“Ang taong hindi marunong lumingon sa kanyang pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa kanyang paroroonan”. With that, I will officially begin my travel story featuring my birthplace CATEEL, DAVAO ORIENTAL.
With heads up high, I’m proud to say that I am a true probinsyano by blood and by heart. I was born and raised in the charming little town of Cateel, Davao Oriental.
Cateel is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Davao Oriental, the easternmost part of the mainland Mindanao. It lies at the very mouth of the Great Pacific Ocean in the East, the green Valleys of Compostela in the West, the rustic town of Boston in the North and the municipality of Baganga in the South.
I would say my passion for traveling traces back its roots from the place of my birth. Simply because Cateel has it all. Beaches, coves, mountains, hotspring, waterfalls, caves, rivers, mangroves, people, culture – and all other things that I avidly love to see, enjoy and experience today.
THE BEACH. My first swimming lessons took place at Baldo Beach, the most famous beach for kids at my age then. Baldo Beach is actually a Sabang, a body of water where Cateel River and the mighty Pacific Seas meet. Waters were cold and deep blue. It is also a legendary beach spot in our town. Until to this day whenever I visit home, I never fail to come to Baldo Beach. It remains so special to me. The Sister’s Beach named after the Sister’s Convent fronting the Pacific Seas is also famous. It is one of the favorite places I grew up beach combing with. The waves are ravaging so perfect for swimming. Soon, stories of these beaches, coves and other beaches in Cateel will be featured here.
THE WATERFALLS. For those who do not know, Cateel is the home of the Philippine’s highest waterfalls, the majestic ALIWAGWAG FALLS. It is a towering waterfalls regarded as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Mindanao with a series of 84 falls appearing like a “stairway to heaven” from afar. This very recent, it has become one of the adventure destinations of many outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers in Mindanao. And being famed as the country’s highest cascades, Aliwagwag Falls is Cateel’s prized pride. But Cateel is not just Aliwagwag Falls. My first waterfalls escapade is the DANOG FALLS in Barangay Mainit. It is a two tiered cascades not frequented by many because of its inaccessibility from the highway. Nevertheless, we braved the unpopularity and made it to see the spectacular view of the falls. Also, MAHAN-OB FALLS, TRES MARIAS (Mantunao Eco Park) and MABUYONG FALLS are among the other must visit waterfalls in my hometown Cateel.
THE RIVERS. Cateel River is touted as one of the cleanest Rivers in the Davao Region. I had once explored river cruising its waterways and I found it rich in aquatic resources and home to the different Mangroves stretched all over Cateel River. I wish to do it again one day.
Surrounded by MOUNTAIN RANGES, Cateel can be a perfect venue for a day hike or two. I never tried one but heard it very exciting. Numerous CAVES can also be found there. The famous one is LANGYAWAN CAVE. Some caves were believed to be homes of the Mandaya Tribe long time ago, the early settlers of Cateel. Some of these caves were undiscovered until to this day.
Growing up in a town used to be 10 hours away from the urban City of Davao, life in Cateel was rustically laid back. I contented myself with rural pleasures there is in my hometown. Rice farming is one of the main sources of living in my town. My parents taught me the value of this agriculture. So as kids, we’re taught to come to the farm and learn the basics of rice planting. Hence, our rice fields became a huge playground for me and my siblings. The muddy pilapil, the little farm hill, the pili tree and the fruit bearing mango trees are things that until now I still would love to visit. These are undeniably unforgettable.
There are many things I’d like to share about my hometown Cateel but this post is even enough to describe the many wonderful stories I have in my town. Now that I am living in the big City of Davao, I sometimes long to go back there again and savor the simplicity of life only my hometown Cateel can give. A lot has changed there now but what never changed is the fact that Cateel is my birthplace, my home and my refuge.
“Home Sweet Home” as they call it. Cateel is indeed my home sweet home. Wherever this journey called life takes me, wherever I may go, I will never ever forget that what I am today is part of who I was before – a probinsyano born and raised in a charming little town called CATEEL, a home sweet home.
HOW TO GET THERE:
The best way to get to Cateel is by taking a Bus from Davao City via the Compostela Valley Road or Mati City Road. Buses are on daily schedule located at Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT). These buses are operated by Mallen Express, Lyra Express, Floremel Express and Bachelor Express.
This is my entry to the 7th Blog Carnival of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers called “HOMETOWN” hosted by a fellow PTB Member Mhe-anne L. Ojeda of My Comings and Goings.