Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WHITE WATER RAFTING IN CDO







It is my first time to have a documented white water rafting as my first time in the Nile River of Uganda way back 2003 was not really documented. I was the only Filipino then in the 12-team member rubber boat where others were Canadians, Irish and Britons. This time, October 17, 2010, our group consisted of Rome Frias, Jrich Macasero, Cesar Garcia and I were lucky to have a White Water Rafting Operator in the name of “The Red Rafts” headed by our tour guide, Richard Labor with assistant Steve Gaviola. Glen Kaduguan was the photographer boarding a small kayak. Their website is www.theredrafts.com. Richard can be emailed at red_raftrich@yahoo.com. His mobile number is 09351307893.

The starting point of the white water rafting was in Sitio Aura, Brgy. Mambuaya and ended in Kabula where both are located in Cagayan de Oro. Sitio Aura is a 35-minute drive from Divisoria (fronting Xavier University) of Cagayan de Oro City proper. The location of the starting point of Sitio Aura opposite to the river bank is already a part of Municipality of Baungon, Bukidnon. We had Beginner’s Package at P700 per head without lunch (if with lunch, rate would be P900) and P1,500 is the video and unlimited pictures during the whole course of the rafting. P1,500 could be lesser if the group is bigger where the cost can be divided equally among the members of the group. The package is a minimum of five and so, we have to pay for the fifth slot since we were only four. The rafting package has a classification which varies from Class II to Class III 1/5. Class II: (easy to moderate). Small-to-medium-sized regular waves with some obstacles. Some maneuvering is required but passages are clear. Splashy and fun! Class III: (moderate to exciting). Numerous waves that are bigger and a bit irregular with currents that can be tricky. Obstacles require maneuvering, but the narrow passages are generally straightforward. Scouting from shore is recommended and usually required. Big splashes and exciting rides!

The actual rafting started at 8:06 A.M. and ended at 11:20 A.M. where our group hurdled 14 rapids. In between these rapids are smooth sailing points for our raft. Our rubber boat had capsized in the fourth rapid. The current was so turbulent and whirlpools are so strong that you will be sucked at one point if not rescued, otherwise, the strong current will carry you away. However, our lifeguards were really well-trained to rescue us. Each rapid has its own name, the only ones I can recall was the 11th as the Brave’s Rapids, 12th as the Backlash Rapids, and at the 14th was Surfing the Rapids. We also bathed and drank water from the small water falls called the “Fountain of Youth”. Other details, I cannot recall already.

ZIPLINE EXPERIENCE IN BUKIDNON






This is a part of my Cagayan de Oro City – Bukidnon Trip dated October 15 to 17, 2010 in Dahilayan Adventure Park, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. The trip package consists of an all-ride zipline ranging with three 150 meters, 320 meters and 840 meters stretch. The starting point is a 320 meter zipline, then the 150 meters zipline and the 840 meters zipline which is considered to be Asia’s Longest Dual Zipline where one is launched at point at an elevation of 4,700 feet above sea level which speeds up to 90 kilometers per hour through lush greenery, foliage of trees and breathtaking views in a cool and foggy weather. Those who are done from the 150 and 320 meters zipline will wait in the Viewdeck and will have an exciting 4 x 4 Army Vehicle cutting through picturesque sprawling hills scaling to the highest point where the 840-meter zipline has its launch pad. The whole park is a part of Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park.

Part of the Park is a Forest Park where people can have a picnic thickly grown with cool pine trees and with life size replicas of almost 70 wild animals ranging from lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, zebras, crocodiles, snakes and others. Other rides and amenities to enjoy with are the exciting ATM trail, the Zorbits, Clubhouse, Botanica Café and Garden, Cowboy’s Grill, Horse back riding, Obstacle Power Play with Rock Climbing and Bungee Bounce for kids. The theme park has various kiddie rides where children can enjoy all throughout their stay. We brought a sumptuous lunch and unlimited food supply for the day trip without any need for paying corkage.

