Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Katibawasan Falls - Mambajao Camiguin

It was a rainy day when we reached Camiguin, windy and cold but didn’t stop us from exploring the province born of fire. Our first stop was in Katibawasan Falls, which is located 5 kilometers from the capital of Camiguin the town of Mambajao.


We were hungry so we looked for something to eat and our eyes were caught by the native delicacy Kiping.  It is a must try when one is in this area, Katibawasan falls.

While we were enjoying the kiping, we heard the sound of the surging water. The people in there said that there was a flood and we couldn’t swim. They told that we can just enjoy the view if we want to. From a far we could see the chocolate colored waterfalls cascading. Even we knew we couldn’t bathe nor swim still we got inside to see and enjoy the spectacular view of majestic waterfalls of the Katibawasan.

We were in awe while watching the surging of water cascading 250 feet. The natural rock pool of chocolate colored water surrounded by trees, wild ferns, boulders and flowering plants gave us the feeling of enchantment.

Katibawasan falls is under the maintenance of the provincial government that’s why the entrance fees are minimal:

Adults – P 20.00
Children – P 5.00
Students – P 15.00

Picnic tables, chairs and comfort rooms are available for use. I wished there was a cafeteria so we could enjoy the place while resting. After taking pictures we had to leave because we just had a day to explore the Province of Camiguin.
Till then Camiguin.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

On-line Shopping with Lazada

This write up is not a paid review.

The world became smaller in the advent of  the world wide web. In the pursuit of quick and easy life people tends to discover a lot of things. All these innovations have pros and cons. It’s just how the people would embrace it. That can be good or bad.
Personally internet connection is really needed in my life because I can communicate with my love ones here and abroad. I can read and be updated with what is happening around the world, easy now to get the latest news. Aside from that I do shop on line too because:
  1. Primarily of the convenience of not going to the stores, to avoid traffic and to avoid the inhalation of more polluted air,
  2. there are offers that are cheaper,
  3. the goods are being delivered right to my doorstep,
  4. I can use credit card or debit card too and
  5. The goods can be returned too.
In my experience there are deals on line that are not really cheap, that’s why I check all the possible sites to compare. One of the worst that I encountered was talking to the customer service with no favorable action. It was a tedious task to settle the dispute.

my orders for the year 2013
Last year maybe around last quarter, I happened to bump to the site of Lazada, a shopping website. There was a free voucher for who were going to sign up, so I together with my coworkers signed up. Even up to now there is a free voucher for those who are going to sign up. Then we tried to use that voucher to see how fast and reliable the site. At that time they have free shipping regardless of the amount, now at least 1,000 pesos to avail of the free shipping. Although shipping cost is not that expensive. Surprisingly the item arrived on time; it was still in the allotted time of delivery. Just two days my order arrived. Ever since then I order from them once in awhile. Actually some of my Christmas gifts last year, I ordered them from Lazada. I want as much as possible to go on travel light especially on Christmas Eve, where most airlines are checking thoroughly the weight of the baggage. So I saved time and effort for my shopping needs.

For those who want to try shopping on line, check the prices with other stores and websites. Not all the items that has label “SALE” is not  really cheaper. Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A day in Camiguin-The province Born of Fire

It’s our third day of our Cagayan de Oro-Bukidnon-Camiguin tour.  Camiguin is the second smallest island of the Philippines in both area and population with almost 240 square kilometers in land area. This island is known for lansones fruit, volcanoes and its diverse ecosystem.

We left our hotel in Cagayan de Oro around 2:30 in the morning to catch the first trip to Camiguin Island through ferry. It was a rainy night and we were worried that we wouldn’t enjoy the day tour.
Our river tour guide from the CDO water rafting adventure recommended a tour guide with multi cab in Camiguin, that’s why we had set the tour ahead of time. When we arrived in Benoni port the driver and tour guide was already there. Our tour fee including the rent of the multi cab was 2,000.00 pesos that’s for the whole day tour.

First stop was the Katibawasan Falls; at that time since it was raining the color of the water was brown. There was a flood, the caretakers refrained us from going down. We enjoyed the view of the 75 meters water cascading. Stayed there for few minutes took some pictures and rest a bit.

Ardent Hibok-hibok Spring Resort was our second stop. It’s a hot sulfuric spring. We enjoyed the warm of the water soaked for 20 minutes. There were tourists too enjoying the place. It’s a perfect place to sooth the aching muscles specially for the old ones.

