MARAMAG BUKIDNON | Philippine Carabao Center

Travelling on the Sayre Highway at Musuan, Maramag Bukidnon, we passed by a pasture of green with little black dots on them — at the Philippine Carabao Center at Central Mindanao University.

From afar I could not make out what the black dots with bobbling heads as they munch on grasses were until we drove nearer to this carabao milk stop by the road.

The Philippine Carabao Center was established to provide compensated income, help people acquire better nutrition, and to improve well in the family in 1993. 

Rest assured that the gatas ng kalabaw (carabao’s milk) sold in this stop shop is safe, refreshing, nutritious, and sold at a very low cost. I don’t usually get crazy over milk products on trips, my tummy is a bit sensitive to such — both milk products and on food preparation BUT the Choco Milk is a favorite!

Bought one that was super frozen and it took me awhile to finish it, LOL, but the kid in me love playing with iced choco drink on the road. They also have Fresh Milk, Pastillas de Leche, and assorted flavored Yogurt that you may love. What convinced me to buy what seeing the clean infrastructure and organize milk center they had.

The PCC at CMU is kinda like a Carabao’s Milk Drive-thru. Cute right? LOL. But really, you won’t miss it to your right at 15mins. by the road from Valencia Bukidnon to the CMU Main Campus.

* Stop by the PCC ofcourse.
* Take at least a bottle or two of the Choco Milk when you stop by and some Pastillas de leche for home. When travelling, take with you a bit of something the locals made or did. That way, you get to help the locals earn in the little way that you could. And oh! The famous Musuan Peak is located at the back of the center (last photo collage), don’t forget to take pictures of it.

You might also like to read some Bukidnon posts:

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is
 to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time,
 to be in a position in which almost
 nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

VALENCIA | Enjoying Lake Apo Waters

Tired and fast asleep — it was a dreamless night for me, as it has always been. But I slept knowing I will be able to see Lake Apo in my own eyes, and not through someone else’s lenses come morning. It was like Christmas morning.
I woke up to the sound of Ate Arlene’s footsteps on the wooden floor and I quickly got up walked straight to the balcony and stood at my place a couple of seconds — stationary. I wanted to call out to Alex and Ate Arlene but, somehow, the cat got my tongue. I was left speechless!

Timeless Place at Lake Apo got me silent!
And it was a good first impression, and I was without words. What a sight it was to take first thing in the morning. Grabbing our cameras, we headed off to the banks and each had a moment or few for themselves. I look loads of pictures and videos of Lake Apo at sunrise.

After that, we had “pampa-init” which is just coffee or any plain hot beverage you prefer to start your day. Filipinos get that habit. I thought this was breakfast, as I was used to pampa-init = breakfast at home. Here, and maybe by some, they actually take hot drinks before the have breakfast. This was another excuse to get me to sit down and just stare out at the lake and the slowly rising of the sun. At one point, I thought of my mom, I should have pestered her to come along with me. She would have love the place, as I did.
We then ran upstairs (well, I did *grins) to get changed and hit the waters! The spring water pool is free flowing. I thought it was as cold, as the Timoga Spring Pools of Iligan City, but it was fairly tolerable and I love swimming, cold or warm safe waters does not bother me one bit. 
We had a full meal breakfast at the floating cottage after the swim. Some talks about how Dr. Alfonso’s plans in preserving Lake Apo and protecting it by proper environment management and farm practices.
The tree house of the young members of the family is tucked at a corner, this playhouse is good for any kid to play and let time pass by.
We then got on the kayaks and weaved through the serene waters of the lake. I had to hand it out to Alex who was excellent in paddling, ofcourse, he was trying to bump into my kayak to scare me out of wits.
A video of us Alex and I, Ate Arlene was on the floating cottage taking photos and videos of us.
And yes! After a couple of turns, Dr. Alfonso gave me a quick jet ski driving instructions and before I knew it — I was making ripples on the waters. I was taught how to maneuver the jet ski back to the floating cottage and Dr. Alfonso got off and ask, “Okay ra ka kung ikaw ra isa?” (Loose Translation: Will you be okay on your own?).
The answer was yes! I took the courage and drove the jet ski mad. LOL! For someone who does not know how to drive a bicycle or motorcycle — I guess I was not bad at it. 

*Don’t let the comfort of bed tempt you. Wake up early for that nice sunrise.

*I need not remind you again to bring your swimsuits for a nice swim to start your day.
*Have breakfast on the floating cottage, bring a book if you must.
*Bring your water-proof cams or cases.
*Swallow your fears and face the serene waters by kayak, canoe, or jet ski.

