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Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Hey, try this for fun! It's so cool :-)
Go to

Of course, I had to make my Simpson version in shades of purple & fuchsia ;-) My only complaint is that there's no choice for the footwear & pants :-(

Thursday, July 12, 2007


To pay it forward to the blogosphere and forums which helped us intricately plan this CDO-Camiguin vacation, I am posting with complete travel details like time duration, supplier name and cost of various stuff. I hope this'll help future travellers seeking adventure in CDO/Camiguin :-)

more photos on my Multiply...

JULY 1, 2007
3:45 AM - We hired the services of Allan (our Camiguin tour guide) again to bring us to Benoni Wharf to catch the 4:30AM ferry. Van rental from Paras resort to Benoni Wharf was Php 450.

4:20 AM - We boarded the MV Doña Pepita (Php 107/pax) which sailed promptly at 4:30AM. The moon was still up so I braved the cool pre-dawn air to take some long time exposure shots. Quite messy shots though coz it was wavy. Also caught the crack of dawn orange-dark blue skies as we neared CDO Balingoan Wharf.

5:20 AM - Back in Cagayan De Oro's Balingoan Wharf. From there, we rode a commuter aircon van for Php 80/pax upon the recommendation of a porter who accompanied us all the way to the van terminal a few walks away from the dock.

7:00 AM - I think we arrived at Agora market 7ish AM. The van dropped us off right in front of Vjandep Bakery who sells the famous Camiguin Pastel -- a soft bun with creamy custard/yema-ish filling inside. A box of 6 was around Php 56 while a box of 12 sold for Php 100+.

8:00 AM - We rode a tuktuk to Jollibee in Gaisano City, ate a Jolly breakfast and waited for the mall to open at 9:00 AM. Once it opened, we deposited our mala-Amazing Race baggage on the baggage counter. We tried to look for Pines ham inside the Gaisano supermarket but it seemed nobody knew the brand.

After taking some directions from Ces' friend who knew CDO well, we navigated our way to the Pines ham main store via tuktuk (Php 5/pax). When we got there, it was closed! Dang! And apparently, it was actually PINE with an apostrophe S. Surprisingly, when we went back to Gaisano supermarket and asked for PINE ham, the saleslady easily pointed us to where a lone Pine's ham was. What a difference an "S" makes!!! Since we all wanted to buy ham, she pointed us to Robinsons supermarket at Limketkai Mall where there were more Pine's ham for everyone. We rode another tuktuk to get to Limketkai Mall.

In Robinsons Supermarket, there was a whole isle dedicated to native delicacies from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. I don't think they put big markups on the goods coz I checked out the Vjandep pastel there and they sold it for just about +/-Php10 more than the Vjandep store in Agora market.

We bought take-out lunch in KFC where we amazingly been able to get our order right even if the store clerks/cashier spoke to us in Bisaya. I know it's just conversing out of context but She and I were just so amazed that I managed to give a right response and understood what the store manager have asked me in Bisaya. Coolness!

12:00 NN - We left Limketkai and got a cab to the airport. They have Toyota Altis units for taxi! The cab driver refused to charge us by the meter, reasoning that he will not be able to get passengers from the airport so we'd have to cover his roundtrip fare. We hired the cab for Php 250.

12:30 PM - Arrived at the small Cagayan de Oro airport which was under renovation so some aircon units weren't working. Security and baggage checkers were very fussy. Toiletries and any kind of liquid had to be strictly checked in. We had to remove our sandals as we passed through the x-ray. Ate our KFC lunch while waiting for our Cebu Pacific boarding. There were clean restrooms in the boarding area. Terminal fee is Php 30.

1:48 PM - boarded the Cebu Pacific flight back to Manila.

3:15 PM - landed in Manila. Reluctantly home sweet home. We had so much fun white water rafting in CDO and enjoyed beautiful Camiguin so much... We wished it wasn't time to go home (and go back to work!) yet.

could there also be an emotional breakdown area?


To pay it forward to the blogosphere and forums which helped us intricately plan this CDO-Camiguin vacation, I am posting with complete travel details like time duration, supplier name and cost of various stuff. I hope this'll help future travellers seeking adventure in CDO/Camiguin :-)

* Read about our DAY 2 here. Detailed account of DAY 3 starts hereupon...

JUNE 30, 2007
Upon the recommendation of the Paras Hotel staff, we decided to go snorkling in Mantigue Island (more underwater attractions here than White Island accdg. to the hotel staff) in the morning and proceed to White Island after lunch. We rented snorkeling gear from Johnny's Dive which has a little office inside Paras. The snorkeling mask and the mouthpiece thingie rental costed Php 200. Lifevests were also for rent for Php25.

10:00 AM - We hired a multicab for Php 300 from Paras to the wharf (near the vicinity of Benoni Wharf) where a boat to Mantigue was waiting for us.

more photos on my Multiply

10:50 AM - We rode the pump boat for Php 500 (roundtrip, inclusive of snorkeling) to bring us to Mantigue Island. The boat ride took about 20 mins. The ride was a bit shaky but after that wild white water rafting in CDO, I was not fazed at all by the waves. As long as I had my lifevest, I was quite ok (but still a bit nervous coz we were navigating open sea and I can't swim for dear life!).