Our group is consist of our host and friend, Rome Frias, Jrich Macasero and Doctor Cesar Garcia along with the Rome’s brother, Enrique or Dodong and wife, Gina with four kids and another three relatives.

How to go there: From Cagayan de Oro, take the Davao-Bukidnon Highway, right on tha Alae Junction, proceed 25 kilometers to Barangay Dahilayan, past Camp Phillips and the pineapple field via Mampayag. This is more than two hours drive from Cagayan de Oro City.

TAWI-TAWI, SULU, BASILAN AND ZAMBOANGA CITY TRIP









This trip is dated June 4 - 9, 2002 when I was still connected with the Philippine National Bank, before I left for Uganda Work Travel in East Africa. It was a 15-month job placement then for microfinance banking programme management advisorship job.

NAGSASA COVE AND THE ISLANDS OF CAPONES AND CAMARA

Location: San Antonio, Zambales, Philippines

Aerial view of Nagsasa Cove beach line


Indeed! This place has its unique charm. It is not only a beach destination but one can also enjoy hiking, team building, prenuptial photography, victory parties, picnic, social functions and many other outdoor activities. I have known this place when the boatman we chartered to Anawangin Cove in the name of Totoy Parilla told us that Nagsasa Cove is the best alternative as the former is getting crowded already. He gave me his mobile number and after a month, our group went back to San Antonio, Zambales to try this new exciting destination.

Preparing to leave Pundaquit Beach for Nagsasa Cove


Prior to this trip, Totoy and I had phone call conversation of what’s the best time to go there most particularly of catching calm sea for boat travel. The advise was to take a last trip Victory Liner Bus from Monumento terminal at 11:55 P.M. and we dropped in San Antonio of the province of Zambales at 3:00 A.M. We were so relaxed in the bus and were even able to have a short sleep within the 3-hour travel duration. There was no traffic then and we just traveled smoothly.

Capones and Camara Islands as taken from Pundaquit Island


We had prior arrangement of the tricycle service from San Antonio through Totoy where it picked us from that point going to Pundaquit for 25 minutes only for P20 per head. Totoy was kind enough to provide us a beach cottage for free where we continued our sleep till 5:30 in the morning.

Just arrived the inviting beach coast of Nagsasa


As we woke up, our breakfast was ready where Totoy’s wife cooked it for us for a minimal fee of P100. Grilled and “tinola” fresh fish catch from fishermen around the beach was our viand for breakfast along with sunny side-up eggs, tortang dilis, Jasmin rice and ripe mangoes. We bought distilled drinking water good for two days in one of the stores of Pundaquit and some other food supplies as arranged by Totoy just before we boarded our boat for Nagsasa.

As we pitched our tents after our arrival


At exactly 6:30 A.M., we left Pundaquit beach. It was a sunny morning as if the day greets us with a big smile. The sea was so calm and still. The deep sea bed can be seen clearly from the surface of the water as our boat cuts through aquamarine blue waters. We passed near Anawangin Cove. Few passenger motor boats can be seen maneuvering to take a turn towards Anawangin while only our boat headed straight. We also passed by Talisayin coves.

Resting in the refreshing cottage while waiting for our meal to be cooked


On our way to our destination, amazing rock formations, picturesque cliffs and mountain slopes were visible to our eyes. The trip offered us a 55-minute breathtaking scenery of mountain slopes and seascape which cost P500 per head for a round trip arrangement.

Taking a relaxing walk in Mang Ador's Campsite


Trekking along mountain ranges is another alternative to reach Nagsasa other than boarding a motor boat though the blogger did not tried this yet.

The inviting beach front


According to the local residents, the name Nagsasa was named after “Sasa”, a member of palm tree family who used to be abundant in the cove but became extinct because it was excessively used by the residents as their houses’ roof and wall which are made as “pawid” in Tagalog language. The place is also known habitat to wild deer until they became extinct because of over hunting, abusive and misinformed used of its natural habitat.