We wanted to explore white beach, a sand bar, our tour guide told us that it was not possible at that time due to bad weather but still we went there and checked if we could. Sorry for us, we couldn’t even see the sand bar; it was high tide, rainy and windy.

The fourth stop was the Mt. Volcan or it is known as Old Volcano, where the Stations of the Cross are located. The statues are life size. This is where some of the Catholic devotees do there Stations of the Cross during holy week. Trekking upstairs is a challenge but worthy because while walking I was enjoying the view top of the island. We didn’t finish the trek just half way, all were hungry didn’t have breakfast. Our tour guide told us to have a lunch in our next stops where we could indulge in native chicken food.

After the trek we went to the Sunken Cemetery, it is the remnant and the landmark of the town that was wiped out during the volcano eruption in 1800. The weather and time didn’t permit us to explore the area because of the bad weather. This area can be explored during good weather and low tide. Since we couldn’t do anything we took pictures and bought souvenirs instead.

Our sixth stop was the Old Curch Ruins, as the name says it’s just a ruin. It is a reminder of the earthquake and volcanic eruption during the 1817. I couldn’t believe that it could be toppled down, because the thickness of the wall and its posts are so huge. Works of nature, human cant do anything. I love this place so green and peaceful that I almost forgot I was hungry. We bought boxes of lansones in this area, it's cheaper.

Soda Swimming pool is a natural soda water. I tasted the water there is a zesty taste.  Natural cold and refreshing water. While we were waiting for our food to be served we enjoyed the water and talking with the locals. An old man told us that we could go to Tuasan Falls. After we had our lunch we talked to our tour guide if he could bring us to Tuasan Falls. He told us that it was not part of the tour because no amenities in that area yet, the road were still under construction. After few minutes he graciously agreed to have a side trip on that area.

Tuasan Falls is a located in the area where there were no amenities for tourists. There were construction equipments in the area. The construction of the road was on going. It was amazing place, it was like we own the place. Rich vegetation, beautiful view of cascading water. Since we were the only tourists in there we had the time to have more wacky pictures.

Our last stop was the Sto. NiƱo Cold Spring Resort. We were already tired, no much energy to get inside. But since we were already there we grabbed the opportunity to drag ourselves to explore the place. Before we got in we ordered buko (young coconut )and rice puto (rice cake). When we got inside our tiredness lessen. The coldness of the water made us get better plus the greener view and clean and fresh air added to make us relaxed.

Around 3:30 pm we were already in the port ready to go back to Cagayan de Oro City. It was a hectic but fulfilling day. Worth the time and effort to explore the island of Camiguin. If you want to explore it, especially for the divers, stay here for more than a day. This small island offers a lot more for everyone to explore and enjoy the beauty of nature. Salamat Camiguin. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dahilayan Adventure Park, Bukidnon

We just dropped by our things in the St. Nicolas Inn, and we proceeded right away to the Agora market also known as Market City. There we looked for a van or car for hire. We were not yet alighted from Rela, there were guys already offering tours to Bukidnon, Whitewater rafting, Camiguin, Iligan.  There were just four in our group so we opted for a car. They offered 2,500.00 pesos for a round trip to Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon. We haggled and we got it for 1,800.00 pesos then the driver asked for additional 200.00 pesos for the side trip to Delmonte Club House since its an out of way in going to the Dahilayan Adventure Park. We wanted the side trip to Delmonte Club house because of the steak that mostly said it’s yummy.

Those who are going to enter the province of Bukinon will need to sanitize themselves by stepping on the foot baths to prevent and protect Bukinon from foot and mouth diseases. All vehicles coming in are being asked to stop to be checked and monitored the incoming and outgoing livestock, poultry and meat products as well. It was my first time to experience it although in some airports there are footbaths too but not in the boundary of provinces.

Going to Dahilayan Advetnure Park passes by the Del Monte Philippines Inc. plantations, it’s nice and refreshing scenery. I didn’t notice the time that it took almost two hours to reach the park. It was relaxing and refreshing to smell the fresh and cold breeze. There were moments that our driver would stop to let us see the plantation and took pictures. Our driver was amazed because it was his first time to meet tourists that would ask him to open the windows to enjoy the breeze although there are parts of the road that we had to close the windows because of the dusts. The road is not completely concrete there are portions that are rocky and dusty.

