Friday, July 5, 2013

MATI CITY’s Hidden Wonders

Mati City, the capital of the province of Davao Oriental, has been receiving good reviews from tourists and nature lovers alike. Having read several comments about this simple, quiet and somehow laidback remote city located down under, I decided to discover the hidden wonders of this city myself.
To get there, one can take either an air-conditioned bus or van from Davao City and the trip usually takes three hours to Mati City transport terminal. Tricycles and habal-habals are the most common mode of transportation to get you to any destination around the city. There are no taxis.

First stop – Dahican Beach.

A 30-minute ride either by habal-habal or tricycle will take you to Dahican Beach. Little by little, this long stretch of undisturbed white sand beach facing the Pacific Ocean has been getting surfers’ attention. In fact, Dahican is now tagged as the next surfers’ paradise after Siargao . There are no commercial establishments, not even a nice restaurant along the beach. However, surfing equipment are always available for rent.

Second stop – Cinco Masao Beach Resort and Waniban Island

There are a lot of beach resorts in Mati City to choose from but I found Cinco Masao as the best in terms of location and facilities. Accommodation is cheap with a magnificent panoramic view of Pujada Bay and the nearby Waniban and Pujada Islands. Visiting Waniban Island or Pujada Island should never be missed. Rent a motorized banca for P1,200 for the entire day to take you to these islands. Spend the rest of the day swimming or snorkeling or scuba diving, or simply relax and get mesmerized by the beauty of the islands surrounded by undisturbed white sand beaches. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Spectacular Dinagyang Festival of ILOILO

We are a country of festivals and fiestas. But of all the festivals I attended, I would consider the Dinagyang Festival as the most spectacular.
the Dinagyang is celebrated every fourth week of January following the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, which happens every third week of January. The same Sto. Nino image is carried from Cebu to Iloilo. The festival culminates with the fluvial procession of the image along Iloilo River. Thereafter, a week-long celebration of different activities, both of religious and cultural values, comprise the festivity.
The most exciting and much awaited events of the festival are the Kasadyahan and Ati Competitions, the latter being the highlight of the Dinagyang festival. A number of group participants with 100-150 members each representing a native Ilongo tribe compete against each other. Their bodies are painted in colorful and artistic motifs. Their costumes are elaborately well-crafted and their dance are artistically and rhythmically choreographed along with the loud trashing and drumbeats, all originally composed.
Visit Iloilo and experience Dinagyang Festival. For me, it's an experience of a lifetime.

Some DO’s and DON’Ts When Coming To BATAD

It really, really looks good in pictures, posters, travel books, or post cards. But to come upon this marvelous creation, you have to bear hours of walk up and down and around the mountains and hills of the Cordilleras.
This is what Batad Rice Terraces is all about - endurance. But believe me, it’s all worth the joint aches and thirst (include the calluses you’ll acquire on your foot, hehe).
Ok. I won’t talk about history, or geography of the Cordilleras or Ifugao Province. Nor how to get in and out of Batad. They can all be found in books or other more popular blogs in the net (indeed, a LOT)!


  • Bring enough cash to spend during your entire stay in Batad. There are no banks nor ATMs in the villages. The rides and the guides are not that cheap, even the food, so be prepared. 
  •  Bring an umbrella, well, a light foldable one. Rain is inevitable in Batad. It may be sunny but in a few hours you’ll see rain clouds above you. There’s not enough shelter along the way and you wouldn’t want to spoil the fun by getting soaking wet and catching colds. 
  •  Bring a foldable fan, or abaniko. Batad may be in the mountains of Cordillera but you won’t get the feel of cool mountain air when you have walked seven kilometers already. It will be hot, I’m telling you. 
  •  Travel light. You wouldn’t like a heavy load on your shoulder or back. 
  •  Bring a walking stick. Rent one from the Saddle Point. You couldn’t imagine surviving Batad without it. 
  • Bring a very nice camera. You wouldn’t want to miss a nice view or a cute creature captures on your lens while walking along the tracks. 
  • Wear light clothes while hiking, and it's a must!.


  • Bring too much water. You wouldn’t want an extra load on your bag. 
  •  Bring more than one bag. Never bring a luggage with wheels. Instead, use only a backpack to pack all your things. 
  •  Bring or wear something of heavy garment. Say no to tight jeans. A jacket to keep you warm at night will do.
  • Wear slippers like Havaianas. Running or hiking shoes is a must. 
  • Throw garbage anywhere. Dapat pa bang iexplain yan?
  •  Be pasosyal nor pasaway. Baka sunugin ka ng buhay ng mga tribes people sa inis nila sayo!


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