Posted by: bridex | September 18, 2010

A perfect rainbow over Mount Apo


I was just taking photos of Mt. Apo from the terrace this morning when a sudden downpour seemed to dampen the hope of getting clear views of the “grandfather of Philippine mountains,” which looks its best in the early morning. Luckily, the rain was short-lived and, when the sky cleared up, a perfect arch of a rainbow figured over the southern Davao landscape and directly above Mt. Apo. So I took the rare opportunity to capture the wonderful spectacle with my Nikon camera. Here’s one of the better shots among the 30 or so I took. If you look closely at the photo, there appears to be another rainbow on top of the clear one. I thought it’s just marvelous in a two-birds-with-one-stone kinda way. What a wonderful way to start my weekend! :)

Brass gongs and horsehide drums will again burst into ethnic rhythm in Davao’s streets in this most awaited season of the Kadayawan.  Dubbed as the king of all Mindanao festivals, the Kadayawan festival is held every August to perpetuate the ancient thanksgiving ritual of the lumads–the ethnic tribes of Davao.  The official Kadayawan website recounts that in antiquity, Davao’s ethnic tribes residing at the foot of Mount Apo would converge during a bountiful harvest to manifest their gratitude to the gods, particularly to the “Manama” (the Supreme Being), giving them respect and thanks for the year’s abundance. In this ancient practice, the lumads would display various farming implements, fruits, flowers, vegetables, rice and corn grains, engage in singing and dancing, and give offerings to their divine protectors.

This year’s festivities will be held on the week beginning August 16 and ending August 22, and is called “K10“, a voguish contraction for “Kadayawan 2010.”  In spite of the festival’s August 16-22 official time-frame, various shows and events have been scheduled since the beginning of August.   I will not list down all of these events here because the Kadayawan website pretty much does that for all of us.

My favorite events occur during the official Kadayawan week and have something in common–they are all celebrated in the streets of Davao City. Among them is Hudyakaan, from August 16 to 22, which offers everyone on-the-street food and live band entertainment at Bolton St., right in the middle of the city and a few paces from the City Hall, the Sanggunian, and San Pedro Cathedral. Another favorite is the Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan, on August 21, where youths and tribes folks trail the city’s streets donned in colorful ethnic costumes to regale the  street crowd with a parade of tribal dances and music.  Of course, there is the Pamulak:  Floral Float Parade, on August 22, which serves as the festival’s glorious finale and showcases the abundance of Davao City and neighboring areas through a parade of colorful and artistic floats covered in flowers and fruits.

There are few things other than the Kadayawan that push me to take to Davao City’s streets despite the searing heat or mounting rains.  For sure, the Kadayawan festival provides me the rare opportunity to traverse the city’s streets on foot and with a lot of fun while at it.  But the prospect of walking during the festivities can be met with, uhm, the usual concerns.  Here are some tips to Read More…

When I started this blog, I swore that I shall never post anything that risk besmirching the image of my hometown, Davao, and the rest of Mindanao.  The purpose of this blog, I resolved, was to promote tourism, discuss news and developments, exhibit photos, and mark important events in Davao and the Mindanao beyonds.

The Mindanao Stigma occurs much like a contagion, wherein generalized reports of events and anomalies in a single point in Mindanao cause the entire island or region to be grouped, labeled, or branded, as to create public impression that such events or anomalies pervade or exist all throughout it.

I surmise that it is time for me to get real, down and dirty in the face of a shocking UNdevelopment.

Yesterday evening, getting home from a whole day of pounding in a government office in Taft Avenue, Manila, I found a mouth-rending news story on GMA.  It was about TV journalist Cez Drilon’s alleged kidnapping in Sulu.

Sulu, of course, is a sub-archipelago in southwestern Mindanao. Now, there’s the rub — the mere mention of “Mindanao” would most certainly act as an invocation of the ugly specters of terrorism and unrest. This would likely happen to the uninformed or to those who have not set foot on Mindanao. It’s a sorry cycle that’s hard to undo in the non-Mindanawon psyche.  Well, that includes foreigners who would normally feel hesitation whenever met with the prospect of getting to Mindanao.

