Cloud-capped mountain peaks and plateaus, dizzying precipices, lush forests, fertile and abundant farms, serene lakes, cascading waterfalls, not to mention enchanting villages and warm-hearted people. This is Bukidnon- an ecotourism and heritage destination for those who enjoy adventure, nature and everything cultural and traditional.
The name Bukidnon comes from the word ‘bukid’ meaning mountain or hill and refers not only to the Province but the people living there as well.
Traveling across the province give visitors a glimpse of how fertile the land is. The roadways are flanked by vast fields of corn, sugarcane, rice, and pineapple. It is no wonder why Bukidnon is known as the Fruit and Vegetable Basket of Mindanao. Located outside the typhoon belt, the Province is really most of the the year, reaching 10° Celsius in December to February. The cool climate allows the slower ripening giving unrivaled flavor to fruits, vegetables and other crops. The animals freely graze on green mountain grasses, providing meat with outstanding quality.
The Province is not only rich in natural wonders but also rich in culture as it is home to the seven tribes of Bukidnon: Manobo, Talaandig, Higaonon, Bukidnon, Matigsalug, Umayamnon, and Tigwahanon. Their customs and traditions are well preserved and they come together in an annual festival called the Kaamulan.
HOW TO GET THERE:
By Air: While there are no direct commercial flights available from Manila to Bukidnon you can fly from Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao to the Laguindingan Airport and from there, you travel by land to Bukidnon.
By Land: Buses, jeepneys, and vans for hire takes you from Cagayan de Oro City to Bukidnon. Taking the bus is the most convenient way. The Agora Bus company charges Php160 (US$3.85) for a 1.5-hour trip which covers about 104 kilometers.
By Sea: The closest port to Bukidnon is in Cagayan de Oro City. Upon reaching Cagayan de Oro City, you may travel by land to Bukidnon.
The Kaamulan is a grand celebration of the seven tribes of Bukidnon: Higao-non, Umayam-non, Bukidnon, Tala-andig, Manobo, Matigsalog, and Tigwahanon, thanking Magbabaya (God Almighty) for the bountiful harvest and blessings. Coined from the term “Amul” which means “to gather”, the month-long festival’s highlight is the magnificent street dancing parade and tableau presentation which is a pageantry of the customs, traditions, dances, and music of the tribes. A favorite among international photographers and tourists, the Kaamulan Festival is definitely one of the most authentic and richest cultural experiences you will ever witness in your life.
Essentially a festival of rituals, Sunngod te Kamanga celebrates the culture and heritage of the Manobo-Pulangihon of the Pulangi River and the Matigsalug of the highlands. Witnessing this festival is a pure, epic cultural experience as everything from start to finish stays true to the spirit of the culture, art, history, and heritage of Bukidnon’s tribes.
Some of the rituals that are depicted in Sunggod te Kamanga are the Panalagbuta, Panampulot, Paratuan, and En-Anaken which are rituals of thanksgiving and social initiation among the Manobo tribe. This festival indeed offers a fresh and honest definition of what a true celebration of local culture.