Summer is just around the corner and as early as February, people are starting to plan their summer trips. If you're getting tired of the beach, head straight to the south and experience the unique adventure that is uniquely Mindanao.
|Mount Apo as seen from Barangay Kapatagan, Digos City, Davao del Sur.|
Nestled at the foot of the country's highest peak, Mount Apo, Kapatagan is just one of the barangays of Digos City, Davao del Sur that houses at least 8,000 inhabitants. Their primary mode of living includes vegetable cultivation and tourism. It is also the home to a few number of endemic flora and fauna species. Due to its close proximity to Mount Apo, Barangay Kapatagan is one of the major start off points for mountaineers who wish to conquer the dormant volcano.
The Tale of the Two Lakes
Going there was a bit rough. Aside from the occasional sharp curves of the roads, majority of them were unpaved making the trip a challenging one. But everything's worth it once you have reached Barangay Kapatagan. Because of its cool climate, locals always wear jackets and/or long sleeves. Despite the presence of the sun, you won't feel the heat. Cool... literally!
|Enjoying the scenic view of Mount Apo from Lake Rosario.|
We were greeted by the picturesque view of Lake Mirror upon arriving at Mt. Apo Highland Resort (owned by Sir Sonny Dizon, the man behind Crocodile Park, ZipCity and Maxima). After we did a few shots for our show, our guide, Kuya Lito drove us to Lake Rosario. Fortunately, the weather was clear and had the chance to see the towering glory of Mount Apo. The view from there was truly spectacular.
According to Kuya Lito, Lake Rosario used to be the water source of Kapatagan. Due to the drastic increase of Barangay Kapatagan's population, residents started to look for another source since the lake can no longer suffice their demands. To maximize the lake's potential, locals have bred freshwater fishes, such as Tilapia.
On the other hand, Lake Mirror is a man-made lake inside Mt. Apo Highland Resorts. It was aptly named as such because sometimes when the weather is calm, Mount Apo's reflection can be clearly seen from the lake's surface.
Of Coffee Farms and Cultural Visits
Mt. Apo Highland Resort - Hillside is a must-visit place in Kapatagan. This part of the mountain resort offers a breaktaking view of Mount Apo. Moreover, 72 Asian Palm Civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) or mi-lo in Visayan dialect are kept in the resort. These animals are part of the production of civet coffee, one of the world's most expensive and low-production varieties of coffee (read more about the production and processing of civet coffee).
We also visited a coffee farm near Hillside and tasted its sweet berries. Coffee has been my favorite drink since college and was really stunned upon seeing the coffee farm. Too bad walang libreng wi-fi doon (LOL corny noh).
For the cultural part of our show, we went to Tibolo House, about 5 kilometers away from Hillside. It is where the Bagobo tribe dwells.
Another noteworthy place to visit is the Agong House. The vast landscape of Korean grass, flowers and conifers is filled with eccentric statues and structures designed by Davao-born artist, Kublai Millan. Despite its oddity, I still loved every bit of it!
|Unconditional love. Lol!|
Some have noted that Kapatagan is the Baguio City of the south. I really can't compare Kapatagan and Baguio City. Despite having common characteristics (i.e., the relatively cooler climate), each of them holds a unique character. Baguio City is Baguio City and it can never be like Kapatagan or vice versa. Because of the cultural and biological diversity that Kapatagan holds, the place had created its own identity. Kapatagan also features adrenaline-filled adventures that everyone can enjoy. One can just simply lie down and savor every beauty of it.
The once sleepy town has slowly awakened. New opportunities and a new hope await Kapatagan. True enough, Kapatagan will always be Kapatagan.
How to Get There
Brgy. Kapatagan is one of the barangays of Digos City, the provincial capital of Davao del Sur. Digos City is an hour drive from Davao City, the main gateway of Mindanao. From Digos City, travel time to Barangay Kapatagan is approximately one hour, depending on the weather. Vans and habal-habal are the only two main transport systems.
(1) Always bring a jacket. It's cold there.
(2) Wear appropriate attire if you wish to hike.
(3) Dispose your trashes properly.
(4) Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but memories.