For a time, the province of Capiz, located on the northeastern island of Panay in Western Visayas, had a reputation for being a land of Aswangs (shape-shifting evil mythical creatures). This notion can be traced back to several historical events. One such event was the outbreak of dystonia disease that afflicted several residents in the province. Another was the use of the myth of Aswang to scare off Japanese soldiers during the war. These days, however, the province has chosen to spotlight its abundant seafood, earning it the moniker “Seafood Capital of the Philippines.”
I remember Yolanda so well. It was the onset of our Travel Mindanao tour three years ago (2013). I was at the airport and my flight to Butuan got cancelled. I got upset but found out sooner how petty my disposition was compared to what was happening to the people in Tacloban. As Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) was ravaging Tacloban and the rest of eastern Visayas, communications line were cut-off leaving the rest of the country to wonder what was happening. When we finally got a glimpse of what has transpired, it looks like a scene straight out of a dystopian series or movie. Dead bodies everywhere, infrastructure devastated and people are in shock, still in disbelief of what happened to them. No one can imagine this could happen. An unforgettable bleak moment in the country’s history.
“It’s all about connecting people.There’s a large concentration of Filipino workers in Miri and we want people to easily connect with their families.” Says Ms Joy Caneba, Executive Vice President and COO of AirAsia Zest during the inaugural ceremony in Miri Airport of AirAsia Zest’s flight from Manila to Miri. A first in the country, the Miri route is also a good alternative entry point to nearby Brunei which is only 30 minutes away from the city. Personally, I am interested to the Miri destination as it is the jump-off to one of UNESCO’s Natural World Heritage Site, the Gunung Mulu National Park.
I squint my eyes as I look towards the afternoon sun. A large imposing silhouette loomed before me hiding a visage of one of the worlds sacred and impressive monuments, the Borobudur Temple (Candi Borobudur). This huge Buddhist monument, which is also listed in UNESCO’s world heritage list, almost had the same awe-factor I had when I saw Angkor Wat for the first time. I walk towards this colossal stupa with excitement to discover closely this place which name has already enchanted me for some time.