Our Northern Exodus Unlocked Our Hiker’s Compass | Liloan Highlands

While the highlands of southern Cebu become a trekking playground frequented by experienced and newbie hikers, the northern highlands remain humble and still. Although the latter is not favored with high elevation, it has trails and vistas you can compare to that of the known mountains out there.

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Recently, I joined a hiking group that aspires to discover the beauty of the highlands in the north. After that successful quest of visiting Mount Licos, I received an invitation from OMG to trek the mountains of Liloan, Cebu. For someone who came from the north myself, I couldn’t say no since I wanted to give my place it’s due recognition.

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The gang!

Our adventure started with a rendezvous in front of Gaisano Grand Mall -Liloan. As soon as we were complete, we walked to the old Liloan Public Market where we took a motorcycle to Barangay Mulao. Good thing there were only seven of us because it’s hard to get a ride. Mulao is 45 minutes uphill ride from the town, the motorcycles to the said place are very limited.

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Mount Licos from Lanigid Hill.

It took a while before we reassembled at the barangay hall of Mulao. So as soon as everyone had gathered, we immediately commenced our hike to Lanigid Hill. I had been to Lanigid last year with my friends and climbing this hill again brought back those memories. But scaling it with new people was different. The trail started with a steep ascent which made us catch our breaths. It was a strenuous warm-up.

From the top of the hill, we saw Mount Licos standing loud and proud. It was great to see her from afar. She’s such a beaut. I felt a sense of pride in surviving her trail.

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After taking a breather from the top, we trailed back to the barangay hall to head to Barangay Tabla to check out Mount Kolo (also known as Mt View). In the Google map, Mulao and Tabla are adjacent to each other, but there is no trail from Lanigid to there. We had to follow the provincial road that goes around Lanipga to Tabla.

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Have I already told you that I hate hiking on concrete roads? My legs easily get tired on cemented roads compared to rocky terrains. Plus the heat produced by the cement is energy-draining.

Yet, that was what exactly happened that day. After 3 hours of walking, we passed by Lanipga National Highschool. We decided to have our lunch at a nearby store since our tummies already signaled a refill. Tatay Raul’s mirthful spirit boosted our appetite as he entertained us with his hilarious quips. With a companion like him, no journey is dull.

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As soon as we had rested enough, we resumed our hike to Barangay Tabla. We had to ask some locals along the way about Mount View, but only a few of them know it. Most of them were more familiar with Mount Kolo because it’s a neighborhood name (purok). However, nobody could give us a specific way to get to that hill.

Knowing that we were already in Purok Kolo, we trusted our guts and adventurous soul to lead us to the right track. (Tatay Raul called it the hiker’s compass.) We looked for a higher elevation and followed a trail uphill. Fortunately, we were not mistaken. A taller hill stood in front of us.

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Lo and behold, Tabla’s Mountain View!

Seeing the sign that says “This way to Mt View” felt like we won a raffle contest. We did not waste time. We hurriedly climbed the hill. I didn’t mind my sore legs, I just wanted to reach the top. And I wasn’t disappointed. The verdurous panorama of Liloan and the Mactan Island from afar welcomed us. What an astonishing reward!

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The place showcased a 360-degree view of lush foliage. The mountain ranges of Compostela and Danao could be seen from there. In fact, we saw the Holy Cross of Compostela, too.

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We stayed there for a while as we savored the pleasant scenery in front of us. The cold breeze of the wind shooed away our weary feel. We wished to stay longer but time wasn’t on our favor. After an hour, we bid goodbye to the place.

I went home that day with sore legs but with and accomplished heart.

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When life feels like rut and jading, the mountain calls to rescue.

Personal thought:

Life happens! We have different ways to get through it. Some dance with it while others try to escape. Me? I seek refuge in the mountains. If Moana keeps going back to the water, I, on the other hand, go back to the mountains. Because that’s where I feel safe and at peace. It’s where I feel at home.

Over to you! How do you keep up with life? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me some words.

 

‘Til our next exodus!

Keep safe!

Love, 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

 

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

 

Spelunking in Toledo City

Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures!

Two months away from the mountain felt like forever. Lately, Ace and I had been caught up with something that kept us off the trail. My outdoor soul itched for verdure. My legs ached and longed for the muscle pain I get from trekking.

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So when The Bisaya Traveler invited me to join them on a weekend excursion, I gave him a fast yes. My good friend Niña was very happy to join us, too. Ace, however, wasn’t able to join us for some reasons.

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Niña and I thought we would only go trekking on that day. Imagine our excited faces when we learned we were actually going spelunking.

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After meeting sir Aldrich and some of his crew at the South Bus Terminal, we took a bus to Toledo City and dropped off at a pink church in Poog. There we met the rest of the girls that completed our group. As soon as everybody was ready, we hailed a motorcycle to Bunga, Toledo to meet our mirthful guides. We also had our names logged at the barangay hall since we were the first non-locals to explore the caves in the area. Our hike commenced after a short prayer led by Tatay Raul.

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Our day was not too strenuous like what I expected because we were accompanied by high-spirited individuals who knew just how to entertain weary souls. Their funny jokes and life stories made the trek light and fun. Without knowing, we already arrived at the mouth of the cave.

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They said the cave is named Lapos-Lapos Cave. In our dialect, lapos means to pass right through or to penetrate. As the name suggested, there was a big hole where the sunlight comes in at the end of the first cavern. And we had to pass right through that same hole in order to explore the third and second caverns. The three caverns were awesomely large.

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However, I had few sad sentiments about the place. The place was vandalized. There were writings on the wall. The stalactites and stalagmites were dead. There were holes in the ground which were evidently man-made. Our guides mentioned about some artisanal mining done inside it. Considering Toledo’s abundance of land minerals, it wasn’t surprising for people to take advantage of digging around hoping to find some. In fact, small scale mines are pretty common in the area. Although we were the first non-locals to explore the cave, we noticed that it had been frequented by local kids and or residents.  

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As we made our way to the last chamber, our guide led us to a small hole enough to fit our bodies. Niña and I thought about staying behind but the guides urged us to get in. A wide opening with the sight of the blue sky welcomed us after surpassing that hole. But our companions were not there. We heard their laughter and giggles above a cliff. We got curious about what was up there so we worked our arduous way to them.

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Lo and behold! The wonderful panorama of Pinamungahan and the island of Negros. The stunning vista left me speechless and made my heart jump for joy.

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As I sat on a tree branch, I was once again reminded why I prefer the mountains than the ocean. I love the feeling up there looking at the world below me. I feel so big and bold.

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Niña moves! 

Just when we thought we had enough surprises on that day.

Another wonderful experience actually awaited. Stay tuned for that awesome surprise on my later story.

‘Til next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi