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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

KI BATHALA GARDENS: Your Home in the Jungle

Ki Bathala Gardens is a jungle resort in Sitio Balaon, San Isidro, Talakag, Bukidnon--- 30 km from CDO. The 12-hectare farm (and increasing) is owned by a Swiss-Filipino family who practices PERMACULTURE. Equipped with indigenous lodging amenities, the chirps of different bird species add the site a more natural feel. Its 16-year old stone house, along with other structures, walls and the stairways, was built by a skilled Igorot stonebuilder. Coconut and banana stand anywhere. Therapeutic herbs, bamboo and ginger of different species are found in the farm. The natural and manmade forests make the springs consistently streaming, supplying water to rice paddies and fish ponds. The farm is also adjacent to the mighty Kalawaig River, perfect for a cool dip.


The farm has been successfully hosting "Luna Musikalawaig" for four straight years since 2012. The festival, featuring local and international musicians and artists, is envisioned to provide awareness on the need for nature conservation and sustainable living through music and visual art.


FEATURES OF THE FARM

THE CARABAO STATUE
The Carabao statue marks the entrance to the farm. To those who do not know the story behind the statue, it's just simply a mark. To know its story, click HERE.



THE FOOD
With proper coordination, guests can share meals with the hosts. Most of the foods are vegetables and are assured healthy. 
Photo Credits- Ki Bathala Gardens
 


THE PYRAMID HOUSE
This very artistically engineered house can accommodate a family or a large group, whose members are not looking for a 5-star accommodation. It has a nice outside bathroom, balcony and sleeping deck kissed by a glass roof that makes you feel like sleeping on the moon.









FANTUZZI HOUSE
This simple hut has two compartments that can accommodate a family or a group. The house is named after Fantuzzi, an international artist, who gigged in one of the "Luna Musikalawaig" celebrations. Fantuzzi used the house his rehearsal site.


THE ALIBANGBANG PASS
The manmade trail going down is reinforced with stones. This zigzag trail is named after a native butterfly thriving in the place.


 

THE PADDIES AND FISH PONDS
All year round, the paddies and fishponds never run out of water. The green forested walls of the farm make a consistently streaming springs supplying water to the area, even amidst a long drought.








THE PLANTS AND HERBS
Different plants and herbs abound in the farm. Lots of which, though unfamiliar and neglected by some, are of significant value. Coconut and banana dominate the area. Different therapeutic herbs are also found anywhere. The farm has different species of bamboo and ginger.


 
 
Photo Credits: Ki Bathala Gardens

Photo Credits: Ki Bathala Gardens
Photo Credits: Ki Bathala Gardens


KALAWAIG RIVER 
Adjacent to the farm, the mighty river, which water comes from Mt. Kitanglad, makes a perfect dip. The clear water lining below the rocky walls joins other rivers streaming down to the grand Cagayan River.    






THE STONE HOUSE
My favorite part of the farm was built 16 years ago. Its lower portion including the fireplace is really made up of stones. This house is soon undergoing a rehabilitation with improvements. Its design is really a jungle house. And this is the only structure I know that uses recycled rubber tires as roofing material. 











THE BALETE TREE
The very old balete (fig) tree displays its enchanting glory beside the Stone House. Its marvelous width suggests its old age. The tree is a great photography backdrop.




 
A LEARNING EXPERIENCE

My tour to Ki Bathala Farms is not just merely a tour. The friendly, intellectual host, Rene Kiefer, who accompanied and guided me told me many things which I loved listening to. His wide knowledge about botany and farming made him explain things clearly. I loved our sharing of ideas about travels and  conservation of culture and nature. He also injected the idea of Permaculture and sustainable farming which I really appreciated. And I really learned a lot from him. Politics and sociology were just sidetalks. Hehe!  






RANDOM SNAPS












 For booking, please contact:
Rene Kiefer - 0919-868-6209
Raphael Kiefer - 0920-911-9282

Please check the FB page of Ki Bathala Gardens.


HOW TO GET THERE:

From CDO, take a jeep or van bound for Talakag at Carmen Public Market Terminal. Drop off at the last house of Sitio Balaon, Brgy. San Isidro (30km from CDO). At your left, a carabao with lizard statue marks the entrance to the farm. Take a short 50-meter walk. 

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