Saturday, May 14, 2016

Higatangan Island (First Visit)

Intrigued by the buzz among FB friends, today, once and for all, I went with a group of fun-loving jump-shooting friends, to see and experience what this island has to offer!

Well, not really all of the island. Quite literally, just the shifting sand bar! Why? Eh, the play in our 'very young' hearts persisted. Quite different from the usual 'see and feel everything in one sweep' solo backpacker mindset of your aging Pinoy Traveler haha!

So here are my notes...

Happy? I would rather say... I Shall Return. Thus, the title of this story!

This is not an easy destination. Even if/as you prepare.
First, there is only one regular commuter trip a day from the town of Naval, the capital of this island-province (Biliran). And it happens only at 12NN! Oh okay, that would actually be two trips, since there are two boats. But they leave (per their regular schedules) at exactly the same time - 1200H, noontime, mid-day, tanghali, udto, mahiru! Hesus gino-o ko!

And the return commute? Its at 7:00AM everyday, also by the said boats! Therefore, when going to Higatangan on public commute, you won't have a choice but to stay overnight on the island!

Hey, a day before we set out to Naval from Tacloban, a friend of a friend of a friend purportedly told one of us that there is a commuter boat every 7am. So we were gunning for this one. But on arrival at the pier, we were told, therefore realized that there is no 7am trip. Grr!!

We made some calls, to tour companies we saw online, to friends, and friends of friends... make the irritating story short, we were able to hire a boat 'pakyaw' basis for about PHP4,500 or so (I now forget the real final amount we paid as there were a lot of haggling hehe)! That amount was going to the island and coming back in the afternoon. Good enough I guess :)
Departing from Naval Port
Alright, at the island, there are 3 or 4 resorts big and small. But we never went to any!!! Yeah, thanks in part to the time we wasted at Naval port looking for a ride to this island. Our other companions used the time buying this and that at the stores surrounding the port, so we had everything we needed - from food to just about anything, including ice-cold-beer! Yeah!

When we docked at the sand bar area (nearest resort is Limpiado White Beach Resort), we learned from our boatmen that they'd just be hanging around to wait for us, instead of going back to Naval then return in the afternoon to fetch us. So we asked if we can leave some of our things on board. The reply was, "you can leave everything here as we are not going anywhere unless you say so"! So, there! We had an instant open air accommodation haha! The boatmen even helped our girls in preparing our food!

Hey, even at the sandbar area alone, snorkeling is already fun! And yes we tried it and heeded the advise of boatmen, 'don't go far out as the water current is really very strong'. True!

Nice Trip!

Now the catch (for us at least)...
We were not able to go around the island by boat, as previously agreed with the boatmen (part of the paid cost), because, we had so much fun frolicking in that sandbar, we lost account of time! But am not complaining :)

There are no public toilets, and we did not go into any resort, remember? So our companions who needed to do so, just had to beg at some of the houses and/or the Limpiado resort itself hehe!

Tourists cannot have all of the sandbar to themselves. A bigger portion is (still) used by locals as their drying area for fish. Anyway, that portion (nearer the houses) have coarser sand and some rubbish that were probably thrown by both visitors and locals. Haaay mga kababayan ko, ang disiplina pleaseeee!
I turned out, many of us wanted to drink Coke, than all other sodas we brought from Naval. Argh, I had to ask as many as 5 little stores to find Coke. Many here sell Pepsi products only :(

But... happy to have learned there is San Miguel Light and Marlboro Lights on most stores hehe!

I have not been able to peep at the locale, as I said above, because we forgot all about time because we were playing at the sandbar area. Therefore, I shall return!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

10 Kilometers To Ormoc

Yes, that's just what it means - ten kilometers from this point to Ormoc City. But this "getting to be famous" kilometer marker is now frequently appearing as photo-op background (for a number of my friends, some of you followers of this blog)! This, I guess, is my 3rd shot of the marker. I passed by it again just about lunchtime today hehe.

It doesn't really mean anything else, except for the Cebuano-speaking kinky brains hahaha. At the very least, it illicits a smile!

Proof? As I took that picture, my curious lady companion looked at the marker and read it aloud. She said... "one-ow-ow-two, ow-ten, ay hihihi ow-ten hihihi"!

Her brain, not mine :)

For a more detailed story about kilometer markers, you may recall this topic, or this!

Thursday, March 3, 2016


If you think my topic is about that overloaded motorbike about to enter the national highway, with helmet-less driver and passengers, no it is not! This sight is such a common thing herearounds that it is already considered 'normal'.

Now if you think my topic is about that sorry-looking signage to an elementary school, I can tell you 'yes, but not quite'! And yeah, I understand you... with the present after-Yolanda building boom where so many donors are helping to rebuild schools, how come no one is helping that elementary school to put up a more respectable signage, right?

But that, is not even my topic hehe! This time I am for "nomenclature"! Oh ha?!

