For the religious travelers, Mapawa serves as a culmination of a spiritual journey. As you go up the hills, you pass through the via crucis, or the way of the cross, which culminates in the last station: the Ressurection. To go beyond the resurrection is to return to paradise, which Mapawa represents. The natural stream, the forests, the birds, the animals, the mountains awaken a sense of gratitude and wonder.
For the adventurous spirit, Mapawa is a bootcamp. The first thing we noticed were thousands of muddy footprints left behind by police trainees. It is just as well, as Mapawa really has no luxury to offer, only the bare necessities, the natural beauty, and some semblance of eco-adventures: zipline, horseback riding, hiking trails, and swimming pool. But it is not these facilities that provide the best adventure; it is sleeping in tents underneath the stars with no cellphones, TV or internet. What we did was to build a fire and share stories. That, and following the stream to visit all the cascades and waterfalls along the way.
For the eco-tourists, Mapawa is a prime destination. The protected land is filled with various species of flora and fauna, and the forest extends up to the hinterlands of Bukidnon. There is a token mini-zoo with friendly monkeys and hostile birds.
Well, Mapawa doesn’t offer anything special except its beautiful setting and nature adventures. You have to cook your own food and bring your own provisions. As the canteen only serves softdrinks and few items of junk food (a travesty of justice).
But despite these limitations, we left Mapawa with high spirits – we were able to bond as a family, and bond with nature at its best form.