It might be too late to greet everyone a “Happy New Year”, but hey a happy new year to you! 🙂 How was your new year? Mine was pretty uneventful. I spent it in my hometown in Bicol, waited for the clock to strike 12 on the the 31st of December, then I slept. Even my blog was uneventful. For the first time, I did not write a year-end post.
Anyway, to start this blog’s year and to lessen my travel diary backlogs, I thought of sharing some of the waterfalls I’ve been to in the Philippines. The Philippines is not only blessed with beautiful beaches but with bodies of freshwater such as lakes, waterfalls and rivers. It’s a good idea to check these out and include them in your must-visit list this 2016:
Hagitmit Falls is found in the island of Samal in Davao del Norte. One interesting feature of this body of water is that it actually a series of falls. The falls above is just one of the more gently sloping falls. The one below is more “rugged”.
If photos and travel stories were food, mine were probably moldy already. Thankfully, travel stories never grow old! I talked about my Baler trip earlier last year. Allow me to finish my photo essay before my memories go down the drain.
Day 2 in Baler
My friend agreed to wake up early to catch the sunrises. Unfortunately, it was raining so bad in the morning so just went back to sleep. At around 9 AM, the tricycle driver who toured us around the town fetched us again for our visit to the Ditumabo falls. The falls is about a 3o-45 minuted drive from Sabang beach. From the tricycle stop, we had to trek again for another 30-40 minutes.
Waiting ares of drivers.
It was one of the most difficult treks I experienced. We literally had to cross very rocky streams. I didn’t get much photo because I requested our driver to secure my cam. As we got closer the the falls, thankfully the trek became easier and there were fewer streams and rocks to conquer.
I am trying to catch up with my travel diaries but since my work and graduate school activities also involve a lot of writing, I barely have time to write for this blog. My backlog has now totaled to four travels and this does not even include my unfinished Ilocos travel series. So, I thought of a roundabout solution about my dilemma and I realized photo essay is the way to go!
First stop is Baler, a town in the Aurora province of the Philippines. It can be reached through five-six hour bus trip from Manila. I went there around the end of January this year. It was an unplanned trip. A friend called me up to ask if I want to go to Baler on a long weekend. Being the wanderer that I am, I accepted her invitation.
Rocky cliffs of Baler.
It was very cold and a bit rainy when we went there. It was the peak of the northeast monsoon int he Philippines so temperatures were around 12-18 degrees Celsius.
A falls by the highway! Yup! Just beside the highway!
Months ago, I bought a plane ticket to Seoul, South Korea to satisfy my wonder of what it feels to walk and live in the place whose culture I am so fascinated with. Little did I know that beyond quenching my wonders, I would also fall in love…. with a season.
The beautiful trees in Changdeokgung Palace.
It was my first time to see autumn, and boy, it was love at first sight. It was such a surreal experience for someone from a tropical country to witness the changing of seasons.
The Deoksugung Palace Wall.
The best displays of autumn foliage were on the countryside, particularly Nami Island and the area around Petite France. Nami Island is hands down a beautiful, beautiful place.
It wasn’t even the peak of autumn yet, yet the countryside was already so beautiful. How magnificent would these places be at the peak of autumn?
Siquijor is a quaint small island in the Central Visayas, Philippines. The island is perhaps best known for its tales of mambabarangs or sorcerers. I visited Siquijor last month and I was quite surprised that its beauty goes far beyond the mysteries that people have associated it to. Its beaches are untouched by urbanity and its waters are one of the most turquoise I’ve seen in the Philippines. The picture in my previous post was in fact taken in Salagdoong Beach, in the town of Maria, Siquijor.
What caught my attention the most; however, were not the beaches but the Tupalos Marine Sanctuary and Tree Houses. The locals built a walkway and tree houses among the mature mangrove trees. The tree houses were even for rent! My favorite was the walkway that extends beyond the mangrove forest to a cottage in the open sea. The view was outstanding and I thought how nice it would be to live in such place and wake-up to the peaceful view. So dreamy!
I remember in December 2013 I posted that I felt so “out of life” by the year-end. I concluded that I was not good at multitasking–juggling work and school. I am now wondering what I felt that way when my activities this year and last year were almost the same. It generally revolves around work and school. Then I realized the difference: I traveled more this year. On the contrary, I only traveled twice last year. That two travels were not enough to sustain my enthusiasm for the rest of the year. It’s now October and so far I’ve been on four trips since January. I still have two coming up. My savings are dwindling yet I haven’t felt this sustained kind of happiness and enthusiasm for a while. I guess this saying really applies to me:
“I travel not to escape life but for life not to escape me. “
Travel has been my means to keep in touch with my sanity and to remind myself that there’s more to life that just my cubicle at work or my virtual classroom for school. It’s my means of getting in touch with nature and of relearning the simplicity of life. It’s my way of rekindling with friends and rediscovering why we have been friends in the first place. It’s my way of discovering that despite every thing I learned, I still know too little about life, of what it means to live and breathe. I officially caught the bug and I don’t think I will be able to let go soon.
So, forgive me if I have been on hiatus. I have been here and there, trying to juggle three lives. However, I will surely but slowly share what I experienced in life lately.
In a recent to visit to Siquijor, Philippines. Now or never.
August 10 of 2013 ( I know, so late!) which was a Saturday was spent travelling to the northernmost towns of Ilocos Norte. These places are among the most popular tourists destinations and you will see later why. These three towns have some of the most beautiful natural attractions I’ve seen in the Philippines!
We started the day the very early. Before going to Ilocos, I already contacted a tour operator, Kuya Bhoy, to pick us at La Eliana at around 6 AM. We were already up as early as 4:30 AM which allowed us to witness this very beautiful sunrise from our hotel room:
Kuya Bhoy arrived late at around 6:30 AM because he had to drive all the way from Pagudpud which was about two (2) hours away! We were already very hungry by the time he arrived so we dropped by a Jollibee drive thru before embarking on a road trip. Just a little after a hour on the road, we already reached our first destination the Cape Borjeador lighthouse in the town of Burgos.
The Philippines is such a good subject for photography. One can get every imaginable texture because we have every landscape imaginable…volcanoes, waterfalls, limestone cliffs, etc. Who knows there is also a distinct advantage in being located in the Pacific Ring of Fire and in being in the path of typhoons? The only thing we probably don’t have is glaciers because obviously we are a tropical country. Here are some interesting “textures” I have come across for the past 2.5 years since I have started exploring the Philippines:
(Clockwise from L: (1) The rocky beach in Diguisit, Baler, (2) rocky cliff in Caramoan, Camrines Sur, (3) smooth limestone structure in Kapurpurawan, Ilocos Norte, and (4) punctured cliffs in Talicud Island, Samal.
The summer is over in the Philippines. In fact, it’s been rainy for two months now! We even had a very strong typhoon last week. 😦 BUT in honor of this week’s theme, here’s some summer lovin’ photographs which I took last May when I went to a vacation in the provinces of Iloilo, Bacolod and Guimaras:
My friend, Cez, and our turtle friend.
In front of Jaro Church, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.
Braving the heat just to take advantage of this beautiful cemetery.
Is still sunny in you part of the world? More “summer lovin” pics at Daily Post.
There’s a very interesting cave in Guimaras Island cave the Baras Cave. It is situated separate from the main island so can it only be reached via boat. The island cave is full of contrasts…from the sharp and smooth stones inside, to the shallow and deep parts of the lagoon inside it, up to the light and dark contrasts created by several small entrances in the cave.
I thought being on school break means more free time. I guess not. I am loaded with work more then even so I am hardly alive these days. Anyway, for a breather I am sharing these two photos for this week’s challenge with the theme “On Top”. These actually do not exude the “on top” perspective discussed by the challenge, but rather a “to the top” and “at the top” feeling. Nonetheless, hope you like them!
The way to the top of the hill.
The view from the top of the hill!
Belated Happy Easter everyone and I hope I have the time to post something tomorrow for my special day. 🙂
One year in the making yet I haven’t still talked about our office’s team building last year. It was a two-day activity held in Blue Coral Beach Resort in Laiya, Batangas. I could barely remember what happened except for the fact that our team won the games! Ha!