An Adventurous Weekend in Agusan

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Flag of Philippines  , Agusan del Norte,
Saturday, June 13, 1998

Divided into two provinces, Agusan is one place in Mindanao that truly lives up to its name, which means "where water flows" in Malay. Dotting the entire region's rugged and wild terrain is an interesting plethora of waterfalls, rivers, springs, caves and gorges ideal for trekking, spelunking, swimming and camping.

Of course, there’s Lake Mainit, a large inland body of freshwater that’s bounded by Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte. Serving as the confluence of several rivers, it happens to be the country’s fourth largest lake at 173.40 sq. kilometers and the deepest with a maximum depth of about 223 meters.

From trekking up mountains to swimming in azure beaches, Agusan’s natural attractions have much to offer to those looking for adventures with the least distractions to the environment. In Agusan del Norte, for instance, there’s Tubay, a place that has evolved into an eco-tourist’s haven. Somewhere in the lush mountains of this coastal town, facing the clear waters of Butuan Bay, lies an out-of-the-way resort that's perfect for those wanting to escape the hubbub of the city: Tubay Mountain Beach Resort.

Together with some officemates, I went there one weekend to find out what makes tourists come in droves to this hidden getaway. From Butuan City, we spent an hour-long joyride to reach Tubay, driving along one of the smoothest road networks in that part of the island. No humps, no bumps, no craters. Along the way, we were also greeted by a breathtaking view of the countryside's green fields and verdant mountains. Reaching Tubay, we took a ten-minute boat ride to reach the mountain beach resort.

When I first saw it, the resort failed to impress me. For one, its shoreline is awash with pebbles, stones and other rocky formations that hurt my bare feet as I walked along the black-sand beach.

What changed my impression, however, is the large guitar-shaped swimming pool that’s being fed by freshwater coming from six springs. Flowing from atop the mountain, the water in the pool not only relaxed my tired body but also revitalized my sagging spirit.

Tubay Mountain Beach Resort’s natural endowments may not hold a candle against other famous spots but its free-flowing spring water can. I didn’t mind wading for hours in the pool while watching the clouds roll by. It felt good to be shielded from the hassles that go with having a life on the fast lane.

I wonder what ever happened to this hideaway by the sea amidst the controversial expansion of mining activities in the area that’s being protested by some locals.
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Where I stayed
Tubay Mountain Beach Resort

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