IMPASUGONG, Bukidnon (PIA)—The communal ranch in Impasugong town is the ideal place to go when the hustle and bustle of everyday life start to swarm. It is hidden in valleys and grassy canyons, with streams and water springs flowing through it.
Perched amidst rolling hills in Capitan Bayong village, about eight kilometers northeast of the town, the ranch has been a legendary place of quietness and peace.
This vast, 643-hectare grazing land is a haven for both animals and people. As far as the eye can see, lush green pastures stretch out in the distance, dotted with well-bred cattle and horse grazers.
The ranch features a captivating heart-shaped lake, apart from the mountain backdrop and wildflowers. It is best for tourists looking for a picture-perfect setting and for couples searching for a place to take prenuptial photos.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the ranch is a paradise. A place where we can slow down, breathe deeply, and appreciate the simple things in life.
The forests and nearby hills connected by a network of trails are ideal for trekking and hiking. You can challenge yourself and push your limits, or take a leisurely stroll and bask in the stunning views. There’s something for everyone.
The town as a whole and the local government unit both jointly own the ranch, according to Mayor Anthony Uy.
"For a fee of 500 pesos a year, Impasugong residents can benefit from various services, including free vitamins, deworming, breeding, and feeding for their cattle, as well as the privilege to have their cattle cared for in the ranch," Uy said.
As you stroll along the shore of the mirror-like lake, the towering ridges of Mt. Kulago beckon you to unwind and let go of your worries. The rustling of leaves and the chirping of birds create a harmonious and serene ambiance, attracting tourists and nature buffs.
Go horseback riding
The cowboys, or "Vaqueros," have been honing their skills for generations, passing on their expertise from father to son.
Tourists who want to try horseback riding need not worry, as the cowboys will guide them.
For a fee of 250 pesos per hour, the tourists will be taught how to hold the reins and make the horse walk, trot, or run.
Not only do they teach the tourists how to ride, but they also make sure that the tourists are safe and comfortable while riding. They would check the gears, make sure that the horse is well-fed and hydrated, and give tips on how to handle the horse in case it becomes agitated.
The cowboys take pride in their work as they share stories about the ranch and the town.
For photography enthusiasts, the ranch's sprawling hills and serene lake provide a stunning canvas to capture memories that will last a lifetime. The ranch serves as the scenery for prenuptial photos for couples looking for a unique and intimate setting.
Pictures captured at the ranch will serve as a reminder of the beauty of nature and the warmth of Filipino hospitality. They will be a testament to the couples’ affection—captured in a place that has witnessed countless love stories.
Preserving heritage in changing times
Villagers used to herd cattle across long distances. However, since it requires more time and skill, becoming a cowboy was every herder’s dream.
For several decades, the "dreamers" gradually learned to perfectly tend cattle and perform many of their duties on horseback.
The town still has preserved its cultural heritage and ethnic identity, which led Star Cinema to unveil the beauty of Impasugong.
The blockbuster film "Love Me Again," starring Angel Locsin and Piolo Pascual, was shot in the town’s vast grazing land and valleys.
Its colorful mountains, grasslands, rocky canyons, and gorges are all cinematically spectacular.
With the town’s wealth derived predominantly from cattle farms—aside from pineapple, palm oil trees, and high-value crops—rodeo shows also prospered.
The mayor said the town’s cowboys work actively on ranches, do trail riding, and handle cattle and horses.
"They also compete in rodeos to demonstrate their unique skills in a specially prepared arena. We are inspired and honored as they top in almost all rodeo events," Uy said.
The rodeo challenge
In the annual Kaamulan Festival, rodeo became the most watched sports race.
Cowboys compete in five rodeo events: breakaway roping, steer wrestling, team roping, bull riding, and calf ribbon picking.
Breakaway Roping: A roper is on horseback with one end of the rope tied to the saddle horn. When the calf is released from the chute, the roper will be in hot pursuit, with the lasso swirling in the air overhead. When the loop is thrown, it must pass completely over the calf’s head. As the calf pulls away from the rider, the rope grows taut, and the string will break away from the saddle horn. The fastest run wins.
Steer wrestling: This involves strength, speed, and precision. A cowboy on horseback, with an assistant known as a hazer, chases a steer (a neutered bull), drops from the horse to the steer, and then wrestles the steer to the ground, twisting its horns. The fastest cowboy to plunge the bull to the ground wins the race.
The Team Roping: This features a steer and two riders. The first roper is the header," who ropes the front of the steer, usually around the horns or neck. The second is the heeler," who ropes the steer by its hind feet. The fastest performer wins.
The Bull Riding: Involves a rider getting on a large bull and attempting to stay mounted while the bull bucks or jumps upward. The rider must tightly fasten one hand to the bull with a long braided rope. A rider who stays longer atop the bucking bull wins.
The Calf Ribbon Picking: This is also a timed event where a horse-mounted ‘muse’ (cowgirl) ropes or lassos a calf, leaps from her horse, and picks the ribbons decorated in the calf’s body parts. The fastest performer is proclaimed ‘Rodeo Queen’.
In harmony with nature
Impasugong is a Higaonon term that means "current that flows upstream."
With numerous waterfalls and springs wholly ideal for bathing and swimming, it has cool temperatures all year long. Its surrounding lush forests and cool blue waters allow you to chill out and relax.
There are countless reasons why Higaonons in Impasugong love nature. Find time to come and visit us here. Before you know it, you will be adding other reasons why this town should naturally be as it is—the home of the country’s finest cowboys. (RLRB/PIA-10/Bukidnon)