The past 2 years (and this will probably be until the end of 2017), I happen to be often passing by this place. I did not really mind that 'harsh' a name for a school (pretending to be busy w/ my humanitarian work eh), until a friend went on a trip with me this morning, saw that signage, and started protesting why it is named so - as if we can do anything about it! But he had a very valid point that made us all laughing.

Here goes...

The barangay (community) is named "Bukid"! Thus, this elementary school (located there, of course) is named as such!

And my friend was saying "kawawa ka naman pag dyan ka graduate, when somebody asks saan ka nag-aral, ang sagot mo, sa bukid"! Well, he has a point - especially that in the Visayan language (both Cebuano and Waray-waray), "bukid" actually means "bundok", unlike in Tagalog where it means "a (farming) field".

However, and this is where my friend finds his protestation valid... (I agree)!

In the Visayas, if one calls you "taga-bukid", it is meant to belittle, ridicule, insult you!

Solution: go tell their congressman so he can change that school's name, to the name of his father or grandfather or mother or grandmother or wife! That's the only thing they do best anyway, right?! hahahaaay gino-o!

But then again... why bother?! The place is named Bukid, so anyone from there is "taga-bukid", so who cares, really?! Maybe just my friend... and me, so let's leave it at that hahaha! At least... there is always a thing to amuse us travelers wherever we go hehe!

Oh well...

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Government's "Laglag Bala" Solution?

I pass by at least 2 airports a week, and I swear, this is the first time I saw this 'enterprise' racking up hefty pesosesoses fast! An extra expense for "alarmed passengers".

Here's my story:
Due to the number of passengers entering at the first few gates of NAIA 3, I asked my driver to let me off at the farther gates. Am not sure if I entered at the 4th or 5th gate/entrance.

This thing is what I saw upon entering the x-ray area: A company that wraps (mummifies!) your luggage in clear industrial plastic!
Maroon bag: the subject being mummified!
Blue shirt guy: worker
White shirt guy: passenger, owner of maroon bag - says he paid P200 for that wrapping thing, he further said "di bale nang mag-bayad ng extra, kesa naman mabiktima". Hmm, he has a point!

So, this is the government's solution? To avoid passengers being victimized by THEIR employees at the airport, they have allowed another business opportunist to wrap luggage for a fee?

Hmm, that gets me thinking...
Hmm, tumataas kilay ko...

Is that really THE solution?


That machine is similar to (if not) what my friend calls a "jufu machine" at his factory. It is used to wrap crates or even furniture before being shipped.

I could not imagine, such machines will land at a passenger terminal and make our luggage look ugly and undignified.

Well, that is probably how far (or low) our government officials can do to curb a shameful crime - perpetrated by their own people!

So help us God...

Friday, January 1, 2016

Robinsons Galleria Cebu

Hey, Happy New Year!

Like I have been away from this blog for some time, I have also been away from Cebu about the same period of time. And oh my, today was the first time I learned and saw, that Cebu's version of "Galleria" is already up! So I went there to see what's inside hehe!

Yes, this was New Year's day 2016 and I was on a cab to the Metropolitan Cathedral when we happened to have passed by the edifice. Not that I did not know there was something Robinsons sprouting at this location, as I have passed by this area many times before, while it was still being constructed - probably late 2012 or early 2013, construction was well in progress.

Alright, I asked a guard as to when this mall opened, and the hesitant reply was... "about a year ago"! Oh my my, I have been away that long from my dear Sugbo haha. So all the more that I feel happy to have spent the holidays here. For tomorrow I go back to "field" again... haaay hoo hummmm...

What can I say? Well, as usual, when its is a Robinsons or an SM, wherever that maybe in the country, it shall be huge! So, this one is! At least not something like SM MOA or SM Seaside where I get tired roaming even just half of it. On this one... 'carry lang' as my dear Keri would say hehe.

But I think this one is bigger than the original 'Gale' (Robinsons Galleria Mall at Ortigas) that I have been used to, at least in terms of shopping area/s! I'm guessing here hehe! Shops are also sprawled at 4 levels of the building, but there are no tall extensions (yet) like you would see Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza. I did notice at the smoking area (outside), there were some dudes smoking with me who all had their IDs on neck straps the way many call center agents do. Therefore, I am guessing again, there must be some kind of a BPO or something at that eastern end of the building that I think is a floor taller than the mall area.

The supermarket at ground level has some kind of a 'Rustan;s feel' while the food court at 4th level has way too few tables (and eateries). At least it does not look like a hawkers' place! But there are the good restaurants and fastfoods on evely floor level. Hey, I ate at a nice Jap restaurant at some kind of a foodie row called "Verandah"! I guess it was on level 2, since I remember I took an escalator going up there from the fountain area. Anyway...

This 'Galleria' has more spacious concourses and open spaces surrounded by the shops. Nice one for photo-ops and selfies! These spaces are not boringly linear and are very nicely designed. And the biggest plus of them all... probably because it is still new... is: it is not as crowded as Ayala Center Cebu nor SM City Cebu. I can still loiter around this mall with my sanity intact!

Okay, I shall return ;)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Michael Jordan?

On an early morning walk along the streets of Tuguegarao, I was amused that there were so many "pancit" stores / eateries / restaurants all over the place. And then I saw this...

Not clear?

Okay, I cropped the same image into this...

Of course it reminds us of this...

It made my morning hahaha!

For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10
11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tuguegarao Cathedral: Biggest Electric Fan

I am well traveled in this country (I would like to believe so), and OMG, I may be right to declare that indeed, Tuguegarao Cathedral has the biggest working electric fans in all of the churches I have visited! Ceiling fans to be exact, and there are two!

I wasn't really all that comfortable standing/sitting at the pews under them hehe. I imagined ugly things... like if they dropped unto my head, those blades won't even have to cut me as I will surely be already 'dedbol' just from the weight of any blade hehehe! Oh my hahaha!

For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10
11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20

My Tuguegarao Arrival

Excitingly hot! The "excited" part was me (c'mon, it has been decades since I've been to this place and I can't even recall how I got here then), while the "hot" part was the clime. Yeah, literally a scorchingly hot and humid noontime! But I didn't mind the 'hot'. Excitement took rein!

How do you like emerging from an Airbus A320 to a sizzling 39 degrees celcius at 12:47PM (yes, high noon)? It felt like it was 45 or even more degrees! Well, even the crews made faces as that aircraft door was opened. The heat really gets into your face (and nerves) hehe. But, I didn't mind. I was all too eager to step unto the Tuguegarao grounds for a heat stroke!

I whispered "noontime, empty stomach, very hot day, so.., don't anyone mess with me"! Ahhehehe, that was actually my self-reminder, to keep extra cool, calm and collected!

Yes, I was cool and collected. But calm? Ah, I think not really! Because I was excitedly grinning and smiling at just about anyone I met! Anyway, let's see some of the snaps I took along the way, going to my hotel.

Emerging from the arrival area, I turned back to see this view from their parking lot.

Surprised to see people outside the building on a hot noon! There are trees, at least!

Even drivers hub under the shade of another tree. They were having a caucus hehe!

The view from inside my hotel's limousine service - tricycles waiting for passengers.

Exit is where that white AUV (in the middle of picture) is about to turn - to the right.

Nice to see that blue billboard. Am going there tomorrow, so those became my choices!

A nice vehicle. Am not sure if I should call this a van? Only 7-seater with a tall ceiling and not commonly seen in this country. Then again, Sta. Ana is just near this city!

Alright, speeding out of the airport, I get to see the streets of Tuguegarao once again...

I think we did not turn right at that corner. Or maybe we did but went for another route to the city. Its a busy highway and the driver probably took a longer but quicker route.

See? Where we passed, it was almost always a solo-flight on the road! Hey, that yellow signage on the left says "Genaro's Grill & Special Bibingka", listed in my "places to see"!

This got me a bit alarmed, military-clad men with guns either walking or running.

Ay sus! Good my driver told me they are police trainees, and those are wooden toy-guns! Another combat exercise said the driver as there's a police/military academy in Tuguegarao. Hmm, interesting topic! Urban combat practice? Whohoa!

Before we turned right, the driver pointed to me that its a new bridge-in-the-making.

I surmised that must be a big river since the bridge looks rather "major"!

And there are the military men training again. Yeah, they looked exhausted!

Oh, Hotel Joselina on the left side of the road! Its listed in my Tuguegarao choices. But this time I was going Hotel Roma as suggested (reserved) by a friend. Maybe next time.

Oops, at this pint of my wonderful way to city center, the phone rang, and it was the boss of bosses calling. Argh! I had to answer, so I wasn't able to capture any more pics along the way. Until I was inside my room at Hotel Roma. But let's talk about that later.

For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10
11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20

Tablet Check-in: Cebu Pacific

8:33AM this morning, amidst the throng and the din at NAIA Terminal 3, a Cebu Pacific employee walked up to me and asked if I had any luggage. I said "none", and she asked me about my flight details. I asked why (thinking she would direct me to a counter but..), she said "I will check you in sir"! And I said something like "ows?!" as I looked at that thing on her left hand - a tablet!

So I gave my details, showed her my ID and she tapped on that thing, voila! That strip of paper came out from that other gadget hanging on her pocket - my boarding pass!
Just like that. Yeah, ganun lang!

I am no gadget freak, but, this was the first time I encountered such a thing - even if I travel almost every week - and yes, I was fascinated. Nice one, Lance! Nice one!

For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10
11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20

Yo Again!

Alrightie folksie folks! Your PT may have been away for some century or two haha! But I assure you, that was just the show-and-tell part that went silent. Yep, the blogging, I mean. But the travelin has never ceased. It was just because of this damn pesky thing called "work". Argh! It really gets in the way into my telling writing about my travels. But stories are soon to come... so hang in here folks! Your PT is still alive and really kicking after all!

I suppose I'd be good to re-start with my notes on a revisit to Region 2. This time as an adult, tourist, and a blogger! (Yey)! I really wanna start telling... so, let's start.

Ah! I guess this will be another series of stories, so watch-out for the blog entry numbers below.
For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10
11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20