Archive for dr. ezranelson alojado

through a foggy road to gethsemane

Posted in lifestyle, locales, nature, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by mijodo

picturesque gethsemane

It was an early morning drive. My cousin and travel partner, Ate Mae Hipolito were en route to Bukidnon from Davao City. Ate Mae’s sister, Ate Betsy and her husband Dr. Ezranelson Alojado (Nong Nene) volunteered to drop us off near the quaint Seagull Inn and Resto at Kitaotao area along the Davao – Bukidnon Hiway. But just before we reached the inn, we had planned to have a stopover at Gethsemane, the Alojado family retreat area, nestled in the boondocks of Marilog District of Davao City.

The trip should probably take an hour to the Garden of Gethsemane, using  the beautifully cemented road going up the mountain area. It had been an easy drive until about 20 minutes just before we arrived at the junction where an adjoining road at the right proceeds directly to my cousins’ place.

As the sun slowly appeared on the horizon, the road was blanketed by heavy dense fog. There was practically zero visibility for the drivers still zooming along the road. Driving in such condition could be dicey, but for me, it was an exciting and thrilling ride, reminiscent of those treks to Baguio and Tagaytay.

We were lucky that it was not raining thus we opted to roll down our car windows.  Here I got to experience right away the brisk, nippy weather as the car gradually advanced to our destination, thanks to the good driving skills of Nong Nene.  Even in September, it was Christmastime climate in Marilog Hills.

It almost bewildered me. The fog was so thick that I could not remember if I had experienced the same in my travels to climate cold places in the Philippines, including Banaue.  In that substantial mist up in the hills, I could sense a difference in the ways of living in the area.  Children, in woolen sweaters, amble about towards school in an almost deserted road as jeepneys and other small public conveyances don’t ply the route. Young men still on the same road brought pots and vats of potable water as some of the residences in the area have no  access to clean water yet.  “These scenes could be featured on a National Geographic tv documentary,” I told myself.

Along the road, the area was so oozing with remarkable and natural beauty such that the place seemed remote and alien to citydwellers. Yet let it be known that  Datu Salumay is just one small locality of one big Davao City.

Amidst the fog, we tried to locate the access road that forks out from the main hiway. It was tricky, yet we found it  (a waiting shed would be the landmark to make that right turn). But what was trickier was the short drive, through rocks and gravel. A four-wheel drive car or truck was deemed necessary to get to the place. Then all of a sudden, the smooth cemented road appeared until we reached exactly the destined place, Garden of Gethsemane.

Pepito, the caretaker, welcomed us warmly, and told us that classes had been suspended in the area. I never thought that fog could even stop classes.

But at the place of my cousins, the gods of  Gethsemane perhaps cleared the fog for me. Immediately I got enthralled with the postcard prettiness of the place. The meandering stairway steps. The cascading waterfalls. The several pools and ponds – for swimming and for koi watching. The hanging bridges. The faux logcabin. The soaring pine trees.  The hundred blooms of dahlia, sweet honey, and lillies all over. The biting cold temperature (even during summers, I am told)  just enhanced the picturesque location, considered to be more than one hectare in land area.

I felt proud of my Ate Betsy, who has judiciously tended their resthouse gardens almost on a weekly basis.  I was told that people in Davao City have been wanting to stay for a night or two to camp out in the area. “Almost every weekend, particularly during summers, there were people renting our place. There is a hut that can accommodate ten to twelve people. But some would still opt to put up a tent, ” she said with glee.

“Some would use the karaoke machine until early morning. But if it were me, I would rather commune with nature in silence,” Ate Mae interrupted.

But I knew if I had the chance to stay, I would read lots of books, and commune with the interesting folks in the area, and forget for a moment my tv.

Too bad, Ate Mae and I had to cut short our visit at Gethsemane, as we wanted to be in Malaybalay, just before noontime. Nong Nene and Ate Betsy brought us at Seagull  Inn, about a kilometer away from the junction. At the inn, it was easier to take the bus. The fog was a little less dense at that time, but still considerable. We bade our good hosts goodbye, and were able to take the public ride in no time.  We were off again, still through the same foggy road, but this time – to Bukidnon.

 (For those wanting to have a weekend getaway at the Garden of Gethsemane, please call (082)2271628 or 09178119641 (Ms. Betsy Alojado).)

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