Travel: Davao City

Davao is a highly urbanized city in the south, touted as the safest city in the Philippines, it has gained popularity to tourist and locals alike because of the discipline implemented all throughout the city.

Many years ago when the three of us graduated from college and we promised to see each other at least every 4 years, we lost contact and only found each other on Facebook. We decided to visit Davao City, we didn’t know about Duterte then, he was a mayor alright, but nothing really caught our attention. Her son had a serious motorcycle accident that he is recuperating in Davao being close to the hospital with a good neurosurgeon.

We hastility bought our tickets far off from the scheduled flight for a good discount, voila the President has been elected and installed, and Davao City has been placed in the map of frequently visited by tourist. The President maintaining a residence in Davao also makes the City a destination for dignitaries, politicians, and business people.If they want an audience with the President they have to be where he is.

We were excited, aside from seeing our friend, Shen that we haven’t seen in a long time, it was an experience to behold. So off we went to the Durian land, we arrived late in the evening, one thing that was noticeable was the airport, everything is orderly. There are guards on the exit gate that takes the plate number and passenger name for security and for instances where something is left on the cab. After a quick pick me up at Jollibee, we decided to call it a night, of course after more updates.

The following morning, we went for breakfast at the Marco Polo breakfast buffet, decided to stay in a hotel but the hotel has no rooms available. The spread was quite extensive of different themes and varieties. So we said, “okay let’s go for a city tour first, then find another hotel.

We rented a cab for the whole day, for a city tour, got to see the famous 911 station. We got to visit the neighborhood of the President. You’ll probably wonder, what the come on is all about, when it is but a simple home. It is the home of the President and h e still stays there despite the elegant residence in the Palace in Manila.

We stopped at the crocodile farm, but didn’t go in after all we’ve been to the one in Florida or is it New Orleans?

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As we were heading out, we saw Baste Duterte, the youngest son of the President of course, the girls would like to take pix, I opted out, the gramma is tired. He was very pleasant and agreed to have his picture taken.

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Pictures are not that great, we were interested in talking than being a tourist, I guess. There is this place called Jack’s ridge, with a coffee shop on top of the hill, great place to relax.

One thing I noticed though, they don’t take too kindly to smokers, no smoking allowed in the area, to do so, one needs to go to outside the gates and smoke their lungs away.

Then it’s to find our hotel, we ended up staying at the Waterfront Hotel, pretty nice. We were told it’s going to be a room with a view, only to find out that one has to be positioned at a certain spot in the balcony, otherwise the view is the walkway roof.

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But all in all the property is quite impressive, it is sitting on a beachfront and quite massive with a place to walk around. I’m glad we ended up staying here instead of a one building hotel.

Look at the smoking area, it is sitting so far off from the property with signs that can really deter smoking he he..

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This is the smoking pen, no food or drinks allowed.

While having breakfast at the hotel, we chatted with the folks from the next table, that’s the fun part of travelling, one gets to talk to folks that we wouldn’t otherwise do. Anyway, he is Col Carlos Sol, Jr. retired military man and is heading the ceasefire secretariat. It was a wonderful chat, he agreed that the history needs to be corrected about the death of the 40 military man, which wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the greed of those in the know to get the reward money offered by the US. He was with his daughter who just graduated college.

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Some of the sights from the hotel.

Davao is know for durian, a thorny husked fruit with pulpy flesh that emits foul, almost offensive odor, because of the smell it is not allowed in hotel rooms. There are stalls in the city with tables and chairs where folks can partake. Armed with plastic gloves they can partake with gusto. Not me though, I can enjoy the candy but not the fruit.

All in all, our trip was a good one, the next time we do visit Davao, we will be armed with an itinerary of places to visit and local eating places to try.

Cheers–

Travel: Olutayan Island in Roxas City, Capiz

It was not planned, or maybe I wasn’t part of the planning, he he.. as most of the time I have opted to stay in rather than trek a long trail, with a long drive and a not so calm boat ride.