11:07 AM - Upon docking on the island, we looked for Roger the Guru (as we were told by the guy who arranged the multicab for us). Roger and the rest of the islanders welcomed us with a smile. It turns out that one of the teenage boatmen was actually Roger's younger brother. We told Roger that we wanted to have our lunch in the island so he gave us a menu. We got the Barkadahan meal package which was good for the four of us (but I think it can feed 5 or 6 average eaters). The Barkadahan meal consisted of grilled fish (huge fish which Roger calls the mantigue fish [yeah, 'could use a little more creativity on the name hehe]... it was just half a fish -- the head part and then some -- and we still did not finish it), rice, seaweed and coke litro. We also ordered shells (halaan) on ginger-flavored soup reminiscent of tinola.

While waiting for our lunch to be cooked, Roger offered to tour us around the island. He told us about his little project on rebuilding their humble school which was ruined and virtually swept away by the stormy waves last year. On his welcoming cottage, he had this small wooden donation box marked as Mantigue Elementary School (or something to that effect). It came with a log book wherein donating island guests are to write their names and corresponding email addresses. Roger promises to email everyone a picture of the new elementary school once it is completed. He had been collecting donations for the school project since October 2006. Oh by the way, there is no internet access in the island. Roger sails to the Camiguin main island for internet access and the villagers also sail to town for supplies like ice, ginger, and other food ingredients. I'm not quite sure if there is electricity in the island coz Roger says there is no refrigerator anywhere there. We heard some guys singing on the videoke though so I'm not so sure. There is a strong cellphone signal in the island (mine is Globe) and there is a solar-powered telephone somewhere there.

We circled the entire island in about 45 mins., inclusive of numerous stops for photo ops here and there. Roger is not only the island's sole spokesperson and resident teacher but he is also a photographer :) He handles digicams with ease, perhaps used to it after numerous tourists visited Mantigue. He pointed good photo spots for us along the way. He also showed us the ruins of their old school and the site of their half-done new school. In the entire duration of our Mantigue tour, two local dogs have accompanied us as if they were Roger's assistant tourist guides. So cute! They never barked at us, they just walk alongside us and frolick here and there as we took pictures.

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We came to a complete circle and ended in a small cottage (see photos above) which Roger offers to tourists for an overnight rate of Php 1,000. He says you can squeeze in as much as 10 persons in the hut for sleeping. There are bamboo fences around the cottage and on the outside is a small lounge area. Inside is a wide open space (where one could probably lay sleeping mats) and a small room with two bamboo beds. For adventure-seekers who are so charmed by the place and want to stay overnight, this is the only place to stay in. The hut is situated near the sea shore and a little walk away from the tourist CR which surprisingly has tidy tiles and ample water on the pail for flushing. You just need somebody to watch the door as you use it coz the door doesn't snugly stay shut as it should. The villagers just get water from the sea and into a pail to serve as one's flushing water. I even realized I asked a funny/stupid question when I wondered: "Saan po kukuha ng tubig para sa CR?" But of course, the sea shore is just a few steps away! *doink!*

Mang Roger (Rogelio Saturos) can be reached thru mobile no. 0920-230-6407 or thru email addy:

Mang Roger joined us for lunch as he told us about his frustration regarding not receiving enough support from the local government to promote tourism in Mantigue Island. He thinks that this is due to the fact that the government wanted to declare the island as a sanctuary. Thus, they who have lived in the island for so many years were supposed to leave it and find a home somewhere else. He laments that the local government promotes White Island more than Mantigue Island. When in fact, Mantigue has a much richer underwater life best for snorkling and diving than White Island. No one is helping them rebuild their school. So Roger, with his innate spirit to help his fellow villagers, has taken it to himself to do something about it. He tells the tourists the island's story and hopes for whatever kind donation that they will drop in his small wooden box. Well we just saw a Loren Legarda election poster right beside our hut... so Sen. Legarda, what say you?

Roger is the only island local who has confidence to talk to the tourists. He said that his fellow villagers are too timid to converse with the tourists because most of them did not get proper education. Roger, on the other hand, had finished college (an Education course), worked for some time in Goto King somewhere in Cebu and then went back to his home island to teach the children (all subjects!). He endeavors to teach the children of Mantigue in hopes that he could give them enough knowledge and confidence to entertain the tourists who come to Mantigue and also find alternative sources of living.

He told us stories of kind tourists coming back to Mantigue with school supplies, school chairs and food donations. The Mantigue children's favorite is chocolate. It so happened that She brought a bar of chocolate as snack so we just gave it away to the shy children who were just around our cottage :-)

1:20 PM - We were brought by the boatmen a few meters away from the shore for snorkeling. I'm not good with estimating distances but from where we snorkeled, we could still see about 2 inches of Mang Roger waving at us.

