Summer Sojourn at Bucas Grande

Early March, I received a message from my cousin that she is coming  home to the Philippines in April for  a few days. You see my cousin was born and raised in Canada and the last time we saw her was 13 years ago. This trip was long overdue.  We were all excited.  We agreed to meet her in Surigao to be with her  and her friends to visit Bucas Grande.  I have long wanted to visit the place and this is the perfect opportunity.  I have long wanted to travel with my cousins, too!

Bucas Grande Group of Islands is part of the municipality of Socorro in Surigao del Norte.  To get there, you must reach the port of Hayanggabon in Claver, Surigao del Norte to cross to the islands.  Claver is an hour and a half land trip from Surigao City.

This is our home in Bucas Grande for four days. This called Cinnamon Island.  There are cinnamon trees in this island. We get an unlimited supply of cinnamon tea.  After every island hopping trip, there is cinnamon tea waiting for us.

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Electricity was available from 5 PM to 7 AM the following day.  Who needs power when you are out  exploring the whole day? There is cellular signal in some areas of the island.

On our first trip out of the sea, we visited the Jellyfish Sanctuary. Bucas Grande is home to stingless jellyfishes.

We had to transfer to a paddle boat.

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There is only one passenger per paddle boat.  Here’s my cousin and her boatman.

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I love the boat ride towards the jellyfish sanctuary. The sea was calm and the air was cool.

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Trees surrounded us as we sailed towards the sanctuary.

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We were not allowed to swim with the stingless jellyfish because the lotion in our bodies can harm them.  We were allowed to touch them for a little while though.

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This is the white jellyfish. I would not have seen it had the boatman not pointed it out to me.

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This is the stingless jellyfish that is very visible from the boat. I am glad I was able to capture this photo as it swam near the surface.  I added some calligraphy into the photo.

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Bucas Grande has so much to offer.  We toured inside the Sohoton Cove. We  can only do this during low tide since we need to pass through this inlet.

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There is so much to see.

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We also swam inside the cave. I have no photo to show since my camera is not waterproof. In another activity, they went inside the a cave and the easier way out is to jump off a cliff.   It looked fun but I chickened out. There were so many people. I might cause delay to some people if I take time to prepare myself to jump.

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We had lunch in one of the islands.  We spend some time swimming here and taking some jumpshots.

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There were 11 of us on this trip.

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This island is beautiful.

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Oh, we ate fresh sea urchin, sea oysters that are attached to the rocks and other sea creatures whose names escape me right now. We saw this blue starfish.

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We had this seaweed for dinner.

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We also went spelunking inside the Crystal Cave. Stalactites and stalagmites are encrusted with crystals.

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Three of our friends went inside the Bolitas cave.  It was a narrower cave where there are a lot of rounded stones inside the cave.

We cooked our own food so when we ran out of food to eat, we went to nearest island with settlements.  This is Barangay Bay-ang in Socorro.

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We bought vegetables from a sari-sari store; meat and fish from a supplier’s house.

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This community has a fowl that is a cross between a rooster and a turkey. I do not know what this is called.

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We were able to visit Club Tara. This is the most expensive resort in Bucas Grande.

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Our humble accommodation was okay, too!

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We woke up to this view every day.

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Before we left the island, we had a special delivery! Fresh young coconut! Buko!

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Oh how I miss the island life! Some good things had to end to welcome new adventures. Can’t wait for the next beach trip!

6 Memorable Things of My April 2015

Time flies so fast when you are having fun and I cherish every moment spent with love ones and friends. I invest a lot on memories and on learning about things that interest me. I do not mind not having a fat bank account, new car, new gadgets and other bright new things. As long as I have stories to tell and I learn new things, life is worth living.

I live each day trying to balance between earning a living and doing what I want to do in the hopes that one day both will become one and the same thing.  I try to explore the world as often as I can and if I can’t, due to some constraints, there are always books I can read that enrich my imagination. Life is too short to get bored.  I try to fill my minutes and hours with things that matter and  important to me like exercise, prayer, walking with the dogs, conversations with my loved ones and learning something new with art.  These were the things that kept me busy this April and there are 6 things that stood out in my memory.

1. Vacation. When my cousins and  I here in the Philippines learned that our cousin from Canada was coming home for a short vacation, we were already looking forward to the first week of April. It was a short stay but a fun and relaxing one.  I will talk  more about this trip in the coming days.

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2. Cousins. This is my  Canadian cousin’s 4th trip to the Philippines so I have to post a then-and-now photo to mark the event.  The photo on top was  taken more than 10 years ago.

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3. Art. I started to explore The Flourish Forum and The Postman’s Knock. Both are excellent resources I can use to improve on my calligraphy. I am interested in joining their mail exchanges that I signed up for June. I also made some birthday cards. My friend’s birthday was coming up so  it was an opportunity for me to practice calligraphy.

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I also made a lot of artworks to catch up with friend requests.  I am just happy that many liked my work. There are only two that are left unwanted. Poor artworks.  I will open an online store soon and I hope somebody buys my artwork.

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4. Flipping Ships.  Below is a photo of a junk boat that I posted here. Remember Edwin McCain? He was the singer behind “I’ll be”, a relatively popular song in the late 90′s (I think). He will star in a new reality show called “Flipping Ships” where he and his team revive old boats to their sailing glory. The show premiered last August 24 on Animal Planet. One of its associate producers emailed me to ask permission to use my photo of a junk boat as reference photo for an episode which might be aired on May 29.  It is cool that they made efforts to get in touch with me to ask permission to use the photo.

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5. Fixing the faucet. I have allowed my faucet to drip for a week until I made an effort to replace it myself. My cousin promised to fix it but forgot to return and finish the job so I mustered some courage to do it myself. And I fixed it! I am proud of this accomplishment.

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6. Photoshoot. I will have a photoshoot with a friend which I reluctantly said yes because if I say no I might be saying no to possibilities and challenges.  Besides, I think it would be a fun morning of catching up with a friend. We might even forget we are doing a shoot.   I am just thankful for the trust given to me. I hope I can meet expectations.

As I write this post, it is already almost the middle of May.  So far, May is treating me well. How’s your April and May?

Rewarded For Traveling

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One Saturday in UPLB

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I had a work trip and some free time so I made arrangements to meet with my college roommates. We have not seen one another in 12 years.  I stayed for one weekend in the house of one of my roommates and we agreed to meet  my other roommate who lives … [Continue reading]

8 Relevant Quotes for My Awesome February and March 2015

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John Lennon is right. Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. All the wonderful things that happened the past two months seemed like a blur now as I try to go back to my regular routine.  I finally had the time to reflect on those … [Continue reading]