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, 
and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” 
– Samuel Johnson


Approximately 12km away from city proper lies a tranquil and serene Lake Apo at Guinoroyan, Valencia, Bukidnon
The Lake Apo got it’s name from which it located at — the Sitio Lake Apo and is approximately 24 hectares and 83ft. in depth and has been dubbed as being the cleanest landlocked body of water in Northern Mindanao.
We got there at dark as we got into road trouble along the way.

 Remember that feeling when you know your mom has been shopping for Christmas gifts but you never get to find those wrapped up presents anywhere in the house? And your mom always telling you to wait for Christmas?— it’s that feeling! Knowing that you’re staring out on a dark horizon only to see the shapes of trees and slopes but too dark to make out the details. And was told to wait for the morning to see how beautiful the lake is lit up by the sun.
But oh well! Our gracious host, Dr. Alfonso offered us some green tea sweetened with honey at the porch with orchestrating crickets sounds behind us. The rest house was nearly pitched dark with a few  lamps romantically lighting up a few corners. The house is actually solar-powered and is constructed that natural light would just come in to illuminate the place. But during the night, lamps are lit to conserve the solar power for other consumption or use — in our case, recharging our cameras and cellular phones! LOL!

As promised, the view of the lake and the display of red and orange hues in the sky come sunrise was a breath taker. 

From the dark sky, the sun lit up and shows the faintest blue sky above us. It is one of my best-to-visit-place and to experience the sunrise at Lake Apo.

Sunlight also lifted the curtain and showed us the landscape and rest house at The Timeless Place Lake Apo. I am at my element surrounded in greens and woods, and water — I just loved my stay here. Even the little nooks and crannies well fitted the place and it seemed as if it has been standing there over centuries already. 

The rest house is well cared and tended after for. There were little somethings that you can find around the house that fits in the homey, country home  feeling it gives.
Dr. Alfonso has been nature’s good friend as he continually cares for the preservation of the lake through proper farming and surrounding area management practices. He envisions it as taking care of it not only for today but also for the future generations.
Lake Apo is one place where time seems to stand still. People get to enjoy both beauty and grace of the Mother Nature and spend time with family, colleagues and friends. This is a little bit of heaven in Valencia Bukidnon.
+  Don’t forget to bring your swimsuits for a swim at the pool or lake
 Bring your trekking shoes too for a short 2-3hour trek up the highest point surrounding Lake Apo
 It is best to carry your waterproof cameras, they are kayaks, canoes, jet ski for water sports activities too!^^
 Charge your gadgets full before heading out to the Alfonso rest house, it will save you the worry of not being able to document your stay there
 Cellular network signals may be a bit weak, so make sure you take care of important contacts before your trip.

“When we are present in each moment, 
the past gently rolls up behind us 
and the future slowly unravels before us.” 
 – Rev Richard Levy

On Travelling and Globe

Travelling though exciting can also be daunting sometimes. Packing and placing the essentials in your bags can come as easily as the act of eating itself. It can be done with eyes closed and it can get to be a second nature — that is if you’ve been travelling for some time already. Another worry one has to consider is leaving the routines, your whereabouts, or keeping your networks informed of your travel plan. 

I’ve been super lucky with Globe telecom for constantly innovating the means to communicate. Gone are the days that cellular phones are just for call and SMS/MMS, they offer more and defines telecommunication in a much broader scale. I get to connect with my social media networks as if I brought a computer with me in my travels. 

It’s always great to be connected with family, friends, and work even when you’re out having fun! You get to share your travels. To top it off, you get to have freebies and some discounts from Globe and/or their services.

When Globe finalized their co-presenting the Mindanao Bloggers Summit 2011 on October 29-30, 2011 at Iligan City — my heart just skipped a beat! The Globe’s presence in this summit proves that they not only hold the reign in mobile communication but has also entered in the mobile internet to keep you updated in your social media networks. That means you get to go online on your mobile, anywhere, anytime — where you see fit! 

Globe has been generous enough to not only help Iligan Bloggers Society realize this event, but they want to extend their generousity to the participants of the 5th Mindanao Bloggers Summit by covering the registration fees! For a blogger, you get to travel a lot — for fun and passion for it, and sometimes, for seminars and summit to upgrade your knowledge and circulate in the blogosphere. Treats like this are too sweet to let pass.

If you’re joining to become a participant, register now, or for those who are interested to sponsor, contact Iligan Bloggers Society, and don’t miss out on this chance.

This is an exclusive promotional post for Globe Telecom  for the  Mindanao Bloggers Summit 2011.

