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2013 archive

May 2013 Blogs


Surprising Twist in Surigao City traveling
Surprising Twist in Surigao City
(May 28, 2013) With my laptop breaking down in Cantilan, I had to drop all my travel plans and go to Surigao City for a replacement. With its prohibitive lodging rates, I didn't want to stay a day longer than necessary in the city. But something promising happened that made me stay a little longer....more »»

Island Hopping and Snorkeling in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur snorkeling
Island Hopping and Snorkeling in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur
(May 27, 2013) The main attractions of Cantilan are the many islands, beaches and coral reefs dotting Lanuza Bay - General Island, Casarica Island, Consuelo Island, Ayoke Island, etc. As the pumpboat would pass over a promising coral reef, I would ask the boatman to stop so I can dive and take a closer look....more »»

3 Days in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur traveling
3 Days in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur
(May 25-28, 2013) After Cortes, I took the bus for Cantilan, not knowing where I'll spend the night. I haven't been there and know no one. I didn't even know what activities lay there. After a frustrating hunt for a reasonably priced lodging, I finally negotiated a fan room for P200/night. And now to find out what's in Cantilan....more »»

Exploring Bakwitan Cave of Tuburan, Surigao del Sur caving
Exploring Bakwitan Cave of Tuburan, Surigao del Sur
(May 25, 2013) I didn't hear about Bakwitan Cave until I came to Cortes. Not too many people know about this - I think. I had no expectation, no research on what this cave is all about, not even if I have to get web or wade in neck-deep underground river. I guess not having any preconceived notion about this cave added to its allure....more »»

Diving Capandan and Uba Sanctuaries of Surigao del Sur scuba
Diving Capandan and Uba Sanctuaries of Surigao del Sur
(May 23, 2013) Capandan Sanctuary and Uba Marine Sanctuary are only 2 of 8 marine sanctuaries in Cortes. They are both vigilantly protected by zealous Bantay Dagat volunteers who ensure against poaching. Guided by the sanctuary keepers on board their pumpboat, I dived the waters to check out what lies beneath....more »»

Trekking on the Campiri Rocks of Cortes, Surigao del Sur mtn
Trekking on the Campiri Rocks of Cortes, Surigao del Sur
(May 23, 2013) Trekking Campiri Rocks means going over huge boulders, dipping in a rock pool, standing on a rock summit as waves hits and splash against it, and to cap all, you rest on the base of the light house perched on top of the rocks in full view of the magnificent Pacific Ocean. Whoa!....more »»

Visiting Laswitan of Surigao del Sur Traveling
Visiting Laswitan of Surigao del Sur
(May 23, 2013) Laswitan is a unique spectacle because of the thundering crash of the waves against a rocky sea wall and spilling over the other side to fill up a huge rock pool. Guests can dip on the 2 rock pools as they are showered by sea water splashing from the other side...more »»

3 Days in Cortes, Surigao del Sur Traveling
3 Days in Cortes, Surigao del Sur
(May 23-25, 2013) Because Cortes is still another dirt ride away from the main highway, it is perhaps the most obscure of Surigao del Sur's municipalities. Even people who have heard of Cortes' Laswitan and Bakwitan Cave rarely go to Cortes for that. Cortes' isolation kept these natural wonders intact and pristine - and that's a very good thing....more »»

8 Days in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur Traveling
8 Days in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur
(May 15-23, 2013) Lanuza, like most coastal towns lined up along the north-eastern seafront of Mindanao, is rich in natural wonders. Apart from its staple tourist offering, surfing, it has the Campamento Cave and Silop Spring, Magkawas Falls, Lanuza Marine Sanctuary and beaches....more »»

Swimming at Hubason River in Carmen, Surigao del Sur Traveling
Swimming at Hubason River in Carmen, Surigao del Sur
(May 18, 2013) Hubason is a swimming area the size of 2 basketball courts along a clean river in Carmen. The swim area is generally free of big exposed rocks and ideal for dipping or even lapping. It is about 7 feet at its deepest, where a diving board is installed....more »»

Free-Diving Lanuza Marine Park and Sanctuary skin
Free-Diving Lanuza Marine Park and Sanctuary
(May 17, 2013) Lanuza Marine Park and Sanctuary is a protected marine reserve along the main highway of Lanuza. The coral reef is a massive rock formation with gullys and underwater caverns. The undersea topography together with its drop-off is ideal for snrkeling, free-diving and scuba diving. There is an imposing 2-storie guard house perched on the rocky outcropping, a small fine sand beach tucked neatly on one side and a cafe offering meals and refreshments with a terrace overlooking the sea....more »»

Splashing at Magkawas Falls in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur Traveling
Splashing at Magkawas Falls in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur
(May 16, 2013) Magkawas Falls is one of many local gems in Lanuza tucked a kilometer into the forest from the main highway. The falls is about 40 feet high with a plunge pool that goes deep (deeper than 7 feet). Surounding the plunge pool is a constructed rip-raf that somehow dams the water to create that depth. The water then cascades down over the rip-raf and into the stream. The water is both cold and refreshing!....more »»

