{ Sole Diaries } Sumilon Island Spells Vacation

Bluewaters Sumilon Island Resort
Bluewaters Resort
Sumilon Island, Cebu
March 2013

After my spontaneous introduction to freediving, a talk on social media and influence, and an overnight stay at Olango Island, I finally saw crystal clear, turquoise waters of Sumilon Island. I remember having a light argument with Peter a few months before this trip about this island we saw on a bus we rode during my trip with the boys. We’ve just crossed from Negros Oriental to Southern Cebu and on our way to Cebu City when we saw this island. I told him I’ll check it out in the maps, and maybe one day get to visit it. And a few months after, even when the trace of sun in my skin have not gone away from that trip, the sun was already kissing my skin again – this time at Sumilon Island. Ofcourse I had to call Peter up to tell him my little adventure. So friends have evil ways to torture each other. Funny how the universe listens even to passing arguments conversations.


{ Sole Diaries } Waking Up on a Bird Sanctuary Island

2013 03 Olango Island

Olango Island
March 2013

Olango Island has always been one of the islands I wanted to visit. Late last year, I schedule a Cebu City visit to run some errands, and meet up with my brothers who were based in the city. My sister, Audrey decided to join me, and would not allow me to do a spontaneous excursion at Olango Island by myself. Her argument was: I did not have any plans, did no prior research, and what I am supposed to see there. Sigh. The difficulty of having a sister whose travel style, and adventures differs from yours. So being the good younger sister that I was, I stayed at Cebu City, and enjoyed what I could in all it’s urban glory. Here I was, a few months after. I got invited for a talk at Social Media Influencers Summit, and the post-event tour included a visit at Olango Island. Please imagine my anything-Biology-interest dancing, and jumping inside of me. Olango Island is as real as the community as it could get. I love how the community revolves around talking care of the sanctuary, and that they advocate community based tourism.

EVENTS | Social Media Influencers Summit 2013 Speaking Engagement

Maybe I was still dizzy from the medications I took for my flu that afternoon. I, mentally, kicked myself for not booking a flight for Cebu because I wanted to try out something I have not done before – solo. Maybe it was a bad call to be adventurous when I was traveling for a talk for Social Media Influencers Summit 2013 last March 16, 2013 at the J Center Convention Hall, Mactan City, Cebu. 

By sunset, I still have not started with my presentation for the talk. I needed a break from work, and for wandering thoughts, and a call from J was a comfort. But near sundown, my presentation was progressing like the darkness that envelopes the fading light.

Cebu City was waking up when I got there. I was still grey, but the flickering lights signals a sleepy city readying itself to a busy day ahead. I was excited. I quickly made a dash to hail a cab, and have my stuff deposit at Center Suites only to find that Johnn had left without me. Good thing, I could still catch up with them at SM Mall for the spontaneous invite for a freediving session at Kontiki they were having that day. My presentation? Half-baked still, but I was not worrying. Weirdly.

By midday, I had to excuse myself from having all the fun that we were aving, and had to work on my presentation, and catch up with my work hours. A few hours alone in a room of four, I finally got to meet power-blogging-couple from Iloilo Jane and Tim. 
They were quick to say that I should have not ordered room service but I was starving then. That early dinner cost me added calories when we later met up with our host party, the Cebu Bloggers, and a dinner at Castle Peak Hotels. As the night progressed, later did I found out that I would be rubbing elbows, and exchanging words with some of the influential bloggers in the country — I thought of my presentation, I need to run through it again before I had to call it a night. Losing face in front of a crowd was not in my checklist.

L – R : Tim & Mary Jane Nobre, Jonha Revensencio, Me, Brenna Bustamante, and Vic Madriaga
Photo by: PhilippineTravelogue.com

I thank the organizers, in behalf of Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc., for inviting me to talk about the One For Iligan social media campaign initiated by IBS, Inc. Thank you for allowing us to share our social media campaign success story. Thank you acknowledging our efforts, and the opportunity to share how compassion can move people to do the best of the given situation — at what they are good, and useful at.

