Jatico Extreme Adventure Park and Macahambus Cave

High school days are definitely some of the best memories that a person can have. Perhaps, this goes to most of the people who share the same brand of education as we do. It has been a tradition for our batch to have mini-reunions every time we have some breaks from classes and work. Friendship has always been awesome at the time and spending moments with each other is part of that investment to it. 

This time, we did some kind of traveling. It was three consecutive days of being together but everything has been worth it. In the first day, we went to the 'Little America of the Philippines' which is the Barangay Philips of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. I wasn't able to take so many photos around the area since I'm already acquainted with the place. 

Our first destination was the Jatico Adventure Park. This is kind of far from the city. Indeed, it's a couple of kilometers away from  the Lumbia airport and it would be best to have a private vehicle in getting to the place. You can also take the PUV going to Talakag at Carmen Market but you have to make sure that you're done by 3 pm since it's the time for the last trip from Talakag to CDO. In our case, we took a taxi from SM CdeO to Jatico, which is expensive and is advisable only as a last resort.

You can see breath-taking mountain views upon arrival at Jatico Extreme Adventure Park. And just for disclaimer, it's not a resort, but an adventure park. It has a butterfly garden, playhouse, aviary and huts for relaxation. Certainly, the place is ideal to unwind from work stress and breathe some fresh air. 

And of course, giving justice to why it's called an extreme adventure park, Jatico is home to many adrenaline-gushing activities that will really entice many adventure-seekers. The 5-course zipline, Big Swing, Bungee Jump,Zorb and Spelunking are the things that you can try in the area. Airsoft played at the wide campground is also an addition to the many options that is laid for the visitors in the place. Jatico Park is also ideal for team-building activities. Their website gives you a full detail of the rates including the night-stays for different group numbers and packages.

Then we went to Macahambus Cave. This is the site of the Battle of Macahambus last June 4, 1990 which was one of the few battles won by the Filipinos in the Philippine-American War. About 200 meters away from this site is a 130-foot circular doline called Macahambus Gorge.

 It's really dark inside the cave that is home to many bats, that's why you need to rent a flashlight from the caretakers and that costs P20.00 each. Inside, you can see the amazing rock formations and stalactites forming in the area. Just a short review from Earth Science though, stalactites are those formations that hand from the ceilings while stalagmites are those that emerge from the ground. There are also some parts in the cave where you have to pass through a narrow hole so you really have to watch out for your moves. 

And on the other end of the cave tunnel, there is a veranda/viewing deck wherein you will can see the Cagayan de Oro river. You will also be able to see some rafters paddling since this is the site of the popular Cagayan de Oro White Water Rafting Adventure. 

Tips for Travelers:

1) Secure flashlights.

2) Wear trekking footwear.
3) Bring spare money for unprecedented transportation emergencies. 
4) Plan your trip well (most especially to Jatico). The place is not really for random trips since services are best availed thru packages. 


Exploring Iligan's Finest Waterfalls

'The City of Majestic Waterfalls' might just sound like a cliche to people who ask what Iligan is known for. Yet for the people who travel with these cascades, explore the beauty that lies within, walk with the locales to find the august crystals, dive in the basin blues among all other things - every waterfall brings a unique and sound experience that is really unforgettable. 23 stunning waterfalls, natural enticements to travelers and wanderers, comprise the popular tagline being labeled to Iligan City. 

Of course, topping our feature is the Tinago Falls. Aside from the fact that this falls is not that profiled, I find it particularly interesting that Tinago has now grown to become one of the top picks of travelers in Iligan City. Just by the name 'Tinago' which means hidden, the waterfalls can be found at the heart of a tropical forest between Linamon and Buruun. You have to take about 400 steps downstairs in order for you to reach the falls, so you better prepare some water bottles to keep up with the demands of the steps. I can remember very well that the first time I went there, my knees are badly jittering as I finally got in the foot of the falls. 

And as soon as you get into the basin of the waterfalls, you can now do a lot of things. You can ride the bamboo raft if you want to get nearer to the falls. It is very advisable for you to use the life vest during swimming. Even professional swimmers use the suit for greater safety. In Tinago, there are hidden caves that don't seem to be very obvious. You need to ask some local swimmers who assist people there in the swimming area to take you the caves. It's going to be a bit difficult to get to the 2 caves, since you have to ride the raft, and then swim against the very strong rapids and climb to the cliff. There then, you can reach one small cave which is just good for 4 people conversing. The other one is bigger and can cater to about 10 people. Well, after witnessing the cave, the best (if not the only) exit is to dive from the cliff. There's no other way exit, but it's gonna be worth it. 

