We Survived Our First Trek With a Toddler. | Tips and Lessons

Love her, but leave her wild. ~ Articus, To Kill a Mockingbird

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Ahkirah at Mt Mago.

Two weeks ago, we ticked off another thing from our bucket list — trek with a toddler. Since Ace and I started scaling mountains, it had been our ‘wish‘ to bring our kid(s) with us. As adventurers who value the outdoors, we believe that kids learn life’s little lessons quickly when they are on an adventure. Although we are not blessed with one yet, it did not really bother us because we have nieces and nephews whom we can bring anyway.

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First things first. Friends, meet my sister’s two-year old daughter, Ahkirah. She is the brave soul whom we took with us during our Boundary Climb to Mt Mago two weeks ago.

Like most of our ‘first‘ experiences, the said climb was unplanned and spontaneous. Admittedly, we also wondered how we could survive it, but we did!

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Ahkirah and Demi at the boundary! Hooray!

Here are few things we did to survive it:

  • Never hurry. Let the kid explore.

Kirah toddles a lot. She stopped at anything that interests her. We stopped to pick some wild flowers, we stopped to count the butterflies, we stopped to watch domesticated animals along the way. Knowing that it was her first trekking experience, we let her do just like that. We didn’t want to make her first trek a traumatizing one, instead, we want it to be an adventure that would inspire her young soul to do it again and again. 😀

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  • Bring out the kid in us.

We know that kids get bored quickly. Thankfully, the mountain has a lot of things to entertain the kid’s eyes. However, leaving it to the mountain is not enough. When she got tired, we sang nursery songs and made up funny stories.

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  • Cooperate.

No matter how slow our pace was or how many times we stopped, that one and a half hour climb to the boundary is truly exhausting for Ahkirah. We took turns to carry her when she didn’t feel like walking anymore.

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  • Take short breaks.

Whether we’re traveling with a kid or not, breaks are essential for trips and excursion to give our muscles enough time to relax and regain energy. But we have to limit our breaks into three minutes so we won’t feel more tired.

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  • Stay hydrated and munch on trail foods.

Food is life, water is ‘lifer‘. 😀 I mean, as much as food is important, water is more important. Due to the lack of planning, we only brought 4.5 liters of water with us. We forgot that there was no water source near the summit. We already consumed everything before our descent. Thankfully, we passed by a small community and ask for some refill. As for Ahkirah, we also let her munch on chocolates and sweets.

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  • Embrace dirt.

Get ready to get dirty! Because getting dirty is an adventure itself. We came for dirt, heat, and mud and we got it all. Afterall, the dirt can be washed away, but the memories will last a lifetime.

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  • Always encourage.

Paulo Coelho once said, “Only children believe they’re capable of everything“. But I think, behind every child who believes in himself is someone who believes in him first. I noticed, Kirah becomes more determined to walk farther when we tell her that she could. During our entire hike, we never fail to encourage and praise her for doing a great job.

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And lastly,

  • Teach kids the LNT (Leave No Trace) Principle

Teach the kids so it won’t be necessary to teach adults. I carried a plastic bag with our trash on it on our way back home. Ahkirah asked me why I brought garbage with me, I answered and explained to her the importance of not leaving our trash in the mountains. I reckoned she understood it and I admire her inquisitive attitude. 🙂 It is important to start teaching the kids about caring the nature no matter how old they are. Afterall, it’s for their own future.

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Children are not things to be moulded, but people to be unfolded. ~ Jess Lair

 

We hope you find these tips and lessons helpful. Stay tuned for our Boundary Climb to Mt Mago story in a later post.

Over to you. Have you trekked with a kid before?

 

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

Mangitngit Falls in Middle Earth Spring Resort | Discover Carmen

Carmen is known to be home of cold springs. If you need a quick break from the heat in the city, Carmen is your place to go. Head to Durano Eco Farm if you want to swim in the midst of a rainforest or you can simply take a dip in Uragay Spring Resort.

Not too long ago, another cold spring resort opened its home for the public. It is the Middle Earth Spring Resort.

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So, the misadventure that we had brought us here. Wait, did I say it brought us to Mangitngit Falls? Yeah, I did. And yes, we’re here!!

So what happened to Mangitngit Falls? 

Just a quick lookback in 2007, the falls met a tragic fate — a landslide that took two lives. It resulted to the closure and the prohibition of going or coming near the falls. 

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Mangitngit Falls, Carmen, Cebu

Years had passed… the public are now given a chance to see the beauty of this infamous waterfalls again.  As Mangitngit Falls opened its door to the people, so as Middle Earth Spring Resort which serves as the living room of the place.

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Middle Earth Spring Resort

Middle Earth Spring Resort is tucked in lower Natimao-an, Carmen, Cebu. This is the gateway to glimpse Mangitngit Falls.

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The resort has three swimming pools. All pools are filled with a free-flowing, non-chlorinated water from the spring where the water from Mangitngit falls was also coming from.

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The water is ice-cold. But my niece Ahkirah really had a great time despite shivering from the cold. She really had a great resistance with cold temperature.

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While waiting for Ace to finish grilling the fish for lunch, we soaked this bottle of softdrinks in the flowing water.

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And, voila!!! That’s an instant chiller! 😀

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So, while the hubby was preparing our lunch, I explored the place and looked for the waterfalls. Because admittedly, I was not after the spring resort, I was much more interested with the falls.

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I was hoping to get a close shot with it, unfortunately, fences are being put to keep the visitors off and from getting near.

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I learned that the falls have three tiers. As much as I want to get a shot of each tiers, it’s not possible not unless you’re willing to take a risk and pay a fine for punishment. 😥

 

As I continued exploring the place and looked for a nice angle to see Mangitngit Falls, hubby joined me. We went down a stairway that leads to the middle of the forest.

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But, the forest is completely tamed, as the stairs was concreted and a viewing deck was made. This is where the visitors could glimpse Mangitngit Falls.

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This is already the closest shot one could get because the rest of the area is off-limit. It was like, Mangitngit Falls is dropping proudly. (So near, yet so far, eh?)

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A proof that the place is a landslide prone area. 

Just few meters from the basin of the falls, we noticed this eroded soil. The erosion looked fresh as if it happened just few days ago.

I researched about the closure of Mangitngit Falls several years ago. Geologists had inspected the soil and found out that the rocks surrounding the waterfall are phorus — a soft kind of rock that is prone to landslide.

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As much as we wanted to go near, keeping off is for our own good and safety. Perhaps, Mangitngit Falls is made for our eyes only. We personally thought that the prohibition is also beneficial for the falls itself because in this way, the falls would remain safe from the cruel hands of the people.

Nonetheless, we were glad to see the beauty of the falls even from afar. For now, let the visitors just see it this way and settle for the same water in the spring resort. 😀

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How to get to Middle Earth Spring Resort? 

Ride a bus from the North Bus Terminal. Any buses bound to north will pass by Carmen. Ask the driver to drop you off at the town’s public market. (Fare Php40.) From there, you can hail a motorcycle that will take you to the resort. (Fare is Php35/person.)

Fees and Amenities: 

The resort has an entrance fee of Php50 (adults) and Php30 (kids). There are cottages and kiosks for Php400-500. There are tables and chairs for rent for Php200.

The resort also have a karaoke for rent, although I haven’t asked the rental fee.

There is no restaurant in the area. We suggest you bring your own provisions.

 

We hope you find this post and guide helpful.

Over to you. What do you think about the falls’ prohibition?

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.

The Weekend Misadventure That Brought Us to Mangitngit Falls.

A weekend when the hubby and I were off for an adventure, like ANY adventure but the universe had conspired not to make it happen.

