I’m sure there was a time in one of your trips when the weather was all gloom and rain then became bright and sunny when you’re about to leave. That was on repeat on my trip in Dinagat Islands. I was already at the port, about to buy my ferry ticket back to Surigao while feeling regretful seeing the sun out in all its glory. “Sir, pwede natin ituloy yung Basilisa, maganda na panahon (sir, we can continue with our Basilisa, the weather’s better)” the text I suddenly received from one of the boatman I was referred to for island hopping. I mean, I already have my baggage with me. All my stuff are packed in and organized already. Will I still have a chance to go back to Surigao within the day? To heck with this. I took one of the bao-bao (local transport) ride back to Don Ruben port. Let’s go island hopping under the sun!
Coming from the Divine Master’s Shrine and Islander’s Castle, we continued south, hugging the coast of Dinagat Municipality. In half an hour, we reached the tip of the finger-like westward protrusion of land to find Bijasong Beach. It looked like a nice beach from a picture I saw on a tarp at the inn. After a scenic drive descending a winding road, we found a beach battered by waves brought by the habagat under drab sky. We spent a few minutes at one of the cottages for snacks before continuing southeast for Cagdianao. It looked like the trip was turning bleak as the weather at this point on.
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.