Standing at a modest 1,013 meters above sea level, Osmeña Peak is known to be Cebu’s highest point. Everybody is familiar with it because of the wonderful view of Mantalongon mountain range from the top and its easy accessibility to the public.
But last year, another peak that offers a stunning vista of the other side of Mantalongon highland range made a fuss on the web igniting the curiosity of every adventure junky. The mountains around this peak resemble that of the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol with their perfect muffin-like hills. But the fuss was not only because of that beautiful view but the name of the peak itself. I’m talking about Casino Peak now called Lugsangan Peak.
When the said peak started making a break, it went by the name Casino. Everybody became curious about it. What’s with the name? Is gambling going on there? Outdoor enthusiasts flak the place not only for the view but to discover the story behind that infamous name.
Ace and I were not exempted with that curiosity. We were also excited and we even made several plans to check it out. Unfortunately, we were not able to realize any of those together. His schedule didn’t meet with mine so he was unable to come with me when I visited the place with the Team Bang.
The Team Bang’s plan to trek Osmeña Peak and traverse to Kawasan Falls made my plan to visit Casino Peak possible. Few hours before the trip, I experienced a personal problem and I had to pull off my plan. I felt frustrated as I counted the remaining hours of our supposed departure. I was arguing with my subconscious whether to pursue the plan or stay home instead.
And yes! My will to taste an adventure won over. An hour before the agreed meet-up time, I found myself riding a cab heading to the terminal with my friend Abby. My friends Louise, Daisy, and Charlotte also tagged along. Oh, I forgot to mention, on that same day the other year (2016) we visited O’peak, so it was sort of an anniversary climb for us.
We arrived at the terminal earlier than expected. It was my friends’ first time to meet the Team Bang. Louise was especially excited to meet the man behind The Bisaya Traveler blog as she’s an avid reader. When everybody was all gathered, we hopped on a bus to Dalaguete. (See a guide to Osmeña Peak here.)
While we were riding a motorcycle going to Osmeña Peak, the rain started to pour. The road was covered with thick fog and the ride was freezing cold. When we arrived at the registration area, we did not waste any more time and started our hike after paying the necessary fees.
We already expected a foggy sight at the peak because of the weather. We didn’t stay long there because it was starting to get crowded. We had a short prayer at the top led by the Idol Wanderer and started our trek to Casino Peak.
We took a shortcut from the foot of O’Peak and passed by a cabbage field. Later on, we followed a concrete road that led us to the registration area of Casino Peak.
To my surprise, the sign said it’s Lugsangan Peak and not Casino. The man who was assigned at the registration enlightened us about the change of name. The owner of the land going to the peak is named Ka Seno thus the name Casino, however, the name sounded indecent and gave a bad impression. So they changed the name to Lugsangan Peak. Lugsangan is the barangay where the peak is located.
That sounds pretty interesting though.
The climb to the peak was not that hard. But the muddy trail made it dangerous and slippery. We also had to be cautious with the sharp rocks on the way.
The view from the top was breathtaking. It was windy and cold and we were standing only on slippery rocks with high cliffs on each side. I was amazed at the same time my legs trembled as I tried walking on a narrow rock. (I’m sure, Ace wouldn’t let me do that if he was there.)
The fog was thick because of the unfriendly weather. We were all seemed teased with the beautiful scenery as the wind blew and clearing the fog. But the murkiness just wouldn’t go away.
The mounds surrounding the peak was like a shy little girl having second thought whether to show up or not, a little girl wanting to play peekaboo.
As I sat in one of the sharp rocks, the situation made me ponder some things.
My life is full of failed expectations of myself, my family, and people around me. And sometimes, with me trying so hard not to fail, I forget to live in the moment. I sometimes forget to admire the journey. I have high hopes and all I see are those. I get too excited to see the silver lining that I failed to appreciate the things that made it glitter.
And I was there. Sitting, hoping and waiting for the sky to clear up. And I realized, I wasn’t there because of the view. I was there because of the journey. I was there because I want some adventure. I was there because I want to make new friends.
In the end, I realized, I was actually there to learn.
Over to you, what life experiences made you ponder things? What experiences taught you BIG lessons?
Almost two years of marriage but Ace and I are still dating.
Others might ask why would you still date your husband or wife? I say why not?
We know dating is what two people who are interested in each other do. That’s what they do when they want to learn more about each other. That’s where they start to become comfortable until the spark starts. In short, the beginning of a relationship. (Well, for most.)
But for Ace and I, our dating days did not end there. We didn’t stop dating after we got married. We think it’s important that’s why we keep doing it.
