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Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Philippines
Located near the center of the province of Bukidnon, Malaybalay City is known as the "South Summer Capital of the Philippines." It is not as commercialized as Baguio City, making it a natural wonderland for those who long for mountainous sceneries and a cool breeze.
The Kaamulan Festival is the annual feast of Bukidnon, held in Malaybalay City every August, where local tribes gather together to commemorate the founding of the province. The people also promote their traditions and cultural ways through rituals, dances, and indigenous sports. Street dances, bazaars, parades, and other activities are also included in the feast.
One of the places worth-visiting in Malaybalay City is the Kaamulan Park. Much like the nature parks in hill stations where we seek refuge from the summer heat, it is riddled with pine trees, wooden cabins, and camp sites. It is the perfect place for picnics, camping, or if you simply want to commune with nature.
Another place to visit is the Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park, declared as an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2009. It serves as the natural habitat for some of the endangered species in the country, including the Philippine Eagle. Hikers are sure to enjoy this place because of its numerous mountain ranges, especially Mt. Kitanglad, the fourth highest mountain in the country.
For a blissful experience, the Monastery of Transfiguration is a hilltop temple where you can meditate and nurture your spiritual life. You can also have breakfast and interact with the monks living there every second Sunday of the month.
By Air While Bukidnon may have a private airstrip, it does not have its own domestic airport yet that can accommodate commercial flights. The best option would be to fly to Cagayan de Oro's Laguindingan Airport. From Metro Manila, it's about an hour and thirty minutes' flight. Upon arrival in Cagayan de Oro, head to Agora Bus Terminal and board a Malaybalay-bound bus like Rural Transit Mindanao or Super 5. There are also vans for hire if you're traveling with a big group. The land travel will take about an hour and a half to two hours.
By Sea Cagayan de Oro's seaport also serves as an entry point to Bukidnon. You can catch a ferry from Metro Manila to CDO's Puntod Wharf via 2GO Travel. The trip takes 33 to 44 hours depending on the vessel.
How to Get Around By Jeep
Jeepneys ply the main roads of Malaybalay to get you to some destinations around the city and to the neighboring towns within the province as well.
Tricycles are the preferred mode of transportation when traveling to destinations that are off the beaten path.
What to See Malaybalay is a haven for nature lovers. Its lush green surroundings and cool climate offer an idyllic escape from the stress and noise of the concrete jungle. More than its beautiful nature sceneries, Malaybalay is also home to some historical and cultural sites that will make your visit more interesting.
Malaybalay is Bukidnon's provincial capital and home to the Provincial Capitol. The imposing structure is surrounded by a manicured lawn, making it a picture-perfect sight in the middle of the city.
Another famous building in Malaybalay is the pyramid shaped Monastery of Transfiguration, which serves as a dwelling for the Benedictine monks. This architectural marvel was designed by no less than National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin. Tourists won't have to content themselves with viewing the monastery from afar because it is open to the public. Remember that specific rules and regulations like the dress code must be followed by all visitors.
Another interesting landmark is the Erreccion de Pueblo monument at Plaza Rizal, which was built to commemorate the founding of Bukidnon. The statue depicts the agreement in 1877 between the native leaders and the Spanish colonizers.
Meanwhile, the ancestral house of the Valmorida family is a must-see for two reasons: its unique architectural style and its reputation for being haunted. Built in 1962 by David Valmorida in baroque style of architecture, the house is popularly known as "Torre ni David" and features interesting sculptures as décor. Many locals claim to have witnessed or heard some strange paranormal occurrences in this house though it is still being occupied by the Valmoridas to this day.
Hiking at the Provincial Tree Park is a must if you're a nature lover. This short hike will get you to the "Two Trees" hill, which offers a great view of Kitanglad and Dulang-Dulang mountains.
For those who prefer a more laidback nature experience, head to Nasuli Spring, where you can swim or dive in its refreshing waters.
Kaamulan Park is the perfect place to unwind and commune with nature. This park, which is surrounded by pine trees, is the setting for the annual Kaamulan Festival. It also sees it share of visitors who want to have a picnic or go camping on its grounds.
Events and Festivals
Kaamulan Festival is a celebration that pays homage to the rich culture and tradition of the native tribes. Held annually during the second half of February, this lively feast features colorful parades and street dances.
Where to Eat Fast Food Chains
Popular fast food chains like Jollibee, McDonald's, and KFC have branches in Malaybalay.
Anton's Bar and Grill is one of Malaybalay's well-known restaurants. It serves a selection of Filipino dishes and some alcoholic drinks as well. Meanwhile, American dishes make up the menu of Le Cafe Restaurant. Their baby back ribs come highly recommended.
Sunflower Cafe's sumptuous pizzas and pastas will satisfy your Italian cuisine cravings. And for dessert, have a slice of cake and a cup of the local brew at Bukidnon Brew Cafe.
Where to Shop Malls
Gaisano Malaybay is packed with plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options for shopaholics.
Visit the souvenir shop at the Monastery of Transfiguration to buy some religious items like rosaries and prayer books. Another ideal pasalubong is their Monk's Blend Coffee.
ATMs and Money Changers
There are some banks and ATMs in Malaybalay where you can withdraw some cash for your expenses.
Fare: PHP 2,000.00 (Ferry fare); PHP 3,000.00 to PHP 5,000.00 (Airfare)
The ferry ride to Cagayan de Oro is at PHP 2,000.00 while the airfare ranges from PHP 3,000.00 to PHP 5,000.00. When you get to Cagayan de Oro, the bus to Malaybalay is PHP 150.00. Van rentals, on the other hand, cost around PHP 3,500.00 to PHP 4,000.00.
Food: PHP 100.00 to PHP 300.00
For carinderias and fast food chains, tourists can spend PHP 50.00 to PHP 150.00 per meal. Meanwhile, restaurant meals cost an average of PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00.
Shopping: PHP 100.00++
The price for a pack of Monk's Blend Coffee differs depending on the size, but the usual range is about PHP 90.00 to PHP 200.00.
Accommodation: PHP 1,000.00
From inns to hotels, Malaybalay has a wide selection of accommodations to cater to the budget of all kinds of tourists. An overnight stay for two at a midrange hotel costs PHP 1,000.00 or less.