My Heart’s Travel Companions

It is mid-March, and the heat is at a bearable scorching level. Take that from someone who loves the brown tanned color on her skin and refuses to let go of that. I’ve always known, I was a summer child. I’ve always believed that we live for the summer. Even as a child, summer was about vacations, trips to the beaches, and unending foray with my siblings.
I want you guys to meet the 2 that makes up the 3 lasses of the house. Because summer is never summer without them.

Current Location: 
Windy City of the Land of the Free.
Choice of Travel Bag: 
Overnight large bags to small luggage + sports body bag

Honeylou. The eldest of the seven children of this big, loud, and “thermo” nuclear family. LOL. She takes one state at a time when she wants to, and when the need to get on the road arises. She once entered a beauty pageant and won the crown when our Papa said we shouldn’t, braved island hopping, weekend warrior trips with her college friends and to only share the details after, has this generic list in her head of must-bring stuff for travels, and eventually lives with a ready-to-go packed bags to date.

Our Mama started us learning the life on the roads with our trips to her province. Ate Honeylou kept us in buddy-system, and knows which kid was with whom, who carried the bags, and points out which seats for us to take. My travel perception and practices are greatly influenced by her. She is happily married and, every now and then, travels with her the man who won her heart — her soulmate. 

Current Location: 
Lion City where lions never live.
Choice of Travel Bag: 
Backpack + some girly bag
Audrey | AUDREYISM. She realized I was already into blogging but I called it “online journal” —- Ew. I know right? She never stopped pushing me to blog ever since. The maldeetuh of Maldeetuh Ramblings, she now blogs at the migrated and still in transition, Audreyisms and swears she is not a wordsmith. She would hide her writing from me and if she could help it, and not let me read any of her stuff at all. But her thoughts and simple play of words are addicting. For the sake of argument (Audrey) that she (you’re) not my sister, I would still read her (you). Some good stuff are a worthy read even on crumpled table napkins
Although only year and few months older than I, I was and still am a little (ahem) taller than she is. She is petite and would get away to be the youngest sister, but her small frame could not contain her feisty character. She braved searching for work far from home by her own, on her terms, and asked only for prayers to help her get by. She kept on moving a few distance more since, and comes home to recharge every once in a while. Like her blog, she is seriously thinking of going in transition on her line of work. But like any travelista, the world screams for her visits, and she gives in to it every time.
I have my travel inspirations and eternal summer sisters — the sandy shores, and wild growing forest greens, and the old provincial buses are never the same without them. I’ve learned some of the travelling practices that comes natural for me now, like to:
     + Have this ready to go packed backpack.
     + Never leave a pair of swimsuits behind. — you’ll never know when you need one!
     + Never go wrong packing a dress or two. — for the dates with random strangers. Weeeeeh?
     + Keep hydrated.
     + Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize.
     + Trust the inner woman’s instincts. — kasi meron daw ako nun. Chos!
     + Get-away for the weekend, just because.
     + Laugh  your mistakes off but learn from them.
     + and constantly be thankful of what life brings. — counting your blessing will, attract more!
Though we take travelling and the roads differently now, I’ve been lugging them around in every adventures in my heart. Akala niyo na kung sino itong travel companions ng puso ko ano? LOL. For now, it has been my summer sisters, my brothers, and mama and papa that I take when I get on the road or face a new adventure. I call them my heart’s travel companions.
PINAY TRAVELISTA’S THROW BACK:
Matanong lang, who does your heart travels with these days? =)
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I wanted to feel the sand on my feet again,
 so I decided to go away for the weekend.
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Finding Pinay Travelista

It would be nice to start off as how traveling started for me. But no, if we’ll start there, I will be constantly apologizing for poor memory — kasi I’ve been and always known I’d be travelling for as long as I could remember. There are a  few things in life that I was sure of, and isa ito. So eto, kung bakit naging travelista ang babaeng lalampa-lampa, lapitin ng disgrasyaayaw sa maraming tao,  and as if hindi pa sapat yung mga yun — hindi naman marunong tumawid ng kalsada. So why do I bother calling myself a travel blogger pa? Why do I travel pa, if half of the time I have to constantly worry if I’ll make out unscratched. I would rather be saying, “I woke up and realized I was living in a box. And the world beyond my frame doors had my white, black, and grey areas overtaken by colors and I never stopped doing lakwatsa.”  But I didn’t see it and it didn’t go that way. Sana ganun lang ka simple, but — simpleng kumplikado ang buhay.