One Saturday morning, we went to Sogod, Cebu for some appointment. Fortunately, the appointment was done early. By 1:15 pm, we’re already free for the rest of the day. So, we decided to visit Maravilla Resort in Tabuelan, Cebu which is only few kilometers from Sogod. However, the only way to go there when you are commuting is by bus. So we started waiting for a bus ride to the place.

After an hour of waiting, we were still unable to catch a ride. The buses that ply to Tabuelan are scarce and if there were any, they were jampacked with passengers to the extent that even the rooftops of the buses are occupied. We were not in a hurry so we resolved to wait for another two hours. But it was all in vain.

It was 4:00 pm and we were still waiting. Surprisingly, none of us got impatient which was very unusual. Until a concerned local noticed that we had been waiting for hours, he approached and told us that it was Tabuelan’s annual fiesta and it was also a San Juan (water fest). By that being said, it meant, it’s impossible to catch a bus ride to that place because people from the city were going home since it also happened to be a long weekend.

But we were still in for an adventure!!! We agreed to just hop on any bus and go where it would take us. Thirty minutes passed and not a single bus passed. (What?) It was already 4:30 and I already felt like I was about to give up the waiting game. Ooopps, wait! Three buses were coming — one for Borbon, one for Hagnaya Port, and the other one for Maya. Let’s see. The bus for Borbon was also jampacked, the same thing for Hagnaya Port because people were trying to catch the last trip boat ride to Bantayan Island. And Maya…oh, Maya. Wait, where is Maya? We don’t have any idea where is Maya!!!!

Yeah, we did not take that bus because we don’t have any idea where is Maya. 😀 So, after few minutes of laughing at our situation, we decided to just go back to the city and watch movies or maybe eat in a seafood restaurant. While on the bus, we thought about what happened and we were very amused. We didn’t know but we were not annoyed nor upset with the situation. 😀

The bus stopped-over Carmen for pee-break and some snacks. We still have not recovered from our epic misadventure, we agreed to spend the night in my sister’s house because we were already hungry. We forgot to have lunch because of that waiting game. (No, actually we were aware of that but we didn’t want to miss a bus so we kept waiting and waiting and oh…hunger was what we got.) 

Dinner, finally!!! So, while eating dinner, we talked about going for a swim the next day. We heard about Middle Earth Spring Resort which is also now the home of the infamous Mangitngit Falls.

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Mangitngit Falls, Carmen, Cebu

I’ll give you something to look forward to. 😀 I know this has been a long narrative of our misadventure, I don’t want to ruin my Mangitngit Falls’ story along with these. So stay tuned for my Mangitngit Falls and Middle Earth Spring Resort story on the later post. 😀

LESSON:

Some plans are not meant to be realized. We have to accept that there are things and circumstances that won’t go as planned. Some inauspicious situations will lead us to a more worthwhile experiences.

Life starts when we learn to see our misdaventures as adventures. 

 

So, what do you think about our misadventure? Have you had any experiences similar to this? What did you do? We’d love to hear from you.

 

‘Til next misdaventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

Gatubod Spring Resort | Review

In a tropical country like ours, cold spring resorts are really helpful to escape the heat. No wonder why mountain resorts are thriving nowadays. One is Gatubod Spring Resort in Compostela, Cebu.

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Gatubod Spring Resort is located in Barangay Basak, Compostela, Cebu. It’s actually just one kilometer away from our house. This resort is owned by the famous Quiño clan in the town who also happens to own Green Lagoon Park.

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The Resort:

The resort has three pools. The first pool is what welcomes you upon entering. It has a depth of 7ft. The second pool is the kids’ pool which also serves as the launching pool for the slides. The third one is the widest and has a depth of 2ft to 6ft. It also has a mini waterfall for those who wanted a water-massage.

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The resort has two long slides that guests could enjoy. As of this writing, they have the longest slide in the northern Cebu. During our last visit, only one slide is operational due to some accidents and complains about the steepness and shape of the slide.

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There are cottages for rent and tables for rent but no rooms for overnight stays.

No corkage. Grilling station is also available.

They have a wide car park across the resort.

