Mindanao Mountaineering Federation Mid-Year Forum and Climb
Unfortunately, not all LOGSAC members got the opportunity to join the 4th Mindanao Mountaineering Federation (MMF) Mid-year Forum and Climb last June 28-31, 2013 due to varying reasons. There were only three of us from the club (Jonas and Hardi Joy) who participated the exciting trip which was held in one of Mindanao’s prime mountaineering destinations – the Province of Bukidnon. Although most of our club members already climbed Bukidnon’s two major mountains in Dulang-Dulang and Kitanglad two years ago, this year’s mid-year forum could have been another memorable experience for all of us.
The event was held in Cinchona Forest Reserve, Kaantuan, Lantapan, Bukidnon. It is more or less one hour travel from Malaybalay City. Considered as one of the main tourism attractions in Bukidnon, Cinchona Forest Reserve was established way back 1929. It has become a historic landmark of Lantapan town before it became a favorite camping site today as it was witness of the Americans and Japanese hostility in the early 19th century. The old buildings and other structures in the park were used as defense force of the Japanese Imperial Army during the 2nd World War. When the Americans helped local folks in a battle against the Japanese, the structures were also taken over by the Americans who eventually won the fight versus the Japanese.
|Jonas and Hardy after a rewarding waterfalls trek|
|These are old park structures that serve as witness of the American-Japanes Hostility|
According to the locals, cinchona trees were propagated for extraction of its special content called quinine which was believed to cure malaria disease. Physically, cinchona is a medium-sized tropical tree that can grow up 80 feet high with a 60-centimeter diameter. The entire park has a total of 1,994 hectares with 147 species of assorted trees. Overlooking the Simayha Plains of Central Bukidnon, the plantation is considered to be the only of its kind left in Asia.
|Cinchona trees canopy|
|The beautiful Simayha Plains of Central Bukidnon|
The fauna species of the park is also very interesting. Based on record, the park is a habitat of Green Maya and Ratus ratus rabori, the only rat of its kind in the world. We are even lucky then to have seen the Philippine Eagle in one of the park perimeters which as park personnel would put it has already been tamed through the years.
|The Philippine Eagle is part of the interesting park faunas|
Part of the forum itinerary was a trek to cinchona’s series of waterfalls approximately an hour trek from the base camp. The abundance of water supply in cinchona is very evident. The river and all its tributaries are crystal clear that directly flows down stream. The cascading waterfalls are alluring and its mists and pool are very cold. Everybody was tempted to take a dip, but not for long as the coldness was ready to dominate us.
|Series of waterfalls located within Cinchona Forest Reserve|
As imposed by the organizing committee of the 4th MMF mid-year forum and climb, we joined the tree planting on the second day as there were still vacant spaces within the park just beside a small stream below the campsite that need to be rehabilitated. Along with Hardi and Jonas, we were prompted to plant more trees especially since park personnel in cinchona have assured us to really take care of the trees planted.
|Tree Planting by Jonas and Hardi|
It is a way for all mountaineers present to contribute to the park’s conservation and to maintain its remarkable green scene.
This blogger would like to thank the Bukidnon Mountaineering Club (BUMOC) for inviting us to participate to this event. Special thanks is also due to MMF, including its officers and members for crafting a very good itinerary. Hopefully the MMF will be strengthened in time to really address issues and concerns for the good of the mountaineering community in Mindanao.