Honestly, I haven’t heard about CEDAR or Center for Ecological Development and Recreation, until I had a chance to trek to the stunning beauty of Panimahawa Ridge. Our guide actually suggested about CEDAR as our side trip, after climbing the Panimahawa Ridge. Moreover, CEDAR is located in Brgy. Impalutao, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon, and this is a reforestation project managed by the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources together with the Local Government Unit of the Municipality of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. Additionally, it is an eco-park that has an estimated land area of around 1,703 hectares, which owns a cold spring, clean river, enticing cold swimming pool, natural forest, rolling hills, and around four waterfalls that are waiting to be discovered and enjoy.
Admittedly, going here wasn’t really part of our itinerary, since we were only planning to trek to the awe-inspiring beauty of Panimahawa Ridge. But, since we arrived early at the Ant farm after descending from Panimahawa Ridge, our guide asked us if we want to visit CEDAR. And so, I immediately asked him what does CEDAR stands for and what it has to offer. He then smiled, and sincerely explained it to me. Firstly, I asked how long will it take to trek in the forest, because I was a bit concerned about my muscle soreness, which feels like my legs and knees are throbbing. Probably, it was a natural body reaction after climbing Panimahawa Ridge. And I feel like I need a day or two of respite to allow my sore muscles to repair, and to go back to its natural condition. Fortunately, the trek isn’t that long and it’s not that far, that’s why we resolved to have a visit in CEDAR.
I was actually excited after knowing that CEDAR has four major falls namely; Gantungan Falls, Natigbasan Falls, Dila Falls, and Makabayot Falls, which can actually be reached in less than an hour of hiking. These said waterfalls are not like other cascades that are arranged one after the other, or in the series, which means that these waterfalls are from a different river source. And, among the four waterfalls, only the Makabayot waterfall is naturally made because of both Gantungan and Natigbasan Falls. Additionally, the Natigbasan Falls is probably the nearest, since it is situated around 720 meters away from the entrance; Gantungan which is 780 meters, and the Dila Falls is the farthest, which is 960 meters away from the entrance. Additionally, CEDAR has a wide camping ground space, where they actually cater events for huge campers.
The moment we arrived in CEDAR, we immediately noticed the towering trees that make the whole place amazing, which provide a good shade and fresh air. Then, we paid the entrance fee for PHP 20.00 and we started hiking to the waterfalls.
After a few minutes of hiking, we first saw the enticing swimming pool, since it is situated just 670 meters away from the entrance. It looks so refreshing because of the huge trees that surrounds the place. There were already a few visitors who enjoyed the pool the moment we arrived, and since we want to visit the waterfalls we then continue on our trek.
Hiking and chasing waterfalls are both an interesting activities to do in CEDAR. And so, despite my muscle soreness, I still wanted to hike to see the waterfalls. We first heard the gushing water, which has actually caught our attention, but one has to get down to see the Natigbasan waterfall. We then determined not to go down, since my muscle soreness might can’t handle the steep trail going down.
After a few minutes of hiking, another waterfall welcomed us, and our guide told us that it is the Gantungan Falls, which is said to be the major waterfalls in CEDAR that one has to experience. It seems like a perfect place for Canyoneering because of its natural form; the water flows in between the gigantic rock walls before it reaches its brink, and falls freely to its catching basin. If you desire to see Gantungan Falls in its full glory, one has to hike down to the river and a few minutes of river trekking and swimming. When you get close to the falls, you’ll see a small cave and its majestic beauty that stands around 30 feet high. Simply, during our visit, we didn’t get down and we only see the waterfall’s top view, since it is visible from the trail where we get to pass by before reaching the river pool.
Moreover, we pass by on a hanging bridge made of bamboo and we resolved to look for a place where we get to put all our things. Luckily, we found one and our guide told us that we can explore the place and he will look after our things. Truly, he’s kind enough to actually let us enjoy the place, as he held responsible of our belongings. I was smiling at that time, which means that my happiness is beyond compare.