Here are 3 reasons why we don’t stop going on a date:
It reminds us why we love each other.
Dating reminds us why we dated each other in the first place. It reminds us of the things that brought us together. It reminds us the chills and butterflies.
It adds spice and excitement.
Who said the butterflies are gone? When Ace and I go on a date, I still feel the excitement of choosing which dress or clothes to wear. I also see him having a hard time choosing his. (Call us crazy and weird, but really.) Not only that, it also breaks the monotony of our life at home.
It keeps the romance alive.
For new couples, romance is not a question. But if you and your husband see each other every day, you’ll get used to each other and eventually find every day a normal day for both of you. Dating lets us talk about us. It makes us fall in love over and over again. Most of all, it improves our intimacy.
Dating doesn’t have to be expensive.
Don’t think Ace and I are lucky because we have the means to go on a date. Because the reality is that we don’t have. We’re just like any average couple who are also trying to make ends meet. Just like the old adage said, ‘If there’s a will, there’s a way.” Dates don’t have to be expensive. You can go on a date without spending too much or not spending at all.
Let us share with you some inexpensive dating ideas. 🙂
If you’re an outdoorsy type like us, there’s no other best date than spending it with nature. For Ace and I, spending time with nature is more than just wandering and satisfying our itchy feet. It’s more like an adventure-filled date. Hiking, camping, climbing mountains, trekking rivers, chasing waterfalls, and going to ecological farms are what we usually do. Spending time with nature together plays a big role in strengthening our relationship as a couple.
Durano Eco Farm
Another cheaper option is to do or watch sports together. Ace and I share the love for sports and for us, playing badminton in our backyard is the cheapest date.
Sporty dates may include cycling, rock climbing, or just watching the NBA finals together. It could also be as simple as going to the gym or doing yoga together.
Dinner, Coffee or Food Hunting Dates
The most common are dinner dates. This kind of dates doesn’t have to be expensive. Ace and I both love coffee and we are always on a lookout for new coffee shops in town. On their opening days, they give huge discounts and promos. We make use of gift certificates, coupons anvd other promotions. On some days, we head to the streets and hunt for street foods.
Catch the Sunrise or Chase the Sunset
Nothing is more romantic than watching the sunrise or the sunset with your partner. And this is always our favorite date. I think you shouldn’t miss it, too.
Stay at Home Dates
Who said you can’t date without leaving the house? Probably the coziest date is staying at home. This is also ideal for those who already have kids. Make it an extra special day for you and your partner without breaking the banks.
You can cook his/her favorite meal and set-up a candle-lit dinner. Why not? You can also watch movies at home.
For Ace and I, going on a date is already part of our lifestyle even now that we are already together in marriage. I guess that’s something we will never get tired of doing as time passes by.
How about you? Do you go dating? What dating tips or ideas can you add here? Leave us some words.
Yesterday, we celebrated our fourth month of being married. As much as others disliked it but hubby and I wanted to celebrate every month we surpass together. Because our schedules don’t meet so we could have an out-of-town trip, we agreed to arrange a dinner date in a seafood restaurant instead.
Last Friday, I came across Oyster Bay Seafood Restaurant on the internet and saw the good reviews. It is a perfect place for our date because it’s located near our apartment. I didn’t have a problem with making hubby agree, too.
We went there after going to church. It was still daylight when we arrived and there were not many customers yet. We got to chance to take photos without photobombers. 😀
The entrance is a bridge crossing a small a lagoon. It’s a saltwater lagoon with small fishes in it, not to mention the…
Allow nature’s peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. ~John Muir
I can start this post with a cliche about how time goes by so swiftly but that’s probably going to ruin everyone’s interest in reading this. Hence let me just ask, how did you spend your first two weeks of the year?
For Ace and I, the first two weeks had been fairly challenging and fun. We started the year with big risks, with him quitting his job to start a business venture soon and me starting a part-time job in the morning in an offline academy (which both the offline and morning part I haven’t done for four years). So, the past few days was a whirlwind of the adjustment process.
Perhaps that’s enough excuse to spend a weekend away from everything.
There’s this campsite that has been the talk of the town this week. Actually, Ace and I had been eyeing it since last year but never had the chance to visit it. I’m talking about Bacalla Woods Campsite. Fortunately, last weekend our plan finally came to life. Elliot’s celebrating his 8th months and we took him with us.
What made our adventure special and unique were our companions who came from four different countries. First was my offline student Hailey from Korea, joining with us were her friends, Airi from Japan and Yir from Taiwan. Later on the campsite, we were joined by Ian from Malaysia.
