A Hymn of Unfathomable Depth and Mystery| Enchanted River, Hinatuan

The river taught us to listen with a silent heart, with a waiting open soul…

IMG20170502135237
Ace and Demi visited Enchanted River, Hinatuan

In once a sleepy town of Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur, there is a mysterious river that continuously enthralls people because of its unfathomable mystery. They said this river is “enchanted”, thus the name Enchanted River.

18268252_1635044643190487_6966353011710825144_n
Ace and Demi in Enchanted River

The name and the fuss about it made Ace and I curious. We were very fortunate to have visited the place during our fleeting stay in Surigao.

Hidden behind the rocky mountains, covered with lush foliage near the Pacific Ocean, we found the said river in it’s placid state.

20170508_202734
The main pool. 

Enchanted River is a brackish lagoon with indeed, a beguiling appeal. With the pristine and deep blue color, I think there is no better way to describe this mesmerizing body of water other than “enchanting“. 

IMG20170502135910

Aside from its physical beauty, its depth also remains a mystery to everybody. Many professional divers are said to have attempted to reach the bottom but no one has successfully did.

18301697_1635044796523805_8265325392735713117_n

I was personally amazed when I first caught sight of the river. Unlike usual rivers that slither through valleys, this one springs from nowhere. No one knows where the water came from — is it a spring? Or does it come from the sea? Many said, there is an underground fissure where the sea water comes in. Well, that’s the most possible explanation but it’s not proven yet.

IMG20170502133646
Walking to the Enchanted river. 

During our visit, we had to register our names first followed by a short briefing about the do’s and don’t’s in the place. From the registration area, we had to walk for five minutes to go to the river.

IMG20170502134656
The gang. 

Swimming in the main pool of the river is already prohibited to protect and preserve its beauty. But there is a designated area ten meters away, where tourists are allowed to take a dip.

IMG20170502143131
The gang. 

That area is not deep, unlike the main lagoon. But you are still required to wear a life vest, regardless of your swimming skills because the pressure of the flowing water is too strong. 

IMG20170502141803
Demi enjoying the water.

At 3pm, people are asked to get out of the water. A bell rings and a beautiful hymn of an ancient ritual plays in the background. People call it the “hymn of Hinatuan“. It was beautiful! This signals the fish feeding time.

IMG20170502145810
Visitors watching the fish feeding. 

After few minutes, two men in a canoe came towards the main pool maneuvering it in a circular manner. Not too long after, a school fish popped out from nowhere, following the direction of the canoe. One of the men threw small shrimps and other food scraps to them.

IMG20170502150404

These fishes came swirling around, dancing and some even jumping as if showing off as they beat each other for the food. People are in awe and speechless, well, I was. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Those fish are dancing to the hymn!!!  That was a magical and enchanting moment, indeed!

IMG20170502153729
Enchanted River

That supernatural and mesmerizing sight left us speechless and astounded. Ace and I are very grateful to have witness such magical charm. We felt proud that such mystical river exists in our very own country. We hope the government, with the help of the people as well, would be able to preserve its beauty for the next generation to see.

IMG20170502144815

What more can we say? With this river’s unfathomable depth and mystery… We are enchanted!!!

 

’til our next enchanting adventures!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

P.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.

 

Advertisements

Guest Post: “Inspirasyon”

Let’s welcome a guest post from someone dear to me.

This girl had been through a lot and I’m happy to see her moving on and starting to let go because of a “man” she fell-in-love at first sight with. 🙂

22154396_1711795148864542_4517862220678642131_n.jpg

 

“Inspirasyon”

Matagal na ako sumuko sa pag-ibig.
Pero isang araw nakita kita, ang puso koy nanginginig.
Hindi ko inakala, sa bukid lang pala kita makikita.
Itong puso kong bigo at sawi, ng dahil sayo nawala ang pighati.
Ang paghanga ko sayo Kevin, itatago ko nalang.

Kahit ang puso koy nasasaktan.
Hindi man kita makita ng harapan, sa larawan mo nalang kita pinagmamasdan..

-broken💔woman

22089698_1711773415533382_8628605629185831302_n.jpg

So, I’m wondering who is this “Kevin” guy? Because I really want to thank him for making this girl so alive now.

Anyway, to you my dear broken woman, there’s no reason to stay broken now. We hope you come to meet this guy someday.

 

 

A Trek of Whimsical Discovery and New Friends | Discover Compostela

Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.

22852978_1905519102806391_2668431672182359742_n
The largest cross my eyes have seen. (Compostela, Cebu)

Two weeks ago, I had a wonderful opportunity to finally meet the TEAM BANG — one of the known hiking group in Cebu and of course, the team’s head, the famous BISAYA TRAVELER, sir Aldrich.

