So, the adventure continued and we’re feeling so high…
The higher, the closer to heaven.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We felt higher… when a mother cow chased us and saw her sexy baby posing elegantly in front of our camera.
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.
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.
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.
We felt higher… when we were welcomed by the blooming flowers of cogon grass which brought us to a different world.
We even felt higher… as we started walking and making our way through those grass that are taller than me.
We felt SUPER high… when we finally reached the top and saw a beautiful paradise below us.
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.
We felt higher… while dancing to beat of the infamous Despacito and the Shark Song.
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.
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.
Let me start this post with an aerial photo of Bucas Grande Islands which would surely ignite every itchy feet’s curiosity.
We know it’s a cliche, everyone says to lower our expectations. But, could you blame us for expecting too much? Photos posted on Facebook , Instagram, and other social media sites spell HIGH EXPECTATION.
We already had posted a photo diary about of Surigao experience here. An invite from a good friend brought us to the beautiful City of Island Adventures and gave us the chance to experience a non-stop island hopping. 😀
So, how was our Bucas Grande Islands and Sohoton Bay experience?
It was already 7:00am when we arrived in Surigao. A van picked us up to bring us to the Port of Hayanggabon where our Bucas Grande Island adventure awaited. We dropped by our host’s house to leave some of our belongings and immediately resumed our journey for the day.
At the port, a medium-sized motorized boat waited for us. We quickly get on the boat and had our breakfast on board. We were very busy filling our hungry tummies, without knowing, we were already in the middle of Sohoton Bay.
Our major tour for the day was Sohoton Cove National Park. Since it was still a high tide, our boatmen toured us to other islands around Sohoton Bay. Our first stop is the Crystal and Bolitas Cave.
Unfortunately, I did not have a decent photo inside the cave. But just a heads up, Crystal Cave is a huge cavern with stalagmites and stalactites shining like crystals while Bolitas Cave got its name from the strange rock formations inside that resembles to that of a pellet. (Here’s a perfect post that best describes what I’m trying to say.)
After we explored the two caves and done our photo-ops, we hopped back to our boat to explore another island. As our boatmen expertly maneuvered our boat avoiding the shallow water, we noticed this boat-like rock which is perfectly shaped by time. Look how amazing nature is!
After a few minutes, we were in front of another island. It was fronting a cliff and it looked like a developed resort. We agreed not to drop there and just find another place where we can grill our fish for lunch so we won’t run out of time.
Our boatmen brought us to this nearly isolated islet. We saw a small hut when we were about to dock our boat. We learned that the hut was for the caretaker of the island but no one was around except the two kind big dogs. But not too long, a small banca arrived and we reckoned he was the said caretaker because the dogs greeted him sweetly.
He was very kind and told us that he lives alone in this part of the island but there are frequent visitors who drop by, too.
For a while, we had the whole island for ourselves. While some of us prepared our food, others were having a great time exploring the island, taking Instagram worthy photos. I couldn’t help sharing this photo below that best describes how ‘struggle was real’ just to show that beautiful photos on Facebook and IG. 😀
😀 Anyway, after our lunch and that crazy photo-ops, another group of visitors were headed to our spot. We decided to pack up and gave them the chance to enjoy the place like we did.
Next stop, Sohoton Cove National Park. But I will save that on the later post. 😀 So, kindly stay tuned for that.
We hope you enjoyed our Bucas Grande Island and Sohoton Bay photo diary.
‘Til our next story.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Middle Earth Spring Resort is tucked in lower Natimao-an, Carmen, Cebu. This is the gateway to glimpse Mangitngit Falls.
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.
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.
While waiting for Ace to finish grilling the fish for lunch, we soaked this bottle of softdrinks in the flowing water.
And, voila!!! That’s an instant chiller! 😀
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.
I was hoping to get a close shot with it, unfortunately, fences are being put to keep the visitors off and from getting near.
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.
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.
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?)
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.
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. 😀
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?
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.)
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?
Or maybe have the island all by yourself?
When you have the fine sand, the calm sea and a wonderful… body? (Excuse me!)
That Palawan dream… Surigao made it happen. 😀
Entered a new world through Bucas Grande and got lost with the confusing inlets. Explored the hidden gems of Sohoton from caves to coves.
Saw amazing rock formations that we’ve never seen before and heard folklores from a local tourist guide.
