Friday, May 25, 2018

Tomari Day Trek reminds me of Tudaya Falls

It took me more than a week to write an article about my day trek in Tomari Waterfalls last May 17 because of several workloads which included a 2-day climb in Mt. Apo, among other things. This waterfalls, which have been in the list of explorable destinations, is an additional thing that substantiates our very own “Spectacular Sta. Cruz” tag line.

At a secluded location 32 kilometers northwest of Sta. Cruz lies majestic waterfalls settled some 400 plus meters above sea level. Locals call it Secret Falls, but we used to call it Tomari Waterfalls because it is where the Tomari creek springs out as a major tributary of the Sibulan River. It has a height of approximately 50 meters dropping to a 15-meter diameter pool of cold and crystal clear water.

The nearest jump off point is at sitio Cabarisan in Sibulan, Sta. Cruz. A moderate 40-minute trek is required to reach the falls via an open trail to Cabarisan HEDCOR Desander, and then another 20 minutes river trekking.  The waterfalls define the accurate border of three sitios in Sibulan namely: Mitondo, Mamaon and Cabarisan. Since the road going to Cabarisan from Sibulan Barangay Hall is not passable by 4-wheeled vehicles, we took a 360 degrees turn using the much easier road of Atan-awe and Sibulan City side in order to reach the jump off point.

Our trekking along the Tomari Creek also offered a distinct experience being brought by the pristine water from the creek. In fact, almost all parts of the creek water are potable.  Complementing Tomari Waterfalls from the other side is a cute waterfalls which also entices river trekkers as it is a welcoming site to also behold.  

It is very evident that Cabarisan is still decorated with huge tree species, some I think are natural forest while others are result of reforestation efforts conducted by HEDCOR, the place being part of their project area. While approaching Mt. Apo Elementary School I saw one Rufous-lored Kingfisher and as we near Tomari waterfalls I spotted a solitary Pied Triller. Indeed, the mountain ranges of north-western Sta. Cruz is home to several bird species.

What is more interesting about Tomari Waterfalls is its semblance to the now-defunct Tudaya Waterfalls. Aside from being located just distance away from sitio Tudaya, Tomari Waterfalls for me stood out as an attraction that somehow could transport us back to the magnificence of Tudaya Falls. It might not present the whole grandeur of Tudaya Falls but it resembles in certain ways.For those who are unfortunate to have not witnessed Tudaya Falls in all its glory, I recommend you try trekking Tomari Waterfalls.

With the untimely termination of Tudaya Falls as one of the collateral damages of the so-called development, there is this Tomari Waterfalls ready to be another appealing destination in Sta. Cruz. Its emergence lately manifests new courage for us to struggle for its protection. With Tomari Waterfalls now bent on providing another positive perspective for our beloved hometown, I hope that the people of Sta. Cruz have fully realized and awakened of the adverse impact of the thing they called development.

Monday, May 21, 2018

BEMWA Farm underscores healthy option and countryside Davao City tour

I was first introduced to BEMWA Farm in 2015 when I participated the Datu Salumay Trail Run 32-kilometer category organized by Team Davao Runners with fellow trail running enthusiasts Sir Marlo Yap and Jappy Pepito leading the organizing team. For three consecutive seasons I never failed joining the event because aside from being a passion, running in Datu Salumay enabled me to relax and commune with nature.

Over the weekend I revisited BEMWA Farm along with good friends from Davao City Tats, Maya and Meggy for a quick farm exposure tour. This time I appreciated BEMWA all the more because I had enough time discovering its unique identity.

Nestled in the cold and elevated location in barangay Datu Salumay, Marilog District; BEMWA Farm is a garden of more or less 2-hectare organic vegetables. It is a perfect example of a farm tourism site which is what the Department of Tourism lately aspires for especially with Secretary Bernadette Puyat at the helm of DOT leadership. The farm produce in BEMWA curtails health risks because all commodities in the farm are all 100% organically grown.

The vegetable garden in BEMWA is a flawless interlude to the beautiful highland ornamentals, most notable among them are the vivid yellow sun flowers. Other portions of the farm perimeter are planted with insect-repellent species of herbs like mint and basil (sangig), the latter I enjoyed smelling all the time. Organic agriculture simply connotes introducing variety of plants which naturally shy away insect pests rather than using commercial pesticides.  

Entrance fee of the farm is 50 pesos per person which is consumable.  Several unique food rations are also served in BEMWA Farm at a very affordable price with items like binignit, chicken pastel, sikwati, strawberry ice cream and native coffee, among others.

BEMWA farm is accessible via the Davao-Bukidnon highway. Approximate travel time from Davao City is two hours using public transportation mode. The common landmark before reaching the intersection to Datu Salumay is the Philippine Eagle monument.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Sanctuary of Herons and Egrets in Tacurong City

The Baras Bird Santuary is a new craze that has been luring birders and naturalists to visit the City of Tacurong in the province of Sultan Kudarat. It was also the main reason why I decided to sign up for the Philippine Bird Festival recently held last May 11-13, 2018. As a newbie in birding and to some extent might be addicted to this stuff, this village of herons and egrets I believe can be a good exposure sight to me. 

Baras is just 12 kilometers away from the heart of Tacurong City and is very accessible through hired tricycles. And given that Tacurong is already a highly commercialized city in Sultan Kudarat, Baras Bird Sanctuary can be a good escape from the busy city life.

The most dominant of the birds in Baras are the Black-crowned Night Heron and the Great Egret. These species have also been occupying almost the entire canopy which to me somehow requires more trees for them to be accommodated; otherwise, the place will be overcrowded because these birds will surely multiply rapidly.

The presence of a river beside the sanctuary allowed the heron flocks to stay in Baras as permanent refuge. Although their breed is fairly common, night herons can also be in danger because like other birds, habitat requirement is a legitimate issue.  Personally I have seen only two sanctuaries where night heron resides, the other one in our very own Barangay Tagabuli in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

Meanwhile, the Great Egrets co-existed very well with the herons in the sanctuary considering that they have almost the same food and nesting requirement. Territory is not a pressing subject for egrets because they can very well thrive in a place inhabited by other species, which what exactly happens in Baras. They are distributed evenly in almost all types of habitat.

Although not really ideal for bird watching activity as the birds available in Baras is fused to practically two species in maximum quantity, it can be a good site for bird photography. The bird population there is really impressive anybody could enjoy watching them without requiring binoculars.

Footnote: I stayed for a night in Edjin Pension House located along New Isabela in downtown Tacurong. It is a cheap backpacker's inn with a restaurant facility.