Archive for the 'wow philippines' Category

Attempt to Helping Tarsier Conservation

One of Bohol’s tourist attractions is visiting tarsier in its natural habitat. Though it’s my 6th time in Bohol, we’ve frequented that one in Loboc. And quite frankly, I wasn’t happy at all seeing this endangered specie removed from its natural habitat, altered its natural behavior and held captive in a cage. This does not actually help in the conservation measures of Tarsiers.

So this Easter, when P said he wanted to see the famed smallest primate, I proposed to go to Tarsier Sanctuary, in Corella. It’s a natural environment abounding with trees and bushes protected and managed by Tarsier Foundation. Their doors are open from 9AM to 4PM. They showed us an hour video first on how they carry-out their protection/ conservation program and taught us how to be a responsible Sanctuary guest. (Hop here for heaps of information).

We went inside the Sanctuary with 4 more people on a guided tour (they try to keep a very small group per guide). The tour guide alone can interact with the tarsier, it being territorial, solitary and extremely sensitive to noise, we were showed where the tarsiers are resting / sleeping. That day we were told they found 4 Maomag (tarsiers’ local name) among 88 others (if I remember it correctly). P and I respected their habitat and hardly spoke during the visit except for the occasional whispered woows and amazement =) He took only few photos as he was just happy to see how tiny they are, how enormous their eyes are compared to their body and how their tails are really long relative to their height. We even witnessed one that leaped from one branch to another and how it used its tail to balance itself after the jump. It was waaaay too cute =)



We would have stayed longer and just ogle to the little creatures but since it’s just the 1st leg of our motobiking day, we took off and left the Sanctuary moved and with the understanding how we can help to keep it from extinction.

We were heading to our last stop of the day, Chocolate Hills Complex, right after the arch that welcomes all Carmen town visitors, P suddenly stopped and spoke to a woman carrying a green net with her. I sped past thru them until I realized P wasn’t following so I went back to see what was he up to on the side street.

Voila! The woman he was talking to was selling him a live tarsier captured in her tiny net basket. He was so perplexed to see that this woman was selling the tarsier on broad daylight, on the street, without a trace of shame on her face at measly Php 500. So he was talking to the woman that it’s illegal to sell it, and was telling her to return it to the wild. The woman even had the nerve to say that they didn’t steal it and that her son caught it in the forest to be taken care of by its buyer. He thought of buying it so he can return it to the wild but we talked about it that we don’t want to be caught by the authorities with it on our way to the wild and that we don’t want to patronize such practice. So we told her we will be back and immediately left the woman. We went straight to the foot of Chocolate Hill Observation Deck and reported what we saw to the men at the Barangay Outpost. We said the woman is just on the street about 500-800m away with the Tarsier. But to our surprise the men told us that it was a normal practice there to sell it and they added there was no harm done to us. Disappointed and frustrated, we went up the hill and saw a Tourist Police Outpost and narrated again what we saw downhill. Relieved to finally have somebody understood our concern and this the man in uniform took his bike right away and called one of his colleagues and went straight to where we said the woman is.

We really hoped, they’d be able to catch her and teach her that selling Tarsier is strictly prohibited. However, after we climbed up the 200+ steps to the Observation Deck, we were advised by the police officers that they didn’t find the woman anymore. Their efforts were futile as the woman maybe was able to sell it already or maybe she realized we will be reporting her to the Policemen and hid somewhere already.

Before we hopped on our motobikes again, we can’t relinquish the thought that maybe we should have dealt with it differently. We should have let the woman go with us on our motorbike and brought her to the Police Station to report her right away. Maybe just maybe, we’re able to save one tarsier right there and then.

I saw how disappointed he was specially, knowing that this illegal practice can go on right below the town residents’ very nose. We both agreed next time we would be more vigilant and more decisive.

How about you? Would you have done it differently? How can you help in Tarsier’s conservation? I don’t know about you, but one thing for sure, there’s Tarsier Foundation who began a good work somewhere in the small town of Corella, Bohol.

Tarsier Sanctuary is only 28.6 km Northeast from Alona Beach, and 14km Northeast of Tagbilaran City.

Sanctuary’s entrance fee is P50/hd that is used to help fund conservation advocacy of the Foundation.


Exploring Bohol Differently

The french beau was speed freaking at 80 to 100km/h whilst at my best, I was only inching to reach 60 km/h and was mustering all my energy to brush-off my head my freaky motobike accident in Saigon some yrs ago. But after a couple of intersections, several towns passed, got chased by dogs, blindly drove on sharp curves and hairpin bends without lamp posts or well-lit signages and terribly burnt shoulders, I felt I’m slowly getting the mojo back. (And Oh! Yes Dad!!!) I drove a motobike again and on a national highway from one island to another, without me being brought to ER for a knee surgery =) (I’m sure I made you proud!). I’m not yet 100% but i know, I’m traumatized no more.