Mimbalot Falls is one of the popular ones in the Toursim Triangle Area and is located about 11 km away from the heart of the city. Right now, it is situated in Iligan Paradise Resort. Even though the surroundings don't seem to be so natural since it was improved for the resort, Mimbalot Falls itself is not man-made. And when you get there, you can witness the glamorous falls that will stun you with its grandiose look. The place is ideal for afternoon picnics but you can also have swimming spree with your loved ones.
Dodiongan Falls is so beautiful!  

I tell you, the falls means a lot because it's something that you can easily find attachment with. What I mean is, after a quite long trek, the beauty of the falls is really enough to make the walk worth it. It may be not that accessible, but the best thing to do is to just enjoy the scenery as you go towards the falls. Be prepared to cross the river, climb big rocks, hang in poles or stumble in stones. It is located in Barangay Bonbonon, which is 14 kilometers away from the city, so you really need to have a private vehicle to get there. But if you're travelling alone, renting a motorcycle ride is just good enough. Don't forget to plunge in the crystal basin and you'll enjoy it definitely. 

In the Waterfalling Adventure that we had, we were able to visit many waterfalls of Iligan City. At the leftmost side of the collage, you can see the Maria Cristina Falls. But in the picture, you can just see Maria since the flow was limited that day. For the knowledge of everyone, the hydro-electric power that is being generated from the falls actually makes the area one of the biggest energy supply in the whole Mindanao region. 

Pampam Falls is kinda far, to tell you honestly. It's 13 km away from the city, plus another 20 minutes trek. And you need to get an accompanying locale so that you won't get lost in the area. But the good thing is that there are two falls in one rolling. Kalubihon Falls is just nearby so it must be worth it. You can do a lot of things there, that's why locales as well find it a very soothing place for relaxation. In Pampam Falls, you can just do diving as long as you want. Don't worry if you don't know how to swim. It's really not a deep basin. It's just like a swimming pool. In the Kalubihon Falls, you need to enter a cave before you can see the actual falls. And I wasn't able to take a pic of it since my camera might get wet. But some of my friends have the waterproof one so you better secure something of the sort in going to Kalubihon. 

You can do all these fun things too! Here are some of the tips that might be able to help you in planning your waterfalling travels! They're kinda personal but this might be of help. And definitely, you can create your own very soon. 


1) Always bring band-aid. 
 I always wanted to take risk and even in adventures, I don't think you'd get to enjoy the fullest if you just play it safe. For this adventure though, I slipped through mossy surfaces a lot and I've got many bruises. But it's all worth it and I've got it prepared at hand. 

2) Secure extra camera batteries and memory cards. 
This is something I  always wanna remind myself of when I travel. One thing I've learned from my photography professor in US is that we have to take as many shots as possible. And then choose the best from a wide array of selection. Sadly though, I wasn't able to concentrate on it in this trip because I'm also organizing the Kasadya and this happened at exactly the same date. 

3. Talk to the locales. 
I think what sets an experience apart from the rest is when we explore what's beyond the obvious. And the best people who know what real experience is in a certain place are those people who live with it - and those are the locales. So, walk with them and ask them what more can you find in the area. This is what we did when we never knew that there are hidden caves in Tinago, or the water source of Kalubihon Falls which also happened to be a perfect diving spot for me (because I'm small). 

Otherwise, plan ahead and see you sometime here in Iligan City! Muchas gracias!


Why Bohol is Worth Discovering !

Fine beaches. Breath-taking views. Magnificent landscapes. Hospitable People.

What is more to describe Bohol?

If you want to have a good vacation in budget, Bohol must be a very good option for you. Other than being known for its tourist spots, I’ve realized that there’s so much to explore in the island that only first-hand experiences can describe. Bohol has remained to be the mysterious island that we’ve constantly attempted to profile. But there’s something in that place that really entices people to stay for Boholeños and attract visitors to come to the island.

We took a fast craft to Bohol after we re-routed to Cebu. That just costs about P550.00. As soon as we set our foot in the port of the island , we were welcomed by a very good-looking jellyfish. Actually, this is the largest one that I’ve seen in real life. And it is glowing in colors so I was really amazed that the jellyfish lives near the port. And if you look at the port waters, it’s very clean. This just goes to show that Bohol waters are really that clear. Their port areas have crystal waters already, how much more are those in the beach resorts themselves?

