Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Long and Rough Road to Mt Diwalwal

Monkayo, Compostella Valley or better known as Mt. Diwalwal is the biggest Gold deposit in the Philippines. Mt. Diwalwal is an area very far away from the city, but people choose to live there because of gold. It is about 4 hours away from Davao City.

Last Christmas, my close relatives invited me to visit them at Mt. Diwalwal and celebrate Christmas with them. The last time I checked, I was three years old when I last visited the place. During that time, I of course could not still appreciate the place because I have even no single idea about Diwalwal. So fast forward more than 20 years from my last visit, here I am once again exploring Mt. Diwalwal. I am just so curious about the place, what people do for a living? What are they eating (will they gonna eat me? LOL)?  How cold is the place? Is there any electricity? All these questions can be answered if I will personally visit the place. So this is the map showing how far Mt. Diwalwal from Davao City.

Before anything else, let me write some disclaimers first. The images that you will see here were taken using a 1.3 Megapixel Camera of my Samsung cellhpone, so don't expect high quality pictures, but I can guarantee it's good enough. And also, I could not afford to stop and get ouf from the car to take pictures because I'm afraid somebody from the bushes will grab me and kidnap me and ask for a ransom, we don't have that much. 

We left Davao at around 6:30 in the morning. The weather is good, perfect for travel. We have a smooth drive until we reached Monkayo. I did not expect much about the views since I know that our destination is a mountainous area. So basically, I expected to see small trees, tall trees and of course green trees. But I was silenced for a while when I saw treeless areas of the mountain like this.

And this! A few drops of rain can completely erode this.

Some rain water stuck on this side of the mountain.

Did you see these abandoned logs beside the road?

And if it is your first time here, you will hesitate to drive through areas like this because anytime, a lansdslide may happen and you will be buried alive.

We met some commuters on the road. This is their means of transportation, it is called skylab.

A challenging road waiting ahead

Good to see some green scene over good weather

Remnants of flood

Some commuters again


Imagine how challenging this is for skylab drivers

Some houses

We've crossed this river which is a little bit scary

This rock is waiting for us ahead. If the car can't get through the current of the water, this rock will probably become our bumping buddy.

And look, a house with a very weak foundation beside the river. I wonder how they sleep at night. Anytime, the river flash wash their house out

I can also see some red and gray chemicals on the land surface. These chemicals came from mining

When we finally arived at the residential area (this is where people resides), all I can see inside some of the houses are mining and gold processing equipments

We are the the top part of the mountain, so I can see views like this.

What's funny about Mount Diwalwal is that, the place is on the top of the mountain, but mind you, they are international. They named their places after international cities and countries like Las Vegas, Australia, Malaysia. You see the image below? This area is called Australia, I think they called it Australia because it's a "Land Down Under".

And the Neighborhood.

This house is the latest victim of the land slide. Three innocent children were buried alive on this very place. This is just four houses away from the place where I stayed.

Mt. Diwalwal has a community of their own. They have their own market, own business establishments and own means of living.

The downside is, because of the spring waters sprouting from anywhere, you will need to trek on wet roads like this all year round

And because it's Christmas Eve, we enjoyed watching fireworks courtesy of people living on the lower area of the mountain. YES, they have fireworks.

In the morning of Christmas day, this is the usual scene on the street.

No holidays for miners. I've spotted some in full gear going to their respective tunnels to dig some golds.

It's so cold in Mt. Diwalwal. It's so foggy in the morning.

As we headed back to Davao, the rough road is no longer freaky. We smiled for every hump on rocky road.

We made fun for every crash and slide.

And we relaxed for every threat of landslide .