Find us on Google+ Love Mindanao: 2012

Christmas on the Road

Me and my friend Janz from Baguio City
It has been a tradition among the Filipinos to give the highest preparation in every home when Christmas day comes. I grew up celebrating the holidays with my family back in Cavite with my brothers and sisters and always excited to receive gifts from our relatives and godparents.

I never knew  time have outgrown this excitement of celebrating the Christmas Holidays with a very unclear reason.

I could still remember few years back when  I failed to push through with my mother’s invitation for the Noche Buena and decided instead to mingle with the kids and common “dwellers” of Luneta Park. I even shared the night with them by taking a temporary refuge under the old Department of Finance Building. The beggars gave me the most comfortable cardboards available to sleep on. That was the coldest Christmas night I ever had but I received the warmest welcome from the unexpected people in my life.

Photo Walk: Shadows of the Past, Fort Santiago, Intramuros

We Filipinos should all pay respect to the past as nothing would be what we have right  now if  not for our ancestors' valiant hearts and remarkable feats embedded in  the history of the Philippines, molding and securing  the  future of the the present generation.

The Philippines is rich with significant events in different places and are worth telling to the heirs of this promised land . Intramuros in particular also known as  the Walled City of the East , is a repository of rich culture and a melting pot of traditions between the Filipinos and the Spaniards.

This place was once a home to me when I had a short stint working for the Pasig Dredging Project located near the Baseco Compound. And of course I made a little knowledge sharing with the curious students of the Lyceum of the Philippines –University located inside the wall of the old city that lasted for  a year.

One Fruitful Day in Bunga Waterfalls, San Pablo City

Part 2 of Laguna Trip with Team BANGAG.

After the head breaking, all night drinking session at Lake Yambo, we woke up with a little hangover that retarded our target itinerary. We had a little breakfast from the left over and some cooked okra and corned beef. We immediately clean the vicinity and segregated our garbage for proper disposal and packed our things back to our bags.

Before leaving we met the care taker of the compound and gave him some little cash for allowing us to stay at the cottage. In return, the caretaker allowed us to pick ripe rambutan fruits which were seasoned during that time in Laguna. There were dozens of rambutan trees and we can’t seemed help to choose which tree to pick on.

Boys' Night Out at Yambo Lake | The Hang Over Philippine Version

Every quarter of the year, I enjoy a free seven days vacation from my current work and I usually spend it off the island of Mindanao to explore more of the other beautiful places in the Philippines and get connected again with friends I have missed for so long.

With my recent adventure in Luzon, I got acquainted again with my Ivatan friend Kurt, whom is currently residing in Cavite. Excited with our little get together with newly found friends, Marvin, Vejel and Strong (Emil), we decided to come up with a simple retreat at Lake Yambo, one of the seven crater lakes of San Pablo, Laguna that resulted into one of those trips that had gone out of control.

The San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral: A Brief Historical Glimpse of Tandag as a Parish

Every place has its beginning and story to tell. The Philippines, as one of the colonies of  Spain for three hundred and thirty three years surely have been influenced by the culture and traditions of the Spaniards with emphasis on religion.As many have said, the Filipinos were conquered not only on its land ,also with their religious beliefs.

Spaniards swept the majority of the indigenous people to convert to Christianity and one of the results was the  creation of churches and cathedrals in the entire archipelago. Mindanao was not spared from this as missionaries were sent to the most isolated communities. I can consider these missionaries as the true travelers and explorers of their time as they revealed hidden communities and somehow injected a viral component, baptizing most of them, which changed their lives forever.

Balangay Boat Building Site in Butuan City

Masawa Hong Butuan

Aside from the historical discovery site of the relics of the ancient  Balangay in Butuan City, it is also a must to  visit  the Building Site of the Balangay in Luna , a boat replica which commemorates the legacy of our sea voyager ancestors that ruled  the sea in prehistoric times.

Morning Sky

Dear readers: sometimes, too much emotions like fear, gladness and joy come to me in places I visit. Too much emotions wish to explode and  wanting to be unleashed but nowhere to go. So I just jot down the words that popped into my head at the back of  a match box, a tissue paper or a piece of wooden board. Believing these are the words of my heart, crying out loud, requesting to be voiced out into  little phrases, reflecting the truth about my identity and everything that is hidden in me.

