A Weekend in Lanuza

My friend invited me to a trip to Lanuza. It was a free trip. I would be with my good friends and I have not traveled with them before so this would be a new experience. How can I say no to that offer? I sent prayers to high heavens that I do not have to work that weekend. God answered my prayers so off we went to Lanuza one November weekend.

It was the annual surfing festival in Lanuza. Lanuza is a surfing town in Surigao del Sur. Their surfing season starts in November. My friend works for a company that is a major sponsor of the festival.

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We arrived at noon. The awarding of prizes for the champion surfers was scheduled in the evening so we had the afternoon to spare. Lanuza is a charming surfing town. You’ll meet kids slathered in sunblock carrying surfboards in the streets.

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Our first stop is the white house.

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This is a century-old mansion.

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A descendant of the original owners showed us around. We were treated to a rich cup of chocolate.

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Look at the dish dryer!
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We were all happy to see this plate. All of us had this plate at home when we were growing up.
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Our next stop is the Marine Sanctuary.

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We walked to a Bantay Dagat outpost.

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This is the view from the outpost.

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Our host took us to the next town in Cortez. He showed us photos of what we expect to see. We were convinced.  By the time we reached the site, we were blown away by the sight. It was an AWESOME place.  I have not seen anything like it before.

Friends, this is Laswitan in Cortez, Surigao del Sur!

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It looks like one but that is not a waterfalls.

It is actually a rock formation. Waves from the sea crash against those rocks.

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The waves overflow.

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When water drips down, it looked like this.

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You can actually swim in the lagoon. The unsafe area is cordoned off.

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We left at 5PM.  It is a beautiful place.

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It was so beautiful that my friend went back two weeks after. She told me that the waves did not crash against the rocks and the friends she brought there missed the experience we had.  I guess we were lucky to experience this phenomenon.

In the evening, we attended the award ceremonies.

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We went to Lanuza during the anniversary of Supertyphoon Yolanda. As part of the program, sky lanterns were released.

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We left Lanuza the next day but not before doing some activities in the morning. We were scheduled to do more sightseeing so we were not sure if we could try surfing. We spent some time on the beach to observe surfers.  Kids as young as this one already knew how to surf.

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We went spelunking in the morning inside the Campamento Caves. We spent almost an hour inside the cave.  There were lots of interesting formations inside. Can you see the bat?

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My friend took a dip at the Hubason River.

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We still had time to spare in the afternoon. So my friends took a short surfing lesson. Look at them!

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I was not able to try it because I got that monthly thingamajig.  :( So I just posed for a photo.

Thanks to my friend, Ernelyn, for inviting me to this trip.  It was one memorable weekend.

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Lovely Palaui

My friend, Barbara, and I had been toying the idea of visiting Palaui ever since she showed me a similar photo as this one.

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When we finally got the chance to go there in August, we wasted no time. From the airport, we proceeded to the bus terminal in Cubao for buses bound for Tuguegarao. Yes, it was a night bus. We arrived Tuguegarao the following morning.

We had this for breakfast: Pansit Batil Patong! This is supposed to be one serving but I was not able to finish this one.
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To reach Palaui, we need to go to the town of Santa Ana, which is three hours north of Tuguegarao. We still have time to go other tourist spots since our Palaui trip was scheduled the following day.

Off we visited Callao Caves. We climbed 183 steps to reach the mouth of the cave.

There is a church inside. Remember that Bea Alonzo movie? There was a scene that was filmed here.
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The cave has seven chambers. This is just one of them.
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It is not difficult to navigate the cave. Look at my friends. They looked like they were strolling in a park.
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We visited churches on our way to Santa Ana.
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One church had large stations of the cross in its compound.
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Since we are already going north, we visited Aparri. This is the doppler radar of PAGASA.
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And this is where the Cagayan River, the Philippines’ longest river,  meets the Babuyan Sea.

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This gorgeous sunset greeted us when we reached Santa Ana.

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We called  it a day.