It was my first time ever to snorkel so I asked She (who has snorkeling & scuba diving experience) to teach me how to use the snorkeling gear and breathe underwater. At first, I was gasping for air coz I was not used to breathing through my mouth. My legs were too flappy as per She that's why I got tired easily and used up more air. In a few minutes, I managed to regulate my breathing and calmed myself down with less leg/arm movements. The underwater life we saw was totally breathtaking! Just like in a salt water aquarium as Mang Roger described. I could only name the clownfish and starfish but there were other schools of fishes down there. Hand-size fishes and tiny ones, royal blue, yellow, aquamarine, orange and gray schools of fishes abound. They were all swimming leisurely about a huge coral about the size of 2 cars. Oh and I just learned that starfishes are not colored fleshy pink but a deep violet-blue underwater. The starfish I saw was about the size of an adult's hand. I could only see a blackened abyss on one edge of the coral and that made me panic a bit coz I couldn't surmise how deep it was. In my nervousness and my desire to still venture in that direction, I asked one of the boatmen to dangle a rope which I could hold onto like a security blanket.

We floated pieces of crackers near the surface and in seconds, small fishes swam up near us to partake of the goodies. Didn't experience a fish nibble though like what happened to me back in Camayan Beach (Subic).

I think we took an hour or so just snorkeling. Somewhere in between, two boatloads of incoming tourists passed near us. The boatmen were actually clapping with joy at the thought of new tourists visiting their little island.

SNORKELING TIP: Bring along a toothpaste sachet when you snorkel. Before snorkeling, wash the eyemask with toothpaste to prevent fogging. Also wash the mouthpiece with toothpaste for that fresh minty feeling when you put it in your mouth for breathing.

If you want the fishes to come near you, stash some bread or unflavored cracker with you. Feed the fishes with bits and pieces of these.

After snorkeling, the boatmen took us straight to the Camiguin mainland shores (a much nearer drop-off than where we were previously dropped going to Mantigue). We walked into a seaside village and out onto a main road where we waited for a tuktuk to Mambajao for Php 20. The tuktuk dropped us off on the market area of Mambajao (near the vicinity of the town's church). From the market, we rode another tuktuk back to Paras resort for Php 10. The entire travel from Mantigue to Paras was probably about an hour and a half.

4:18 PM - From Paras resort, we rented a roundtrip pump boat for Php 400. It took us about 10 minutes to reach White Island which you can actually see from Paras' al fresco dining area. It was low tide in the late afternoon so the island was much larger than it was in the morning.

a 180-degree view of white island

In White Island, there are makeshift cottages with tables & chairs for rent at Php 50. There are also some townsfolk who offer freshly cooked food. The sandbar facing Paras had a very fine powdery texture which was a delight to walk on barefooted. The other side of the island which faces the open sea had a much coarser white sand. It had a view of the sunset on one side and a view of the picturesque Mt. Hibok-Hibok on the other. The island "closes" at 6pm so our 1 hour and 15 minutes were busily spent on doing lots of group shots (thanks to digicam self-timers!). We took a lot of time perfecting our group shot wherein we froze a mid-air jump, with the sun setting behind us, thus resulting to fun-jumping silhouettes. A group of onlookers on the other side of the island were watching us jump endlessly and then some were actually mimicking our pose for their own cameras (I presume).

I dumped a lot of sunblock on me for the day's island-hopping so I was not sunburned at all. Not even a visible bikini mark on my shoulders. I really just got sunburned on our CDO white water rafting adventure.

5:58 PM - We got back to Paras resort and ate our dinner in their gazebo. It rained hard so we had to forego the plan to dip in the resort's pool. Besides, there were lots of children swimming in it and we concluded that the pool would have been child-pee by then :p Before dinner was served, Rose had arranged for a reflexology massage with the front desk. They recommended a (third party) lady who offered massages for Php 300/hour. We did 30 minute sessions so we only paid Php 150 each. I think I was already watching PBB's big night by the time it was my turn to be massaged.


To pay it forward to the blogosphere and forums which helped us intricately plan this CDO-Camiguin vacation, I am posting with complete travel details like time duration, supplier name and cost of various stuff. I hope this'll help future travellers seeking adventure in CDO/Camiguin :-)

* Read about our DAY 1 here. Detailed account of DAY 2 starts hereupon...

more photos on my Multiply

JUNE 29, 2007
6:45 AM - We hailed a cab from Casa Crystalia to catch the Balingoan-bound bus in Agora market. The cab driver warned us/kinda scared us with hold-up/bomb scare stories about the bus and having a longer travelling time due to the multiple bus stops (asus! style!). He offered to bring us straight to Balingoan wharf for a contract fee of Php 1,000. We declined and told him that we were on a tight budget. We bargained and finally sealed the deal at Php 800. Still mighty expensive compared to just commuting by bus but we were in a hurry to catch the ferry at Balingoan...

8:20 AM - Arrived at Balingoan Wharf (CDO). Bought ferry tickets costing Php 107. We took a quick pee at the relatively clean tourist hall just beside the ticketing booth. We boarded the M.V. Royal Princess to Benoni Wharf (Camiguin) after that. It was scheduled to leave at 8:30AM but it waited for more passengers to board. We ended up sailing off around 9:30AM. What a long wait! Anyway, I did not feel any motion sickness at all. The waves were moderate and the ferry wasn't wobbly.

10:40 AM - Yahoo! Nakatapak na ako sa Camiguin! We finally arrived at the Benoni Wharf. From there, we were picked up by our tour guide/aircon van diver Mr. Allan Ebarle (Celfone: 0917-253-7878). He drove us to Secret Cove in Mambajao where we checked in quickly and then ate lunch at the nearby Paras Beach Resort. We treated Allan for lunch and we told him which Camiguin tourist spots we intended to see. He then proposed an itinerary to maximize the day.