Our escape started in Mandaue where we agreed to meet up. After we bought some provisions, we immediately headed to the South Bus terminal to take a bus to San Fernando, Cebu. Not too long, we found ourselves inside a mini-bus. The view from outside the bus while we passed by the South Road Properties signaled a fine day ahead contrary to the rainy day forecast the other night.
The campsite is tucked in Libo, San Fernando, Cebu. As soon as we got off on the bus, we took a motorcycle to the place.
For those who are going on a private ride, looking for the campsite might be a little tricky since there aren’t any signs or directions along the way. But you can always ask the locals. Motorcycle drivers are also very familiar with the place.
Arriving at the place felt like home. As I stare at the log cabin, memories from my childhood when we used to visit my grandparent’s place in the countryside came flashing in. The campsite has no hint of lavishness nor a touch of modernity except the rice cooker. Everything is pretty basic.
I thought of it as a perfect opportunity for my foreign friends to get to know more about the Filipino culture.
We were welcomed by the friendly host of the campsite. We instantly felt like a family. I talked to the lady owner who kindly asks about our reservation. I like her! She did not flash a big smile on her face to make me or us comfortable. It’s just that, she didn’t need that, the place IS already comfortable. I was like casually talking to my aunt or my grandmother about something.
(Funny fact: I actually found it amusing because I am always cognizant about people welcoming guests with big smiles and colorful words to the point that they become “overly accommodating” and well “scripted” if you know what I mean. Personally, I don’t like people who keep asking if I’m okay or if I’m comfortable or anything like that. It really annoys me.)
So, Hailey, Airi, and Yir chose to stay in a hammock on the second floor of the cabin overlooking the mountains. While Ace, Elliot and I stayed on the tent that we brought with us. We were free to pitch the tent anywhere, and we decided to just put it near the entrance so we can easily look after our things.
Let’s go back to what made the fuss on the web recently.
Bacalla Woods Campsite is touted as the “Bali of Cebu” because of its infinity swing fronting the verdant mountains of the town. Its ropes are tied on a branch of the tree and it is suspended in the abyss.
Another thing that I love about the place was the fact that they are animal-friendly. Gosh, they have a lot of pets. Elliot had a great time running around and socializing with other dogs. He even chased chickens in the woods.
As the evening came close, the campsite already ran out of tents and hammocks for rent still more and more campers arrived. Some persistent ones agreed to find their own way to get through the night.
While Ace was busy preparing our dinner, we, on the other hand, were busy talking. It’s not every day you get to be in a circle of people with different nationalities, you know. So, yeah, we had a lot of talks — from cultures to languages. The talk just got louder and funnier when Ian who’s from Malaysia joined the group.
As soon as dinner was ready, we happily shared our food together. After eating, Yir and Airi volunteered to do the dishes.
Everybody enjoyed the rest of the night just listening to each other’s stories. It rained that night. Most campers especially those who stayed in hammocks gathered in the cabin for shelter. Hailey, Airi, Yir, and Ian had fun talking and having a drink with a group of call center agents. The night was filled with loud laughter going along the beat of the raindrops.
Almost everybody woke up early the next day hoping to catch the sunrise. Unfortunately, the sky was covered with thick clouds making it impossible to see the sun. Nonetheless, we were still excited because after breakfast we went trekking to Bugho falls.
We trekked on paved road and muddy trail for two hours. I am so proud of Elliot for surviving the hike, although, we had to carry him sometimes. When we arrived on the river, Elliot was at first afraid, but when he saw the flow of the water making bubbles as it hit a rock, he tried catching it. Eventually, he was enjoying. Ace and I did not swim because we had so much fun watching Elliot playing on the water.
We came back to the campsite in time for lunch. We changed clothes, packed our things and prepared to go home. We agreed to have our lunch at the town center so they can try Filipino dish.
Staying at the campsite was a wonderful experience for Ace, Elliot, and me. The disconnection made us reconnect with ourselves and with each other. Our foreign friends who joined us also made our stay worthwhile.
How to get there?
Ride a bus from the South Bus Terminal and drop off at the Hidden Paradise Mountain Resort corner in Pitalo, San Fernando. (1-2hrs)
Hail a habal-habal or motorcycle to the campsite. (20-30mins) Fare: 45/person
You may bring your own food or cook at the campsite. You can also order from their menu but make sure to call them for reservation.
There is NO SIGNAL in the area.
If you’re not bringing your own hammock or tents, you may reserve in advance to avoid inconvenience.