My morning sky  keeps me shine,
Brings me hope and life to bind
Discovering ways to bliss my sight.
Casting away my fears, hope so bright

Morning sky showed me life,
My morning sky, should I fly?
And soar high to another pristine paradise
Back to my colorful dreams under the bright shining star

I shall never weep again on my lost battle cry
It's destiny  see you again in the next adventurous life
 and we’ll find true Love that will never die
And together, we shall sing again my sweet morning sky.

Consuelo, Cantilan: A Humble Life

Beach of Kabito-onan, Consuelo,Cantilan

Surigao del Sur simply amazes me with lots of hidden jewels worth finding. Who would have thought that the province is a sanctuary of town that is  genuinely oozing with beautiful destinations with dozens of activities to refresh you from the busy thoughts of the city?

One in particular is the place known as Consuelo, one of the humble barangays of Cantilan . Community seats silently  facing the vast Pacific Ocean with dozens of pristine islands and islets that are accentuated with white coral sand beaches and lush vegetations.

Typhoon Pablo ( Bopha), A Glimpse of Impact in Mindanao

"Let’s stand together, let’s help one another."

Eastern Mindanao has been silent from many natural calamities for so long now and it was a surprise among the locals of Mindanao when Super Typhoon Pablo (Typhoon Bopha) hit and almost wipe out the silent agricultural provinces of Compostela and Davao Oriental  from the  Philippine map .

Two days before the actual downfall of the typhoon, it was forecasted by the PAGASA that it is directed to hit Surigao del Sur and we were all alarmed as the province has never been hit by any typhoon since 1984. People were all panicking knowing that the place is prone to landslides and flashfloods.

Baling , A Community Fishing Method | The Life in the Countryside of Cantilan, Surigao del Sur

A group of men laying down the nets not far from the shore
Eating sea foods  is  one of the best things I love do just a bit closer to traveling . But I have to pay respect to the people responsible for making these marine resources available to public consumption. And this is when the unsung heroes of our society comes in , the dedicated fishermen that mostly at the bottom of the chain being bypassed by the services from the government.

There are many established ways of harvesting the God given marine resources but most of them are  destructive in nature.  One for example is the destructive bottom trawling used by the giant  corporations,  Muro-ami, cyanide fishing , coral fishing and so many on the line.

It is not until I made a short visit to the town of Cantilan where I witnessed another sustainable means of fishing.  Upon waking up very early in the coastal bay of Baybay, Cantilan, I accidentally witnessed the communal fishing method in Cantilan  known as Baling, a community activity that involves  men and women of the nearby  barangay using huge nets set into the water to catch marine fishes. 

Super Typhoon Pablo: The Aftermath in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur

The weather was calm like this when I left Cantilan back to San Miguel Surigao del Sur
The Super Typhoon Pablo was supposedly to hit directly the province of Surigao del Sur last Dec 3 as projected by the PAGASA but it was a blessing for us that our poor and  geo hazard land  was spared from total devastation. We were all anticipating worst cases and preparing ourselves to evacuate if the situation gets uglier. The Municipality of San Miguel has a bowl shaped topography serving as a catch basin of rivers and springs on the enclosed wide valley.With an overnight heavy rain pour, the land gets flooded as what we  are experiencing every December to January.

Butuan City | Cheap and Affordable Hotels, Inns, Places to Stay

Where Do I Usually Spend the Night in Butuan?

In my travel, I usually bumped with unexpected delays and changes of trip schedules and usually ended up in looking for places to spend the night.

Butuan City is my most visited city in Mindanao as this place serves as a gateway to my destinations in Northern Mindanao and to Visayas and Luzon.

Here are the list of some of the hotels and inns I have tried in the Timber City: (Prices are based on personal and actual availed value  during check in 2011-2012)

Mindanao Meets Vigan:Hidden Garden of Ilocos Sur

Have I mentioned before that I am an avid fan of plants particularly endemic and exotic or anything that is extraordinary? This would sum up to my interest  on  gardens that cater beautiful plants of different kinds.

During my visit to Vigan , Ilocos Sur, during my free vacation from work, I bumped to a place  that  would suffice my longing to see a beautiful garden with vast collection of my favorite species and varieties of  Aroids.

Surfing at Cantilan: Revelation of My Tarnished Surfing Skill

The Boad Destroyer of Cantilan ( Photo credit : Cathe Duero)
I LOVE SURFING!  This water sport and recreational activity was first introduced to me in Dahican Beach, during my Mati Series Escapade in Davao Oriental. Surfing is very hard at first but as time goes by, the fear and hesitation were  replaced with values of patience and determination.

