The cycling boom has certainly made me more keen on exploring areas near my residence in Pasig. If I can pedal it, I will attempt to explore. Rizal province is certainly one of them. Lately I had been frequenting the hills of Antipolo for its mountains and nature. I’ve been seeing Camp Sinai as one of the popular destinations for cyclist and it certainly looked appealing for a mountain-lover like me. Imagine views of the Sierra Madre mountain range, roads fringed with pine trees and the nippy weather. And a couple of days before Christmas, I decided to take advantage of the good weather and rode up to Antipolo to finally check this out.
After enjoying a day at Isla de Gigantes, our third day in our Panay island loop is spent in transit to Antique. On the way, we’ll stop by Capiz first for an afternoon of sightseeing. Quite excited as it was my first time visiting this province. Known as the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines”, I was looking forward to try to some delicious seafood dishes. Capiz also home to some fascinating heritage. From Carles, Iloilo, it’s roughly 1.5-2 hours drive to Roxas city, the provincial capitol.
There’s a sense of fascination the province of Dinagat Islands exudes. This small remote province in Caraga region is both old and new. An old community that believed in gods and goddesses existed way back the pre-colonial area. At the same time, Dinagat island is young and recently established in 2006. Nevertheless, the island province is still under the radar of many travelers who prefer the nearby provinces like Siargao. For those looking for raw, un-commercialized and roughing it out destination, this place would be appealing. It’s not for those looking to party, food binge on restaurants or shop as there aren’t many commercial establishments here yet.
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.
I wouldn’t want the weather to spoil my exploration in Dinagat Islands. I’m thankful I was able to visit Pangabangan Island and Lake Bababu, but I felt I wasn’t able to maximize my boat rental for the places I visited. With the weather showing no signs of letting up anytime soon, I decided to take a road trip toward the east instead. Escaping the habagat winds to a much, hopefully, fairer weather at the municipality of Cagdianao. Rex of JBN Inn managed to find me a habal-habal service for the road trip. The plan was to stop by interesting places along the way. Just within town are the Divine Master’s Shrine and the Islander’s Castle atop the scenic hills, our first few stops.
We were supposed to visit other beaches in Libjo area but the weather wasn’t getting any better when we left Pangabangan island. Grey skies continued to darken as the afternoon gets deeper. The waters were starting to get wild too. So my boatman suggested to visit the inland attraction, Lake Bababu instead. Found in Basilisa, Lake Bababu is under the management of Bababu Ecotourism Adventure Park (BEAP). BEAP consist of officers from the LGU and the family of the original founder of the lake, Peter Langit.