The scenic mountain slopes at the back of Mang Ador's Campsite taken near Kamp Bira Bira


Approaching Nagsasa Cove was completely an exciting moment. Shoreline was dotted with rich green Agoho trees (looks like Pine trees at a distance). Only around two small groups of beach enthusiasts were there. The place was completely serene and tranquil. Almost all parts of the place were picture-perfect for photographers. I can’t help but to grind my camera to capture the splendid view right to my feasting eyes.

While at Kamp Bira Bira


As we wander through the wonders of Nagsasa, Totoy (the boatman) along with his son, prepared our food for lunch. The beach was inviting then and we can’t resist the temptation of taking a swim on its crystal clear and clean waters. Totoy after cooking our food left us but will be picking us up the following day.

Walking to the other end of the beach front


According to the blogger’s research, Nagsasa is also known for its famous water fall but again the blogger has not tried to visit this yet.

Looking back how the beach front looks


By then, there was no electricity and drinking water. There is also no mobile phone signal but when you scale high the mountain slopes, there is already signal. It has a common concrete comfort room equipped with a water pump for bathing and cooking.

The river which empties into the beach front


There was no idle time for us. We noticed that there were few Aeta families who reside in the island and in fact there were two of them who operate a sari-sari store where basic necessities including liquor can be bought. Though we were equipped with tents, we still opted to rent two open cottages for P200 each so that there is enough space for us for our socials and food preparation. Hammock was installed in a tree close to our tent for a more relaxing afternoon nap.

Our group as we climbed the mountain slope at the foot adjacent to Mang Ador's Campsite


As early as 1:00 in the afternoon, racing jetskis arrived in the cove. It was a competition sponsored by the City Government of Olongapo. It lasted till 3:00 P.M.

The rocky mountain slopes


Late in the afternoon, I led the group to scale the side of the mountain slope next to our campsite though there was no established trail as according to our local guide, seldom would guests climb there. The point provided us with a 360 degrees panoramic view. It was absolutely amazing to see the entire place in an aerial view with the white (though closer it really looks white-grayish color) beach line, the stretch of Agoho trees , the river, other low-lying slopes and the nearby forest.

The aerial view of the Nagsasa Cove


Our group was so vigilant of time since we are curious of what the sunset would be in Nagsasa. Surprisingly, it was different from the spectacular Manila Bay sunset where you can see the sun sets. In Nagsasa, the sun is covered by the mountain and on the sides of the mountain where the sun sets is a blend of orange, purple and orange colors. It is uniquely amazing!

The aerial view of the river which cuts through Nagsasa lowlands to the cove


The evening was more exciting as we had our socials around a charged lamp since bonfire should not be practiced by mountaineers like us. We had an extended beach enjoyment as we have gone into a night swimming. Tight and soundly sleep followed as we were all safe inside our tents.

The rugged coastline along the southernside of the cove


We woke up as early as 5:00 in the morning for a swim and at the same time prepared our breakfast and pack lunch. Totoy was just timely to pick us up at 6:30 A.M. heading for the Capones Island. The sea becomes rough and big waves occur in the afternoon till night time. According the boatman, boats could hardly dock even in Capones Beach Front because strong big waves will push them ashore.

A racing jetski aquatic motor bike against the majestic mountain slopes backdrop


It took us 50 minutes to reach the Beach front of Capones and had a delightful swim on its clear water. We had a trek then of one hour to Capones Lighthouse. The lighthouse is located on the other tip of the island where one has to resort to rock scrambling a rocky shoreline.

A number of jetski watercrafts in the cove


We stayed more than an hour in Capones lighthouse and trek back for an hour. Then, our boat headed for Camara Island for seven minutes. We stayed there for just 30 minutes. The place is good for picnic but not advisable for an overnight stay. Camara island is consist of two islets connected by a sandbar but this sandbar can be seen during lowtide according to Totoy.

Trekking along the beach coast from Capones Island beach front to Capones Lighthouse


Our motor boat headed again for 5 minutes towards Pundaquit beach. Hungry for such an endless swim and trekking, our group requested Totoy to prepare a sumptuous lunch for us.