Then this was followed by the great surfing adventure in Siargao together with fellow travel blogger Mervin of  Pinoy Adventurista. That was the very first time I faced the gigantic waves of Siargao and I was very  hesitant back then to try wondering if I could make it even on the foot of the waves after seeing the raging 10-15 feet board destroyer (off season). But eventually I was able to overcome my fear and had fun using the long board hitting the waves over and over again.

Islamic City of Marawi: Love at First Glance

Part of the Autonomous Region of the Muslim Mindanao ARMM, Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, must be one of the least favorite destinations to visit among travel enthusiasts. There had been reports from the media regarding the political chaos in the city and this negative public image had been shrouding visitors to discover the loving nature of the city.

Marawi City, the capital city of Lanao del Sur, was known as Dansalan until 1940 when Lanao was still undivided to Norte and Sur. The name Marawi came from the second largest lake of the Philippines, Lanao Lake which is also called Ranao and the locals are called Maranao.  The city was then renamed to “Islamic City of Marawi” as Muslim brothers predominantly occupied the land by almost 90% of its population.

Kaputian Beach, Samal Island

The Island Garden City of Samal or IGACOS is an offshore island of Davao del Norte and has been a popular destination among travelers due to its successful advertisement of pristine  environment. The place is a sensation among local and foreign travelers who wish to visit Davao.

8th Philippine Bird Festival-Manila Bay


The 8th Philippine Bird Festival, the country's largest celebration of avifaunal diversity and bird lore awareness, takes wing on December 7 in the City of Manila and will bring attention to Manila Bay and the important role this plays in the East Asian Flyway.

Themed "Birdwatching. It's More Fun in the Philppines" this year's festival will highlight the Little Egret, a common migrant that congregates in the Coastal Lagoons on the southern coast of Metro Manila during the northern winter, and the endemic Philippine Duck, whose remnant population in the Philippine capital is threatened by reclamation and property development plans in that part of Manila Bay.

Chasing Waterfalls| A Quick Trip to Iligan City, Lanao del Norte

After a quick visit to Zamboanga del Sur, our jaunt in the western side of Mindanao never ended as we traversed the island going northeast to the City of Falls, Iligan , Lanao del Norte. Taking a bus in Pagadian City, it took us only less than 4 hours before we reached the majestic city of Iligan.

I'd been to Iligan before when I wandered to the famous Tinago and Ma. Cristina Falls but there was an urge in my heart that drew me back to the enchanting place one more time.

Together with travel buddy, Marky and Lauren, we met Lai of Iligan Bloggers Society (IBS) who became our official tour guide (peace)  to  wander around in the beautiful city.

Cantilan’s Baybay Beach: A Prelude to a Great Adventure

Living in Surigao del Sur (SdS) is a privilege surrounded with all the beautiful destinations not yet known to everyone. Exploring north of SdS did not cross my mind until I have known that my two favorite travel bloggers were visiting the town of Cantilan. It was just a supposed a casual meet up with Lois and James that I decided to drop at the place known as the "Cradle of Town". I took  this opportunity as well to meet again my newly found friend from Cantilan Bank , Cathe Duero, whom I always planned to travel with but our time wont just permit us for so long now .

Samal Island: Hagimit Falls

Hagimit is a small waterfall two kilometers from Penaplata proper, inner land of  Samal Island. Coming from Davao City together with friends I just met, Rommel, Dado and Cosme, we hit a ride going to the port terminal bound for IGACOS or Island Garden City of Samal.

It was so easy to spot the area as a huge billboards display along the highway pointing to the right direction.  Upon reaching the gate of the resort, we paid Php40.00 each for the entrance fee. The table and chair was Php300.00.

Butuan City: The Ruins of Banza

Northern Mindanao is described as one of the places in the Philippines that holds authentic stories about the Philippine history and culture. 

One in particular is the under rated Butuan City which a home to various important artifacts of the past even before the coming of the western conquerors. The place showcases various important historical events that made it worthy discovering but you need to have a personal encounter to  appreciate the most untold stories of our heritage.

From Pagadian City with Love

"It turned out that my feet travel faster than my plans..."

