Posts Tagged 'tourism'

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 =)
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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.

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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).

almost Tubba, but not quite

when you’ve been planning for a trip for almost a year already – money, time, equipment, & mind set – only to be told by the boat manager that there’s a problem in the boat’s bearing after only about 6hrs into the open sea and can’t possibly proceed to sail to Apo / Tubbataha, you’d challenge Murphy’s Law and push your way to salvage the trip.

saturday morning, when we’re supposed to have finished our 1st Apo dive, we learned that Borneo Explorer is on its way to Mamburao waters (where we were stranded) so we can transfer and continue the trip. oblivious of what to be announced that night, we opted to maximize the day by doing an exploratory dive around the area. the dive spot being too close to a fishing village, and not protected under Marine Park jurisdiction, there was literally no life at all, or was there? i can’t actually remember. the 50min dive was longer than i can recall. i was sooo bored that i chose to skip the second dive. it didn’t help to think that around that time we should already be in Apo Reef and frolicking on the beauty of the splendid marine biodiversity of the atoll.

Pacific Explorer II

8ish that night, as BE gets closer to us, our hopes were high that we’d sail in a few hours and would miss only about 2 dives in Cuyo Island. but another bomb was dropped when we were told by G, the boat manager, that the owner, Mr. Wee, wanted both boats back in Anilao and will just cancel the trip. Mr. Wee sent BE to tow PE2 and not to actually pick us up to sail forward to Apo/ Tubba. with 24 fully paid divers, and very eager not to waste the week trip, despite the frustration, came to a compromise to agree to be towed back on the premise that as soon as the boats reached Anilao, will board BE and head to Apo/ Tubba immediately. we all understood that we lost 2 diving days already, but who the hell cares? we wanted the trip sooo bad, and we’re all willing to bend our backs. we thought we’d deal with the owner, once the trip is over.

sunday morning ’bout 7ish, when we’re supposed to have finished our 1st dive in Cuyo, we were again hit by another devastating news, Mr. Wee wanted us to disembark and just refund the money we paid for the trip, just that! no discussion, no negotiation! as if money was the only concern of the divers who have planned this trip and redesigned their schedules so as to be able to have an 8-day dive trip.

everyone was so furious, as we, the clients, felt we have been bending our backs when there was no effort on the other side of the table at all. he didn’t even try to call any of us to hear our compromise just to proceed the Apo/ Tubba trip.

it was a perfect example of bad business practice – not delivering to your clients what has been agreed and not knowing how to handle crisis properly. arrrrrg!!! it boils down to the fact too that Cruise Island Adventure (more known as Scuba World) has the monopoly of the Tubbataha route, thus the less care for clients so much so of their safety.

as we were left without a choice, we disembarked the boat and trusted that they will keep their word of a full refund the next day (monday). we were though offered a free overnight stay at Outrigger Resort (owned by Mr. Wee too), and do dives for free for that day.

of the 24 divers, 18 stayed overnight and enjoyed the day whilst planning for the next best alternative for the failed tubba trip. within few hours, 13 divers were booked for a flight to Busuanga and do ship wrecked dives instead.

sunday, 10ish evening, abs-cbn batangas went to the resort to interview our group. we wanted to make sure that CIA owner understands the gravity of the situation – safety & bad business practice.

PE2 is solely dedicated for tubba trips with March to June season only. they had july to feb to ensure that their boats are fit to sail to commence new tubba season. how on earth can a bearing be overlooked (when it’s actually a wear and tear part of the engine) and be the source of failure? 24 divers along with at least a 10-member boat crew’s safety were put to risk, by letting an unfit boat sail to open seas. something worse could have happened if it wasn’t discovered right away.

next morning, Monday, we were driven back to Manila at the resort’s expense, and headed straight to CIA/ Scuba World’s office. we were actually prepared for a long and unpleasant argument with the owner, but we were surprised that the discussion went like a breeze – full refund, including booked flights to Palawan. he was apologetic and looked like he didn’t know any better when he made the decision to tow us back. he even said he didn’t know we were ready to make a compromises and cut the tubba dive days. we don’t actually know who was telling the truth -the boat manager or the owner. was he really unaware of the compromises willing to take just to proceed the trip which we have clearly expressed to G, or was he just trying to cover his @$$e from embarassment?

