Saturday, December 24, 2016

Delightful Dahilayan

“Delightful Dahilayan”
Sun.Star Davao, Dec. 24, 2016
The splendid sight of endless rows of pineapple elicited the biggest smiles from the kids as we leisurely drove by Camp Phillips in Bukidnon.

As if on cue, they began to playfully sing in unison, “I have a pen. I have a pineapple. Uh, pineapple pen!”. Last song syndrome (LSS) alert! They just couldn’t resist seizing the moment.

          I have always wanted to schedule a family trip to Dahilayan but just thinking about the long driving hours overwhelmed us. Fortunately, I chanced upon an awesome airline seat sale to Cagayan de Oro City which cut our travel time significantly and scored an enticing room promo as well. Finally, the much-awaited journey to Dahilayan was a go!

         Arriving at Dahilayan enchantingly felt like we were in Baguio or Tagaytay with the ubiquitous pine trees and cool mountain breeze. It was still early for our check-in time at Pinegrove Mountain Lodge but luckily, there was already a well-appointed room waiting for us even on a bustling Saturday.

Adventure awaits

          After settling in, we trooped to the ticket booth to purchase our ZipXtreme package at Dahilayan Adventure Park. For the price of PhP1,200, the special discounted package included the 840m zipline; 320m + 150m Zipline; Dropzone; Python Roller Zipride and Ropes Course. Other rides at ‘Mindanao’s Favorite Extreme Playground’ were the adrenaline-pumping Sky Tower Base Jump and Flying Lizard Canopy Glider.

       With an exhilarating drop of 100 meters, we zoomed through the breathtaking rainforest  canopy at 60-80 kph via ‘Asia’s 1st longest dual zipline’. 

After braving this incredible zipline, the shorter and more kid-friendly version came next.

               Our action-packed morning left us famished so we took a breather and devoured our late lunch at Pinegrove’s restaurant. 

           The filling meal provided us the much-needed energy boost for our 3rd activity, the Tower of Power Ropes Course, a 12-stage high and low wire obstacle course with a multisided rockwall to boot. Among the four of us, it was my nimble 10-year old daughter who effortlessly moved from one obstacle to another.

               Meanwhile, the 500-meter Python Roller Zipride, “Asia’s first zipline roller coaster”, allowed us to zip, rattle, roll, drop, swing and bounce with wild abandon, much to the enjoyment of our thrill-seeking family.

               Our culminating challenge for day one was the Dropzone, a heart-pounding 120-feet freefall ride touted to be the Philippines’ first extreme pendulum swing of its kind. Pulled up by a crane then dropped suddenly at lightning speed and swooped to within feet of the manmade lake’s surface only to repeat the intense swinging motion again, in a crazy pendulum style, gave my poor eardrums a shock as my partner (a.k.a. beloved eldest daughter) screamed her lungs out.

(To watch the mother-daughter SCREAM QUEENS in action, click the video below)


            After dinner, roasting s’mores over an indoor charcoal grill while sipping our comforting hot cocoa drink capped the magical foggy night. 

             It was still a few weeks before the Christmas season during our visit. But, the Pinegrove’s rustic log cabin interiors, festive Christmas pine tree and decors coupled with the nippy evening air prematurely unleashed our Yuletide spirits.

               The following day, we decided to sleep in and take our brunch before indulging in another fun-filled afternoon, this time, at Dahilayan Forest Park. 

             With an entrance fee of PhP50 for kids and PhP100 for adults, this favorite family destination offered various rides and activities such as the Luge (PhP600 solo/PhP800 tandem), ATV (PhP750), Buggy (PhP1,000 for 2), Zorbit (PhP250), Barrel Train (PhP100), Bungee Bounce (PhP150), Trampoline (PhP50), Mini Golf (PhP150), Tree Top Adventure (PhP250) and Hanging Bridge (PhP100).

                We spent a stimulating hour at the safari-themed miniature golf with our active girls acing a hole-in-one each, or should I say a ‘Hole-in-Huang’. Towards the end of our golf game, the fog thickened and rain began to fall so hard that all our plans for the remaining hours were cancelled. 

             That is the peculiar thing about Dahilayan. You can wake up to a sunshiny day then, without any moment’s notice, gray skies and rain appear. However, the torrential downpour may dampen our itinerary but definitely, not our family’s wanderlust.

Road trip

               On the day we were set to leave, we woke up extra early to try out the luge. After crossing the hanging bridge, our punctuality paid off as we were the first ever riders for the day. 

            Maneuvering the freewheeling gravity cart on an asphalted trail was, in the words of our kids, “Awesome!”. 

              Two rounds of luge after, we enjoyed a quick breakfast before meeting our driver Gerald from LAX Shuttle at 10:00 a.m. 

            Since our flight from CDO to Davao was rescheduled, we booked a van instead to exclusively bring our family and I all the way from Manolo Fortich to Davao.

            The expected exhausting ride back to Davao on a holiday turned out to be a pleasurable one with good roads, zero traffic, and an efficient driver. Before we knew it, by 2:00 p.m., we were at the Bukidnon-Davao Highway, and by 4:00 p.m. at our very own home, heads and hearts full of prized memories from our delightful Dahilayan adventure.

         The Pinegrove Mountain Lodge, Dahilayan Adventure Park and Dahilayan Forest Park are located at Barangay Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. For more information, check out their Facebook pages.

      For bookings and inquiries, LAX Shuttle may be reached at contact numbers (0917)7101529 or (0925)8100529.

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