Php200 — Overnight entrance fee with breakfast
Php100 — Day use entrance fee
Php50 — Trekking to Bugho Falls
Php150 — Hammock rental
Php300 — Tent rental
Don’t forget your insect repellents.
UPDATE: Bacalla Woods Campsite WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT WALK-INS. Advance booking or reservation is needed until further notice.
And lastly, ENJOY a life unplugged!
Over to you, when was the last time you have unplugged your life from modernity? We’d love to hear from you.
Pagkapas-pas gayud sa paglabay sa panahon. Naghina-ngat na usab ang bag-ong tu-ig. Murag kagahapon lang nato gisugdan kining tuig dos mil dise syete, apan usa ka adlaw na lang ug matapos na usab kini.
Apan bisan pa man sa kapas-pas sa panahon, nagmabungahon gayud kining tuiga. Atong nasaka ang pipila ka bukid dinhi sa atong probinsya, pilila usab ka isla atong nabisita, ug ubay-ubay usab nga maanindot nga talan-awon atong nakita.
(Indeed time goes by swiftly. Another year is coming. It was like yesterday we started the year 2017, but one day from now it’s about to end.
But despite the swiftness of time, this year has been a productive one. We have climbed few mountains, we also have visited some islands, and we have seen many beautiful places, too.)
Busa sa dili pa maabot ang bag-ong tuig, atong lantawon pagbalik ang atong mga biyahe.
(Hence, before the new year comes, let’s take a lookback at our adventures.)
Atong mahinumdoman nga gisugdan nato kining tuiga sa pag atang sa unang subang sa adlaw. Uban sa atong pagtagamtam sa unang kainit niini, mao ang panghinaot sa malamboong tuig.
Sayron ta kung kining panghinaot natuman ba.
(As we remembered, we started this year by catching the first sunrise. Along with soaking from the first rays were our hopes of a fruitful year.
Let’s see if our hopes came true.)
Kauban ang ubang higala, gibisita nato ang Temple of Leah. Sama sa Taj Mahal sa India, kini giilang simbolo sa tiunay nga gugma sa usa ka bana ngadto sa iyang kapikas sa kinabuhi.
(Together with some friends, we visited Temple of Leah. Just like Taj Mahal of India, this temple is a sign of a husband’s true love to his wife.)
Gihapit usab nato pagbisita ang Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden. Kini mao ang pinaka unang tanaman dinhi sa Cebu nga giporma ug hagdan. Atong nakita ang nagkada-iyang klase sa tanom nga makuting gitanom sa kada ang-ang sa hagdan para nindot lantawon.
(We also visited Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden. This is the first garden in Cebu that was formed like terraces. We saw different kinds of plants that were meticulously planted in the staircase.)
Sa wala pa moabot ang adlaw sa gugma, gisaka nato ang bungtod sa Lanigid. Kuyog ang mga higala nga wala pay mga kapikas, didto nila nahibaloan nga ang mahigugma dili lang diay ngadto sa laing binuhat, kun dili pwede sab ngadto sa usa ka lingaw nga buhat sama sa pagkat-kat.
(Before Valentine’s Day, we climbed Lanigid Hill. Together with our friends who don’t have boyfriends yet, there, they realized that falling inlove happens not only towards another person but also to fun activities such as climbing a mountain.)
Human sa drama didto sa bungtod, nanga-naog kita sa sapa sa Mulao. Ang tingog sa agas sa tubig nga nibanda ngadto sa mga dagkong bato maoy nisugat kanato. Mura kita ug gidala ngadto sa laing kalibutan tungod sa talagsaong hitsura sa mga bato nga daw gipuy-an ug dili sama kanato.
(After that drama in the hill, we went down to Mulao River. The sound of the flowing water hitting the big rocks was what welcomed us. It seemed like we were transported to a different world because of the surreal form of rocks that looked like a home of mystical creatures.)
Giadto ta ang Coal Mountain Resort sa Argao para saulogon ang Buwan sa Gugma. Duha ka adlaw ta nga layo sa sibilisasyon, walay telepono ni telebisyon. Apan ang atong kadiyot nga pag estar didto, nahimong maanindot nga higayon sa panag estorya ilalom sa mga bitoon ug dinuyugan lamang sa hungihong sa mga gangis ug mga mananap sa kagabhion.
(We visited Coal Mountain Resort in Argao to celebrate the Month of Love. For two days, we were away from the civilization, no telephone nor television. But our short stay there was a great time for a conversation under the stars with the sound of crickets and other night insects.)
