Friday, June 27, 2014

Getting lost in CDO and Iligan

After a day tour in Camiguin, it proved difficult to look for dinner.  I went around the city center and found a small restaurant.  They said Parola is a nice place to dine but then I knew of the place only when there was a couple who went in the resto and that was too late coz I had my first chew of the food I ordered.... After my dinner of chicken curry which was salty, I just decided to call it a night and went to my hotel.  I slept early so I can go to the pier earlier.  I've got this feeling that I'd miss my trip if I'd go to bed late.  And oh, I bought some pastels with me from Camiguin.

The next day was quite fast.  I went to the city center again and asked around how to get to the pier.  There was a van and a jeep and I opted for the jeep.  It looks like a worn out yet sturdy vehicle.  The ride took me for an hour and a half.  It was crazy because the fare was just twenty five pesos.  I did not know which route to take in the pier and obviously did not know which shipping company.  Hahahaha as I have said. I was having this vacation planning to get lost maybe ?  I asked around and found the boat for the trip.  I waited for 30 minutes and off we went to the mainland of Mindanao. The trip was relatively safe.  The weather was awesomely sunny ;)  Quite lucky as the weather was really great.

Going to Cagayan de Oro or CDO was by bus.  I obviously did not know how to or where to go for the bus terminal so I just followed around some couple of teachers whom I've overheard from the jeepney that they are going to CDO for some seminar workshop.  I went along with them riding the three wheeled pedaled vehicle we called trisikad.  It would have been a bicycle if it has two wheels =))  Inside the terminal, there was one air-conditioned bus leaving in an hour and an open nature ventilated bus leaving any minute.  I was a bit scared riding the non-air-conditioned bus but I still had more days so I decided to take it just to be on the safe side and save some cash.  I did not have lunch yet.  I was hungry and I only have one otap with me.  I decided to buy three boiled eggs for 20pesos for lunch ;)  Three boiled eggs weren't enough.  I just had to sustain myself with the water I bought from earlier.  I just slept and went along the rugged ride to CDO.  I woke up once in a while because of some noise or commotion around. It was around 3PM when I got into CDO and found myself in Agora.  That's what they call their bus terminal with some fastfood joints around.  I saw jollibee and I did not hesitate for a single thought and rushed in.  I ordered two pieces spicy fried chicken with rice and coke and also a regular hamburger.  Yum yum yum. Late lunch was amazing ;)  The next thing to do was look for a hotel.  I did not know how to go around the city.  I knew they had a mall called Limketkai and I felt that I might find a hotel around.  I asked around how to get there and fortunately people were genuinely nice.  I took a jeepney going to Limketkai. I stroll around the mall to my heart's content before looking for a place to stay for the next few days.  I went out of Limketkai looking for a hotel and there was one which looked pricey.  I can not afford the place so I walked around and saw an add that there's this hotel called Dmorvies which was 250 pesos for a night.  They had internet, cable and the room was air-conditioned. I do not know how to go there somehow, so I flagged a taxi for 50 pesos.  I went inside the hotel, went straight to the receptionist and paid for a three night stay.  I went up to my room and found it to be really small.  I could not ask for more since I had to save a bit.  Then suddenly I realized I was exhausted.  After fixing my things, I took an hour nap.  The next activity would be to book for the wild water rafting so I asked around my friends to look for some contact numbers.  It was a Saturday the next day and I would want the wild water rafting on a Sunday. I was able to book one for myself at Bugsay.  I did not know where the dowtown area yet so I was in for some exploration.  I went outside and asked around how to go to Xavier University.  There were lots of taxi but I preferred the jeepney.  Luckily, I found Xavier.  Its where Bugsay will fetch me for the Sunday trip.  It was getting a bit dark, and I was hungry.  I walked around and found Gasiano mall.  I had a huge rice meal at Mang Inasal.  Across Gaisano was Centrio an Ayala mall so I went there as well and went on window shopping. My feet were obviously aching from the look walks I had earlier.  I went out of the mall and since I do not know how and which jeepney to ride, I took a cab and flagged for 50 pesos.  I was tired.  I mulled of not going to Iligan but it would mean I missed something a lot so I decided to just get it on.  I slept quite late because of the movie series fringe.  I had to sleep already so I willed myself to bed at around 1am.  Don't get me wrong be worried, there was no incantations needed... lols.