whilst others opted to refund the money – our foreign friends who can’t possibly stay longer in MNL for a rebooked trip – majority chose to rebook a later date.

have to mention though how accommodating and extra apologetic the crew members were when we’re still on the boat. even when we were already at the resort, they took care of us unconditionally. Mr.Wee is lucky to have very good employees like them.

we dashed to the airport to catch a 1PM flight. lo & behold!!! just after we’ve haggled (but failed) to give us a free kg for each head as we checked-in our baggage (with already prepaid addl 5kg each), we heard the PA of our flight’s cancellation due to bush fire at the Busuanga Airport!!!

i never felt Murphy’s law as i did that day. we were so bummed we were stripped off with emotions. we thought if the world was indeed conspiring against us, why were we spared in the open seas? how did we manage to get a booking to Coron in a snap? obviously our unbreakable spirits are in the works.

we managed to get a rebooking on the next earliest flight the next day. i said though to Z, if after tomorrow’s attempt, we’d again fail, i’d accept defeat, let go of the week-long holiday and head home.

determined not to miss our early morning flight the next day, we decided to spend overnight at K‘s place at Magallanes and relaxed the night away. we called masseuse to come over her place and had an awesome an hour and a half massage :-)

7ish of Tuesday morning, it felt like deja vu to be back at the airport and queue for our baggages to be checked-in. we lack the strength already to negotiate for the baggage allowance so we just paid whatever the officer charged us. it’s past the baording time already when we heard another announcement – “Flight 5J5298 bound to Busuanga is temporarily on-hold due to low visibility around the area. please wait for further announcement in the next 15minutes.”

for people who had mishaps after mishaps for the past 4 days, 15minutes mean an eternity of waiting! there wasn’t a word uttered, wasn’t a complaint vented. silence was the prevailing element.

until a real upper was announced. flight pushed thru and in a little over an hour, we have landed the busuanga airport!!!

we were quick to let go of a guffaw and articulated – “F-I-N-A-L-L-Y!!!!!”

loading our super heavy dive equipment

my 3rd coron

what we went through the past days was unimaginable. and to finally set foot again in Coron was an effin relief!!! i whispered to myself, ‘thank God we’re safe’

we may have failed to conquer Apo Reef / Tubbataha Reef, but we’re blessed a hundred fold over to gain new dive buddies!!! amidst all that went on in the past days, we were actually still having fun.

wanderlass & banggigay

chase boat

aboard PE2

at the jacuzzi deck

we may have been deprived to experience Tubbataha’s beauty that time, but we have experienced real & beautiful friendship!!! how can i complain?

***

– Coron adventure on my next post :-)

– photos from indayguapa, jayvzter, bembong, boni & suzette

– cross-posted to wandersoles

whooopeee!

i was trying to get a running program that won’t be too demanding to my busy life and guess what i saw in runners world???

2008 real-Berlin Marathon

haile gebrselassie broke the marathon world record of 2:04:26 when he posted 2:03:59 last sunday in berlin marathon!

geeez! is he even a human or what??!

ok i am still big, but that’s why i’m working hard now to lose that extra pounds. and patience is really the key here :-)

i haven’t recovered from sat night’s party of a highschool friend’s birthday where i decided to don my amnesia helmet so i can forget about skipping lechon, prawns and fetuccini!!! i rationalised by saying i’ll just join marga in her bike out and burn all of it in a day :-)

then sunday came, it’s a town fiesta in bulacan thus gave me another reason to cheat and feast on gregmontee’s super yummy gelatin with sweet langka and his mum’s super yummy kare-kare!!believe me his mum’s kare-kare is delightfully sinful! you can try mustering all your resistance power but you’d fall short knowing that it’s a kare-kare to die for! :-)

seriously!

