The prospect of waking up at 3:00 am for a 4:00 am hike back to the Lake Holon Receiving Area might seem improbable, but a midday event at Lake Sebu necessitated our prompt departure from this enchanting crater lake. Venturing back through the Salacafe trail – the easier yet longer 9km route – we commenced our journey, putting in the effort to tackle the continuous ascent from the base camp. By 5 am, we reached Salacafe Viewdeck, where the morning sky painted the landscape in captivating hues. Recognizing the opportune moment, I launched my drone, capturing the sublime beauty of Lake Holon at this early hour.
It took more than a decade but I finally found my way back to the northwestern tip of Cagayan Valley. So much has happened the last decade or so in Palaui island. Admittedly, it’s the biggest tourist draw in Santa Ana, Cagayan. It has hosted 2 seasons of America’s Survivor series back in 2013. There are other Survivors from other countries that followed. But the most significant development for me is the designation of the island as a “National Park” due to the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System (ENIPAS) act signed by President Duterte in June 22, 2018.
Weather can be a bummer at times. Just when I brought my full snorkeling gears (which I rarely do these days) as I was ready and excited to commune with sea turtles at Apo Island but found out later we can’t cross the seas because of the weather. “So where are we going now?”, Adi and Jacq, our gracious host from GoHotels handed me a brochure for Lake Balanan while having dinner. Okay, this bone-shaped lake looks interesting with a few waterfalls, I thought but I still remained skeptical. So next day, we took a drive south of the island for the town of Siaton in Negros . While I still feel glum as the weather, I kept an open mind on what we’ll see.