Continue reading Finding Pinay Travelista

CAGAYAN DE ORO | Lost at a Familiar City

My week was packed with to do-list up my throat, and I should have gotten that wifi gadget for the road  with a Globe Tattoo Super Stick, it would have help me get my work done half the time. I was looking forward for Thursday, I had it written on my planner for a scheduled out of town trip. Short trip but I don’t know why, getting on the road releases the creative juice and hypes me up. So okay, the trip is mainly for business purpose but I was really hoping to get somewhere else and get some me time for this trip.

All I could think of was to pick up the Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc. Amendment of By-Laws at the Security of Exchange Commission.
Mission: Locked In
I was with my mom for this 2 hour drive and I was happy to have someone with me to talk to and get some light conversation to pass time. I don’t usually get some sleep, so hers was a welcome company.
There was a significant length of road under construction along the way. A good 3-5 kilometer length of bumpy road every few kilometers was uncomfortable and I all I could think of is to get to Cagayan de Oro as soon as we could. I asked my mom to have me dropped off at Gaisano Mall and I could commute from there, since she had to get to somewhere that was totally out of my way.
So here I was, taking a rela (motorcycle), and told the driver to drop me off at Pabayo St. I knew I could find another rela to take me to the SEC Office. But no, I was drop off “prematurely”. I kept on hailing for rela to get me to my destination but the kept on recieving a shake of the head — No. Great, I was lost. I, so, wanted to get online since blogger friend Xy-Za of Purple Slipperz left me a  personal message on which  directions to take. Carefree as I was then, I did not to take note of it. I wanted to put blame on the location of the office, it should not be located so off the city. Ugh! My travelling instinct was not working well for me. 
Eventually, I figured that I was at the wrong intersection, I was supposed to be at Pabayo-Hayes. And so, I walked a couple of blocks and finally hailed a rela to get me there. After nearly blowing off my steam when trying to find the office, I, eventually — thank the heavens, got there. But my string of bad luck did not stop there. I had to wait long. Though a good book was a good company, I was getting notifications on my mobile and wanted to get online for some work needed to be done.  I wished I bought that wifi gadget — Globe Tattoo Super Stick, I saw earlier this week. It would not only satisfy my need for connection on the laptop and/or my mobile, but as well as 4 others, since it could connect 5 devices at one time. Laptops, netbooks, and wifi ready mobiles could connect to it without a hassle. It would come in handy when I’m on the road and in dire need to access the internet to get some work done.
My waiting was because of  the unfortunate fact that the receipt of the processed document was not endorsed to me, so the office would not release the document. The good thing is that I was one of the signatories on it and with proper introduction, and my identification cards — it was released. When I got out, I hailed a taxi and told to the driver to take me to Ket Kai. I was not proud. LOL. I wanted to get around Cagayan de Oro by my own steam. Commute. And by that I meant take the rela, jeepney, or by foot. But I the unfortunate circumstances earlier really took the toll on me with the heat and the lost time — I was cranky and needed a good sugar fix.
I waited for my mom at the mall. And I am not a big fan of the malls, so I just wasted my time at the bookstore, bought books, had coffee at a coffee shop but did not linger too long, and went to the parking area after too much of waiting. It was testing my patience, all the waiting and doing nothing, when I had too much stuff to get done. I did not want  to spend time on a coffee shop with wifi connection, that would only have my mom to think it was okay for her to take her time and I wanted to get home as early if we could. Where was Globe Tattoo Super Stick when I need one — I knew I should have gotten one. All the waiting on zero wifi area at the parking area was totally a bum. I could have scratched off some to-do’s off my list, not wait like a wet puppy outside her masters door, and possibly saved me the face of getting lost at a familiar city earlier. 
I am not proud of this. LOL. But I’ve have learned to keep my patience, mentally kicked myself at the same time, and laughed by myself with words from a book that kept me company. So, the next time I get that “the universe is telling you” thing, like it did when I felt like I should get that wifi gadget for the road with the Globe Tattoo Super Stick — I should not be stopping myself.
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He may feel assured, he will meet with no difficulties or dangers, excepting in rare cases, 
nearly so bad as he beforehand anticipates. 
In a moral point of view, the effect ought to be, to teach him good-humoured patience,
 freedom from selfishness, the habit of acting for himself, and of making the best of every occurrence…
-Charles Darwin
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CAMIGUIN | Marine Life Peek