Fresh from our trip from Cotabato City and Maguindanao, we braved to travel the pitch dark night going to Pagadian City despite the warnings from the locals in the area.  Running out of time as set on Marky and Lauren's itinerary, we decided to push our ways towards Zamboanga del Sur, putting our lives in danger where what all we can do was to  pray for a safety trip .I gave my deepest breathe casting away my fear in this wildest, reckless decision I made so far .I just relied on my belief that if we allow fear to corrupt our mind, we are making terror lives in our heart thus giving victor to the terrorism that has been lingering in everyone’s nerve every time people hear places in ARMM.

Bongo Island-Limbayan, Manguindanao | The Off Beaten Path in Mindanao

" I fear more the people  of Manila than I fear my neighbors in Mindanao"

Paranoia is a general term for people who feel the suspicion or fear first before even the actual encounter. Cotabato City and other nearby ARMM provinces  has been a well recipient of this kind of treatment among the general populations not only in the Philippines but also from the rest of the world.

The city and nearby communities being dominated by  Muslims are equated to stereotyped deranged of a chaotic community. It was a sad truth that our Muslim brothers are judged based on the generalized report  of accidents, attacks and crimes committed by the bandit groups and  from the violence resulted on feuds among the political clans.

Incidents reported before were undeniable but those were same events that are happening elsewhere in the Philippines. Mindanao is negatively sensationalized by the media reporters feeding the mind of the general public and creating fear in the mind of the people which can be categorized as another form of unintentional terrorism.

Butuan Spa: 50% Massage Experience at Grand Royal Spa

Traveling is always accompanied with aching back and almost paralyzed feet due to excessive wandering. My latest jaunt to Cotabato City really hit me hard traveling by bus for almost 24 hours coming from the east of Mindanao, Surigao del Sur via Davao City, then directed my path to Pagadian, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro loop.

Taking a break in Butuan City reminded me of the 50% off promo of Grand Royal Spa that has been running for almost a week. I never had a reservation so I tried my luck as a walk in client. Lucky of me I was entertained by the owner, Mark, as he gave me a spot for a 12mn appointment. Not bad as it was almost 11pm and timing that I have to leave Butuan by 2am for my Surigao City adventure with Jeffrey of Traveling Morion.

Bantayan Island, Cebu | An Executive Tale of an Island Escapade

Ground Situation:
It was February, two days before my birthday, my table was messed up with dozens of analytical deadlines for Manila Bay project; fish kill occurrences; stakeholders’ meeting; semi-annual reports and so forth and so on. My eyes were burning red!

Personal Diagnosis:
Experiencing an almost hell breaking terminal  boredom!

Take a quick vacation, escape the city, distance oneself from the office, turn off the cellular phone, and temporarily disable social media connections.

Locate the free airline ticket bound for Cebu; reserve an overnight stay in Bantayan Island, pay the reservation at the nearest  bank, cash out a little from the savings reserved for the upcoming summer escapade.

A.S.A.P- meaning tomorrow-so file a leave now or simply just be absent  (excuse to be provided upon questioning).

The Grand Mosque of Masjid Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah | Cotabato City

Masjid Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (Grand Mosque)
Usually for people to wake up in an unknown territory gives them a creepy feeling but in my case it even drive me crazy due to my curiosity on what the day would offer to my worthy noted adventures in places I'd never been before.

Cotabato City: Traveling with the Men in "Ghutra" (part 1)

Complicated and challenging travels are what I always look for whenever I plan an outdoor getaway to break the monotony of routine activities I have in my work. To mitigate the complication along the way, I usually  prepare sets of alternatives before stepping a foot outside of my  door and I always assure the  security condition of the places with emphasis on the safety and far  from any danger that can put my life into peril. (Who doesn’t?)

But in the latest escapade that I did, I somewhat have become so reckless, unpredictable and bent the  golden rule of traveling as I have come unprepared visiting  one of the most feared places in the Philippines-Cotabato City. 

 Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat-7th Sultan of Maguindanao
Visiting any places in ARMM wouldn't be dared by any 'regular' citizens as most of us are afraid to be caught in the middle of war between the MILF and the AFP, plus the terrorism brought by some groups that made the place a nightmare to everyone's  journey.

But with the recent development , launching and signing of the "Framework Agreement" between the government and the MILF, I felt that bumping in ARMM is little less hazard compared to previous years.

