As soon as we reached the dirt road, I knew I was in trouble. I was on my way to Lake Holon in South Cotabato driving a rented motorcycle along with fellow travel blogger Louie of A Nomad’s Perspectives. While the view was nothing short of spectacular, the terrain seemed to be a few levels above my motorcycling skills. Apparently, my concept of rough roads in Manila is very different from rough roads in Mindanao.
There’s something I really like about lakes. Though they’re not as popular as beaches and waterfalls, lakes often have this quiet understated charm about them. The Philippines is home to many natural lakes which are closely related to volcanic and tectonic activity as well as artificial lakes or reservoirs that have resulted from the damming of rivers for hydroelectric activity. Aside from their recreational and aesthetic qualities, many lakes are important habitats for marine life and food sources. Other lakes play a part in water-supply, hydro-electric power or flood control. As the saying goes, “still waters run deep.”
Though some lakes are not really suitable for swimming, these serene bodies of water are ideal for for low-impact activities like fishing, boating, rafting, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Here are just a few of the scenic lakes and reservoirs in the Philippines that I’ve personally visited (arranged by distance/accessibility from Manila).
After covering the Golden Anniversary and T’nalak Festival in Koronadal City, I extended my trip to explore more of the region and opted to stay in Microtel by Wyndham – General Santos City. Located on the shores of Sarangani Bay, this independent city is geographically part of South Cotabato in Mindanao and is the gateway to other provinces including Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, and (North) Cotabato.
Cagayan de Oro is best known for Whitewater Rafting and kayaking adventures. This first class and capital city in the province of Misamis Oriental in Northern Mindanao has been dubbed the “River Rafting Capital of the Philippines.” However, this adventure activity is best experienced if you’re staying a few days in the city. I tried this years ago during pre-blogging days when waterproof digital cameras were not yet that popular. For first-time visitors, this would be the major highlight of your visit to Cagayan de Oro.
But aside from whitewater rafting, what else is there to do if you only have a limited time to go around? Here are some things to do in Cagayan de Oro around the city that you can easily visit in a day. Continue reading
Camiguin is an island province in the Philippines commonly associated with two things. First, it’s known as having the sweetest lanzones in the country. Second, it’s home to a sunken cemetery, driven underwater when Mt. Vulcan Daan erupted in the 1870s. A large cross in the sea memorializes the departed buried there and serves as the province’s most iconic landmark. According to locals, tombstones encrusted by corals beneath the cross can still be seen by snorkelers and scuba divers, which sounds both eerie and fascinating at the same time.
There’s always this strange mix of uncertainty and purpose whenever I ride. I may be at the mercy of the elements and of the terrain, but I am still in control of my fate. I come to a fork in the road and it’s always my decision where to go. If a path scares me, I can either turn back or go forward. There are no boundaries except my own limitations. Continue reading
Aside from the typical heartwarming soups and stews, one of the most popular comfort foods in Filipino cuisine is pansit or pancit (noodle-based dishes). Introduced into the country by the Chinese, pancit gets its name from the Hokkien pian i sit which means “something conveniently cooked fast.”
From the odd gate, the walkway leading to the garden was patched together with broken tiles and mirrors. Benches and tables scattered around the garden seemed set up for a mad tea party. Under the shroud of overgrown trees and plants, masks of deities carved in stone peeked from every corner.
The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) is the most famous work of the French writer and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Many people have been touched by this beloved classic, which while written as a children’s book, speaks volumes about life and relationships.
So stumbling into a Little Prince-themed cafe was an unexpected surprise during a trip to Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte. Continue reading
On September 7, 1944, the Japanese warship SS Shinyo Maru was sailing for Manila. The vessel was one of the “Hell Ships” used by the Imperial Japanese Navy and Army to transport Allied prisoners from the Philippines to elsewhere in the Japanese empire. Unaware that it was carrying 750 prisoners of war, mostly American survivors, the American submarine USS Paddle SS263, which was tasked to search for the Japanese ship, attacked it. The US submarine torpedoed the Shinyo Maru about a mile or two away from Sindangan point in Zamboanga del Norte. Of the 83 prisoners of war who made it to the shore, one died after they came ashore and was buried on the hill of the town of Sindangan. The 82 remaining survivors were cared for by the locals of Sindangan.