Bukidnon is a landlocked province located on the center of Mindanao. The province is relatively moist and cool throughout the entire year due to its high altitude. It has no beaches or vast bodies of water but it is one of the most important agricultural provinces in the country. It is a major producer of rubber, rice, corn, pineapple, and other assortments of fruits and vegetables. Its highlands are popular destinations for those who want to escape the warm temperatures in the city.
Bukidnon celebrates the Kaamulan Festival every August at Malaybalay City to commemorate the founding of the province. During the festival, local tribes gather together to showcase their traditions and customs through cultural dances, rituals, and indigenous sports. The festivities also include street dances, parades, bazaars, food fests, and various exciting events that attract both local and international tourists.
The Dahilayan Nature Park offers more than just a quiet stroll in its forest of pine trees. The park poses a challenge to tourists as it houses one of the longest dual ziplines in Asia. At 840 meters long, the zipline is a must-try for adventure-seekers or anyone who wants to face their fear of heights. The other activities available are horseback-riding and ATV tours.
Bukidnon also has several mountain ranges that attract hikers and mountaineers. Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park has numerous mountain ranges. Mt. Kitanglad itself is said to be the fourth highest peak in the Philippines. Other popular ranges are Mt. Kimangkil Range, Pantaron Range, and Mt. Tangkulan Range.
Though Bukidnon has its own airport, it is only served by private and chartered flights. The nearest airport for commercial flights is Cagayan de Oro City's Laguindingan Airport. From Metro Manila, it is only an hour and thirty minutes' flight to get there. You can book your flights with Cebu Pacific Air or Philippine Airlines.
Bukidnon is landlocked so it does not have a seaport. However, you can enter the province through Cagayan De Oro's pier. 2GO Travel offers ferry trips from Metro Manila to Puntod Wharf in Cagayan De Oro, but the trip can take as long as 44 hours.
You need to travel by land to Bukidnon once you get to Cagayan De Oro. Head to Agora Bus Terminal and hop on board a Rural Transit Mindanao or Super 5 bus. The trip takes about two hours. If you're traveling with a big group, you can also hire a van.
How to Get Around
The motorela is Bukidnon's bigger version of a tricycle, which can seat up to eight passengers. It is a popular mode of transportation in the province.
Jeepneys are also available in Bukidnon, which can take you from one town to another.
The unique design of the habal-habal or motorcycle in Bukidnon allows it to accommodate more passengers. These are popular transportation modes when you're off the beaten path.
What to See
Discover countless natural wonders when you visit Bukidnon. Aside from being the perfect place to get in touch with nature, Bukidnon is also recognized as a premier adventure hub. Get ready to try many exciting activities that will definitely get your blood rushing.
The Monastery of Transfiguration in the provincial capital of Malaybalay City is the last known masterpiece of National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin. This pyramid-shaped church serves as the dwelling for Benedictine monks, but tourists are also free to visit and even spend a night or two.
Another landmark of Bukidnon is the Ereccion de Pueblo monument in Malaybalay City's Plaza Rizal. The structure portrays the agreement between the native leaders and Spanish colonizers in June 15, 1877.
Bukidnon is a treat to nature lovers. It is home to a bounty of natural wonders for those who seek to commune with nature.
The province boasts a number of mountains, including Mt. Kitanglad, the fourth highest peak in the Philippines. You can also clim Musuan Peak, Mt. Capistrano, Mt. Palaopao, and Mt. Dulang-Dulang. Also a major draw is a short hike to the Provincial Tree Park, also known as the "Two Trees," though only one remains in the peak as the other was destroyed during the onslaught of Typhoon Sendong in 2011. Upon reaching the top, you will be welcomed with an amazing view of Mt. Kitangland and Mt. Dulang-Dulang.
Bukidnon also has some waterfalls for those who fancy a dip in cool waters. The CEDAR reforestation site in Impasug-ong town alone has three waterfalls you can visit: the Gantungan, Natigbasan, and Dila Falls. There are also some man-made pools to wade around in. Other must-visit waterfalls in the province include Alalum Falls in Sumilao, Cinchona Falls in Lantapan, Malingon Falls in Valencia City, and Kibalabag Falls in Malaybalay City.
Meanwhile, Bukidnon's caves offer you more than just exploration: it also houses lagoons where you can swim like Blue Water Cave in Maramag and Sumalsag Cave in Manolo Fortich.
Other amazing must-see wonders of Bukidnon are the crater lake Apo Lake and Pulangi River, one of the tributaries of Rio Grande de Mindanao.
Bukidnon is the ultimate destination for adventurers. It has several parks that offer a bounty of thrilling activities.
Dahilayan Forest Park offers plenty of attractions such as the Skytower Base Jump and the 120-feet free fall Dropzone Ride, but its claim to fame is 840-meter dual zip-line which is said to be the longest in Asia. Apart from these thrilling rides, other activities you can try include bumper boating, ATV and buggy rides, and zorb rides.
Kampo Juan is another famous adventure park. Its number one attraction is its anicycle ride, wherein tourists can ride a stable bike across a cable suspended 100 feet above the ground. Aside from a zip-line and a hanging bridge, you can even try rappelling.
