Monday, March 31, 2008

Stranger in Marawi

A professor friend in MSU- Iligan Institute of Technology (IIT) which I got to visit in the campus, after learning that I am heading to Marawi, persuaded me not to continue the trip. He once taught in MSU-Marawi and had unpleasant experiences which he hesitated to divulge. He just hinted me on cultural differences and the danger of traveling in and out of the place. But instead of being discouraged, I never showed hesitation in my facial gestures and just flashed an eager interested smile. I continued the trip anyway, as planned.

I was warned when boarding a public vehicle (just the jeep, if in case you are thinking of a bus) men should not seat right next to women. But on the actual scene, it was nothing like a set-up  in any ordinary jeepney ride, men and women seated together with no especial or specific seats for separation (maybe those were the olden days).

I was never been so paranoid in my trip. I was also warned not to display cell phones and gadgets, too bad I missed to take pictures of the power plants, manmade lakes and other unfamiliar sites. I just held mum and instead of being annoyed at the loud noise  by the engine's high gear uphill drive, I was thankful that the noise made my thoughts occupied and kept off paranoia at bay.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Iligan’s grandeur

We just passed by Cagayan de Oro City because I’m not planning to stay here. It’s not that the place has not much to offer, I just thought that it has another trip of its own. 

Colleagues assigned in Talakag had positive words on the city’s fun and wild night life. And a friend who tried the whitewater raftering here, sort of lobbied -like-a-politician, that I must experience this aqua adventure. If given enough time, I could have considered the suggestion. Though, a walk-in enthusiast has a very slim chance of getting into the ride because it needs a team of six before going to rafting. So you need to have a reservation first and then convince your 5 friends to complete the team. Another attraction is Monigue Cave which is “the” place for spelunking.

What I only loathed here is the separate terminals for east and west bound travelers, and it is separated way, way apart. You have to take a 10 minutes drive to get to another terminal (bound for Iligan). Maybe I’m not used to this (Davao and Tagum City has only one terminal for all directions): the probable reason – to avoid traffic.

Enough of Cagayan de Oro, another Industrial city is Iligan, abundant in great and small water falls. The grandest of them all is the infamous Maria Christiana falls. Sorry for us, we missed the 11 am downpour of her majesty: (this is only open on specific day and time). That was only one we missed, there were more than 20 falls to go (that’s the spirit!).

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mystique Camiguin Island


My beginners luck was short lived. On our first destination, Camiguin Island, the weather is not cooperating. We were greeted with thick dark clouds that in any time lose grip and precipitate. Despite that the Island was still lush in green and inviting.  Mount Hibok-hibok just falls silent and dormant at the back ground.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tungkod and Hotshot's Adventures


What you gonna do when after a leg fracture operation, you have been confined for a long, tiring, decay-inducing  6 months in your house (Yes a house arrest of sort, I have to check my sanity after it) - Well, yearn of drifting farther from the limited space that you got. How about going up North? (with in Mindanao of coarse) Why not?
Well everything seem to fall into places accordingly. I got a 4-day compulsory leave from work. Compulsory because it would end up forfeited after the year ends (scheduled VL is a good reason for leave request, now question that) and I badly needed a break from the truckloads of work at the pier (and I mean truckloads literally).
Fortunately I got enough money to finance the “expedition”. It’s just a week that I collected my share of our cooperative’s annual dividend. And thank-God, the stars seemed aligned to my zodiac and favored me greatly, Doming, along-time friend now based in Butuan is pretty familiar with the routes I’m planning to traverse.  Huh, am I lucky or what? Paulo Coelho should be right when he wrote in the Alchemist that when you want something, all the universe conspire in helping you to achieve it
Before the trip I solicited ideas from friends on cool places to explore. I shy away from the net because it is always short on giving first hand account of the scenic spots.
Topping the list was Camiguin for its enchanting old Island appeal, magnificent hot springs, white sands and pristine beaches.
Second was Surigao for its very cheap fresh and sea water fish dishes (also one of the cleanest cities in the country) and great beaches of course. Somebody suggested that I could also visit the open pit mining in the area. For Christ sake, how come such destruction becomes a tourist attraction?
The runners up were Iligan City (for Maria Christina and Tinago falls) and Marawi (for the MSU campus and Lanao Lake).
What did I chose? All! With just 5 days in my hands, this will be a tight schedule I know.
Tagging along were the ever reliable duo, the All-mighty Tungkod and the carry-it-all-sumakay-ka-pa Hotshots, I just crossed my fingers that I will pull this one out, always keeping in mind Paulo Coelho’s insight.