Sa pagsugod sa panahon sa ting-init, giadto ta ang TIEZA Botanical Garden. Pagka-anindot unta lantawon sa linaw nga gipalibutan sa mga buwak nga may nagka lain-laing kolor. Apan subo palandungon nga ang plano nila nga himuon unta kining suroyanan sa mga turista, wala nadayon tungod sa dili matino nga rason. Karon, ang linaw nagpabilin, apan wala na ang mga tanom nga nagdugang unta sa iyang katahom.
(During the start of the summer season, we visited TIEZA Botanical Garden. The lake looked beautiful because it was surrounded by flowers with different colors. Unfortunately, their plan to make the place as tourist attraction did not happen due to unknown reason. Now, the lake is still there but the flowers that gave beauty to it were already gone.)
Bisan pa man sa nagka-init nga panahon, gilabang nato ang dagat sa Mactan ug gibisita ta ang isla sa Olango. Didto atong gilibot ang gamayng isla pinaagi lamang sa bisikleta. Taliwala sa init sa adlaw, nalingaw kita sa pag-suroy-suroy kauban ang atong suod nga barkada.
(Despite the hot weather, we crossed the sea of Mactan to visit Olango Island. We toured the small island with a bicycle. We enjoyed cycling with some close friends under the scorching heat of the sun.)
Tungod lage kay ting-init, nikuyog ta sa bag-ong mga kaila didto sa Catmon para makita ang Tinubdan Falls ug mohumol sa bugnaw nga tubig gikan sa busay. Nahimamat ta ang mga tawo nga sauna diri sa internet ta lang nakaila, mga tawo nga sama kanato mahilig usab ug bag-ong kasinatian.
(Because the days were getting hotter, we went to Catmon with some new friends to see Tinubdan Falls and to dip into the cold waterfall. We also met some people whom we only met online, people who are also up for adventures like us.)
Gidala nato ang among mga pag umangkon sa Green Lagoon Park. Didto, dili lang ang mga gagmayng bata ang nalingaw ug maayo sa langoyanan kun dili lakip napud ang mga dagko.
(We brought our niece and nephews to Green Lagoon Park. It was not only the kids who had so much fun in the swimming pool but also the adults.)
Sa katapusang adlaw sa Abril, nilarga ta sa Surigao. Didto atong gibisita ang tinagoang bahandi niining mapaubsanong syudad.
(On the last day of April, we went to Surigao to visit the hidden treasure of the humble city.)
Unang adlaw sa Surigao, atong giadto ang Sohoton Cove. Gisuroy ta ang gagmay nga mga isla sulod sa Bucas Grande. Nakita ta ang mga isla nga daw sama sa usa ka puto nga naglutaw sa tubig tungod sa ilang porma.
(On our first day in Surigao, we visited Sohoton Cove. We toured the small islets inside Bucas Grande. We saw islets shaped like muffins floating in the water.)
Pagka sunod adlaw, nibyahe kita ngadto sa laing parte sa Surigao para bisitahon ang Tinuy-an Falls. Duka pa kita pag-abot nato ngadto apan, nahimata kita sa ka anindot sa agas sa tubig sa maong busay.
(The next day, we traveled to a different part of Surigao to see Tinuy-an Falls. We were still drowsy when we got there but we were awakened by the beautiful sight of the waterfall.)
Human sa atong pagtampisaw sa bugnawng tubig sa busay, niadto usab kita sa Enchanted River. Gisugat kita sa usa ka dili katuohang kolor sa tubig sa sapa nga daw sa imahinasyon lang mamugna.
(After soaking in the cold water of the falls, we also went to Enchanted River. We were welcomed by the unbelievable color of the water that we thought could only exist in our imagination.)
Sunod adlaw niana, ang mga isla sa Dinagat na usab ang atong gisuroy. Dili matukib ang atong gibating kahingangha tungod sa kaanindot sa mga isla didtong dapita.
(On the following day, we toured the islands of Dinagat. We couldn’t explain our bewilderment because of the beauty of the islets there.)
Mura ug wala ta napul-i ug isla, nilabang na usab kita ngadto sa Negros para bisitahon ang pamilya ni Ace sa Sipaway Island. Gamit ang hinuwaman nga motor, gilibot ta ang gamayng isla ug atong nakita ang simple nga pag panginabuhi sa mga tawo didto.
(As if we did not get enough of islands, we crossed to Negros to visit Ace’s family in Sipaway Island. Using a rented motorbike, we toured the small island and saw the idyllic life of the people there.)
