Finding my Freedom...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Diwalwal, the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Modern Days?

"A mountain peak covered with snow-like eroded limestone during Typhoon Pablo" 

Call it a chance, but honestly it was not planned on how I was able to explore this popular place in this part of Compostella Valley. Diwalwal - a place so popular and yet, less traveled, if not traveled by most popular travel bloggers in the Philippines. I say popular, because even when I was still so young at the age of seven or so, I already heard about this place. A number of young male neighbors of us left to dig gold in Diwalwal when my family was still living in Zamboanga del Sur, a place where I was born and raised. In my youngest years, I heard a lot of horrible stories and even promising stories of wealth which one can only find it in this half-heaven/half - hell place, if there is hell - as how the locals describe the lifestyle of the settlers of this little town in Monkayo, Compostella Valley. Why? I'll leave it to your curiosity, discover the answer of that mind boggling descriptions given by the locals, but to give you a hint, the locals also refer this place as the "Sodom and Gomorrah of the Modern Days."

"A view where you can only enjoy if you are standing at Buenas on the way to Tinago"

How I find the chance of exploring Diwalwal? It was fortunate that my aunt whom was our neighbor in Zamboanga del Sur set foot in the town of Monkayo, Compostella Valley after my cousin got married with a local settler. It was because of typhoon Pablo who recently brought havoc in this part of Davao that paved the way, because unfortunately my Aunt's family was one of the many family who got displaced but among the few who luckily survived from typhoon Pablo after it destroyed almost everything and most of the territory of Compostella Valley in the late 2012. After almost losing everything specially their house and source of income, my Aunt together with her husband and only son moved in Iligan to work in a construction company. To cut the long story short, I heard that my aunt is planning to go back to Monkayo to check their house at the relocation area where their little house provided by the religious organization where they are part of is built. I got this interest of meeting my cousins whom I've never meet and seen for about 17 years already. I decided to go with my aunt!

From Iligan City, we took a bus ride for an hour or two to Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City. Then, another bus ride from Agora, Cagayan de Oro City to Butuan City which took us seven long hours of travel. From Butuan we took another five hours of bus travel to Monkayo. We left in Iligan at about 7:00 AM and we arrived in Monkayo at 9:00 PM roughly.

Upon arriving at Monkayo bus terminal, we were fetched by my cousins husband with their local motorcycle with side car transportation and we traveled more than half hour to reach at the relocation center where my Aunt's house is located. Alighting the tricycle my Aunt ask me if I saw those twinkling lights pointing at the top of the mountain in a not so far distance. I said, yes with a wrinkled forehead. Then, my Aunt told me, "It's actually Diwalwal! My eyes began to grow bigger and with disbelief I told her, "really? how far is that from here?" because in my mind a dark plan is creeping. So I began to inquire more info on how can I explore the place.

I learned that from the town of Monkayo, it would take an hour to reach the peak of Diwalwal in Mt. Diwata that is by the local popular single motorcycle called "habal-habal," with a fare going to Diwalwal at P150 and going down at P100. The locals said repeatedly that going to Mt. Diwalwal is never easy - because the road is extremely rough. Local people said that in early 1990's Diwalwal can only be accessed through a chopper or helicopter ride or if you cant afford you have to walk and trek for one day and one night. But then, I do love adventure, I love challenges, so who am I to say no to such amazing adventure?

It was a deadly experienced, if asked how was my habal-habal ride going to and going from Diwalwal. The road was really rough to the point where even though I was holding so tight on the habal-habal with all my might just to avoid being thrown away I still can't be able to successfully get a gripped. If I recall, roughly three times when the habal-habal seem to fly on mid-air with all of us on it and all I can do is close my eyes and without expectation that I'll still be able to land on the same seat, before the habal-habal actually flew into the mid-air, when the wheels touches the ground again. With all the prayers I uttered every time we flew into the mid-air, luckily we'll always land on the same seat still, but with a groan coupled with a loud cry out "Agay!" repeatedly,  because it was really painful!

Behold! because when we were on the peak of Mt. Diwata, a priceless view is waiting for us! Its really a place of heaven so to speak of the view. Upon gazing this view I remember a bible verses when Satan was actually offering Jesus Christ the World to him. "All the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them will be yours, if you'd fall down and worship me." Truly, Diwalwal is heaven for the view and the riches "gold" you can mine, but at the same time "hell" again if there is hell, for the deadly habal-habal ride. Actually, it took me two days to recover and fully move normally after that deadly habal-habal ride, but I am still willing to go back to Diwalwal in the future.

Planning to visit Diwalwal? I recommend you have to contact local people to guide you. By the way do you want to have idea what kind of road and how it looks like the roads in Diwalwal? See this photo from Rappler.


  1. I spent my whole childhood in Tinago; the peek of Diwalwal. I have a lot to remember
    in that hell childhood there was the most beautiful part happened n my life. Yes the life there was a real challenge everyday, the noise of the machine cracking the stone never stop turning day nd night, the workers goin in and out of the tunnel station, the cold breeze of air n the morning, the bars so noisy..that mountain offer a noisy and busy life than the city i am living now.