Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Things that Make me Happy and Oh so Gay!

It's been raining the whole day. 

I am sick (cough and running nose) but there are still many unfinished business. 

To perk up my day, 

I scanned my Imahe (images) folder and pick out pictures that always lift my spirit. 

Old architecture 
Cool poem on a staircase
Young Artists and Writers.  
Letters and Flowers. <3 nbsp="nbsp">
Smiley pasta
new mantra 
nephew and niece
Double Rainbows! 
Dresses and weddings.
And an excuse to be silly at the church.
Beach boys!
Old trees with memories
Colorful locally-woven textiles 

Happy pills!

So what makes you happy today? :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

CARAGA Adventures ITINERARY (5 days)


4:00am                 -            Departure from Davao City
8:00                      -            Breakfast at San Francisco
9:00                     -            Travel to HInatuan
11:00                   -            Arrival in HInatuan via Barobo and Tagbina
11:30                  -             Arrival in Barangay Cambatong (14 kilometers from municipal proper)
   Entrance fee    -              20.00/head
  Cottage            -              100.00
Life jacket (for those who do not know how to swim)     -     100.00
o  Enchanted River is 26meters deep (just in case you don’t know).
o  No swimming at 12:00noon since its feeding time for the fishes.
o  From the head spring, the river flows 600 meters into the coastline of Hinatuan Bay, which is facing the Pacific Ocean.
o  During high tide, sea water flows back into the river and makes the water brackish.

12:00                     -              Lunch across Enchanted River
                         (Food range from 50 to 100 per servings and no pork or beef being served only seafoods)

For reservations, packages and updated rates, you can check the Enchanted River Management Office at Mobile number: +63920 - 259 - 5554 or the Municipal tourism officer : +63919 - 460 - 0855

1:00                        -              Continuation of swimming
                                            Also a wooden foot bridge also leads to the docking area for motorized bancas, which ferry  tourists to the nearby island and beach resort for P150 an hour.

4:00                        -              Pack-up and travel to Bislig City

6:00                        -              Arrival in Bislig City
                                                Lodging at Paper Country Inn
                                                Room Rates below:
                                                                                                suite                      P1,750
                                                                                                deluxe                   P1,100
                                                                                                Standard              P  900
                                                                                                Economy             P  600

End of Day 1


7:00                        -              Breakfast at Ocean View Park and International Doll House
                                                Barangay Cumawas

8:00                        -              Travel to Barangay Borboanan

8:30                        -              Arrival in Tinuy-an Falls

                                                                Entrance Fee                     -              50.00/head
                                                                Cottage                             -              300.00
                                                                Raft (to get close to the falls)      -     150.00
·      It has a 3 tiered falls with a total height of 55 meters and a bathing width area of 95 meters
·      It has 3 islets at the swimming ground, cool atmosphere with presence of dipterocarp trees, ferns, orchids, and vine along bank of river.
·      multi layered riverbed of stones skillfully crafted by nature.
·      And formation of rainbow rays from 9 am to 11 am.

You can set your reservation to the Tinuy-an Management Office through their reception officer Mr. Edwin Roble at +63929 - 858 - 6387 or to the Manager Mr. Mario Barola at +63939 - 939 - 9441.

12:00                     -              Lunch at Tinuy-an
1:00                        -              Climb to the upper cascades (Layer 2 and 3)

4:00                        -              Pack up and Travel to San Agustin, Surigao del Sur in MacArthur’s Place

6:00                        -              Dinner at La Entrada Resort

For reservation and Island tour package booking, you can contact La Entrada at +6309499719630 or 09218078974 or the Tandag tourism officer: +639196593160. 

End of Day 2

Day 3

6:00                        -              Breakfast
7:00                        -              Britannia Islets tour

                                                                Boat Fee       -              1,500 (good for 15 persons)

·      Britania Islets can be found scattered in Lianga Bay in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur
·      There are 24 coral islets that look like floating topiaries

12:00                     -              Lunch in one of the islets

2:00                        -              Back to San Agustin and travel to Claver

4:00                        -              Arrival in Claver
                                -              Boat transfer to Bucas Grande Island, Socorro, Surigao del Norte
5:00                        -              Arrival in Bucas Grande
                                -              Lodging at Balanghay Hotel
                                                                                600.00/ room good for 3persons

6:00                        -              Dinner

Day 4

6:00                        -              Breakfast at the Hotel
7:00                        -              Swimming with the jelly Fish
                                                Sohoton Cove
                                                Bolitas Cave
12:00                     -              Lunch (Baon)
1:00                        -              Magkahuyog Falls
                                                Crystal Cave
                                                Hagukan Cave
                                                Tiktikan lake
5:00                        -              Back to hotel
6:00                        -              Dinner at the Beach

