Bohol's ecotourism vision has been greatly rewarded since its implementation way back when Bohol had younger generation of politicians leading the province.
One of the municipalities who ventured into ecotourism is Catigbian.
Catigbian is a 4th class municipality in the interior part of Bohol, 35 kms north of Tagbilaran City, Bohol's capital city. As an interior town, Catigbian is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and a terrain good for farming and adventure tours. Hence, the GREAT adventure tour.
|The Canopy Walk|
Bohol has seen lately a lot of acronyms in the past years. There’s EAT Danao, Loboc’s LEAP, and now the GREAT Catigbian, which is actually an attached activity to the Dagook Adventure Tour Experience (DATE) Park. Dagook is the waterfalls you can see from the Monkey Bridge. Why all these names?
DATE WITH A PARK
Upon entrance to the site, you will be fitted in with safety gadgets by eager staff- helmets, ropes, and harness, everything to make you alive from beginning to end of the tour. I asked if it would be that challenging since I looked like a miner going to the depths of the earth sans flashlight.
The staff only smiled, ignoring me, a gesture I made to understand that they want us to experience the adventure without a hint of what would happen next. This is a sort of a blind date?
The first challenge is the Canopy Walk.
I passed the test in a breeze. In my life, I have traversed rivers with hanging bridges more challenging than the canopy walk. So, my adventurous spirit was not lifted hence, I told our guides to make the canopy walk more challenging like, if all the participants are in the middle of the wooden bridge, let it swing or drop a few feet down.
My friends reacted and said I must be high on something. Adik!
We went uphill to experience the second challenge- the Monkey Bridge. I don't know why they are calling it monkey bridge. I believe they were not referring to the faces of guests whose smiles would transform into an indescribable contortion upon seeing the “bridge.”
Or the way we would hold hard later on the wires to keep balance.
The monkey grip we used to avoid falling off from the thin wire of a trail would be taxing as the guides would tell us- Relax. Loosen up. Don't use too much force or we would have muscle cramps.
But when you are afraid you couldn't help but cling to your life or else we would be hanging like macaques of Loon. This caught me off guard. Yes, we had the precious harness with us but the rain and mud from the forest trail way down made my shoes slippery on the wire.
Despite the beautiful waterfalls droning its power below, I think nobody minded it because everyone was busy minding where our feet should land, or else.
My shirt got soaked with sweat. But still I joked to make the trail more challenging despite my nervous smile.
SLIDE TO FINISH
The final challenge- the Mountain Slide. The zipline, here termed Mountain Slide, is the last of the exciting activities at the DATE Park.
The line is not as fearsome as Danao or Loboc but the rush towards the final stage is like a slap of fresh air after the adrenaline rush. And I thought, it was bitin. I was left hanging for more!
And as the staff was detaching the paraphernalia, I suddenly realized I want to go back. Again.
That would be 700 pesos please.
HOW TO GO TO THE CATIGBIAN DATE PARK
It is advisable to hire a car to go to Catigbian unless you would want to wait for the unreliable bus service plying the Catigbian-Sagbayan route with no fix hours. I heard the name of the bus is the Fatima Bus Line but haven’t tried it yet. Their bus terminal is at Cogon District in Tagbilaran City. The fare from Tagbilaran to Catigbian is about 45-50 pesos one way.
Going to the DATE Park from Catigbian’s poblacion is about a kilometer or two. You can hire habal-habal from there or walk towards it. I think walking would be more fun. As always, haggle the price before jumping in the habal-habal.
A private van would usually cost 2,500 to 3,000 for a day tour. Ask first and tell them your destination since this is not the usual day tour most travel agents would recommend. You can call Mawe Gamit at 0917.999.2297 or Lugod Rent-A-Car at 0922.848.7083 or 038.501.8907 for airconditioned transportation (van or car). Lugod is accredited with the Department of Tourism (DOT) so they are a rate higher than most companies, but they are reliable and honest. Negotiate first. They might give you a discount. Just bring my name and RUN!
The activities at Catigbian DATE Park cost about 700 pesos. However, discounts for locals, students and senior citizens are available. Please ask before engaging in the activities. They usually give you a bottle of mineral water for free after undergoing the activities.
Rooms are available at the site for 1,500 pesos a night with free breakfast. But with its location, I wonder what would you be doing there during the night.