Dahilayan Adventure Park is in elevated place that’s why it’s colder in there. For me this is the summer capital of Bukidnon lol. There pine trees and horses added to the atmosphere that we were in Baguio city or in Tagaytay City. My sisters and my friend took the zipline adventure with 320 meters. The crews offered them to try the all ride package because even though they just took the 320 meters they could add to get that ultimate package. I was the one taking pictures of them and guarding their things. I was not in the mood for that exhilarating experience. They were teasing me that I was a sissy; it would take time for us to return to this place so I should take that adventure. But I told them I tried ziplines before so I would just enjoy the scenery. They loved the experience but they didn’t take the all ride package. After the ride there was a horse driven cart or Kalesa in our local language, at the drop zone, the fare for that is 20.00 pesos per head. Inside the park there are hotel, souvenir shops, and restaurant and refreshment area.

After their ride we toured around and we noticed outside the park there are some selling souvenirs too like strawberry jam, strawberry fresh fruit, sweets and more.

It was a refreshing experience, talking with the locals, seeing new things, warm welcome, definitely a nice break from a city life. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Motorela another kind of tricycle in Cagayan de Oro

We took a taxi from the airport of Cagayan de Oro to transport us to St. Nicolas Inn but the taxi driver didn’t know where the hotel was. So we decided to drop off the taxi and look for the location of the hotel in the Google map. A lady told us that we could take a rela in going to the hotel because it was just near where we were. We were clueless what rela was so she was the one look for rela for us. It’s a tricycle too but with a huge and long body. Rela short for motorela, sounds like a phone company, right?

Would you believe that its capacity is 12 passengers? The capacity is 10 passengers at the back and two passengers besides the driver, all in all 13. At first first we thought 6 at the back and 1 beside the driver but when the driver started to fill the vehicle with passengers’ ohh it was like we were compressed inside the vehicle. But well that’s the challenge of the trip how to blend with the locals, sort of community immersion.
I saw a lot of different public utility vehicles but motorela is somehow unique in this part of the country. It was fun trying to live like a local even though I didn’t understand well the language but still it’s great to experience new things. That’s one of the essences of the traveling to understand and appreciate different ways of living

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tugon sa Bohol

Philippine was hit by too many challenges from natural to man made calamities. One of it was the Earthquake in Bohol. There are approximately 10 national heritage churches, century old ones that were crushed to the ground totally and partially. There are some groups from the government and non-government organizations trying to raise funds to restore/reconstruct those churches. Ayala Corporation pledged to restore/reconstruct one of the churches. The cost estimation for one church would be 80 million to 200 million pesos. That’s why they staged free concerts to draw attention and donations for the rebuilding of one of the churches. It’s their effort to raise funds.  One of their concerts was in Ayala Triangle Garden, Tugon sa Bohol (answer to Bohol) featuring The Don Bosco Choir, Joey Ayala and of course the Loboc Children’s choir hosted by Cesca Litton.

The Don Bosco Choir

Cesca Litton

The Loboc Chilren's Choir

Joey Ayala with Loboc Children's Choir
Bohol is one of the tourist destinations in the Philippines. One of their sources of income is the tourism. Part of the tour in this island is these beautiful and old churches. Mostly Boholanons can relate their lives with the church, they are religious ones. They hope to see these churches be erected once more. Let’s help them!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

St. Nicolas Inn-Cagayan de Oro

When we were planning for the CDO-Bukidnon-Camiguin tour we scrutinized which one would be safer and accessible for us. We wanted to stay one night in Camiguin but we thought it would be better to stay in the city. But looking back we could have stayed in Camiguin instead but nevertheless it was a wonderful trip.
I was the one looked for a hotel where we could stay. As I was browsing from different deals and websites, my attention was caught by St. Nicolas Inn. It is in the heart of the city, accessible to public transportations. When I checked the review it was not good it was not bad either. My sister said that we could try it because we wouldn’t stay the whole day in the hotel we would be always out. I inquired thru their facebook page and the reply was the room rate was 1,700.00 pesos per night. But in agoda it was just 900++ pesos so I was like maybe if I would call the hotel the price would be different. When I called, the front desk officer said they have a 700.00 pesos good for two persons, air conditioned room, with tv and hot and cold shower. It’s really important for us to have that hot and cold shower because after the tour we would be deadly tired we would need to take a nice shower. We decided to book for two rooms for 3N and 4 days.

We were early for check in that’s why no room available yet, what we did were left all our things and went to Bukidnon for the Dahilayan adventure. The front desk and her coworkers were accommodating they let us left our things. After the adventure it was already dusk, time to relax. Time to check our rooms too.

