Saturday, May 14, 2016

Higatangan Island (First Visit)

Intrigued by the buzz among FB friends, today, once and for all, I went with a group of fun-loving jump-shooting friends, to see and experience what this island has to offer!

Well, not really all of the island. Quite literally, just the shifting sand bar! Why? Eh, the play in our 'very young' hearts persisted. Quite different from the usual 'see and feel everything in one sweep' solo backpacker mindset of your aging Pinoy Traveler haha!

So here are my notes...

Happy? I would rather say... I Shall Return. Thus, the title of this story!

This is not an easy destination. Even if/as you prepare.
First, there is only one regular commuter trip a day from the town of Naval, the capital of this island-province (Biliran). And it happens only at 12NN! Oh okay, that would actually be two trips, since there are two boats. But they leave (per their regular schedules) at exactly the same time - 1200H, noontime, mid-day, tanghali, udto, mahiru! Hesus gino-o ko!

And the return commute? Its at 7:00AM everyday, also by the said boats! Therefore, when going to Higatangan on public commute, you won't have a choice but to stay overnight on the island!

Hey, a day before we set out to Naval from Tacloban, a friend of a friend of a friend purportedly told one of us that there is a commuter boat every 7am. So we were gunning for this one. But on arrival at the pier, we were told, therefore realized that there is no 7am trip. Grr!!

We made some calls, to tour companies we saw online, to friends, and friends of friends... make the irritating story short, we were able to hire a boat 'pakyaw' basis for about PHP4,500 or so (I now forget the real final amount we paid as there were a lot of haggling hehe)! That amount was going to the island and coming back in the afternoon. Good enough I guess :)
Departing from Naval Port
Alright, at the island, there are 3 or 4 resorts big and small. But we never went to any!!! Yeah, thanks in part to the time we wasted at Naval port looking for a ride to this island. Our other companions used the time buying this and that at the stores surrounding the port, so we had everything we needed - from food to just about anything, including ice-cold-beer! Yeah!

When we docked at the sand bar area (nearest resort is Limpiado White Beach Resort), we learned from our boatmen that they'd just be hanging around to wait for us, instead of going back to Naval then return in the afternoon to fetch us. So we asked if we can leave some of our things on board. The reply was, "you can leave everything here as we are not going anywhere unless you say so"! So, there! We had an instant open air accommodation haha! The boatmen even helped our girls in preparing our food!

Hey, even at the sandbar area alone, snorkeling is already fun! And yes we tried it and heeded the advise of boatmen, 'don't go far out as the water current is really very strong'. True!

Nice Trip!

Now the catch (for us at least)...
We were not able to go around the island by boat, as previously agreed with the boatmen (part of the paid cost), because, we had so much fun frolicking in that sandbar, we lost account of time! But am not complaining :)

There are no public toilets, and we did not go into any resort, remember? So our companions who needed to do so, just had to beg at some of the houses and/or the Limpiado resort itself hehe!

Tourists cannot have all of the sandbar to themselves. A bigger portion is (still) used by locals as their drying area for fish. Anyway, that portion (nearer the houses) have coarser sand and some rubbish that were probably thrown by both visitors and locals. Haaay mga kababayan ko, ang disiplina pleaseeee!
It turned out, many of us wanted to drink Coke, than all other sodas we brought from Naval. Argh, I had to ask as many as 5 little stores to find Coke. Many here sell Pepsi products only :(

But... happy to have learned there is San Miguel Light and Marlboro Lights on most stores hehe!

I have not been able to peep at the locale, as I said above, because we forgot all about time because we were playing at the sandbar area. Therefore, I shall return!











Saturday, March 5, 2016

10 Kilometers To Ormoc

Yes, that's just what it means - ten kilometers from this point to Ormoc City. But this "getting to be famous" kilometer marker is now frequently appearing as photo-op background (for a number of my friends, some of you followers of this blog)! This, I guess, is my 3rd shot of the marker. I passed by it again just about lunchtime today hehe.

It doesn't really mean anything else, except for the Cebuano-speaking kinky brains hahaha. At the very least, it illicits a smile!

Proof? As I took that picture, my curious lady companion looked at the marker and read it aloud. She said... "one-ow-ow-two, ow-ten, ay hihihi ow-ten hihihi"!

Her brain, not mine :)

For a more detailed story about kilometer markers, you may recall this topic, or this!



