Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Backtrack # 10. Sibulan River Trekking to Tudaya Falls

One of the many reasons why Sibulan trail to Mt. Apo was the trail opted by extreme mountaineers was its almost one hour river trekking via the Sibulan River. From its main source Tudaya Falls, this river has been considered one of the cleanest in Mindanao. It also provides social value to the communities as several local inhabitants depend largely to the river for food, laundry and even potable water source.

Today, Sibulan river is no longer as pristine as it was five years ago. Still, a lot of people has directed to the river for survival. And with the coming of a hydro-power plant, change seemed to be just as inevitable for the river not very far from now.

Trekking Mt. Apo nowadays via Sibulan trail cancels the first day river trekking as there are already roads established along its sideways and as I reflected, it is no longer as pristine as before. Which also means that the usual four days climb can now be done for three days via the easier Baruring route.

The last time my group joined a river trekking was February 8-9, 2008 along with Ma’am Sonia Garcia of Department of Tourism, MFSM club members and other Davao-City based mountaineering groups. LOGSAC team was then composed of the following: Kiba, John Jay, Jonas, Tolits, Undal, Papong and this blogger. My Boss Camila was also present during the climb. Our target was to gather documentations of the river and Tudaya Falls before it would totally deformed and at the same time witness the culture of the Bagobo tribe in sitio Tudaya.

The climb actually marked also the start of construction of the hydropower plant which eventually caused some delay of the trekking. There were falling rocks and debris coming from the upper portions of the surrounding mountains attributing to the unusual strong river flows and water turbidity. Several trees within the riverbanks were cut down and the river vegetation vanished. We even saw a displaced snake somewhere in Cabarisan, proof of rapid obliteration of the area’s natural trait. It was also the last time we saw the gorgeous and tiny twin waterfalls located near the Tibolo-Baruring junction.

We were supposed to stay overnight at Tudaya Elementary School but because of the delay, we camped the whole night at Tibolo-Tudaya intersection, now the site of a hydropower plant office. On the second day, we proceeded to Tudaya Falls using the Tingting route while other members continued the more strenuous river trekking.

After enjoying the alluring experience at Tudaya Falls, the team stayed at Tudaya Cultural Village for almost two hours to witness tribal offerings. At that time, tribal leader Apo Adok was still alive and kicking in the place called “live-in”. Today, with the coming of the hydropower plant, “live-in” was relocated.

Although there was fun during the climb, my LOGSAC team was able to witnessed the many changes of Sibulan river brought about by industrialization. The tiny sting suffered by this very important piece of nature is very painful. It might be unhurried, but the sudden disappearance of Bagobo culture is excruciating. Tsk tsk…