On Travelling and Getting the Cool Flight Deals!

People would always ask how a travel blogger does the travelling. Some would always equate travel with expense and without any returns. So why travel? someone asked. 
There’s more to travelling than just getting to the destination and arriving at each itinerary on your list. Some travel bloggers has a different say to why they travel and what is, is there. For me though, it’s getting the deals, and planning the adventure that pumps up the excitement for the travel. And most of the time, travel for me is half the destination and half the getting there and surviving it. Travelling is also only a fraction of saying ” I’ve been there”, but mostly it is the ” Now I know”, “What I’ve just learned”, and the “It opened my eyes”. 

Here are some tips on getting some travel time for a less budget:

1. Plan your travel WAY ahead of time
Choose your destination/s and plan the length of your travel — and STICK to it. Plan months or even a year ahead, it gives you time to plan and prepare for that one trip you’ve been dying to have. Some of the advance bookings are discounted and you might just chance upon a flight promo sale.
2. Try the Social Media Networking over the traditional
On this new age of technology, businesses and companies have been smart to open and take advantage of the online market. LIKE, FOLLOW, and ADD those groups, pages, and accounts of airline companies, travel agencies, or hotels. Look out for discounted rates and promos, and you’ll surely want to travel more.

3. Blog hop/surf Online.
There are quiet a number of people whose lives are into travelling. The best thing about them is that they are multi-skilled individuals and maintains a blog or two or more. Check out their blogs and you can get the best reads on personal experiences by these people —- the Pinoy Travel Bloggers.
4. Check Online Contest
Airphil Express is one of the budget airlines who is generous to share the experience of travelling. They usually have online contest that I would check out every once in awhile. You will never know that your lucky stars are smiling at you.

5. Be Updated on Local Events

Some local events are co-presented by companies that might be your ticket for a free trip. Check out the partners and sponsors of these events and you will surely know what surprises and prizes are up for grabs!

Take one of this years biggest blogging event, the Mindanao Bloggers Summit 2011 on October 29-30, 2011 at Iligan City. One of the best things about it is that Airphil Express is a co-presentor being one of the major sponsors for the event.   Their participation is a clear proof that they are committed to make their presence known in the southern part of the Philippines. The youngest fleet among budget airlines now takes its promotions to greater proportions by sponsoring flight tickets for some of the speakers and for some lucky participants. Yes! You read that last line right! They want you to experience their services as you take on travelling with them. 
Some lucky participants will get the chance to win round trip tickets.
Whether or not you are into blogging, Airphil Express has surprises on it’s wings. So always be on a look out for great deals. Travelling on nearly half or more of your expected budget is a challenge, but it is also a thrill to achieve it.

If you’re joining to become a participant, register now, or for those who are interested to sponsor, contact Iligan Bloggers Society, and don’t miss out on this chance.
This is an exclusive promotional post for Airphil Express for the  Mindanao Bloggers Summit 2011.


CAGAYAN DE ORO | Taking on the CDO River Rapids

Cagayan de Oro City has been known for the white river rapids rafting adventure with the long stretch of rushing water rapids of the Cagayan de Oro River. Adventure trips was never my cup of tea but over the extended weekend, we headed out for an adventure fit to really get excited about.

Clad in hard hats and life vest for safety, my brother PoyPoy, cousins Ate Tischa, Coi, Juz, Dave, and Val took on the Cagayan de Oro River rapids. Thanks to Kuya Bong who organized the trip for us, we were at the The Red Rafts start point for an adventure worth the adrenaline. But track back to starting point, we had our basics in rafting session and the safety drill for, oh well, safety measures. LOL!
After about 10-15mins or so of the basics and safety measures in water rafting — we did our first official High Five before hitting the rapids. It was, by the way, as the guides said, a little rougher with rain fall the day before. Weeeeeeeeeeeee for that! Yes! I was actually looking forward to be tossed around and get battered by the water, AND!!! I have my bro and male cousins to paddle us through it. (*cheat! bleeeh..I know! LOL!) But I was hard on myself to paddle it out to finish with them.
Despite warnings, all seven of us had to fit on in one raft, together with two guides because the water was high and the rapids were big. Nearly overloaded, we wanted to have it so, for the pictures and videos. LOL! And so we took it all in together.
The river runs it’s course on the Northern Central Mindanao being a natural boundary of Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro and empties at Macajalar Bay. The limestone formations and the lush vegetation framing the river is a sight for sore eyes. the guides would inject a little information and would point out some facts and information along the course of the river.
Everyone of us were first-timers on rafting on rapids, and as if the rapids and rainfall had not scared us, we had Class IV (Exciting) Package in a 18.6km stretch of the river for a 4hour traverse.
Enjoying the 21 rapids and a couple of bonus ones with rainfall the day before meet —- The game face. The scared face. The serious paddler face. And the just enjoying the ride face. LOL!
The tricks we did and a first 2 attempts of capsizing the raft pumped the adrenaline in us
 Extreme IV was “Longer rapids with powerful waves and strong currents. The passages are boulder-choked and require precise maneuvering. Scouting from shore is mandatory. Exciting and challenging for all.“,  as described at the The Red Rafts adventure company site and we conquered it!


