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Traveling

Goodbye Surigao May 28-July 23, 2013

Goodbye Surigao

GPS waypoint: N9 47.447 E125 29.606
Location: Surigao City

Stranger in a Strange Land
I went to Surigao City to spend one night just to buy a laptop. I planned on leaving the following day to continue my travels. Upon my arrival, I was a stranger in a strange land, not knowing anyone or knowing my bearing. This one night stand turned into a 2-month relationship of bliss, trust, abundance, friendship and productivity.

Goodbye Surigao

Chock-ful-of-Nuts
In the ensuing days that followed after my arrival, I've had nearly 20 addresses, hopping from one hotel to the next, judged 2 beauty pageants and one street dancing competition, taken to 2 fiestas, scuba dived Cantrasa Shoal and Cagtinae Reef, conducted and participated in yoga classes, ventured into Silop Cave, crossed the Cantiasay Footbridge, bathed at a waterfall, free-dived the numerous coral reefs surroundng the islands, bummed at several beaches, visited a deadly whirlpool, gave a talk on tourism and developed an online travel guide for Surigao City. Whoa! I wasn't even halfway through with everything I could have done, but pressing family matters awaited me in Davao.


Surigao City Tourism
Surigao City is unique as a travel leg because I was focused on developing its tourism mandate. I passed through the local tourism office to see if they might be interested in what I can do pro-bono for the city. Ms. Roselyn Merlin, Surigao City's indefatigable tourism officer together with her dedicated staff, gave me all the ammunition I needed to fulfill that mandate. They made arrangements to ensure my comfort and well-being during my stay, and took me to all relevant tourist destinations within and outside the city. With my web skill, web machinery and travel insights and their logistical support (lodging, food and tours), we accomplished a lot of meaningful online work to increase the tourism profile of the place and its essential establishments. Already, empirical Google Analytics data confirm pageviews from global sources and booking inquiries are now being received by the subscribed hotels. With a forward thinking tourism office, synergy was there for the taking. Really, Surigao City is lucky to have its current officers and staff to handle its tourism efforts. Last but not least, credit goes to Caraga Region's Tourism Officer, Ms. Letty Tan for her accommodation, hard work, vision...and she does all that with her disarming smile.

Socialscape
Through the yoga community, I met wonderful people who eventually became friends. I was taken to their sumptuous dinners, scuba dives and night hangout. Their kindness and festive demeanor permeates. I will forever salivate on Zati's epicurean dishes and remember gastronomic episodes at Chez Zati where wine flowed like water and conversation flowed with the wine. I met and had engaging talks with the city's foremost historian, Mr. Jun Almeda. I was also introduced by travel blogger Nathalie to Dr. Nonoy who broadened my perspective on the carinoso side of the Surigaonons. Although more of colleagues, I can't say enough about Ms. Roselyn Merlin and her endearing staff who went the whole 9 yards for me. Lovelife....what lovelife?

More Inclusive Business Model
Before, when my online directory was in its infancy, it was my currency for my survival - food, lodging and loose change for petty expenses. I had to exact a fee whether in kind or cash. Now that I'm gaining momentum and survival is not as much the name of the game but more of 'ease', I begin to loosen the parameters of my online directory. Now, I use it also as my cuurrency to say 'thank you' to the so many people who have helped me - at least this time around, I've lowered down the barriers. It's no longer an exclusive 'pay for posting'. Already, this online directory is becoming a Swiss Army knife of good intentions. I guess I'd been living the tenets of Burning Man even after all these years since I participated in that event. Burning Man proclaims, "During our first years in the desert when our population was relatively small, our exclusive focus was on individual survival. As our numbers have grown, we have extended this concern to the equally immediate issue of survival on a societal scale." Hopefully, I get there when all my efforts are no longer about survival but purely on benefits to society, friends and cause I hold dear.

Surigao's Kinilaw
As it is delectable to eat at Chez Zati, she perhaps mirrors the love of the Surigaonons for their food. Only Surigaonons can claim that their seafood 'never touched ice'. Their kinilaw is a regional staple - nearly everyone takes pride in his/her kinilaw style. Fact is, you can never have bad kinilaw in Surigao City. I've tried it everywhere - town fiestas, dinner tables, street carinderia, market eats, etc. Their kinilaw can only be described along superlative lines. I've had many culinary indulgence in Surigao, but their kinilaw reigns supreme!

Lingering Thoughts
Surigao City will always remain close to my heart - for its many natural wonders, the abundance it showered me, and most importantly, for the wonderful and fabulous people I met who opened their doors. Thank you Surigao City! heart

--- TheLoneRider

ps - If you want me to objectively cover the features of your city or municipality or barangay for this website (fiesta, waterfall, mountain trail, lake, river, cave, food, islands, beach, etc.), email me.

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Reader Comments:

Roselyn MerlinRoselyn Merlin
(Aug. 5, 2013) Why naman goodbye???

TheLoneRiderTheLoneRider
"Why naman goodbye???" -- Roselyn Merlin
(July 23, 2013) ...the intention to go back will always be there, M'am. Miss you and all your staff.

Consolacion ZaldivarConsolacion Zaldivar
Read your article about Surigao, nice nice. Amazing, I never knew Surigao is such a beautiful place. I came from Mindanao and Surigao is not that far away but I never had that excitement to visit the place till I read about it in your blog.

July 23, 2013

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