LIFESTYLE

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Blood pressure up? Tired and aching limbs? Skin problems?
A little more than 22 kilometres north of Tagum City by way of Mawab town and 35 minutes from Mawab lies a healing hot spring and steaming waterfall. Welcome to Mainit Sulfuric Waterfall Hotspring. The steaming waterfall is the main charm of a barangay resort tucked on the side of a hill in barangay Mainit, one of some 12 villages along Masara line, a strip of dirt road that starts at the junction of the Davao-Butuan national highway and the poblacion of Mawab.
It takes at least 45 minutes of alternating paved and dirt road to reach the hotspring.
The hot waterfall has its share of local and foreign visitors seeking the water’s therapeutic offerings. The sulfuric hotspring and its perimeter are surrounded on three sides by forested slopes from where the spring cascades into a hot waterfall. Hot sulfuric water cascades on ledges from vents on the hillsides to form waterfalls.
The site can be reached by way of Tagum City, a 45-minute-one-hour drive from Davao City. On arriving at Tagum Overland Bus Terminal, take a passenger jeep or bus that plies the Tagum-Masara route and tell the driver or conductor to stop at the Mainit Hotspring. You may take a Davao-Butuan bus, but disembark at the Mawab bus terminal.
Hey, herbal medicines and food supplements are available in major souvenir shops in Pantukan, Nabunturan, Compostela, and Monkayo.

Beach sports and other sun, sand, and summer fun

Summer is when everyone takes a break from the simmering and sweaty months to frolic in the sunshiny and soothing beaches of Maco, Mabini, and Pantukan. Yes, the merry month of May unleashes beach sports fun, courtesy of Compostela Valley annual summer beach sports festival. The first to the last weekends of May in the Valley is a time for joy, a time for cheers, a time to treasure through the years: beach parties, sand competitions – Frisbee, body painting, cross the Kopiat island channel swimming, water volleyball, band concerts, fire dances, and night parties, parties, and parties!
Mainit Sulfuric Waterfall Hotspring aerial shot

SPIRITUAL LIFE

Mainit Sulfuric Waterfall Hotspring aerial shot
In new bataan, a towering structure designed by Davao artist Kublai Milan, stands as a beacon of hope and a pilgrimage centre. This is the Tower of Light, also known as Andap ng Liwanag Tower. It stands beside the San Roque Chapel in Brgy. Andap, a few kilometres from poblacion. It was the only edifice that withstood the fury of Typhoon Pablo.

The monument is a 45-foot sculptured work of mixed media in modern ethnic style and designed like a flame that emits flickers of light.

A staircase spirals from the metal-concrete foundation through two stations and constructed in a way that climbing it simulates the movement of a flame. At the top, the viewer gets a panoramic view of the entire ground zero. Andap, the flattened village’s name, is “flicker” in English.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

BIBINGKA

This stop-over is a strip of food houses along the national highway village of New Sibonga, in Nabunturan. A stop there is to taste what may be the best rice cake or bibingka in this part of the world.

LYUROT

You want a drink, sir? If tribes in Luzon and other islands have their lambanog, basi, tuba, or tapuy, Compostela Valley’s Mandaya, Mansaka, and other indigenous tribes also have their own heady beverage, the byais. It is the product of fermenting wild ginger and honey. The raw concoction is placed in deep clay pot which is the tightly sealed and either buried or hidden for days to allow it to age. The longer fermentation is allowed, the smoother the tase. The Mansaka describe the drink as fit for the gods.

The Mansaka refer to the indigenous people of the rich mountain, hills, and valleys of Compostela Valley who identify themselves as utaw or people created by the magbabaya or yumanum. They express their respect to magbabaya through prayers and rituals officiated by a balyan for good harvest, great health, and peace. A betel nut quid is offered on the altar along with other gifts to god. A ritual is part of Mansaka life. No significant event begins without it. And a ritual is incomplete without the byais.

BYAIS

In the old days, the lyurot – bamboo-cooked food – is known as the warrior’s food. In the heydays of the mantikadong and the bagani, the cooking of this exotic food was strictly a warrior’s task. The food could last for days, corresponding to the number of days a warrior has to be away on raids of other villages.

Celebrated as a festival in the highland village of Golden Valley, Mabini. About 85-90% of its 4,000 population belong to the Mansaka tribe. Visits include free tasting of exotic lyurot food from bamboo-cooked choice of food. Rhinoceros beetle larvae or grubs (batud) to greed frogs legs, anyone?

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PERFORMING ARTS

Mansaka_1155_0522
Tribal folk art. The Mansaka possess a wide array of musical instruments, giving life to their songs and dances. Examples of Mansaka musicala instruments include the agong or round brass percussion instrument; a larger version of the agong is the tarabon, which was used to give war signals. The kudlong or two-stringed guitar that resembles the Maranao kudyapi (lute) comes in two varieties: a binudyaan or a two-string eight-fret guitar which has the shape of a boat with a curved neck at the end, or a binarig which has only four frets. Another Mansaka string instrument is the four-chord takol made of bamboo about 60 cm long and has pieces of wood placed under the string for tuning and pitch control. The kubing or Jew’s harp is carved out of bamboo, measures 12.5-15cm long and 7.5cm wide, and produces a soft melody when vibrated. Wind instruments include the parundag or Mansaka saxophone, a 60-cm bagakay tube with five holes; and the bamboo flutes of which there are two types --- the longer bonabon and the shorter lantoy which resembles the flute. A Muslim contribution is the kulintang or gong ensemble consisting of several graduated gongs. One of the most popular Mansaka instruments is the gimbal or drum made of bahi (betel nut) and animal hide, of which two are appropriate: doeskin and male deerskin. Mansaka folk songs are expressive of the group’s culture, folkways, and traditional beliefs about the world and themselves. Other than literature and music, dancing is a source of pleasure and entertainment for the Mansaka.
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