Saturday, March 24, 2007

exotic: miarayon

Author's note: Notice the Exotic label on the title? That means the place being featured is not easily accessible for tourists and would often require you know someone from there. But stories of exotic places will still be posted to allow you to visit these off-the-beaten path but interesting locations.

Getting there: From Malaybalay, take a jeep or mini-bus to Kibanggay ($1.00) which is about three hours. Once in Kibanggay, you have to hire a motorcycle called habal-habal to Miarayon which costs about $3.00.

Warning: Most of the roads are rough and dusty.

Miarayon, mostly inhabited by the Talaandig tribe of bukidnon, is popular with Jesuits and Jesuit volunteers because it is one of their mission areas. They would often leave the place raving of its exquisite charm. JVP friends would attempt to visit just to experience the miarayon magic. Like the others before them, when they leave, they always want to come back.

Back in 2002, I would enjoy my nights in Mia (as JVPs would fondly call the place) with just a gas lamp. By dinnertime, all I can hear are the thrumming of the crickets and maybe a slight gust of wind. But now that there is electricity, the din of the tv, videoke and radio overpower the sounds of nature. Miarayon Purists may feel it has lost a bit of its charm, but for newcomers, its uniqueness remain to be captivating.

It could be that cool baguio-like weather. Fogs would creep in the morning, late afternoon and the evening. There are days when the noon time weather forces you to wear a light sweater. At night, thick woolen blankets are a must if you don’t want to wake up like a popsicle.

As it is on top of Mt. Kalatungan, you get to see the opposite mountain range. There is the feeling that you are before the world itself. Miarayon is also famous for its “photogenic tree” couple by the elementary school. A couple that itches for a myth to be made for it. Visitors like me always take a picture by them.

And of course, there is famous Miarayon spectacular sunset. A gift I have been deprived of, despite the many times I have been there. But I have seen photos as proof, and even on paper I am awed by it. I can imagine how the setting sun sets fire to the sky, permeating the air with enchanting romance.

A new place to visit would be what they call the"asparagusan" or the asparagus plantation. We weren't lucky that day because the vegetables were newly harvested, so we didn't get to see how they were being cleaned and packaged.

Nonetheless, the nun I was with was able to get us access to their demo farm which had a flower farm, pumpkin patches and strawberry fields. If you have a budget of P150.00 ($3.00) to spare, this is worth hiring a motorcycle for. The staff are friendly and would let you try some of the stuff and even bring home some.

There has so been many things that have changed with Miarayon, but whatever they may be, it will remain to be one of the places I don't mind visiting often and showing off. ;p

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