Isla Higantes Weekend

These group of islands in northern Iloilo have been famous for the past years as more visitors discovered the beauty of the islands, the beaches and of course the bountiful seafood.  My son wanted to visit though I am wary as the seas are a bit rough during the Habagat season.  We planned to go on a weekend…so target is 23-24 September 2017.  On September 22nd, I had an official trip to Roxas City and the weather was overcast, sometimes raining and generally gloomy.  I’m not confident that we can push through with our trip. In the afternoon, it rained so hard and there is a low pressure developing off Surigao area.

I have requested our part time driver to find a resort and other arrangements for us.  We were given costing of P6,500 for pumpboat good for 20 which includes trip from Bancal port in Carles to Isla Higantes, island hopping and trip back to Carles.  Too expensive for us as we are only 10.  An officemate recommended that I contact Arjan Resort at 09999918643. It was a good thing as he informed me that there is a passenger pumpboat that leaves Carles at 10AM and fare is only P80.00. Though it is still raining, we prepared for the trip though I feel that it is quite dangerous as the seas might be rough and we might be stranded in the islands!  The whole night it was raining…at 5:30Am I texted everybody that we are cancelling the trip.  A few minutes later my son told me that forecast says there are no rains…and of course I checked the low pressure area..low chance of developing into a typhoon. The rain has stopped though the sky is still overcast.  I again texted everybody that we are pushing through the trip.  Left our place at past 6AM then proceeded to the City to pick up Mity and Titin.  We left Iloilo City  at around 7AM. Our driver is familiar with the road and I am confident that we can be at Bancal Port before 10AM.  We have no breakfast except for Mity ann Titin who were able to eat at McDonalds.  I have loafbreads and SPAM that I was panning to make into sandwiched but since I was not sure that we can go I just brought the all our baons.  Jan cooked ang walang kamatayan na adobong baboy. Our vehicle is a pick up truck so we cant all fit inside…thus Mity, Titin, Ericka and Yanyan was at the back together with all our bags…all ready with trapal in case it rains. Thank did not rain!!!

Roads to the north are now very good with some areas already having four lanes..but the woe in travelling are the too many motocycles that are the king of the roads.  We arrived Bancal Port in Carles at 9:55!! It was a good thing there are still spaces for us in the pumpboat.  Fare is at P80 plus enviromental fee of P75 per person. Since we were the last to board, we opted for the first seats in the pumpboat although I know that waves will really hit us as there are no tarps.  We all are in high spirits despite the cloudy skies.

The pumpboat is a bit small but we are all excited.

Simple rooms with two double and two single beds for P2,500.

Its off season, we practically occupied the resort with a family on the other side.  The boys immediately decided that they will sleep in the hammocks outside.

We ordered lunch for 10, sinigang na isda and buttered/sauteed scallops and of course we have our adobong baboy. While waiting for lunch everybody had a very late breakfast of loafbread and palamans.

Off for Island Hopping.  Pumbpoat at P2,000.00 including a tour guide.

That’s US!!!

Scallops at P1.00 a piece!!!


Sea Urchins at P15/piece



Eating seafood in the Sandbar

Our guide (sorry forgot the name) is expert in getting pictures!

All set for our Banana Boat Ride


Picture after our Banana Boat Ride

The Beach in front of the resort is not good for swimming but there are lots of crabs especially at night.

Pumpboat to Estancia

The following day, we will be going back to Iloilo City and the passenger pumpboat leaves at 3PM for Carles.  This is too late for us as we will reach our place at past 8PM.  We inquired how much is the rate for a pumpbaot and it is P3,500!!! It was a good thing we were informed that a passenger pumpboat leaves for Estancia at 8AM.  WE decided to proceeded to Estancia and Clint will get our pick up in Carles.

We arrived in Estancia at past 11AM, ate lunch and waited for our pick up arrive.

There are very few fishing boats arriving and their catch are pitiful..very small  fish, there was even a baby shark!!

All of us enjoyed our short trip to Isla Higantes.  Though the seas were a bit rough going to the Islands, we really enjoyed our stay and siland hopping as there were not too many tourists.  There were only a few pumpboats going on island hopping so we have more time to enjoy the place.  It was a bit sad (though its okay with me) as the Tangke area is closed.  For those who would like to visit Isla Higantes you can get in touch with Arjan Resort.




