2011: The Year That Was

And here goes my year summarized in photos taken from all over the Philippines. I have thus proven that once bitten by the travel bug, one can never go back. Thanks to all the friends I met online at first, on the road eventually. I hope 2012 has a lot more in store for me and my itchy feet. 🙂 Cheers!

3 Destinations in One Go: CDO-Bukidnon-Camiguin Itinerary

Let me share to you our 3-day itinerary complete with incurred expenses (ha!) for our CDO-Bukidnon-Camiguin trip. Lucky me, I was able to book a roundtrip ticket from CebuPac for Manila-CDO for only 803.04pesos (with 15KG baggage allowance). We were originally 7 in the group, then we made two new friends during our rafting adventure and they eventually joined us in Bukidnon and Camiguin.

Thrifting Challenge: UKAY in CDO-Divisoria

Bearing the same name as Manila’s market district known for wholesale and retail goods at rock-bottom prices, Divisoria at Cagayan de Oro is a shopping mecca for pre-loved clothes, shoes, and bags. More than thrift garment and trinket finds, this plaza (actually Plaza Divisoria or more formally known as Golden Friendship Park) also boasts of mouth-watering foods, street magicians, and even live music (every Friday and Saturday nights for Divisoria Night CafĂ© and Night Market). We went to CDO on a Tuesday; now I’m making a mental note for future trips to CDO to go there on Fridays and Saturdays. Nevertheless, the experience was still fun and worthwhile because I went on to buy a bag and a pair of Keds!

Rows of stalls selling UKAY clothes line your path when you stroll by Divisoria. Some clothes are already hanging by the rack. These are usually the premium ones, branded and in mint condition but of course, pricier. Others are unsorted and just spread on sackcloth for everyone’s picking. This is where the challenge begins. Picture the shopper as a treasure hunter looking for that prized jewel. One should get down on his knees without any bags about him that could hinder his mission. (Leave that bag in your hotel and bring only enough cash if you want to go night shopping). Now in perfect hunting form, he collects and collects then finally selects. If he likes it and it’s good value for money (which in most cases it certainly is), he should pay for it pronto!

It’s a shame I wasn’t able to take shots during our night shopping as my battery was drained and I had to have it charged at the hotel (Casa Isabella). Still, I want to share my UKAY finds with you so I took pictures of them.


A little laundry magic should do!


Total shopping expenses: 150 pesos

Bag- 50 pesos

Shoes- 100 pesos (old and well-worn, but still worth a shot! with lots of character too!)


Game Face On: Rafting in Cagayan de Oro City

Lalang and Cocoy, as “bangkeros” and rafting guides, never ran out of jokes and myths and anecdotes during our 3-hour adrenaline-pumping rafting adventure. Pitching out stories on how one hanging bridge (which we saw during the ride) was the longest in the country since it connects 2 provinces (Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon) and how a small hut by the riverside also served as a factory (factory for babies, that is) had us all singing to the “Going Bulilit” theme. Of course some jokes were lame but we’ve got to give it to them for making the ride worthwhile and keeping us entertained, not to mention safe too.

The rapids have monikers descriptive of what they lead the paddlers to do. There’s “Kiss the Wall” where you could literally kiss the wall if the paddle strokes are not enough for the rubber boat to make the turn. There’s also “brave’s way” and “surprise”.  For one of the rapids, the guides told us to stand when paddling. With knees shaking and hearts rapidly beating, we braced ourselves for the turbulence. Fluid dynamics for the bold and the brave! With 15 rapids through, we demanded for snacks. We were drained already and the ride’s not over yet so we recharged with Vjandep’s famous pastel from Camiguin and some juice in Tetra Pak. Unmindful of the 16th rapid ahead, we breezed through the meal like famished children.

It was a long countdown to the last rapid with the boatmen instructing us what paddle stroke to use (heavy forward, back, right turn, left turn) every step of the way. I remember associating heavy forward strokes with them intentionally causing the boat to tip over (in safe areas I was assured). Being a non-swimmer, I cling desperately to the rope in my seat which was fastened to the boat to the disapproving nods of the guides as I may lose hold of the paddle.  Number 1 rule in rafting: never lose the paddle. They tell us to keep the paddling synchronized if we want to survive the rapids. Ok then. Let me just anchor my feet in the space between the seat and the rubber boat’s floor. Ha! Now look at the completely petrified look on my face:

And here’s how to put your game face on: maintain a semblance of the perfect paddling form, flash that undaunted gaze (as if challenging the rapids to give it all), keep the mouth open and the nostrils flaring. Voila! As a demonstration, refer to picture below (zoom in: man in green shirt, rightmost).

21 rapids conquered! Considering that Cagayan River is the largest and longest river in the Philippines, this is definitely a feat. If you want adventure in CDO, advanced white water rafting is the thing for you. Game face on!


edit (13Aug2011): Cagayan River in Luzon is the Philippines’ largest, and not Cagayan de Oro River.

Rafting Adventure Organizer:

Great White Water Rafting          

Package (Rafting bundled with Zipzone rides in Bukidnon’s Dahilayan Adventure Park, meals, and transfers): 2,000 pesos per person