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WHAT A RESPONSIBLE MOUNTAINEER IS NOT

Since my early years, I have been admiring people reaching major summits. I live in a province which is a home to 4 of the Top 10 highest ...

Monday, December 21, 2015

A FRUSTRATING TREK TO SAN ANTONIO CAVE

There's a lot of reasons why I get frustrated on my treks ---a heavy downpour during a climb, skipping a destination because of time constraint, missing rock formations during high tide, seeing eyesore vandals in some scenic spots and seeing a tourist spot being killed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

BANI FALLS: Gigantic but Gentle Falls of Arakan, Cotabato



Bani Falls aka Matigol Falls is a 500 meter multi-tiered waterfall veiling the steep ravine of Sitio Matigol, Brgy. Datu Ladayon, Arakan Valley, North Cotabato. It is most accessible in Sitio Inamong, Datu Ladayon. This multi-tiered falls is equipped with natural pools where one can enjoy a cool dip in its gentle waters.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

SISIMAN BAY: Pebble Beach, Lighthouse, Summit and Sunset

Sisiman Bay is not that well known spot located in Sisiman, Mariveles, Bataan. It beautifies the southernmost tip of Bataan Peninsula. Rock formations and pebbles are spread out along its clear blue beach. Sisiman lighthouse, a truly functional one, is a beautiful photo subject by the bay. San Miguel Peak, towering 700 feet ASL, awes every visitor's eyes. Colorful sunset gives the skies wonderful hues. All these make Sisiman Bay a picturesque.

Friday, November 6, 2015

SAN MIGUEL PEAK: The Magnificent Tower of Sisiman Bay



San Miguel Peak is a stunning rock mountain at Sisiman Bay in Sisiman, Mariveles, Bataan. The peak is around 700 feet high and reaching its summit requires 20-minute trekking. Rock climbing and rappelling have been conducted in the area since it has portions with pure drop. The view of Sisiman Bay is more magnificent from the summit. Hopping from rock to rock is also an awesome adventure for hikers. Some overnight campers pitch their tents at mountain's base. Some visitors spend the night at the local cottages along the pebble beach. To beach visitors, hiking to the summit is just a bonus. But my trip to Bataan was intended to summit the peak, beach is a bonus.

Monday, October 26, 2015

KAAMULAN 2015 STREETDANCING COMPETITION WINNERS

 Kaamulan 2015 Streetdancing Competition happened last October 24, 2015 at Fortich Street, Malaybalay City. The event is another proof that the festival's highlight is getting better every year. Colors and costumes and faces are getting more colorful and vibrant. The streetdancing was accompanied by float parade. Ground cultural presentation followed at capitol grounds. Malitbog, Kitaotao and Maramag dominate this year's festival.

To sum up, here are the list of winners:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

MASJID DIMAUKOM: The Pink Mosque of Peaceful Mindanao

 
 Masjid Dimaukom, also known as the Pink Mosque of Maguindanao, is situated at the heart of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town. Mayor Samsodin Dimaukom financed the construction of the mosque completed mid-2014. Its pink color was intended to symbolize peace and love, aside from being favorite color of his wife. Christian workmen were tasked to build this Islamic structure to emphasize unity and inter-faith brotherhood. The mosque is a walking distance from the national highway. It is open for tourists.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

KALAMANSIG, SULTAN KUDARAT: Chasing Sunset and Welcoming Moonrise

Kalamansig is a coastal town of Sultan Kudarat province. Legend says the town derived its name from “Kulaman-su-wayeg”, meaning “Kulaman in the water”. Kulaman was a famous Sultan who drowned in the river when swept by a strong current while washing his gathered cassava for food on a long drought many years ago. Enough of history stuffs...

Friday, September 4, 2015

THE 7 FALLS OF LAKE SEBU: The Complete List

    
The 7 Falls of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato is a major attraction in the region. Also known as Dongon Falls, tourists throng to visit the site to see the magnificence of the falls. Most of the tourists visit Lake Sebu to experience the famous Asia's highest zipline, added the topview of 3 (Falls #2, Falls #4, Falls #5) of the waterfalls as bonus. Only 3 among 4 are visible since one (Falls #3) is hidden among the lushly vegetated landscapes.      

