“San po tayo papunta? Wala na po tayo sa road sa GPS map ko? Kala ko lake tong nasa kaliwa natin. Dagat na pala! (Where are we going? We’re far off the road from my GPS map. I thought this water on our left side was a lake. It turns out we’re near the sea already!)” I excitedly asked Mam Fe, the tourism officer of Sapang Dalaga in Misamis Occidental. Prior to my trip in this province, I never really did any research on the places to see here and just concerned myself with the lecture I did for the 9th Culinary Congress held in La Salle University in Ozamiz City. Since the event was over, we had a few days free to explore the province. The provincial tourism led by Sir Gain and Mam Pretzel, took us around to discover the attractions of the province. I just kept my mind open to what hidden gems they have and one municipality that clearly made a mark for me in terms of natural wonders is Sapang Dalaga. They got wonderful coastal scenery, breathtaking hills view and a beautiful waterfall that would surely attract nature lovers and adventurers.
Lunch on a Floating Cottage
It took us more than two hours (with a few stops along the way) to reach Sapang Dalaga from Ozamiz City. The municipality is located east of Misamis Occidental already near the border of Zamboanga del Norte. I kept tabs with my GPS on our location as we go on a winding uphill road until we reached the town proper of Sapang Dalaga where we met up with Mayor Manuel Animas and local tourism Mam Fe who would join us for lunch.
From the town center, our L300 vehicle got off the paved road and navigated a dirt road. I thought our elevation was getting higher but got surprised to see a body of water on our left side. From south, we were heading north of Sapang Dalaga and getting close to Casul Bay at Barangay Caluya. We headed straight to the pier and immediately boarded an outrigger for a short ride to one of the 3 floating cottages in the middle of the bay. I was amazed how clear the waters here are I could distinctly see the corals underwater. I wish we had more time here as I just wanted to jump in and snorkel.
Our lunch was a feast of seafoods from crabs, shrimps and spider shells they locally call Saang and some tasty fish catch they locally call kitong and sunghan. I asked the aged but nimble Mayor Manuel why the place is called “Sapang Dalaga” which in English means “Maiden by the creek”. He said that in the old times, even back in the Spanish era, the place has many maidens washing their clothes by the creek.
Lunch on the floating cottage was a great experience worthy of our long ride. I was told that rental of the cottage is Php500 for 24 hours and food like we had for lunch can be prepared for Php 500 which is good for 3 persons.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.