Day 5

6:00am                 -              Breakfast
7:00                        -              Travel back to Claver
8:00                        -              Travel to San Frans, Agusan del Sur
11:00                     -              Early lunch
12:00                     -              Travel to Bunawan, Agusan del Sur
2:00                        -              Visit to Lolong
3:00                        -              Travel back to Davao
                                              Home -- Sweet- Home 

Itinerary prepared by Kuya Jorge Golle. Visit his website:

Unto the next adventure. Always remember, WANDER AND WONDER! ♥☺ 



Lolong sleeping. I feel sorry for him.
 I'm singing for him, ♪ No more lonely nights ..

Meet the biggest and longest saltwater crocodile in the world Lolong of Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. Lolong is named after the famous veteran crocodile hunter/ catcher, Ernesto "Lolong" Goloran Cañete from the Palawan Crocodile and Wildlife Reservation Center.
However, several days before the crocodile was captured, Cañete's died due to heart attack.

Australian zoologist and crocodile expert Dr. Adam Britton visited and examined Lolong and after six months, Lolong was officially certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s biggest crocodile in captivity” measuring 21-foot (6.4-meter). 

"Rescued"? In one of the videos presented, Lolong was said to be "nuisance" crocodile.
Rescued or exploited? Howell. these are some things to be problematized.  

Watch how LoLong was captured:

There’s a controversy right now since national DENR wanted to transfer Lolong to Quezon City. Of course local government officials and residents are fighting back. Lolong is a tourist come-on and also an inspiration for small entrepreneurs who made this Lolong Bread!  

Astonished Fr. DJ, our Ethnography professor and happy students waiting to devour  the sexy Lolong bread.
Thank you Ate Carol for the pasalubong, for always feeding our hungry tummys. :D

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

THE CARAGA ADVENTURES 6: Bucas Grande Island, Socorro, Surigao del Norte

After a very depressing sight, we look forward to experience something positive. Funny is, we were already at the boat that will take us to the neighboring island of Socorro. It was already 4PM, we're waiting at Hayanggabon Port but the captain of the pump boat was not yet around. We were told by his assistant that he was at the cockpit because it’s fiesta at Claver. So what to do? We asked for his mobile number and called him on my phone! (Hello Kapitan? Asa naman ka? Lampas na alas-kwatro. Ali na.)  Winner! That was just so epic! 

When you have these strong women as passengers, don't delay and better behave. :)

And what happened next is another memorable moment for all of us! The bayod (waves) are getting high! The elders were already holding on tight to their seats while we were yelling, laughing. Only to be reprimanded.”Ayaw mo sige kiat ba,” Ate Gie said.

Happy because we survived the ordeal.
Behaved and thankful to get away from the heartbreaking scene of Claver, we watch the boat ride with the waves. We are crossing part of the Pacific Ocean already and I’m excited for the next day’s activity.  The waves got on some of us. Frightened on the possibility of being stranded on the island, some wanted to end the trip early and go home. This entailed a long and emotional discussion. Thank God, we survived the night with a lengthy discussion on conflicting desires and fears.

Early morning preparation for the tour. Spend the night at Balanghai, Hotel just near the  port. 

alin-alin ang naiba? (:
The bosses with the Muse? tenee

Start the day with smiles. 

Early the next day, we eat an early breakfast and met our tour guide.  Off to greater adventure this time! The fishers from the main center accepted us and gave us an orientation. 

Welcome to the Sohoton Cove National  Park! Welcome to paradise!  :-) 

Groups will be divided into 4 and we will be touring Sohoton Cove and Hagukan Cave. 
The indefatigable team! 
Another set of tourists entering the Cove. 
The fisher-guides of Bucas Grande are very knowledgeable of the time of low tide and high tide here. 

Mirror Image. The peaceful cove. 

Horseshoe - The Landmark

The landmark that serves as a guide for the locals in identifying the cove amongst the other many islets/ cliffs is the Horsetail or horseshoe. It’s a rock with an oversized “stalactite” that barely touches the water.

Leaving the Cove. It feels like we're in Palawan, as my boss said.
Never been to Puerto Princesa so I cannot validate yet.