Tagbilaran City

Loay Interior RoadLoay Interior Road or “tina-i sa manok”

One of the remarkable part of the leg, is what locally known as “tina-i sa manok” or chicken intestine. There were several sharp curves and hairpin bends that have actually made me ask myself again, “how far would I go with my zest for adventure?”.  I don’t know how many times I heaved sighs of relief after each curve, knowing that a slight miscalculation on my turn, I’d fall on the dreaded ravine on the road side. On one of the stops we did, told P how $h#t scared and how ecstatic I was at the same time to brave it. Told him though that on our way back, which would definitely around night time, is a different story. He took my hand and reassured me, how I was doing well on the handlebars =)

manmade forest drive

BIlar Man-made ForestBilar Man-made Forest

Bilar Man-made Forest is a two-kilometer road beautifully dotted with mahogany trees, rendering shade from summer’s scorching heat to its revelers. Covering approximately 10 hectares stretching from Loboc to Bilar towns, it’s a local government reforestation project to address the growing ‘kaingin’ concern during the early ’50s. The colors here are so rich, that reminded me of the colors of Fall. The scent of the woods is so distinct I had to ask P to stop for a bit so we can appreciate it longer.

Definitely my favorite drive of the day =)

choc hills driveUphill to Chocolate Hills Observation Deck, we’re welcomed with spectacular view of hundreds of similarly shaped grass-covered hills, which to date remain a geological puzzle as to how they were formed. It’s so picturesque, we had to do sooo many stops before heading to the 214 steps at the Observation Deck.

photo(3)Chocolate Hills Observation Deck

photo 2

It’s already 5ish and we were running late already. Manong who rented his motobikes to us said we should be back by 6pm. But the sunset that served as our backdrop to Bohol’s No.1 tourist spot, was so gorgeous, it’s ridiculous not to marvel a little longer.

We started driving back and at the foot of the hill, P signaled to me to stop so we can discuss our route back. He showed me his intended route back to Panglao, which was actually shorter and less busy. He snagged my helmet again and requested me to accelerate a bit more, before letting me hop on my motobike and start another road adventure.

It was a little less than 2-hr drive back to Alona Beach, but it sure felt waaaay longer than that. And though I’ve somehow regained my confidence on the handlebars, since my knee surgery, the highway back to Panglao can be really challenging especially at night.

Motobike Route

Out biking for 10hrs including all the stops and breaks we did, covering approximately 160km and consuming about 6L of fuel, we were immensely happy bikers!!! ♥

*Map Legend:
A& F – Alona Beach area
B – Tarsier Sanctuary Corella
C – Loboc River Cruise / Loboc Church
D – Bilar Man-made Forest
E – Chocolate Hills Monumental Complex
*motobike / scooter rental rate: Php 300 for 8hrs with Mang George, +63906.451.3424, one of those locals who rent out their bikes to tourist whom we met by the street next to Alona Beach Tourist Police Station. He’d provide you helmets, after signing a Rental Agreement and providing your driver’s license number. We paid him though extra because we returned his bikes after 10hrs :-)
(I would have wanted to rent from Mike Bike Rental Shop, for its reputation in the island, however they have 3-days minimum for rental and were actually fully booked during the Easter)
*If you’re up for a new adventure and wanted to explore Bohol differently, motobiking is definitely the better option!
*Entrance Fee to Chocolate Hills Observation deck is P25/head (adult).

hearts day with kites and balloons

it was a wonderful weekend out of town, different from the previous valentines i have experienced so far. armed with good vibes and spunky spirit, the secret society decided to celebrate the hearts day neither inside some fancy restaurants nor posh hotel ballrooms but there on the green field of Clark, with a thousand more spectators, waited patiently for the first hot air balloon to take off.



saranggola ni pepe

it’s amazing to see so many people up on their feet before the sun peeked its first rays against mt.arayat that served as the fest’s backdrop. the morning breeze that seemingly reminded me of what i miss living outside a crowded city was highlighted with quiet laughter of playing kids whilst chasing for flying kites. and the clear blue sky set a perfect contrast to the burst of colours presented by lifting-off hot air balloons, dancing paragliders and sky divers.




the number of cars parked side by side and the jam just before the SLEX exit were clear indicators of how strong local tourism is. if only all festivals in the country would be as well marketed as this, hefty revenue from tourism sector can be really promising.

