Reaching Out Beyond Mountains | Hike For a Cause

The heart that gives, gathers. ~ Tao Te Ching

 

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Scenes of my primary years:

I used to live in a far-flung barangay when I was a younger. I spent my primary years in a school 20-minute away from our house. I had to walk back and forth every day with my friends and classmates. I never mind the distance. I loved going to school. I could still remember my excitement at the start of every school year. Probably, why I love the month of June. (The school year starts on June back then.)

On the first two days of school, our teacher would let us write a long list of requirements. I would write it in an old notebook that my mom recycled from the previous year.

Use this old notebook for the meantime. We will buy your school supplies when you have the list,” my mom would say.

I was then excited to go home and show mom the list. 8 notebooks, 2 pencils, crayon… my list went.

Wow! That’s a lot! We don’t have enough money to buy everything on this list,” she would say again. “Let’s buy five notebooks and a pencil. You can borrow crayons from your classmates…blah, blah..

We had this same scenario every school year. I couldn’t remember a year which I had the complete school supplies.

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I know very well how it feels like to be the last one to submit your art project because you had to borrow crayons from a classmate. Therefore, you had to wait for him to finish. I know how it feels to recycle your old notebooks because you didn’t have enough. I know how it feels to wear a hand-me-down school uniform. I know how it feels to hide in the corner on lunchtime because your buwad (dried fish) stinks. Believe me, I’ve been through that!

Our family’s income back then was enough to keep our heads above the water. I would felt sad but I never complained to my parents. I knew they were doing their best to provide our needs.

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Fast forward to the present:

This is the reason why I always love to participate in outreach programs or similar causes that benefits school children, especially in rural areas. For someone who didn’t have enough before, the idea of giving joy to the students is very gratifying. I’m grateful that nowadays, there are a lot of non-government groups that organizes events to provide school supplies to remote schools. (Something, we never had before.)

Ace and I have tried organizing such events. But mostly, we just support or join other groups. We give support in our small ways, sometimes pecuniary, often we do it by volunteering.

Last weekend was one of those successful causes. We got invited by the OMG (Open-minded Group) hikers to join their Hike for a Cause. It was specifically hosted by Sir Aldrich, Beboi, and Dian, the same group I was with when we scaled Mt Licos. The beneficiaries are the 150 Grade I students of Toong Integrated School.

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When we arrived at Toong Integrated School, we were greeted by a crowd of parents and excited kids. I knew it was going to be exhilarating and fun. The school doesn’t have a wide ground. So we all squeezed in a small area in front of the principal’s office.

Because of the number of kids, there was a confusion at first. We grouped them by section, but most of them didn’t know which class they belong. I reckoned they were not acquainted with their section’s name. Good thing the teachers were there to assist us.

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We had a few games before we distributed our present to them. Each student received a bag which contained some notebooks, pencils, and art materials. Afterward, we gave the kids some snacks to share with their parents.

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The smile that I saw on their faces and the thank yous from the parents sent joy to my heart. It once again reminded me that I am beyond blessed. The happiness that I felt as I watch them comparing what’s inside their bags, and as they shared the hamburgers with their moms, was immeasurable. I received more than what I gave. It’s heartwarming!

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After the program, the hikers headed to AO Farm for lunch. We shared each other’s food while talking about anything under the sun. But as usual, Tatay Raul was the favorite subject. We teased him about his love for food, sweeping food for that matter.

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After replenishing our tummies, we hiked to the highest point of the farm where we cracked a birthday surprise for Tatay and Jonah. We stayed there for a few minutes, just enjoying the green vista of the neighboring mountains.

 

From there, we were to proceed to San Carlos Heights and make our way to Tulong Krus. However, AO Farm fenced the back exit of the farm where we were supposed to take the shortcut way. So, we went back our way and followed a different trail.

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I went home that day feeling happy and content. It’s very nice to know that we can do a lot more than just hike or climb a mountain.

 

Over to you, have you participated in any causes? We’d love to hear from you! 

 

‘Til next time!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

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A Letter From Licos Peak That I Wished I’ve Read Before I Scaled Her.

We got scammed last weekend! It’s weird that we’re happy about it.

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Our expectation deceived us once again. But this time, it’s something we couldn’t resent. Last weekend, we scaled Mt Licos in Danao City. We had to admit that we underestimated her. Because we were so eager to meet her, we pushed through our plan even with scarce information. We ended up in a memorable mishap that became an important lesson.