In addition to adventure parks, Bukidnon is also the home of the country's largest pineapple plantation, the Del Monte Pineapple Plantation in Camp Philips. Swing by to see the vast farm fields filled with pineapples and their manufacturing plant.
Events and Festivals
The Kaamulan Festival is held annually from the second half of February until March 10. This fiesta showcases the rich culture of the natives, especially the local tribes, through colorful float parades and street dances.
Where to Eat
Fast Food Chains
Jollibee, McDonald's, KFC, and other prominent fast food chains have branches in some parts of Bukidnon.
Bukidnon's thriving food scene features a variety of cuisines that will satisfy all cravings.
In Malaybalay City, you can get your fill of sumptuous local dishes at Anton's Bar and Grill Restaurant. If you're in the mood for international cuisine, head to Le Cafe Restaurant and order their delicious baby back ribs for lunch. You can also try the yummy pizzas and pastas at Sunflower Cafe. For dessert, have a cup of the local brew at Bukidnon Brew Cafe and pair it with a slice of their native cakes.
In Valencia City, head to Roadhouse Cafe Restaurant for some high-class dining of Filipino food. Their bestseller is their sizzling pochero. You can also enjoy American dishes at Steve's Diner and Chinese cuisine at Taipan Restaurant.
Pinutos sa Kanto in Manolo Fortich is a rustic dining establishment serving a mix of Filipino and international dishes on a banana leaf.
Where to Shop
Tourists can enjoy a shopping spree at Gaisano Malaybalay, Gaisano Valencia, or NVM Plaza.
There is a souvenir shop in the Monastery of Transfiguration where you can buy packs of their Monk's Blend Coffee as well as pastries such as the unique toasted hostia.
What to Buy
Bukidnon is considered the food market of Mindanao because of its primary products such as rice, corn, and pineapples. You can buy some of these produce since they are way cheaper than in Metro Manila.
ATMs and Money Changers
You'll find many branches of banks with ATMs in Bukidnon.
Fare: PHP 2,000.00 (Ferry fare); PHP 3,000.00 to PHP 5,000.00 (Airfare)
Make sure to weigh your options when it comes to traveling to Bukidnon. If you want the more comfortable option, you can opt for air travel. But if you're on a shoestring budget, traveling by ferry is a good option.
In any case, the bus fare from Cagayan de Oro to Bukidnon costs about PHP 150.00. You can also hire a van for PHP 3,500.00 to PHP 4,000.00.
Food: PHP 50.00 to PHP 300.00
You can enjoy a meal at a carinderia for as low as PHP 50.00. Meanwhile, restaurant meals usually range from PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00 on average.
Shopping: PHP 100.00++
You can buy a pack of toasted hostia for at the Monastery of Transfiguration for only PHP 12.00. Meanwhile, the price of one pack of Monk's Blend Coffee ranges from PHP 90.00 to PHP 200.00, depending on the size.
Accommodation: PHP 600.00 to PHP 3,000.00
You can choose from a wide array of accommodations in Bukidnon. You can stay at a budget hotel for as low as PHP 600.00 a night, or you can even enjoy a luxurious stay at a high-class hotel or resort for PHP 2,500.00 to PHP 3,000.00.
Activities: PHP 50.00++
CEDAR's entrance fee is at PHP 10.00. Meanwhile, for the adventure parks, the entrance fee for Kampo Juan is PHP 50.00, while that of Dahilayan Forest Park is PHP 100.00. If you want to try all the rides, including rappelling at Kampo Juan, it will cost you PHP 1,000.00. Meanwhile, the rate for trying out all the zip-lines at Dahilayan is at PHP 600.00.
||Have breakfast at a carinderia in Malaybalay City.
||See the Ereccion de Pueblo monument at Plaza Rizal.
||Explore the grounds of the Monastery of Transfiguration. Buy a few packs of Monk's Blend Coffee for pasalubong.
||Head to Manolo Fortich.
||Feast on sumptuous meals at Pinutos sa Kanto.
||Explore the Del Monte Pineapple Plantation.
||Try some of the activities at Kampo Juan.
||Ride the dual zip-line at Dahilayan Forest Park.
||Head back to your accommodation in Valencia City.
||Have dinner at Roadhouse Cafe Restaurant.
With its elevated location, Bukidnon enjoys a cool climate all year round, similar to Baguio. Make sure to bring a jacket or scarf to keep you warm especially at night.
Pack some medicine, first aid supplies, and insect repellent whenever you travel. Should you be in need of any medical assistance, there are several hospitals and clinics in Bukidnon that you can visit.
Tips are not customary in the Philippines. But if you do decide to give your server a tip, most people would just leave small bills like PHP 20.00 or PHP 50.00 or some loose change. Some restaurants also include a service charge, usually 10% of your total bill. In that case, it's okay not to leave a tip anymore.
Safety and Security
While Bukidnon may be a typically safe place, tourists are encouraged to exercise caution and vigilance when traveling to a new place. For those who will be hiking, it's best to hire a guide who is recognized by the tourism center.