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We were hosted by the Vice Mayor of Capiz, Erwin Sicad and Ging Bayoneta. We had to be early to catch the ferry or is it a boat ride to the island, a good 45 minutes ride, although chartered, we still had to maintain schedule. We went to the estuary near the market, for our ride.

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Vice Mayor of Roxas City, Capiz Erwin Sicad and Ging Bayoneta

The estuary in itself was a treat, houses on the water, the water was murky but without that stale water smell, where even Lake Merritt in Oakland would emit such a smell. It is an art on its own, folks despite evident need just exudes contentment, such a pastoral, quiet scene. I enjoyed watching an old man in his small boat casting a net to catch small fish for consumption or sale.

So after a few minutes wait, we boarded a ferry that will take us to the island, it was indeed a ride that is well worth it. It was a very smooth sail and a great view.

We were told that the forces collide in bad weather claiming lives where the river ends and the ocean opens.

The beach is immaculate, since it is not a commercial resort, the island is clean, there are signs that smoking is not allowed in the beach area. There are about 700-900 residents of the island, mostly children. Surprisingly, there is cellphone signal, however electricity is rationed, if I remember it right, lights are turned off by 9:00 pm. Erwin jokingly said that it is the reason why there are many children in this community. Water comes from the mainland, via the ferry. I suggested a filtration system, but may not be that feasible considering the cost and the number of folks benefiting from it.

The children go to school in the mainland, fishing is the main source of livelihood of the area.

It was a bit rocky but with a lot of sea creatures, it was truly a place to visit. What was appealing to the place is its unadulterated, pure, and simple display of beauty of nature as God has intended.

Seafood were sold at good prices, they purchased fish and squid for maybe PHP300.oo, a lot, as we were able to bring home some. This is a version of the urchin found on the island, we returned it as we don’t want to partake or kill it, environmental responsibility is a good practice.

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Sea Urchin

We didn’t stay too long, as it was a bit too hot, wish there is a hotel or a simple b&b in the area for a longer stay.

Thanks Erwin and Ging for the experience, it was indeed a wonderful one.

 

Travel: Roxas City, Capiz

Travel: Roxas City, Capiz

It was in the 80’s, we just graduated from college (pretty much tells I am approaching senior citizen status) when we, that is my friend SP and I, promised that we are going to her hometown in Capiz when we graduate. Little did I know that just graduating from college will not hack it. We have to find a job that will pay rent and be able to pay bills as an adult. Hah! So many years later, we finally melded our schedules and went to Capiz.  Not just once, but twice he he.

Capiz is the seafood capital of the Philippines, supplying most restaurants in the neighboring areas up to Metro Manila. They also export seafood to Taiwan, Japan and the US. They have a fish drying station.

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I would say, that the city has a quiet beauty, nothing grand. a bit rustic which is part of its charm. The province was also affected by typhoons. True, the city doesn’t have the grandeur of other cities, it is unpretentious, the camaraderie of the locals, always helpful especially at pointing directions is notable. I know that this quiet pastoral existence will not be for long, before it gets swallowed by this thing called progress, true that it is good for the economy, already it is host to several BPOs, there are 2 malls, with SM expected to rise in 2018. (The rise of SM in a city signals economic growth.)

Folks hang out in “baybay” a public park, to socialize, picnic, near the area are good restaurants., which I will share in another post.

I love the market, fruits, meat, seafood, of course, livestock, etc. Diwal or angel wing is plentiful only in the area.

Ah, I can go on and on, there’s just so much to see in a vacation mode, you may have guessed that I am the lounging type, if it involves more walking then I better stay in one place.

Cebu Pacific and PAL flies to Capiz directly, if you have fear of flying, you can take a road trip it is called RoRo, where you take the bus and the bus is loaded on a ferry for an inter-island travel or you can take the ship.

Hope you have the chance to visit.

Cheers —