The next day was an Iligan day!  I went out of the hotel quite excited.  I did not know how to go there so I asked the hotel staff what jeepney, which terminal and all that.  I found myself alighting at the wrong place so had to take another jeepney going to the bus terminal.  There was a bus leaving at that moment for Iligan and took my chance. After a good two hours I guess I found myself in Iligan.  The order of the day was to visit definitely Ma. Christina falls.  I do not know how to get there so I bought a liter of water and asked the guy who sold me that bottled water.  He was really informative but it was confusing.  I just decided to take it one at a time.  I found myself in front of Gaisano.  I asked the security guard but he did not know how to go to Ma. Christina falls.  I asked lady and well, I pointed to me the jeepney to ride.  I was so lucky and arrived at the falls just in time.  The entrance fee was very affordable at 45 pesos for non Iliganons which I felt discriminatory but then it was really cheap so I stopped the complaining voice inside my head.  I saw the river run and I was puzzled where's the water falls.  I asked the security guard and he told me to just wait he will have to call the service because the actual falls was situated actually a few minutes away from the garden which was where the service initially brought us.  Oh got so excited to finally meed the water falls.  Indeed I was not wrong.  Upon nearing the falls you could hear the really strong gush of the falls.  You can imagine it as a hundred lions roaring or a herd of wilder beasts migrating.  Well the I saw the falls it was truly magnificent. The sight did not fail me.  It cured the sore feet and aching heels. After spending sometime and cam whoring, I decided to go on another falls  called Tinago, which was nearby.  I took a jeepney again and then a motorbike.  You cant complain really as the fares were inexpensive.  It was called Tinago because when its translated to English it's hidden and really it is.  Be warned that the stairs going down the falls which was hidden from the mountains down was tough.  At times my knees were shaking so I had to stop and rest a bit.  I got a boost when I saw this pregnant woman assisted by her dear husband and an old lady walking up.  Hey I was going down it should be easier as I convinced myself.  I got there finally and the sight is really nice.  The water was freezing cold.  there a lot of people mostly students maybe having their summer vacation.  I just dipped myself along the stony banks.  It was satisfying but then it was really really cold.  I enjoyed the sound of the kids playing around who at some point would climbed up on the sides of the falls and do some somersault.  After enjoying the scenery, it was time to leave for CDO.  I took another motorbike.  Since I saw some buses going to CDO, I did not bother going to the terminal.  I just waited in the street.  I waited and waited and then came this jam packed bus bound for CDO.  I decided to take that bus and squeezed myself in.  It was a bit terrible and really uncomfortable but I was fearful actually not to arrive in CDO at an early time.  I still have to prepare for the wild water rafting the next day.  To my surprise, the bus stopped at the bus terminal.  I transferred to another bus which was air conditioned.  Since I am technically an MBA student at Ateneo, I asked for fare discount ;)   I arrived in CDO just the time it would be night time.  I was hungry so I decided to go to Mang Inasal again to have unlimited rice meal.  It was satisfying :D I also had the gory pork blood stew (dugo-dugo in Cebuano hahaha).  I thought I need to bright my phone for tomorrow's wild water rafting so I had to buy a water proof sling bag.  I found one at ROX. After that, I decided to call it a great day!

The next day was the wild water rafting day.  I went to Xavier University and waited there for almost an hour.  Pick up time was supposedly 7:30.  I arrived there at 6:30 and they picked me up at around 8am. So there, they fetched me and brought us to their office for registration.  I tasked myself to try the hard or advanced rafting even though it was my first time.  Well the ride was fun, informative and really quite an adventure.  It can give you a dose of adrenaline rush especially when you volunteer yourself to sit in front while everyone is paddling for dear life.  There were at least 5 or more challenging rapids and some of my mates fell off the raft.  Everyone was safe so no worries there :)  I was dead tired after rafting for 4 hours.  The trip from Cagayan river to the city center was an hour more so it was exhaustion extra ordinaire.  But it's an adventure not to miss :P  I went to the mall to eat and after that went to my hotel and dosed off.

