“Thank You, Surallah for being a safe place for visitors like me. I did not notice the rains pouring” — Surallah, South Cotabato, Philippines

In my desire to see Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, I really made the effort to take a visit of the serene lake even though I have already passed it the other day on my way to Gen San from  Malaybalay, Bukidnon. I thought that, I am already in Mindanao, so, why don’t I drop anchor at Lake Sebu town and see if write- ups about the lake are true. So, some preparations were made and framed some thoughts to be aware always of the road, thoroughfares and other passageways that the bus would pass. News then were not so kind to the place. Killings in one particular town in Mindanao were always a highlight on media and it dragged the whole island of Mindanao to be a terrorist lair frequented by groups to terrorizing the populace and scaring away visitors and would-be investors of the place. But to my amazement, development of the place was catching up the boom. The highways were wide and concrete. The picture of the place was aberrant to my thinking that it was a rugged and rural town. I was mistaken. And this is Surallah, a progressive municipality, and first class at that. This is the jump off point going to Lake Sebu. Tourism was the primary reason for the growth of Surallah but it was also the cause of its reduction in terms of land area where Lake Sebu became a municipality, thus, trimming down its hectares of lands.

As I walked and took a seat in the jeepney, majority of the passengers were talking and conversing in Ilonggo and that was the time I stopped being mindful of everything going on. Even the driver was Bisaya. I started to feel I was in the right place at the right time. I was in good hands. It was also the time I talked in Tagalog. “Thank You, Surallah for being a safe place for visitors like me. I did not notice the rains pouring”.

–oOo–

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo City, Philippines

Every year, on the fourth Sunday of January, the Ilonggos are celebrating the natives’ introduction to Christianity. This annual event is coupled with street dancing and competition in honor of the Saint Sto. Niño which is culminated by a nine-day novena, an Ati-Atihan competition, and a fluvial parade on the last day of the celebration. On this occasion, the city is in full-swing in the preparation and  celebration of the event. Foreign and local  tourists are arriving filling the hotels’ rooms to its capacity that swells to nearby districts and towns for bookings. Looking back, the celebration originated as a welcome treat to the Saint Sto. Niño as it arrived from Cebu and brought to San Jose Parish Church. In honoring the saint, people were enthusiastic and joyous about his arrival to the city. There were dancing on the streets with  only a number of drums playing which is very different from today’s feast which numbered from thirty to fifty drummers. As the year passed, participants grew bigger as well as the drummers, the steps and the beat of the drums and its rhythm, and the costumes and sponsors of the participating groups. Then, street dancing was purely dancing all throughout the event but the city decided to have a competition to entice visitors to come. So, the contest was materialized. Today, it is a full-blown celebration where the champion of the contest is awarded with a hefty sum of money and are sent to participate in other competitions abroad in which case, tourism is being promoted by the city government. So, what are you waiting for? Come for the celebration this coming year, 2016 and witness a grand show of colors and beatings of the drums.  Reserve yourself a room in our hotels months before the actual celebration! Don’t be a late-comer!

–oOo–

More Photos of Coron, Palawan, Philippines

 At the right side of the dash line is the area of the Kayangan Cove.

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KAYANGAN COVE – often mistakenly labeled as Kayangan Lake which should not be the case. In the picture, the lake is still behind and surrounded by the mountain. You have to ascend  at a certain spot and from there, the view of the cove below is mesmerizing. After a while, the descending trek was easy down the lake.

548763_146205345507249_333492160_n (2) The cove is really a post card perfect material. It is a small bay or inlet between headlands, making it a sheltered place. There is a small cave at my back but I did not bother to come inside. I was excited about the lake.

537096_146212845506499_658478897_n (2)This is what awaits you at the foot of the hill  with your descent, the cleanest lake water you have ever seen in the country. This is the KAYANGAN LAKE.

522712_146213172173133_508897304_n (2) I really can’t say ‘No’ to the water’s invitation. Just the sight of its clear and unpolluted state can lure you to jump ahead without wearing the life jacket on. You will surely forget that you don’t know how to swim.

We arrived there earlier than the other visitors. It was very quiet. Nobody wanted to break the tranquility of the lake until more and more people arrived. The shouts began to reverberate the air. The joy and merry making of the visitors took turns in celebrating the cool, fresh and clear waters of the lake.