It started with a proposal that I opened to sir Aldrich last month to give the Northern Cebu its chance to be discovered. I told him to start with my town, Compostela. Most people know Compostela as home of big beach and spring resorts. But this town is more than that. There are more beautiful spots hiding in the outskirts of this sleeping municipality.

23130772_1741728462537877_6006128309692619412_n.jpg
Demi at Bungtod Panangban.

We agreed to meet at my place. The team introduced themselves and I offered them cooked sab-a banana and cassava or kamoteng-kahoy  which my family prepared for them.

Our adventure started with a short prayer led by the team’s famous “IDOL“. The plan was to climb Bungtod Panangban and traverse to Mulao River. But then they noticed the big cross from afar that can be seen from my house. Sir Aldrich suddenly became interested about it but tried to let it pass his mind.

Holycross
Photo Credit: Sir Aldrich

The walk to Barangay Panangban was fairly easy because we just have to follow the barangay road. Until we arrived at an abandoned quarry spot which, when climbed at the top provides an overlooking glimpse of Mactan Island. Some of the gang did check it out but others stayed below.

23130821_1905518976139737_5042357328193247144_n.jpg
Photo credit: Idol Reymund

This abandoned quarry spot holds a special part of my heart because this was my playground when I was younger. (I’m going to write a separate post about it later.)

23130890_1905520202806281_5086055013651109924_n.jpg
Photo Credit: Idol Reymund

From the quarry spot, once again, the sight of the cross met Sir Aldrich’s eyes as if tempting him to come closer. Until he relented to its teasing scene and asked us to consider checking it out. Everybody agreed to change the plan and traverse to that big cross after Bungtod Panangban, instead.

_DSC0718
The cross from afar. 

So, we continued our trek to the highest peak of Panangban. It was an hour ascent to the area. Until we came to a spot that shows a panoramic view of some mountain barangays of Compostela, the Mactan Island and some parts of Cebu City. We rested for a while and ate the snacks we brought.

22853199_1905520036139631_1729729720415492333_n

I started to feel more comfortable with the team. They’re friendly and easy to get along with. They never made me feel out-of-place. That time, I knew I’d be tagging with them again some time.

_DSC0806

After our break, we resumed our hike to the highest peak of the area. We had to climb through a steep slope under the scorching sun. But the heat never seemed to bother everyone especially because we had so much fun listening to a “puppy story” by one of the team’s member. I did not fully understand the whole story but The Bisaya Traveler mentioned a piece of it on his post, check it out here. 🙂

tin
Photo Credit: Idol Wanderer

There was not much to see at the peak because it was covered with thick bush and vegetation. With clearing, I’m pretty sure this area would give a better view of the city.

22851936_1905519799472988_418458915863665136_n
Maria of DoodlesScribbles. (Photo by Idol Wanderer)

We did not stay long there, because we already heard stomachs growling. We had to trail back because the other trail was fenced. We took our lunch in a bbq store beside a basketball court at the base of the mountain.

22851759_1738746989502691_8521493730267900272_n

After filling our tummies, we resumed our hike to traverse to that intriguing cross. This time, we took the descending trail heading to the adjacent barangay, Barangay Basak. It sits next to Panangban and this was also the main quarry site.

We came across this abandoned bamboo hut which we supposed, the workers in the quarry used to live when it was still operating. We rested for a few minutes while they continued talking about the “puppies”. 😀

_DSC0812
Photo Credit: Sir Aldrich

With energies regained, we continued our quest to discover that huge cross. None of us had been there, not even my uncle and cousin who were our guide on that day. I knew, the cross is perched in Tagaytay, a sitio of Barangay Bagalnga.

_DSC0823
Photo Credit: Sir Aldrich

It was another uphill climb towards the cross. Our pace slowed a bit. Admittedly, I started panting and hearing my loud breath. I also noticed some of them catching their breath as well. Perhaps, we underestimated that ascend. That was weird.

After few short stops, we finally made it to the location of the cross. I was in AWE. Like, I literally said “AWE”. I’ve never seen a cross this BIG. (I hope you feel the caps.) I couldn’t stop looking at it and I was wondering why it was made, how it was made…

22852978_1905519102806391_2668431672182359742_n

We all agreed that this is so far the largest cross we all have seen. Also the view from the cross was worth that breath-catching hike.