Plunged and communed with nature. Or chose to swim with thousands of stingless jellyfish.
Ticked off the widest waterfall in the country from our bucket list.
Chased the cascades of this multi-tiered waterfalls. And treated ourselves with a massage from the water curtain.
Dabbed a ‘squadgoal pose’ with the gang.
And stroke more squadgoal poses…. 😀
Admired the mystifying beauty of Hinatuan’s Enchanted River.
Repleted our eyes as we stared at the enchanting river to our hearts’ content. Also enjoyed swimming and going with the river flow.
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.
Thank you for the wonderful experience Surigao. ’til our next visit on your land.
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.
Let’s wander where the WIFI is weak or where there’s no SIGNAL at all.
While everybody’s planning for a beach getaway, we, on the otherhand, found ourselves in the middle of the woods, surounded by mountains, hearing the music not everybody can hear. We’re going back to nature!
Who would have thought a place which was used as a grazing ground for carabaos could give us a total relaxation away from chaotic life in the city? In the outskirts of Argao, lies this wondrous haven called Coal Mountain Resort, a perfect place for those who wanted retreat from the bustling metropolis.
The hubby and I had our post-Valentine celebration (we just need some reason to getaway, you know) in this haven. I was very excited that I booked a room more than a week ahead. Well, I think that was just right because when I called, most rooms were already booked and there were only two deluxe rooms left. The staff whom I talked to said the resort is usually full on weekends especially the family and group rooms. So yah, I suggest to book your rooms ahead.
Our one hour butt-aching motorcycle ride was totally worth it. Admittedly though, when we arrived at the resort, I was kind of “disappointed” as there was no wonderful decoration that would make anybody curious and interested to see what’s inside. The look from the outside was very simple and straightforward.
But, see “never judge a resort by its gate”. 😀
Yet, when we went inside I felt euphoric as I ran towards their viewing deck. It offers a panoramic view of the lush greeneries of the mountains that surrounds the resorts, some of which are part of Dalaguete mountain range. Not to mention the invigorating mountain air, I felt like we were transported to a different world.
I was very excited to roam around to see what other wonders the resort has to offer. So, right after we threw our bags inside the room, I immediately went to explore the place. Look at this wonderful view from our room, don’t you want to wake up everyday for this?
It’s wonderful how the resort mainted its homey environment. It so much felt like I was having a vacation in my grandparent’s house in the countryside. Oh, I could live like this forever.
The resort has three swimming pools, all are fed by free-flowing spring water. But you have to go through the woods to reach the third pool which was the deepest, too.
The first pool is 4ft deep. It is mango-shaped, by the way. It also has a slide for kids or for those who are kids at heart.
Just when you thought you lost your heart, then you realized it’s in the resort. “Buti pa sa Coal Mountain, may heart.” 😛 Behold, the pool with a heart, er, heart shape. The second pool is 7ft deep. There’s a jumping platform if you want to plunk.
The third pool is the deepest. Imagine 16ft deep. I bet one couldn’t swim more than 15 minutes here because it’s just sooooooo cold. The hubby and I are into cold springs but this is the coldest one that we’d been to so far. I did not reach 5 minutes swimming here because my nerves were already freezing. There is also a diving platform on this pool that rises up to 30ft high. Perfect for “buwis-buhay” exhibition.
You have to walk through this canopy walkway in the middle of the woods. It’s quite scary because it was slippery and the steps looked weak. But duh, get that fear out of your system and step carefully. I didn’t expect the hanging bridge to be that far, I honestly felt dizzy before we get to the end of it.
The resort also offered a mining demo which includes exploration of a mining tunnel. It was drizzling during our visit, the soil was wet and muddy, so the hubby decided that we go on full gear with the overall, boots and helmet. But you can opt to just have the helmet and boots if you are not comfortable with the overall. We suggest you try this one. Let’s get to work!
Now, get ready to explore the tunnel that stretches up to 145 meters long and 70 feet below the ground. I swear I was anxious while we were still at the entrance of the tunnel. Seeing the dark and narrow hole, I felt like it’s going to swallow me anytime. But the hubby and the guide were so assuring that I was persuaded to continue.