Humans and fishes swim their heart’s galore. Yes, there were small fishes that swim along side with the visitors. Maybe the fishes enjoyed swimming more when there are people around on the lake so they could sneak at the sight of beautiful and shapely legs pedalling to keep afloat.

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untitled (18) I thought my guide gave me the wrong name of this beach. I just saw it on the map, Calachuchi beach, named after a flowering tree with the same name that grows abundantly around the area. He was right.

539185_146111442183306_10512460_n An herd of cows met us on the road just a few hundred  meters away from the airport. So I thought, sacred cows of India are here in Coron parading on the streets of paradise.

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 I didn’t waste minutes after I checked in. Wandered all around. This wharf is just a minute walk from where I stayed. What you see is a restaurant on Coron Bay. When you turn around you’ll see Mt. Tapyas, (not in the picture) recognizable with its big steel cross atop.

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 At the back of the Harbor Center is the Tourism building. Further away from the building is a park and to the right is another wharf and a hotel. Around the Harbor Center marker is the market place. At night this place is bustling with food stalls where tourists, local and foreigners, converged and eat. The prices are very cheap, peanuts!

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 This is the St. Augustine Parish church. On your left is the way going to Mt. Tapyas. Climb and conquer the 726 steps.

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 It’s really an advantage when having a tour of the place on foot. You’ll see places and buildings of interest not frequently photographed or published.

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It took me two hours and thirty minutes to devour the eight kilometers distance, more or less , walk from Coron Reef to reach the port of Coron, PPA or Phil. Ports Authority. I gathered enough guts to persuade the guard to let me in the compound. A little smile, a little praising of him, a pat at the back, did the trick. He let me inside the PPA perimeter early in the morning, an hour before their official gate opening. Lucky day. I had a great time taking photos of the serene atmosphere inside the area.

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This is the only one “ship photo” that I’ve salvaged from my uploads taken inside the port. I have misplaced it together with the other photos. This ship was bound for Manila.

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This was aboard the speed boat of the guardian of our seas, the Coast Guard. Well, being good looking is my pass port to any entrance gate. But this one has no gate at all. They lifted me to get aboard for photo shoots.

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These photos were taken atop Mt. Tapyas. Upper photo, with the cross, was taken at the right side of the mount and can be climbed at, so barb wires were  installed. It is also for the protection of the satellite disk.

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As you see from these photos, Coron is already a self sufficient town with economic growth at the upward trend because of tourism. If peace and security of the place will continue thru the years, tourism will be a major industry of Coron.

–oOo–

Siargao, Surigao del Norte, Philippines – Photo Tour, Tourism 01

DSC00482 (2) Tak-Tak Falls in Sayug, Sta. Monica, Siargao, Surigao del Norte

DSC00414If you don’t follow your guide’s instructions you’ll get to see the unexpected and the unsurprising view of your intended site for viewing. This is what I got for the “Magpupungko” perspective. You know why? I did not catch the low tide panorama because we were late for the scene. The high tide overtook us. It was supposed to be a sight of smaller pools of water where visitors can enjoy the splashes of the waves caught in knee deep sort of basin pools.

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Jafe Resort, Brgy. Pacifico, San Isidro, Siargao, Surigao del Norte

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–oOo–

Butuan City, Philippines – Photo Tour, Tourism : Week 03, Day 19

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Blood Promontory

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To commemorate the first mass on Easter Sunday, being claimed also by Limasawa, a tall and large cross was erected near the mouth of the 350-kilometer Agusan river. Butuan was thriving economically before the Spaniards came in 1521.

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–oOo–

visit; https://thehutownerblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/sto-nino-shrine-butuan-city-philippines-week-03-day-01-photo-tour-tourism/

“Away from the road” – Sabang Beach, Palawan, Philippines : Photo Tour, Tourism – Week 03, Day 11

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I was on my way back to Puerto Princesa, Palawan, when I luckily passed by this unusual sight. I alighted from the motorcycle and took several shots. Taken at Sabang Beach, Palawan on a stormy day.

https://thehutownerblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/coron-palawan-philippines-photo-tour-tourism-week-01-day-04/