From my firsthand experience, I want to share this letter for those who want to climb the Licos Peak. Read this when you plan to visit her.

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Dear you, 

Before you climb me, I have two requests.

“Don’t underestimate me.”
“Expect neither less nor more.”

When you are ready, I will open my arms for you. I will let you step on my soil. But I have to warn you. On your way to my peak, you will trip and fall. You will scream in pain, and you will feel betrayed.

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Should you decide to walk on me, I want you to understand the lesson of my trail. My height might be a joke because I only stand less than 500 meters above the sea. But my path is not easy. I have prepared challenges for you, some of which, you can compare to that of the mighty mountains out there!

So, now let me ask you again. Are you ready to face me?

Dear, don’t fret. I want you to visit me, so I prepared a sneak peek of the challenges along my trail.

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I will let you hold on to small and thin roots so you will learn to value small chances. I will teach you not to trust all the big roots because I want you to make careful choices. My loose soil and stones are the tiny things that will spoil your day. I hope you won’t let them affect you because they will delay your plans.

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Along the way, you will see trees of different sizes. Be careful which to trust.

These trees are like the people around you. Some of them will help and some won’t. Few of those will lay their branches and will pull you up even if they have to bend. Some will pretend to cheer you up but when you hold on to them, they will break and you will feel betrayed.

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Sharp rocks will welcome you near my peak. These sharp rocks signify your major problems. If you don’t pay attention, you’re likely to get hurt. But if you learn to focus and make careful steps, you will get through them with ease.

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My peak is your dream. You will feel accomplished and fulfilled. You will feel proud of yourself for passing my test. The verdant vista in front of you will be your reward. Savor the moment, feel the wind, and calm yourself. Soak into the luscious foliage in front of you. You deserve it.

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But when you think it is over, the wind will whisper into your ear, “It’s time to go down.”

I want you to contemplate on this. Before you continue, how long are you going to stay at my peak? Most of you will wish to stay there, but you will be left without a choice but to go down.

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Your life goes like that. When you are at the peak of your happiness, some things will drag you down. You will try hard to resist it because you don’t want your happiness to end. But, sometimes you will end up defeated.

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Please remember this, just because you have succeeded doesn’t mean your new road is wonderfully paved from there. Your test will continue. If you are lucky, it will be easier. What if you are not?

I hope the best for you. But I want to prepare you for the worse.

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On your way down, the challenges will appear tougher.

DSC05243This time, you will skid. It will hurt you a lot. You have to slide and learn to accept that you are going down. When it hurts so bad, stop and seek refuge to the trees you trusted in your way up. Hold on to them until you’re ready to move on.

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And finally, when you hit rock bottom, look up and give me your last glance. I will wave at you, this time, the pride will be mine.

You will realize that even if you’re back on the ground, you did a great job! You’ve passed my test, and you’re brave enough to go down.

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Only then you will realize that success is not in reaching my peak. Success is when you are finally home.

Now, my question is… Are you ready to climb me again? 

 

With love, 

Mount Licos

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Personal thought: 

I hope you heard her. Our climb to Mt. Licos was a wonderful misadventure that we’d love to do again. This mountain went beyond our expectations. Should you find yourself at her peak, send my regards. Take care of her because she’s a great teacher. 🙂

How to get there: 

From Danao City, hail a motorcycle in front of the City Civic Center to Barangay Licos. The fare is Php 50/person. The ride will take 30 minutes. From the barangay hall, ask the locals the way to the peak.

Special thanks to Mr. Ericson Batulan for the tips and information.

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Demi.

Our Junket to Candijay’s Pride |Canawa Spring, Can-umantad Falls, Cadapdapan Rice Terraces

After our fleeting stay in Alicia to behold the wonderful panorama of the town’s verdant ridge, we headed to check out the adjacent municipality’s pride. We’re talking about the town of Candijay. This humble town has thriving touristry which centers in eco-tourism. With all the fuss Alicia is making, Candijay consequently became a side-trip destination.

Joining the bandwagon, Ace and I included Candijay in our itinerary. After we parted with Bernard — our Alicia guide, we proceeded to Candijay to visit three of its tourist attractions.

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Demi in Canawa Cold Spring.
Our first stop was Canawa Spring. This cryptic cold spring is pretty popular because of the said unfathomable depth.