Sa tunga-tunga sa tuig, giadto ta ang Mangitngit Falls nga karon gihimo nang komersyal nga suroyanan ug ginganlang na’g Middle Earth Spring Resort. Subo man huna-hunaon nga dili na nato maduol ang maong busay apan atong nasabtan ang tumong sa maong patakaran.
(In the middle of this year, we went to Mangitngit Falls which is now a commercialized resort called Middle Earth Spring Resort. It was sad to know that we were no longer allowed to come closer to the falls but we understood the reason for the prohibition.)
Malampuson usab nato nga naadto ang Mt Mago kauban ang dos-anyos nako nga pag umangkon. Makalingaw ang atong kasinatian samtang atong gipangita ang utlanan sa tulo ka lungsod nga mao gayod ang tuyo sa maong pagkat-kat.
(We also have successfully trekked Mt. Mago with my two-year-old niece. Our adventure in finding the boundary of three municipalities was fun because it was really the goal of that climb.)
Karong tuiga usab atong naadto ang dugay na natong gustong makita nga Budlaan Falls. Didto, daw gianud sa makusog nga bul-og sa tubig gikan sa ibabaw ang atong gibating mga kakapoy.
(It’s also this year, we saw Budlaan Falls that we’ve been wanting to see. It was as if the strong flow of the falls carried away the feeling of tiredness.)
Gikan didto sa busay, nidiretso kita sa kinabungturan nga bahin sa syudad sa Sugbo. Ang maong bukid gipanganlan ug Sirao Peak. Didto atong nalantaw ang ang syudad nga daw hulmigas na sa kagamay.
(From there, we went straight to the highlands of the city. The mountain was called Sirao Peak. From there, we saw the city below us.)
Pagkasunod adlaw niana, kuyog ang atong bag-ong amigo nga iro nga gipanganlan ug Elliot, nibakasyon kita sa Camotes Island. Gamit gihapon ang hinuwaman nga sakyanan, atong gilibot ang mga lugar-suroyanan didto.
(The next day, together with our new furry friend named Elliot, we went on a vacation in Camotes Island. We rented a ride again and we toured the whole island.)
Niini usab nga tuiga atong na-diskubre ang dakong krus sa Compostela. Daw higante ang kadako ug kataas sa maong krus. Ug sumala pa, mao kini ang kinadak-ang krus sa probinsya.
(It’s also this year when we discovered the big cross in Compostela. The size and the height were gigantic. Many said it was the biggest cross in the province.)
Paglabay lang sa usa ka semana, gibaklay ta ang giingon nga pinakalisud nga Spartan Trail. Bisan pa man sa kalisud sa dalan ug sa mga kabalaka kung malampuson ba natong mahumang ang maong hagit, maisugon natong giagwanta ang kakapoy. Ug tuod man, kalipay atong nabati tungod sa atong kalampusan.
(After a week, we trailed the treacherous Spartan Trail. Despite the hard trail and the doubts whether we finish the challenge, we bravely stand the weariness. Indeed, happiness was our reward because of the successful climb.)
Ug ang atong katapusan nga hunat, mao ang pag adto sa Formosa Camp Resort. Wala nato baliha ang bagyo nga Urduja. Bisan pa man sa dili maayo nga kahimtang sa panahon, kita nalingaw gihapon sa atong hamubo nga bakasyon.
(And our last leg for this year was our visit to Formosa Camp Resort. We did not mind the typhoon Urduja. Notwithstanding the bad weather, we still enjoyed our short staycation.)
Makaingon ta nga ang atong tuig dos mil dise syete nag mabulukon gayud. Kini tungod sa bag-ong mga kasinatian, mga bag-ong higala og kaila, mga bag-ong lugar nga atong nabisita,ug labaw sa tanan, ang mga pagsuway nga atong naagian nga maoy mamahimo natong sumbanan sa umaabot nga katuigan.
Ug sa dili pa hingpit nga matapos kining maong tuig, tuguti kami nga pasalamaton kamo, kamong magbasahan ug nagasunod gayud niining among mga salmot. Hinaot nga sa pagbasa sa among mga artikulo, nadala usab kamo namo sa mga lugar nga among giadto.
Hangtud sa sunod tuig!
Mabungahong bag-ong tuig kanatong tanan!
Love, Ace and Demi
(We can say that our 2017 has been a remarkable year. This is because of the new experiences, new friends, new places that we visited, and most of all, the hardships and trials that we’ve been through. They are what made us strong and will become our guide for the coming years.
So before this year come to its end, allow us to THANK YOU, our dear readers and followers. We hope that by reading our posts, we were able to take you to the places that we visited.)