PRONOUNCIATION TIPS: Balingoan is not pronounced "ba-li-NGO-an" as we had thought. It was actually pronounced by the locals as "ba-LING-wan". Mambajao is also not "MAM-ba-jao" as we wrongfully pronounced. The right pronounciation is "MAM-ba-haw". These'll come in handy when you talk to the locals and ask for directions ;-)

1:00 PM to 6:30 PM - Allan toured us around the island of Camiguin. Our first stop was Katibawasan Falls (there's a minimal entrance fee ... around Php 15/pax if I remember it right). We intended to swim at Katibawasan but chickened out when we saw that there was a bunch of guys in one of the ground tables with a case of beer. We were pretty much been ogled at as we took loads of pictures of the magnificent waterfalls and did kooky poses. The beer dudes left after awhile so we decided to venture on the ground level of the waterfalls. The water was icy cool to the skin and it relieved my sunburned knees temporarily.

After Katibawasan, we went to the Philvolcs Observatory Station situated high above the mountains. It affords quite a bird's eyeview of the island but really not much else to see.

We then visited the now closed Ardent Hot Spring. They said it was closed due to some political hullabaloo. Something about the present political figure not supporting the place (the politician who previously took care of the place just lost in the recent elections). It's a shame coz the place has a potential. The surroundings looked really untidy though due to the fallen kapok/cotton all over the grounds. We were allowed to go in and take some pictures after Allan asked the permission of the caretaker. We were surprised to see a handful of locals bathing in the hot spring so we're not quite sure why it's closed. Dipped my foot into the water and it wasn't that hot -- just lukewarm.

After Ardent Hot Spring, we visited Sto. Niño Cold Spring (again, a minimal entrance fee of about Php 10 - Php 15/pax). The place had lots of people bathing around. We just posed for some pictures, took a quick pee in their restroom and were tempted to drink/eat fresh buko at Php 10/pc. They kept the coconuts inside a net which was submerged in the cold spring (all-natural ref!). The buko juice was sweet and mala-uhog. Yum! After we finished drinking the juice, the tindera cut the coconut with a bolo and using a shard of the buko shell as a scooper, we ate the coco meat. At first, I was squeamish about using the shard of coco shell as a scooper coz I could see remnants of dirt on its edges. But then I saw She, Ces and Rose happily eating away so I thought, what the heck, a little germ won't kill me :p

After our refreshing coconut snack, we headed to Catarman Church Ruins/Gui-ob Church. The historical marker which tells of the eruption of Mt. Volcan was very well-written -- it was evoking to the senses and it painted a vivid picture of what happened. It's a shame though that it was slightly vandalized and some engraved letters were a bit faded. There is a small (new) church inside the ancient ruined walls. It started to drizzle so we only managed to do one kooky group shot which elicited some smiles from the locals nearby.

The last tourist spot we visited was the Cross Marker/Sunken Cemetery. I wanted to photograph it in a duskier backdrop but it was only 5:30PM at the time so I didn't get my most-desired orangey-pink-blue sunset sky:-( It was also drizzling so the clouds were quite gloomy. There were boatmen offering a quick boat ride to the cross marker itself but we didn't venture anymore coz it was already getting dark.

On the way back, our tour guide Allan brought us to one side of the road lined with stores selling souvenir shirts and stuff. He pointed us the rightmost store which he said offered the least expensive souvenirs. We bought shirts for Php 90/pc. (XXL size sells for Php 150). Got myself a shirt that read "Yahoo! Nka 2nob ko sa Camiguin" which was translated to me by the store guy ("nakatunob" means "nakatapak"). The tinderos here were very patient and helpful. They handed us shirt, after shirt, after shirt as we chose our pasalubongs.

For our second day, we decided to transfer to the nearby Paras Beach Resort after being turned off with the customer service of Secret Cove.

SECRET COVE = 1.5/5 RATING (This hotel should just remain a secret! Its only saving grace is the yummy food. But I'm warning you about the scowling waitress as early as now.)

We checked into two twin sharing rooms. Each room costs Php 1,050 (off-peak rate) which meant Php 525/pax for the four of us.

PROS: Room has aircon, hot water, mini bar. Food is excellent! We ordered scallops sauteed in butter, prawns sauteed in white wine and chicken cordon bleu which was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Had a yummy blueberry apple pie (?) for dessert. They offer gourmet dishes which are definitely not run-of-the-mill. Our dinner total was Php 990.

CONS: Room has no TV (Room with TV is available for a higher price). They say they're a beach front hotel but when you get there, the place is covered with tendrils "roofing" most of the place so even at daytime, the place looks dingy. I didn't feel a good aura/vibes in the place.

The water coming from the shower was too fine that it was hard to wash off our shampoo, conditioner and soap. Thus, it took me more time to finish taking a bath.