Visiting Sites in Manila

I have been to different places in Metro Manila but I have not really explored the area near Malacanang.  One weekend (June 17, 2017),  my friend Glenda and I decided to explore old Manila.  We took a bus (it was a new PUB) from Ayala in Makati and alighted near Quiapo Church. I have been to Quiapo area several times before but I can not remember if I heard mass here in Quiapo Church or the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. It was mostly a visit to shop especially when I was a student in Diliman and later in Los Banos.

Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church)

We passed by the Ilalim ng Tulay which is now full of stores to reach the other side so we can take a jeepney to San Miguel, Manila.  We first visited to San Miguel Church or the Regal Parish and the National Shrine of Saint Michael and the Archangels (our parish is also Saint Michael the Archangel here in San Miguel, Iloilo) as we wanted to see the images of the seven archangels.  But only three are in the altar. We were informed that indeed there were seven but later only the three Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael remained.  We asked where are the other images of the other archangels but the people there do not know what happened to the images.

We were told that originally the middle portion is where the imagine of St. Michael is located while the top and side are occupied by the other archangels.

St. Michael the Archangel slaying the devil

After taking a lot of pictures inside and outside the church we walked leisurely along Jose Laurel Street and marvel at the grandiose old buildings on both sides of the street.  The Philippines is a rich country as we were able to afford to build these beautiful regal structures.

Jose Laurel Street, so quiet and serene with the Malacanang fence on the right side

We were really enjoying our leisurely walk, taking pictures of the gate (we know that we can’t take pictures of what is inside Malacanang grounds) when a gate opened and a Presidential Security Guard told us that we are not allowed to take pictures.  We were seen in the CCTV taking pictures. Bomber…we were enjoying the grand structures, marveling at the intricate designs in the gates and wondering why there gates have different names….the President was not even in residence that time but well we have to obey.

We continued our walk up to the National Shrine of St Jude Thaddeus.  It is not as old as the San Miguel Church. I was already hungry by that time as I have not taken my breakfast so we dropped by Max Restaurant to eat an early lunch.  We then took another jeepney to Intramuros.

This is the first time I have been to Intramuros!! I have taken for granted the old places in the capital of the country. We visited the Manila Cathedral (The Minor Basilica and the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion), and the San Agustin Church and Museum. This will be in another blog.


Weekend Escapade to Mararison Island (Visited last May 2016)

It was 1997 when I first visited the Island together with officemates doing our monitoring of our CIDA assisted projects in the province of Antique.  It was not a “to go” place yet, in  fact it is just of the the islets that is accessible to the mainland Antique.  We had only a few hours to spare so we went there in the early morning, rented a pumpboat and went straight to the cove at the back of the island.  We can see from the boat that were only a few houses near the sandbar area.  The waters around the island was so clear that we can see beautiful corals.  I do not know if the conditions of the corals are still the same as we were not able to go on a boating trip.  The so beautiful cove where we swam in 1997, is so different now..maybe because the tide was so low and the stony beach was revealed.

IMG_1884It is not attractive or even safe to swim as there are sea urchins.


This time, its a different experience as we will be spending the night in the island.  The “kids” in the office planned the trip and I just went along with their plans.  They left early morning via RORO (Roll On Roll Off) from BREDCO in Bacolod to Dumangas port in Iloilo.  A Kinglong hired mini bus picked them up and passed by our town to pick me up and my niece.  We drove up to Miagao, Iloilo via Cordova Road in Tibauan.  We had our breakfast in Miagao at the house of an officemate, visited the famous Miagao Church for prayers and picture taking.


From Miagao, we proceeded to Antique, and dropped by the house of another officemate to pick up cooked rice.  We did our CR break, had snacks and proceeded to Culasi.  In Culasi, we registered at the Tourist Center before boarding our hired pump boat to Mararison Island.


We arrived in the island and went directly to the house we will be staying.  Most families in the island accept homestays.  The area is a bit congested with houses very near each other. It is not a very comfortable lodging area but since we will be staying for only a night..we have to make do as we are paying only P2,400 for the whole house..there are 18 of us in the group.


We brought cooked food for our lunch and everybody was hungry.  After lunch, some ventured to explore but it was too hot.  We decided to rest and go trekking mid afternoon when it is not too hot anymore.


We hired two guides to take us trekking in the hills of Mararison.  I was surprised that despite my age, I did not really feel tired during the trek.  There were areas where it was so high and I felt my far of heights.



