Surely, I needed a break from a stressful semester. Not to the beach, well, not just yet, but a trek to Panimahawa Ridge located in Impalutao, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. It has an elevation of 2678 ft and roughly takes a couple of hours to hike to reach the peak. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Well, let’s see! 😉 We drove for about 1.5hrs from Cagayan de Oro to Ant Farm (meet-up point) in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. It’s recommended you bring your own food especially if camping overnight. Don’t forget lots of water too although, there’s a spring along the trail for free refills and a mini shop that sells bottled water, soda, biscuits etc. but of course it is pricier than normal. The trek schedule starts at 3PM if camping overnight and 4AM for a day trek. There are no tents provided so bringing your own and other necessary camping gear is a must. For a group of five, you’re charged 300/person but for groups of four and below it’s 900/person. You can tip to your guide if you want.
We arrived at Ant Farm quite early, so we took the opportunity to eat our home-cooked lunch and relaxed for a bit. Then, we signed the waiver and paid the required fees. Bob, the officer in-charge assigned us to our guide, William.
We were so excited that we went ahead of the other groups. Mainly, because we didn’t want to miss the sunset and a good spot to pitch our tents. The trek started with a meandering descent through the jungle. It was arduous fun and a good leg warm-up would have helped.
I never hated gravity until we started climbing a large steep hill with a hefty backpack and the scorching sun above us did not help, especially without shade. Looking up, it seemed like you were almost there but really you weren’t. Eventually, we made it to the top and took a quick break, catching our breaths and regaining our energy.
From there, we hiked on flatter ground and could see the mountain ranges from a distance. The smell of fresh air was very invigorating. There was a mini shop before approaching the final ascent and here we took another break and refilled our water bottles, we also quenched our thirst with sugary drinks. After a good twenty-minute rest, we carried on with our hike. This hill was so much steeper than the previous one, we did more stops than normal and panted like crazy. There was a sweet, cool breeze blowing and the sun has mellowed down, which made that last hurdle more bearable.
Eventually, we reached our destination with our hearts pounding like a heavy metal rock band. The climb was really tough but seeing the picturesque landscape and the beautiful golden sun retreating behind the mountains was incredibly rewarding. I was awestruck of the beauty around me.
I miss camping so much (it’s been my and my husband’s tradition whenever we go on summer holiday in the UK).This experience in Bukidnon brought back that feeling.
Anyway, we scoffed our dinner and spent most of the night looking up at the star-laden sky. We named the constellations whilst stuffing our faces with crisps. The last time I’d seen stars like these was a night sail in Isla Gigantes with my husband back in 2017.
The only thing that marred the trip was us not being able to sleep well. Unfortunately, some guides pitched their tents next to us and they were very noisy chattering, giggling, laughing. I found it very inconsiderate to other campers who wanted to rest after a tiring hike. I could even hear people next to our tents complaining about how loud they were. They did not stop until around 2AM. (Sigh)
Despite the sleep deprivation, we woke at 430AM. It was very chilly, so packing some thermal clothes is important. We had our morning coffee to keep us toasty until the golden hues of dawn edged away the darkness.
At around 6am we started packing our stuff for the trek down, making sure we hadn’t left any rubbish. We would have loved to have stayed a little longer but our guide didn’t recommend it as it could get really hot hiking down.
Our trek down was not as strenuous as going up. Reaching Ant Farm was a victory! Haha So we rewarded ourselves with a cold buko juice. Ah! So yummy!
If you’re looking for an overnight stay with a reasonably intense hike and amazing, rewarding landscapes, Panimahawa Ridge in Bukidnon is the place to go. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did but don’t forget to come equipped.
Here’s a short film of the trek. ⬇️
You may contact Bob through +63 997 801 3135. He is the staff who arranges trek to Panimahawa Ridge.