Tom the Canadian owner was quite snooty/condescending. The short-haired waitress who served us was masungit and had a scowling look. She started frowning when we asked her how long the brownout will be/if it always happened/why was there a brownout. (We surmise that the island is switching power sources at night because a short less-than-5-mins. brownout also happened when we were at Paras). She also gave us an evil stare when we told her that we would be checking out the next day and therefore cancelling the 2nd day booking. The ultimate kabastusan she did was when she thrust the black bill case on our table... Our bill was Php 990 so we gave her Php 1,000. We were expecting to see a Php 10 coin returned to us as change but apparently, they so assumed that they could just keep it for themselves. Appalling disrespectful behavior! Argh! I don't know what planet she is from but the usual custom is for the restaurant to give back the exact change to the customer and then the customer, upon leaving, would leave an appropriate amount of tip tucked inside the black leather bill case. Argh! Kainis talaga! So assuming! We got totally irritated after that so we didn't care to leave any tip.

And if we give benefit of the doubt for erratic human behavior, then what about that rude-sounding/not family-friendly sign posted on the restaurant? I wondered if I should chuckle or be totally turned off by it upon reading what the sign said: "This is not a playground. If you cannot contain your children, please bring them somewhere else." Wow. Ibang level ang rudeness!

CONTACT NOS.: 0926-944-3606; (088) 856-8562

We checked into a Standard Triple sharing room w/ extra bed. They gave us 10% discount so the total amount was Php 1,864.50. Thus, Php 466.13/pax for the four of us.

the 180 degree-view from the gazebo

PROS: Paras is one of the premiere beach resorts in Camiguin (The other one being the Camiguin Beach Club) and for the price which turns out to be cheaper than Secret Cove, it is way more worth it to spend your night here. Since it is off-peak season, they gave us 10% off.

They have a very accommodating and courteous staff.

There are gazebos facing the shore wherein you can dine anytime and savor the serenity of the beach. They have a sweet mango shake and yummy Pizza Deliciosa. Clean restrooms are near the dining area.

There's a 4ft swimming pool. They offer Php 400 two-way boat rides to White Island which is just across the resort (about 20 mins. boat ride away)

They can also recommend a local masseuse (non-employee of Paras) who can give 1 hour reflexology massage for Php300.

a view of paras beach resort coming from white island

CONS: The day before, I had already signed a reservation slip for 1 standard triple sharing room. They even allowed us to do an ocular inspection of the room so it was definitely vacant. I was to call the night before to confirm if we could do an early check-in. When I called, they suddenly said that no reservation was made under my name. Apparently, the person in charge during the daytime forgot to log my reservation into their computer. They said that there were no standard rooms available for us (somebody checked in on the standard room) so they suggested that we take the superior room which is of course more expensive than the standard room! I negotiated that they give us the superior room at the same rate they extended for the standard room since the problem was due to their incompetency. I was asked to call after 15 mins. as the girl was going to consult her supervisor first. When I called again, the standard room was magically available again (thus, all previous arrangements remain the same). I was like, duh, a few minutes ago she said it was already booked! We thought this was another "style" on getting us to take the more expensive room. Hayyy!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

~* JUST GOT TAGGED: ABCs & Magic 7 *~

I've been tagged by Abbie and Ida...

Let's start with these ABCs about me which Abbie tagged me with.

A - Age: 29 *bordering the oh-no-30!*gasp!*
B - Band Listening To Right Now: The Magic Numbers ... I fell in love with their song "Love is a Game" the first time I heard it.
C - Career: Marketing for Entertainment Imaging business unit of Kodak Phils. Ltd.
D - Drink or Smoke: Drink occasionally when in night-outs; Smoked only once back in college... tried it and didn't like it!
E - Easiest Friends To Talk To: My Forces Friends (Abbie, Tin, Charo, Mitzi, Ivy)
F - Favorite song at the moment: Rihanna's Umbrella/Cinderella remix feat. Chris Brown (?)
G - Gummy Bears or Gummy Worms: bears
H - Have a Boyfriend: nope
I - In love: umm, when you still think about THE person, does that count?
J - Junk Food You Like: NY fries and Potato Corner sour cream fries
K - Kids: sure, when I'm married.
L - Longest Ride Ever: the Baguio roadtrip w/ the Forces gals last year. Sakit sa pwet!:p
M - My Favorite Sports: none! I have neither the innate desire nor physical ability to engage in one.
N - Names For Your Future Kids: Kenneth Edmund, Gwyneth
O - One Wish You Have Now: secret!
P - Phobias: flying cockroaches, ghosts
Q - Favorite Quote: "Life is not measured by the number of the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away."
R - Reasons To Smile: Chloe (our shih tzu) just being her usual charming self, blog comments/funny posts, remembering our CDO white water rafting (hotness!), crazy out-of-the-blue punch lines in everyday conversations, trying to sing the Seiko wallet jingle (I challenge you to try to sing this entire jingle without breaking into giggles)
S - Sleeping Hours: 10ish pm or even til 2am during weekends
T - Time You Woke Up: today? 8:30AM
U - Unknown Fact About You: If I tell you then everybody will know :p
V - Vegetable You Hate: I'm a fairly veggie-friendly person. No veggie I especially hate...
W - Worst Habit: succumbing to the so-called Canossa syndrome
X - X-rays You've Had: chest, abdomen area, teeth
Y - Yummy Foods: California Maki, Corned Beef, strawberry milk
Z - Zodiac Sign: Aries bordering on Taurus

Here's what Ida tagged me with...

Instructions: Each player starts with 7 random habits/facts about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules. At the end of your blog, you need to choose 7 people to get tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them that they have been tagged and to read your blog!