it’s my 3rd year attending the festival but it’s novelty has not faded a bit. the sight of flying kites brings back fond memories of my childhood. friends who came with me know how excited i was to fly a kite that morning. it’s like me going back to the days when i have less cares. and the emancipation that the taking off hot air balloons gives me whilst i lay there on the grassfield is something i really needed these days. the hectic city life easily gets into you that you sometimes lose balance of it all and moments such as that is all that you need to refocus and recharge.

but the fair would just be another fair like the past years i’ve attended if i have not decided to celebrate it with my fellow wandersoles (sans indayguapa) and N & M – collectively the secret society. no one can jazz up a day more than the combined energy of these crazy beautiful peeps. :-)

*mirror posting here

** for more photos, hop here

wow philippines!!!

yay! tubbataha reef is now # 3 in the liveranking of the new 7 nature wonders of the world as of 03.06.08 1914hrs.

but what is tubbataha?

– home to no less than:

· 483 species of fish

· 396 species of corals (about half of all coral species in the world)

· 44 species of birds

· 9 species of dolphins & whales

· Nesting Hawksbill & Green sea turtles

– if mountaineers have mt.everest, divers have tubbataha reef :-)

– contains roughly 10,000 hectares of coral reef, lying at the heart of the coral triangle* – the center of global marine biodiversity

*coral triangle is the imaginary plane connecting the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New. it has:

o 600 species of corals,

o 1,200 species of finfishes

o 700 species of algae

o 33 species of mangrove,

o five out of seven known species of sea turtles,

o 24 species of crustaceans.

marine biologist Dr. Carpenter of Global Marine Species Assessment of the World Conservation Union, Philippines came out as the area with the highest marine biodiversity and thus called sulu-salawesi corridor as the center of the center of marine biodiversity (woaaaah!)

of our 4 entries who made it to the top 77(as of this blogging), chocolate hills (#4), subtarrenean river (#6) and mayon volcano (#10), tubbataha reef remains a dream to me!

i’ve seen how amazing the changing colors of chocolate hills are…the majesty of the perfect cone of mayon…and the mystical charm of subtarrenean river of palawan but i have yet to explore the unrivaled beauty of tubbataha’s marine life.

but come 2009, when i’m already equipped (msd c card holder hopefully) and i’ve saved enough money for a liveaboard adventure…i’d share the experience with you, milestone to milestone :-)

for now, i content myself to what the experts say, the marine biologists findings and my fellow divers share…how AMAZING our natural treasure is :-)

so to all my friends, strangers, near strangers, runners of the recent “save the tubbataha reef” and even to my lurkers, please support the tubbataha reef in its quest to be the No. 1 of the new 7 nature wonders of the world! it’s about time our natural beauty gets the spot it deserves :-)

hop here to vote.



i have already made my statement how do i find the current # 1, halong bay of viet nam here, and how it fell short to our very own coron (kayangan lake). and in all objectivity even the current mayon volcano the current # 10, can beat its beauty anytime of the day!


want eye candies? hop here


for further readings where most of the infos here are from:

tubbataha site

Center of the Center of Marine Biodiversity

asia dive sites


Aquatic Wonders of Tubbataha

cagayan de oro adventure :-)

because of our extended stay in camiguin (blame it to the white island chill :p), we crunched all our adventures to a day. we arrived cdo 8ish, and even a spur-of-the-moment idea of seeing transformers at sm cdo, turned out to be not viable cos its mall has closed at 8pm. haaay. we decided instead a night of gastronomic delight at fiesta sa balsa sa sugbahan. (similar to dampa or seaside here in manila). this one deserves 4 stars. food is great especially the tinolang maya maya (like nilagang baka of tagalogs)! and i like how they undercooked the veggies :-) if only not for the slow service, i can give it a 5.

called it a night at 11. we need to be up the next day 5ish to be ready for the 6am pick up time of the rafting team.

barely 8ish, our adventure has started. woot woot! thanks to L we did not take the basic course but the extreme as he has advised.

extreme white water rafting course = 21 rapids = 18.5 kilometers = 1,001 action photos! woopeee!





more shots here.

and our zipline, canopy walk…geeez! i heard J & S cussing me whilst they’re on the platform 120 ft above the ground! they said it was all my idea…and that i’m crazy and all…hahah! but after the activities…all they can think of is SPECTACULAR!




day 2 of the leg

at the white island, with mt. hibokhibok as our backdrop and the richness of the turquoise water that embraces us, even with the grey clouds above us in the early part of the day…we are happy and shiny people :-)

