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Capiz Rivers Road Trip

An Afternoon Drive Through Capiz

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.

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Mountains Philippines Tawi-Tawi

Tawi-tawi | Transformation of Bud Bongao Eco-Tourism Park

At one of the peaks of Bud Bongao
At one of the peaks of Bud Bongao

You could tell if a destination is gaining ground in terms of tourism when their infrastructure starts improving. During my recent visit to Tawi-tawi, I was able to climb Bud Bongao again. I certainly noticed a new building, paved stairways and other pleasing developments. It was eight years ago when I last climbed Bud Bongao. A time when there still a heavy stigma hovering over the province. But now that stigma is slowly lifting. People are learning that Bongao, Tawi-tawi is relatively safe which resulted to a three-fold increase in tourism arrivals just this year, 2017. At the forefront of the province’s tourism project is the Bud Bongao Eco-Tourism Park. A 342-meter high sacred mountain with an imposing presence at the center of the island.

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Philippines Travel Waterfalls Zamboanga City

Zamboanga City | Picture Perfect Merloquet Falls

Gorgeous wall of cascades at Merloquet Falls
Gorgeous wall of cascades at Merloquet Falls

San ka galing? (Where did you come from?)”

Sa malayo! Sa merloquet! (Somewhere far! At Merloquet)”

For Zamboangueños, ‘merloquet’ used to be a fabled place pertaining to somewhere far far away when used in colloquial conversation. Nowadays, it pertains to Merloquet Falls that has gained popularity in the recents years due to its wide pour and lovely wall of cascades. It is still far far away in Zamboanga City but I managed to visit the place as a side trip while in the region.

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Philippines Rivers Samar Travel Video

Samar | Exhilarating Ulot River Torpedo Extreme Boat Adventure

Ulot River torpedo extreme boat adventure
Ulot River torpedo extreme boat adventure

I took the front seat of the ‘torpedo’ boat. That’s what they call this long wooden motorized canoes without outriggers in Samar. Like the faluwas in Batanes, these boats are designed to navigate wild waters whereas if they have outriggers, it would easily snap from the force of the rapids. Judging by the boats, I could expect an exciting ride over at Ulot River. The Ulot River Torpedo Extreme Boat Adventure is one of the main attraction in Samar which is also a part of the Ulot Watershed Ecotourism Loop attractions of numerous waterfalls, caves, springs and an eagle sanctuary.

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Bohol Philippines Rivers Travel

Bohol | Abatan River: Butterflies, Fireflies and Moonlit Nights

Firefly watching at Abatan River
Firefly watching at Abatan River

Loboc is not the only river town in Bohol. The island province, home to the chocolate hills and the tiny primates, tarsiers, have four major rivers intersecting through the island. Up northwest is the Inabanga River, the largest on the island and Ipil River up north. Utilized for eco-tourism is Loboc River coming from the center of the island down to the southeastern coast and recently, the Abatan River flowing to the southwestern coast. Our adventure guide, Buzzy Budlong, found excellent paddling opportunities on the latter and set-up shop along with the town’s RiverLife tours to offer something different and new.

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Bohol Islands and Beaches Philippines Travel

Bohol | Paddling through Banacon Island Mangrove Sanctuary

Entering Banacon Island mangrove
Entering Banacon Island mangrove

“We can’t find our boat!” paddling master, Buzzy Budlong, tells me after several attempts of trying to spot our convoy outrigger boat through the maze-like passageways of Banacon Island, north of Bohol. Buzzy was at the back of our double kayak as I was the one in charge to shoot. We wait for the others south of the largest man-made mangrove island in Asia. He switched places with my assigned-writer friend, Oggie, back to his favorite yellow stand-up paddle (SUP) board, Mango Float. His sight looked far to the mainland. “Let’s head to that lighthouse!” he pointed. “Is he kidding?!” I thought. That’s almost 10km away by sea and we’re passing through two sea channels and an island. But he paddled on. He’s crazy like that which also partly makes him great.

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Cebu Philippines Rivers Travel

Tañon Strait | Bojo River Cruise: An Aloguinsan Eco-Cultural Trip

From the river to the sea at Aloguinsan Cebu
From the river to the sea at Aloguinsan Cebu

It was a relief that after travelling at least four hours from Bantayan Island, then a short 200 meter hike from the roadside, we were welcomed with Cebuano folk songs by the staffs of BAETAS (Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association). I may not fully understand the words but I could feel the collective liveliness from the group vocals to the energetic strums of the lone guitar. We were on the third day of our Oceana Philippines photo safari at Tañon Strait. We traveled southwest to the town of Aloguinsan to experience their Bojo River Cruise, the towns foremost attraction with activities revolving around the 1.4km river leading to Tañon Strait.