1. I am OC when it comes to sharing food/utensils, germs/bacteria in public places. I always carry an alcohol spray with me. I'm also OC with grammar. I check subject-verb agreements in blogposts and business letters, spellings everywhere and I pity those who can't tell the difference between "loose" and "lose". I'm OC with packing. I have different little pouches for toiletries, face gunks, medicines, etc. And I always have an extra undie and shirt just in case!

2. I hate sudden changes in planned meetings/impromptu meetings. I only do special adjustments/consideration when it's regarding my family & friends. But I am still peeved nonetheless :p

3. I don't think I can ever qualify for Amazing Race. I cannot swim, cannot ride a bike, cannot drive (well, 'just got A/T driving lessons from A1), I have no sense of direction, I am hot-tempered and I am squeamish.

4. I turned 29 this year but survey says (in bars/with new acquaintances) I can still pass for 20 and thereabouts.

5. I used to be 95lbs. back in college. Now I swing from 110-100 lbs. My waistline used to be 23" when I was about 13. Now it's 26-27".

6. I used to collect stamps, old coins and angel ornaments/figurines. Now I only collect gigabytes of mp3s.

7. Whenever there's a big event coming up or whenever I'll be travelling, I always have a dry run of my entire outfit days before. I chart my attire per day down to the footwear and accessories. I just don't want to be caught panicking with nothing to wear or finding out that my waist or arm hole is about to burst on its seams.


Finally! After more than 7 years of snail dial-up internet access at home, we now have a spanking new connection of Smart Bro!

Youtube vids, Multiply mp3 downloads, heavy Macromedia Flash sites, here I come!!!! :)


To pay it forward to the blogosphere and forums which helped us intricately plan this CDO-Camiguin vacation, I am posting with complete travel details like time duration, supplier name and cost of various stuff. I hope this'll help future travellers seeking adventure in CDO/Camiguin :-)

JUNE 28, 2007
6:00 AM - Rose, She, Ces and I arrived in Cagayan de Oro via Cebu Pacific (We availed of the piso fare promo. Roundtrip ticket costed Php 2,483.04. Ninoy Aquino domestic airport terminal fee is Php 200). We took a cab (I think the meter was around Php 150) to Casa Crystalia to check in our stuff.

7:30 AM - Ate breakfast at the nearby Jollibee right across Xavier University.

8:00 AM - Waited in front of Jollibee for the Team Kagay rafters' jeepney to pick us up. The first lesson of the trip is to not make Jollibee as a landmark/meeting place! It turned out that we were in the wrong Jollibee branch. We were supposed to meet them at the Jollibee Plaza Divisoria branch which was about one block away from the Xavier branch of Jollibee. We called them up and they asked us to just stay put instead of us (getting lost again) going to the other Jollibee branch. Hay. Too much Jollibees in one place! :p

9:15 AM - We arrived at the starting point of our white water rafting. They provided us with a big waterproof duffel bag which was strapped later on on our raft. We were handed our rafting gear: a helmet, a lifevest (which has additional straps that ride securely on your groin) and a paddle. Did some pre-departure picture-taking on the CDO white water rafting sign. Our guide-rafter Clint demo'd paddling instructions, safety precautions and tips. He also asked which ones can't swim (which is, uhh, just me!). He pointed out that the left side of the river is Cagayan de Oro while the right side of the river is already Bukidnon. In case we get swept off by the current, always swim towards the left. And a tip which they always emphasized in case we fall off the raft: "Lay flat and don't panic."

WHITE WATER RAFTING TIPS: Buy a Sandugo or Tribu outdoor sandal (mine is a Sandugo) for white water rafting. The place is quite rocky and slippery and there is a possibility of your raft flipping over. You just might lose your Havaianas to the current. For thy OCness, your digital gadgets inside your waterproof pouch which is also inside the rafter's waterproof duffel bag shall give you peace of mind. Wear long sleeves and long pants for sun protection. I wear a 3/4 sleeved shirt and shorts that rode above my knees when I sat so my forearms and part of my legs just above my knees were sunburned to the max! *Ouch* Parts of my cheeks and nose were also sunburned coz I didn't put on sunblock :( I basically looked like one of those sunburned Mt. Everest climbers for the rest of the trip :p Bring water and easy-to-eat lunch like sandwich or burger. Eat light. A super full stomach and crazy white water rafting don't match.

9:40 AM - Our basic white water rafting began. We just paid close attention to all of Clint's paddling instructions: "Paddle forward! Paddle backward! Stop! Two-strokes forward! High-five! Lock your feet!" My favorites were "Stop" and "High-five" :-) [We high-five'd using our paddles after every exhilirating move.] A photographer-rafter went along with us on a separate boat to take our photos with a 7MP waterproof Pentax digicam. A teenage paddler went along with us to assist Clint. Both Clint and the teenage paddler sat at the back of the raft. They made sure we sat properly near the edges of the raft. We encountered 14 rapids in the basic course. In between, where there were long stretches of calm waters, we were encouraged by Clint to get out of the raft and just float on the river while laying flat on our backs. (Laying flat is important coz you'll never know when you'll bump into a rock underneath.) Along the course, we saw swallows flying around, dragonflies, butterflies, wild mangoes, occasional locals doing their laundry by the rocks, some locals fishing, some carabaos on the side of the river, wild orchids and ferns, huge cave-like rocks, a gushing stream of mineral water from a huge rock just above us. Every so often, Clint would shower us with cold water from the river because he says one should always remain damp while rafting. Makes sense coz if you're sweaty and then you get wet by the super cold water of the river, you might catch a cold. After the last rapid, we did their so-called "Graduation Jump/Drop". We climbed on a tall rock which was about 12feet above water level and jumped off it. When it was my turn, Clint warned his kasamahans on standy-by below that I am a non-swimmer so I was not really scared that I'll drown or something. He told each of us not to hesitate when jumping. I pinched my nose with my hand as I jumped but water still managed to get into my nose. Felt myself sink due to the impact but I immediately bobbed out of the water since I was wearing a lifevest. Felt totally awesome after that! :-)