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REVIEW:

Gatubod Spring Resort like Green Lagoon Park is also a family-oriented resort. However, it could be crowded during weekends and holidays. My advice is to book in advance or go early.

They don’t have rooms or at least lockers to leave your important belongings. Therefore, you have to take turns in swimming so someone could look after your things.

The resort doesn’t have a restaurant so better bring your own food. Good thing because there is no corkage fee. 😀

 The staffs are friendly and approachable.

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How To Get There:

*From Sm/Mandaue, just ride a jeepney or bus going to Compostela or Danao. Ask the driver to drop you off in Compostela Public Market or in Guimbal, corner going to Virginia Foods Inc.. There are motorcycles for hire (habal-habal) and will take you to the resort. The travel from the market is 15-20 minutes.

More Information:

 *Entrance Fee — Php30 (Kids) / Php60 (Adult)

*Cottages: Ranges from Php250 – Php500

*No corkage

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I hope you find this review helpful. 🙂 Should you find any mistakes or changes, feel free to contact us or drop us a comment below. We’d appreciate it.

‘Til next time!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

P.S Another post about our Gatubod Spring Resort adventure also appears on Side by Side blog.

12 Songs I Wish I Could Sing For Him.

And suddenly, all the love songs were about you.

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One year down!

Okay, so today is our anniversary. I want to sing him a love song but my voice makes it sound like a nursery rhyme. 😥

I have to admit it, singing was one of my BIGGEST frustrations until life hit me and made me realize that I was just adding ‘problem’ to the society. 😀 Anyway, yeah I did not finish the song because I don’t want to make the hubby sick.

 

Daot, if I could sing for you once more, here’s 12 songs I wish I to sing:

1. THIS IS WHY I NEED YOU ~~ Jesse Ruben

You make my weakness less weak.
You make the bottom less deep.
You make the waiting feel shorter.
You make my crazy feel normal, every time.
You are the who, love is the what, and this is the why. 

 2. PILLOWTALK ~~ Zayn Malik

Nobody but you, ‘body but me
‘Body but us, bodies together
I love to hold you close, tonight and always
I love to wake up next to you

3. COLD WATER ~~ Major Lazer (feat. Justin Bieber & MO)

And if you feel you’re sinking,
I will jump right over into cold, cold water for you
And although time may take us into different places
I will still be patient with you
And I hope you know

4. SAY YOU WON’T LET GO ~~ James Arthur

I’m gonna love you till
My lungs give out.
I promise till death we part like in our vows.
So I wrote this song for you, now everybody knows
‘Cause now it’s just you and me till we’re grey and old
Just say you won’t let go
Just say you won’t let go

5. LET ME LOVE YOU ~~ DJ Snake (feat. Justin Bieber)

Don’t fall asleep
At the wheel, we’ve got a million miles ahead of us
Miles ahead of us
All that we need
Is a rude awakening to know we’re good enough
Know we’re good enough

6. PERFECT STRANGERS ~~ Jonas Blue (feat. JP Cooper)

Who knows the secret tomorrow will hold?
We don’t really need to know
‘Cause you’re here with me now, I don’t want you to go
You’re here with me now, I don’t want you to go

7. THINKING OUT LOUD ~~ Ed Sheeran

Darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Oh me I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

8. ALL OF ME ~~ John Legend

Cause all of me, loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges,
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning

9. SWEET CREATURE ~~ Harry Styles

Sweet creature, sweet creature
Wherever I go, you bring me home
Sweet creature, sweet creature
When I run out of road, you bring me home

10. SHAPE OF YOU ~~ Ed Sheeran

I’m in love with your body
Every day discovering something brand new
I’m in love with the shape of you

11. IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW ~~ Brett Young

You’ve got all of me
I belong to you
Yeah, you’re my everything

In case you didn’t know
I’m crazy bout you
I would be lying if I said
That I could live this life without you

12. ISSUES ~~ Julia Michaels

‘Cause I got issues
But you got ’em too
So give ’em all to me
And I’ll give mine to you
Bask in the glory
Of all our problems
‘Cause we got the kind of love
It takes to solve ’em

Yeah, I got issues
And one of them is how bad I need you.

