A socmed post on this natural attraction piqued my interest. It was not the usual Cagayan de Oro attraction I had in mind. A lot has changed in this city. From the rustic and clustered downtown, the city has expanded both vertically and horizontally. The changes brought in huge developments to the city, uncovering spots that were previously behind the untouched forest covers in the city’s hinterlands. So when I was planning to visit my birthplace, a visit to Sinulom Waterfalls was inevitable.
Tucked within the mountains of Talakag in Bukidnon, Sinulom Falls is a collection of 28 waterfalls that cascades into the Cagayan de Oro River. It’s viewpoint is on the side of Tignapoloan. Surrounded by the forest covers and mountains, it is a very relaxing and chill destination that you can enjoy in a day or two. My adventure to Sinulom started at 6am at Carmen Market where I took the van to Talakag. I asked to be dropped off at the Tignapoloan Crossing where I hired a habal-habal to the waterfalls. I arrived early at the resort which opens at 8am. I had to sit it out for 45 minutes before I was allowed to enter the resort.
One can already view the multiple cascades of Sinulom from the entrance of the resort. Yes, a resort is already operational and the entrance fee of Php160 covers the two main attractions in the area - Sinulom Falls and Bolao Cold Spring. The resort has full amenities - swimming pools, a restaurant, airconditioned rooms, and camping facilities for those who want to spend a night at the resort. The main hall of the resort has a viewing deck that gives you the best panoramic view of Sinulom Waterfalls.
A pathway leads you down to the pool area and the camp grounds where you can get a closer view of the cascades of Sinulom Falls. From up close, the falls reminds me of Asik-Asik in Cotabato, only that the latter has a wider rock wall where spring water cascades. Sinulom’s cascades are more concentrated and defined along the rock walls. You can clearly identify the individual cascades creating an image of the crying mountains. The waters drain into the Cagayan de Oro river and it makes a dramatic foreground for Sinulom.
The camp grounds along the river side have boulders that serve as “platforms” for a better view of the falls or for that instagram-worthy shots. You get a view of the raging waters of the de Oro river with the falls as its backdrop. The river waters were murky at the time of my visit because of the rains from the day before. Take extra precaution when you get close to the riverbanks and stay within safety ropes installed by the resort. I enjoyed the moment where I just sat down on one of the rocks to enjoy the view of the cascades and the surrounding greens and listening to the roaring sounds of water rushing. It was very relaxing and energizing to just let nature embrace you.
Sinulom Falls was a beauty to see and it is an interesting addition to the rustic adventures of Cagayan de Oro. It gave the city another must see destination that is quite unique compared to the other waterfalls attraction in Mindanao. It is a beauty from a distance and up close. It seemed that the mountain side was shedding tears of joy of having been found.
Bolao Cold Spring
If you are up for a quick and relaxing break from the heat of enjoying the views of Sinulom Falls, it is time to take a dip at Bolao Cold Spring. A short hike down the trail and over the hanging bridge and a quick jeepney ride, will bring you to the shallow spring pools of Bolao. The area is complete with picnic huts which makes it a good spot for family gatherings as you enjoy the cold mountain spring waters. A perfect destination to escape the summer heat.
The cold waters cascade from the mountains of Talakag into catch basins made of rocks. The waters are collected into a series of man-made pools before draining into the Cagayan de Oro River. Wooden pathways surround these pools for easier access by guests where the can swim, enjoy a light massage from the cascade, or just simply enjoy the feel of the cold water on their skins. Since it is all natural, you can catch a sight of schools of small fish near the rock crevices. You can easily find your own spot where you can enjoy having a tan while enjoying the cold water running on your body.
It was a perfect way to cool down after I enjoyed the sights and sounds of Sinulom Falls. As I dipped my feet into the waters of Bolao, I enjoyed the feeling of the spring water cooling me down on a hot midday. I also enjoyed the sound of the cascading waters mixed with the laughters of the other guests. These are the joys that we miss out when we live in the metro. This was natural peace and bliss that only nature can give.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
May ganyan pala sa Cagayan de Oro?
This was the same question that I thought of when I first saw the socmed post on Sinulom Falls. It was the same question that my relatives asked me after I shared with them my travel experience. The city that I have known since I was a kid have changed dramatically and these changes have led to discoveries of new attractions in areas where I probably once feared to explore. Now we are seeing more natural attractions in the city that is beyond the white waters of Cagayan de Oro. This is exciting because I am now wondering what are the other “gold” finds in de Oro that is worth exploring in my next CDO trip.
Urban development are often viewed with varying opinions - some get excited for the prospect of financial growth while some frown upon it for the behavioral and environmental changes it will bring. As the area expands, we get to discover new natural attractions that adds to the beauty of the place but, with the discovery, comes commercialization. We need to find the right balance between development and preservation because we cannot stop change. Finding the right balance is key to finding a win-win situation as these changes happen around us.
Getting there: All major airline in the Philippines have flights to Laguindingan Airport from major cities of the country. You can take an airport van from the airport to the city proper of Cagayan de Oro. You can then take a taxi or public jeeps to Carmen Public Market. The terminal for vans going to Talakag is along Castro Street, right infront of Rika Drugstore. Ask the driver to drop you off at the Tignapoloan Crossing where you can take a habal-habal to Sinulom Falls. Please make sure that you also arrange a return trip with your habal-habal driver. For habal-habal arrangements, you can contact Kuya Albert at (0926) 4803823.
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Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.