We were not able to complete the whole trek as our older guide decided to cur it short..anyway it was a good thing as I do not think I can handle the height.


We immediately proceeded to the sandbar area and enjoy the dip/swim.


We had breakfast and prepared to leave the island.  It took quite some time for us to board our hired mini buas as we were looking for the original driver.  We proceeded to Sibalom again as we were expected for lunch.  Enjoyed lunch at Raizza’s house.  Then we were ready to go back to Iloilo…the rest proceeded to Dumangas to take the RORO back to Bacolod.

Weekend Getaway in Bantayan Island

We started the getaway last year when a group in our office planned to visit Mararison Island in Antique.  This year, we planned early as we already knew of the long weekends for the year.  Labor Day (May 1) falls on a Monday thus we will have three days to enjoy with the group.  It was decided that we will visit Bantayan Island.  Just like last year, we let the kids ( the younger generation in the Office) do the planning.

We left the Office at around 4:30H on 29 May 2017 (our plan was at 4:00) so we can catch the first trip to Bantayan island.  The management of vessel plying Cadiz-Bantayan route doe not accept reservation, thus we have to be there early though the published schedule is at 9:00H.  Our trip was again a bit delayed due to a Fun Run out side the city.  it was still dark and a bit dangerous as people manning the area of the fun run are ill equipped.  Most do not have reflectorized vest thus motorists have to be very careful to avoid accidents.

The morning sun breaking breaking the dawn as we approach Cadiz City

 We arrived in Cadiz port at around 5:30H and was greeting by cold pleasant breeze.

 There were already a lot of passengers and we immediately bought our tickets for our group of 15.  We brought sandwiches for our breakfast (spam and egg sandwiches).  The maximum number of passengers were rapidly filled as we boarded the vessel (referred to as Batil..a big pumpboat with a capacity of 162 Passengers) at around 7:00H.

We left Cadiz port at around 7:30H and reached Bantayan Island at around 10:00.  The trip was enjoyable as we were allowed to go up the boat to take lots and lots of pictures.

Carbin reef in the distance

Transferred to a smaller boat (standing position) so we can reach the pier.

Took several trisikads (P10/passenger) up to the jeepney terminal for Sta. Fe.  There we got a Multicab to ake us direct to our Pension house in Sta Fe (fare is P25/passenger).  Bantayan Island is similar to Gumaras Island with rocky terrain but do not have that much vegetation.  There are a lot of barren areas..maybe remnants of the effect of Typhoon Yolanda.  We were booked at Adelaida Pension…check in is at 12:00 and we arrived around 11:00H.  So we had our lunch as we brought cooked food.  The owner of the pension House allowed guests to use the dining area and even allowed us to use their kitchen to cook our meals free of charge! After check-in, we agreed to meet at 16:00H to explore the beach.  I booked a room good for three at P1,400.  Its a good deal as the room is spacious, very good airconditioning with hot and cold water and most of all very good WIFI.

View of the balcony from our room.

The beach is around 10 minutes walk from Adelaida’s, passing by seaside community.  It was low tide and we saw people just brought in their nets with their catch.  The fishers were small but since these were very fresh we bought a kilogram each of latab and asous to add our dinner and breakfast.

Fresh catch…though small but we know that this will taste very good!

Sta. Fe Beach

The beach is very wide but not even.  The sand is off white..similar to Guimaras white sand.  We took a dip in the sea (did not really swim) as there are lots of stones, seagrass and maybe sea urchins.  We just stayed in one place as we are not sure of the beach and enjoyed dipping until it was already dark.  Went back to Adelaidas to cook our dinner and rested early.

We decided to go to Ogtong Cave and Resort and maybe go to another resort the following day.  Some went out early to again explore the beach while most of us stayed to cook our breakfast the lunch.

View of the beach from Ogtong Cave and resort

We really enjoyed the beach here and we decided to stay rather than transfer to another resort.  There is a cave with brackishwater pool but as I am not fond of caves…I did not venture inside.

Enjoyed our simple lunch…sinabawan nga latab, paksiw na asuos, adobong abbaoy and corned beef, scrambled eggs (supposed to be for breakfast but we ate hot pandesal with peanut butter and coffee).

 Stayed in this resort until 2:30pm then went back to Adelaidas to rest and prepare for our early morning trip back to Cadiz City.