Thursday, March 3, 2016

"Taga-Bukid"

If you think my topic is about that overloaded motorbike about to enter the national highway, with helmet-less driver and passengers, no it is not! This sight is such a common thing herearounds that it is already considered 'normal'.

Now if you think my topic is about that sorry-looking signage to an elementary school, I can tell you 'yes, but not quite'! And yeah, I understand you... with the present after-Yolanda building boom where so many donors are helping to rebuild schools, how come no one is helping that elementary school to put up a more respectable signage, right?

But that, is not even my topic hehe! This time I am for "nomenclature"! Oh ha?!

The past 2 years (and this will probably be until the end of 2017), I happen to be often passing by this place. I did not really mind that 'harsh' a name for a school (pretending to be busy w/ my humanitarian work eh), until a friend went on a trip with me this morning, saw that signage, and started protesting why it is named so - as if we can do anything about it! But he had a very valid point that made us all laughing.

Here goes...

The barangay (community) is named "Bukid"! Thus, this elementary school (located there, of course) is named as such!

And my friend was saying "kawawa ka naman pag dyan ka graduate, when somebody asks saan ka nag-aral, ang sagot mo, sa bukid"! Well, he has a point - especially that in the Visayan language (both Cebuano and Waray-waray), "bukid" actually means "bundok", unlike in Tagalog where it means "a (farming) field".

However, and this is where my friend finds his protestation valid... (I agree)!

In the Visayas, if one calls you "taga-bukid", it is meant to belittle, ridicule, insult you!

Solution: go tell their congressman so he can change that school's name, to the name of his father or grandfather or mother or grandmother or wife! That's the only thing they do best anyway, right?! hahahaaay gino-o!

But then again... why bother?! The place is named Bukid, so anyone from there is "taga-bukid", so who cares, really?! Maybe just my friend... and me, so let's leave it at that hahaha! At least... there is always a thing to amuse us travelers wherever we go hehe!

Oh well...



Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Government's "Laglag Bala" Solution?

I pass by at least 2 airports a week, and I swear, this is the first time I saw this 'enterprise' racking up hefty pesosesoses fast! An extra expense for "alarmed passengers".

Here's my story:
Due to the number of passengers entering at the first few gates of NAIA 3, I asked my driver to let me off at the farther gates. Am not sure if I entered at the 4th or 5th gate/entrance.

This thing is what I saw upon entering the x-ray area: A company that wraps (mummifies!) your luggage in clear industrial plastic!
Maroon bag: the subject being mummified!
Blue shirt guy: worker
White shirt guy: passenger, owner of maroon bag - says he paid P200 for that wrapping thing, he further said "di bale nang mag-bayad ng extra, kesa naman mabiktima". Hmm, he has a point!

So, this is the government's solution? To avoid passengers being victimized by THEIR employees at the airport, they have allowed another business opportunist to wrap luggage for a fee?

Hmm, that gets me thinking...
Hmm, tumataas kilay ko...

Is that really THE solution?


===

That machine is similar to (if not) what my friend calls a "jufu machine" at his factory. It is used to wrap crates or even furniture before being shipped.

I could not imagine, such machines will land at a passenger terminal and make our luggage look ugly and undignified.

Well, that is probably how far (or low) our government officials can do to curb a shameful crime - perpetrated by their own people!

So help us God...




Monday, January 4, 2016

Goldilocks Mamon on PAL

Oh my favorite mamon hehe! This may have been like so for a time now, I don't know. I did not notice nor did I check on previous flights. It was only on my flight today (probably out of boredom or probably because I was 'practicing' macro-shots on my phone) that I bothered to look at the 'underside' of that mamon, and I noticed, it was baked by Goldilocks for Philippine Airlines. Yumminess!


Two things make me smile here: 1) I like eating this fluffy thing - thanks to my parents who kept feeding us with Goldilocks ever since; and 2) this is a true sign of upgrading business to global standards of efficiency and productivity (on the part of PAL), to wit: if you are in the business of flying airplanes, focus and be the best at it - therefore, relegate other processes to already-existing-businesses (even if indirect competitors) and patronize them. In short, hmmm some friends won't like what I have to say... and I say... in short, outsource your non-core functions! Sad for some labor advocates, but, that is reality in the global business arena ;)



Saturday, January 2, 2016

Quest Hotel Cebu: Worth It, I think!

Okay, still a happy new year... there had been some reservations mishap at Marco Polo, so I landed on this one, courtesy of MP's very helpful staff!

