It was an unforeseen disaster when Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) ravaged the Philippines early November 2013. My Cebu Pacific Air cancelled flight to Surigao City is so petty a problem compared to what happened to the cities in the typhoon’s path. It was a storm the world was watching and the rest of the TravelMindanao team felt a portion of its wrath in Surigao City. Everything went to a sudden stop as we weathered the storm, Cebu Pacific Air easily rebooked my flight for Butuan on another date to catch up with the rest of the TravelMindanao team. Circumstances however led us to Cathe Pacific in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur prematurely for a much-needed downtime.
It’s a shame it took us a delayed flight to visit this gem of a place. “Of all the places we’ve mapped in the coastal towns, Divilacan Isabela is the most beautiful and is our favourite!” said one of the NSO Mappers we met at the flight check-in counters in Maconacon. The working duo has been mapping Eastern Isabela for months already and are ready to go home. But the fickle status of our flights had other plans in mind. Our flight was cancelled and had to stay here for another day which is not unusual for this region. But wonders never cease as we met the cheerful Tourism officer of Divilacan, Natalie, who was also waiting for the flight. In no time she quickly whipped up an endorsement letter and then found ourselves riding a motorcycle to Divilacan.
“Where are you from?” is the usual ice-breaker question people here would ask. “I’m from the Phillippines” I replied with a smile as I bite into my toasted slice of bread with a healthy layer of butter and strawberry jam while having breakfast. Young adults here like to engage in a conversation to practice their English. “Where are you going today?” I told him that I’d be leaving tonight for Bagan but this morning I’ll hit the streets of Downtown Yangon first to do some sightseeing.
As much as I like Rock Inn in Sagada, we moved to town center for a much cheaper option on accommodation. We were also going to leave early the next day back to Baguio so it pays to be close to the Bus Station. Since it’s a market day Saturday with not much tourist crowd yet, it’s much easier to go around town and look for places to stay. We decided on George Guest House a few meters down from the center. It’s a nice 4-story road side inn that was of very good value.
We heard the weather up in these parts is usually gloomy with occasional showers but it was a bright and sunny welcome when we arrived at the town of Claveria. Immediately we went to Casa Grand Inn just beside the boulevard facing the sea. We already booked our accommodations here in advance and was pleasantly surprised how spacious and comfortable our room was. On the first part of the day we did some walking around to get familiar and orient ourselves with the place.
Just hearing about a valley with 18 waterfalls, 10 hanging bridges, intersected by a flow of crystal clear waters from a river already gave me a sense of fascination about the place. Adams, at the northern edge of Ilocos Norte, mid forehead of Northern Luzon, is one of the destinations I was really looking forward to during the Lakbay Norte 2 tour. No somber weather could stop us from coming as we prepared ourselves for the rain by waterproofing out gears and donning raincoats. From Kapuluan Vista Resort, we took a 15minute coach ride to Panchan Junction, just past a bridge where the Bolo (Bolu) River flows and a dump truck was waiting for us to take us to Adams.
They were going to Atimonan Town for the market and I made sure I go along. Even though I’ve been in Atimonan numerous times, I don’t remember ever visiting the town proper. Barangay Buhangin is just an easy 10-15minutes drive. If coming from the zig-zag or the new diversion road, it’s just left before heading to the main road to Bicol. We got into the narrow roads of the town and headed straight to the market to find a place to park. While the relatives do the shopping, we went to the Parish Church, the center of the town.