 

 

Island Living | The Sipaway Island Way.

“Your life is an island separated from all other islands and continents. Regardless of how many boats you send to other shores or how many ships arrive your shores, you yourself are an island separated by its own pains, secluded in its happiness.” ~ Kahlil Gibram

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When people hear the word island, the image of a wide stretched beach, the turquoise water, and the fine white sand surely comes to our mind first. We forget that this is not what an island is all about.

The island is the people, their way of living and their laid-back life.

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A photo of a father and son from taking a dip in the beach.

Today, let us take you to Sipaway Island — a small island in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. This is also geographically known as Refugio Island.

Sipaway can be reached by a bangka (an outriggered boat) from San Carlos City for about 10 minutes. The bangka will dock in any of the five ports in the island depending on the majority of the passengers’ destination. (Yes, you’ve read it right. The island has five ports in different area but the most used are the Dap-dap and Ermita ports.)

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Bangkas ready for a fluvial parade docked in Ermita Port.

Since the hubby’s relatives who are living in Negros wanted to meet me, we decided to pay them a short visit. When his family learned that we will be coming, they thought of having a mini-reunion in Sipaway.

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Sipaway Island

Hubby toured me around the place on our second day.

Sipaway Island has a land area that only stretches 7 kilometers in length and 1.5 kilometers wide. It only consists of two barangays (district), San Juan and Ermita. These two barangays are connected with well-paved concrete roads.

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A well-paved road connecting the two districts.

The mode of transportation in the area are tricycles and motorcycles. But there are private resorts in the area that offer bicycles for rent. Hubby and I rented a motorbike to tour the whole place because our body were not in good condition to cycle. I personally thought it was a good choice knowing that it was a Sunday and we will be going back to Cebu in the afternoon because we have to work on the next day. It really saved us time and energy. 😀

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Ace and Demi in Sipaway Island 2017

Our first stop was the oldest Balete Tree in the island. The last time Ace visited Sipaway was 10 years ago, so he was also surprised that the tree is now fenced inside San Juan Elementary School. The school was closed so we were not able to get inside.

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A 200-century old Balete Tree in Barangay San Juan.

As we continued our tour to the tip of the island, I chanced upon this couple who came from fishing something for lunch. How sweet is that?

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A husband and wife coming from a day of fishing.

Sipaway island has a population of about 4000 people. The primary source of living is fishing and extracting oil from coconut’s dried meat (locally called copra).

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Lush coconut vegetation in the area.

Recently, the place already have a 24-hour supply of electricity. They also have a supply of clean drinking water from the mainland San Carlos City, although not all households have their own faucets yet. So some have to wait in line to fetch water from a public faucet in designated areas. At least, now they don’t have to go to the mainland to fetch for water.

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Tatay waiting for his turn to fetch water from a public faucet.

We also learned that there is a resort in the island which is frequented by visitors. It is the Whispering Palms Island Resort. We dropped by here to supposedly just eat our lunch but we had to pay an entrance fee apart from our food. We were not going stay in the resort for long due to time constraints so we aborted our plan to have lunch inside.

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Whispering Palms Island Resort.

As we continued our tour, I saw the idyllic life of Sipawaynons. Actually, there was this part of me which envied their simple living. In every eyes of the people there, I saw contentment, I saw happiness.

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Priceless laughter from an old woman skinning firewoods to sell. Photo from Sipaway Divers.

I witnessed how peaceful this little community is. I saw how they do things that I’m pretty sure they’d been doing everyday but I did not see boredom.

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A little girl swimming with her pet. 

They don’t have the luxury to buy expensive things but they have time, precious time. Everybody knows almost everyone in this 7-kilometer community. I love that! I love how they know the people in the other side of the island contrary to not knowing your ‘roommate’ in city.