Dipping at Silop Spring in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur Traveling
Dipping at Silop Spring in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur
(May 16, 2013) Silop Spring is a clear and clean spring whose water source comes from the depths of the nearby Magkawas Cave. It's so clean people drink the water - I did! You can feel the strong gush of water coming from its source. The dipping area is shallow and about 5 feet deep at its deepest where the water comes out. The dip is refreshing and cool, specially on a top day....more »»

Exploring Campamento Cave, Surigao del Sur caving
Exploring Campamento Cave, Surigao del Sur
(May 16, 2013) Campamento Cave boasts of high ceilings with the most ornate articulation of rock and stalactite/stalagmite formation. Near the end is perhaps the most mysterious of all - a vertical abyss that plunges down to perhaps 100 feet. It can't be climbed down. It needs rapelling - only for the daring and skilled! Tourists can turn back at that point.....more »»

7 Days in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur Traveling
7 Days in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur
(May 8-15, 2013) Tandag City is a small 4th class coastal city I never heard about until I came to Butuan. The name didn't pop-up until I was told not to take the Tandag route because buses fall off its ravines. I heeded that advice, but somehow, here I am in Tandag, discovering its endearing charm...more »»

Election Vote-Buying and Vote-Selling thoughtbubble
Election Vote-Buying and Vote-Selling
(May 14, 2013) Vote-buying and vote-selling. Two landmarks that puck the Philippine election landscape. Sadly, if you keep the people poor enough and ignorant enough (as designed by the powers that be), they can easily be coyed into vote-selling. For every P100 traded for a vote, perhaps P10,000 pesos is lost for public spending (for schools, hospitals, etc.). Why? Because the politician has to steal it back to recoup his election expense!....more »»

Visiting Lubcon Falls, Surigao del Sur Traveling
Visiting Lubcon Falls, Surigao del Sur
(May 13, 2013) Tucked 300m from the highway between Tandag and Cortes is this quaint waterfall with a plunge pool about 6 feet deep at its deepest. Although not majestic like its southern neighbor, Tinuy-an Falls, this little gem is a favorite among locals. Its water is refreshing and the fact that it's not developed for tourism simply adds more to its charm.....more »»

Exploring Dayao Cave of Tandag, Surigao del Sur Traveling
Exploring Dayao Cave of Tandag, Surigao del Sur
(May 12, 2013) Dayao Cave, like Dinakit Cave, can be found in this tiny islet in Nilungao, Tandag, Surigao del Sur. This is perhaps the biggest of the numerous caves that can be found in Nilungao with cathedral like ceilings and ballroom spaciousness. Visits can be arranged through the owner of the property, Mr. Dodong Dayao. He also serves as guide.....more »»

Island Hopping the Britania Islets of  San Agustin, Surigao del Sur Traveling
Island Hopping the Britania Islets of San Agustin, Surigao del Sur
(May 6-8, 2013) Little is know about Britania Islets outside Mindanao, but it has a lot to offer - white sandy beaches, island hopping, calm water, caving on one of the islands, mangrove forest, etc. The potential is there for tourism but they have to unlearn some of their ways and adapt to emerging trends....more »»

Free-Diving the Enchanted River of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur skin diving
Free-Diving the Enchanted River of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
(May 6, 2013) At 85 feet deep, the bottom of the Enchanted River can still be clearly seen. The water is spring-fed from the bottom and finds its way to the sea. Calling it Enchanted River is quite a misnomer. It's not a river, but a deep and spacious spring. Within the spring itself are numerous schools of fish some perhaps weighing up to 8 kilos - Talikitok, Triggerfish, Maya-maya, etc. At its bottom is a cave that is largely unexplored...more »»

Traveling Traveling
Sibadan Fish Cage, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
(May 5, 2013) I was just looking for lodging for the night while at Enchanted River. After a 15-min boat ride, out to sea, I was taken to a cluster of wooden houses on stilts on the water. It turns out the place is a fish pen-turned-homestay with the center as the main fish pen with Talakitoks as big as 10 kilos. There were baby sharks, stingrays, crabs, lobsters and other interesting sea creatures. It was lodging and an unusual place to catch dinner....more »»

Passing Through Butuan City Traveling
Passing Through Butuan City
(May 3-4, 2013) After 3 months in Cagayan de Oro, it felt time to move on. East of CDO is Butuan. I haven't been there, I didn't know anyone there, and I wouldn't even know where to sleep when I get there. Butuan, here I come...more »»

Goodbye Cagayan de Oro Traveling
Goodbye Cagayan de Oro
(Jan 31 - May 5, 2013) It didn't make sense to leave a place that showered (and continued to shower me with abundance). But I had to ask...what is my point? Is it to find security? NO! Is it to spend life on Easy Street? NO! What I wanted was to let life take me where it takes me...even if it means leaving abundance for something uncertain and unpredictable. Having regain perspective, I packed up...more »»

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