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The Crater Lake Apo I Mistook To Be Non Visit-Worthy

During my series of visits to the picturesque Menzi Farms in Barangay Damilag, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon in the Philippines, my close friends Charlie Sagrado and Farm Manager Lumel Nunag kept on telling me about their trip to the relatively unknown crater lake dubbed Lake Apo in the City of Valencia of the same province. Enticed by their description of the place as almost paradise, I told my wife that we should find time to visit the spot together with rest of the family. Truly, my announcement to go on a family vacation to a crater lake was greeted with cheers by my children for the obvious reason that, being used to island life, they were excited to see tourist attractions found in the hinterlands.

Upon instruction of the tour operator, our vehicle stopped beside the Jollibbee Food Chain in Valencia City, Bukidnon where a motorcycle-riding guide greeted us. Candidly, the 11-kilometer bumpy and uphill ride through a winding graveled road was not that comfortable but the travel inconveniences failed to dampen our indomitable spirit to see for ourselves the beauty of the place. But, as we were on our final approach to the spot located at Sitio Lake Apo under the jurisdiction of Barangay Guninoyoran, our excitement had turned to frustration as we saw from a distance a body of water having no significant beauty. In fact, call it coincidence, it so happened that the vehicle’s stereo was playing Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier and in unison we sang:

Buffalo soldier, dreadlock rasta. . . Said he was a buffalo soldier win the war for America . . .

But, as the song went on its refrain:

Dreadie, woy yoy yoy, woy yoy yoy yoy, woy yoy yoy yoy, Yoy yoy yoy yoy yoy

The ingenuity of our kids popped up spontaneously by replacing the lyrics, coupled with matching blending, with:

Way Ayo, Way Ayo, Way Ayo, Yoy yoy yoy yoy yoy

Which in our island literally means: Not worth it, Not worth it, Not Worth it, Yoy yoy yoy yoy yoy

Until we stopped in front of a barn

Crater Lake Apo The Barn intended to house Lake Apo guests.

The Barn intended to house Lake Apo guests.

I could really sense the frustration on the faces of my children as their buttocks seemed to be too heavy to lift themselves out of their seats. But the positive thinker in me had prevailed as I ran towards the lake shore to see what’s in store ahead of us. And, lo and behold, I was stunned to see the alluring beauty of its azure waters and the deafening serenity of the place. Subsequently, I waived my hands for my companions to come and hurriedly climbed aboard the bamboo raft.

Crater Lake ApoA double victory sign coaxing my family to come aboard.

A double victory sign coaxing my family to come aboard.

Crater Lake Apo Taking time to pull the ropes so my family can join me on board.

Taking time to pull the ropes so my family can join me on board.

My children must have been stricken by the magical spell of the crater lake as their once gloomy faces had suddenly turned energetic and they competed with each on whom to board the raft first.

Crater Lake Apo My children and a co-worker hauling the kayak into the lake.

My children and a co-worker hauling the kayak into the lake.

And the kayaking frenzy began . . .

Crater Lake Apo Edrian, my fifth and youngest kid.

Edrian, my fifth and youngest kid, the most excited of us all.

Crater Lake Apo Jong-jong, my fourth son,  feeling relaxed.

Jong-jong, my fourth son, feeling relaxed.

Crater Lake Apo Aliyah Eiemereen, my only girl, enjoying the ride.

Aliyah Eiemereen, my only girl, enjoying the ride.

Crater Lake Apo For Vladimir, the eldest,  kayaking is the best break from his online job.

For Vladimir, the eldest, kayaking is the best break from his online job.

Crater Lake Apo Masoie, my co-worker, on his best kayaking smile.

Masoie, my co-worker, on his best kayaking smile.

Crater Lake Apo... and me, on my best kayaking maneuver.

… and me, on my best kayaking maneuver.

Pedal boat riding at crater Lake Apo is also exciting. . .

Crater Lake Apo Vladimir and his wife Matet flashing victory signs.

Vladimir and his wife Matet flashing victory signs.

And canoe riding too . . .

Crater Lake Apo Me and my wife on our best canoe riding experience.

Me and my wife on our best canoe riding experience.

The ambiance of the barn located a few meters from the crater lake, having simple but elegant home facilities and lighted by solar lamps, had evoked a unique atmosphere that made us feel comfortable. Hence, amid the cold temperature and the sound of the chirping crickets, which to some is an annoyance but for me is music, the family have had experienced a sound sleep.

As we took the early morning stroll, my senses were greeted by the astounding serenity of the 17-hectare crater lake and its vicinity that enhanced some more our sense of spirituality. . .

Edrian on his best meditation mood.

Edrian on his best meditation mood.

As I slogged further, these sights had rejuvenated my soul . . .

The Lake Apo behind the towering trees.

The Lake Apo behind the towering trees.

The alluring bamboo raft floating at Lake Apo.

The alluring bamboo raft floating at Lake Apo.

The scenic Lake Apo.

The scenic Lake Apo.

The wooden wheel ads beauty to Lake Apo.

The wooden wheel adds beauty to Lake Apo.

Crater Lake Apo- Final Thoughts

I have been to various tourist attractions in my local and foreign travels and admittedly, a hard-to-explain feeling of excitement and satisfaction engulfs my psyche in each and every sightseeing trip. Nevertheless, it was a different story for my visit to the crater Lake Apo for a number of reasons:

For one, the admiration that I felt for the beauty and serenity of the place, which I had just taken for granted at the start, was simply unfathomable.

Secondly, the gladness that I saw painted on the faces of each and every member of the family was truly fulfilling.

Thirdly, the excitement that sent the kids on a boating craze was really satisfying.

Finally, the bond that was created between and among us family members was really life-changing as it strengthened our resolve to stay close with each other while we are still very much around rather than crying our hearts out when a family member is gone.

Truly, my crater Lake Apo visit ranked as among the best sightseeing trips that I have had undergone in my whole life and I encourage you to dig the underlying reasons deeper by visiting the tourist attraction nestled deep in the hinterlands of Bukidnon at the bosom of Mindanao Island, Philippines yourself.

7 comments

  1. Thanks for writing this. I’ll visit this place too.

  2. I’d sure like to go kayaking there. It looks fun.
    Max Arthur recently posted..Play Lead Guitar coming soonMy Profile

  3. Kayaking! What fun..
    Andy Bland recently posted..Auto-Responder.netMy Profile

  4. Hi,

    Nice knowing that you enjoyed reading my post… Thanks for the support.

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