After a short nap, I asked around where the Catholic Church is. I was late for the mass as there was no trisikad available to I walked up to the town center.

Sto. Nino Catholic Church of the Municipality of Sta. Fe, Cebu

Till our next visit…Adelaida’s Pensionne Hotel

Dropped by Bantayan Market to buy some their famous dried fish but was disappointed as it is expensive and quality are not that good.


Boat transfer from port to the bigger Super SM

Short Visit to Taiwan – Day 2

After a restful night, we woke up early to enjoy European breakfast at the Le Louvre Restaurant on the 4th floor.  The choices, especially on the cheeses are not that great compared to other hotel restaurants I have been to.


First plate with assorted fruits.  The melons and guavas are so good.  I could eat plateful of these.


Second plate..of course bacon, eggs and assorted sausages.  I did not see grilled tomatoes and of course I was looking for the cheeses.  My friend told me that there are cheeses…so that was my third plate which I forgot to take a picture as the cheese selection are very ordinary.  No brie or blue cheese.


While waiting for everybody..took time to take a picture of the floral arrangement.

Off we go to our different official itinerary for the day.


PTIC rented a big bus for us so we were very comfortable.

taipei-techTaipei Tech hosted by the National Taipei University.  There are several coworking spaces, a Fablab and innovation hub inside Taipei Tech.

equipmentThey have so many 3D printers and some of these are even on the floor.

taiwan-handicraft-promotion-centerWe dropped by the Taiwan Handicraft Center – promoting their OTOPs (One Town One Product) all over the country.  This is housed in a multi-storey building with lots and lots of products.  Though I find most of them very expensive.


A portion of the showroom with handwoven fabrics and products made out of these fabrics.


Next is a visit to the Small and Medium Enterprises Administration under the Ministry of Economic Affairs. We had a briefing on the approaches of Taiwan regarding economic developing with emphasis on the small and medium enterprises.  They do not readily change their approach and projects and sustain it until it becomes successful.  Unlike here, where projects of the past administration is not continued by the next thus sustainability is very poor.

We returned to the hotel almost past five..rested a bit and readied for our visit to the Shilin Night Market.


Braving the Metro Taipei…Taiwanese are so courteous and orderly, we have to check ourselves that we are in the right lane or line.  The trains are very efficient and though there were a lot of commuters it’s not a pain to wait as the schedules are close to each other. The train stations are clean and the lines for the comfort rooms are so orderly.


There were so many people along the Shilin area, so many good at sale.  I was not able to buy anything as I am not sure whether the products are authentic or fake.

sugarcane-juice Snapped a picture of this green sugarcane that are squeezed into sugarcane juice maybe with calamansi. Is clean as buyers are not even allowed to touch the sugarcane.

After a few hours of going around we were so hungry and we started looking for a place to eat.  There were a lot of foodcarts selling all types of food but since we are already so tired we wanted to eat where we can sit comfortably. We looked around but it seems there was no place where we can eat.  We did not know that along Shilin Road there are foodcourts under the building.  We really lack information as had we know we could have eaten good and cheap Taiwanese fare in Shilin.  We rode the train back and went to the place where we are familiar..foodcourt of Sogo Department Store.

I was carving for something hot…thus Ramen!


Then we walked to our Hotel…


Four pairs of tired feet walking along a street in Taipei.  I can’t remember the street!

While preparing for bed at our hotel, I heard a soft noise along the street…they are cleaning the street and the Metro line.  No wonder the city is so clean.


The last day is really for site seeing the flight back to the Philippines in the afternoon.

Short Visit to Taiwan- Day 1

I did not really expect to visit another foreign country last year as I have already gone to Bangkok last July 2017 (I still need to blog this). Our Office has this project on setting up Fabrication Laboratories or Fablabs and to be able to implement this well, those in-charge of the project were given the opportunity to join the visit to Taiwan.  Our region, NIR do not have this project yet, but we were given a slot and our Regional Director recommended me to attend.  I was not so excited about the visit as the schedule is towards the end of the year and it still did not sink in that I am part of the group.

