Cogon Eco Park

Climbing up Mindanao’s tallest treehouse

The tree house as seen from below

The tree house as seen from below

The wire frame vibrated and swayed in sync with the tree as we were nearing the end of the spiral staircase to the tree house. It seemed scary at first but just a few minutes after starting the ascent, we eventually got used to it, in our attempt at climbing up Mindanao’s tallest tree house.

The area of Cogon Eco Park Complex, encompassing 344 hectares was the result of reforestation efforts in the 1950s. Today, it’s an ecotourism attraction that is in its early stages of development as one of Dipolog City’s tourism attractions.

Located 22 kilometers from the city proper, its greenery, tall trees and established trails provide a welcome respite from the concrete jungle. It’s refreshing for the eyes and soul and traveling from Dipolog City to this green enclave takes one to scenic vistas along the road.

The tree house is around 200 meters from the main entrance and the hike is just short over rolling terrain with no steep ascents or descents. The trail is well established and there are cement slabs. Along the way, you can observe spiny and creeping rattan, different kinds of insects and learn about tree names.

Once you do get at the base of the tree house, its 110 steps up. It can be tiring and the slight movement of the tree as it sways can be unnerving at first but you’ll get the hang of it. There is a landing midway where one can rest for a while. Good thing about this construction? The structure including the staircase doesn’t hurt the tree in any way. Even the staircase was built around the tree and its branches!

The height of the tree house is comparable to a 7 storey building. Up there, you’re at the level of the canopy, a very interesting scenery as its quite rare to see closely the tree tops. Other than the view, if it was a windy day, I’m sure it would be a very rewarding experience. Other attractions include an aviary that showcases interesting Philippine bird species, an enclosed butterly ‘sanctuary’ that is being developed and a 5 km hiking trail.

Guests can also request for a Subanen tribal dance performance (donations are most welcome) which gives the visitor a glimpse of the original indigenous inhabitants of the Zamboanga Peninsula. I just hope that other than the dance, interactions should be included as well.

Do check this nature attraction out.

Trees, trees and trees bisected by a rough road.

Trees, trees and trees bisected by a rough road.

Wide trails with cement slabs inside the Cogon Eco Park

Wide trails with cement slabs inside the Cogon Eco Park

The approximately 120ft tall tree house, equivalent to a 7 storey building is up there at level with the trees

The approximately 120ft tall tree house, equivalent to a 7 storey building is up there at level with the trees

View from above with the spiral staircase of the tree house

View from above with the spiral staircase of the tree house. Note how the frame of the stairs is constructed around the tree.

View of the forest at the first level of the treehouse

View of the forest at the first level of the treehouse

Atop the 120 ft treehouse with a great view of the canopy

Atop the 120 ft treehouse with a great view of the canopy

Subanen tribes people performing a traditional dance for visitors

Subanen tribes people performing a traditional dance for visitors

My thanx to Elle Carrasco of DOT Region 9 and Frelit and Ainna from Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Tourism for the invite.

GETTING THERE: From the Dipolog City Integrated terminal, take either an Easyrider jeep going to Cogon or a Rural bus bound for Pagadian via Osmena. Alight at Cogon Eco Park which is just beside the highway and emblazoned with large cement letters.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

3 Comments

  1. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    September 8, 2014 @ 7:54

    Climbing up Mindanao’s tallest treehouse: The tree house as seen from below
    The wire frame vibrated and swayed… http://t.co/huE4QltTxp

  2. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    September 10, 2014 @ 9:38

    Climbing up #Mindanao’s tallest #treehouse http://t.co/uHbmtkduBK http://t.co/mD0p69oiiS

  3. Estan, Ang Langyaw (@LangyawMedia)
    September 10, 2014 @ 10:50

    Climbing up #Mindanao’s tallest #treehouse http://t.co/TMGkUV3Oh5 http://t.co/ngcQudi5SA

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