That’s what we exactly did when we visited one of the underrated group of islands in the country — the Dinagat Islands. Also called the Mystical Island Province of Love, the place was incredibly alluring.
We went to the island with ALL our hearts, but we left them there.
I don’t know any other word to describe this group of islands other than surreal and mystical. It has the ability to capture the hearts of every visitor including ours.
Our sojourn started before cockcrow as we took the first ferry ride to the mainland of this young province. I was feeling drowsy but I didn’t want to miss the beautiful sunrise as it started to paint the sky. Ace and I stepped out of the passenger seats and went to the deck to get a glimpse of the first light of the day.
The warmth of the new day and the cool breeze of the wind was telling us that it was going to be a wonderful day. Admittedly, I didn’t know what to expect in Dinagat Islands because the place is usually overlooked and does not make much fuss. In fact, I really didn’t have any idea about it in the first place.
As a wanderer, I have this thought that there is beauty everywhere if you know how to look at it. But I did not expect that this island province has so much beauty that it made me leave my heart on it.
My heart skipped a beat as our ride neared the port of San Jose. My friends were already up and we prepared to get off the boat. It docked in a small pier and we were welcomed with this row of houses.
At first sight, the place does not seem to offer anything special. But one thing I’ve learned from traveling is to never underestimate a humble place like this.
We walked through the streets of San Jose to meet our guide and transferred to a smaller boat for the tour. Our guide prepared a sumptuous breakfast for us which we ate on board while on our way to our first stop.
Our first stop was a private islet called Isla Aga. It has an abandoned resthouse which was owned by the famous Ecleo family – the most powerful clan in Dinagat Islands. If you guys are familiar with PBMA (Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association), then yes, I’m talking about Ruben Ecleo Sr.’s family.
From the balcony of the house, smaller islets which seem to be floating in the cerulean sea surrounding this private island is a sight to behold.
At the back of the resthouse was a hanging bridge suspended above the crystal clear water. However, the bridge was already broken.
We did not miss dipping into the water here, of course.
After few minutes, we decided to resume our tour. We stopped by another island which looked similar to that of Palawan Island. This serves as the home of some Kalaw birds or the Philippine Hornbills. They call it Kabukungan Island.
When we arrived, there was no other visitor yet. The group decided to have our lunch here. While our guide and boatmen were preparing our meal, some of us took a tour of the islet while others are enjoying the waters.
After lunch, we went to another island called Bababu. They said there’s a lake 45 minutes away from the beach. But we did not go there because of the constraint of time.
While the rest of the group were busy swimming, I got the chance to talk to an elderly lady sitting in a small hut nearby. I found out that his late husband was the one who discovered the lake. She said he loved the place so much that during the dusk of his life, he wished to be buried in the island. (See photo below. He was buried beside the trail going to the lake.)
The tomb of Mr Peter Langit who discovered Lake Bababu
The wife of the late Mr Peter Langit.
She even told me that when she dies, she has the same wish as his late husband. So their spirits could guard the island even when they’re already gone. I thought that’s oddly romantic.
Although I still wanted to hear more stories from her, we had to get going and proceed to our next stop.
Our next stop was Duyos Beach.
And oh that sandbar!!! I was speechless! I couldn’t help lying down and rolling over like a kid on the white powdery sand.
Of all the islands that visited that day, I noticed only Duyos had established cottages, stores, and even karaoke machines. There were also a lot of people. We only stayed in the sandbar area, though.
Our tour concluded in Bitaog Beach. We heard it was the most frequented by visitors but at that time we had the island all for ourselves. We swam to our hearts’ content there because it was our last stop. Ace and I even forgot to take a photo because we had so much fun swimming.
Truly, Dinagat Islands left me in awe. When we returned to Cebu, the first thing I did when I got the hold of my computer was searched about Dinagat Islands. I was surprised to know that there was still more of it. What we saw was only one face of the mystical island.
And that’s when we realized we might have left our heart there intentionally. So we have the reason to come back.
PP.S A huge thanks to our friend Annel Hope Mayuga and to her wonderful family for adopting us during our four days stay in Surigao. Thank you for your warm welcome and for making this venture possible. ’til next time.
Outdoor enthusiasts like us always love the idea of camping and disconnecting from the comforts of home. Sometimes, we also love a glamorous stay in a hotel or resort. But what happens when glamour and camping meet? It would be awesomely called “glamping”.
Glamping is a fusion of glamour and camping. It is more like a luxurious camping experience. Glamping comes in different forms — tents, treehouses, cabins, etc.