Anyway, several weeks before the schedule we were already advised to prepare our documents for application of Visa.  I was so confident that I already have a copy of my SECPA birth certificate but I did not realize that it has only a validity of six months!  It was a good thing I have a staff who was a former NSO employee so he facilitated that I can get the SECPA birth certificate within the day.  The following day I was able to send all the documents to the Regional Operations Group for group application of the Visa.  We were also advised to fill out the on-line application form.  I had problems with this as the form that I keep on filling out seem not saved in the system.  it was a good thing, the lady at the Taiwan Economic Office was able to help me by sending the filled our form so I can complete it.

Since I am also busy with other activities at the Office, I was not really able to prepare much for the trip.  I was able to search on line for a few information but this was not really enough to help us maximize our trip.  It was a stressfull (as always) day before we have to fly to Manila for the trip as our Travel Authority was not yet signed!  We were informed to get our domestic and international tickets as it is sure that the TAs will be signed.  Got my tickets at home at around past 9, able to get email from staff at ROG aroung 10pm and another one from the coordinator at past 12 midnight! Non stop working???

We arrived in manila in the afternoon, our flight is early morning at 7AM via Philippine Airlines.  We got our documents from Head Office and there was an advisory that the weather in Taipei will be a bit cold.  I have several coats and clothes for cold weather but since we were not informed earlier, I was not able to bring it…thus off we went to Glorietta to look for reasonably priced coats or cardigan.  it was a good thing cardigan are on sale at H & M..a piece at only P449!

We have to leave our hotel at 5am so that we will not be stressed during check-in and immigration procedures.


Pre-Departure Area NAIA 2 International Airport


Meal is very ordinary, beefsteak with rice, pandesal with butter and I asked for orange juice.  But I was hungry so I ate this meal.


Baggage claim area is so clean and not crowded.  We waited for everybody here before we headed to the immigration area.  Most of the group decided to change their dollars to NTD (New Taiwan Dollar).  I decided not to change my dollars but rather changed only P3,000, enough fow a few meals.

We were booked in a upscale area, Howard Hotel Taipei.  It took quite sometime for us to be checked we have to pay individually for our hotel accommodations.  We were settled into our rooms and my roomate and other girls decided to look for food.  I am not really hungry so I decided to stay in the room, ate the pandesal and butter (from the plane) with the welcome fruits.





We started our official trips at 2pm in the afternoon.


Futureward..a coworking space inside Tatung Univeristywith fablabs for different products.


Fablab Taipei located in an old area of a Stadium.  We were shown their on line video connections with  Fablabs in other parts of the world

In the evening we went to a famous Taiwanese Restaurant (Shin Yeh Taiwanese Cuisine restaurant) to try local cuisine.  The food a bit bland for my needs more condiment maybe I should have added more of the condiments given us. We started with appetizers, peanuts, tofu then followed by a huge plate of steamed octopus. the Servers were really fast as we have not yet finished they are already getting our small plates plus that big plate of octopus.  I think this was followed by the noodles with the crabs.


Noodles with crabs!  The crabs are so fat but taste seem bland.


Sea cucumbers with brocolli. then we had shrimps, braised tofu and the final dish was chicken soup with black mushrooms (I cant remember all the food as I was not able to take pictures of all).  Finally dessert of mochi with rolled in powdered peanuts and bean & sago (like ginatan but with a bland taste)


Chicken soup with black mushrooms


Beans and sago

After dinner, we browsed in the nearest Sogo Department Store.  It is a high end dept store though I was able to try very good pairs of shoes.  I really wanted one but was thinking of the price equivalent to more than P4,000.  But it was really of good quality and pure leather.  I really regretted not buying it as we did not have any more time the following day.  There was also a branch the the famous Taiwan nougant..sugar and spice.  We did not buy as I thought we can still find branches that will be selling at lower price.  How I wish again I bought the nougats.  I was forced to buy at the airport as I have no pasalubongs.

Davao – My second best place in the Philippines

The first time I visited Davao, maybe in the early 1990’s when a friend/officemate attended a training sponsored by the Development Academy of the Philippines.   I immediately felt comfortable with the people, moving around is so easy and of course abundance of all the fruits that I love. We were able to go around the city, visit  famous sites, buy pasalubong. I think I have visited the City for seven times already and everytime it did not fail my expectation.  Added to this are presence of very good friends that are willing to take us around the City.