It’s about time, perhaps that the media collectively take on the responsibility of finally eradicating the “Mindanao stigma” and its destructive effects. That will do a lot in safeguarding not only the good image but also the potentials of the other provinces, cities or regions who have been unduly dragged into this branding trap when in fact none of the evils occur in these places.

The foreigners i’ve seen in Davao have a lot to tell their brethren (is this term in any way gender-insenstive?) on what they had been missing for not coming over.  Hopefully, that would elicit non-visitor regret for ever believing in generalist anti-Mindanao travel advisories.  Because, after all, Mindanao is not all about kidnappings, skirmishes, rebellions, insurgency and unrest.  For instance, tourists who have been to Davao can attest to the peace and security, not to mention the wonders and tourist attractions which abound from its islands to its highlands.

Indeed, the UNdevelopment in Sulu will set off a viral outbreak engulfing the “innocent” regions in Mindanao, a domino effect of sorts that would topple the painstakingly built images of the regions, provinces and cities which over the years have tried to make a good name for themselves in the effort to attract investors, tourists and relocators. This contagion or outbreak, spawned by generalized or sensationalized reports of events and anomalies occurring in a single point in Mindanao (Sulu, for instance), and which create public impression that such events or anomalies pervade or exist throughout the whole island, is the so-called Mindanao Stigma.

With such unsettling news, I can’t help but be defensive. Knowing the “generalist” media, I expect that in no time, the broadcast and print platforms will be awash with unfair, nay scurrilous, articles, accounts and news items on Mindanao. Not to generalize, though, but it can be observed that many media practioners still breathe life into the smelly nostrils of the notorious Mindanao stigma.  Such are the yellow curtains of an  unfair, unbalanced and sensationalist brand of reportage that lends a myopic but glaringly uninformed view of Mindanao.

With that, please treat this post as an appeal: Let the trouble in Sulu remain in Sulu.  Avoid using general terms like “Mindanao” or “Southern Philippines” when referring to the locus of this incident. After all, the media never uses “Visayas” to refer to such Provinces or Cities as Cebu, Iloilo or Bacolod.  Neither does media use “Luzon” when referring to Albay, Bicol or Ilocos.

It’s about time, perhaps that the media collectively take on the responsibility of finally eradicating the “Mindanao stigma” and its destructive effects.  I admit that this task would be long and hard, but starting now will do a lot in safeguarding not only the good image but also the potentials of the other provinces, cities or regions where none of these evils occur but which are too unlucky to slip into the “Mindanao” branding trap. This applies to Bloggers and the Web media, as well.

Posted by: bridex | June 2, 2008

One Big Durian at Davao’s International Airport

Davao International AirportI arrived in Manila last night at around 11:30 PM after a much delayed flight.  It didn’t really bother me that much because I was not in any need of haste.  Oh, by the way, the controversial Senator Jamby Madrigal was in 1F, that’s  4 seats in front of me on flight PR 816.  Which brought me to ask (internally), Welcome to Davao, Davao International Airporthad she been checking out Davao’s attractions lately?  A stroll at the People’s Park maybe?  I noticed she had a slight tan.  So was it Pearl Farm? Malipano? Buenavista Island of the Davao Ayalas (vis-a-vis the Makati Ayalas)? Uhmm maybe not, it looked pretty much like her natural skin tone.  Then, was she taking a little break from Senatorial hubbub or was she taking time off from the row on her aunt’s estate (allegedly worth more than the ZTE deal)?  I doubt it.  It was a pretty smooth flight though, but a little rough on the landing.  So, okay, now to my story. 