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we stormed the waters and took the very bumpy boat ride to the cross. 2 of the girls are already cussing us but when we reached the cross marker, they were relieved when they were confronted with the history and the mystery of the sunken cemetery.

camiguin-cdo-N 143

camiguin-cdo-J 134

camiguin-cdo-N 141


in here we attempted to ascend to the 14th station atop the hill.

camiguin-cdo-J 138

then the ruins

camiguin-cdo-J 158


i’ve got so many stories to tell about our adventure in this island of 5 towns with 7 volcanoes and with a very gorgeous white sand bar to boot. but that will be an attempt to chronicle even the mundane, when the photos itself reveal so much of the delight we chalahs all had for two days :-)


knowing the rustic island more

have not packed my stuff and im still out in rockwell with my grad school friends at 3am. got a 530 flight but i was in no hurry. until i received a call from S, asking if i’m already up. d-oh?! i haven’t even slept yet! what is she talkin’ about? had more bevy until H, sms, ‘asan ka na? tuloy pa ba tayo?” geeez! it made sense to my head…in the next hour, i’m taking the first flight to cdo, i’m not ready worse i’m a bit piss.

headed home packed my stuff (i wasn’t sure what i put inside my bag) and took a super quicky shower. 10minutes to 5am, was on queue for the terminal fee. wooopee! i made it! that’s another adreanalin rush for me!:p sure i can hear banggigay reprimanding herself again and as she mkes another promise never to repeat the last minute run for her flight.

we’re all seven, minus S and M. waaah we miss M! he is now in oz, and we miss his OCness! now we know his value to our group (peace M!)…he does all our itineraries and does all the bookings whenever chalahs would go for a trip.

so there, we hit the balingoan pier 8ish, but ferry trips were limited due to the low pressure disturbance thus we got onboard 10ish.. haaay. please give us sunshine this weekend was all i uttered.

It took us more than an hour and a half to reach benoni wharf, where the resort’s driver would pick us up. we’re booked not in paras, but in a resort in mambajao (actually i forgot its name :p it was S who did M’s work to prepare itinerary and do bookings). it’s a so so resort i must say but i have no real complaints :p clean restrooms, clean beddings, cabanas with AC, beach front…to me it’s already sweeet!:-)

we just dropped our stuff and headed to our first stop, the underground cemetery (sunken cemetery). unfortunately, there was a landslide the day before thus passing-thru the shortest route to the cemetery was impossible. loose earth and boulders are blocking the highway. arrrg!

camiguin-cdo-J 017

next stop, phivolcs. hmmm. ok, it’s a geeky attempt at first to see volcanoes activity, seismic movement etc etc..but when we explored the area, woah! the office is just atop the hill and overlooking the entire camiguin. the skies is grey and the afternoon breeze that brushes your face signals an unfriendly weather…but the sight of the sea and the very green island is enough to claim a promise of a better afternoon sky.

camiguin-cdo-J 039

couple of minutes, we’re at katibawasan falls. woah! the falls reminded me of the man-made falls at jurong bird park at singapore. it’s not as majestic as that of tappiya at batad, mt.province or as mystical as that of magdapio falls (pagsanjan falls) of cavinti, but its 250 ft water cascade would make its visitors admire its unpretentious beauty. too bad we don’t have a wide angle camera to have a nice shot of the falls. (hop here instead for far better shots)

camiguin-cdo-J 051

clock’s inching to 6pm already but we requested the driver to take us to enigmata. if baguio has tam-awan, camiguin has enigmata. inside this resort around a tree (locally called a tree house), from the interiors to the furniture even to the ambient music playing whilst we’re there, everything is an expression of a true blue bohemian. i was so impressed with the place that i said to J, “we should have booked here for the night instead“. i would always choose a homey and cosy place over a grand yet alienating resort.

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stopped near camiguin’s famous bakeshop, to try local sinugbang lapu lapu and tingol (?). and guess who we saw there inside vjandep??? angel aquino :p locals said she visits the place frequently. hehehee. ok that’s showbiz of me :p

10ish we called it a night. was all knackered i failed to do a 5k dash. (resort is right beside a local airport runway. i thought of jogging there cos i saw earlier there were peeps who jog there too. i later found out, there are only MWF flights. inbetween that runway is use as an ordinary highway. haha!)

day 2, it’s the white island and second attempt to see the sunken cemetery. two places S and i have been (last year), but i must admit its novelty has not lessen a bit. i’m a real beach bum and i particularly luv the white island :-)

tweeting here


good ol’ brew

burst of colors

my luv affair to my islands

My Lakbayan grade is B+!

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