The next day was my flight back to Cebu.  I just took a van from Limketkai called Magnum going to the airport and suddently I missed a lot about the places I went to for this adventure.  Right now I am planning to go to Siargao or Coron or Batanes :)  Oh I need to win the lottery to go backpacking again to Europe ;)

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”  - Augustine of Hippo

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Camiguin in my bucketlist

After that Boracay escapade with new found friends, my energy for travel hasn't waned yet. Well I was planning for an adventure to the south of the country.  The last vacation I had to Mindanao was when I was a first grader. It was not a vacation technically but rather to attend a funeral.  It was my first time to ride a plane and a first time with PAL.  Well this time around, yeah in the first to fifth of May, I had my first solo travel and definitely a bucketlist.  I flew to Camiguin :)

Camiguin is an Island closer to Mindanao than the Visayas region and the people there speaks Cebuano.  It was a backpack travel.  I only had with me my camera, a knapsack, a camera, some cash, and my roud trip open jaw plane tickets.

I had to wake up at around 4am on that faithful day.  I was excited and fearful.  But my confidence was so high nevertheless to conquer my first solo travel.  I was a bit nervous when I waited for my flight knowing that the plane I am gonna be in will be a turbo prop type.  It was small and the fact that the flight crew was weighing everyone made it all jittery.  I recalled that before the crew gave me my ticket, she offered me another ticket round trip, anywhere I like, anytime, if I opted to cancel my flight.  I thought of it for two seconds. Apart of me wanted to back out but my heart acted on itself and commanded my mouth to say no. And there you go everything was set on the roll.  When it was time to board, we were fetched by a bus.  The sunset was so beautiful; it's fiery - the kind you see in movies and it jolted my stomach. It was a bit unexplainable and I suddenly realized to take out my camera to document this holy journey of mine.  I panicked.  I couldn't get my camera to turn on.  I checked and the batteries weren't there.  I tapped my forehead a bit as I recalled I was charging my cam to full battery before I left.  I did not lose hope and in my blue pouch I found a dangling wire with the charger and the battery in it. Such was a great relief.  I put in the battery and began flicking my camera.  The  bus trip was fast so I couldn't get hold of any good photo. But I managed to get some few shots.  Right upon this moment, it's my first time to really see the photos as I was trying to conserve the battery at that time which made me  thought not to browse the photographs I took.

 It was good 30 minutes ride in the plane and I was greeted with Camiguin airport which was so cute.  I do not know where to go when we landed and the first mission was to find a place where to drop my belongings.  I was not expecting a nice place but then I realized it has to be decent enough to sleep.  I took a motorella its how they called the trike going to a recommended hotel, GV hotel.  I did not have really a lot of time to look for another place so I said yes to the room which is 450 pesos a night. I asked the receptionist how to get around and he offered my an island tour whole day and all the attractions for 800pesos in a motorbike with a driver.  I told him I was not interested in touring all the spots I just wanted to see the most of the beautiful attractions there is and so he agreed for 500pesos.  I am not that stingy but I try to negotiate as much as possible.  So there, after I put all my belongings inside my room, changed clothes and took some bites of otap (biscuits) I went down of the hotel ready and pumped.

Mission of that day were white island, sunken cemetery, station of the cross, the ruins and lastly the majestic katibawasan falls.  Oops! It is my first time to learn doing some selfies and I felt I terribly did some injustice to it.  And I was so surprised to eat some sea urchins :P After the white island adventure I had my first official station of the cross all the way to the sky as it was on the mountain side.  The hike was tiring, and at times would shook my knees but then I went on and took the challenge.  I went to the ruins of when the volcano in the island erupted.  Then to the sunken cemetery and lastly to ever gorgeous katibawasan falls.
To be continued ....