Things to do at Kawa-Kawa Hill in Ligao City
Ever heard of a hill without a top? How about a hill with a crater? Some of you who have not must be curious now? Alright then, I’ll tell you more interesting things about this place. This hill is located at Barangay Tuburan, Ligao City of Albay province in the Philippines. The locals call the hill “Kawa-kawa”. “Kawa” means cauldron. It is also known as a hill without a top because from a distance it looks like as if the top is flat. Imagine a bowl turned upside down. But then again, it is a hill with a crater because if you manage to go up to the top you will see that the hill hides a beautiful six-hectare crater covered with a luscious green grass and landscape.
Before Kawa-Kawa Hill was developed into what it is now, the hill was previously used by local farmers growing and harvesting corns and coconut. The hill has been frequently visited by locals for jogging, trekking and picnics although there was no proper road or path yet until the development on 2008 started.
From the year 2008 up to the present year 2017 a lot has been developed on the hill. One has not to feel any boredom when going up to Kawa-kawa because there are a lot of things for you to spend your time with when you are there. Kawa-kawa Hill is good for any individual be it spiritual, mental and physical. I have listed few things about Kawa-kawa Hill to give you some ideas before you tour around. Number thirteen is my favorite. It even became an inspiration for the birth of now popular festival in the city of Ligao. Read on.
- Free Admission. That’s right! No matter if you are a local or from other towns, Filipino or not, it is absolutely no entrance fee. Too good to be true? But it really is. It is open for the public so people can learn to embrace the environment and nature.
- Nurture Your Soul. This is not just an ordinary hill. When you arrive at the road leading to the path up the hill, you will see a religious building being built halfway the hill. That will be the “Divine Mercy Shrine and Carmelite Monastery”. It is being built gradually through donations and ran by nuns from the Carmelite of the Holy Trinity, Diocese of Legazpi. “Footprints in the Shrine” would let you leave your footprints as your legacy so you can help build the shrine and statue of the Divine Mercy. You can also light colored candles.
- Closer to Nature. The hill is covered with plants and trees. Mostly Pili trees. Starting from the foot of Kawa-kawa you would see Pili trees lined-up at the sidewalks all the way to the top. Not only this introduces pili background to locals and tourist but also provides shades when you go up to the Hill any time of the day. You will see flowers like kalachuchi (Plumeria acuminata), gumamela (hibiscus) and sunflowers blooming everywhere. The crater or lowest section of the hill is an open space though. It is covered with grass and some plants. This is where various events and activities are held like Jamboree, training and zumba.
- Great Excercise. Since it is a hill, you should expect that it is steep. Therefore, before you go up it would be advisable to wear comfortable footwear, clothes and do some warm-up. Everyday Kawa-kawa is visited by people from Ligao City and nearby towns to have a jog or merely a morning walk.
- Life-size Statues of Stations of the Cross. Starting from the “Divine Mercy Shrine and Carmelite Monastery” you’ll pass life-size statues of the Station of the Cross. They’ve used the New Way of the Cross, which is the third version. The first station is the “Last Supper” and the fourteenth station is that “Jesus Rises from Death.” During Lenten Season, Christmas and Three Kings locals and especially devotees from other places come to Kawa-kawa Hill to perform some religious rites.
- Picnics. Although there are restaurants, café, and convenient store near Kawa-kawa you can definitely bring your own food for a picnic up. Cottages are free or you can also bring a picnic blanket and find a perfect place to set-up. Along the way going up, you’d pass some vendors that sells chips and drinks. Once you settled yourselves in a cottage, on a picnic blanket or you just felt sitting on the grass, indulge and reward yourselves with the foods you have brought. You can also buy some foods like lumpia(spring roll), chicharron (Crispy Pork Rind), ice drops and many more from local vendors that come around to sell their products. Practice CLAY GO (Clean as you go). You got in for free so it just right to not leave any litters around as respect to people who worked hard to maintain its cleanliness.
- Restaurant. If you did not bother to bring your snacks or picnic foods or choose not to buy any, you can also opt to drop by a popular restaurant on the way back. The restaurants’ names are La Terraza Restaurant and Kainan Sa Gulod, they are open every day. They serve different local cuisines. It has become so popular for occasion like wedding, birthdays and simple events. But they accept walk-in customers without prior booking.
- ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle). You’ll find them in the crater of the Hill. You can pay for a ride for a few minutes experience.
- The Breeze. When you reach the top after you took a 10-15 minutes hike from the foot of the Hill, you would love the breeze that blows from all direction. Depending on the weather, the breeze may be cold or a little warmer. However, it will always give you a fresh feeling after you got all sweaty of the hike.
- Wild animals. Check out the captive or rescued animals like deers at the crater of the hill and eagles at the top of the hill. Although these animals live inside a cage, the cages are tall and wide and the animals are well- looked after.
- The View. Enjoy the panoramic view of Ligao, Oas, Polangui and Buhi from the top. From morning until afternoon you’ll see the view of the towns if you will stand at the top western part of the hill. In the evening, you can just sit at the same spot and gaze at the city lights until 8 pm.
Souvenirs. For visitors who want to take home to family and friends some souvenirs or memento, the The Carmelite Monastery has its own souvenir shop and few vendors are also selling souvenirs along the way. You can buy different items for a reasonable price.
- Sunflowers. Every summer, Ligao City grows sunflower all over the town. You will see sunflowers widely-spread on Kawa-kawa Hill. For this, Ligao City has been celebrating Sunflower Festival, too. At this writing, the flowers have just started to bloom. Just a few more days and they will blossom into these big yellow glorious flowers whose sight would give you a sheer feeling excitement and joy.
It is Lenten Season. Perfect time to visit Kawa-Kawa Hill.