find ways to volunteer our time, talent and connections to help preserve what is left of our natural resources. As of now it’s not as accessible to the public because of uncharted roads and other rumored dangers. The risk to hike here alone without protection or prior arrangements may cause serious trouble.
Our pick up trucks went through a challenging ordeal as it slowly but surely did a road dance with the rocks and boulders along the way. The respect and commitment the local village had to their surroundings also required us to go through some rituals before the hike. As a form of respect to the elements of nature, the chieftain had to perform a sacrifice to cover the tourists on our journey towards the waterfall. A offering of coins and the shedding of chicken blood was the main act of the sacrifice. The group I was with had to coordinate with the Military to be our escorts as we hiked for another few hours towards the falls. It was long but the scenery was worth it, we went through a pathway in between two jungles, a few man-made stair cases through the trees and some tight spaces in between.
We had a few water break pauses in between but not too long since the sun was quickly descending. Hiking at night may not be the best thing to do in this area. This place is sacred, to be respected and be left in it’s original state. Some village rumors say that the Philippine government wants to convert this into a hydroelectric dam, destroying everything around it for monetary gain. I’m not really sure how these greedy pigs, brains operate on a daily basis. I pray this never happens and that it could be protected as a Philippine Sanctuary rather than transformed into another concrete monument. The Philippines could create energy from other sources such as wind and solar. Most of the environmental sanctuaries have now become tourists spots open to the public without strict law implementations. (i.e Boracay, Baguio, etc…)
Raphael Kiefer and his family put this whole trip together and i’m forever grateful. It was a great way to start last year. I hope it’s still the same 20 years from now.
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