At first glance from the entrance, it looked like any normal swimming pool. With its concrete stairs and perimeters, the place looked developed and unnatural. I instantly felt Ace’s disappointment.

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Canawa Cold Spring.
As a cold spring lover myself, I couldn’t say no to it. So I begged Ace to let me dip into the water for few minutes to ease my desire. As we walked down the stairs, we realized that the main lagoon was tucked in the upper part within the canopy of lush foliage. The aquamarine water reminded me of the Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao. Even the profound depth was a similar story.

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Canawa Spring main lagoon.
The cold water soothed my tired legs. Five minutes in the water was enough to make me shiver.

We did not stay long in Canawa Spring. We carried on to our next stop — Can-Umantad Falls. It was not too far from the spring but getting there was no joke. The steep and bumpy road gave our driver an arduous work.

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Ace in Can-Umantad Falls.
This waterfall is said to be the tallest waterfall in the province. The narrow drop bellying at the lower part before it hits the basin is incredibly stunning.

There were a lot of people when we arrived but not enough to make the whole place crowded. We noticed that the tourism office is starting to develop the area fronting it. There are cottages and tables for rent few meters away from the falls.

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Can-Umantad Falls.
Once again, the handsome husband refused to swim. (He was being a killjoy, really.)

There were four middle-aged women enjoying the natural massage of the liquid curtain. I neared it so I can try it myself. I did not expect the water to be so warm. It was my first time to feel a warm waterfall. It has a sandy bed and the pool is only my waist deep.

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Demi in Can-umantad Falls.
I’m not really a fan of warm water, so as soon as I realized that it was, I immediately get out of it. I changed to my dry clothes and we went back to the registration area where our driver waited.

Later we found out that the water in the falls streamed from Cadap-dapan River above that supplies irrigation to the rice terraces. That explains the warm feel.

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Ace and Demi in Can-umantad Falls.
It was almost 1 pm when we headed to the rice terraces in Cadap-dapan. There’s an eatery in the area where we planned to eat our lunch.

As for the rice terraces, there was actually nothing much to see. Since it was past the harvest season, the farmers were still in the middle of plowing and preparing the field for planting. So we did not expect much. We were just curious about it and it’s the most similar sight to that of the famous Banaue Rice terraces.

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Cadapdapan Rice Terraces.
Although we came to bare terraces, the place was nothing short of spectacular. I mean, it was amazing!!! I could only imagine the effort our farmers put through to realize such genius farming scheme.

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Cadapdapan Rice Terraces.
After a short breather, we checked out their restaurant’s menu. Ace and I couldn’t decide what food to order, so we agreed to go to a public market nearby instead. Our driver drove us to Lungsod-Daan market, and we bid him goodbye.

After eating our lunch in a small eatery at the back of the public market, we realized that we finished our tour earlier than we expected. I wanted to explore Lungsod-Daan, but Ace was already sleepy and tired. So we decided to proceed to Anda where we were staying for the night.

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Who is MagAnda?
From Lungsod-Daan, we rode a jeepney to the municipality of Guindulman. Upon arrival at the town center, tricycle and motorcycle drivers swarmed around us asking where we were heading. I knew beforehand that there are vans to Anda. But those drivers said that there are no more vans in the afternoon and that we had to hire a tricycle going there. When Ace asked how much the fare was, they said it would cost us Php 150. I was skeptical about it because according to my friend, the fare to Anda from Guindulman is only Php 30.

I told Ace that we will wait for a bit. Five minutes later, the van arrived. It pays to be patient, they said. 🙂

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Sunrise in Anda.
When we arrived in Anda, we immediately looked for a place to stay. Our search wasn’t that hard because there were plenty of hostels around the area. Some households are also open for homestays.

We chose an accommodation near the beach. The moment I opened our room accommodation, my eyes suddenly felt heavy. All I wanted to do at that moment was to sleep. I didn’t even bother to wash up. Ace, on the other hand, went outside to talk to the caretaker of the resort who happened to be from Cebu.

My growling tummy awakened me at around 7 pm, signaling it was time for dinner. I noticed Ace already sleeping soundly beside me. I woke him up and we went out to look for food. After dinner, we stayed in the resort’s lobby to kill time.