You might also like to read #SMIS2013 posts:
Weekend Trip for Social Media Influencers Summit
Social Media Influencers Summit 2013 Speaking Engagement

EVENTS | Weekend Trip for Social Media Influencers Summit

More than the traveling, and penning the experience down in this virtual capsule of memories, microblogging with the use of social media networks has been helpful for me in sharing travel moments. But social media network, and it’s dynamics is useful not just in travel blogging, online businesses, or on making a living when managing accounts for clients — but also for other cause beyond ourselves.

The iMedia Online in cooperation with Cebu Bloggers Society, Inc. organized the first run of the Social Media Influencers Summit with the theme “#TrendingForward”. Set for a weekend, on March 16, 2013, I am yet again off for a weekend trip, and this time it will be at Cebu City.
Keynote speaker will be Maria A. Ressa, along with other speakers of different fields, and areas “to share best practices from top industry leaders, set ethics and standards for users, and promote social media responsibility.” Iligan Blogger’s Society, Inc., my hometown blogging society, will be a part of this summit, as One For Iligan online advocacy story will be told there. When the T.S. Sendong caused floods, wrecked communities, and took lives in Iligan City, and how social media became a medium for information sharing, rescue, and donation drive. I will be the story teller for that advocacy, and honestly, I still have not finished my presentation yet.  o.O
It’s been awhile that I’ve traveled for blogging, or social media use related events, but I’m looking forward to see Cebu City again, and some friends there!

FESTIVALS | Tribal Dance in Colors at Kaamulan Festival 2013

Frequenting Bukidnon, more than just the laid back feel I have come to like this province, is it’s large plantations, towering pine trees, and the cool temperature that does not bite the skin. It was my first time to visit Bukidnon for it’s Kaamulan Festival. I knew a few online friends in the travel blogging society that were planning a trip for a Kaamulan 2013 but I still have not made up my mind. A few hours into the night the day before the Kaamulan street dancing competition, I met H, at Cagayan de Oro for a quick trip up the city of Malaybalay for my first Kaamulan Festival experience!
By morning, blood was shed. Okay, not of violence or accidents but of rituals by the members of the tribes who are early inhabitants of this land. The blood came from a sacrificed fowl, and a few coins, and other objects were symbolically arranged at the make-shift ritual altar in the middle of the streets before the actual street dancing competition started started.
We made our way to the long closed-off road to where the dancers, and members from the different tribes awaits the formal opening, and start of the streetdancing.
Kaamulan Festival at Bukidnon came form the word “amul”, which means “to gather”. Starting from the midmonth of February, and ending on March 10, the Kaamulan Festival is the gathering of tribes people for a purpose. This annual Festival is of dancing, chants, and ancient rituals performed by 7 indigenous tribes that originally inhabits the province of Bukidnon.

The one thing I like about this festival is how the whole tribe —- from the young to the old gather in their tribal colorful outfits into the streets, and joins in on the parade. From this gathering, you would see how large, and how extravagant a tribe is with their number, and their outfits,, and preparations.

When the sun was up, and the streetdancing finally started, the whole width of the street were filled by the dancers seemingly oblivious to to crowd as they danced in steps unique to their tribe.

After a few hours of watching, and taking shots at the sidelines, we decided to walk to the Kaamulan Grounds where the showdown will take place. We had to walk through throngs of watchers, and follow the dancers under the heat of the sun.

When we got to the Kaamulan Grounds, we were lucky enough to be be given spot to witness the tribes dance during the showdown like the sun was not high up during noon time. The colorful outfits were nice contrast to the ground’s grass-filled space, and the lined trees behind the performers, and the blue skies. Yes. It was a good day for merry making, and festivities. Definitely one of my favorite festivals in the country!