Thursday, August 20, 2015

IWAHIG PENAL COLONY: A Weekend with the Freesoners


"Can I volunteer myself to get imprisoned here even for just three months?" I asked.
"Hahaha! It's not that easy.", answered an ex-prison superintendent.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

AGUTAYAN ISLAND: A Weekend Getaway in Misamis Oriental

Agutayan Island is a naked, crescent shaped, uninhabited island in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental. The island can be traveled 30 minutes by motorized boat from mainland Jasaan. There are sightings of eagle ray, surgeon fish and other species in 3-hectare shallow coral reefs surrounding the half hectare sandbar. The marine sanctuary is also a breeding ground for endangered giant clams through the support of local government.


Monday, July 6, 2015

GLAMPING AT ULTAWINDS MOUNTAIN RESORT

Safari Tent Camping. Photo Credits: ULTRAWINDSRESORT.COM
GLAMPING or glamorous camping is now in for those who want to try going outdoors without compromising ease and convenience. When you're in CDO, you are 30-minutes close to a glamping haven, the Ultrawinds Mountain Resort. The resort, situated on a hilltop, offers a grand vista of the city. The place is good for vacation, photoshoot, leisure and nature tripping. Geographically, the resort is located on the hills of Barangay Pualas, Baungon, Bukidnon.

Friday, June 19, 2015

PITCHER PLANT FARM: A Relaxing Staycation in Malaybalay City

Pitcher Plant Farm in Sario Street, Kalasungay, Malaybalay City is just a 400-meter walk, that is 5 minutes, from the national highway. It is around 10 minutes away from the city proper through private or chartered vehicle. The farm is owned by German-Filipino family who incorporate their passion with business. The place is situated very close to the base of Kalasungay's forested mountains. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

LOOKING BIG AT LITTLE CREATURES

We often neglect small things thinking they are of less importance. We want to get rid of weeds and grasses as if they are eyesore and of no value, not knowing their importance to our environment. Aside from their ecological contribution, there's more about them. When we give attention to their minute details, we would be amazed of the beauty they possess.

One lazy afternoon, I grabbed my camera and roamed around my backyard looking for subjects. Attaching an extension tube to my kit lens, I shuttered little weeds, grasses and insects, which I couldn't name one by one.. Here are my takes. 


A tomato flower
 

Monday, June 15, 2015

BONTONGON VILLAGE: An "Uphell" Paradise

 

Bontongon is the least populated hinterland barangay of Impasugong, Bukidnon. It is wonderfully situated at the neck of a mountain. It is an exhilarating picturesque, adorned with view of rolling hills and twisting rivers. This barangay, I must say is also the most difficult to travel. It is not as far as Bulonay nor Hagpa, yet going to this barangay is a 2-hour arduous "uphell" from Poblacion. Bontongon can be reached by crossing three grand rivers. Habal-habal is the most preferred transportation. If given an ample time, I would rather trek than take a ride getting there.

Friday, June 5, 2015

THE VERTICAL BIVOUAC OF BUKIDNON: The First in the Philippines

It was 8:30 pm when I finally hit the finish line. Yes, I stepped on the final ledge 150 meters high after hours of ascending on a rock cliff. Overwhelmed. Fulfilled. My heart gradually returned to its normal beat. Midway, while swinging in the dark, the thought "What if the rope gives up?" happened to cross my mind.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

PHILIPPINE WONDERS IN MY GRADE SCHOOL HISTORY BOOKS

Way back in my elementary years, decades ago, Philippine wonders and tourist attractions were already introduced in Sibika at Kultura. They are anyong lupa, anyong tubig, structures, cultures and many more. Now that I'm traveling from places to places and happen to get to the spots included in my childhood school textbooks, I still remember the way they were presented and described.