So I was bound for home. I had duty waiting for me at the end of the day, and I was beating against time to not miss it for the roads. But before heading back to Benoni Port, I sweetly reminded my host of a promise she said that they would show me a sanctuary for Giant Clams along the way.
There were two spots of which I wanted to stop by before calling this trip goodbye. So we went off the roads and sailed on a motorcyle down a very steep 2 lane road to the secluded side of the island. And by steep I meant, 35-40 degree winding road.
KIBILA GIANT CLAM CONSERVATION AND OCEAN NURSERY | Cantaan, Guinsiliban, Camiguin
Entrance Fee: 25 Php
Table Rental: 50Php (Small), 100Php (Large)
Snorkeling Fee: 150Php Pax
Mask & Snorkel: 100Php; Flippers: 100Php; Life Vest: 50Php; Goggles: 50Php

The Kabila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery is home to 2, 700 clams in the area, and about 400 of them within 1 meter from shoreline. It has been a protected area since 1994. Of the 9 species of clams found in the Philippines, 7 of it can be found here. Ofcourse, I was excited! In a little span of  few meters of salt water lies 7 of 9 species and amounting to over a thousand of them around for the whole area. At a cheap entrance fee, one can get an information and educational tour, sight-seeing, picture taking and some rest and relaxation. What a way to waste your hours on.

You can come in groups and have lunch or lazy afternoon with your family. There are available tables that can be rented. And oh! They even offer fresh fish to to be cooked however you like them.

The beach has a coarse white sand, and the long stretch of it is kinda like a wide open cove. I say it’s “kinda like” because there’s no such thing as a wide open cove. =P LOL There. I stand corrected — by myself. =P Moving on. This place would be perfect for coffee stories, and just letting time pass by while you stay shaded under some Talisay trees or Shade trees with anything to say, and just let comfortable silence sit there with you.
With my bathing swim buried beneath the contents of my pack, I settled to not push the tempting idea for a swim before I set for home. One corner framing this sanctuary are large volcanic rocks that made me want to check them out — and divert my attention from the sea that was calling me. Chos! 

PROVINCIAL FISHERY OFFICE | Benoni, Mahinog, Camiguin

A shallow coastal body of water, partly separated from a larger body of water by depositional feature is the Tanguines Lagoon of Camiguin. A long stretch of road passes by the land enclosed lagoon and the sea on the other side. Known for a lined of seafood restaurants, this lagoon is a blend of clean body of water and lush vegetation with walkways and restaurants on stilts for a one seafood coma you’ll find yourself in.

We were just passing by when I asked if it’s okay to take the longer route around the lagoon. And here we passed by the Provincial Fishery Office with it’s doors open. It was a midmorning Sunday and I was not expecting people around but we were lucky to have Sir Michael Marimon to show us around.

The fishery is home to different species, it has a main plank walkway with large empty cans to keep it afloat. At the edge are then enclosed large pens for different kinds of fish and some submerge tires for the clams to propagate on. 
It was nice of Sir Michael to feed the fish for us. Like little school girls on a field trip, Shy and I was excited and all-inquisitive. Sir Michael even encourage us to cross the bridge of the pen to better view the large Bangus or Milkfish in it. The largest one they have would reach to 10-15 kilos a piece. And since the pen is covered with fish net, we have to take a peek in between the planks to check them out.

I can never get enough of Camiguin and I know that will keep coming back for more. Maybe because it is laid-back, uninterrupted “towny” feel to it, and that mostly because people come here incognito — and respect each other for that. With a last glimpse and an over exposed shot, Camiguin will always be my comfort island. 

TRAVEL NOTES
+Always pack your slippers at an external pocket/compartment of your bag. It will come in handy when you just need-to-get-your-slippers-on moment.
+Tag the family along. Tables can be rented depending on how big your company is.

+Fresh fish can be bought and cooked depending on availability of kind, goes for 200 – 400Php/kilo inclusive of service fee for having it cooked.
+Snorkeling fee is at 150Php/with guide. You can rent, if you don’t have your gears with you.
+The Provincial Fishery Office is open during office hours, luck was on our sides when we passed by it. If you can, visit it and ask to be allowed to witness them harvesting fish eggs at the stroke of midnight. They usually harvest it 15mins after the fishes lays their egg before bringing them to the hatchery. 

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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

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Check out the rest of the CAMIGUIN SERIES post:

CAMIGUIN | A Cold, Soda, and Hot Spring Dips

For the love of water.

I arrived at Camiguin the  night before with a swollen foot. A wound on a foot that got badly inflamed gave a swollen foot with super cute digits attached to them. I cringed at the idea of travelling like that but I was already crossing the waters to Camiguin Island when it went really bad. Nursing it did not stopped me. And yes, carry not only band aids with you but topical antibiotic too. It will come in handy for circumstances like this.