Curious about the impact of such agreement, I decided to wander around in one of the "troubled" cities in the ARMM, Cotabato, to test the effectiveness of such strategy coming from both parties- but I am not setting myself as the sacrificial pancake for this as I just want to see it with my own eyes the PEACE that we are all hoping to happen very soon.

Pastel of Cotabato City

Fresh hot Pastel

YUMMY, SUMPTUOUS, EXOTIC LOCALLY MADE FOOD! That is one of the motivating factors that leads me to travel the long and intricate road of Mindanao. 

I am a big fan of local delicacy which breaks the usual type of prepared food from the fast food chains in the metro and in our locality.  Diving into the indigenous food and delicacy feels like being part of the community, giving me a perspective of the local’s reflection of their culture and tradition.

Cotabato City is not exempted with my search for delectable “common” food in the area. In my recent visit to the controversial city, I was introduced to some of the tasty delights that first time touched my taste buds.

Butuan's Evolution Break Party a Success!

It was a dance haven for all party goers in Butuan that made the night explodes with music coming from DJ War and Elmer Dado with the unparalled percussion talent of Grupo Tribale, creating a beat that  made everyone hit the dance floor.

Attended by hundreds of beautiful people , the kick off of the Evolution Dance Party was a success held last October 27 @ Moffs Bar , sponsored by Butuan Big Flat Bread , Aling Cora and Royal Grand Spa

Here is the video on how the party went. This shows that Mindanaons know how to rock your world in the dance floor.Hope to see you on the next party events here in Butuan . (no copyright infringement intended).

Bitaog : The Philippine Centennial Tree

This  centennial  Bitaug Tree in the coastal community of Caloc-an, Magallanes was believed to be standing for more than 500 years even before the coming of the Spaniards in the Philippines.  

Based on the marker set before the gigantic tree:

“ This Bitaug tree existed long before 1523 based on existing set of maps which shows the island of Mindanao with its Northeastern side named “Bitau” and “Batauo”, undoubtly referring to Bitaog tree, as it was then the custom of Filipinos to name places after the trees. This surviving Bitaog tree has also been a mute witness to many historical events, among others are: (1) the initial evangelization of Mindanao; (2) the birth of Caraga as a Region during the Spanish colonial period; (3) the struggles of the Agusanons against the Americans; and (4) the quadracentennial of the evangelization of Mindanao on September 7, 1997.”

Mati: Sambuokan Festival 2012

“Mag iban iban kita,magbal’lao-bal’lao kita, mag isa kita.”

It was an exciting journey to Mati, Davao Oriental to witness Mati’s Sambuokan Festival for the very first time. I was traveling blind as I never heard of the festival before and not sure of what I will be expecting from the place. Coming from Davao City after my night gig at Starr Club, I hit the 8 am bus bound for Mati.

I reached the secluded and silent city of Mati after a 5 hour bus ride. Arriving at 1pm, I first head  to the nearest food chain-Jollibee to satisfy my growling famished gut.

From where I was sitting I already noticed the increasing number of crowd in the street. I was just on time as the street dance competition was about to commence. Carrying my camera, I took shed in one of judges’ tent to have a better look at the performances.

Davao City | Deca Wake Boarding

There was a point in my life that I have questioned my very existence and of course at the end of the day I found no answers to my question. Seeing day to day news of triumph, tragedy, celebrations and death makes me think that life is so simple and so expendable and it goes around whatever motivates people to push for the day. In my case, I am not yet so sure what keeps me going, but it must the ultimate thrill that I always seek for that make me feel unfulfilled.

I go forward to the unknown challenges that sometimes without thinking of the risks. I only adhere to my belief  that I am free and I am keeping myself away from the norms that the current society dictates people to follow or to do. I feel that I have to be different but with no intention of becoming a lame risk taker.

Butuan Resto: BFB's Acoustic Night with Al Pacino's "Godfather" ???

"I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse"....The Godfather

I can’t believe I am taking this pizza parlor a peak on its toll and it must be its dynamic appeal that keeps me coming back to savor another flavor for a feast on my palate.

The Godfather
This time I was a little unpredictable to ask for something that really intrigued me- the Big Flat Bread’s pizza known as “The Godfather”. 

And YES you read it right! Coming exactly from the source of the famous Vito Corleone’s  line (Marlon Brando) I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse (recite it in a gritty deep voice like the usual mob character). And those words faithfully fit this awesome delight at it is something you won’t be able to decline once placed on top of your plate.