+ Wear appropriate clothing. Long sleeves/ arm protector sleeves and leggings is a must with 4hours under the scorching sun.
+ Use sunblock lotions with high SPF generously. The water and sweat washes off the lotion, make sure to place less lotion on your forehead to prevent running of lotion to the eyes.
+ Wear water shoes or nicely fitted footwear.
+ The photos and videos are part of the package, however, a waterproof camera comes in handy for the ride.
“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. 
The sleeper must awaken.”
— Frank Herbert


MANOLO FORTICH | Drenched Ziplining & Rolling at Dahilayan

The Dahilayan Adventure Park is known for having the longest dual zipline in Asia (to date). The park is strategically located at a slopes of the Mt. Katinglad with a deep ravines at it’s side ideally paving a direction for the ziplines. 
Dahilayan, when we went there, was gloomy with a little threat of rain pour. By the time we’ve gone around the Forest Park and gotten ourselves ready for the ziplines, it was looking pretty badly. And it gave a sour taste on my mouth. I’ve been to few zipline services that declined a ride when its raining. I was not happy with the fluffy grey clouds.

It was good that good news was given to us, we could — conquer Dahilayan Adventure Park Zipline raining!
It was a quick fitting of the harnesses for us. And as soon as we were ready for the first cable line, tadaaaah!!!, as if on cue, rain fell. We got some rain to spice up the ride for all of us. 
The first two lines were 320m and 150m cable line zip down a lower part of the Mt. Katinglad Range. The rain did more than soaked us, it also added up to the excitement factor for all of us.

Ziplining the 840m cable in superman position was a total adrenaline rush! It was indeed a long ride because I was entertaining funny thoughts in my head halfway through it. LOL! With rain beating down on your face, it was hard to scream and keep your eyes open. I had to stop screaming to wipe rain water off my face along the line. LOL! Total panira ng (spoiler of the) moment.

 As if that adrenaline rush was not enough, I got to pair up with my cousin Dave for the Astral Zorbit Ride. It is an inflated hollow ball that straps in the passenger at the inner sides of the ball at the knees, waists, arms and you get to hold on to a hand handle.

It lasted a good few seconds, with us secured inside the ball as it rolls around the Zorbit path downwards. Talk about hamster’s life for a few seconds! LOL!

Good thing Dave and I had strong stomachs to hold on to our gastric contents. We just screamed out till our vocal chords could take it.

Rain did not stop us from having fun at Dahilayan Adventure Park, it’s just a matter of mind over matter. In this case, we dared not let rain drench our spirits down. Cheers to a fun-filled Dahilayan Adventure!

+ Wear appropriate clothing. Manolo Fortich is known to be the Baguio in Mindanao as it gets really cold. Bring jackets or sweaters, and extra clothing if rain soaks you.
+ They actually allow camera’s during your zipline rides at the passengers request, make sure you get to strap it on tightly and hold on to it firmly. Should it rain, it’s best to carry a waterproof camera.
+ Enjoy the ride/s and have fun! It’s not everyday you get to scream at the top of your lungs and people are okay and encourages it. So take advantage!

You may also like to read:

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. 
There is no end to the adventures we can have
 if only we seek them with our eyes open.” — Jawaharal Nehru

MANOLO FORTICH | Happy at the Gloomy Dahilayan

Popping ear sounds and drop in environmental temperature tells me, I am back to the familiar terrain of Bukidnon. This time we took the other path from the forked road at the rotanda to lead us to Manalo Fortich.
Manolo Fortich is 40km from Cagayan de Oro, where the popular tourist adventure destination is located, the Dahilayan Adventure Park.

The national park is 4,700 ft. above sea level and is endless bounty of nature and adventure fitted as one. It has the longest dual zipline in Asia (to date), and offers other adventure activities such as ATV, Zorbit, and Tree Top Adventure. They also have restaurant, cafe, picnic areas, and a forest park that is fitting to any age group, and gathering.

