Valencia City: Everything You Need To Know

Hey, adventurers! Ever found yourself daydreaming about a place that packs the charm of a tranquil paradise with the thrill of an adventure hub? Bet your boots, you’re thinking about Valencia City in Bukidnon, Philippines. Imagine this: a city tucked in the heart of Mindanao, where the air is as fresh as newly picked Saluyot leaves.

Think I’m exaggerating? Well, brace yourselves, because this isn’t just any city. It’s a place where the mountains whisper tales of yore and the rivers sing songs of the indigenous groups. Valencia City is the kind of place where farm-to-table isn’t just a trend, but a way of life, and where life moves at the pace you choose, not the pace that chooses you. Now, doesn’t that sound like a place you’d want to ditch your 9-5 for?

Also, a quick question, adventurers. Ever experienced the thrill of biting into a fresh pineapple straight from the farm? If not, then Valencia City is just the place for you.

Pulangi River traversing Valencia City, Bukidnon.
By arcibald – originally posted to Flickr as pulangi river in valencia, CC BY 2.0

A Tapestry of Traditions

Valencia City is a melting pot of diverse cultures, blending the indigenous traditions of various groups with modern influences. The city celebrates vibrant festivals, such as the Kaamulan Festival, where locals showcase their ethnic dances, rituals, and indigenous crafts. Immerse yourself in the captivating rhythm of traditional music and witness the colorful costumes that reflect the city’s rich cultural tapestry. From the Bukidnon, Manobo, and Higaonon groups to the Christian settlers, Valencia City proudly embraces its multicultural heritage.

Food Cuisine in Valencia City

Firstly, we begin with the city’s most popular dish, Lechon. This dish, a whole roasted pig, embodies the celebratory spirit of Valencia. The pig, stuffed with aromatic herbs and spices, cooks over an open fire for several hours, resulting in tender, flavorful meat, and crispy skin. Locals often serve Lechon during festivals and special occasions, making every bite a celebration in itself.

Moving on, we find ourselves drawn towards Kinilaw, a Filipino version of ceviche. Fresh seafood, typically tuna, marinated in vinegar, calamansi juice, and chili peppers, creates a dish that is tangy, spicy, and refreshing. Valencia’s proximity to the sea ensures that the seafood used in Kinilaw is always fresh, enhancing the overall taste of this delightful dish.

Next, a visit to Valencia would be incomplete without trying the locally grown pineapples. These pineapples, known for their sweetness, are a staple in many Filipino desserts. One such dish is Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, which features a caramelized layer of pineapple slices and cherries on top of a moist, buttery cake. The sweetness of the pineapple perfectly balances the rich flavor of the cake, creating a dessert that is as delicious as it is beautiful.

Moreover, Valencia City also excels in street food. From grilled chicken intestines known as Isaw, to sweet, sticky rice treats like Bibingka and Puto, the city’s street food scene is vibrant and diverse. These snacks provide a quick, affordable way to experience the local cuisine and culture.

Lastly, don’t forget to try Sikwate, a traditional Filipino hot chocolate drink. Made from pure, locally sourced cacao and sweetened with muscovado sugar, Sikwate is a comforting beverage, perfect for the city’s cooler climate.

Tourist Spots in Valencia City

Start your journey at the Lake Apo. Situated in Barangay Guinoyoran, the lake boasts a serene ambiance, perfect for a relaxing getaway. You can rent a floating cottage, go swimming, or simply enjoy the picturesque view. Furthermore, the lake’s tranquil water, surrounded by lush hills, makes it an ideal place for nature lovers.

Following the peaceful time at Lake Apo, you might want to experience the thrill at Dahilayan Adventure Park. Located in Barangay Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, this action-packed park is less than an hour’s drive from Valencia City. It’s home to Asia’s longest dual zipline, offering an adrenaline-pumping ride over the park’s lush landscapes. Apart from the exhilarating zipline, the park also provides other activities such as ATV rides, horseback riding, and a ropes course.

Next, immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of Bukidnon at the Monastery of Transfiguration. This pyramid-shaped church, designed by the national artist for architecture, Leandro Locsin, is not only a spiritual retreat but also a fascinating architectural landmark. In addition to attending the mass, you may also want to explore the monastery’s coffee plantation and savor a cup of their home-grown brew.

Finally, wrap up your tour at the Rizal Park in Poblacion. This park, named after the national hero Jose Rizal, serves as a center for various city events. It’s marked by a tall monument of Rizal, surrounded by ornamental plants and benches. At night, the park comes alive with vibrant lights, making it a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the local atmosphere.

Festivals and Events in Valencia City

Starting the year off with a bang is the Annual City Charter Day. Held every January 12, this event commemorates the day Valencia became a city. It features a variety of activities including parades, street dancing, and public concerts. Naturally, it’s an event where locals display their talents and community spirit.

Transitioning into the second quarter of the year, we come across the Panlalawigan Festival. This event usually takes place in March and celebrates the founding anniversary of the province of Bukidnon. Valencia City, being one of the major cities in Bukidnon, plays an integral role in this festival. The event is marked by indigenous games, agri-trade fairs, and a colorful float parade showcasing the rich culture and heritage of the province.

As we move into the third quarter, we see the celebration of the Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival. Even though this event is primarily held in Davao City, Valencia City also joins in the festivities every August. This festival is a week-long celebration of thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest, featuring street parades filled with indigenous music, dance, and colorful tribal costumes.

Approaching the end of the year, Valencia City celebrates the Kaliwaan Festival in December. This event is a vibrant celebration of tribal rituals and traditions. It features various activities such as tribal sports competitions, horse fights, and cultural performances. The festival also includes a grand parade showcasing the seven ethnic tribal groups of Bukidnon.

Activities: A Plethora of Experiences

Valencia City offers a wide array of activities that cater to various interests. Nature enthusiasts can embark on exhilarating hikes through the towering Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park, home to diverse flora and fauna, including the endangered Philippine Eagle. Explore the enchanting Pulangi River, which winds its way through the city, and indulge in thrilling water sports such as kayaking and white-water rafting.

For cultural immersion, visit the iconic San Agustin Parish Church, an architectural marvel that showcases Spanish colonial influences. Delve into the past at the Museo de Valencia, where artifacts and exhibits offer insights into the city’s history. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the local delicacies, such as the famous binaki (sticky rice cakes) and lechon (roasted pig), which are sure to tantalize your taste buds.

How to Get There: Your Gateway to Valencia City

Reaching Valencia City is a convenient and straightforward journey. If you are traveling from Manila, you can take a domestic flight to Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro City. From there, you can hop on a bus or hire a private vehicle to reach Valencia City, which is approximately a two-hour drive away. Alternatively, if you are already in Mindanao, you can take a bus from major cities like Davao or Cagayan de Oro directly to Valencia City.

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And there you have it, adventurers. Valencia City, that hidden gem in the heartland of Mindanao. It’s more than just a city. It’s a testament to the Philippines’ raw, unfiltered beauty, where the old intermingles with the new, and every corner has a story to tell.

So what’s the hold-up, adventurers? Are you ready to trade the city smog for mountain fog? To swap the sound of honking cars for the soft rustle of the wind through the canopies? To give up boxed lunches for freshly harvested produce? If you’re nodding your head, then it’s time to pack those bags and set your compass towards Valencia City, Bukidnon.

Here’s my final question to you, adventurers. Are you ready to uncover the secrets of Valencia City, create your own stories, and leave a little piece of your heart in this charming city? If the answer’s yes, then what are you waiting for? Valencia City is waiting to welcome you into its embrace. Happy adventuring!

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