Thursday, July 7, 2011

[GENSAN] High Altitude Thrills

The flight was delayed for an hour because of runway traffic at NAIA. Honestly, it's getting really annoying. Since I started flying early this year there have only been one or two instances when the flight took off on time. Aside from financial issues, do they still have space to expand that airport? I do have to commend the Cebu Pacific crew though; the inflight game was fun. They asked three people to come in front and sing for the foldable box prize. The cabin crew supervisor played host and he was funny. At least the almost two hour trip got a bit lively.

I boarded a Multicab because I didn't know how to go to Saranggani Highlands. Had I known that it wasn't that far I would've just taken a Habal-Habal at the airport. What I actually did was take a Multicab and get off at Tambler, for which I was charged 50. I lost another 50 to a Habal-Habal driver who volunteered to get me to the place as I was getting off the Multicab. I asked him twice if he knew where it was and he answered affirmatively. It turned out he didn't. He took me back to where we came from and had me transferred to another Habal-Habal, then asked for the 50 pesos. I was annoyed but he was not rude or anything. Fine. The other driver asked for 120. I decided to just pay him another 150 to get me to Gen San afterwards.

Saranggani Highlands clearly has the advantage of a good view overlooking Saranggani Bay, thanks to its high location. The place was just a group of open dining areas with vinyl tent roofing. I would give it a very high 10/10 rating for the ambiance and overall appeal if not for the mosquitoes. They bite and they have those zebra stripes on their legs! I decided to have spicy pork chop as early dinner while the Habal-Habal driver waited outside. The food is pricy but delicious. By the way, there is a 100-peso entrance fee but it is consumable.

After observing the jeeps plying the route, it became quite obvious that one can avoid the Habal-Habal and simply opt for the cheaper jeep, then get off at the checkpoint just after the Fishing Port area. The caveat is you have to go up an unpaved route to get to the place. That'd be a long and tiring walk but doable if you have the luxury of time. I don't think public transportation goes up there. After dinner I took a video of the place and rode the Habal-Habal to the city proper. We stopped at Calumpang because of the sudden rainfall. The driver asked for 130 while the tricycle to the market place was just 10 pesos. I checked in at Amigotel.

Due to the heavy rain, I decided to call it a day and catch up on sleep. I woke up at 4:30 AM the next day, had a quick shower, and went ahead with my three-hour journey to Lake Sebu. That trip was awesome. Fun! Fun! Fun! I did not stay long, though. After riding the two ziplines, I went back to Marbel to catch a non-stop bus to Gen San. I wanted to go to the 5th Mountain Adventure Park, and I did just that, much to the chagrin of my wallet.

The turnoff here is the remote location. There are no public vehicles going directly to Baranggay Olympog, so I took the advice of a blog article I read to head to Katangawan, turn left, and then follow the path to Olympog. Of course, that piece of instruction was for people who have their own private transportation. I did not but what choice do I have. Surely, not all people from that town have private cars. There ought to be a way to get there using public transportation. Habal-Habal was, once again, the answer, and a costly one at that.

Ride a jeep from the market to Katangawan. The trip takes around 30 minutes depending on how long the driver will wait for passengers in front of KCC Mall. You will pass by Robinsons and San Miguel. Tell the driver to drop you off at Katangawan going to Olympog. I got off at the check point and saw a group of Habal-Habal drivers just waiting for passengers at a shed. Haggle, please. Do not be like me. If a driver says 200 one way, drop it to 100. Those men also need the income and given that there were many of them doing nothing, I think they would be more than willing to negotiate. I did not haggle. Damn. What the F is my problem. I think more than half of what I spent on this trip was for transportation costs alone. Shit that.

The price was 500 pesos round trip with him waiting for me to finish the ziplines before we descend. It was a long way up. The one hour I spent at the back of that motorbike felt like forever. The road was a mix of paved, muddy, and rocky. The motorcycle stopped more than twice and I thought we were going to be stuck on that mountain. Luckily, we made it all the way up. Damn, that place is so hard to reach. How are the owners planning to market it to the general population?

The view is awesome. I'm sorry if I use "awesome" a lot. I only have three stock adjectives in my word bank: awesome, amazing, and nice. So sue me. Anyway, the view was nice. And amazing. We have to thank the altitude after hating on it because the view of General Santos from the top is just the perfect panorama shot for the header of your travel blog. As for the ziplines, I liked the one at Lake Sebu better. Why?

The 5th Mountain zipline is high but the view is limited to coconut trees and sloping ravines. You are in a sitting position, which is somehow scarier because you have an unrestricted view of the rope keeping you on air and the height of the fall if the rope decides to undo itself. At Lake Sebu, you are in a superman position and you barely have time to see anything else other than the lovely waterfalls with matching rainbow effect. The second zipline is as eventless as the first. Nevertheless, what's important is the adrenaline rush which is still present. We also have to understand that 5th Mountain is quite new. They'll eventually develop in time as they add more facilities like that cable car that'll be operational starting next month. I still enjoyed it. The staff was friendly too and I think that is one important aspect. Service was great.

I got back at KCC at around 4 PM and decided to catch two movies I was not able to see back in Manila. Why not roam around and check Pacquiao’s Mansion, the city hall, or Klaja Karst? Well, I was tired. And I came to Gen San for the zipline. It was adventure that I sought and adventure was what I got. That was more than enough for me. Besides, the travel time to Lake Sebu took six hours back and forth, and Olympog’s, around two and a half. I have the right to get exhausted too, right? You do not have to agree. And I do not have to care. HAHAHA.

2 creature(s) gave a damn:

Anonymous said...

Gen San, I want to go there someday. Looks like fun. :D

ihcahieh said...

It is fun, love the ziplines! A bit too far, though. All worth it if you ask me. =)

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