Off we went to Palaui the next day. Palaui is an island an hour away from the Santa Ana Port.We hired this motorboat.

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We climbed up a hill to reach the lighthouse. We took photos on the way up.

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This is the lighthouse.

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At the back of the lighthouse, we went down to a grassy area where we had the best view of the islands.

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Because of the large open flat space, we tried this camera trick.

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This is the view we loved.
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We went to Anguib beach after. Anguib is where Survivor Cagayan was shot.  The boat ride from Palaui to Anguib was one of the scariest I have experienced. It was raining. We can only see a dark horizon and an unending sea on the left side and uninhabited island on the right. We see no other boats around that my friend really asked, “Where are the others?”  Fortunately, we arrived Anguib safely and we spent some time swimming.

We dropped by Crocodile island when we headed back to the port.  It was called crocodile island because of the shape of the rock formation. Can you imagine the crocodile head in this photo?

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We returned to the resort we were staying, had dinner and slept tight.

The day after  was travel time for us. We took a van bound for Tuguegarao where we would ride another night trip to Manila. It was a long trip. We slept through the night filled with thoughts of this memorable trip.

Tungao and Lawigan: The Road Less Traveled

An invitation to a new destination is music to my ears.  If you give me an opportunity to visit a new place, I would get excited even at the thought of exploring it. It does not even matter what kind of transportation it takes to reach a new place. I say yes to adventure!

That is what happened two fine Sundays of August.

Tungao

Tungao is the second to the last barangay in Butuan City before you reach Esperanza, Agusan del Sur. It is a 45-minute trip by public transportation. And public transportation is a very large jeepney.

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It is so spacious that we can stretch our legs inside. We thought so. As it turned out, we were in for an experience. See the bench?  They would put the bench in the middle and allow passengers to occupy the bench.

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So if people occupy the middle, how does the konductor collect the fare? The answer: through the window.

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The konductor climbs through the side railings of the jeepney and taps the passengers to collect the fare while the jeepney is in motion! Yes, we have a real-life spiderman in Butuan. I should mention that this jeepney had passengers on top, too! Only in the Philippines!

We really did not have an itinerary. We just wanted to check out what was in this place and just explore.

We found a nice wall in church so my friend, Titit, posed for a photo.

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We met a durian vendor. We did not buy because he was going to the city proper anyway.

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One major improvement of this place is the road. The road to Tungao is all paved. Years ago, it would be very difficult to get there. Imagine their type of transportation in a rough road.  We were lucky we get to visit the place using better roads. Now, I hope they do something about the transportation.

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Lawigan

During the last week of August, my friends and I got invited to a fiesta! The family of my friend, Mau, came from this small barangay in a town in Agusan del Norte. The place is Lawigan in the municipality of Tubay. It is their annual fiesta. She invites us whenever she visits the place but we never had time until that August.

Look how pretty!

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It was challenging to reach this place. This is the remotest barangay in Tubay. To get here, we have to ride a bus for Surigao City and asked to be dropped somewhere near Jabonga. Mau had arranged a driver to pick us up at the intersection.  The driver was a motorcycle driver.  Yes, motorcycle. Two wheels.  My friend and I hopped behind the motorcycle driver. No helmets. Halfway, the road was paved. However, there were areas that remained dirt roads. We had to cross the mountain before we reach the coastal area.  There was an area where we had to walk because the road was slippery and inclined. Did say  it took us an hour to get there? An hour on a motorcycle. Oh, the things I do to feed my wanderlust!

Good thing the place was postcard pretty.

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After we devoured the fiesta food, we took a stroll along their beach.

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They have big boulders. Perfect for photography.
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It was a fine weather while we were strolling and hopping through these rocks. It started to rain on our way home. Imagine two of us behind the driver sharing his raincoat. We remember those signs we saw along the way: “Landslide-prone area”.  Oh, the things I do to feed my wanderlust!