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Sunrise in Anda.
The next morning, we woke up early to catch the sunrise. But it was cloudy and the sun was already up when the clouds cleared off. We skipped swimming because we weren’t in the mood. At exactly 10 o’clock, we prepared to go back to Cebu. 🙂

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Ace and Demi in Anda, Bohol.

We had such a wonderful time in Bohol. I was amazed as to how friendly Boholanons are. From the bus drivers to that woman selling mangoes by street, there is no doubt that Boholanons are hospitable people. They made our entire sashay memorable.

Over to you. Have you been to Bohol? What place in Bohol do you recommend us to visit next? Leave us some words. 🙂

’til next time, Bohol!

Love, Ace and Demi.

 

Celebrating Love Over The Panoramic Ridge Of Alicia| Binabaje Hills

Bohol — a neighboring island of the Queen City of The South has become the talk of the town lately. With all the trekking and mountaineering hype nowadays, the province opens its own playground for outdoor enthusiasts.

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Behold! The panoramic ridge of Alicia. Also known as the Binabaje Hills or Alicia Rolling Hills, this wonderful sight is tucked in Cambaol, Alicia, Bohol.

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Since it started making noise around the social media, Ace and I had been lusting to visit it. We were supposed to spend our anniversary there. But we were too excited so we agreed to do it advance instead.

So last Friday, as soon as I got off from work, Ace and I went to the port to book a 1:30 am ferry trip to Bohol. There are several entry points from Cebu to Bohol but we chose the Cebu-Tubigon route because it was the earliest trip. (See other ways on how to get to Bohol below.) We came at the Fast Cat ticketing office on a long queue of chance passengers and that would include us. We waited for 30 minutes before they resumed their booking line.

As soon as we had our tickets, we immediately headed to the port and paid the terminal fees. We did not wait too long at the terminal though. At exactly 1:30 am we were already on board. Ace and I were hoping to catch some z’s but the waves were not too friendly. We ended awake throughout the trip. I still felt groggy when we got off.

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To cut the story short, we took a van bound for Carmen. From there, we transferred to a bus going to Alicia. As much as I wanted to doze off, I was so busy watching the greens along the way. Ace said our trip was literally a breath of fresh air. IMG20180609074931[1]

 

We dropped off at the public market of Alicia where we met our guide – Bernard. We agreed to have our breakfast first while Bernard looked for the other motorcycle driver who will take us to the jump-off area.

The ride to the jump-off was really bumpy. You certainly need an experienced driver especially on rainy days as the road could get slippery. Good thing, the weather was on our side on that day.

An important note: they now imposed a 30-peso environmental fee.

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As soon as we arrived at the jump-off area, we promptly started our trek. The first leg welcomed us with its long ascend. For Ace and I who had not hiked for a month, it was pretty exhausting. My pace was slow as I didn’t want to surprise my legs. I used every chance of rest to enjoy the beautiful panorama around.

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Bernard was considerate enough to wait for us while we took a lot of stops to rest and admire the beauty that the hills offered.

I really wanted to say this. I commend our guide for being both informative and patient. On that same day was the Game 4 of the NBA Finals with the exciting 3-0 standing of the GS-Warriors against the C-Cavaliers. It was past 7:30 am when we started our trek and the NBA game was starting soon. I knew so well, how much he wanted to watch the game because Ace was, too. Yet, he never hurried us nor made us feel that we had to. My two thumbs are up for you, Bernard!

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Despite several stops and slow pace, we arrived at the summit in an hour. On very hot days, the trek to the top would be more challenging as it was a steppe trail. There were no trees to shelter from the scorching heat of the sun. Gladly, we had cloudy weather that day. The only challenges we had were the steep ascent and loose soil.

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While sitting and soaking up the wonderful vista in front of us, Ace and I realized that it had been a while since we trekked together. His schedule was very elusive. We’re glad we were finally able to do it again.

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We sat there for few minutes while we shared the jellies we brought. We talked about going back next time and bring Elliot with us. The trail isn’t hard. We’re pretty sure Elliot can manage to the top.

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Soon after we regained our energies we decided to descend since we still have other places to go. We took a different trail to exit the hills. Contrary to the ascending trail earlier, the exit trail was mostly descending. I can’t say it was easier. For someone who hates downhill path, a steep descent is more challenging than an ascent. I felt like my legs and thighs were about to burst.

