It’s hard to describe what the Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village really is. It’s a botanical garden. It’s a resort. It’s a mini Nayong Mindanao. It’s a mountain park and picnic area. Whatever it is, the Gardens of Malasag is a major tourist attraction of Cagayan de Oro City, nestled on 7.2 hectares of the Malasag Reforestation Area within the Cugman Watershed.
The idea for the Gardens of Malasag was conceived in 1991 and was inspired by the gardens of Granada in Spain and the Butchart Gardens1 near Victoria, British Columbia. The Gardens was finally inaugurated by Pres. Ramos on August 13, 1997 and is a project of the Department of Tourism supported by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Cagayan de Oro City, the province of Misamis Oriental and the Office of Southern Cultural Communities. Today, the Gardens is operated by the Philippine Tourism Authority (who also co-administer the island of Boracay). See their official website of the Gardens containing a description, amenities, rates, and pictures.
As a botanical garden, Malasag contains an orchidarium, a calachuchi garden, a gumamela garden, and a plant nursery, among others. The Gardens also provide fauna attractions in the form of a butterfly garden, aviary and a wildlife rescue center, and a deer habitat.
If you’re interested to learn more about the Lumad, or the indigenous peoples of Mindanao, the Gardens provide a tribal village where you can see tribespeople demonstrate their dancing and musical culture and where you can purchase some of their weaving. Among the tribes represented are the Talaanding, the Subanen, the Manobo, and the Higaonon. The Gardens also house a tribal museum.
Photo by girlfromdipolog. (Used with permission.)
As a resort, there are plenty of cottages and villas in the Gardens for you to stay overnight. There’s a swimming pool, camping grounds, and picnic areas within the property. Moreover, you can walk around the gardens and get to see spectacular views of Cagayan de Oro and the Macajalar Bay beyond.
1 Incidentally, I’ve been to the Butchart Gardens when I went on a family vacation to Vancouver eight years ago. That garden is very beautiful and I haven’t seen anything like it in the Philippines. Since I haven’t been to Malasag, I can’t tell if it’s comparable.