I can’t tell how happy I was when we were about to exit the tunnel. It was an achievement. Along with that fullfillment was a realization. A miners’ life is no easy. The danger while staying several feet below the ground is already something to be scared of, not to mention stooping for hours. But yeah, I did it!
The one thing I loved during our stay in Coal Mountain Resort was the fact that we were so far from the civilization. Our smartphones were not getting any signals in the area. If not because of the camera, we wouldn’t be using our phones during our entire stay in the resort. It was another perfect moment for the hubby and me to talk about us, our life. At night, we stayed at the balcony and gazed at the stars in the sky while we contemplated about mundane affairs.
And oh, for the first time in a long time I saw fireflies coming near me. It’s rare to see them in the cities.
It was a healing moment — staying outside the room, breathing fresh air and only hearing the sound of the crickets and the night owls. I felt like I was brought back to nature, to the time when there were only trees, water and air.
Our lungs had their dose of cleansing and our eyes were pampered by the green healthy surrounding. We felt so healthy during our two days stay in the resort.
We hope you enjoyed our Coal Mountain Resort story. We’d love to hear yours, too. 😀
Stay tuned for our Coal Mountain Resort travel guide in a later post.
We couldn’t seem to get enough of the towns in the southern part of Cebu. After that South Cebu Tour we had last year, we thought we’ll have to give North Cebu its time to shine. But that time has not come yet. There’s still so much more to South Cebu that we couldn’t move on.
Last February, the hubby and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day in Coal Mountain Resort in Argao, Cebu. But I’ll talk about that in a later post. For now, let’s see what Argao has in store for us.
Half of our second day in this municipality was spent walking in the town proper. It’s amazing how Argao managed to keep the Spanish flavor around.
Cabecera de Argao
Just a minute or two walk from the main road, the town hides the remnants of the Spanish era, from the church to the government buildings.
Saint Michael, the Archangel Parish
Our first stop was the 200-year old church of Saint Michael, the Archangel.
Just like most churches in Southern Cebu, this church walls are also made from coral stones. The facade contains articulate carvings depicting the patron saint displayed on its niche. There are urn-like finials flanked at each corner of the pediment. It’s great that they have preserved this old structure.
You should not miss checking the interior of the parish, too. The ceiling immediately caught our attention because of the colorful painting that depicts that archangel’s life. We did not have the chance to check the altar because it was under rennovation.
The Hall of Justice.
Second stop, was the town’s Hall of Justice. One of the edifice in the town that shows evident Spanish taste. This served as military barracks during the old times but now functions as the Hall of Justice.
Torta, Argao’s delicacy.
Have you tasted that delish sweet flatbread called “torta“? How was it? If you think it wasn’t delicious then you have not tasted Argao’s torta. 🙂
I say, “Torta is Argao, and Argao is Torta!”
When you visit the town, don’t you dare miss this delish delicacy. Argao is known for its homemade tortas that are traditionally baked in a clay oven and they use tuba (coconut wine) as the leavening agent. They said “with time, it gets tastier” or “magkadugay, magkalami“. Hmmm? I ate mine after two weeks, I say they’re right. 🙂
The town also has a nature park where you can relax and think about your existence. (Kidding.) They offer canoing for only Php10. You can have a picnic or try their wall climbing, too. The park has an entrance of Php5.
Our short jaunt in the town proper brought to us a Spanish flavor. Despite the pain the era had caused us, it’s nice to know how we are so forgiving, how we showed importance to its legacy. It would be easy to move on from the Spanish colony by destroying everything that reminds us of that time, but we chose not to. Because these…these things is a constant reminder of how our great grandparents fought for our freedom. A constant reminder that we have to take care of this sovereignty we have now. A constant reminder that we had been a slave once and we should not go back to being one anymore. 🙂
We hope you enjoyed our virtual diary about Argao.
Everybody is hyped up for summer. Got your weekends’ schedule full, yah? Most of us are planning for beach get-aways, some prefer the cold springs to beat the heat of this season. Us…we’re cycling, still.
Don’t limit your challenges. Challenge your limits, instead!
Inspired by a famous ice cream commercial, you should be familiar of the line, “Saan aabot ang 20 pesos mo?” (Where does your 20 pesos lead you?) Remember the product? Now grab it and continue reading. 😀
Few weeks ago, I decided to challenge myself to try biking around Olango Island with just 200 pesos on hand. So, where did my 200-peso lead me? Did I survive?