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That afternoon talk in the neighborhood. 

They have narrow streets but there is no traffic. The kids have no expensive gadgets but they’re happily playing hide and seek and other traditional games.

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Kids riding a pedal cab with their pet. 

Basically, the people in this island don’t have the modernities that we people in the big cities have. But, look how they are happy and contented with their laid back life.

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A traditional hut in the island.

Look how rich the kids with childhood fun, look how rich the people with peace and tranquility, look how rich they are with love and smiles.

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Tricycle — primary mode of transport. 

Our short sojourn in the island taught us to appreciate the life we have. It taught us contentment. It taught us to value our work, the people around us, the precious time we have for each other. 

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Treat yourself with the traditional coconut red wine locally called tuba

We may be a small island, but we are not a small people. ~Edward Heath

 

We hope you enjoyed our Sipaway Island venture.

‘Til next time.

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.

A Photo Diary | How Surigao Swept Off Our Feet.

Don’t listen to what they say. Go see it!!!

Our first week of May was worthily spent in SURIGAO along with new awesome friends. The place was in our bucket list but we did not expect to visit it it soon. Somehow, blessings made our way to the City of Island Adventures. (And this marked our first venture outside the Visayas region.)

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An old friend invited us to visit her hometown. It so happen that Ace and I had plans to go to Negros and Bantayan Islands but the enticing places in Surigao made us change our minds.

I must say, we had made the BEST decision ever.

Surigao swept us off our feet since the first day and all throughout our sojourn. From the amazing fjord of Bucas Grande and Sohoton Cove, the untouched islets of Dinagat Islands, the awe-inspiring sight of Tinuy-an Falls, to the beguiling beauty of Enchanted River — everything went beyond our expectations.

Here’s a photo diary that will show you how the City of Island Adventures made us fall inlove.

How would you like to build your house in an island overlooking other tiny islets and the cerulean sea?

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A stunning vista of the islets from an abandoned rest house in Dinagat Islands.

Or maybe have the island all by yourself?

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Another picturesque spot on the other side of the abandoned rest house.

When you have the fine sand, the calm sea and a wonderful… body? (Excuse me!)

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The fine sandbar in one of the islets of Dinagat Islands. (Duyos Beach)

That Palawan dream… Surigao made it happen. 😀

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A rock formation that serves as home of some Kalaw birds or the Philippine Hornbills in another Dinagat Islands’ islet. (Kabukungan Islet.)

Entered a new world through Bucas Grande and got lost with the confusing inlets. Explored the hidden gems of Sohoton from caves to coves.

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A fjord to Bucas Grande.

Saw amazing rock formations that we’ve never seen before and heard folklores from a local tourist guide.

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Unique rock wall in Sohoton Cove.

Plunged and communed with nature. Or chose to swim with thousands of stingless jellyfish.

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Dipping in the water surrounded by stingless jellyfish.

Ticked off the widest waterfall in the country from our bucket list.

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A fascinating sight of the country’s widest waterfall — Tinuy-an Falls. (The 2nd tier.)

Chased the cascades of this multi-tiered waterfalls. And treated ourselves with a massage from the water curtain.

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The cascades of Tinuy-an’s first tier.

Dabbed a ‘squadgoal pose’ with the gang.

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Squad goals? Yeah, not without this pose. 😀

And stroke more squadgoal poses…. 😀

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Squad pose with Tinuy-an Falls’ stamp.

Admired the mystifying beauty of Hinatuan’s Enchanted River.

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A vibrant scene of Hinatuan’s Enchanted River. Simply enchanting.

Repleted our eyes as we stared at the enchanting river to our hearts’ content. Also enjoyed swimming and going with the river flow.

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Staring at the water to her heart’s content.

Whilst our fleeting stay in Surigao we couldn’t help but  DECLARE to come back for more, soon. The city surely has more gems yet to be discovered.

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Thank you for the wonderful experience Surigao. ’til our next visit on your land.

Cheers!

With 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.