The Capones Lighthouse


Totoy is really an honest boatman. I highly recommend his services for Anawangin-Nagsasa-Capones-Camara trips. Though we got disconnected because he lost and changed his mobile number, he is known in Purok 2, Barangay Cabasan in Pundakit. Another young boatman where you can trust is Marvin Agasan with mobile number 09277594714.

An abandoned radar station within the The Capones Lighthouse compound


In traveling back to Manila, we took a bus heading for Olongapo City. From there, we took another bus going to Monumento. This time, the bus trip was longer as it was already rush hours in Manila.

Camara Island


So what are you waiting for. Plan now for a Nagsasa Trip. I hope that I have provided you all the information you need to make your Nagsasa trip a successful one. Remember that your boat trip would be calm and smooth-sailing if you have it early in the morning. Thus, it is advisable that you take a last trip from Manila in going to San Antonio and finally to Pundaquit Beach.

Or better yet, contact Gone Wild Campers for a tour booking.

Monday, May 31, 2010

MAGALAWA ISLAND MAY 2010 ESCAPADE







Magalawa Island is a part of the municipality of Palauig, Zambales. It has fine white sand beaches. I have been to this island twice. The first time I have been there was dated May 8 - 10, 2010 with my PNU MA SPED Classmate, Teresa Santiago Corpuz along with her two sons (John James and John David), two nieces (Elisha Santiago Bulo and Eunice Ann Santiago Bulo), three nephews (Victor Joseph Santiago Bulo, Daniel Eleazar Mina Santiago and Joseph Benjamin Santiago Cruz), and her school's Property Custodian Officer - Oliver Santos Gallardo.

The second time I went there was dated May 21 - 23, 2010 with six companions, namely: Benedick Manalang, Alan Valenzuela, Dr. Cesar Garcia, Rome Frias, Jordan Fernandez and Erwin Rivera. In my second visit, we tried to have underwater shots.

Friday, April 30, 2010

ANAWANGIN - CAPONES APRIL 2010 ESCAPADE










This trip is dated April 24-25, 2010 in Anawangin Cove and Capones Island of Zambales. This is my second time to be in this beautiful destination wherein the first of which was in March 2008. Anawangin is a good place to unwind since there are no facilities there including the electricity. Only comfort and bath rooms with a supply of deep well water supply are there and the rest will be provided by the guests including the tent, stoves and drinking water. Thus, mountaineers like me, really like the place. The beauty of the cove is relaxing, inviting and gives an aura of goodness to everyone in the place. Thus, all the people there become nice and willing to be of help. One can leave all his belongings and enjoy a swim without being stolen. The place is not commercialized except for the boatmen who charge affordable boat transportation though I noticed that there are already two shops offering souvenirs and a tattoo shop and the rest is all but nature.

This time, we were ten in this trip, namely: Daddy Jay and Mommy Jousie Noscal; Judy Aguinaldo; Avelina Tan and her children: Janina Clare and Leland Robinson; Angel Cruel; Lina Hombrebueno; Mona Bayoging and me. Mommy Jousie, Judy, Avelina, Angel, Lina and Mona are my batchmates in PNU SPED Practicum in P. Burgos Elementary School in Altura, Sta. Mesa, Manila. It was an overnight stay in Anawangin. Mona and I ascended to Anawangin viewdeck which is around 750 feet above see level overlooking the whole stretch of the white-sand cove as well as the picturesque stream which empties to the cove. The following day, we headed to Capones Island and since the waves were quite turbulent, we have to dock in the beach front instead in the harbour front. Thus, Mona and I, had trekked for barely two hours (back and forth) to Capones Lighthouse. Trekking we made was a mix of rock scrambling along the rocky shores and sand trekking of which the later is more exhausting the former is risky since most of the rocks are slippery and one false move will lead one to the Hands of Our Mighty Creator.

This trip is quite memorable as we had much quality time for bonding and getting to know well each other.