Find us on Google+ Love Mindanao: December 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.