Durian Sculpture, Davao International AirportMy mom know quite a number of people at PAL, for regularly “flying Philippine Airlines,” and being rather friendly to the staff.  Sometimes I wonder why attendants at the Mabuhay Lounge (in Manila) would serve her food and stuff.  I mean, isn’t the Mabuhay Lounge a self-service area?  Must be the privilege of being a Mabuhay Premier Elite member.  So, it was not the least surprising that when I went to the Philippine Airlines ticketing office at the Davao International Airport to pay for my unplanned flight, one of the ladies handed a shiny, crisp copy of Mabuhay Magazine.  Apparently, my mom had told them about my story having made it to the Mag.  It was rather flattering, although a little awkward, but at least I wouldn’t have to steal a copy from the Business class seats in the plane!

So, that over, I went to the parking area supposedly to take off and finish packing.  But then something familiar figured in my periphery, something so familiar but which I haven’t gotten the chance to see up close.  So I grabbed my Nokia and treaded closer Read More…

islandhopping_CIMG0539I promised in a previous post on my Island Hopping escapades that I will be providing Island-hopping information, tips, reminders, maps and costing guides—things that aren’t easy to find on the Web.  Good thing I’ve had ample time today to make good that promise, and cook up this “helpful” post based on my islandhopping_03222008498family’s time-tested Island-hopping recipe.  I hope this could be of help to readers or their friends who are planning to embark on an adventure cruise in and around the Davao Gulf.  I am open to suggestions, additions, corrections and criticism.  Drop me a comment or send me an email via the About page.

islandhopping_03222008486Commercial Island-Hopping Packages.  For a maximum of convenience, contact any of Davao and Samal’s Travel and Tour Agencies, Resorts and Hotels for offerings.  Standard Island-Hopping tours already include full-day (8-hour) boat rentals, a tour guide, individually packed lunch, complimentary bottled water, the standard 5 sets of snorkeling gears, and one kayak or banca (oar-driven mini-boat).  These packages take you to at least three major stopover points and normally cruise on the Western Davao Gulf area—the part closer to Davao City.  Rates usually start at Php 15,000 (USD 366) for 20 persons.  Prices can go up or down depending on the number of passengers.

Samal Island and Talikud Island - image taken from The Official Site of IGACOSCustomized Island-Hopping Package.  Island-hopping doesn’t have to be costly.  The budget-conscious can do away with the kayak and the tour guide.  After all, the boat captain and crew know every nook and cranny of the Davao Gulf like any seasoned Tour guide.  And, most of the larger boats come equipped with a banca or mini-boat so that pretty much steps in for the kayak.  Head over to the Sta. Ana wharf beside the Magsaysay Park in Downtown Davao and make a selection among the many boats docked thereat.  Plan your route and destinations (click the map on the right to see Samal and Talikud’s attractions, taken from The Official Igacos Website). Also, plan your meals ahead of time.  Here are the things to consider in customizing your Island-hopping experience:

Boat Rentals.  The Sta. Ana wharf is host to Davao’s island-hopping boats.  Go to the wharf at most one day before the scheduled tour date and take your pick among the launches docked in the area and make arrangements with the boat owners or crew. A 30 to 40-capacity Read More…

Thanks to Blogie of Blogie Blog, I got wind of an entry by Jai on Blog, Oh Blog (B.O.B.) announcing a contest honoring Wordpress’ Fifth year anniversary where one gets to blog on THE contest.  Okay, it’s like this:  it is a contest that requires participants to blog about the contest. I know I’m being circuitous here, but just read B.O.B. to get a clear grasp of the mechanics. 

The B.O.B. contest outcome:  Five winners of Five premium WordPress or B. O. B. Themes for their blogs. Plus: One lucky winner will have the rare privilege of having their blog reviewed on B.O.B.—a US$300 value you may get for free just by blogging about the contest.  Good deal, isn’t it? 

Nay, it’s irresistable!  For someone who has been maintaining a free blog space on a free WordPress theme, who has been (silently) complaining about the limited possibilities of being CSS-deprived, a chance at having a paid-for PREMIUM theme is something definitely worth vying for.  Well, not that I’m a pro at CSS codes; I usually learn the codes as needed.  But anyway, the good thing about having a premium theme is to be able to modify your blog according to one’s own whim. And that’s a sure-fire way to take my blogging experience a notch or two higher than the current lackadaisical.  If I should win, I will certainly consider purchasing a premium space on WordPress.  It’s about time, perhaps, that this blog gets the much needed facelift it deserves. LOL.

