Lately, I had a conversation with my best friend about places where she can relocate. She just survived cancer and it will be good for wellbeing if she moves out of the polluted and bustling city of Manila. It will be nice if she resides in a place that has a relaxed atmosphere and near to nature.
You see, there is this Japanese term called “Shinrin-yoku” which means “forest bathing”. This is when they go to the forest to immerse in nature. It is said to have countless health benefits. Scientific studies had proven that this practice calms the mind, boosts immunity, reduces the risk of cancer and heart attack, decreases blood glucose levels and fight inflammation in the lung, brain, liver, and pancreas.
Doing Shinrin Yoku on a regular basis can improve her health condition. This is only possible if she moves in a place like Malaybalay City.
Malaybalay City is located in Bukidnon, one of the safe provinces in Mindanao, South of the Philippines. This city is actually dubbed as the “South Summer Capital of the country” because of its cool climate. Unlike Baguio, summer capital in the north, it is not as congested and touristic.
I have been there January 2019 and I completely fell in love with it.
Life seems to be simple and quiet there. Food in this city is cheap and fresh. Most importantly, this pleasant city has easy access to nature.
My best friend is a city girl who has been living in Manila all her life. To assure her that moving there won’t give her a total shock, I told her that Malaybalay City is classified as a first-class municipality. It’s like a big town that has the necessary commercial establishments and typical public facilities. They have a mall (one mall is enough), the major banks, and Jollibee (hahaha). It’s actually impressive that they have a number of hospitals that seem to be modern.
I like it because it is developed but not metropolitan. It is a laidback city that hasn’t been totally eaten by consumerism
My best friend has been working remotely as a freelance writer and consultant meaning she can bring her work anywhere as long as there is reliable wifi. There’s fast internet connection in Malaybalay City so that won’t be a problem for her. I remember staying in Bom Bom Hotel and their internet speed was so much faster than what I have in Manila.
Malaybalay City has forest-like parks, Nasuli cold spring, and two mountains that are easy to hike. I wasn’t able to check all of them but I have been to Kaamulan park and Two Tree Mountain.
Kaamulan Park is a 500-hectare park resplendent with towering pine trees, trumpet trees, Narra trees. More than a tourist attraction, it’s a place where its inhabitants can relax, have a leisurely stroll, date, jog, horseback, bike and have a picnic.
The hotel where we stayed at is just 15 just minutes walk away from it. When my boyfriend got sick in the middle of our trip, I took him there for him to catch some fresh air.
There is nothing like its intimate atmosphere.
From the Capitol grounds and Kaamulan Park, you can do an easy breezy hike to Two Tree Mountain that gives you a view of this city in a forest. It will just take you an hour (going up and down) to this activity.
Originally, we had a grand plan of hiking Mt.Paminhawa Ridge in another town but we ended up hiking this mountain. My boyfriend didn’t have the stamina to wake up at two in the morning to travel and hike for 5 to 6 hours so we just settled for a light hike within Malaybalay City.
Mt. Capistrano is another mountain within the city that is ideal for a minor hike.
If you want to find a place for peace and serenity, Malaybalay City is also home to the Monastery of Transfiguration. This is where Catholics go to seek solace and refuge.
Lastly, food is cheap in Malaybalay because Bukidnon is the food basket of Mindanao. The city grows rice, corn, sugarcane, vegetables, legumes, root crops, coffee, banana, and pineapple. Not to mention, piggery and poultry are also their agri-based industries.
Malaybalay City is not for everyone. If you’re a tourist, this place might not appeal to you. But if you are someone like me or my friend who is tired of living in a grimy city full complexities and, would want to live in a green and healthy city then this city is a place to consider.