One time, I flew to Davao on vacation as my good friend Denden will soon migrate to Australia.  She is not available on the day I flew in but another good friend invited me to her home.  I was able to visit Abreeza mall and Victoria mall on my own as they still have to attend to officework.  I have heard so much about Victoria Mall from my late husband who attended a training in Davao.  So…I have to satisfy my curiosity.  Well, it is just like Gaisano…maybe it has deteriorated or not maintained since it was opened.  I was about to leave the place when rain started to pour…and it was really a heavy downpour!  It took me a long time to look for a taxi to bring me back to the Office as the area became flooded in such a short time.  I asked our taxi driver if there are still flooding during heavy rain…and was informed that the drainage i have all been repaired as so far they have not experienced flooding.

This last visit involves a Mobile Learning/Local Study Mission to the coffee plantation and processing plants in Davao City and Davao del Sur.  Coffee is one of the priority products that our Office is promoting ..specifically coffee for our local coffee shops.  Our flight to Davao City was early morning thus we arrived in our Inn several hours before lunch. All of us were a bit too tired from the our previous activities and we opted to rest and sleep after lunch before going our to explore the area.  In the afternoon, we walked to Magsaysay Fruit Stand to eat DURIAN.  I really love the fruit and I can eat a lot but has to restrain myself as a lot of people are saying that it can elevated blood pressure.  Since I am hypertensive…I have to limit myself!


This is the first Durian we ate….oh it was so good!! I think this is the Puyat variety.  Since there are five of us…I though that we need to have another one so that it will not be bitin.  Atty. Grace, one of the SMEs engaged in coffee production was with us and she bought us Lola Abon’s Durian Ice Cream.

durian ice cream

The ice cream is good but I still prefer the fresh fruits :-D.

We had a welcome dinner and short introduction and briefing regarding our Mobile Learning.  I was so full of the durian I have eaten earlier that I ate only a little during dinner.  By the way, I brought back to the room one plastic container of what was left of the our second durian.  I wanted to eat everything but I am afraid that it might indeed elevate my blood pressure.  I just recovered from a bad bout of Vertigo…the first time I was attacked (due to a bum stomach..caused by Chowking Chao fan!!!)

We left Davao City for Davao Del Sur at around 8:00 in a convoy of five Toyota Grandias and one Trooper.


We arrived at the Mt. Apo Higland Resort at around 10:30 to a waiting snacks of Pancit Bijon, bread, softdrinks and banana. After our snack we immediately went to our assigned cottages to rest before lunch (we were eating a lot!).


We were billeted at the Mt. Apo Highland Resort in Digos City, Davao del Sur.  The cottages are okay but the restroom and bathroom are outside the cottage!  It was so peacefuland relaxing in the area, I can hear the rustle of the leaves and the pines when the wind blows.  The breeze is cool and I can sleep the whole day…but we were there on official travel.

Flora around the resort. I am not familiar with the common names of some of these flowers.


I think this is Begonia, but it is so huge compared to those grown in the lowland.


After lunch we went to Tay Apol’s Arabica Coffee Farm.  Along the was we passed by Bgy. Kapatagan market with lots of fruits and vegetables sold in the market.  I was amazed by the many tarp advertising Globe LTE Home Internet. Wow is it true that the signal in the foothills of Mt. Apo is LTE?? Indeed I tired surfing using my fone when we came back after dinner….the internet is indeed so fast! I was able to watch a replay of the Kalyeserye without lag!  How I wish we have the same signal at home.

Our Vans can not handle the road up to Tay Apple’s farm thus we have to walk under  the heat of the sun…it was good thing the breeze is cool.  Our guide told us that it is just near…..where we can see bananas wrapped in blues plastic….but we can see bananas all around us wrapped in blue plastic!!  There were a lot of banana fruit rejects which are just dumped in a field and some are fed to horses.  There were several vegetable farms, lettuce, cabbage, radish, chayote, pepper but it is sad to note that they are still using conventional agriculture using lots of pesticides and inorganic fertilizer.


Before we left Tay Apol’s farm, one of the participant from Bansalan (other side of Mt. Apo) pointed to us that the peak can be seen. We can even see some sort of a steam coming from one of the lower peaks.  He told us that he has climed Mt. Apo five times already.  The area facing us is the most difficult approach to the peak as the mountain is covered with rocks.

As we approach Tay Apo’s farm, I saw huge Cardaba (saba) bananas…they are like giants compared to the saba grown in our place.  Then we saw lot of coffee trees full of big fruits!  The trees are trimmed and all branches are laden with fruits.  Tay Apol and his wife picks the ripe berries, dries them and sells the green beans to Dizon Farm where they process the beans.

