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.
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.