Monday, February 23, 2009

Nabago Island Getaway

What's the best way to welcome the summer than celebrating it in the beach especially in an island.

Luckily, my beloved Surigao has a lot to offer for summer time. Thus, the tag as City of Island Adventures really fits. We only have to choose where and how much, and the rest would be up to how we're going to make the most of the experience.

And so after scouting for a place that is something new and somewhere i have not gone to, my officemates arrived at a decided place that is easily accessible from the city... Barangay Nabago, some 25 minutes away.

Barangay Nabago is known for its vast mangrove forest, the Pearl Farm, Mariculture Farm, and abundance in delectable seafoods. Hearing about the Pearl Farm excites me at first, only to learn thereafter that what can actually be seen are the floating buoyance marking the wide area where clam shells are cultured. Well, i was expecting to at least see an actual pearl extracted from the mollusk or just a harvesting scene. But there was none.

Nevertheless, my frustration was clouded by the sights of islets with shores shimmering in white sands from afar. Aboard a boat we headed to our first island stop not far from the pearl farm. The islet is nameless but owned by a political clan in the province according to our host Nanay who spoke like a pro tour guide. Not to mention, she is talkative but very cozy and hospitable.

After docking at the western tip of the island, we hiked the shore leading to the hut where we had our picnic lunch. Prior to our lunch, we had an opening refreshment of the fresh buko reaped from the few coconut trees standing in the island. Then we shared the foods -sweet potatoes, boiled bananas, kinilaw, and grilled meat. Our host also brought us a newly catched fresh grouper and a saang, which we immediately put on the grill, and a plate of lato. Man, they tastes sweet... very fresh. Later after we had our meal, they also served a variety of fresh mollusks which we ate in raw, dipped in vinegar.

I think i overused the word "fresh", but it is how the foods and our refreshing experience in the island can be justified.

The weather was gloomy but humid, which i think marked the transition period from wet season to summer.. the very reason for dripping in the sea and strolling along the shore to cool down, wandering inside the island and of course taking pictures.

After making the most in the first island, we transferred to another islet where a floating house with fish cages raising first class groupers resides near the mangroves. After the fish cages sighting and playing at the mangroves, we then transferred to another islet that i solely explored up to its tip. On our way, a fisherman and his unique sailboat passed by...

Cant help but admire the creativity of manong fisherman. Not only he recycled the umbrella cloth but he made a wonderful innovation. With it, he don't need engines fueled by gasoline to run his boat.

Arriving at another islet, I took a stroll with the shoreline as my pathway. Sometimes it is better to be alone and commune with myself once again. Aside that if gives me the fancy like i own the whole island. It was a few kilometers walk so just as i arrived back, my companions were already set to end the island hopping and decided to go home.

As an ending phrase, here The Islander, amidst the clouds and the waves... standing still.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cagayan de Oro Nightouts

And my first out of town trip for the year goes to Cagayan de Oro... the city of golden friendship.

I did mention in my post last year that CDO is a place for vultures. Whatta bad term. Okay, rephrase, CDO is a place for nightouts. This is so because most of its tourist points needed a devotion of time to travel. The good thing is these spots are worth of your time. But since i did not go to CDO for leisure, not able to experience these worthy places is the drawback of the trip.

Well, anyway, there are some ways to enjoy CDO. Just like what i used to do... Nightout! Stereotype for me but i dont have a choice cause as i've said im no tourist in those trips.

I left Surigao via Bachelor bus at 3:30 in the morning and arrived Butuan at almost 6 a.m. I spent half of the day processing my passport, basically starting from the beginning (1. getting NSO authenticated birth certificate 2. applying for NBI clearance 3. photocopying all the required documents and finally 4. submitting it to DFA Regional Office). I have no plans getting a passport but recently there was some developments in my job calling me to have one. The processing was a mix of easy and bloody.

After successfully processing it with the DFA, i immediately left Butuan City via King Long bus at 12 noon. I love King Long... it smells clean since they are new. And quite fast, with just 5 bus stops. The hours after was moment of quite dreams since i was asleep until we took a stop in Balingoan Terminal. The loud voices of people shouting in chorus awaken me. Macopa! Macopa! Itlog! Chicharon! Tubig!

Insensitive. Hmpf!

There were many of them barricading at the door of the bus. But since i am half asleep that time, it was too late for me to take a photo of them. Only this man left...

And some of them gathered on the other side of the bus, surrounding a dvd peddler.

Not too long, King Long went on. ..And so my moment of quite dreams.

Arriving at the Agora Terminal in CDO, i checked my phone for messages. Plenty of messages but the last one caught my attention. "JP, i need help. Please." I was so anxious. A friend from Zamboanga joining me in the seminar and happily texted earlier that he was strolling around Gaisano Mall is now calling for help. I asked why. He lost his wallet in the taxi on his way to the hotel and would like to borrow a fare back to Zambo. Haha. To his relief, i lent him 1k but told him not to go around anymore so as to avoid breaking things that will make him pay. Hehe.

I checked in at our designated billeting.. the Mallberry Suite Business Hotel located at the Limketkai Center, parking lot away from Limketkai Mall. My room was in the 5th floor. From there is a good view of the city. Too close to Gaisano Mall.

My body was still agonizing in pain. I was thinking of having a message but as i laid my body in bed after shower, i fell asleep.

The night of the following day, my Zambo friend and a new found fellow from Bislig, Surigao Sur joined me in bar hopping. Starting from Tagbuan Grill which is just around the block next to Gaisano Mall.

It was a nice place to hangout, with native huts made of bamboo installed inside. We found some group of students, lovers (pertained by the place's name "tagbuan" which is rendezvous in English), and group of not so young having fun. Unfortunately, we did not enjoy the place as the 'not so young' group kept on singing oldies songs the like of "My Way" so we transferred to Pixel Grill.

They got nice, lovely and young singers. And most of all, they got a delectable kinilaw. Slurrrpp... The place is so crowded so we did not stay longer and look for something a little private. Under the command of manong driver, he took us to Club Mics and Mags. People, it is a Rated R club.

And i prefer to keep my mouth shut about the whereabouts there. We only watched the show anyway and later on left. Ridiculous, they asked a bit expensive charges. Imagine San Mig Light priced double. Grrr...

Next and last stop was Club Mojo, the place for the youngsters. The first choice was Pulse Bar but they did not allow me to enter this time with flip flops on. So we settled at Club Mojo where an enjoyable sight welcomed us. There was a daring showdown. We stayed, have our final toast of beer and then headed back to the hotel.

The following day we attended the seminar still groggy and dreaming... as we slept 4am in the morning and woke up 9am. Nevertheless, it did not hinder us to participate in the discussion.

As an ending story, i would like to share this finger foods that we shared in the last day of the seminar showcasing the fascinating fruit carving. Well done. A fresh watermelon was transformed into a burning hot, chinese-themed presentation.