A busier hotel. And, owing to its proximity to Ayala Center Cebu, I am inclined to believe this is going to be an even better for business hotel (I have a quick meeting at 4pm later - at a coffee shop inside Ayala mall)! Blessing in disguise?! Probably, hehe

The line at front office is so argh time consuming though. But I guess that should be reason enough to tell that this hotel must be the choice of many. Assessing it from all angles, it wins not in the useless luxury, but value for money. An affordable high end! I still have to check many things out.

Hey, how is this for starters... they've upgraded me to the 'premier something' room. Each room on this (7th) floor has its own terrace - a smoking area, yeah! Okay, Quest Hotel, impress me more!



Friday, January 1, 2016

Robinsons Galleria Cebu


Hey, Happy New Year!


Like I have been away from this blog for some time, I have also been away from Cebu about the same period of time. And oh my, today was the first time I learned and saw, that Cebu's version of "Galleria" is already up! So I went there to see what's inside hehe!


Yes, this was New Year's day 2016 and I was on a cab to the Metropolitan Cathedral when we happened to have passed by the edifice. Not that I did not know there was something Robinsons sprouting at this location, as I have passed by this area many times before, while it was still being constructed - probably late 2012 or early 2013, construction was well in progress.


Alright, I asked a guard as to when this mall opened, and the hesitant reply was... "about a year ago"! Oh my my, I have been away that long from my dear Sugbo haha. So all the more that I feel happy to have spent the holidays here. For tomorrow I go back to "field" again... haaay hoo hummmm...


What can I say? Well, as usual, when its is a Robinsons or an SM, wherever that maybe in the country, it shall be huge! So, this one is! At least not something like SM MOA or SM Seaside where I get tired roaming even just half of it. On this one... 'carry lang' as my dear Keri would say hehe.


But I think this one is bigger than the original 'Gale' (Robinsons Galleria Mall at Ortigas) that I have been used to, at least in terms of shopping area/s! I'm guessing here hehe! Shops are also sprawled at 4 levels of the building, but there are no tall extensions (yet) like you would see Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza. I did notice at the smoking area (outside), there were some dudes smoking with me who all had their IDs on neck straps the way many call center agents do. Therefore, I am guessing again, there must be some kind of a BPO or something at that eastern end of the building that I think is a floor taller than the mall area.


The supermarket at ground level has some kind of a 'Rustan;s feel' while the food court at 4th level has way too few tables (and eateries). At least it does not look like a hawkers' place! But there are the good restaurants and fastfoods on evely floor level. Hey, I ate at a nice Jap restaurant at some kind of a foodie row called "Verandah"! I guess it was on level 2, since I remember I took an escalator going up there from the fountain area. Anyway...


This 'Galleria' has more spacious concourses and open spaces surrounded by the shops. Nice one for photo-ops and selfies! These spaces are not boringly linear and are very nicely designed. And the biggest plus of them all... probably because it is still new... is: it is not as crowded as Ayala Center Cebu nor SM City Cebu. I can still loiter around this mall with my sanity intact!


Okay, I shall return ;)




'Unhelpful' ATM: Happy New Year

Nothing big that I want to say about this machine, other than... how helpful! I was able to withdraw from this same machine last 23DEC2015. But seeing it today, new year's day, wala na yatang pera. Sure sure, they'd reason out that it was the holidays, and that too many folks used it, so no more cash. Rightfully so, right?

Wrong! My bank never has an ATM down or without cash for more than a half day - whether it be the holidays or even during calamities. Seriously, there are assigned folks to watch out for their ATMs' "serviceability", day and night!

Therefore, Metrobank, raise the bar! Or should I say, keep up with the new norms! Esp on this side of Cebu (Lobby of Marco Polo).



New Year, New Name?

The breakfast stub given to me by front desk just a few moments ago! It is my room number alright. But that is not my name hahaha! What a way to start the year, right?! Oh, this may mean I will have a lot of smiling to do this year - c/o service providers na 'tao, lang nagkakamali din'!

Oh well...



Thursday, April 2, 2015

Michael Jordan?


On an early morning walk along the streets of Tuguegarao, I was amused that there were so many "pancit" stores / eateries / restaurants all over the place. And then I saw this...



Not clear?


Okay, I cropped the same image into this...

Of course it reminds us of this...

It made my morning hahaha!


For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10
11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20