We were supposed to visit Lake Mirror but were told that Mt. Apo can only be seen mirrored in the lake in the early morning. We proceeded to Kublai’s Garden…again our van cannot go up the area thus we have to trek again.  Imagine I never though we will be doing trekking thus the only footwear I have is a two-inch step-in.  It was a good thing it did not give up during the climb.  Kublai’s garden is full of artwork made of cement, wood and steel.  I am not really interested in this kind of art thus I only stayed in one area and waited for others to come back.  The breeze is so cool.  We went back to the resort for snack….banana and camote cue…ang tipid…we only have one banana cue each.  After dinner we had a lecture on the projects of Dizon Farm regarding coffee and another lecture on Good Agricultural Practice on Coffee by professor Val from Benguet State University.  By this time the temperature has significantly gone down and it is now cold.

We were worried about the bathroom arrangement as it is too cold outside our cottage…but we survived!  I woke up early to use the bathroom but there was no water! I waited until such time that we can see Mt Apo from our balcony.  It is so amazing to be around nature and to marvel at God’s creation.  Thank your Lord for giving me the opportunity to see these places at the same time doing my work.


The Majestic Mount Apo.

Indeed we can see clearly Mt. Apo early in the morning from 6:00-7:00.

After breakfast we traveled back towards Davao City.  We passed by the Arabica Coffee Processing Shared Service Facility in Bgy. Rizal, Sta. Cruz Digos City.  A portion of the road going up the barangay is again impassable to our Grandias.  We again hiked up to reach the Bgy Rizal…where lots of durian, lanzones and marang awaits us…aside from suman with ginger and of course brewed coffee (product of JORIFA)


Trekking up to JORIFA SSF


A portion of the two crates of durian…one box of lanzones and marang not in the picture.


We were also treated to suman (flavored with ginger) and of course their product brewed coffee (robusta).

We visited the Shared Service Facility where two equipment were given, forced draft electric dryer and dehuller.  It was so hot that day that we decided to go ahead of the group back to where our vehicles are.  While we were walking back (a much easier walk as it is now downhill), it started to drizzle…it was a good thing the rain did not pour heavily or else we will be drenched before we reach the vehicles.

Traveled to Davao City, direct to Crocodile Park where we had our lunch.  It was so hot and humid that I really did not enjoy our stay.  The food is just so so….nothing beats food in Iloilo.  Did not even attempt to see the roasting facility of Dizon farm for their Arabica Altura Coffee and the Mt Apo Civet Coffee.  We stayed here for quite some time as some members of the group went inside the crocodile farm.  I don’t like to see animals in captivity…never enjoyed the zoo..or maybe I am not an animal lover…except for dogs.

Next stop is an non government organization Coffee for Peace. They process arabica coffee from Bansalan.  We were able to taste their medium roast brew and I think I am starting to enjoy black brewed coffee.


Barista of Coffee for Peace Preparing Medium Roast Brewed Arabica Coffee.

We also had snacks Tuna Paste (did not taste..I had my share of tuna dishes) but ate a lot of their freshly baked butter garlic wheat baguette.  It was so yummy….maybe I finished one baguette!

Then it was time to shop for pasalubong at Aldevinco Mall…bought only coin purses made of tinalak and one malong.  I was so tired, hot and dirty that upon check inn at the hotel I had a long hot shower and jumped on my bed.  Some of my companions went out to buy fruits at Magsaysay Fruit stand.  I requested for lanzones….oh it was so sweet and cheap @P30/kilogram.  If only I have unlimited baggage allowance, I will bring one box.  I have already one box of pomelo, Denden’s brother is giving me frozen durian aside from my luggage.

I was so excited that immediately upon reaching home, I opened the styrobox with durian and savored one plastic container (almost).  Thank you Norman and Eden for the yummy durian!! Shared one container of Arancillo durian with my officemates :-D.

Antique – Where the Mountains meet the Sea.

Since I was assigned in Antique last year, I have been going around the province and marveling at the beautiful countryside.  The province is so serene and abounds with natural sights like rivers, waterfalls.  It has not really developed much economically compared to the other provinces in Panay Island, majority of the population remains poor and there is still an exodus of sugarworkers (sacadas) going to Negros Island or Batangas to look for work.  With proper guidance and management, a lot can be done to help the people earn a decent living from the bountiful natural resources of the province.  We are hopeful that the new projects of government can really assist the people improve their sources of income.

