Archive for September, 2011

Travels, Couch Surfing, Philippines

Since I was a little girl, I had always enjoyed going  on trips. Getting inside our car meant arriving at a new destination or an old favorite to visit family and friends. Growing up, the  thrill of travel never left me. However, none of the people I knew had that same passion for travels. *sigh*

Couch Surfing

One early weekend morning, as I was browsing the dailies, I came upon a travel article in the lifestyle section. It talked about this (worldwide) travel organization that lets you travel cheaply mostly by having a free place to stay at and make new friends while you’re at it since members offer either their couch or their time. It was my first encounter with Couch Surfing and I was amazed!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of the org! It was a year or two later that I encountered it by chance online and immediately signed up. CS has allowed me to go to different places within (and out) of the country because if, say, I’d be intimidated to travel on my own to a certain place, I would only have to start a thread about where I want to go to on the forum and other willing travelers would respond. Also, I can just arrange to meet up with the locals of certain areas over a cup of tea or over a meal which is more often the case. With this set up, I found the courage to travel on my own. :D

Boarding planes mean new adventures! :D

Traveling in the Philippines

Traveling out of the country’s always an adventure but I find myself addicted to traveling within our own. The Philippines with its more than 7,000 islands made sure I’d keep wanting more and more! ;) However, aside from our breath taking landscapes (from rice terraces to caves to karst mountains♥), wonderful water/seascapes (Boracay, Palawan and Bohol to name a few)  and fauna (from whalesharks, to stingless jellyfish, to tarsiers), the people I meet in my travels definitely played a part for me to have that positive experience. :)

Beautiful Coron!

Butanding, Donsol's gentle giants

The People I Met

Case in point, for my trip to Davao, we went out partying til the wee  hours and so I wasn’t in the best shape the next day. Sore throat. Hoarse voice. By the end of that day my feet were injured too from too much friction with the sands and my sandals. I was feeling bad and unhappy. Still, we went to a dinner hosted by a dive instructor with his partner whom we both met the other night. They served us delicious foods and Marilou (our host), upon seeing (and hearing my voice) the state I was in set about to try her best to fix me up. Not yet finished with her own meal, she got up and busied herself with  grating some ginger. A few minutes later, she gave me her home-made concoction of honey-ginger tea for my throat. I was in love! It tasted so good and felt soooo nice! I thought she was making something for her partner turns out it was all for me. Thank you so very much, dearest! My companion seeing it, wanted some too so she made one more. hehe When the others went out to smoke some shisha and eat some durian, she stayed with me and bade me to lie on their couch so I could rest/ nap for a while. Knowing I had injured my feet, she got some antibiotics and band aid that I can put on my wounds. I was a very happy and contented person by the end of the night! :D

Marilou (2nd from left) with other CSers I met in Davao :)

On another trip, this time to Cagayan de Oro, a local (Ann) met up with us so that she can show us around her city. She brought us to her favorite hang out place, met her friends and got toured by them too!

With our host, Ann, seeing us off at CdO's airport :)

I’ve gone on trips wherein the main purpose was to volunteer. I’ve traveled with people who are advocates of different causes and vocal supporters of tourism of their (and/or adopted) localities.

Manual labor... for a cause :)

Getting hosted in Batad, along with a dozen more!

Why Travel?

Aside from the locals, both the people that I traveled with and those that I have met on the road who travel just for the love of it truly amaze me! They have this passion and thirst for life; there is this need to experience new culture; and they are open to everything. Their lives are being changed by the people they meet and they in turn are touching the lives of the locals they’ve encountered along their journey.

Happiness! :D

Having an island to yourself is awesome!

I’ve had many similar experience from all over and it’s one of the main reasons why I think every person is (innately) good, kind and generous. Experiences like these bring out the best in everyone and hopefully make this a better place for all. :)

 

This is an entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival themed “Unforgettable Human Encounters on the Road”. Hosted by Marky of Nomadic Experience for the month of September 2011.

To read more previous Blog Carnival entries, check out this site.

Enchanted by Davao’s Kadayawan

August 22 (&23), 2011

The Philippines with its 7,107 islands is second only to Indonesia in terms of the most islands. Being a former colony of Spain, they say we are more Latinos than Asians in the sense that we’re very passionate and emotional.  We have many festivals for various reasons (religion, good harvest, just because. hehe) because of that influence.

I wasn’t really into it coz I don’t like crowds. But a friend, Ed, invited me to join him on a trip. He booked a flight for us along with other travel buddies with the intention of attending the local fest, Kadayawan.

Kadayawan Festival is held annually, every 3rd week of August, in Davao to celebrate the good and bountiful harvest of the people. The different ethnic tribes (there’s about 10 of them) around the foot of Mt. Apo, highest peak in the country, would converge to give thanks to  the gods, particularly to the “Manama” also known as the Supreme Being. The term Kadayawan came from the Mandaya word “madayaw” which is a warm and friendly greeting that means good, valuable, superior or beautiful.

I liked that it was very colorful since the various tribes were all fitted in brightly coloured and intricately designed traditional costumes. Though amongst the people I was with were apt to compare it to Cebu’s Sinulog, the hand’s down biggest festival in the country. I told them to not compare the two (if possible) and to just enjoy this festival. By the way, they got me excited to go to Cebu so I already booked a flight for that one! :D

I had a wonderful time in Davao’s Kadayawan Festival!

