The main purpose of this trip is to visit my grandfather for his 92nd birthday (woooot!!!) in Malaybalay and my dad’s grave in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.
Note that these 2 provinces are situated on the opposite sides of Mindanao. Nasipit can be reached easily via Bancasi airport in Butuan while Malaybalay is 2 hours from Cagayan de Oro City which is an hour away from Laguindingan, CDO airport and 5-6 hours away from Davao City via BuDa (Bukidnon-Davao) highway.
So once again, for this trip, I scored a Php 665 roundtrip airfare via Cebu Pacific (Manila to CDO; Butuan to Manila)
And because I cannot visit these places as often as I wanted to, SIDE TRIP is a MUST!
First off, in Malaybalay, BUKIDNON
I’ve been here for multiple times already since I have relatives here but this is the first time I visited the Monastery of the Transfiguration.
How to get here:
From Malaybalay, you can ride a multicab (small van-like jeepneys) going to San Jose and a habal-habal (motorcycle) rides are waiting at the drop off to bring you to the Monastery for Php 25 otherwise you can negotiate with a motorela (for Manileños, this is called “tricycle”). In my case (gong solo), I haggled down to Php 200 for a roundtrip fare.
The weather in Bukidnon can get very cold/wet since it is in a mountainous part of the Philippines so check the weather if you plan to go there.
You can say that you can live a simplest life here but I have noticed that just like the other places I’ve been into, foreigners are visible here and they are not only here to tour but they live here and made a living for themselves..
Just like for the accommodation I had — Eiffel Kubo. It’s pretty obvious that these are combined significant symbols for France and Philippines and because it is a French owned bed & breakfast.
Via Agoda.com , I booked a room for 2 nights for Php 745 only (WOW! – good deal , huh?!). As you can see on the photo below, the room is actually good for 3 pax ☺️
What surprised me more in checking in here is that the homestay guests get a free French breakfast — I was so overwhelmed because it was not indicated that breakfast is included when I booked it!
Where to Eat:
There’s no way you’ll be hungry in Malaybalay. Aside from the popular fast foods, you’ll see various eateries/restos in town. One cool place I tried is Del Rio’s Cafe.
Next destination is DAVAO
As mentioned earlier, it will take 5-6 hour travel time to reach Davao City via Bus. Provincial buses are already equipped with Wi-Fi so, aside from the movies being played inside the bus, you have unli-net while on the go!
Of course, the bus driver will not let you suffer in hunger 😋 If you’re already used to traveling by bus for long hours, there is always a stop over to let you grab a snack or a chance for toilet break (But most of the buses in Mindanao have portable toilets already so you can feel at ease for this part of the trip). We then had our lunch in this part of Bu-Da highway:
The last bus stop is at the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (Ecoland). This is not my last stop though, I had to travel at least 3-4 hours via van to Mati, Davao Oriental. Although there is also a bus in this terminal going to Mati (I believe though that taking the bus is safer), I chose the van due to time constraints (Your choice of comfort or urgency).
The van terminal is at least 10-15 min away from the Ecoland terminal thus I had to ride a habal-habal (motorcycle) going to Gaisano Mall where the terminal is located. I paid Php 250 (van) and stopped at the Mati terminal where you can ride another habal-habal to your accommodation. In my case, I stayed in Surf Village Hostel.
From here, you will need to walk at least 5 minutes to access the beach. There are also other accommodations you’d like to try like the Dahican Surf Resort where the beach is literally in front and which may also be the reason, it is most of the time, fully booked.