12th MFPI Visayas Mountain Festival: Highlands and Islands

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Highlands and Islands.

These words characterized the core vision of the celebration. Everything to celebrate life in the mountains and in the seas are evident in this celebration. Visayas Mountain Festival started as an awakening to the consciousness of the responsible mountaineers here in the Visayas on the issues concerning our beloved playgrounds. Visayas Mountain Festival, or VMF, is a celebration of LIFE in all forms. It venerated our sacred playgrounds where we find peace and solitude in the process of the discovering our very selves. These happened back in May 1-3, 2015.

VMF is spearheaded by the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines Visayas Chapter with unified efforts of the following mountaineering clubs since its beginnings:

University of San Carlos Mountaineers (USC-M), CAMP [Cebu Assailants of Mountain Peaks] Cebu, Cebu Outdoor Adventure Team (COAT), and Cebu Mountaineering Society (CeMS), BOAT (Bohol Outdoor Adventure Team) from Bohol, NULOC (Nature Unlimited Leyte Outdoor Club) from Leyte, CPU MS (Central Philippine University Mountaineering Society) from Iloilo, IMC (Iloilo Mountaineering Club) from Iloilo.

Here is a blast from the past of how VMF came to be:

  • 8th VMF at CREMDEC, Transcentral Highway, Brgy. Taptap, Cebu City, CEBU (2011 March 31 – April 3)
  • 7th VMF at Nueva Valencia and Jordan, GUIMARAS (2010 May 20 – 28)
  • 6th VMF at Municipality of Mabinay, NEGROS ORIENTAL (2009 March 25 – 29)
  • 5th VMF at Danao Adventure Park, Brgy. Mangtangtang, Danao,BOHOL (2008 March 6 – 9)
  • 4th VMF at Mount Nangtud in Barbaza and Mount Madja-as Culasi, ANTIQUE (2007 March 2– 6)
  • 3rd VMF at Patag, Silay City, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL (2006 March 1 – 5)
  • 2nd VMF at Baybay, LEYTE (2005 February 23 – 27)
  • 1st VMF at Mt Talinis, Valencia, NEGROS ORIENTAL (2004)

This may be an extensive history already but the PASSION AND LOVE for the GREAT OUTDOORS still burns fervently. From 2011 to 2014, VMF was somehow still in existence though little documentation was provided. This year, I was fortunate to be working closely with the organizing team, Bohol Outdoor Adventure Team for pulling up an event as big as this.

I personally am able to join the planned trekking activity. At the arrival, we pitched our tents and created our own camps amid the bermuda grass in Danao Adventure Park. It was spacious enough to fit at least 4 tents from our contingent from HABAGAT Outdoor Equipment. We were all employees who were privileged to immerse ourselves with the great outdoors. And true enough, we already had fun. Though we have different point of views and backgrounds even to the point of arguing what will be cooked first on our provisions, still, we were able to survive the camp without a unscathed.

Here’s also the general itinerary for all the participants. Whether your main event will be Trekking, Paddling, Caving or perhaps joined the Basic Mountaineering Course, here are the salient points on the festival that you should take to heart.

12th Visayas Mountain Festival
Danao Eco-Park, Danao, Bohol
April 30-May 1-3, 2015

General Event Itinerary

APRIL 30, 2015 ( Thursday)
Arrival and Registration
Municipality of Tubigon

1:00 P.M.- ETD: 1st Free pick up of Guests, Staff and Participants from Tubigon Port to Danao DanaoAdventure Park

3:30 P.M.- ETD: Pick Up of Kayaking Participants from Tubigon Port to Bien Unido

4:30 P.M.- ETD: 2nd Free pick up of Guests, Staff and Participants from Tubigon Port to Danao Eco-Park

All free transportation are redirected to Tubigon Port. Cebu Participants are encouraged to take Tubigon as their port of Entry in Bohol. Participants coming in Tagbilaran City are encouraged to travel to Tubigon to avail of the free transportation going to Danao.

Event Proper (Day 1)
MAY 1, 2015 (Friday)

A.M.– Simultaneous start-off of Major Activities i.e. BMC, Caving, Trekking, Sea Kayaking

P.M.– Simultaneous start-off of Major Activities i.e. BMC, Caving, Trekking, Sea Kayaking

Evening Kick-off:
– Outdoor Cooking
– Outdoor Talk

Event Proper (Day 2)
MAY 2, 2015 ( Saturday)A.M.- Day 2 of Major Activities i.e. BMC, Caving, Trekking, Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking

P.M.– Day 2 of Major Activities i.e. BMC, Caving, Trekking, Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking

Evening Kick-off:
– Hosted Dinner
– Evening Socials
– Awarding 
– Raffle

Last Day (Day 3)
MAY 3, 2015 ( Sunday)

Before lunch or After Lunch- free ride back to Tubigon Port and Tagbilaran City.