And so, my friend and I decided to get close to the river and began leaping out from the cliff and fallen off to the greenish cold water. It was a bit crowded, probably because it was a weekend during our sojourn. Truly, the water is really cold and getting ourselves drenched have truly mollified our tiring body from the challenging trek in Panimahawa Ridge.
We actually forgot about exploring other waterfalls like; Natigbasan Falls, Dila Falls, and Makabayot Falls, which was our main purpose of visiting CEDAR. Perhaps, because enjoying the river pool at the upper portion of Gantungan Falls has pacified our tiring body. Thus, instead of exploring the other 3 waterfalls, we decided to go back to the entrance and look for a good place to have our lunch.
And since we were around 3 little adventurous soul at that time, we decided not to ride a motorcycle going to the main highway because we can’t fit in. Hence, we told our guide that we will just walk going to the highway, and we are truly glad we did, because of the towering trees on both sides of the road that is a picture-perfect. We too saw an abandoned house, which looks like a house in a movie and located in the middle of the forest. It is so beautiful that we try to describe it through reminiscing the movies we’ve seen in the past.
After about 5 minutes of walking, we finally saw an eatery, which name is visible from afar and located across the highway where we actually stood. The eatery’s name is Sofia Fast Food – there, we ordered a boat load of food for lunch since we are very hungry.
And while having our lunch, we were planning where to go next, since it was about 1:00 PM at the time, and we’re looking for a possible place to drop by. And so, we agreed to visit Alalum Falls in Sumilao, Bukidnon, since it is just located a few meters away from the National Highway if we ride a Bus from CEDAR going back to Cagayan De Oro City. But unfortunately, we got so tired that time and our priority is to obtain some rest in Cagayan De Oro City by staying there for a night, before going to Iligan City to visit their stunning waterfalls. Thus, we end up continue on our Bus Ride Journey from CEDAR until we finally arrived in Cagayan De Oro City. Also, we were able to find a cheap Hotel to stay, and had a good rest at Win Min Transient Inn near the Agora Terminal in Cagayan De Oro City. Truly, having a good room to spend a night and have a good rest was such a reward at that time.
I would like to Thank Junji of Wandering Feet PH, and James of ASANASADsiJAMES for inviting me during this trip, and for taking most of the stunning photos that you’ve seen above. Having you both during this trip is truly an awe-inspiring experience that I would treasure forever. I desire to join you both on your next backpacking trip next time.
How To Get To CEDAR
The Province of Bukidnon doesn’t have its own Commercial Airport, but it is nonetheless very accessible by Air and Land through the nearest point of Entry, Cagayan De Oro City and Davao City.
Laguindingan International Airport
The nearest Airport in Bukidnon is located in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental in which Cagayan de Oro is the capital City. There are daily flights to Laguindingan International Airport from Manila, Davao and other part of the Philippines with Major local Airlines (Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia). But, I suggest that you only fly to Laguindingan Airport if you’re planning to go to Manolo Fortich – Impasug-ong – Sumilao and Malaybalay City, Bukidnon since it is located close to Cagayan De Oro City.
From the Airport, take a Van going to CDO downtown and will pass by in the Agora Market Terminal. The fare is around PHP 199.00, and the travel time from Laguindingan Airport to Agora Terminal is less than an hour. From Agora Terminal, take a Bus bound for Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. Then, ask the Bus Conductor or the driver to drop you off at CEDAR. The travel time from Agora Terminal to CEDAR is less than 3 hours, and the fare is around PHP 140.00. Then, from the National Highway, just walk for about 5 minutes going to the entrance of CEDAR and pay the entrance fee for only PHP 20.00
- During my travel to Impasug-Ong, Bukidnon, this is where I had a chance to see the scenic rows of Pink Trumpet Trees in the sideways alongside the wide pineapple plantation. You can actually enjoy the Trumpet Trees from the Month of March to May.
