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Butuan-Lake Mainit-Surigao City trail: Mindanao’s potential leading scenic highway

By Martin Sales

No doubt about it the highway from Butuan City to Surigao City, passing by Lake Mainit is one of the most scenic and beautiful corner of this touted once and always mysterious, promising land.

The exciting uphill and downhill and flat two lane road is a pleasant surprise and wonder to first-time travelers and tourists and even regulars who long for unusual, refreshing and feel good sights along the way.

If one comes from Butuan side, the provincial atmosphere starts from the town of Cabadbaran even its been lately declared a city but nothing much of a sign of progress, no thanks to its embarrassingly quarreling  officials.

Driving towards the dramatic terrain of the lake side of Mainit can be considered a leading scenic attraction in the country if only developed creatively with the right vision.

Tourists from Manila and abroad swear its comparable to the best view but wanting of safety measures and road width. But they cannot help get awed beginning from the descending cliff towards the town of Kitcharao and snaking to the ascending part of San Roque, all with the lake’s breathtaking view in front and on one side.

“The lake’s so beautiful to gaze at with its heavenly glory. It’s like taking a peak but imprinted in the mind,” an over-the-top description from a tourist who took a rented van.

Reaching the border towns of Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte, tourists are dismayed and heartbroken seeing the visibly leveled and destroyed terrain turned bald, lifeless and ugly by a mining firm.

Who knows how many mining companies there are and hidden along the highway and the coastal sides? And they call this responsible mining? How can it be when you see large tracts of land abused and exploited? The concerned passing-by kababayans asked.

Many years ago, a group of scientists was said to have visited and explored the forested limestone hills lining side-by side a distant away from the road and discovered a population of monkeys, birds including Philippine Eagles, aquatic creatures like turtles, frogs and others. They concluded the area is healthy with natural living wealth.

In ancient times, Lake Mainit, as told from mythical stories was populated by crocodiles until they were wiped out by conquering “bagani” (tribal warriors).

Clearly, for the sake of sustenance ,conservation and protection of natural wealth, an elevated action and political will are needed from people of all walks of life.

But the question is, how knowledgeful, convinced and visionary are the regional and respective provincial officials and stakeholders both in environment and economic sectors to transform this piece of promised land make it a dynamic corner-even in the eyes of someone passing by.

Photo courtesy of Flickriver

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