Then I told myself, this is yet the start of another 4 days exploring this beautiful Visayan island. We took a snap view of the Tagbilaran City and we saw awesome spots. Tagbilaran is not really a big city and it’s perfectly just right for being an ecological niche. I don’t think commercialization of the area is even a good thing. And the GPS of the car helps in getting acquainted to the different structures and major highways.

Our next stop is the Panglao Beach, one of the most popular attractions in Bohol because of its white sand beaches and different sites of activities. Panglao is actually a very good starting point for island hopping, scuba diving and dolphin watching. We arrived late already so we can’t do the dolphin watching. But that is what all of us have been rooting for.  So to compensate for that, I just took this fun photo!

I actually love dolphins a lot and I really think they’re cute enough to be adored by humans. I think scuba diving and dolphin watching should be made cheaper so that a lot of people are going to develop a greater affinity towards their preservation, as well as to the locales so that they would appreciate the beauty of what’s adjacent and protect their habitats from destruction.  

There are so many food choices in the area. Looking at the photos, you can see how they market the seafood in the place. And we’ve got a fair share of this taste after trying some of the best offers in the restaurant. 

The Mango Shake wins, with the perfect blend of guitars strung at my back's wind gushes as I lay my tired spine in the relaxing platform near the sand's glittering white.

We took some vanity shots just to deal with the beauty of Panglao. But other than that, because we really think that it's a good place to live for someone's vanity. Walking along the beaches of Panglao in sunset time makes you feel like you're in Boracay. The presence of so many foreigners, scuba divers, beach stalls, souvenir shops, girls in bikinis and everything kind of leaves that elating feeling of being back in Bali or having gone to Boracay Island.

This is definitely one of the highlights of my trip - the Bamboo concert. We were in the front line and he is one of the guest performers in the convention, so we were able to take many shots. Bamboo really makes some good music, and he's one of the icons I was looking forward to meet before. 

After the overnight convention is the start of our very busy schedule travelling all over Bohol. It feels great that we were a bit inspired by the lessons that we have acquired in that transformational experience. I wasn't able to take a lot of shots in the convention because it's not really a formal one. It's an overnight event,with concerts, a couple of dancing, leadership reflections and team-building activities. 
This is a picture of me asking one of the speakers about his personal experience and how it inspired him to continue his endeavors.

This is the site of the blood compact in Bohol between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna on March 16, 1565. The Blood Compact is also called "Sandugo" and is even the theme of the festival three days after the Sigala every June of the year in Bohol. Actually, it has been really argued in the place where exactly is the location of the compact since in an adjacent barangay, you can also see another blood compact place. But this is the popular monument to go and tourists usually drop by in the area as a starting point of the day long travel exploring the  beautiful island in Visayas. 

We went to different stops of the famous floating restaurant that sails along the Loboc River. Actually, we just went to the terminals of the restaurants and took photos alongside. I think the picture is a meal with some musicians playing violin or the sexy sax in the background. And as soon as the restaurant guests arrive in the stop, there will be some performers in traditional attires who will dance some traditional dances of Bohol.

Visiting the Largest Python Zoo is a big thing to me because snakes are ultimate fears. I just wasn’t able to develop that forward feelings towards them. I could die just by seeing a snake staring at me. But this python is really big. The snake is 15 years old, of Vietnamese origin and when it was caged,it is still very little. And thank God, he is sleeping when we went to his place that time. The zoo also has other animals like “melo” or the palm civet cat, monitor lizard, crow and many other species of birds, etc. The zoo houses some endangered species as well. It's just that I haven't felt the beauty of it being so natural. I mean, I can't expect zoos to be so natural, right? Like just by seeing those animals caged is not natural to begin with. But I have seen zoos that are educational and at the same time, see in the animals that they still have quasi-freedom because there's an attempt to parallel their habitats with that of the zoo. And a perfect example of which is Zoobic, that zoo in  Subic that is a center for conservation of species and the Manila Ocean park which is geared towards baseline awareness of marine life. And I quite didn't feel these values in this zoo. 

Anyway, one of the things that made this trip a lot more interesting is the fact that we went to several churches and ancient towers. I think going deeper historically is a tradition for any tourist in an area and you can just find many old churches in Bohol that were built way back centuries ago. Here in the picture, you can see the inside structure of Baclayon Church, which is one of the most-well preserved by the Jesuits and oldest churches in the Philippines.We also went to Loboc Tower.

In here is an awesome picture of my friends taking a jump shot with the famous Chocolate Hills in the background. I was taking the shot actually so I'm not part of the group picture. The hills entail a story with it and a lot of people have different interpretations of the story. It actually turns gray during summer because the grasses that cover the hills fade due to the weather. And I guess that's where they got the name of it because it looks like lumps of chocolates during summer time.