- If you want to experience riding a double Decker Bus then, Pabama’s Double Decker Bus will get you covered. This double Decker Bus serves Cagayan De Oro to Kibawe, Bukidnon route and Vice-versa. There are three trips daily, which schedule to depart Agora Bus Terminal bound for Kibawe, Bukidnon around 6:00AM, 12NN and 6PM.
From Davao (F. Bangoy) International Airport)
From the Airport, take a Cab going to Ecoland Integrated Bus Terminal and the travel time is around 30-45 minutes, The fare is around PHP 300.00. But, if you want to do DIY, and get a cheaper fare, just walk a few meters from the Airport to the highway and ride a Bus bound for Ecoland Terminal. The travel time is around 1 hour and the fare is less than PHP 40.00. From Ecoland Integrated Bus Terminal, just ride a Bus bound for Cagayan De Oro City and ask the Bus Conductor or the driver to drop you off at CEDAR. The travel time is around 7-8 hours. But, if you’re going there by private car from Ecoland Terminal, it would only take you around 5-6 hours. Then, from the National Highway, just walk for about 5 minutes going to the entrance of CEDAR and pay the entrance fee for only PHP 20.00
CEDAR Travel Tips and Reminders
- I suggest that you better go there on weekdays because CEDAR may really get crowded on weekends, also during the holidays.
- Make sure your phone or camera is fully charged for picture purposes or bring Power bank as your back up.
- Bring an extra T-shirt and short if you’re planning to swim in the River Pool at the upper portion of Gantungan Falls or at the swimming pool.
- We can’t foretell the weather, so you better bring your dry bag to put all your gadgets and camera when it rains. If you bid to have your snacks or meal around, please take responsibility of your garbage, make sure to bring them all with you and don’t leave your garbage there.
- Please remember to Leave No Trace (LNT) behind. Take good care of our mother nature. Just enjoy and be responsible enough. Don’t break its innate beauty.
Possible Travel Expenses (Panimahawa Ridge & CEDAR)
- Fare CDO to Impalutao ES – PHP 140.00
- Impalutao ES to Ant Farm – PHP 20.00
- Panimahawa Ridge Registration Fee – PHP 300.00
- CEDAR Guide – PHP 100.00
- Motorcycle Fare Ant farm to Cedar – PHP 30.00
- CEDAR Entrance Fee – PHP 20.00
- Food Budget (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Water for 2 days) – PHP 700.00
- Fare CEDAR to CDO – PHP 150.00
Total Expenses – PHP 1,460.00
Panimahawa Ridge Sample Itinerary (Overnight & side trip to CEDAR)
12:30 PM – ETA Agora Terminal, Cagayan De Oro City
01:00 PM – Depart for Impasug-ong, Bukidnon (Drop off area is in Impalutao Elementary, School)
03:20 PM – ETA Impalutao ES (Ride A Motorcycle going to Ant Farm for registration)
03:30 PM – ETA Ant Farm (Registration & Orientation)
03:40 PM – Start the trek
05:40 PM – ETA Panimahawa Ridge (Picture Taking while enjoying the Sunset)
06:00 PM – Pitching Tents
07:00 PM – Preparing food for dinner
08:00 PM – Dinner time
09:30 PM – Social time
11:00 PM – Sleeping time
05:30 AM – Wake Up Call
05:50 AM – Picture taking (Sunrise View)
07:00 AM – Light Breakfast (Bread & Coffee)
07:30 AM – Descending to the Ant Farm (Jump off area)
09:30 AM – ETA Ant Farm (Breakfast)
10:00 AM – Depart for CEDAR
10:20 AM – ETA CEDAR
10:30 AM – Exploring CEDAR (Hiking & Chasing Waterfalls)
12:30 PM – Lunch
02:00 PM – ETD to Cagayan De Oro City
05:00 PM – ETA Cagayan De Oro City