Saturday, November 30, 2013

Surigao's Crystal Cave

This is the second Crystal Cave I have seen.
The first one was in Sagada which is hard core spelunking.
This one is in Bucas Grande Island in Surigao del Norte and it's as easy as A-B-C.

The photo below was were we docked.

As part of the Bucas Grande tour, everything is reachable by boat.

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A little hike going to the cave. Say . . . 10 minutes.

Our boat man / guide.

The mouth of the cave.

A lot of rock formations.

The rocks are just glittering and was just simply beautiful.

We didn't have any head lamps so we did not go too far and decided to head back. Though the cave wasn't that big and we've seen the highlight anyway.

Mount Sembrano

My second mountain . . .  Sembrano.
How to get there???
Via public transportation:
There are jeepney/van terminals at Starmall EDSA and Greenfield Shaw
going to Tanay, Rizal.
Make sure you take the Antipolo route as it is faster.
From Tanay terminal, there are jeepneys bound to Malaya.
We took a private van.  

Jump off is at the barangay hall of Malaya, Pililla, Rizal.

We did a night trek.
Typhoon Goryo was in the country but not much felt in the Rizal area.
We started off with a few meters of paved road going up.

We had a couple of stops to wait for the others.

This was the last photo as it rained after.
Night trek + Rain + No guide = We got lost and got cold :P

The morning after.
Manggahan Campsite.
There were 3 groups.
Our group, a group of 4 girls and Tagay group (3 men)

The group of 4 girls was inside this hut.
I'm not sure what our four boys were doing here.
Hmmmmm . . . ???

We had a cold night and a cold morning.

Our breakfast.
They put the fresh eggs on my backpack and I did a good job to keep them from breaking even though I slipped a couple of times during the wet and dark trek.

They said there was a small waterfalls nearby so we went to explore after the trek.

In search of the small falls.

We thought it was this one.
Boy . . .  how depressing was that, huh?
Good thing, we decided to explore more on the area.

And so.....we found it!

The water was flowing because of the rain.

We had some photo shoot.

I couldn't go in the water as it was freezing cold. I have low tolerance on cold water.

Back at the campsite, I had photos with the locals.

There were like 2 families there . . . with so many kids.

Two members of the Tagay group :)

Our group photo minus one member who went ahead with the Tagay group.

Now, we see our trail in broad daylight.

View of the Laguna Lake.

A lot of open areas.

The first store we saw.

That's Mt. Sembrano up there.
We did not go to the summit except for the three boys we were with.

Going down was a lot easier. 
This is where we took our bath at a house nearby.
With the Tagay group.

Photos with the kids at the Barangay hall.

Definitely, I will be back as I have not seen the summit yet!

*credits to other for the photos

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

D'Project 3:SAGADA

Who knew I would have a third project? 
It started with a simple conversation among Sagada locals when I was there on my nth time trip to one of my favorite places in the Philippines. 
Kuya Oscar Magwilang, owner of the lodge we are fond of staying at, became the channel to the schools we shared our blessings.

October of 2013, we invited people on a Sagada tour with one day allotted for the D'Project event.

This photo was taken at the common area right beside Kanip-aw Lodge, where my Chatroll buddies helped me repack the blessings we were going to give. 

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A company donated "anti-lice shampoo"

Used books.

Lunch boxes.

Pencils, sharpeners and erasers.

We had been trekking for two days and we did an extreme activity then had to go back to the lodge to repack.

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Our event shirt.

We started early in the morning. 

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We went to the first school which was a bit far from the town. 
Though it was a fun top load ride.

We brought 34 gift bags to 34 kids.

34 umbrellas too.
At first, we were going for rain coats but umbrellas are more practical 
because it can also be used on a sunny day.

The kids rushed inside the classroom when they saw us.
First school . . .  PAYAG-EW Elementary School.

Talking to the kids.
Though I'm not really sure they understood me. 
Language barrier.

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They were so behaved.
I loved it when they gave me a warm hello.

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With one of the students.

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Each volunteer gave out the gifts to each student
 including my favorite guide, Kuya Sotero.

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Group photo inside the classroom.

The kids with their gifts.

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Happy kids!

With the moms.

Photo ops with the tarpaulin.

They fed us with coffee and sweet bananas.

We did not know why this kid was crying.
We did not have any extra gift bag. We tried to give him a banana, cellphone, camera and even money.

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He ignored us. He was just being a kid. I think he wanted toys and candies.
Lessons learned. Next time . . .  bring extra treats.

Last group photo outside the school.

Off to our second school!


Our second school was TACCONG Elementary School.
Our jump off was at Suyo . . . the same place where you can start your trek going to Pongas Falls.

We had to trek to reach to this school.

That's Kuya O.
He was leading the way but had to wait for us because everyone was busy taking photos of the place.

We passed by the fields. 
It was paved so the walk was easy.

Though there was an ascending part but it was just a few meters.

We were greeted by these 15 students.

The school teacher giving her thanks to D'Project volunteers and sponsors.

with the kids.

She made sure she would be the center of attraction.
She was all dressed up.

With the School teacher.

Group photo.
The kid in front made us laugh. He was mischievous. He would run in the middle every time we had our photos taken.

A different background.

Going back.
Our little one, Zid got tired so Kuya Sotero carried him.

Beautiful view.
We took our time while we headed back.

We headed back to the lodge to have lunch.
I had the guides cook their specialty . . .  Pinikpikan with etag.
Thank you to Rocco and Fred for preparing this for us.

After lunch, back to the top of the jeepney and headed 
to our next school, BALUGAN Elementary School.

Balugan's principal, talking to the students as she introduced us.

with the Barangay Captain, John Polon who gave us bananas!

A beautiful song presentation.

I did not understand the first song because it was sung using their dialect and it brought me to tears.
It was beautifully sang.

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Look at those beautiful smiles.

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Giving out the bags.
Richard, one of the sponsors, with all smiles.

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Happy and excited kids.

Look at this kid's happiness.

We brought gifts for 134 kids and there were a few more who came. 
Good thing we had extras.

Photo ops with the kids.

With the parents, teachers, barangay officials and some of the kid of Balugan.


D'Project with EOC.

With the local people who helped us made this project even more successful.
They did this without anything in return.

Our treats after the program.

Yummy Carrot and Banana cakes.
Mountain tea.

After the event, we went back to get our things at the lodge and headed home . . . 

I and the Sagada kids say
to the sponsors and everyone who became part of this.

Edzhel H. and family
Frank T.
Fritz, Anna & Elijah A.
Geraldine T.
Jhun A.
Jun-Jun (
Lowell T.
Maricel A. (Nailicious)
Nadamay Outdoor
Neri P.
Raquel N.
Rhea D.
Richard S.
Rolf K. (Maxi Atletika Herbal Soap)
Romeo L.
Ron H.
Siony R.
Weddy M.
Yek Lai Fatt

For more of D'PROJECT, click here.

*** photo credits to everyone who shared their photos :)