Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Islander's Yearender

As the year concludes, it is time once again to recollect and look back the 365 days of 2008.

In particular, these are the following that I am so much grateful in 2008:

• Travel – I proved that people who are lucky in their career spent less time in some other thing. Though I had few in 2008, I am still thankful that at the early part of the year I had a blast of trips --in Cebu to experience Sinulog, followed by trips to the bonbons of Bohol, multihued Marawi, Ilonggo-dominated Sultan Kudarat, Intramuros and Manila Ocean Park in Manila, and ended with an island trip to the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao.

Going to the local corners of the province is a good wandering, too.

I am not sure how much I have gone with the archipelago but my latest travel grade was a:

My Lakbayan grade is C+!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan! Created by Eugene Villar.

• Career – the thing that I owe so much from 2008. I remembered I asked from God only a part-time job, I was given one with a full-time pay. While some are jobless, who cannot consider me as the lucky one? That is why no matter how occupied and exhausted I am due to heavy schedules, I will try not to complain about being too busy.

Having two jobs gave me the opportunity to do whatever I want and experience things that I have not experienced since childhood. It was stressful but at the end of the day, it provides me the pleasure of going to the bars during weekends drinking to death without worrying the bills, eat everywhere without worrying about the budget, and buy things without considering the price (i am kuripot. haha!). For a deprived person like me experiencing these little pleasures in life is too much of a privilege.

It is also worth a mention that every undertakings we had was a success.

• Gadgets –2 possessions was lost.. a 2-month old Sony W90 digicam while in Cebu and a long time partner/collector's item-designed Nokia 7610 phone while witnessing the fiesta activity here in Surigao. This I consider misadventures in adventures. But I moved on. The N7610 was replaced by a Nokia 6120 and a Samsung Omnia and my digicam replaced by a touch panel Sony T70. I hope, with fingers-crossed plus knock on the wood, that none of them will be lost this year or forever.

• Blogging –brother google rated my blog PR3. That was in spite of the absences in the blogworld. Created in replacement of the hacked blog sometime in July this year, in a short span as October it gained PR3. I was just so happy while sitemeter is driving me crazy for going back to square one in its counting of traffics (do i have it? hehe). I also gained blogger friends whom I am looking forward to meet this year.

So there.. Yeah, mostly guilty pleasures. My way of gratifying myself for the hard works and satisfying myself for the missing pieces, for being unfortunate the past 20 years of my life. It was so selfish, but at least now I can say, I have lived a life. And I thank God for all the achievements, if there any.

2008 provides me a good life. And I want to thank God for always showering me His overflowing blessings, my fellow bloggers, my SEDF/SCCI and HTS family most especially my boss, my high school batchmates, my family, my kinkus friends in Manila, my friends in TAG Project all over Mindanao, and to everyone who made my year 2008 a fulfilling one.

This is JP saying thank you, and this is the Islander’s yearend report.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Punta del Sol, Samal Island

Davao is my most frequently traveled place in Mindanao. And I’m already sick of it. Who would not, when all the way from Surigao you have to let yourself stuck in the bus for 11-hours tiresome land trip? The only thing that keeps me looking forward to Davao is its adjacent island that always tickle my curiosity. Perhaps because of the overly publicized Davao Pearl Farm that boasts a world-class appeal. 

I am talking about the Island Garden City of Samal or IGaCoS as the island residents called it.
Punta del Sol, Samal Island
My wish was finally granted on December 10, 2008 when it was chosen as the venue of one of the activities where I was invited to participate. Yes, on official business. But not bad for an official business. In fact I consider it a vacation (with a serious twist). :D

Warning: Escape this part if you dont want to read a rant: 
When I first learned about the event being held in Samal, I feel like celebrating. I was full of anticipation and mindmapped the plans like go to this place, photograph this, and be photographed with this. But poof, coco crunch! I was stuck in Punta del Sol Resort. And to talk about how far I have gone in the island, I was only given the chance to travel its circumferential road to and from the Samal Wharf. I underestimated the island, I thought it was just a small one.

The lesson learned: dont set expectations. So instead of titling this entry in honor of Island Garden City of Samal, the spotlight goes to Punta del Sol Resort.

Going there, I dropped off first at Panacan in mainland Davao from my Agusan-Davao highway ride. Then took a taxi from there to Sasa Wharf which is just almost a kilometer away. I must have taken a cab in going there if I knew the location of the wharf. Anyway, the taxi only costs me 34.00 so it is not bad after all.
Sasa Ferry Wharf
From the Sasa Ferry Wharf in mainland Davao, I rode aboard the common transport facility to the island, a large barge. Punta del Sol Resort has its own established port in Santa Ana Wharf in Magsaysay Avenue but I prefer the Sasa Wharf since it is much closer from my point of arrival in Davao. Magsaysay also serves as the terminal for Island City buses, the local bus serving the Davao-Samal transport. Since I was looking for an adventure, I did not take the bus on my way to Punta Resort, I simply took a seat lined up on the mezzanine of the barge. I thought riding the barge for almost 20 minutes is free. But when I arrived at the exit gate of Babak Samal Wharf, I was asked for a toll fee of P10.00. This only goes that there is no such thing as free in this world today.
Babak Samal Wharf

Outside the Babak Samal Wharf Gate is the motorcycle terminal that caters the commuting adventurers. Fares vary upon the distance and good leveraging. For Punta del Sol which is a 7 kilometers rough road shortcut ride, the fare ranges from P50.00 to P60.00 (commensurate to fare rates that Island City buses imposes plus the motorcycle transit that one has to take from its drop off point in Central Warehouse).

And so enough for the blah blahs.. presenting the Punta del Sol Resort.

-->Things I loved about Punta del Sol.. fresh kinilaw and warm welcome presentations of energetic dancers.

Dramatic sunset comparable to our Mabua Beach (in Surigao City).

Like what our organizers said when I requested for an island tour, “We’ll reserve it for the next time”. I just hope there will be some other time. I was really anticipating seeing the bat cave and some of the island’s waterfalls.