Let’s take a quick trivia of this island:
Olango is part of Olango Group of Islands with its six satelite islets — Sulpa, Gilutongan (also spelled Hilutungan), Nalusuan, Caohagan, Pangan-an, and Camungi. The islands are low-lying with elevation reaching no more than 10 metres (33 ft) above sea level.
The hubby wasn’t available because he went cycling with the Cebu Friendly Bikers Club in the highlands of Cebu City. So, I hesitated to pursue my plan because I’d never been to Olango island since. And the fact that I don’t know anyone who lives there was giving me more doubt. Because of my three awesome friends who gladly accompanied me on this venture, this 200-peso experiment was realized.
My friends and I met up at JCenter mall at 7am and hailed a jeepney bound for Punta Engano. (By the way, these jeepneys pass by Andy Hotel, Parkmall, Chong-Hua Mandaue…just in case you don’t know.) We asked the driver to drop us off at Movenpick Hotel where the port to Olango was located.
It was a 10-15 minute relatively smooth boat ride to the island. I forgot to tell you that we did not have an itinerary for this escape. We just knew we’re to explore the island with a bike. There are bicycles for rent in the area for as low as Php10 per hour. It was a quarter to ten o’clock when we arrived in Sta. Rosa Port. We immediately rode a tricycle to take us to Barangay Candagsao where we can rent a bike.
After five minutes, we were greeted by the smiles of friendly locals who were kind to tell us where Kuya Erwin’s bike rental place. After choosing our preferred bicycles, we signed an agreement paper and off we go.
Our first stop was the Tungasan Boardwalk. Unfortunately, the paseo was closed for renovation. The locals said, the storm had devasted the boarwalk very much that it was now unsafe to step on the walkway. We had no choice but to settle with the view.
After a few minutes, we proceeded to San Vicente Marine Sanctuary to eat our lunch. We were thinking of seafoods but to our disappointment, the staffs were not very friendly to us. We even felt discriminated because they prioritized their foreign guests. Our tummies were already growling but they just told us they don’t have rice even though we saw the rice on the table. Huhuh. 😥
We couldn’t stay there and drool, we headed to Olango Wildlife Sanctuary to experience the bird-watching. Contrary to what happened in the Marine Sanctuary, the staffs in the Wildlife Sanctuary were very friendly and accommodating. They even lent us a binoculars to use in the bird-watching area. Sadly, they don’t have food but chips and snacks. Huhuh…more growling of our tummies.
After repleting our eyes with the migratory birds, we went back our way and dropped by Sagastrand Restaurant to eat our lunch. Finally!!
I’m proud to say that I SURVIVED and my experiment was a SUCCESS. Information about my expenses after this. 🙂
I didn’t have enough of my biking tour in the island and the following weekend, I brought my younger brother and the hubby with me. Coincidently, the CFB team were also going. Yahoo!
My brother and I rented our bikes in the same rental place. He chose the mountain bike but I chose the folding bike because I don’t know how to use the big bike. As a result, I caused delays of the team’s ride. (Sorry.) Gladly, they live by their name “friendly bikers” and understood my shortcoming.
This time, we had our sumptuous lunch in Barangay Talima. Our good host prepared saang and grilled fish for us. We devoured the feast in just few minutes because we were all hungry.
Once again, for the second time I have proven my 200-peso experiment in Olango. 🙂
Here’s a breakdown of my expenses: (Day-tour in Olango Island)
Php30 — (back and forth) jeepney fare to and from Mandaue City (Php15)
Php30 — (back and forth) boat fare
Php6 — terminal fee (Php5 and Php1)
Php40 — (back and forth) tricycle fare to and from bike rental (Php20)
Php30 — three-hour bike rental (Php10/hour)
Php30 — lunch
Php30 — entrance fee to Bird Watching
Do the Math and that’s all my expenses.
Hence, I conclude that your 200-peso will let you survive in Olango Island.
Just a few reminder: **You’ll probably love to stay in the island for a long time but if you are in a day-trip make sure to be at the port before 4pm because it is the boats’ last trip to the mainland. **You can buy seafoods at a very cheap price like saang, talaba and etc., in Barangay Talima. ** Rent a bike at Kuya Erwin’s bike rental in Barangay Candagsao.