So far, these are the 10 I remembered included in my books:

1. MAYON VOLCANO (Albay)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

KI BATHALA GARDENS: Your Home in the Jungle

Ki Bathala Gardens is a jungle resort in Sitio Balaon, San Isidro, Talakag, Bukidnon--- 30 km from CDO. The 12-hectare farm (and increasing) is owned by a Swiss-Filipino family who practices PERMACULTURE. Equipped with indigenous lodging amenities, the chirps of different bird species add the site a more natural feel. Its 16-year old stone house, along with other structures, walls and the stairways, was built by a skilled Igorot stonebuilder. Coconut and banana stand anywhere. Therapeutic herbs, bamboo and ginger of different species are found in the farm. The natural and manmade forests make the springs consistently streaming, supplying water to rice paddies and fish ponds. The farm is also adjacent to the mighty Kalawaig River, perfect for a cool dip.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

MT. KALATUNGAN: Every Climb Seems the First Time

The fifth highest peak of the Philippines, Mt. Kalatungan towers 2,880 meters ASL in the heart of Bukidnon. Being in my town, this mountain is my playground. Every climb to the mountain seems like my first time. Among my countless treks to Mt. Kalatungan, I find the latest the most exciting and memorable because I did it guided solo, I controlled my own time, I did not stick to the original plan, I enjoyed spontaneity and I was governed by instant decisions.  And I find it truly worth sharing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

THE RUINS: A Romantic Landmark of Negros Occidental


The Ruins in Hacienda Sta. Maria, Talisay, Negros Occidental is one of the major stops among tourists visiting the province. The structure is, literally, ruins of the mansion owned by Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson built before the World War II. The mansion is said to be built in remembrance of his wife who died during pregnancy of their 11th child.

Monday, May 4, 2015

TREKKING TO SINULOM FALLS: A Quick Guide



Sinulom Falls is a newly discovered tourist spot near Cagayan de Oro. The falls streams directly to Cagayan River that borders Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon. Geographically, the falls is located on the walls of Talakag, Bukidnon but it is best accessed in Sitio Impakibel, Brgy. Tignapoloan, Cagayan de Oro City, 45 kms from the city proper.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

SOHOTON COVE NATIONAL PARK: Everyone's Dream Destination


SOHOTON NATIONAL PARK is an enchanting paradise in Bucas Grande Island, Socorro, Surigao del Norte. This lagoon hides among the breathtaking group of islets. Inside Sohoton are amazing rock formations, caves and wonders enveloped with serenity. Aside from Sohoton Park, the island of Bucas Grande offers lots of stunning sites and wonders that make a heavenly experience. No wonder every tourist who happened to visit the place can't wait to pay another visit. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

BALISBISAN FALLS: Bukidnon's Hidden Wonderfall


 Balisbisan Falls in Impasugong, Bukidnon is a smaller version of Cotabato's Asik-asik Falls. Its water-sprouts are randomly spread in a 100-meter stretch of a curvy wall of Atugan Canyon. The main or prominent group of cascades amazingly sprout below the rocks vertically heaped on 90-degree wall. Other cascades randomly sprout on both of the verdant sides of the main cascades. The highest cascade is 15 feet high. The falls has no river source. In fact, it is a tributary to Atugan River lining below the wall. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

THE KAWA HOT BATH OF TIBIAO, ANTIQUE

 
The "kawa" hot bath of Tibiao, Antique is definitely one of the stops of every tourist who has set foot on the beautiful coastal province. The kawa, used as bath tub is actually a giant vat used in muscovado mills years back. The traditional hot bath uses firewood to heat up the water in a kawa blended with different herbs truly relaxing for bathers.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A SHORT HIKE TO BUGTONG BATO FALLS IN TIBIAO, ANTIQUE


Bugtong Bato Falls in Barangay Tuno, Tibiao, Antique is a 7-tiered water falls. It is a tributary to the amazing Tibiao River. The falls is just a few meters away from Dot's Kamalig that offers a soothing kawa hot bath. Among the 7-tiers, only 3 is opened for guests. If you want to visit all the tiers, that would require a whole day, an expert guide and a river trekking skill.

Friday, April 17, 2015

MT. IGCORON IN VALDERRAMA, ANTIQUE: An Unexpected Trek

 

MT. IGCORON in Binangonan, Valderrama, Antique is definitely one of the most beautiful mountains I have climbed. Rising at an altitude of 437 meters, it stuns everyone who visits the town of Valderrama. Rice paddies adorn the jump-off point of the mountain. The saw toothed summit(s) and the 90 degree cliffs are the prominent features of the mountain. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

THE TOP 5 DAYHIKES IN BUKIDNON

Bukidnon is a great place for nature trekking due to its grand mountains and natural wonders. Trekkers looking for arduous routes can select from the major peaks included in the top 10 highest summits of the country. Dayhikers can also opt for the minor peaks and adventure sites trekkable for a day. Out of the 20 Must-Visit Destinations in Bukidnon, here are the top 5 dayhikes in the province I highly recommend to sweat the day out and get cooled down after.