STO. NIÑO COLD SPRING | Brgy. Bonbonon, Catarman, Camiguin

Regular: 20Php pax; 9y.o & below: Free
6PM & Onwards: 25Php
Overnight: 75Php
Cottage Rental/ 4hours: 50Php (AM); 60Php (PM) with 10Php on Additional hours

Sto. Niño Cold Spring is located 2. 4 km off the national highway. The road is pretty long and quite for a spot most visitors would stop by, then again, it was off season. Wait til you visit this area during the peak season. It will be teeming with motorists, families, magbarkada, and backpackers.
The cold spring consist of one large pool of cold fresh water complete with sand and rock floor bottom, and topped off with fresh water fishes swimming about. You can see the tiny Crucian or Prussian carps swimming around you if you’re really, really, really still. Uhhmmm.. Back to the basics, they are more Prussians than Crucians to me though. Pardon, I didn’t take the time to look at the snout differences — so let’s leave them as carps, eh. And since there are aquatic animals swimming about , also expect fresh water plants like Java ferns —  yes, the ones you see in aquariums. Wait, putting the nerd aside, it sums to a one giant aquarium for a pool to swim about — minus the glass and people tapping on the glass cases.

Aside from entrance fee, there’s also an overnight fee should you want an overnight stay. You can camp out at it’s ground with no additional camping fees for the night. There’s toilet and shower room, some grilling area, and a few locals around the place to keep you entertained with their stories on your whole duration. How about that! This set-up is actually good if you keep on moving and stay wherever night creeps up on you.

BURA SODA WATER SWIMMING POOL | Bura, Catarman, Camiguin
Regular (13 y.o & above): 20Php pax
6 – 12 y.o.: 10Php pax
Cottage Rental: 50Php

At first I thought that it’s just like any other pools I’ve been to and nothing unusual about it. But the story behind this is that the locals found the water to taste like Soda, so they made a two pools to serve from the bubbling underground water source that you could see at the side in the middle part of the trellis. Built and developed last 2007, the Bura Soda Water Swimming Pool is just as interesting as the other pools, and one of a kind in the Philippines. The water is crystal clear and has a silky, slippery feel to it.

I didn’t know the reason behind the name and why it was called that way until I tasted the water by the corner. Yes. I grew up as a curious child. Because a curious child is an intelligent child, or something like that. LOL. And oh well, the curiosity got the best results in this circumstance. And the “For Drinking Only” sign was screaming at me. The water tasted differently from fresh water spring pools. Kinda like flavored mineral waters you get that has sweetened aftertaste. But the locals say that it is not as sweet as before though, because the natural soda source has degraded over periods of time.

ARDENT HIBOK-HIBOK SPRING RESORT | Tagdo, Mambajao, Camiguin
Entrance Fee:  Regular   30Php pax
                       12 y.o. 15Php pax
Shed Rental: Regular:   70Php/3H
                    Family:   150Php/3H
                    Excess:       10Php/H

Remember when I said that you just got to have a camera life extras? Well, such is the case in this. My camera went dead. And yes, my back up plan was my reliable cellular phone.  In short, I love this phone to Camiguin and anywhere else and back. It was my saving grace. Until…. sniff* sniff* But that’s another blog posts in drafts.. =P

Ardent Spring is one of the popular visit spot in the island. I highly recommend you come here at the end of your day afer around your tour. The warm water, rough pools, and the laid back ambiance is relaxing and soothing. I could only imagine it right now. Nothing beats the hot springs. There use to be a direct outlet where you can actually sit at a corner and have a warm hydro massage. It felt so good on the shoulders and the backs that you would not mind getting stared at. LOL. But sadly, they have divert the water and that certain warm water drop at the corner was not there anymore. Oh well, the cascades from one pool to the next is still welcoming anyways.

Envisioned by the Provincial Government and Department of Tourism as a health spa complex, the array of different sized pools  of different temperature has kept the visitors coming back for more. 

And for the love of Ardent and the lack of photos, I will visit it again before the year ends. So, until then, I keep the comforts of warm inviting dip in my memory.

TRAVEL NOTES:
+ If you’re lucky and find that there are overgrown plants in the pool at Sto. Niño Cold Spring — take a swim for it. You’ll get that cat-rubbing-on-your-legs feeling in the water. Makes you think there’s something else underneath it.
+ You can camp on it’s grounds for the night.
+ The Soda Water Swimming Pool is situated inland and can take up pretty much of your time if you have a long and busy itinerary.
+ Soda Water Swimming Pool is close every Wednesdays for cleaning.
+Ardent Hot Spring has facilities other than the pools, you can check and in and stay there for pretty much your whole visit. See fees and rates: HERE

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No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home
and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.”  
~Lin Yutang

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Check out the rest of the CAMIGUIN SERIES post: