Exploring Sibuyan: The Clear Waters of Cantingas River

Hailed as one of the The Cleanest River in the Philippines, Cantingas River is such a sight to behold

Continue reading Exploring Sibuyan: The Clear Waters of Cantingas River

Advertisements

Braving a Super Typhoon for Cebu

image

September 19.
Woke up at 2AM from the mad sound of thunder. I have never seen nor heard the heaven wail angrily until that morning. A storm is coming. No not really.. A typhoon is on its way to hit us. Typhoon Mario (also Tropical Storm Fung-wong) is about to make a landfall anytime soon. I woke up, not surprised, that the electricity were cut off too. This is bad. My flight to Cebu is scheduled in 4 hours. There was no notification that it was cancelled nor rescheduled. Scared and disoriented, I hurriedly pack my things under the candle light. All the while cursing myself. I should have prepared my things last night.
But I was determined to go.

I left the house as the rain started pounding. I was able to get a cab right away. I felt hopeful for a bit. But then I saw that some of the main roads are slowly turning into bodies of water. Unpassable. I literally felt like Im about to throw up. I texted my boyfriend and hoped he gets to the airport safe. I am feeling really bad. But I pressed on. Ironically, my taxi driver is cheerful. He was adamant that I get to the airport on time. We shared stories and life lessons such as not giving up on tough times. Ironic, really.  The rain is pouring hard. Mad mad rain. It was unreal! Classes are now suspended and reports of flooding are everywhere.

I got to the airport less than one hour before departure. I waited (impatiently) for my companion. I knew he wouldnt make it on time. Kirby, who got stuck in the middle of this crazy rain, traffic and flooding, arrived 5 mins after the departure time. We headed to the departure area and hope its not too late. I guess this is still a hopeful day for us as we managed to still board the plane.

While tuck inside the plane, the rain worsen. No one really bothered to complain why we are still not flying. We are contented to just wait until everything gets better. After 4 hours, the sky cleared up and we were able to fly to Cebu. The whole ordeal was like a movie scene to me. Thats what makes this trip special, I guess.

At 12Noon, we arrived at the sunny Mactan Airport in Cebu.

image

We headed for lunch as we arrived. We went to Ayala Cebu to try CNT Lechon. Suddenly, our misfortunes felt so far away. I was determined to have fun.
image

We wanted to just have a walking tour around Cebu, spend a night and head to Bohol the next day. After lunch, we went to Casa Amigo where we book a room that only cost 750/night. We left our bags, took a nap and headed to downtown Cebu.

If its your first time in mainland Cebu, I would like to let you know that you can do the “walking tour” all by yourself. Dont bother getting any guide- you only need Google Maps.

We asked for directions from the kind receptionist in Casa Amigo on how we commute to and from any point in the city. She jot down numbers and letters in a small paper and told us to wait for a jeepney with these codes printed. If theres anything absolutely confusing about Cebu- its their transpo system. Anyhow, we managed to survive using Google maps and directions from sweet Cebuanos.

Here are the tourist spots you can visit during the walking tour.

1. CEBU CATHEDRAL – you will not miss this place because after alighting a jeepney going to downtown Cebu, this is where people will usually point you to.
image
image

2. BASILICA MINORE DEL STO NINO – One thing you should know about Cebu is their devotion to Sto Nino. Unfortunately, the old Basilica was closed down for renovation. As we know, about a year ago, Cebu and Bohol were devastated by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that destroyed most of their National treasure (i.e old churches). The Basilica was badly damaged. However, infront of the Basilica was a modern structure where a mass is taking place. The area was full of devotees.

image
image

3. FORT SAN PEDRO – walk straight to an open park and you will see Fort San Pedro standing between the ocean and the entire city. Fort San Pedro was a military defense built by the Spanish around 1700. Today, its a main tourist spot and houses a collection of old things from the Spanish Era.

image
image
image

4. YAP-SANDIEGO ANCESTRAL HOUSE – My personal favorite and a must on every Cebu itinerary. Considered to be one of the oldest houses in the Philippines, the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House was built sometime between 1675 and 1700. The place is a small compared to most of the ancestral houses Ive been to before but it was unbelievable packed with so many antique things. Dont ever forget to add this special house in your itinerary.

image
image
image
image
image

5. CEBU SIOMAI – Ha! This is not a part of the heritage tour. We were so hungry after walking that we decided to have some snacks. We saw this Siomai House and boy, its so special! Totally different from the usual siomai that we have, this one is a must try!
image

6. MAGELLAN’S CROSS – This is the iconic landmark of Cebu and seeing its condition now is almost heartbreaking. Wrecked by the past catastrophes, it now stood with pieces of wood supporting the cross and debris all over the place. It appears to be under construction and I hope they get to fix the entire place soon.

image

7. CEBU CITY HALL – Downtown Cebu is beaming with life even after sundown. Infront of Cebu City Hall is a group of people doing Zumba, Arnis and Sepak Takraw. Alot are just sitting around, talking. The City Hall is just infront of the Magellan’s Cross.

image

8. COLON STREET – One of the oldest road in the Philippines. It looks like Manila or Quiapo to me.

8. LARSIANS – Where we headed for dinner to cap off our walking adventure in Cebu. This place is not for the faint of heart but well worth your money.

image

I dont really remember the exact streets or road we took to get to each tourist spot. We consulted Google Maps and ask directions. At one point, we took a cab from Fort San Pedro to Yap Sandiego House because its getting late and we wanted to see the house before it closes.

Other things to remember:
* The local jeepney system is abit confusing and the traffic is really bad when we were there.
* To go around the city – jeepneys and taxis are the most common.
* Uptown Cebu is where malls and modern buildings are located. Downtown Cebu is where you see old houses and crowded steeets. Both are charming to me in different ways.
* Stay vigilant to avoid pick pockets.

We head back to our hotel content and happy even after alot of misadventures. This is just the start of our vacation and everything looks good so far.

Except after we realized our camera is dying and we didnt bring the charger.

P.S
Belated Happy Birthday Kirby. Here’s to surviving more storms together, love.

Baguio Daydream

Let me tell you a secret.

I have been dreaming of this city lately. Somewhere in my unconsciousness blooms a longing. A longing for a walk on an almost damp street, the chilly air, under the shade of trees, wearing sweaters and boots. You are probably right, I’m dreaming of a city in Europe. But hey, Baguio is not that bad. So I’ll dream of Baguio for now.

And dream of these:

soft light

Pine Trees

Cafe By The Ruins

green

flowers

Goodtaste

Tamawan Village

Mines View(Mines View Park – where every #selfie looks good)

And my favorite anywhere in the world:

morning

February is a busy month for Baguio. People flock the streets of this small city as they celebrate the Panagbenga (Flower Festival). I am planning to visit the place again, as soon as February ends. I prefer having those secret paths and alleys on my own. So for now, I’ll daydream.

Enjoy the rest of the Love month! 🙂

Thank you, from the bottom of our ruined, yet enduring heart.

Its been a week since we first heard about the devastating aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda here in my beloved country. Its been a week since we first saw the heartbreaking images of every houses, every families , every children that were affected by the storm. And its been a week since help from all over the country and all over the world started pouring in.

It is only now that I was able to really understand the beauty of humanity.

To every Filipino  who suffered and still suffering, lost their families and prized possessions, who are doing all they can to survive as they wait for help, to those who keep smiling with a hopeful heart – we stand with you. The entire world is praying and helping and doing the best that we can to get that clean water and food delivered to you.  Hold on there, brothers and sisters. The storm will pass.

To every Filipino who joined and are still joining the relief efforts, for those who have been praying and sharing and inspiring each and every one, for those who help in every little ways that they can – I am overwhelmed with pride. I’ve never been more proud to be a Filipino. Yes, some will call us poor, our country is under-developed or hopeless. But they can never say that we give up so easily. Most of our fights are fought well.

And lastly, I would like to use this tiny blog of mine to thank each and every nations of the world who extended their help. The help that we are getting is overwhelming. The kind of help that you give not because of political or humanitarian responsibilities. I believe that the help that we get from across the world is simply because of kindness, of compassion, of love. The kind of help that you give because somehow, regardless of language, political differences, skin color, regardless of borders, of wars fought, of religion – you all look after us like a brother would do to his bruised little sister. Its all because of love and compassion. And for that, we will never forget. Thank you, from the bottom of our ruined, yet enduring heart.

 

Singing a song of hope and gratitude. (Photo: David Darg/RYOT News)

This week in Tacloban, Samar and Cebu, amidst the hunger and thirst, the chaos and confusion – we’ve seen the best of the Filipino people, their strength and their courage. I cant get it out of my head. We’ve seen people with every reason to despair, every right to be angry, instead finds ways to laugh, to love, to stand up, to move forward. A storm breaks wood and bone, brings hurt and heartbreak. In the end, the wind, the water, the horror it brings is not the end of the story. With aid and assistance, compassion and care, this place, these people… they will make it through. They already survived the worst. They’re about perhaps tired and traumatized, but they are not broken. Mabuhay Philippines! Thank you for all you’ve shown us. Thank you for showing us all how to live.

– Anderson Cooper, CNN

They still need your help. For more information on how to help, view my previous post here.

You can also check Huffington Post for  list of organizations that sends help to the Philippines.

Panahon ng Pagbangon : Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda 2013

yolandaaftermath
Images from CNN, Manila Times, IbTimes, and Sunstar

November 8, Friday is the day most of my fellow Filipinos in Visayas will never forget. Around 4:40 AM, Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda made initial landfall on Eastern Samar, Philippines. From then on, the sky went dark and the air was filled with screaming wind.

Category 5 strength
Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Yolanda, appeared to retain much of its terrifying force as it moved west over the country, with sustained winds of 295 kph, gusts as strong as 360 kph. Haiyan’s wind strength makes it equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. Super Typhoon Haiyan is one of the strongest storms recorded on the planet – CNN.com

Here in Metro Manila, we did not feel the extremity of the typhoon. Because if we did, we probably wont make it. It is heart wrenching to hear news and see footage of the chaos the typhoon left behind. It is beyond comprehension. Beyond words.

For those who want to extend their help, please visit these sites:
Philippine Red Cross
World Vision
Victory

Other links:
Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of strongest storms ever, hits central Philippines  – CNN

“Yolanda was a beast ” CNN – Manila Times

#ReliefPh: Victims of Typhoon Yolanda need your help – Rappler

 

panahon ng pagbangon
Time to rise again 🙂

Tonight, Leonardo Da Vinci Gave Me 8 Important Lessons in Life.

1. Stop complaining, make the best of what you have.

Da Vinci Gallery 1

Leonardo, who is born out of wedlock, was prohibited to get formal education. His name “Leonardo Da Vinci” meant Leonardo of Vinci (“Vinci” is the name of the small town where he was born). Thus, for a small child , he was pretty much deprived of the few things a child is entitled to – a surname and an education.

Yet, he was regarded as the most diversely intelligent person ever to have lived. How did he do that? Well for starters, He pretty much made the best out of what he have. He did not moped around and cried miserably whenever he feels he lacks something. Instead, he prospered with what little he was given.

Continue reading Tonight, Leonardo Da Vinci Gave Me 8 Important Lessons in Life.