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anyway there, i enjoyed watching the extravagant parade! i felt like a tourist too excited seeing the performers with their supah colorful costumes.

told gregmontee we should make a pact, chalahs should NOT miss KADAYAWAN festival and MASKARA festival next year! proooomise! it’s fun!!! it rekindles your luv for your culture!!! it’s FUN! :-)

hey to all ateneo blue eagle supporters – alumni or not – for as long as the spirit of the eagles is with you, come join us we’re having a blue eagle bonfire party tomorrow night at the bellarmine field. (see details here). kitakits!!! :-)

busy B

ok i know, i’ve almost neglected my crib. i haven’t served coffee here for weeks already. ok i was busy, but of course the excuse remains not valid :-)

as always -ber months are my busiest months. i wanna say it’s because of the north easterly wind (amihan) and thus “north swell na’to!”, but i can’t. haven’t touched a surf board and gone back to LU for a stoked weekend. and probably not going back there before 2007 ends. but i’m busy because:

1. i’m soo pinoy that my christmas season starts on september :-)

2. my birthday falls on october, and got lots of friends who’re octoberians too. meaning, celebration after celebration for the entire month! wootwoot!

3. our QPAR in office has to be filled-out to compute for our CEO’s PS distribution. and of course during this time, most of our projects are on turning-over stage (read: matrabaho todo!)

4. i took my family out (all 8 of us) to SIN & KUL for 7 days! wootwoot! haven’t shared our KUL mis/adventures :-)

5. got back to MNL on friday, just in time for my bro’s graduation ceremony. then hours after, my diving buddies were on our way to anilao for yet another dive weekend! where we had 3 dives in all! but what’s with it that makes it really spectacular?? alterego and i saw a 4-5m shark (baby shark,ok!). still shark is a shark! hahah!

6. less than 15 days after my family trip, i was again at KUL’s immigration to see The Fed play against Sampras at malawati stadium. (which by the way the highlight of my 2007!). this deserves a separate post.

7. my office chair hasn’t even heated yet, i was again on holiday to – palawan! for a 4day long weekend trip! :-) it’s a super last minute thing for me, cos i really had no plans on going with chalahs. but my chest was heavy last tuesday night and told myself, “boy, i need a break!”

8. my bestest friend is coming home. i soo soo miss her! and you must see her vacay sked here in PI, as in poops lang pahinga! hahaha! jampacked! and the best thing about it is that, she got our back in all her trips! wootwoot! big time!

9. the old flame is coming home too. (‘naff said)

10. i have 23 inaanaks (godchildren) in all. so i started early with buying presents for all of them. i really enjoy gift wrapping and tying big ribbons on top! i think christmas is christmas because you know you can make a kid a little happier on that day. one can never articulate how a child’s face beam when you hand him a christmas present :-)

11. during this time around, i do my own FS. i wanna know how did i fare in handling my finances. just recently i had a major blow, but His providence to my life is just amazing!:)

12. i’m up for a BIG change. i could almost taste it. i hope it would start to roll-out early 2008! i’m excited about it! as in! :-)

13. knee rehabilitation. no more runs for me within the year. but i’m happy to announce, i’m on my 4th kilometer last night without pain. told you, slowly i’m getting there!

for the meantime, swing by to my other crib. i just uploaded loads of photos there. i’m still having a hang-over of my Fed game. i can’t even start blogging about it. hmmm…melbourne??…wimbledon?? *wishful thinking* ha-ha!

oh and btw, go visit this brilliant page! EAV owns it, who by the way is the genius behind lakbayan (see my philippine visit map on my right sidebar). i’m so flattered honored he chose my mt. pinatubo crater lake photo in one of his posts (see here) out of all other photos on world wide web. i mean isn’t it amazing for a mere point-and-shoot-chick me? :-)

and not to miss FD’s journey across 7107 islands and his en route. everytime my travel buddies & i (chalahs) decide to put an end to our endless spending on traveling (we travel in budget though), his pages never cease to give us sensible reasons to further explore our own wow philippines (not limited to what DOT promotes) and see its quirks, beauty and everything in between. you’d simply see our country in a different realm! so cheers to you man!

i’d be back with more kwentos later :-) besos!

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 :-)

camiguin-cdo-J 172

camiguin-cdo-J 190

camiguin-cdo-J 165

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 :-)

 


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