The room is small.  The bed was clean, it has air conditioner, flat tv with cable, they have a free wifi connection, two towels and bath soap. The bathroom is small, the shower and the bowl are in the same location that’s why when taking a shower the bathroom gets wet all over. But well it was just 700.00 pesos.

We could hear the footsteps of the people walking upstairs. But since we were always tired we could still sleep.

The following day we had a white water rafting, my friend and I woke up earlier and ordered coffee and breakfast. After 15 minutes my sisters arrived and ordered their food too. Their order served ahead of us, when my coffee was served the coffee mug has a stained of lipstick. I called the waiter to check it because I didn’t even sip it yet. He politely changed it. Time passed my sisters done with their breakfast but our orders didn’t serve yet. The tour guides arrived and we asked them to wait for us to finish our breakfast, 45 minutes our breakfast didn’t serve yet. So we decided to cancel it but the front desk said it’s almost done. He was sorry because there were too many orders. I told him its not about too many its about the system in taking the orders, it should be first come first serve. Just imagine my sisters were done with their breakfast and ours were not yet served. In short we brought it instead and ate it while we were on our way to Mambuaya where we would have the rafting adventure.

At night we asked the front desk if we could ask for two cups of hot water, she was nice just told us to get hot water for free.

On our third day before we go to Camiguin, we asked the front desk to let our room be cleaned because they didn’t clean it everyday. We had a day tour in Camiguin. We were thinking that our room would be so cleaned. They changed the beddings but didn’t sweep nor vacuum the floor nor collected the trash, didn’t change the towels neither clean the bathroom. The left bathroom tissue roll by the guests are still served to the next guest. Our bathroom tissue roll was already small. It's good we brought our own bathroom tissue and towels. Usually I don't use the towels of the hotels for my body those are just for my feet, i always bring my own. 

On our forth and last day, we were so tired already to go out and have our breakfast somewhere. We decided to have it in the hotel again. This time the service was fast. Thank you didn’t wait that long. My friend took two cups of hot water. After our breakfast I asked for our bill and paid for it. My friend and I were checking and we noticed we were charged for two more cups of coffee. So I told the front desk we were charged more than we consumed. He returned the money. But this time we were charged for the hot water 2.00 pesos per cup. We were laughing because it’s our first time to experience to be charged for a hot water but its okay it was just 2.00 pesos.

Over all it was a learning process again for us. It’s good we didn’t expect much from this hotel although of course the basic we expect, like cleaning the room everyday that includes the bathroom, changing the bedding and towels because that’s for hygienic purposes. The good thing with this hotel its in the heart of the city.

Hayes St., Cagayan de Oro

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Whitewater Rafting in Cagayan de Oro-Water rafting Capital of the Philippines

Water rafting in Cagayan de Oro is the adventure that one shouldn’t miss when in this area of Mindanao. This is the water rafting capital of the Philippines. The river is the boundary of Bukidnon and Osamis Oriental provinces.

My friend and I were hesitant to try it because when we were looking at some videos, they look like dangerous, so what I did was read the blogs about it. Finally I and my friend agreed to join the group. My sister booked us in The RED Rafts Whitewater Rafting, one of the agencies that operate for the whitewater rafting. We took the P700.00/head without lunch since we planned to have a heavy meal in the hotel before going to the Mambuaya, a point where the beginners’ course starts. Our group was picked up in St. Nicholas inn around 7:30 am and proceeded to pick up another group in front of Xavier University.

The river guides told us not to bring our own cameras because it might fall, offered a package for photos and videos for P 1,500.00 or photos only for P 1,000.00. We had a briefing on the safety before taking the rapids. We were briefed on how to do the paddling; there should be count to synchronize the movements, like forward 1, 2 soft, forward 1, 2 hard and backward 1, 2. There are 14 rapids for the beginners’ course. In the first rapid I got nervous had to hold the rope, I was the only one was holding the rope. Bam, our river guide was teasing me that I was just taking it easy, “char char lang”. But in the next rapids I was enjoying already.

The view is really stunning. It still wows me; the work of nature is really wonderful. Along the way we saw, wild butterflies, wild orchids, green snakes, monitor lizards, water strider and a whole lot more. The only regret I have was I didn’t bring the camera because we were not allowed to and let the photographer took pictures of us. For those who will take this tour, try to bring a underwater camera of your own because there are wonders of the nature that the photographer will not capture. The photographer will take pictures of the tourists while on rapids. Camera will not fall because flip over of the rubber boat is by request unless of course you want to flip over you shouldn’t bring your camera.

When you are in Cagayan de Oro city, water rafting is a must activity. Till then!