Butuan or Limasawa: To Where Philippine Christianity was Born

I must confess that I was a history geek way back in my elementary days and I even champed a quiz bee competition in our region at the height of my learning stage. My curiosity on Philippine history was so intense that I wished to know everything about the events that occurred prior to the sovereignty we are enjoying today. But this interest suddenly decline the moment I was introduced to the fascinating world of science during my high school days up to the present. I must admit that through time,I have forgotten those important people and events in our history.

Tandag City: Ang Cortesanon

For years now, I’d been to Tandag City as an extension of my home. This city is the nearest city to my place and about 30 kilometers from San Miguel, Surigao del Sur. This is not the usual city that people are used to as it has no grand and enormous malls, food chains, classy restaurant so forth and so forth.

Mountain Climbing and Environmental Altruism: Tips on Tree Planting

It’s always been a pleasure to be involved with various civic groups with their endeavor to contribute to the environment. In some of my observations, some does it right but most of them does it the very wrong way.

Tree planting is one of the common activities proposed by various organizations like mountaineering and outdoor groups in either small or colossal in numbers during a hike in a disturbed mountain area. 

Most of the time, participants who wished to be involved are more interested and excited of getting to the summit and have the so called 'socialization" rather than focusing on the major objective of the movement. Most of the time, tree planting activity  poses an environmental altruism because of  community exposure and usually just TEMPORARY in nature.

Agusan River: A Cruise to the Past

On one lazy  afternoon, I made an unplanned escapade just to break the monotony of my stressful work assignment in Butuan City. So I took a break and head to the National Museum of Butuan to wonder on the historical artifacts of Great Mindanao. Looking at the picture of the old Agusan River made me wonder if it is possible to cruise the colossal water body. I have never heard of any travel or tour agency in the city that offers such activity.

BUDA, Baguio of the South | Seagull Mountain Getaway

It was an unexpected getaway bumping with a friend in Davao City just after I ended  my adventurous trip in Zamboanga  . Mark tagged me  for a quick visit to Seagull Mountain located at the boundary of Bukidnon and Davao. Since I've never been to that place, I decided to have a little wash up at the comfort room inside Davao's airport just minutes after we have landed and put on again my backpack ready for another extra mileage of journey.

Balangay Shrine, Butuan City: Commemorating the Past

Our knowledge of Philippine history isn’t complete without remembering the word ‘balangay’ or the giant boat used by our early ancestors living in nomadic ways around Southeast Asia and the Polynesian islands. These boats played an important role  as the primary shelter keeping the  clans or family together  while making trades using the barter system among various Asian traders. This boat was the origin of the modern barangay , the smallest political unit in the Philippines .

Butuan Restaurant :Lutong Bahay ni Aling Cora & Seafood Dampa

Visiting new places also means encountering local delicacy, culture and traditions. In my first two trips in Butuan City, I always thought  that the city was just like any other sleepy towns in Mindanao. 

From a view coming from non-Mindanaons, some may see this place as barren place with nothing to offer at first glance. But as you wander around in the inner and secluded part of the city, you will be surprised to discover some authentic places that you would surely enjoy and be proud of to finally have a taste of what is not known to many. 

The New and Old Face of Aling Cora
One noted experience of mine was during my quick visit to the historical Balangay Shrine. After a walking tour in the city I received an invitation for a dinner in one of the institutionalized restaurant in Northern Mindanao  known as Lutong Bahay ni Aling Cora .

Traveling Ilocos Provinces: Itinerary and Post Accounting

Coming from Mindanao, I had gone to Luzon to spend my 7 -days ,3rd Quarter Vacation, Home Leave to the nth Power for the year 2012.  I planned to pay a visit in Ilocos Provinces as I have never been to the place since birth. Traveling alone, I was traveling blind and had no idea on which place I will be going. It would be another “Come What May” and “Bahala na si Batman at idamay pa si Superman” adventure.

El Nido, Palawan | Budget and Itinerary

hotel deals in palawan

To give guidance for travelers on how much to prepare on your future trips to El Nido, Palawan, I am releasing here my personal itinerary and cost incurred during my 4 days and 3 nights stay in the island. The actual cost may vary depending on the type and number of activities you wish to have. 

For detailed travel guide click on this link El Nido Palawan, Islands and Beyond. Enjoy :)

Butuan’s Delta Discovery Park

If you are a typical thrill seeker , a visit to Delta Discovery Park’s 1.3 Km zip line will indeed suffice your thirst for adrenaline rush and adventure.

