Baungon-Kinawe Traverse Biking
There were storms spotted lately in some parts of the archipelago and one was cited near Surigao del Norte that causes some rain showers in Cagayan de Oro. It’s raining lately especially during late afternoon here but thank Heaven it was a very fine Saturday morning when we started out our Baungon-Kinawe mountain biking! That was my 3rd time to do biking in Baungon, a municipality located in the northern part of Bukidnon province. It has rough but usually wide trails that travel across 2 municipalities – Baungon and Libona. This ride usually takes 5 to 7 hours. We took off from Cagayan de Oro around 8AM via SM-Lumbia route.
From our usual meeting place in CAP at Gaerlan St., we warmed up ourselves on ascending to Pryce Hotel then all the way up to Gran Europa. I started to heat up after passing Oro Gardens as Demzy and I were kidding around, competing, overtaking each other, knowing that we’re close to our first stop. We regrouped ourselves at Lumbia Airport gate. I was still catching my breath as my heart’s beating hard and fast, murag kalaspagon likely a result after days without training. Hmm, not really training. I just skipped last time on the Haway ride and my 6km commute ride thrice a week isn’t just enough. Tinatamad akong bumangon sa umaga kase madalas puyat!
Okay, nakarefresh na after eating some bought bananas. We rushed downhill in Cabula down to the Baungon-Mambuaya crossing. We took our breakfast there. At 10AM we descend to the rough curve road leading to Cabula bridge. We passed Cagayan river which means, we’ve crossed the border of CDO and Bukidnon. This is usually the place where white water rafting ends. This bridge connects the province of Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro. It leads to some barangays in Baungon such as found on the southeast region- Liboran, Imbatug, Salimbalan, Mabungao, Balintad and San Vicente; and to southwest part – Lingating, Danatag, San Miguel, Kalilangan, Lacolac, Buenavista and Mabuhay.
After spinning for about 5 kilometers, you’ll see a 15-km long straight rough road that slowly ascends and ends in the main town of Baungon. It was around 11AM and the heat crawls beneath my jerseys and warmers. Mirage forms ahead and the road seems to be endless. Every side of it are wide farms planted with different crops from corns, sugarcane, and rice!
Kabalo ba mo? The water in the irrigations that supports ricefields in Baungon comes from the Cagayan river. Baungon is about 1,500 feet high and water climbs up without using pumping machines. I don’t know how it’s done. Baka ginamitan na ng physics or di kaya magic tricks?
We’ve reached Baungon Public Terminal at 11AM and had our early lunch there. Medyo busog pa ako ’cause I had early breakfast and brunch already. But I need to recharge myself with energy. ‘Di bale nang laspag, ‘di naman gutom. It’s also the last place where foods and water are available enough to sustain us in the remaining hours of biking to Kinawe, Libona. Unlike any markets, the whole place seems a bit quiet. There are just few people around. It was calm but the tinderas were goofy! We were kidding around while having our lunch in their carenderia. The water tastes different too! Is it because we think it’s natural or we’re just thirsty? We left the terminal at 12noon.
At some few kilometers ahead, we turned away from the main road and rushed down on this rough road with loose rocks then ended up in a very beautiful and enchanted scenery! We’ve reached the dam where two rivers meet. I am not sure if these waters come from the Kitanglad mountain range. I am so sure these waters are truly amazing and refreshing!
‘Di na kami nagtagal and after some photo shoots, we grabbed our rigs and headed for the steepest ascent of this journey. The whole part has 4 turns, shaped like an S, probably looks like those in Mangima parang bituka! I wanted to finish that steep hill with my lightest gears and without dismounting but I don’t want to miss out taking photos of the views. It took me about half an hour before reaching the top. We rest in a waiting shed in Sitio Pantunan, Nangka, Libona, Bukidnon. Elevation? Around 1,750 feet.
We took a rest.. phew…..
After the steep ascent, about a kilometer ahead, we descend to a rocky road that seems to lead us into the forest. It’s as long as the Nangka ascent and ends in a wooden bridge that crosses a stream. That would be the 3rd time we’ve crossed a bridge. Then we continued our journey, as the road went smaller until we stumbled upon a wooden gate and went through a cattle ranch, climb up to the last hill and we were caught in the rain at the last part of the ascent. Finally, we exit to Kinawe and spinned fast as we passed different farms. There were on-going construction that somehow got us in trouble and took us a lot of time to wait.
Actually got me in trouble during a stop while the truck’s unloading gravel and I was not able to release my cleats. My shoes were stuck in the pedal and when I was totally at full stop, I had no choice but to drop on my left side. BLAG! My feet were still locked and a stranger suddenly came and tried to pull me up. “No.. don’t, wait.. my shoes bai..” as I refused and decided to take off both shoes. I stood up and rehydrate myself as my bike buddy told me it’s one best way to regain myself with water and keep me calm. I knew I was okay the moment I had myself in trouble. The brown road was soft and good thing I didn’t go for a panic. I was alright. Thank Heaven.
The whole ride was amazing! We’ve not just crossed rivers and streams, not just countries nor bridges but paths that tested our minds and hearts. Paths that would seem to tear you apart but with support and camaraderie, you’ll regain strength that powers up your legs as together you spin all the way up and from there, you’ll be looking down those trails that you thought you might not be able to go through. The long traveled distance shortened by the relieving beauty of nature and friendship strengthened by rocks along the trail, these are just few of the gifts that could not be bought nor borrowed but are obtained from determination and courage to succeed!
The time that we arrived in Indahag, the last part of the trail, is the time when I realized how lucky I am to experience an amazing journey with amazing buddies.