The PineGroove Mountain Lodge and Restaurant sit atop of a hill with ceiling high windows for a view of the Pine Tree tops.

 The facilities are well kept, with cottages for a meal outdoors and a view you’d wished to not forget.

Entering the Forest Park is a welcome greeting from an life-sized Indian Chieftain figure. Inside the forest park are tons of life-like figures of Indians, animals, and a playground fit for the young and young at hearts.
Imagine our excitement finding these life like figures to our merry making. 
My brother and cousins were at their element. Trying out everything in the park like some kid finding a new playground to themselves.

Ofcourse. These are guys, and I can hardly keep up with them. Into physical activities, they tried out the play rides! We didn’t know if there was any age restrictions for it. They did like any other kid would do. Play hard and crazy.
The sky was grey and sad when we got there. The air added to the chills we got with us not dressed up for it. But still the beautiful Forest Park Cafe was a stand out. I just love it’s dark wood structure jutting out from the greens, with the pine tress framing it at the sides.
Some nooks gave a private garden appeal for overnight stays on the suites of the park. 
With the little light we had, and the fogged and grey backgrounds, this place still held a serene and homey feel to it. Makes you wanna get curled up in blankets with a hot choco drink and a good book.

+ Wear appropriate clothing, the weather changes drastically over this region to a bearable light rain shower. But the biting cold might get to you.
+  Bring your kids, family and/or your friends with a kid at heart with you. 
…They will love the place and you will love looking at them running around — LITERALLY! LOL
+ You must try Ian’s nuts!!!! Literally!
… *grins* Ian’s Nuts: Guyana Chestnuts comes in peeled and unpeeled packs. Get the unpeeled pack, it’s always fun to peel nuts with all the talking and stuff. The taste is fairly like any chestnuts, a little less nutty and a hint of sweetness to it. I tried looking for it in my hometown Pasalubong shop but could not find one. Best you get some there for home.
+  Bring umbrellas with you, for some surprise rain showers in the afternoon.
You may also want to read:

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child.
 There are seven million.” ~Walt Streightiff


Pilipinas, Tara Na

In celebration of the beautiful Philippines, the Department of Tourism, together with various artists worked on Pilipinas, Tara Na (Philippines, Lets Go), supported by Smart Communications and Perceptions, Inc. There were three versions of the songs, and finally, the videos are out for the public too. Here’s sharing and hoping to encourage you to travel and get to know our beautiful homeland. 

+ Get this on your travel music folders/list!


Tayo man ay iba-iba,
diwa’t puso ay iisa” – Pilipinas, Tara Na


Who Stole Pinay Travelista’s Magic?

I guess in marriage, they call it the “Honeymoon Stage”. Everything about you and the relationship is sugar-coated and going well — under plan or on spontaneous instances, and then totally morphs on a different direction.
I had a blissful first 3months with and as Pinay Travelista. And then, I got burnt out. Literally. Figuratively. Burnt out. If you have been one of the few who visited Pinay Travelista often, you might have noticed the total lack of post for the whole September. September was not for me. Somehow, the magic in me to be that Pinay Travelista was gone and it didn’t matter if it did.

Sigh. Somehow, someone had stolen my magic.

The month passed was never boring. I had a few trips and adventures here and there. I have folders full of photos to check out. A couple of people waiting for our experiences shared in Pinay Trav’s angle. Met interesting people and blogging personalities along the way. 
I lost the drive. I lost the blogging bug. I lost the Pinay Travelista in me.
Pinay Travelista is not just about the travel, that’s just half of it. I forgot to remind myself that the other half is about me. About how I see and share my perception, and how to inject a little of me in Pinay Trav. I don’t want to be all structured up, because travel blogging is never an angled cube but a kaleidoscope.

It is, after all, the travel, the blogger, the blog, and then — the travel blog.

I asked someone, where can I get inspiration? Maglalakad lakad ako kung mapupulot ko un sa daan, I said. And then I stumbled upon this video at Pinoy Travel Bloggers Bagets group, share by Doi of The Travelling Feet.

The song was sweet but the effect with how an exchange student depicted Philippines gave me goosebumps coupled with chills. I need to remind myself that travel blogging as Pinay Travelista is a freedom blog of how awesome my trips in life are and how blessed I am to see the world as I do — and be able to share them.

Who stole my magic? — maybe it wasn’t stolen at all, I just forgot where I placed it.
Where can I get inspiration? — from the little simple wonders that God humbles me with.

A li’l bit of me knows I’ll go far…. and this video –kinda– reminded the li’l bit of me who forgot that feeling. Hope you’ll like it enough to love it and that somehow it may inspire you too..^^