I don’t know the reason why this cross was made but there are different stories and rumors going around the area. Some of these stories are controversial. For that reason, I can’t share it here, it’d be better if you personally find it out from the locals in the area. 🙂

We took a rest under the shade of the cross. Yes, it did fit all of us. What is largest, right? Jovy, took a short nap while the rest are talking and munching some snacks. I had so much fun listening to them. I couldn’t help laughing at Sir Aldrich and Idol’s first-bump gesture almost every minute. I really enjoyed the TEAM’s company. I was amazed how open-minded and flexible they are. I’m very glad to have met them and even get to know some of the members. I also look forward to meet the rest of the team in the future. 🙂

23316749_1749233871787336_7015288963053271335_n

It’s the friends we met along the way that help us appreciate the journey.

At first, I thought it would be just another weekend trek to quench my adventurous soul. I was happy with the sudden change of plan that led us to a whimsical discovery. But I was happier to have made NEW FRIENDS on that journey. Indeed, mountains don’t only give a wonderful feeling at the top, this time, it gave me new friends.

Tips and How to get there:

  • Ride a north-bound bus or jeepney to Compostela and drop off at Compostela Public Market. (Fare: Php25 from Sm/Php18 from Mandaue)
  • If you plan to take our route, start your trek from Dikyop. Hail a motorcycle to take you there. (If you only want the see the cross, just tell the driver to take you to Tagaytay, Bagalnga.) (Fare: Php20 to Dikyop)
  • Hire a guide. You can contact me. Send me a message or connect with me through my Facebook Page. (Ace and Demi Travel Stories / Demi Compra)
  • You can also traverse to Mulao River from Bungtod Panangban.
  • Keep yourself hydrated.
  • LEAVE NO TRACE. Always, wherever you go.

 

’til next friendly adventure.

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

Feeling High In Mt. Kan-Irag (Sirao Peak)

So, the adventure continued and we’re feeling so high…

The higher, the closer to heaven.

22279797_1715574225153301_4902808406645629339_n
Ace and Demi in Mt Kan-Irag

We feel high…

We felt high… when we learned we were climbing Mt. Kan-Irag through Budlaan.

We felt high… despite the gloomy weather the day before our adventure.

We remained high… although there were only five of us who showed up on the day of our scheduled jaunt.

22195710_1713044892072901_3612889934848467885_n
Ace and Demi in Budlaan Falls

We felt high… when we started trekking Kabang River and witnessed the mightiness of Budlaan Falls.

We felt higher… when we bathed in the flowing water of Kabang river.

22279741_1715573051820085_9212635704120306930_n
Sirao Peak

We still felt high… just by eating isaw, and chicken feet bbq for lunch beside a basketball court.

We felt higher… when we continued our quest to the peak of Mt. Kan-Irag.

22195962_1715565515154172_2050679460579872104_n

We felt high… seeing our national animal taking a dip in a muddy puddle under the scorching heat of the sun.

We felt high… as we took a short break and rested our bodies in the grassy field.

22221902_1715572705153453_3237036939867304706_n

We felt higher… when a mother cow chased us and saw her sexy baby posing elegantly in front of our camera.

22228472_1715576511819739_593681296256713684_n

We still felt high… though our paced slowed down because our bodies were already exhausted.

We felt high… even though we had to take a lot of short breaks to regain our energy.
22228279_1715566655154058_6242281533863587753_n

We felt even higher… when we reached the shoulder of the peak and saw the city below us.

We felt high… as we enjoyed the wonderful view and pointed the trail we passed through.

22195582_1715575891819801_4402893075847566993_n

We felt high… as we realized we’re just a dot in this vast universe.

We felt high… as we contemplated on mundane things that we missed to notice below.

22196460_1715575485153175_9138317287528514384_n

We felt higher… when we were welcomed by the blooming flowers of cogon grass which brought us to a different world.

22141198_1712543248789732_4743382816162202531_n

We even felt higher… as we started walking and making our way through those grass that are taller than me.

22196164_1712543138789743_5914947265147988623_n
A beautiful paradise.

We felt SUPER high… when we finally reached the top and saw a beautiful paradise below us.

22141088_1712543448789712_1090588897428847119_n

We felt high… as we rejoiced because we finally reached the peak.

We felt higher… while looking at the clouds and identifying the shapes they formed.

We felt high… talking about life and past experiences.

22195742_1715565585154165_2583131937685664765_n

We felt higher… while dancing to beat of the infamous Despacito and the Shark Song.

22221897_1715574918486565_5318069420113072903_n

We remained high… even until the sun started to set painting the sky a different hue. Even higher… as we argued whether the hue was pink or orange.

22140741_1711702155540508_981863134038685472_n

Truly, Mt Kan-Irag being the highest peak of the city’s highland, made us feel high as we scaled her wonderful trail. Even looking and reviewing the photos we took during our trek make us feel high. No wonder why most outdoor souls who are always hungry for adventure love to go back to her peak.

Should we come back, too? We’d love to.

’til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.