-HOME SWEET HOME-

During the 1st day of the Trekking, I felt excited for seeing Bohol’s mountains but was technically shocked to see the devastation in all forms. Kaingin, or the process of “slash and burn” was really the main cause of death for the land foliage. It was sad and frustrating to see that the mountains are reduced to a blackened piece of land. We were passing by countless rolling hills and at the end of the day, had to manage a slippery trail of 90-degree inclination down to the river. After that, we were hosted by the barangay captain some snacks which we did not expect. Talk about genuine hospitality from the locals.

Day 2 had seen the bouldering hours, painstakingly fighting back the urge to go switchbacks and just continue with the hike. Bouldering has always been my Waterloo, and a tad too many times when I almost gave up but then, I mustered enough strength to continue it amid painful knees and legs. As we did the geomorphic trek, the highlight was the layered volcanic rocks and soil that hold the very foundation of Danao. The Dagohoy Hill also was something to check out. This is where the tomb of Francisco Dagohoy once lay but due to the damage caused by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, it was somehow destroyed and the locals just transferred the remains.

We did had a lot of fun and made lots of acquaintances and friends. It was just fitting to recount that the more awareness and being educated on the ways of Nature, we can then fully comprehend the ways how it will be preserved, maintained and conserved.

 Till the next Visayas Mountain Festival! 🙂 Surely, the adventure will rise to a whole new level then! 🙂

 Check out our snaps 🙂

The HABAGAT Team :)
The HABAGAT Team 🙂

 

Jean and Jeane :)
Jean and Jeane 🙂
HABAGAT Trekking Team: L-R: Alexandra, Jean, Jeane and Danika
HABAGAT Trekking Team: L-R: Alexandra, Jean, Jeane and Danika
And we are here! :) This is the mini crop terraces at Rowena Heights.
And we are here! 🙂 This is the mini crop terraces at Rowena Heights.
After the trek, we were able to finally stop and relax. L-R: Joshua, Jean, Danika, Alex, Jonathan, Michelle, JL, Kalayaan, our gracious host [i forgot his name] and Voltaire.
After the trek, we were able to finally stop and relax. L-R: Joshua, Jean, Danika, Alex, Jonathan, Michelle, JL, Kalayaan, our gracious host [i forgot his name] and Voltaire.
At the jump off point to the hills :) [Reef to Ridge Trekking]
At the jump off point to the hills 🙂 [Reef to Ridge Trekking]
The hills being subjected to farming.
The hills being subjected to farming.
ang feelings madalas itinerary... madalas hindi nasusunod. #hugotBundok
ang feelings madalas itinerary… madalas hindi nasusunod. #hugotBundok

selfie muna bago bumaba.. [highest point in Danao, Bohol]
selfie muna bago bumaba.. [highest point in Danao]
The best trekking team who are not only bullies but will definitely have your back in times of trouble and non ending cramps. Wahahaha. :)
The best trekking team who are not only bullies but will definitely have your back in times of trouble and non ending cramps. Wahahaha. 🙂
  • hoven Encontro

    Worth it jud if you’re at the peak na cause the view is very breath taking

  • I have always wondered what it’s like to be at the foot of a chocolate hill, I’m a bit envious! hhehehe

    • hahahaha! you can always travel to Bohol and retrace my steps..bitaw I was honored to be part of the Visayas Mountain Festival this year. I never thought I can possibly survive the grueling trek among hills and boulders. Sakit sad sa tuhod oi. nibigay man akong tuhod pag kadtong last ascent namu na 90 degrees. sakit jud kaau pero after a while nadala ra ug hilot. pero di kabayaran ug kwarta ang view pud at the foot of the hills 🙂

  • Waaah this looks fun JL! Puhon og naa nakoy budget, ilaag ko ha???

    • Sure! Laag ta didto Janine! 🙂 Pwede mag overnight sa Danao Adventure Park where we had the base camp. I did the zipline gani didto na 480 meters! wa lang koy video or photo kay wa ko naka dala ug cp ato. bilin sa akong bag man to kay after bouldering mi na hapit ko nigive up kay na injured ko, but then i made it safely back up the base camp via Dagohoy Hill. nice mag caving didto Janine 🙂

  • I would really love to try trekking. It must be fun”! I love nature: ) and seeing your beautiful photos made me missed visiting our province.