After going to Chocolate hills, we went straight to the Tarsier Conservation Area. Along the way, we met Christopher, so we took a photo with him. He is shooting for a show about Tarsier conservation. One of the things that I have learned in the area is that tarsiers are very sensitive to lighting. And that is the reason why flashes are absolute no-no's when you take photos of them. There are many tarsiers in the place, but you can just count them.

Then we went to the Ship Haus. There are souvenir shops below the house. It just opened for public viewing and the house was once featured in Rated K. The cool thing about it is that all the staff in the house are dressed like marine officers. They're very friendly and they even welcome you right ahead. They're also very willing to take photos of you. It's kinda ironic though that the Ship Haus is located far from the seaside, like really in the mountainous elevations. But overall, the architecture is great. 

This is the Loboc Man-made Forest. I can imagine how scary the place would be during the night. But it's beautiful during the daytime. You can also drop by and  avail some souvenir shirts in the stalls located at the heart of the forest.

Since in life, you get to cross and meet some people. Some of them leave us with very big marks, while there are those who just come across like a gush of wind that leaves us and you can't even take a grip of them. With that, I told myself that in my future travels, my plan is to meet the people that I know as a way of reconnecting to them. So I met a friend of mine from the Journey, Nick who is currently teaching in a review center but is a registered nurse and he gave me some awesome 'pasalubong'. Also, in the event that I have attended, which is the iTransform Leadership Convention, some of the speakers are my friends. Ms. Renelyn Tan of World Youth Alliance and Rex are two of the speakers in the event. Dawn Macahilo came along with Renelyn as a volunteer for the WYAAP. These three people are my co-parliamentarians in the 8th National Youth Parliament. We look happily reunited in the photo.

But before we left towards Jagna to catch up for the ship scheduled to Cagayan de Oro, we stopped over this awesome sunset as my friends are buying some Kalamay for pasalubong in the entrance shop of the Python Zoo. There are lots of 'pasalubong' shops as well in the sea ports area and they're very cheap too.

 I took this sunset photo - the last one before the DSLR battery died.
And that folds my Bohol experience! I am looking forward to be back in this place again. How about you? Visit the place and for sure you'll love it too! Go beyond what I have gone to. I think I haven't even gone to 50% of all of the tourist spots of Bohol. And it's cool because that's what makes it a place to still look forward going back to.

Some Tips for Future Travelers to Bohol:

1) Always bring extra batteries in your camera, as well as secure an extra memory card. You might get some problems along the way because Bohol is just full of picturesque spots.

2) Learn to be a budget traveller. You can avail of the P2500.00 van service which will bring you anywhere in the tourist spots and anywhere in the place. And that comes with its fuel. There are inexpensive food stalls everywhere, so better funnel your budget in tourist spots exploration and souvenirs.

3) Outline your travel itinerary ahead. This is the best way to get a thrill of the best shots and places in Bohol. There's a lot more to explore. But never miss the Dolphin Watch and Island Hopping in Panglao.

4) Follow the simple rules in the places of attraction. It goes for all travelers anywhere in the world . But I have to tell you that Bohol is really a place that strikes a balance between development and environment. And with that, they follow stricter rules when it comes to waste disposals, among all other things. 

5) But you know, sometimes, it pays to break some rules, like what I did in the photos here in the tips section. 

I love Bohol!


The Sound of October: Iligan Business Month 2012

“Moving Towards a Competitive Iligan” – that is the theme of the Business Month for this year as the month of October  folds with many activities to build up the momentum of the business climate in the city.

There are many activities that are lined up for the month-long celebration and different stakeholders from the business sector will converge with ideas formation and knowledge production in improving the development capital of Iligan City.After the launching program held last October 1 at Buhanginan Hills, the activities slowly pen the actions of vigor and passion for an Iligan that will again put itself in the business map of the Philippines.

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The Business Forum 2012, being one of the activities set for the businessmen and entrepreneurs of the city, is a meet-up of different individuals who have proven worth towards their  placement in the business world. Also, this is a good avenue for people who wanted to enter the business world to learn the basics of commerce and industry and get some tips from experts and keynote guests. Aside from having speakers all the way from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Mayor Lawrence Cruz and Congressman Varf Belmonte will also grace the event. They will be talking about the role of government in supporting micro-scale enterprises and helping them grow as well as the government-business tie-up status for a better Iligan. This is in formulation of the idea that private sector and the government should work together to supplement a better economical end for the city.
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