DUMAGUETE CITY | Silliman University On Foot

If there is one thing I would want to check out was the Silliman University. While killing the time, and waiting for the others to arrive, we went to see a bit of the university by the sea on foot. Silliman University is the oldest American Institute, founded on 1901, and is one of the top performing school in the Philippines. It is located, and occupies 33 hectares at the seaside community of Dumaguete City.

Dumaguete City has been called a “center of learning in the south” or a “university town” due to the presence of Silliman and other universities that have made their mark nationally and abroad.The city has become a melting pot of students, professionals, artists, scholars and the literati coming from the country and the world. unfortunately, we did not get to see most of what Silliman University is for a visitor. But even so, Silliman University is impressive.

On the western part of Silliman University is the Gate of Knowledge, one of the iconic structures of this institution. It was built in the 1950s, and serves as the main entrance to the main campus, and the starting point of the 2km Hibbard Avenue. The original portal, called the Gate of Opportunity (built circa 1901-1905), is on the southeastern side of the campus facing the Rizal Boulevard. Silliman’s portals have become the de facto symbol for the university and the City of Dumaguete. It has also been incorporated into the provincial seal of the Province of Negros Oriental.


Dr. David Sutherland Hibbard, a man from Lyndon, Kansas who, was tasked to found the institution after serving as a pastor in a Presbyterian church. Upon his arrival in the Philippines, he was commissioned, with his wife Laura, to scout the southern part of the islands to determine the best location for the school. His original points of destination were Cebu, Zamboanga and Iloilo. While in Cebu, a suggestion came to him to make a side-trip to Dumaguete where he met Rev. Captain John Anthony Randolph, chaplain of the 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment stationed at that time in Dumaguete. Later he was introduced to Don Meliton Larena, the town’s local presidente and to his brother Demetrio Larena, then the vice-governor of the province. Hibbard got attracted to the place and decided to establish the school in the locality. He would later on write that the “beauty of Dumaguete and the friendliness of the people” helped in bringing about his decision.

There were fifteen boys that first morning. The equipment consisted of four desks about ten feet long, two tables and two chairs, a few McGuffey’s Readers, a few geographies, arithmetics and ninth-grade grammars. I was President; Mrs. Hibbard was the faculty.

In his honor a memorabilia statue now stands facing the Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete City. However due to time, rough weather, and strong winds  from tropical storms that passed by, we found the statue leaning on a bamboo ladder for support. Nevertheless, it stands proud and unwavering. Thumbs up to that — and really hoping they could get it fixed soon!


The Silliman University Bell was a gift from the children of America given through the New York’s Women Foreign Mission Board, and was mounted in 1918 in a tower behind the present Alumni Hall.

For seventy years it commanded the early morning, noon, and evening hours of the University. it defined class period, and provided alarms for emergencies. Its sound would reinforce the sense of belongingness for those who have walk through the campus.”

The construction for the Silliman University Church began in 1941. Due to interruptions brought by World War II, it was completed only in 1949. It has extended pews, and sitting area facing the church that is ideal for students, and visitors to be solemn in prayer even when outside of the church walls. Check a separate post on Silliman University Church.

Silliman University maintains three museums: the Anthropology Museum, the Gonzales Museum of Natural History, and the Marine Mammal Museum of the Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences (IEMS). But we only got to visit the Anthropology Museum which was accessible, and the nearest the West Portal entry, and faces the southeastern part of the boulevard. Check a separate post on the Silliman University Anthropology Museum.

+ If you’re a visitor, do travel with a least one Identification Card to leave with the security guards by the gates, and in exchange for a Visitor’s ID.
+ There are lined up Acacia trees for shade, but the sun might be high up during your walk tour, it is best to bring an umbrella with you.
+ The Anthropology Museum is open for students, faculty, and visitors. Please check out a separate post on that.
+ Silliman University has deeply rooted history on it’s campus, and university’s structures. It pays to read on ahead with what you want to check out. Like I wish we could’ve checked out Channon Hall, it was one of the halls occupied by the Japanese during World War II. Not so much on ghost hunting or of any sort like that, but I do want to see how the structure fairly made it well through the years.