    Rica | http://www.switbbydoll.com

    • hehehe let’s gp to your province Rica and mag trek ta! 🙂 sayun ra man jud ang trekking, you just need courage and optimism labi na magkalisud ang trails. 🙂

  • I’m really sad to see what we humans have done to our nature? I just went to Bohol two weeks ago and the Chocolate Hills look green from afar so imagine my surprise when some of the hills look black. Can’t believe it.

    • hahahah! most of the green side sa Chocolate hills kay naa sa Sagbayan. When we passed by Carmen and the neighboring towns, we see this. And to think, sa Danao naay mga portions ha na one hill burned down jud like the one on the photo above. imagine my shock and the feels when we went past these hills. dmd oiiii…sakit sa heart kaau 🙁

  • The feeling when you’re on top of a hill or mountain is awesome but if you get to see this kind view due to Kaingin is just so sad. tsk tsk

    • mao lagi…i was like dumbfounded when i saw this. ang amu jud gi agian na trail kay gi kaingin pud! na stress ko oi kay nasangit ko ug branch na mejo init pa kay bago pa gi sunog! paso ug garas ang akong nakuha pero worth it ra!

  • I admire your passion JL. I think you must have a great company to push on this kind of outdoor activity. 🙂

    • well I actually had the best company and the most bully ones too. ahak kaau. but then again, they cant do anything but hulaton jud ko. naa man koy own pace in trekking and that is the walk in the park pace labi na mu cramps akong knees and legs. 🙂

  • This must be bittersweet for you with breathtaking experiences communing with nature but also seeing how it is being destroyed up close. Btw, ang VMF is exclusive to club members of the various participating clubs?

    • Actually, VMF is open to all, just that, most of the activities require the participants to attend/ finish BMC 1 and 2 first. But if you havent gone thru it yet, mas better mu join ka ug BMC during VMF kay maka trek raman gihapon. its part of learning the basics. 🙂 Join us during VMF next year 🙂 It’s one way to savor the richness and the breathtaking scenes of our mountains in the Visayas area. 🙂

  • Looks like an awesome time! I’ve never been to Bohol myself, but would love to visit soon, hopefully!

    • You should, Ramzy! This is one way to commune with nature 🙂 There are a lot of activities we can do in Bohol. Firefly Kayaking in Abatan River at Maribojoc is one activity you should not miss.

  • I really wanna try trekking jud. I wanna know how it feels pud sleeping on a tent over the mountain. Hahaha. Sad though na some are destroyed by fellows.

    • Let’s go trekking Cheryl! 🙂 Mas nice ang sleep pag naa sa tent kay inig mata nimu, ang sunrise jud ang imung una makita! then the mountain breeze is more relaxing and it feels you with good vibes jud. We can start with trekking sa mga di kaau tag-as na bukid/peaks. That way, naa kay feel ug unsaon pag trek na fully loaded ang bag then mag refill ug water sa mga natural water sources. 🙂

  • What an adventure! Wa pako kasuway jud og ingon ani nga trip but always wanted to. hehe

  • Patag is Silay City is astonishing.

  • Kalingaw gyud nimo JL uy! Bilib ko sa imong kalaagan. I love looking at your pics. #katkatpamore!

    • Nyahhahaha…thats just part of my passion for the outdoors! 🙂 let’s go trekking kuya!

  • Lesson learned: Mag-exercise na para mag-ready sa pagbaktas! Na-inspire na sad ko. Salamat.

    • Nyahahha! korek! trekking is also part of exercise! wahahahhaha…let’s do light treks lang for a start.

  • The great outdoors! There’s nothing like sleeping outside with the whole sky as your ceiling! I bet you had great fun there JL!

    • hahahah….it sure is! 🙂 lets go overnight camp out shankybabes! daghan kaau nindot campan sa Bohol 🙂

  • Now that you have been at the chocolate hills base? are they really made of chocolate? lol Suya ko kay naka duol ka sa mga hills.

    • Lol Richie! they are made of limestone and volcanic ash oiiii… 🙂 yeah duol na jud kaau mi sa hills. that was the shortest way we can get to our destination gud.

  • Cai

    Will surely check Danao eco park on my next visit 🙂

    • You should!!! Let me know when you go there so that I can inform my friends who are part of the Bohol Outdoor Adventure team and they can show you the best adventure spots in Bohol. You can do Firefly Kayaking in Abatan River in the town of Maribojoc and you can also do Caving in Danao Adventure Park. Also, diving in Bien Unido is the best highlight for your trip.

  • Wish I could be there as well so that maka experience pod kos breathtaking view!!!

    • We can go there Kat! 🙂 just let me know when and para pud maka Firefly Kayaking ta sa Abatan River 🙂

  • What an amazing event! It’s nice that they made the festival as educational/informative as it is exciting.

    • That is the aim of VMF, it shows how the great outdoors show the best lessons in life.