Glamping is starting to make its name in Cebu especially in the southern part of the province. Just recently, a new resort in the Northern part opened its door for this upgraded camping experience. It’s no other than Formosa Camp Resort.
Situated on the coast of Bagsawe, Tuburan, Cebu, Formosa Camp Resort is owned by the very kind and accommodating couple, Mr. and Mrs. Huang.
Mrs. Huang told us that the resort used to be their family’s rest house. Since Tuburan’s tourism is booming because of the attractions nearby, they came up with the idea of turning their once vacation house into a resort that offers glamping.
In the height of tropical depression Urduja, Ace and I, together with our good friend, Niña, went to Formosa Camp Resort to try camping glamorously. The night before that, we were filled with doubt whether to pursue or cancel our plan because of the typhoon’s threat. In spite of that, we still carried out our plan.
The bad weather caused a heavy traffic in the city which delayed us. It was already 4 pm when we arrived at the resort. It was raining and the wind was relatively strong. The lady owner welcomed us with a warm smile that instantly warmed us as well. After few introductions, she showed us our tent. It was pitched in front of the villa next to another tent that was good for 4 people.
Our tent was their newest tent that is good for 5 people. It is divided into two compartments, each with a cozy bed. It also has 4 collapsible picnic chairs and there was a picnic table in front. Supposedly, the tent should be placed on their camping ground but because of the strong wind, it was temporarily pitched in the front yard.
We settled our things inside our tent and went to the town proper to eat our dinner. The resort doesn’t have a cafe or restaurant but guests can use the kitchen and grill should they wish to cook or make their own food.
When we returned, the resort’s swimming pool was all lit up. It looked very inviting but the air was too cold for a swim. So we decided to stay at the picnic table while shooting the breeze. But we couldn’t resist the idea of going for a night swim thinking we were only staying for a night.
After few minutes, Niña and I found ourselves dipping into the pool. 😀 Ace didn’t dare to do so because he was feeling cold.
However, we did not stay in the pool for too long because it started to drizzle again. After washing up, the three of us ate snacks and talked about our future plans of coming back there. Ace played a music on his phone and entertained us with his weird dance steps. As soon as my hair dried up we then called it a night.
The next morning, we woke up to a fine weather. We were very happy, Niña couldn’t keep thanking the heavens. After finishing our coffee, Nina and I changed into our swimming clothes. We then strolled the rest of the resort’s vicinity.
Aside from the swimming pool, guests can also go down to the beach area. Although the beach is not really ideal for swimming, its smell was refreshing. There are also swings for those who just wanted to relax and listen to the waves.
Ace really had a great time practicing his phone-photography hobby with me and Niña as his willing victims.
After we had enough modeling, we decided to go back to the pool and swam. To our surprise, the water was colder than last night. 😀 There were not too many people in the resort. Ace was able to show off his flying skills.
After an hour in the pool, we decided to wash up and pack our things since we were checking out at 12:00. As soon as we’re ready, we went to the villa to settle our fees.
Mrs. Huang was very kind to let us see the rooms of the villa. It has 5 rooms that could accommodate at least 20 people. The villa and the resort can also be rented exclusively. (As of writing, Formosa Camp Resort is on its soft opening so we prefer not to post the rates. Rest assured it is very affordable. For rates and other questions, you may contact the resort directly.)
What can we say?
We just had a GREAT glamping experience. Typhoon Urduja did not hinder us from having a wonderful stay in Formosa Camp Resort. Should we come back for more? DEFINITELY!!!
HOW TO GET THERE:
(Via Transcentral Hi-way) Take a V-hire from Ayala terminal to Tuburan. (Fare is Php140). Then ride a tricycle from the Tuburan town proper to Formosa Resort. (Fare: Php10) **Travel time: 2 hours
(Via Toledo) Ride a bus from the South Bus Terminal to Toledo/Tuburan. (Fare is around Php100) ** Travel time: 3-4 hours.
(Via Tabuelan) Ride a bus from the North Bus Terminal to Tuburan via Lugo/Sogod. (Fare is around P100/head). **Travel time 3-4 hours
For bookings and other inquiries, you may contact the resort directly through their Facebook page or call 0998-995-5166.
They accept walk-ins but subject to availability of the date. You may contact them ahead for your preferred dates to avoid inconvenience.
The resort is open for day-use from 8 AM to 4 PM
The pool is open until 9 PM for overnight guests.
2 PM check-in; 12NN the next day check-out
Great things never came from comfort zones.
Thank you for the great experience, Formosa. ’til next time.
Over to you, have you been glamping? Which do you prefer, camping in the mountains or woods OR a staycation in a hotel or resort?