Lawigan can be reached via a jeepney from Cabadbaran City but there are no trips on Sundays.  One can also opt for a boat ride from Cabadbaran. Small boats. No lifejacket.  I cannot swim. I will try when weather is better.

9 Thoughts on Myanmar

I know I need to update this blog when I read Maye‘s comment on my first blog post! This means she has already read all my recent posts!

By some stroke of luck, I found myself in Myanmar last August. The best part about it is that it was a free trip. I just need to put in a little work and get free accommodation and free food. Who can say no to that? It was an amazing deal.

To those who are unfamiliar with Myanmar’s history, I am one of you. Here are some quick facts I have learned:

1. In 1962, the country was placed under military rule.
2. There was an election in 1990 and most of the members of the National League for Democracy of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won. However, the junta did not honor their victory.
3. Aung San Suu Kyi was place in house arrest for years.
4. A national election was held in 1990 after 20 years.

It has been two months since I went to Yangon, Myanmar. Here are my 9 random thoughts about my trip there:

1.  The Shwedagon is a must-visit. The complex is vast that I really got lost.  I forgot where to exit. Good thing we had stickers on my shoulders which was marked which exit I should so I only have to ask for directions. The Pagodas are beautiful.  I will just let the photos speak for themselves.

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2. They speak to me in Burmese. I remember traveling to Hong Kong and locals would immediately ask us, “Filipino?” and I also remember that memorable incident in Brunei where an immigration officer identified us as Filipinos without looking at out passports. In Myanmar, it is a completely different thing. They thought I was Burmese so they spoke  to me in Burmese.

3. Food is good. They have dishes similar to Pinoy adobo and bagoong alamang.  Some dishes are a little bit oily but they still tasted good. The dishes at their  restaurants serving Chinese cuisine are also delish. I did not take a single food photo. Nobody took such a photo so I did not.

4.  Burma is slowing opening its doors to the world. Businesses slowly coming in. I based my statement on the traffic.

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5. I can be a hoarder! LOL I thought I am the only one who does this so I was a little conservative in taking all of the toiletries. It turns out that others were also keeping the toiletries. I read somewhere that toiletries are okay to keep because they are part of the hotel bill. The towels and robes are not for the taking.
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6. I cannot afford the gems. What a thought! I do not even wear jewelry. When we went to visit Bogyoke Market, the gems were a sight to behold. I bought jade bracelets for my aunts. I can afford those. Plus, I got fridge magnets for my friends.

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7. Good thing this is a free trip or else I do not have money to survive. Myanmar exchanges US and Singaporean Dollars. I brought along a few hundreds for incidental expenses but I was only able to exchange $100. Myanmar is quite picky with the bills. They only accept clean bills- those without marks and creases. The upside of this predicament: no unnecessary expenses.
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8.  The Burmese people are so nice. Nice is an understatement. We were in the same room with some of the Burmese heroes. It is chilling to know what some of them have gone through. Yet, they remain kind, warm and caring.

9. Filipino tourists can travel to Myanmar, visa-free for 14 days. What are you waiting for?  The sight of hot air balloon ride in Bagan is breathtaking. I have only seen photos. Experiencing it must be awesome.

 

Heading Out on the Boat

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When you need to find a boat for your fishing excursion, then consider looking online. There are companies like Dixon’s Marine Group that have several options when it comes to boats. You can make a selection based on what you are fishing for, such as lobster, tuna or crab. There are also boats for leisure activities. The latest in boats and accessories is typically launched on a website, so you can find out about new items before they are debuted on a showroom floor at a company.

If you already have a boat, there is a section where you can click here for items you can add to it like nets or a trailer to haul the boat. After you have made a selection on the boat you want, it can usually be delivered to a business near your home that deals in marine supplies. All you have to do is pick it up, inspect it, and take it home. Repair kits are available to purchase online if there is something wrong with a boat you have. You can also find someone who can weld items to the boat, even if it’s an emergency. When you purchase a boat, you can find everything you need for passengers to stay safe as well. These would include life vests and floats.

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