The following are pictures I have taken while on our way to turn over checks to LGUs and visit SMEs.

The best eating place in the province is you are looking for authentic native chicken adobo is Florings.  I have heard by this roadside eatery a long time ago when my late husband still covers Antique.  He was raving about the delicious chicken adobo.  We were able to eat at Florings in 2005, still in its old location near the national highway after the Bugasong Bridge.  Since then it has transferred to another area, near the approach of the same bridge.  It was wiped out by Yolanda but since the eatery is made of light materials, it was able to construct a new one days after the typhoon.


Native Chicken Adobo

A plateful of hot newly cooked native chicken adobo, with cups of rice and hot chicken soup.  A delicious breakfast before we proceed to our official visits.

adobo close up

Yummy chicken adobo with bits of chicken liver and lot of sinful oil floating in its sauce.

one of the many bridges

One of the many bridges of the province.  There are so many rivers from the mountains emptying into the sea thus there is a need for these bridges.  I have not counted or researched the total number of bridges.  Several years ago, these are still made of wood and there were incidents  of accidents where vehicles feel into the river as the wooden bridge gave way especially during storms.  Since then, the road network of the province has improved a lot.  It has now the best road network in Panay Island. The following pictures show the very good roads in the province with not traffic!  It is a joy to travel as you can reach your destination without the delay of traffic.

good roads

good roads2


no traffic

A lone Ceres bus ahead of us….mountains can be seen in the distance.

Antique countryside

Ricefields, with mountains that are just very near.

field and mountains2

barbaza road by the shore

One side of the whole stretch of the province is coastal.  This is a portion of Barbaza where the road is very near the shore.  Another very good view of the coastal road is in Anini-y.  I will get a picture nest time we visit the place.

road network going north

Another picture of the road network in the north.

Pandan bellfry

Bellfry of the Church in Pandan.  Took this picture inside our vehicle while a staff is transacting business in the Municipal Hall.


Serene coastal communities in the town of Sebaste.

acacia trees in Patnongon

These are the acacia tress lining the road in Patnongon.  I took a picture of the acacia trees in Bgy. Carit-an where there is legend of the beautiful fairy Olayra visiting the place, but when I viewed the picture it was not there. Maybe the “residents” do not want to take pictures of the place Stories said that Olayra has a ship made of gold and it visits the place once in a while.  She lives in a grand mansion among the acacia trees in the area. When we passed by the place again, I was sitting at the back so I was not able to take very good pictures.  This time, I got pictures not very good ones……Next week we will be back north, I will again try to take pictures from our vehicle.

Bugang River and Malumpati Spring

I have known that the Bugang River has been declared as the cleanest River in the Philippines.  Every time, we travel north, we always pass by the river and marvel at the clean and almost bluish water. This is the first time that we have the time and most of all the camera to take pictures of this river.  I have featured a shot of the river in my this Blog’s header.

Roadside Sign



The next photos were taken along the national highway (Zaldivar Bridge) where most of the pictures were taken.


The right side view of the river going to Libertad.

The right side view of the river going to Libertad.

The right side view of the river going to Libertad.


Left side view ..going to Libertad.

Left side view ..going to Libertad.

The river empties into Pandan Bay.  It has been raining for the past days but the river is still very clean without a trace of soil run off as seen in the other rivers in the province.

Very clean waters -- from the riverbank

Very clean waters — from the riverbank

We are really scheduled to visit clients in Bgy Sto. Rosario but since there is still enough time, we decided to visit the Malumpati Resort and Spring…….there was no time ( and we are not properly attired) to trek to the Head Spring.  This is the source of water for the Municipality of Pandan.

The Malumpati Spring and Resort

The Malumpati Spring and Resort

Clear blue waters

Clear blue waters

The water in the river looks like it is in a swimming pool.  The next pictures show how clear and clean the waters is (clean only means here there are no debris, no soil run off etc).

Clean and clear waters

Small fish swimming near the riverbank

Small fish swimming near the riverbank

These pictures were taken a it bit farther from the swimming area.

Malumpati -Bugang River

Very clear waters of Bugang River

The Municipality of Pandan is promoting the Malumpati Spring and Bugang River as a tourist attraction and at the same time conserving the natural surrounding to preserve the area.