Water Forms

Forest Foray

Ida Damo
Ida Damo | Apr 16, 2013

The idea of walking on hanging bridges through an old growth forest delighted me so much that I just had to do it. The presence of Philippine Macaques (monkeys) and Wild Boar (Baboy Ramo) in this forest did not bother me but the snakes did.

Ms. Rose Rubi, Hijo Estate Resorts’ Sales Manager, said that the snakes only come out if one was lucky. I was certainly feeling lucky that day because the sun came out over the overcast skies but not that lucky to commune with snakes. Anyway, barring snakes, the forest foray was surely delightful, insightful and a good learning experience.

Towering Dao trees serve as the elevated walk’s buttresses. These trees were first plotted out before the hanging bridges. Each stop from tree to tree made me hug each one. I was just giving thanks to them for providing the foundation from which one could appreciate the beauty of the forest. Other species of trees were labeled and so identifying them was easy.

You start with wobbly feet but when you get the hang of it, you feel like you’re just gliding along the wood planks. The cable wires at your side serve as hand holds but balancing would be easy.

On the forest floor are fallen leaves of the different tree species. Anahaw palms (Fan Palm) were everywhere adding shade, texture and color to the scenery. One Anahaw palm frond would be a good cover when the rains come. As big as they were, 2-3 persons would be ably covered.

Vines of different variety climbed up the trees’ trunks and rattan vines as thick as 2 to 3 inches in diameter and meters long were on the trunks or on the floor. It would have been a rattan furniture maker’s heaven but no sir, harvesting of rattan vine in this private forest is strictly prohibited.

The walk through the forest may only have been 10 or 15 minutes, but the interweaving of the sights of green and brown and light when it reaches the forest and sounds of nature like the chirping of the birds, the rustling of the leaves as the breeze passes through makes you realize that this tiny fraction of forest is what life should be--- interwoven and interdependent on each other to survive. And that man should be its protector.

When you come down the elevated walk, you get to cross the creek and catch a glimpse of water monitor lizards. And if you’re lucky, a heron might just be watching the lizard!

Out in the open or on the road leading to and from the forest, monkeys would while away their time and watch the world go by. At dusk, the monkeys are joined by wild boars.

We were there on siesta hour, so we just had an encounter with Maro-maro, the solo monkey who frequents the roadside. The other monkeys and the wild boars being nocturnal creatures, were as I said, having a siesta.

Good thing there was no sighting of even a single snake. Or maybe my companions did and just did not tell me.

In these days of skyscrapers and the urban jungle, it is heartwarming to know that there is still a private forest where trees can reach up to the sky, birds can sing to their hearts content, monkeys and wild boars can roam freely and life is green and brown and all the colors in between.

The Forest Tour is part of the Hijo Estate Resort’s tours. For reservations and inquiries, call 0917.633.7000/0917.633.7019/0917.637.8438 or email [email protected] or visit their website at www.bananabeachdavao.com.

The Forest Foray is just one of a series of stories of this writer’s Hijo Estate Resorts’ stories.

Thank you Sir Semil Tuason, Sir Obet, Ms. Rose, Ms. Cheryl, Sir Ron, Kuya Adams, and the Hijo Estate Resorts’ Staff for the warm accommodation and delightful tour.

How to Get There:

Major airlines fly daily to Davao City from Manila and Cebu. Tagum City is an hour away by land from Davao City.

Bus Fare is Php95-110 (US$2.21-2.56). Van fare is Php70-90 (US$1.63-2.10). Take a multicab jeep to Madaum at PhP15 (US$0.35) per head.

Private vehicles can take the Panacan route out of Davao City to Tagum City then turn right for the road leading to the Hijo Plantation in Madaum before reaching the city proper.

The Resort offers an Adventure Package for a minimum of 8 persons for those coming from Davao City. For weekdays, its PhP1,200 (US$27.91)/head and on weekends at PhP1,500 (US$34.88)/head.

Inclusions:

Welcome drinks, Van transfer to and from the Hijo Damosa Office in Davao City, use of the Infinity pool and Lunch

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