So, there goes my ticket!

Posted by: bridex | May 28, 2008

Beach Wedding perfect Malipano Island

malipano052520081493The first beach wedding I attended took place on Sunday, May 25, 2008, at the breathtaking Isla Malipano, a short boat ride from The Pearl Farm Resort. Isla Malipano is the “luxury island” of The Pearl Farm, hosting the resort’s luxurious villas, and is a 10-minute boat ride from the Pearl Farm “mainland” on Samal Island.

The couple, Ben a young and renowned Photographer in Davao City, and Arden of the Lim Family of Toril and a photography enthusiast herself, made the wonderful choice of holding their vow reaffirmation at the picturesque tropical island. Having been wed first in February 2008, the couple renewed their vows in a grand wedding ceremony I have previously seen only in movies.

The wedding took place at the island’s bermuda helipad, replete with a tulle-clad altar shed that had dangling lanterns and crystal embellisments. Sprays of yellow orchids and red composite flowers with brown vine and verdant leaf accents adorned the altar shed as well as the petal-carpeted aisle. The entourage, sponsors and guests witnessed the wonderfully solemn event seated in clothed chairs, which came equipped with complimentary buri fans. The outdoor spectacle unfolded slowly and beautifully with the lovely vocals of Voice Box, a group composed of Ateneo glee club members, serenading the congregation as the afternoon sun approached Davao’s horizon.

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The groom, Benjamin Young III, unleashed his movie star appeal in a beige coat over a white undershirt, beige pants, amber-toned Burberry shades and leather sandals.  His bride, the beautiful Arden Lim, looked immaculate in her flowing white tube dress sprinkled with crystals and capped by a fluid veil that tailed a meter or so behind her on the petal-covered ground.

malipano052520081431malipano_entourageAfter the classic Kiss that concludes every wedding ceremony, everyone headed to the reception area just a short walk from the helipad.  Set on the white sand beach of Malipano within view from the island’s villas, the “party area” hosted a tulle-festooned malipano052520081497malipano052520081485gazebo for the couple adorned with dangling crystals and the familiar yellow-and-red flower ensemble on its crest and on the surrounding sand.  Overhead throughout the place were pendant spherical Japanese lanterns set on wires, and elsewhere were capiz lamps set on bamboo poles.  The guests’ and sponsors’ tables were covered with white cloth then topped by shimmering organza and lit by Read More…

Part of my family's Mabuhay Magazine collectionI received confirmation Tuesday, 13 May 2008, that a story on the origins of the Waling-waling which I wrote will be featured in the June 2008 issue of Mabuhay Magazine, the inflight travel and leisure publication of Philippine Airlines.  Miss Ira of Eastgate Publishing, the official publisher of Mabuhay, told me on Tuesday via E-mail that the June 2008 issue of the magazine is already being printed in Hong Kong and will be ready for release on the first day of June.  That piece of good news got me all giddy and excited not so much because of the check (which will contain something nowhere near substantial) but because I have never thought that I will find my name in a magazine of which my family and I have been avid collectors for years. 

The June 2008 issue of Mabuhay Magazine will center on Davao as its main feature, and knowing that my story is part of it makes me feel incredibly thankful and blessed.

The story, “The Legend of the Queen Orchid” (alternatively, “The Legend of the Waling-Waling” or plainly, “Waling”), an original legend I wrote in 1998, is part of a collection of writings which I uploaded to my websites some 10 years ago.  I remember back in my college days, way before “blogging” made its way to Netizen parlance, I created  websites on Geocities and Fortunecity (with versions in English and Bisaya), which were free web-hosting sites that provided free web space (something like 15MB—you got that right!—back in the day) and TONS of ads.  