Nonetheless, I made it back to the base in one piece. And as a bonus, the Warriors-Cavaliers game wasn’t over. 😀 We got to watch it in a house near the jump-off area.

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We separated with Bernard at the municipal hall of Alicia. We were heading to Candijay to visit the nearby tourist attractions which I’ll be writing on a later post. 🙂

Meanwhile, here are some tips on how to get to Alicia Hills.

How to get to Bohol from Cebu:

  • Via Tubigon — *Ride a ferry from Cebu to Tubigon (Php 275 – Fast Cat). *Ride a V-hire from Tubigon to Carmen (Php 80). *Ride a bus to Alicia (Php 40 Ceres).
  • Via Tagbilaran — *Ride a ferry from Cebu to Tagbilaran. *Ride a motorcycle to Dao terminal. *Ride a bus or van to Alicia.
  • Via Ubay — *Ride a ferry from Cebu to Ubay. *Ride a bus bound for Alicia.
  • Via Getafe — *Ride a boat from Cebu to Getafe. *Ride a motorcycle to the jeepney area. *Ride a jeepney to Talibon. *Ride a jeepney to Ubay. *Ride a bus to Alicia.

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Tips: 

  • Ask the driver to drop you off at the municipal hall of Alicia.
  • Prior to your visit, get in touch with Alicia’s Tourism Officer, Maam Godelia Lumogdang at 09338655650. She will provide you with a registered guide and arrange your transport.
  • It’s best to climb the hills before sunrise. They said the sunrise there is spectacular.

 Possible Expenses to Alicia:

  • Cebu to Tubigon – Php 310.00 (Premium Class because they ran out of Economy) 
  • Van to Carmen – Php 80
  • Bus to Alicia — Php 60
  • Motorcycle Ride to the Jump Off (back & forth) – Php 200.00
  • Guide Fee/5pax – Php 300.00 (Php 500 for overnight)
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Happy 2nd Anniversary to us!

We hope you find this post useful. Enjoy your trip to Alicia, guys!

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

Summer — The Virgin Island Way | Bantayan Part 2

Our second day in Bantayan Island started before daybreak. A noise coming from the kitchen awakened me. Ace was preparing our breakfast as well as our food for later’s island hopping. I got up to help him, but I accidentally cut my finger while cutting the onions. That left him to do the most of the cooking.

By 6am, breakfast was served in a military style which we Filipinos call “boodle fight”. Our friends, especially Niña finally got to taste Ace’s bean soup (monggos) and sweet and sour dried fish. We also had hotdogs, scrambled eggs and tocino for the kids. Our host gave us steamed scallops which by the way, abundant in the area.

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Boodle-fight breakfast.
After the sumptuous breakfast, everyone readied for the day’s activity. In few minutes, we were already in a small boat heading to our first destination – the Virgin Island.

Ace and I hadn’t been there. The name seemed to promise a stunning, untouched place. Pictures of fine sand, turquoise water, and beautiful beach played in my mind while our boat fought the intimidating waves. A big splash interrupted me from my reverie. I put my eyes forward and saw a long stretch of white sand gleaming against the summer sun from afar. Contrary to the peaceful and untouched place I had imagined earlier, there were many small boats like ours beached in the area.

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By the looks of it, Virgin Island is seemingly frequented by visitors. Although there are neighboring islands such as Malapascua and Guintarcan, boats to Virgin Island are relatively cheaper.

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The lifeguard is on duty. (Ace)
Whilst I was wrong about the serenity of the place, I exclaimed a big wow the moment my feet touched the sand as I got off the boat. Why not? The place was wonderful. Although it has lost its vestal state because of its popularity among tourists, it’s still fairly worth its name.

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The island, by the way, is privately owned. An entrance fee of Php 500 for the first two persons and Php 100 for every additional head. It has a resort and is already developed. Their staffs are available everywhere should you have questions. We suggest you buy your provisions in the mainland if you’re on a tight budget because the goods here are a bit pricey. There are cottages which you can rent or you can opt to lay your beach mat to save money.

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Truth be told, there is nothing much to do on the island but snorkeling, fish feeding, and of course swimming. There is a marine sanctuary but it doesn’t have that colorful marine biodiversity you expect to see.

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Our brief stay on the island was mostly spent eating our food and exploring the area. Well, swimming, too but not that long. Ace and I are not really beach-people so we easily get enough of it.

