Birding has been one of the activities I enjoy while traveling lately. It gets me really immersed in nature. It’s a calming activity. And being able to observe bird behavior and the species found in the area gives me an idea on the state of the environment is. My travel to Coron and Busuanga got me excited to spot more birds in the province. Palawan alone has 23 bird species out of the 218 endemic found in the Philippines. Birds of Coron and Busuanga is a collection of birds I encountered from my last trip. Surely bumped my list of bird lifers.
A visit to the Calauit Safari Park is usually packaged with a Busuanga island hopping tour. Since they are basically in the same area, the tour is clumped together to maximize the time spent in Busuanga. With the safari tour completed by noon, our afternoon was spent on the islands of Malajon, Debotunay and North Cay islands. These islands in the west are also part of the Calamianes group of islands. Each island has unique characters of its own.
The heat was overwhelming upon my first taste of Kuwaiti air in the 3rd quarter of the year. Even at night, the blowing wind felt like it was coming from the oven. During day, the sun intensifies the heat, reaching higher than 40°C. The only respite is the shade. But even under the shadows, I found myself still sweating buckets. It took a while for me to get used to this weather. Even if there are several malls with air-conditioners functioning at full capacity, I was looking for some green, cool, and open spaces. I found the recently open and on-going development of Al Shaheed Park fascinating. A modern city development to what seemed to be an oasis in the city.
For many culture, a broken mirror means bad luck in the unforeseeable future. But for Italian-born contemporary artist Lidia Qattan, seeing her daughter with scattered glass shards on the floor sparked a creative idea. To minimize her daughter’s wall doodling, Lidia started to place the mirror pieces on the wall with artistic patterns. This was the start of decades of work to transform her humble home in Kuwait as the only house in the world covered in mirror mosaic – the Mirror House.
Setting off to a distant island across rough seas and under intermittent weather in the wee hours of the morning aboard a large fishing vessel may sound like a romanticized adventure. But that’s exactly how our journey to Seco Island began. Well not exactly, it’s actually a clumsy ride on a flat boat that held everyone’s breath as we grope for balance to transfer from the shore to the big boat. I’ve only seen flat boats used here heavily in Antique, but these outrigger-less, flat surfaced geometrical boat is a challenge to balance on water especially with a number of people inside. But it did wake us up under the starry night sky and kept us alert as we boarded the shipping vessel for a 2-3 hour ride.
Like the Isla Gigantes in Carles, Iloilo, Mararison Island, got under the tourist radar after Typhoon Haiyan. This little known island just 15 minutes off the mainland of Culasi, Antique used to be enjoyed exclusively by the locals and a few tourist. But soon, word got out, or simply, photos of picturesque hills and an alluring sandbar found in just one island went viral across the net. Being highly accessible from the mainland, the once quiet fishing community now welcomes visitors at their tropical island home.
This was stuff I only read on textbooks when I was still studying. I remember reading about Sohoton Coves and Natural Bridge Park before and has always been fascinated by this place in Basey, Samar. But it was only in our last day of #SailEast tour that I had the chance to visit this nature wonder of a lush jungle, dramatic limestone formations and a meandering river snaking through the vast 840-hectare park. It is only an hour away from Tacloban city proper, a worthy day tour when in Eastern Visayas.