Like a true novice, I crammed  Read More…

Posted by: bridex | May 6, 2008

Island-hopping in Davao Gulf

Click to see my island-hopping photo set on Flickr.  On photo - Sea urchins on the white pebble beach of Isla Reta Dos, Talikud IslandIt’s summer once more and the quintessential getaway this time of year consists of sun, sand and a sparkling shore. To those who may have had a fill of full-day stays at resorts and beaches, a little variety couldn’t hurt.  To make things a tad more interesting, add up a boat, lifevests, and perhaps ice-cold drinks and Lechon, some snorkelling or scuba gears or an optional kayak, and you are on your way to extreme summertime bliss.

 

 

 (Click Here for Info, Tips, Maps and Costing Guides)

In a place like Davao, located on the shores of the Davao Gulf and in close proximity to the many islands thereof, the tropical blessings of sun, sea, sand and shore are within an arm’s length away.  It is hence doubtless why island hopping is Kaputian Beach, Samal Islanda staple summertime activity of many a Davao folk for ages.  What, with the many delights the Davao Gulf and its islands hold:  Pristine white-sand beaches, picturesque islets, ubiquitous coral reefs, marvelous limestone cliffs and caves, turquoise, emerald and sapphire waters, and friendly fishermen willing to give discounts on their day’s catch. Island-hopping, is a perfect way to discover these wonderful vistas in Davao’s lovely seascape.

It doesn’t cost a fortune to embark on an island hopping escapade in Davao.  For instance, basic island-hopping packages for 20 persons start at around Php 15,000 (USD 370 at USD 1 = Php 41)—so that’s around Php 750 (USD 18.50) per person—and already includes full-day boat rentals, packed lunch, five snorkelling sets, a kayak or mini-boat (banca), and complimentary bottled water for everyone.  For starters, this isn’t bad at all, cheap even, because you can always bring additional food and Davao's island-hopping boatsdrinks on board to your liking.  Of course, you can always add some variety, still without losing a fortune.  An interesting (and I would say, sumptuous) addition would be a Davao-style banquet on board: Lechon, pansit, grilled fare of bangus, panga, tuna, pork and chicken, puso rice,  fruit basket of pineapples, mangoes, pomelos, bananas, lanzones and rambutan, and lots of ice-cold drinks.  Hey, that sounds like a lot, but in a place like Davao, that hardly burns a hole in your pocket! 

But there’s really no stopping you from foregoing commercial Island Hopping package rates and making your own Davao Gulf package for your group to save you Read More…

Posted by: bridex | March 19, 2008

Zipping and Cabling at Camp Sabros

Camp Sabros Photos.
Click to view larger image.
The Camp Sabros main entrance. Cez, Kikai and I pose at the main entrance arch upon arrival.

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Hike
Hiking one-kilometer up to Camp Sabros is tiring but fun. It affords you ample time to enjoy the marvelous scenery on the way up. It’s a good exercise, too!

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There’s more! Zip Ahead.

Yesterday’s experience can be summed up as
WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Monday, 17 March 2008, was declared a local holiday in Davao City (Araw ng Dabaw), so I and two of my friends plus one driver went on an adventure to a mountain resort in Kapatagan, Davao del Sur.

Nestled in the mountains 3,900 feet (around 1,200 meters) above sea level is Camp Sabros, a mountain eco-adventure spot that has been featured on national outdoor and adventure show, Sports Unlimited, and noted for having two of the country’s longest and craziest zip lines : 380 meters and 400 meters.

We parked our vehicle at the outpost guarding the Mt. Apo National Park and the Mt. Apo Mountaineering Trail before hiking uphill to Camp Sabros. Vehicles may be brought all the way up to Camp Sabros, but we opted that out. Trekking to the Camp is laborious but fun. It affords you ample time to enjoy the marvelous scenery on the way up. It’s a good exercise, too!

(Info and Tips on Camp Sabros can be found at the end of this post, please
READ MORE.)

The trail we walked was a steep dirt track so that when we finally reached the entrance arch to the camp, we were all panting and sweating. But it was all worth it because the moment we stepped on the camp’s wide grounds, we knew that we were just inches from our Superman Adventure! Read More…

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