It was a referral coming from a friend that I should try and feature  the said park as it will take its visitors to another level of Zip line activity. I have tried many zip lines before but not with a distance of 1.3 km.

Taking a Buggy Ride to get around the park

Prior to my visit to the park, I made an arrangement a day before with their coordinator and was picked up by Ms. Lilian at 8:00am through a red customized jeep intended for their visitors. 

The reception area was a little bit far from what I have expected and probably about 3-5 km away from the highway. I was greeted by the staff and offered me a tour around the vicinity. I was only interested on the zip line as this is something new that I have never tried before.

El Nido, Palawan | Islands and Beyond

Visiting Palawan is a dream vacation and most probably on top of every Filipino’s bucket list to experience this grand paradise dwelling in the Last Frontier of the Philippines.

This world class tourist destination is no longer new to me as I have been in the island for several times. In fact I made some noted works in the southern part of the island during the height of my course in Environmental Science and Ecosystem Management.

But during those days, I spent little time for leisure and wandering to enjoy the beauty of the place and it did not even cross my mind to look around as I was 100% focused on my job documenting the soil profile of the mountains of Espanola. Living in the area was just like any ordinary “probinsya” days way back in 2007 until I saw the pictures of my friends who’d been in the beautiful spots of Palawan that made me feel a little bit jealous.

Experiencing Siargao Island in Mindanao

Visiting Siargao is one of the dream trips that I had wished  for long years now. Reading from magazines, the waves of Siargao really intimidated me as I have no intention to go on head collision with these giant waves. And besides, I have no clue if I have a place in this island paradise knowing that I am not a surfing enthusiast until I discover my inner passion for this water sport.

Enchanted River of Hinatuan Surigao del Sur

Hinatuan's Enchanted River
Truly, Surigao del Sur will not disappoint you with surprises. I have visited several rivers in Luzon and Visayas and I thought I have seen the best river until I got accidentally invited in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur in 2011.

Hinatuan is a sleepy town in the southern part of Surigao del Sur and about 50km away from Bislig City. The town is currently facing future environmental destructions due to heavy extraction of mineral resources in the area.  Hinatuan is blessed with marine resources thus, the livelihood of the folks is fishing aside from quarrying/mining .

Accommodation in El Nido, Palawan | Telesfora Beach Resort

Many think that visiting El Nido requires a lot of cash to spend a quality vacation in this world class destination. My stand on this issue is YES but 50/50.

Usually what eat most of the travel budget is the accommodation to where you are going to stay each night. It was also one of my considerations before I pushed my final decision for my do-it-yourself (DIY) solo trip in Palawan.

But if we are just going to be a curious and smart traveler we could get away from the overpriced and exaggerated hotel and resorts. In my case, an over the top accommodation is not my priority as I would rather venture on the beauty , quality and pristine ambiance of the place I am visiting.

I scheduled my trip in El Nido at the beginning of the lean season where fewer tourists flock the island. I did not make   reservation in any of the resorts I have seen in the internet and decided to look for myself during my arrival.

Davao City | Massage in the Park

Whenever I am online (FB or Twitter), I always wanted to upload nice and good looking pictures of mine for social media sharing to be enjoyed by my beloved readers (joke lng po yung part na good looking).

In Davao, I never let the day passed without visiting Rizal Park near the City Hall. With my rigorous job as environmental specialist, I am always left  exhausted and drained out of energy. And what better way to rejuvenate my tired "beautiful" body but with a  relaxing massage or visiting a spa. But since I am a bit thrifty /kuripot/ makunat or call me whatever you want, I always look for places where I can get a lot of discount, discount, and more discounts.

Cagwait Beach : Philippine Waikiki of the South

Cagwait is one of the 17 municipalities of the province of Surigao del Sur. It is a sleepy town that is home to a cove of white beach simply being compared to the shore of Waikiki of Hawaii because of the tropical set up with white powdery sands on the cove and abundant coconut trees growing along the shore. The beach is the town’s main tourist attraction and major part of its annual June festivity known as the Kaliguan Festival or “bathe” festival.


To accommodate your stay in Britania Group of Islands, there are several private resorts/ lodges that offer a very affordable rooms along the shore of Brgy. Britania. You may check them out prior to your trip to the islands. To learn more about the islands click here