The time is very limited as in span of two hours or the high tide will flood the cover. We  will be facing more exciting thing to do! Hhhmm… 

Hagukan Cave

Entrance to Hagukan Cave

“Haguk” means to snore in Surigaonon. Our guide said that during high tide, the entrance of the Hagukan Cave will be flooded.  The entry of splashing water plus the strong winds create the sound of a snoring giant. Thus, the name.
The nymphs at the entrance
One must be careful with the sharp shells at the crevice of the entrance.  Our boat composed of the arigadas (gutsy ones) took the plunge without any second thoughts. If you’re claustrophobic (like Ate LIzzy) and a non-swimmer, tell your guides cause they will never leave you. The mothers from our group complained (jokingly) that the guides have discrimination between married and single tourists. “Ah kung minyo gani ikulob, kung dalaga gani ihayang ug di gyud bayaan! (If one’s married, they will make her face down, but if one’s single they will assist her and never leave them). Sorry. But that’s the privilege of being single. Of course, the guides will not let us go that easily! HAHA!

School of fishes.

There’s a stone you can step on at the center of the cove. And you’ll marvel at the formations. Gladly I brought a water proof camera and Kuya Nanding, our guide happily snap our pictures and even took a picture of school of fishes (going to school?! Hehe)


Magkukuob Cave

The next cave we entered is Magkukuob Cave. It’s smaller than Hagukan. Unlike Hagukan that’s too dark, this cave is more visible and the water inside is only waist-level. You will be at awe of the rock formations. The bats were busy taking a nap so were careful not to disturb them.

Once the elders realized that the water is only waist level, everyone now decided to climb down with their own bancas and joined us.

Finally, they went down! 

Then we were urged to climb into an elevated chamber of stalagmites formed as jugs which is very helpful for climbing. 

What await us is the most exciting and thrilling part. The tour guides were telling us: This trip is a mixture of swimming, spelunking and adventure. What they refer as adventure is jumping off from the 10 ft. ramp after entering the cave!

And even if I don't know how to swim, I said yes. There's no turning back. And besides, I trust our other guide who's waiting and will hurriedly give a hand and a life jacket. After all, We Only Live Once. So take the plunge! 
Look at my face! Walang ka-finesse finesse! haha!

SUCCESS! I'm still alive. 

Into the Jellyfish's Kingdom 

Another unforgettable part of this trip is meeting one of the most mysterious animal of animal kingdom. We have to change into boats (no pump boats allowed) that only need a paddle for rowing. 

Enter the magical world of the non-stingy brown jellyfish! It’s just amazing looking at them pumping their head/body, flowing with the current. Swimming inside the jellyfish cove is prohibited as chemicals from sunscreen applied by tourists caused some death of some jellyfish.  There’s a part of the entrance to the cove that tourists can swim with strayed jellyfish.

I left my camera with our colleagues and we stayed behind. Our guide and I had a very interesting conversation. He shared that they are promoting community-based tourism. The fisherfolks served as tourist guide and rowers and receive 60% from the amount payment of the tourists. The local government loaned out to them bancas which they can pay by installment. But the community faces another challenge: almost half of the island has mining application PLUS the concept of development of their provincial government is letting investors like the Koreans to “develop” the tourism industry. Investor infusion is not wrong but entry of multinationals most often than not, displaces community members.

Cinammon Island

Named after the cinammon tree which is abundant in the tree. You can stay here overnight and have the island for yourself. take a walk, meditate or have a candle light dinner (best place for couples! :D). Or taste the tea made from the bark of the cinnamon tree.

Snorkeling at Cinnamon island 
Table and brain corrals and blue starfish! :)
Yogi at Cinnamon. 
The are is managed by the community. If you want to stay here, you can contact the Strengthened Association of Volunteers for the Environment of Sohoton (SAVE Sohoton). You can contact  Roldan , the Operations Manager on his mobile #: +639488205835 . Rates of rooms are P2,500/room per night with free breakfast (for 1-5 person); additional P500/person in excess of five. 

Titktikan Lake

So peaceful and so beautiful!

Last stop is the lake surrounded/locked by mountain. You can also stay here overnight. You can contact Kuya Dodo of Sohoton Tourism Operations on his mobile number: +639399047019. Open air cottage is for  P150-200 per person. 

From freshwater to saltwater, from caves to islets, Socorro has it all! 

There are still lots of caves like the Bolitas and Crsytal Cave that we're not able to visit. But you will surely fell in love of this place. 

After a day long tour, we dropped by at the market and marveled at the colorful fishes (isda sa bato). We bought locusts and a huge fish. We just asked the eatery outside the hotel to cook the food for us. Ended the night with tired body but a very happy and nourished soul. ;) 

Happy kid! ^_^

Visit Surigao del Norte. 
Take the cave-jump challenge. 
Meet the brown jellyfish. 
Help the community-based tourism. 

Let us show the government that eco-tourism is the way to go. Not Mining! 
Let us protect these nature wonders! 


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