We super enjoyed our 2.5 hours of basic white water rafting! We were confident we could tackle a much more exciting/rougher course together with our guide rafter Clint (whom we deemed super adept so we weren't scared at all of flipping over or anything like that) so we asked if we could also do the advanced course after lunch.

12:15 PM - We arrived at Macahambus Park where we rested first and ate our super pisa Jollibee burgers which we kept inside our bags. After eating, we did the canopy walk and zipping which lasted for about 30mins. We handed our cameras to the guides who took our photos while walking and zipping. The canopy walks were long with about 1ft.L. x 3in.W. wooded boards to step on. We were strapped on safety lines just in case we slipped. While walking, we saw deep ravines below. Seeing how super high we are as I looked below made me a bit woozy. In terms of height, it was probably something like being on top of the Glorietta building and then looking down below. I just made sure I held firmly on the ropes which acted as hand rails on the canopy walks. The tour was capped off with us zipping back to where we started. It probably took about 15-20 seconds to zip. Screaming while zipping is highly recommended :-)

Cost of canopy walk & zipping: Php 300/pax.

PROS: Gears are well-provided. They will secure your straps properly. The guides were good photographers. There was a clean restroom in Macahambus for a quick pee before our advanced course in rafting.

CONS: A bit pricey for about 30 mins. of all that. The helmet smelled stinky with sweat. Ewww.

1:50 PM - We were brought by Team Kagay farther away upstream for the starting point of our advanced white water rafting. Clint had two new assistant paddlers this time. He explained that the local "assistant" rafters were following a queue for each rafting trip. Since our afternoon advanced rafting was a "new" trip, we had new assistant paddlers. The raft was also pumped with extra air to be firmer and less susceptible to bending. Before starting, Clint briefed us again for more safety instructions -- once again emphasizing on "Don't Panic" and "Lay flat". This time, two rafters Neil and Ryan (who looked very much like Chito Miranda of PNE!) sat in front and Clint stayed at the back. Pio, another rafter who was a native of Bukidnon, was on a separate raft to take our pictures. (In our animated chat on our way back to Plaza Divisoria, Pio revealed that he belonged in a band that played world music much like the Pinikpikan. He had been in Manila a few times to play with the band). The water was indeed rougher with lesser calm waters in between. The course was much more exciting due to the stronger currents. There was a point wherein we paddled against the current for about a minute or so. Really felt my tired arms about to fall off so I stopped paddling but I could still see Neil and Clint paddle to the maximum level! Very impressive! Neil was paddling so fast that one stroke of ours was already 2-3 strokes of his! We managed to go against the current after a few minutes of crazy paddling to the max to repeat a certain drop that had our raft almost in vertical position. Super astig! High-five! And in true Barney [How I Met Your Mother] fashion: "legendary"! There was also a part wherein Clint instructed us to stand up on the raft while paddling. We tried to paddle but the raft was super shaky so we opted to hold on to the rope beside our raft and kinda sat down (but Clint was still shouting "Tayo! Tayo!" Haha, no way dude! I am holding on to the raft and sitting down my pretty butt now! I don't wanna fall off the raft!:p ) The advanced course had 7 or 8 rapids. We had to lock our feet more often (by inserting our feet under the seat in front of us) this time. After the last rapid, we all jumped into the water and floated downstream up to the end point (which was the beginning point for the basic rafting). I was drifting too far away from the left [calmer] side of the river so Clint towed me by my lifevest. On the other hand, Ces was journeying too close to the side of the river which tend to have lots of leeches so Clint also grabbed her away from it.

3:00 PM - Finally finished the awesome white water rafting experience! Posed for a picture in front of the CDO rafting sign together with our friendly rafters Clint, Neil, Ryan and Pio. My right hand which held the paddle handle felt a bit ngalay. My left hand which held the lower part of the paddle was a bit red from all the friction. And since I did not put on sunblock, I ended up with a rudolph nose and cheeks, roasted legs and forearms. As of this writing, my sunburned legs are super itching to the max. Argghh!

