June 18, 2019 - Tuesday
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24.85 ℃, Light rain
Davao City, Philippines


March 10, 2019 - Sunday 3:03 PM by Diana Lhyd Suelto

REFRESHING. Curtain Falls in Baganga, Davao Oriental is worth the long drive. Photo by DIANA LHYD SUELTO

DAVAO CITY -- My family loves to go on long road trips. On a recent road trip we followed the Davao-Agusan-Surigao-Davao Oriental route that allowed us to see and experience some of Mindanao’s not-so-well-known natural wonders.

We left home at past 10 in the morning so we can arrive in Barobo, Surigao del Sur at around 3-ish, giving us enough time to enjoy the cool blue waters of Bogac Springs. But because we are who we are, we had to make a few stopovers first — ATM to make a withdrawal and the nearest mall to buy rash guards and floaters.

It was already past noon and we were still in Carmen, Davao del Norte having lunch at a roadside carinderia.

The goal was still to arrive in Barobo early enough for us to be able to take a quick dip in Bogac Springs before looking for a place to spend the night.

Distance is relative when the desire to swim is great. We were already in Agusan at 2 p.m. After a quick break to buy snacks and go to the restroom, we blurred our way to Barobo.

Seeing my nephews enjoy the clear blue waters of Barobo Springs made the long travel worthwhile.

Barobo Springs is our favorite. My sister and I love how clean it is, how cool it is, how deep it is, and how cheap the entrance fee is. The municipal government collects P20 per person, which they use for the upkeep.

After the quick dip, we needed to find a place to sleep.

We are very spontaneous when it comes to road trips and we don’t bother with booking a room at an inn or resort because we don’t know where we end up anyway.

Most of the time it works well for us, but there are times, like that time in Barobo, when we can’t find a suitable place to stay in. We checked out about seven resorts before settling in for the night at a resort in the next town.

The next morning we went back to Barobo to swim again. Since it was a drive-swim-eat kind of trip, we drove another 30 minutes after lunch to Libuacan Cold Spring in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur.

Libuacan is a spring that feeds a river. It is clean, clear, cold, and blue — a perfect place to dip in on a hot afternoon. Except that it was not a hot afternoon. It just rained and was a bit cloudy. It did not matter. We still swam and floated with the current until it was again time to find a place to spend the night.

We decided to spend the night in Cateel, Davao Oriental because it is nearer to Baganga, our next stop. We found a nice small inn, Edar’s Place, that had accommodating staff and served good food.

Taking a pit stop in Cateel was a good decision because it is a town that has stores where we can buy baon for the next day and some other stuff.

Bright and early the next day, we again boarded our vehicle and drove to Baganga. We wanted to go to San Victor Island after reading online that it is a nice small island. Nah.

San Victor is small, yes. However, it did not pass our standard for nice. The sand is white and fine, but the water was not as clear as the other beaches we’ve been to. Canibad in Samal is much better. The people managing the resort were also unpleasant. The rate that we were told before boarding the banca was changed right after we arrived on the island. We’ll never go back again.

Curtain Falls in Baganga, however, is a different story. It is one of the best that I’ve seen. You have to drive into quite a bit (at least 10 kilometers) of rough road before getting there, but it is all worth it. My dad, who is not easily impressed, liked it so much that he asked us to take a photo of him with the falls as a background. He even dared to climb the rocks, arthritis and all, just to get nearer.

We would have wanted to stay longer, but we need to go home that day to go to a family dinner. But before going home, we stopped over Aliwagwag Falls, which is also beautiful, to stretch our legs, take some pictures and snack up.

There’s nothing like a good long road trip that can make a family’s bond stronger. It detached us from our gadgets (because there was no signal) and allowed us to really converse. We are looking forward to another long holiday so we can do another epic family road trip. And yes, we’ll still be as spontaneous.