Silliman University
Location Map HERE

1] From the Dumaguete Port
::: Trike = 8PhP
::: On foot, walk straight from the exit of the port which is the Flores Avenue
    Look for the large signage SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY,
          where the Flores Ave converge with Rizal Boulevard
    Behind the signage are several institute halls, the Silliman Hall will be at the end of that block
    Take the right turn on that corner, and walk the Rizal Boulevard – Silliman Avenue
    Take the first right turn, and your first landmark will be the West Portals
    Do ask around, the students, and university staff are very accommodating

You might like to read DUMAGUETE CITY related posts here:
En Route Dumaguete | Daylight on the Road
Confessions | Traveling With the Boys — COMING UP! =P

DUMAGUETE CITY | Finding Comfort at Hotel Nicanor

By the morning after, we thanked our gracious hosts, and went back to the city. We stayed at Hotel Nicanor by recommendation of our hosts. Few of our Cebu-based friends were arriving, and we still had enough time to settle in our stuff, and see both the university, and the city as much as we could that day.
Hotel Nicanor is located in the middle downtown of Dumaguete. Before the trip, I was eyeing the same accommodation for it’s strategic location near the mall, Cathedral, and Bell Tower, Silliman University, and the boulevard. It was good that our host recommended it as well. The morning after we had ourselves checked – in, while we waited for friends that were scheduled to arrive that day.
Hotel Nicanor was home for the next few days.

Spacious rooms, humongous beds, cozy ambience — Hotel Nicanor has only thought of the best of accommodations their guests with the following hotel features:

  • Free internet connection in every room (wired network and WIFI hotspot)
  • 24-hour Standy Generator
  • Free pick-up at the Airport/Dumaguete Seaport (upon request only) 6am-5pm only must be booked prior to check in date
  • Laundry service available
  • Free Purified Drinking Water
  • 24-hr Elevator
  • Secured with 24-hr CCTV security system
Hotel Nicanor is very accessible, and the staff were very warm and accommodating. Though I found that the hotel hallways were dimly lighted, as were as the light fixtures in the rooms. It gives off a warm, and elegant feel to the place, but I just wished a bit that the hallways were properly lighted up. Or maybe it is just me with dimly lighted hallways.
The Twin Room, and Superior Room just had enough leg room, but not entirely spacious to move around. We stayed at the twin room, and if it were just Audrey and I, the room would be spacious enough. But I think the guys are better off on a room with enough floor area to move around.

HOTEL NICANOR ROOM RATES (Discounted Online Rates)
Nicanor Suites         2,600PhP
Family Suite            2,400PhP
Executive Deluxe    2,200PhP
Family Room           2,100PhP
Grandeur Superior Rooms     1,500PhP
Superior Room         1,400PhP
Twin Room              1,350PhP
Matrimonial             1,350PhP
Single Room             1,050PhP
***Find cheaper room rates online: discounted online rates

The Superior room was where the couple stayed, maybe it was jest me or the room are too closed in. I’m never a big fan of rooms without windows, and small floor area. The Family De Luxe is spacious and is recommended should there be children in the group, with just enough floor area to move around with kids in tow, or if you’re planning on sharing a room — it was the room the entourage stayed, and became their dressing rooms too.
Wifi connection is fast, even when almost everyone in our travel group were connected to it at the same time. but should you be traveling without any gadgets with you, a 24-hour internet cafe can accommodate your need to get online, and snack area is also open.
We did not get to stay too long at the hotel, it was just shelter, but it was home for the next following days. The longest time we had hanging around in our rooms was when we were all dressed up, and waiting for us to be picked up by the transport service to get us to the event venue — which never happened. The transport service picking us up, not the event, that is. No, the transport service was not of the hotel. That one deserves a single post.

Hotel Nicanor (Discounted Online Rates)

San Jose St. Dumaguete City
(035) 226 3330

You might like to read DUMAGUETE CITY related posts here:
En Route Dumaguete | Daylight on the Road