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A rational thought about Virgin Island:

Virgin Island had denied us the tranquility we sought for, but we had a great time though. We must admit that we came at the wrong time. It was the peak of the summer season in the Philippines. We were wrong to expect peace and quiet in a beautiful place like this. We shouldn’t have expected anything in the first place. Our expectation was such a selfish thought. 

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Demi’s personal thought about Bantayan Island:

I know some of you will react to this, but I’m saying this anyway.

I don’t concord to that conventional impression about the place. I’ve been to some islands in the Philippines and honestly, Bantayan Island is not one you’ll fall in love on your first step. (There I said it. Don’t bash me, please!) 

No, I didn’t feel the love at first sight like I did with Sipaway Island. Perhaps two days was not enough to know her and it was too early to judge. Perhaps I had huge expectations. Perhaps I was busy comparing her to other islands and missed to see the real her beauty.

One thing is sure though. Bantayan Island gave me that curiosity and desire to know her more. Bantayan sent me home thinking about when to go back. Taking into consideration the stories about how beautiful the island is, I was more perplexed on how I didn’t see it. The more reason why I have to come back.

 

So, we shall see you soon again, Bantayan! Thank you for the summer!

 

Love, Ace and Demi

 

Our Summer Story in Bantayan Island | Part 1

If the southern part of Cebu features the most explored mountain ranges, waterfalls, and also known to be home of the extreme adventure – canyoneering, the northern Cebu prides its stunning white sand beaches, paradise-like islets, healthy marine life and beautiful diving spots.

An impulsive trip brought us to one of the paradise in the northern part of the province — Bantayan Island.

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Get to know Bantayan Island:

Tucked in the west part of the northern Cebu, Bantayan Island is an island group that consists of small islets mostly uninhabited.  Bantayan is the largest island of the group. The towns of Sta. Fe, Madridejos and Bantayan lie here, too.
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Welcome to paradise!

 How to get there:

  • From Cebu, you can take a bus or a van bound for Hagnaya Port from the North Bus Terminal. Depending on what bus you’re riding, the fare is around Php160-180.
  • Secure a ferry ticket from Hagnaya Port (Php180) and pay the terminal fee (Php10). NOTE: If you are bringing your pets with you, don’t forget to get a local transport permit for them. No permit, no transport.)
  • Once you arrive in the port of Sta Fe, you can ride a tricycle to your preferred hostel. Some hostels arrange transport and tour, you may inquire from your host.
  • You can rent a bicycle or a motorcycle to tour the island. There are also motorcycles that offer land tours.

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Our summer story in Bantayan Island:

Our trip to Bantayan Island was unplanned. One day before our departure, Bantayan island never crossed our minds. Ace and I, in fact, were thinking of spending the weekend doing the laundry. It was around 8 pm on Friday when Niña and I talked about going there together. Without any second thought, I agreed. My class finished at 10:30 pm. Niña said we were departing at 3 am which was only a few hours away. Since it was an unexpected outing, we didn’t have Elliot’s transport permit. We had no choice but to leave him in my sister’s care.

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We arrived at Hagnaya Port and had our breakfast while waiting for Niña’s sister who lives in San Remigio. They arrived a little late, it was already 9:30 when we took a ferry to the island. Upon arrival, we wasted no time and immediately took a tricycle to Sta Fe Guest House which was our home for 2 days. Our friendly host greeted us at the gate. I like how our hostel is located just a few minutes away from the marketplace and few steps away from the beach.

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Lunch at Big Jel’s Restomeat.
The same tricycle picked us up at 1 pm for a land tour. Our first stop was Big Jel’s Restomeat for lunch. Ace and I personally suggest you try eating here because aside from the big serving, their food is delicious and affordable.

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After filling up our tummies, we headed to Oboob Mangrove Garden, also known as the OMAGIECA (Obo-ob Mangrove Garden Integrated Ecotourism and Conservation Association)It aims to raise awareness about the importance of mangroves and the role it plays in the ecosystem. The mangroves serve as the home of different underwater species.

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Ace and Demi at Oboob Mangrove Garden.

This mangrove garden has an entrance fee of Php50 for adults and Php20 for kids. They also have this big sign showing where the entrance fee go. Now, that’s what you call transparency.

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When the tide is high, you can tour the area by kayaking. We, on the other hand, chose to walk into the bamboo boardwalk.