Here are some pictures I took. :)

At the starting area

Group #2 is from South Cotabato

Dancing their hearts out!

Photo op with a cheerful dancer :)

Everyone's smiling!

Rice porridge for everyone. It's free!

Some last minute instructions from the choreographer

Little kids, dressed as bats, getting bored hehe

The balloon vendor

A traditional costume

Travel buddies

Boracay: Where To Go

For most people, Boracay is White Beach. Some probably haven’t ventured out of there except when they island hop or were too lazy or maybe just had no idea where else to go. Here are some spots that might interest the beach bum in you. ;)

Bulabog Beach

Located opposite of White Beach, it takes about 10-15 minutes of walking to get there. Depending on the season, this part of the island is popular with windsurfers and kiteboarders coz of the strong winds.

Diniwid Beach

Located north of Station 1, it took around 15-20minutes of walking before we got there. It’s a chill place to hang out since most of the crowd’s by the White Beach. It’s very nice there. Microtel and a few other hotels can be found here. It’s unfortunate that the effect of soil erosion is most evident on this place. I never got  to see the sands at this beach when I visited in March 2011. However, the last time I was in this beach (July 2011), it was there! hehe So that was why it looked different! Maybe it was also a seasonal thing?

Puka Beach

Puka Beach's crowd ;)

Located at the island’s northern tip, this beach is named after puka shells found along its shoreline. The sands aren’t as fine as those in White Beach. The place is very secluded. It was just me and my companion and another group (a family) when we were there.  You can go as crazy as you want or just enjoy the solitude this beach can offer. ;)  The waves when I visited Puka Beach were quite strong.  The tricycle driver who drove us there even advised me against swimming in it. He said, “Mam, will you go swimming there? The waves are very strong! Be careful. Better to just take pictures.”  I took pictures, yes, but we just had to take a dip in the waters too. hehe  To reach it, you either go there by tricycle (100php one way) or by boat when you go island hopping.

White Beach

Making sand art using a spoon :)

With its powdery white fine sand, it’s Boracay’s main attraction. The reason why it became famous. These famed beach draws in thousands upon thousands of tourists yearly. It stretches 4kms with lodging and dining for every kind of budget available. White Beach is divided into stations 1, 2 and 3. Station 1 is the northern section of this beach and it has the widest beachfront. This is where most of the big (and expensive) hotels are located, giving it some sort of high-end reputation. Station 2 on the other hand is the most happening place in this stretch of the beach, the center of hustle and bustle on the island. Many bars, restaurants are located here, also a good place to look for budget to mid-priced rooms. Station 3, located on the southern end of the beach, is the least popular amongst the 3. I was telling a friend that the sands here felt “fluffier” coz there weren’t that many people walking on it as compared with the first 2 where even if it’s very fine, it feels more compact. hehe

Angol Point

Located past Station 3, you’ll meet few people when you reach this point. Very cheap accommodations can be found here. We saw a dorm room that you can have all on your own for 300php. I’m not choosy with my lodgings but seriously, I would pass that one up. hehe Beautifully designed villas are up for rent too. Further on, there’s one hotel that’s already closed. It has a tunnel that you can opt to explore (with the guards’ permission), at the end of which is a garden with a grotto.  Back at the beach, located several meters away is Asya Premier Suites, a very nice hotel with their own infinity pool and with its distance from White Beach, guests are given ample seclusion and privacy. It’s not the end though, there’s a rock with a passage that leads to another more seclusive spot. My travel bud and I spent our afternoon  lazing by this small part of the beach. An ideal spot for taking beautiful pictures too! ;)

Mt. Luho

Boracay’s highest point, the site offers a panoramic view of the island. From previous readings, to rent a tricycle to get there costs around 250php (roundtrip as you’d be heard pressed to find one to take you back). From experience, every ATV ride makes a stop here. hehe There’s also a mini zoo inside. Entrance fee: 50php/pax

West Cove

West Cove's eccentric design :)

One of my favorite spot on the island. It gained bad rep lately because turns out that some of its cabanas were built over  centuries old rock formation. It was ordered to close but it resumed operations after receiving a go signal from the DENR. To give credit to this place (located in Diniwid Beach, hugging a mountain) famous coz it’s supposedly owned by the Pacman himself (it’s actually a certain Mr. Aquino, Pacquiao’s flag bearer, according to an employee who showed us around), it’s a very good spot to catch the sunset while sipping a refreshing ripe mango shake (the best I’ve tried in Boracay so far!) while watching the bats fly out of their cave heading to nearby islands  to feed for the night. With its eccentrically designed huts and rooms (the Lord of the Ring’s hobbit houses came to mind hehe), peaceful ambiance  with music playing in the background, we truly enjoyed chilling here while star gazing on a clear, night sky. :)

These are just some places you can check out when visiting Boracay Island. Others not mentioned are some coves, caves and other beaches. I’m hoping to visit the others the next time I’m on the island! ;)

Related Posts:

Boracay

Getting to Boracay

Boracay: Where To Stay At

Boracay: Where To Eat

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 240 other followers