I CAN EVEN ACCOMPANY YOU WHEN VISITING THESE PLACES... 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THE 20 MUST-VISIT TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN BUKIDNON


Bukidnon is well endowed with natural scenic spots. Its vast land area possesses diverse tourist spots, both natural and manmade. Bukidnon is best visited not only during summer season but all year round. Whether you are an outdoorsy person or just a mere vacationist, here are the 20 tourist destinations in my home province I recommend.  


MOUNTAINS

Mt. Kitanglad


The fourth highest mountain in the country is the most famous peak in Bukidnon. Towering at 2,899 meters ASL, this ASEAN Heritage site possesses a stunning landscape and magnificent view of its neighboring peaks.  The easiest jump-off is in Sitio Intavas, La Fortuna, Impasugong.

For booking, climb permit and other info, please PM “daffy daffodil” on Facebook


Monday, March 9, 2015

HAIRY, ITCHY, SLIPPERY AND SLIMY: My Trail Encounters

HAIRY and SLIPPERY. First, you might be some kind of a nervous. When you get used to it, there's a different kind of awesome feeling.  ITCHY and SLIMY. Yes, I have encountered such along my way. Some are even venomous and stinging.

We are just passersby on the trails. The forests are inhabited by creatures, which others might think yucky, yet for me, wonderful and lovely.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

THE UNDERGROUND CEMETERY OF LAGUNA


The Underground Cemetery of Bambang, Nagcarlan, Laguna was built in 1845 intended to be the final resting place of Spanish friars, elite Catholics and prominent citizens. It is a circular cemetery occupying a 1-hectare property. The cemetery, built under the supervision of Fr. Vicente Velloc, has a chapel and underground crypt below it. It has 276 niches, mostly on the sides of the both walls. It was declared a historical landmark in 1973.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

EPOL FALLS: A Curtain in the Woods

EPOL Mountain Spring Resort in Epol, Baganihan, Marilog District, Davao City is just a 300 meter trek from the national highway. The main falls--- EPOL FALLS is around 20 feet high. Its mountain cool, gentle cascades curtain down the limy rock. Locals say the falls is a 5-series cascades with names such as Tourist, Jordan, Epol and two more. According to sources, EPOL is an acronym for EVERLASTING POWER OF LOVE.    

Friday, January 30, 2015

SOIL PAINTING IN BUKIDNON



A soil painting portrait of me and my wife--- artwork by John Estrada.
SOIL PAINTING is only heard to have existed in Bukidnon. One of the most popular soil painters of the province is the tribal singer and artist Waway Saway. A member of the Talaandig tribe in Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon, Waway also popularized the song ES GALI (Hey, Dude). According to him, Bukidnon is a home to original and authentic soil painters, besides, Bukidnon artists have wide consciousness about visual art. Waway even initiated events showcasing Bukidnon's beauty through soil painting, eyeing Bukidnon as "Soil Painting Capital of the World." 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A GLIMPSE OF MY 2014 JOURNEY

2014 is my year. Indeed, it is. I had the chance to further explore my beloved home province, BUKIDNON. I conquered new peaks, trekked new waterfalls and spelunked new caves. 2014 also marks the beginning of my lifelong journey--- a journey with somebody who's become a part of me. Excitingly, the year is also the arrival of my future trek buddy.

Here's a glimpse of my 20 most remarkable journeys of 2014.

1. TREK TO MIGKARAMAGAN FALLS
A lazy Saturday led me to the foot of Mt. Kalatungan in my hometown. It was almost noon when I reached the place. I planned to visit Lisihan Falls but my guide insisted to visit the unknown Migkaramagan Falls instead. Ignorant of both, I followed where he led me. He also took me to Anikap Falls where a cavern hides beneath the cascades of a roaring water from the mountains.