Davao was a much deserved brief respite from our arduous journey coming from Lake Sebu and North Cotabato for Asik-asik Falls. It was a time to recharge and regroup for another exciting leg of Travel Mindanao. Bukidnon was next, the cool highland region of Mindanao was another destination I was looking forward to explore. Our first stop is the DDD Habitat Bukidnon in Baranggay Lorega, Kitaotao, a charming house on a hill that offered us warmth in Bukidnon’s coldest region.
This is where I bid goodbye to my friends Erick and Rocel. Coming from Kalinga. We headed back to Bontoc since the couple would be travelling back to Manila via Baguio. I, on the other hand would be staying in Bontoc to do further exploration. I got used to Bontoc mostly as a transit point to either Sagada, Kalinga or Banaue, but there’s this little upland town called Maligcong that’s only 30 minutes away from Bontoc that captured my curiosity. I heard of equally impressive rice terraces, scenic mountain hikes and cool clime.
More than 15 hours on the road can take a toll, especially if there are lulls in between and I wasn’t able to get enough sleep from that night bus. But on the final stretch on the road from Tabuk to Tinglayan, I kept my eyes peeled, trying to pave-off these drowsy eyes just to see the winding road along the mountains, the rice terraces, the Chico River and on my left, the imposing Sleeping Beauty Mountain looming over the rustic town of Tinglayan, Kalinga. We reached the town center and our drop-off, none other the Sleeping Beauty Inn, where we met with our tour guide and our home in Tinglayan.
Like George Mallory was saying, “Because it’s there!”, is there any other good reason to explore? A lot of people mainly see the EL Nido town and the islands of Bacuit Bay, but that’s only a small part of the El Nido Municipality. Slowly the northern regions of El Nido are getting some good exposure but I’ve always wondered what the eastern part of El Nido looks like. Does it have some magnificent islands and beaches as the eastern side? Curiosity got me going, coming a long with a friend, we were off to Sibaltan on the eastern side of El Nido.
There was a time back in mid 2000 where there are only about 40 rooms available for visitors in El Nido. These days, development is growing at a steady pace that even from the last time I visited (2010) there are already marked changes in town since I stayed in Hadefe Cottage in Calaan. Now that I have more time to explore this side of El Nido, I was able to comb through this north side beach. Check out my Caalan Beach, Eats and Resorts compilation.
From the warm and earthly environs of Bagan, Pyin U Lwin was a pleasant change. As soon as I got out of the train station, I hired and hopped on a motorbike to take me to my first choice of accommodation. Immediately the cool air, the sight of pine trees and the British-influenced neighbourhood reinvigorated my spirit. It was until it worried me that a lot of accommodations are fully booked. Dahlia hotel was fully booked and the also the nearby areas. I was worried for a while but it was a blessing in disguise as I wound up staying in Grace Hotel 1.
Do I try to sleep or do I go out explore? Its 5am in the morning and somehow doing some chores has dampened the sleepiness I was feeling earlier. I just arrived from my Bus ride from Yangon and checked in at May Kha Lar Guest House in Nyaung U, Bagan and the first thing I did was do the laundry so it would dry out for the day. I lay for a few minutes on the bed but I couldn’t sleep so I took my camera bag and tripod and went out in the early morning blue.