KAGAY WHITE WATER RAFTING VOYAGES = 5/5 RATING (Excellent! Highly Recommended!)
CONTACT NUMBERS: 0917-712-0325/0917-712-2323/(088) 856-3972
Cost of Basic Rafting: Php 500/pax
Cost of Advanced Rafting: Php 700/pax

PROS: Their riverguide-rafters are very adept. I felt totally safe even if I didn't know how to swim. They are very alert and quick to respond. Like when Ces and I was about to fall off the raft, Clint quickly grabbed us by our lifevests. Sense of humor is also a welcome trait. To lighten up the mood and as an icebreaker, Clint would crack jokes in relation to our surroundings once in awhile. I could almost hear an "esmyuskee" joke in my head! He also gave clear paddling instructions and safety tips. He made sure that we understood all his instructions. In case you book a rafting trip with Kagay, we highly recommend Clint :)

Gears provided did not smell funky. The lifevests had different sizes for a snug fit. Lifevest straps and helmet strap were complete and had no defects. Paddle was in good condition. They provided us with a waterproof duffel bag for our things. There is a shower area at the end point of the basic course but we did not get to try it.

A CD containing the numerous photos taken by their 7MP Pentax waterproof digicam was delivered to our hotel by Pio around 6:30PM the same day.

CONS: Their beige colored raft was not photogenic. A bright yellow, red or blue raft would register better on photos. Not a big deal actually, nothing like a good Photoshop can't fix ;-)

After being dropped off by the Team Kagay dudes at Plaza Divisoria, we walked back to our hotel (Casa Crystalia - Tel. No.: 88-722465) in all our post-rafting wet glory. Overnight booking for quadruple sharing costed Php 1,335. It's a budget hotel which is conveniently at walking distance from Jollibee, McDo and Mercury Drug. It has an aircon, cable TV, hot shower, two twin beds and two bad-ass-huge cockroaches inside the CR (yikes!). It has a restaurant downstairs but we opted to venture out and eat at the nearby Barkadahan which their receptionist recommended. Barkadahan is a self-serve restaurant with grilled seafood in their menu. They had a very helpful waiter who attended to us and helped us choose our food. After our meal, we stopped by Hanabel bakery which was just beside Barkadahan to buy pastries for our early breakfast. We bought our bottled waters from Mercury Drug. Since we had to leave the hotel early at 6AM the next day, we decided to settle our bill the same night.

Read about our Camiguin Day Tour here.


Fine, I admit it. I've never been a light packer. Even if I attempt to travel light, I still always end up as the gal with most bags whenever I travel with friends or officemates. My latest trip to Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin with my college friends has proved to be a challenge to my packing prowess. I think I can never really achieve a one-bag rule coz I'm OC and I always prepare for the worst. In an attempt to help fellow travellers in maximizing those treasured vacation leaves, here are some travel tips I've come up with:

1. Surf the net for tourist attractions, modes of transportation together with estimated rates and duration of travel. Using data gathered, prepare an itinerary which you can bring in your pocket. It should also have the corresponding estimated expenses, important contact details of the hotel, tour guide, transportation, etc.

2. Bring a map of the town for easy navigation. You wouldn't want to be a helpless and lost tourist in the middle of nowhere.

3. Make a checklist of things to bring so you won't forget to pack anything.

4. Plan your attires to see if you can easily mix and match your clothes.

5. Pack a blow dryer. Aside from hair styling/drying purposes, it can also speed up drying of your wet swim wear if you need to pack them ASAP. (It also saved the day for me when I forgot to remove my money bag from my waist when I went white water rafting... I spent about 5 minutes blow drying my wet mushy Ninoy bills on my hotel bed!)

6. Bring your celfone charger and/or digicam battery charger.

7. Bring lots of small bills and coins for transportation, tips, entrance fees, etc.

8. To minimize bulk, instead of packing a towel, buy a "super magic towel" or "super absorbent towel" from Watsons. The super magic towel is like a car chamois while the super absorbent towel is like a fine-fibered regular towel. Both are about the same size as a pillow case.

9. Buy a waterproof pouch for your digicam, celfone, ipod and wallet if you plan to take a boat/ferry or go white water rafting. I got mine from the Store Shop Outdoor Lifestyle Company (right across Jamaican Patties) in Park Square I.

10. Pack leaky stuff like toiletries in a ziploc bag. Bring extra big ziplocs for wet bikinis, board shorts and aqua shoes.

11. Buy toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner in sachets instead of bringing them in tubes/plastic bottles.

12. Bring an extra foldable bag/sturdy plastic for pasalubongs.

13. Put a bag tag on all your bags and/or insert your calling card inside your bag's pocket.

14. Bring a masking tape and pentel pen which you can use for labelling your bags and packing stuff. You can also use the tape as a marker to easily spot your bag on the airport conveyor belt. Others tie a bright colored ribbon on their bags for easy spotting.

15. When packing clothes, you can roll them, pack a folded set of attire in a ziploc (press hard to remove air inside the ziploc) or do the bundle technique which I learned from

16. Bring lots of tissue, alcohol/hand sanitizer and wet wipes.

17. Don't put your moolah in one place. I separated a bigger chunk of my pocket money inside a money bag which I strapped on my waist and wore under my clothes.

18. Belt bags are very convenient when travelling. You can put all your valuables/plane ticket in it and then have both of your hands free for carrying other stuff.

19. Better wear a pair of sandals or flipflops to the airport coz regardless of whether you're wearing boots or skinny flipflops, they will still ask you to remove your footwear to include it on the x-ray conveyor belt.

20. If you expect to be moving about in different vehicles (for us it was a plane, a taxi, a tuktuk, a multicab and a van) bring a backpack instead of a trolley bag.