Few meters from the entrance, there is a restaurant that serves fresh seafood and refreshments.

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Ace and Demi in Oboob Mangrove Garden.
The kids bought some fish food in a small store along the way. We rested in the bamboo hut while watching them feeding the fish.

We also climbed the makeshift bamboo tower to see the entire mangrove garden from above. Only 3 people are allowed to climb at once for safety purposes. Because many visitors lined up to climb the tower, you can’t stay there for more than 5 minutes.

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Ace and Demi
Soon after we explored the place, we headed to our next stop — the Paradise Beach. It was supposed a secluded beach area but due to the influx of tourist, the place became crowded.

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Niña is enjoying the sun, the sand and the waves. 

 

But that didn’t make the place less of a paradise. The long strip of powdery white sand was worth its name. The beach has the finest sand we have seen.

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Ace at the diving cliff. 
Our next stop was the Diving Cliff near a building ruin. Niña and I were eager to jump in the cliff. Yet, our spirits hid somewhere upon seeing how deep and high it was.

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The Ruin is completely ruined. 
We were supposed to drop by Ogtong Cave in Sta Fe Beach Club, but we agreed to skip it and went to the market to buy some provisions for dinner.

Everybody was tired, especially Ace, Niña and I because we didn’t have enough sleep. (It’s right to say, we didn’t have sleep at all.) We scheduled an island hopping the next day, so we decided to call it a day.

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Stay tuned for the story of our Virgin Island adventure!

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.

 

 

 

 

Udlom Falls in Pinamungahan | A Wonderful Place to Loosen Up

Because a waterfall is a reminder that falling doesn’t always have to hurt.

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I always love capping off my adventures with a glimpse of sunset, a dip in a river or a feel of the mist of a waterfall. It gives me the feeling of fulfillment. It is somewhat a reward to myself for a job well done on that day. It’s like a dessert that completes my meal.

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Udlom Falls

Our spelunking adventure in Toledo City ended with a wonderful surprise. Everybody agreed to proceed to Udlom Peak in Pinamungahan to catch the sunset since it was too early to call it a day. Well, that’s where Niña and I thought we were going. We didn’t have any idea about Udlom Falls

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From the camping site of Lapos-Lapos Cave, we crossed another mountain to go to the main road. We passed by a canopy of mahogany trees that reminded us of the infamous Spartan Trail. Then we reached the main road going to Pinamungahan.

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We agreed to take a hike instead of riding a motorcycle since it was early anyway. But we never thought it would take us more than 7 kilometers to reach the waterfall. The distance didn’t really bother us but the long downhill path did. It was very straining to the legs. I hate downhill walks especially on concrete roads. You put too much weight on your lower limbs.

As it was said, nothing lasts forever.

Eventually, we arrived at Hidden Valley Mountain Resort where we took a breather in a store outside. After a short while, we resumed our hike and took a turn in a narrow path between households. Niña and I were too busy talking that we didn’t know some kids were guiding us. We only noticed the two of them followed us when we got left behind. The two kids served us the ‘tail-guides’. Thanks to them, we were able to catch up with the rest of the group.

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Since we didn’t know that we were going to the waterfall, Niña and I were surprised to hear the cascade few meters away. Although we weren’t sure we were really going that way, we were both excited. After a few more steps, we caught a glimpse of the waterfall and it confirmed our guess that we were actually heading there. We heard giggles coming from the base, so we paced hurriedly.

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We saw our friends happily taking photos of the beautiful water plunge near the basin. I didn’t come near right away because I was still catching my breath. I sat on a rock near me as I admired the falls’ height and beauty. The strong pressure of the water that falls into the bedrock created a mist that cooled down our tired bodies.

Oh, what a wonderful feeling it was to sit down in front of the waterfall while its mist massaged not only my body but also my inner core. The sound of the water as it fell into the basin was very refreshing.

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Not too long, Sir Aldrich invited us to come nearer so we can take a group photo. After that, we took a rest while waiting for the time. Instead of going to Udlom Peak to catch the sunset, we agreed to conclude our day in the falls and head home afterward.

I went home that day feeling absolutely satisfied. I just had a great and fulfilling day with wonderful people. Udlom Falls was a delightful bonus to cap off our day.

 

Let us hear from you. How do you cap off your adventures?

 

‘Til next time!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi