Volunteer @ Kindred Nomad’s Activity in Camotes, Cebu

It could have been just another Friday but it wasn’t. Early in the morning, volunteers of The Kindred Nomads and representatives of No Colors, a Japan based organization, gathered at the Quest Hotel, in Cebu City, Philippines, getting ready for the gift giving activity at San Francisco SPED Center in San Francisco, Camotes. 2 vans left for Danao port at around 4 am carrying fifteen volunteers, gifts and essential vitamins for 68 Special Kids.

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Early morning assembly at Quest Hotel bound to Danao Port for Camotes.

It was my 2nd outreach of the year. I wasn’t supposed to go ’cause I have an event at dinner. Despite Boyfie’s million reminders, I followed my heart. So happy that I did. 🙂

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Jon showing us the KN tarp. – Photo from a fellow volunteer Rox at http://www.roxannetamayo.info/
Volunteers arrival at Camotes Port.
Volunteers arrival at Camotes Port.

It was drizzling when we arrived so the program didn’t start as planned. Despite the cold weather, I feel surprisingly warm. When the rain stopped, the program started. Unlike my previous outreach, it feels different ’cause everything was laid out already. The gifts were already wrapped and packed. And the program was already handled by the school. It kind of made me feel useless. But not for long!

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Wet grounds when we arrived. While waiting for the program to start, prepared the additional gifts from Ro. Coffee and breads were served after.
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Getting ready for the program!

I made the most out of my freedom by taking pictures. And when it’s time to distribute the gifts, me and my new friend Liz volunteered for the list control.

Each gift was different ’cause they are based on the student’s wishes. I was so amazed seeing someone receiving an organ. Another a cell phone. In fact there were several cell phones. Then some transistor radios. Solar lights had also been provided as well. It was my first time to witness so many wishes granted all at once. I can see and feel how happy the recipients are but what touched me the most is the gratitude in the parents’ eyes. They are most happy that their special children were treated more special that day

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Some kids shared their talents with us!
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Natsu, representative of No Colors Japan, despite not feeling very well gathered up her remaining voice to sing a Christmas song. She played the violin as well.
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Gift distribution! 🙂
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1) Jella showing me her new watch. 2) Local kids flashing me their smiles. 3) Ro and Maria interacting with the special child.
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1) Fellow volunteers Gelo, Rox and Liz! 2) List girls: Liz, Te Tsari and Me. 3. ) John holding the plaque of appreciation
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Ro, her husband Patrick and Mam Ellen of the SPED Center.

After the gift distribution, lunch started. And soon after it was time for the 7 out of 15 volunteers to go back to Cebu. Lyn and her daughter Danielle, Jon, Yumi, Natsu, Rox, Rohini, and her husband Patrick remained to enjoy the island. While me, Liz, Maria, Te Agnes and daughter Lys, Te Tsari and Angelo left for Danao Port.

My time with The Kindred Nomads team, the school staff and the volunteers was short but just enough to know that we have something in common. Aside from the smiles and highs I got from helping to grant wishes, I am happy as well to have found people that I share the same passion. 🙂  Those and more made my volunteerism meaningful. I will truly look forward for more. 🙂

See more details of the activity in The Kindred Nomads Facebook Page. More pictures at my page as well: Kring’s Place.

Why I’ve Been On A Hiatus?

My last adventure post was exactly 2 months ago today – the last of the Apo series. After that was a new adventure that I didn’t get to finish. Haha! Oh well, it’s maybe meant for another time…another down time perhaps ’cause right now, I’m on yet another adventure. A different one! Something that I’ve been dreaming my whole life. Because of that I’ll once again go on a hiatus…for a long while. I’m hoping that you’ll still be here when I return. But before that let me take you to the 2 places I’ve visited and enjoyed last month Sirao Peak and Siquijor.

Trek to Sirao Peak
14 June 2014 

This was the boyfie and I’s 4th trek to Sirao but a first without our mountaineering friends, and the weekend before the 6th Anniversary. The trek was part of the whole week anniversary celebration featuring our activities over the years. We started in a movie date at our apartment, then trekking to Cebu City’s closest and most accessible mountain – Mt. Kan-irag.

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And Sirao will never be the same again. 🙂 The activity was supposedly my idea, I didn’t know the boyfie was cooking his own as well.

Trip to Siquijor
20-22 June 2014 

Siquijor has been on our travel list for a long while that got bumped too many times. Then one day, the boyfie said he’s planning the trip. Boy, you should have seen the look I had when he told me. That was before Sirao Peak, as I was thinking about it now, Siquijor must have been his decoy. I was too excited to finally be able to visit Siquijor that I didn’t notice his clues. I actually thought of not pursuing Sirao since a friend invited us to what I think a much more fun adventure in Osmena Peak. The boyfie lashed out for changing my mind. Glad I stayed put. Haha! I wonder what happened if Sirao didn’t happen. Hmmm!

Siquijor (Tagalog pronunciation: [sikiˈhor]CebuanoLalawigan sa SiquijorTagalogLalawigan ng Siquijor) is an island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayasregion. Its capital is the municipality also named Siquijor. To the northwest of Siquijor are Cebu and Negros, to the northeast is Bohol and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is the island of Mindanao.

Siquijor is the third smallest province in the country, in terms of population as well as land area (after Camiguin and Batanes). For a time it was part of Negros Oriental.

During the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines, the Spaniards called the island as Island of Fire (SpanishIsla del Fuego). Siquijor is commonly associated with mystic traditions that the island’s growing tourism industry capitalizes on.

I knew beforehand that Siquijor is small but I only felt it when we actually motorbiked almost half of the island.

siquijor

Migo and Miga’s 6th Anniversary Day 0 (20 June 2014)

Itinerary:
0900 South Bus Terminal
0930 Dmgte bound via Aircon Ceres Bus (Fare:205/pax)
1330 Bato Arrival
– Snacks: Bingka
1345 Bato Departure via RORO (Fare:70/pax)
1430 Tampi, San Jose, Negros Or. Arrival
1500 Dumaguete Port Arrival
1515 Tricycle to downtown for lunch
– Lunch @ Foodnet
– Snacks
1600 Siquijor Bound via GL Shipping Lines (Fare:140/pax, TF:15/pax)
1715 Siquijor Arrival
– Rent motorbike (350/day) c/o Aipee Dongon 0927 263 3983
– 3 liters Gasoline (150)
18:15 ETA Lorna’s
19:00 BBQ Dinner (135)

We arrived in Siquijor via Cebu-Dumaguete-Siquijor route. For comfort, we opted to ride the Ceres bus from South Bus Terminal bound to Dumaguete then took a ferry to Siquijor. The boyfie already booked a place in San Juan, Lorna’s End Of The World. I actually laugh when he said the name of the place, thinking it was another one of his jokes.

When the ferry arrived at Siquijor port, I get the same aura when entering Bantayan Island. The port was almost the same. A crowd of tricycle drivers greeted us just when I caught a glimpsed of the church. I was pretending to have a closer look just so they won’t insist. We didn’t have a ride to San Juan but I didn’t want us to hop with anyone and then regret for paying too much. I saw a somewhat trustworthy looking guy. Later I would know that his name is “Aipee Dongon (0927 263 3983)”. He showed us a cardboard with tricycle rates. We were surprised that a trip to San Juan cost Php 250. He must have seen our faces so he offered an alternative. Renting a motorbike would only cost Php350/day, I was all in for the cost but waited for the boyfie to react. We owned a motorbike at home but it’s been a while since his last drive. I saw him nod with reluctance. When I asked him again, his answer was already with confidence. Wew! It was my turn to shy away.

“Safe ra gyud kaayo mag-drive diri sa Siquijor, Mam.” Kuya Aipee said then did a quick run through of the roads and states of the entire province. I was sold.

He had the boyfie tried his motorbike and when it was all good, he asked us to wait to get a new bike. The boyfie tried the new bike as well but in the end, Kuya Aipee lets us take his own motorbike saying it was new compared to the other one. Thanks, Kuya Aipee. 🙂

Renting the motorbike was probably the best decision, we learned later. Siquijor’s spots were really just within the road plus there were signs and everything to lead you from place to place. We were more mobile and free because we had our own ride.

The boyfie with the motorbike at Lorna’s entrance.

For 2 days, we rented the motorbike for Php600. We arrived at Lorna’s without a hitch. And was very amazed how silent the road to San Juan is. We just saw countable motorbikes and never saw any jeep at all. It seems Kuya Aipee was not saying what he said just so we would rent the bike after all. 😀

At the front of Lorna’s.
Sunset in San Juan, Siquijor!

The sun was about to set when we reached Lorna’s so the first thing we did was cam whoring on San Juan’s sunset with Talinis Peak in the background. We had dinner by the boulevard eating barbecue with the locals. We slept early opting to greet each other a happy anniversary earlier for the planned tour the next day.

Migo and Miga’s 6th Anniversary (21 June 2014)
Motorbiking around Siquijor

Itinerary:
0800 Breakfast @ Lorna’s
0945 Begin Tour
Lazi Balete (10 donation)
1100 Lazi Convent, Museum entrance (20/pax)
1130 Cambuhagay Falls
– Parking (10), Snack (35)
1300 Lunch @ Lazi, Port, Noynoy Eatery
– Snack
1400 Salagdoong (15/pax)
– Motor Parking (10)
1700 Maria Souvenir Shop
1800 End Tour
2000 Anniversary dinner: Bubi’s Restaurant @ Royal Cliff (540)
2130 Game Time: RFTG, Carcassone
2400 Light’s Off

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Migo and Miga’s 6th Anniversary Day 2 (22 June 2014)

Itinerary:
0830 Breakfast @ Lorna’s
0930 Beach Swimming
1100 Bye Bye Lorna’s (1080)
– 2 days stay (300/day)
– 2 breakfast (360)
1130 Capilay (30 gas)
1200 Siquijor Port (Red Cross Donation 4)
1350 ETD Dumaguete via Ocean Jet (210/pax)
– Souvenir 100
– Lunch 105
1445 Dumaguete Port, ride to Ceres Terminal
– Tricycle to Sibulan
1515 Sibulan Port
1530 Cebu bound via Pump Boat (Fare:35/pax, TF:10/pax, TF: 2/pax)
1600 Santander Arrival, tricycle to hiway
1630 Cebu City Bound via Ceres Liner

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We spent a total of Php 5298 for the entire trip so around Php 2600 per person. It was quite cheap compared to our other escapades. 🙂

Contacts and References:
Where we stayed:
Lorna’s End of the World
Owner: Lorna
Contact Number: 0927 381 6377
Lorna’s was a little different from the boyfie’s reference. Then I learned from talking to Ate Lorna that their home caught fire last 2012 that’s why it was different. Ate Lorna was very kind and accommodating. If we’re going back to Siquijor, I would surely still stay there. The room was supposed to cost Php 500 a night but the CR drainage was stuck so Ate Lorna gave it to us for Php 300. Yay! We didn’t mind taking a bath at the common CR at all.

Our Transportation:
Motorbike
Owner: Aipee Dongon
Contact Number: 0927 263 3983
See description’s above!

Around the web:
http://www.thelonerider.com/2010/apr/siquijor/skindiving.shtml
http://www.senyorita.net/2013/03/camp-bandilaan-conquering-siquijors-highest-peak/
http://www.senyorita.net/2012/06/luxury-resort-hopping-in-siquijor/
http://wanderingdylan.com/2013/03/06/how-to-get-to-siquijor/
http://wanderingdylan.com/2011/03/28/places-siquijor-part-1/
http://wanderingdylan.com/2011/04/03/siquijor-places-part-2/
http://www.adventurousfeet.com/2013/12/part1-trip-to-siquijor-day-1-sta-monica.html
http://www.adventurousfeet.com/2014/01/part2-trip-to-siquijor-day-2-things-to.html
http://thetravellingdork.com/archive/siquijor-do-it-yourself-itinerary-travel-guide/

Overall Description of Siquijor:
IT’S A MUST VISIT! 🙂

Have you been to Siquijor or planning to go? Let me know on your comments below. Thanks!

Mystical Savannah

Growing up in a place known to be inhabited by Aswangs (a vampire-like mythical creature in Filipino folklore and is the subject of a wide variety of myths and stories), paranormal excursions is a welcome treat despite being faint-hearted. I am a “to see is to believe” type but somehow, ghosts is an exception.

I was a little skeptical when one of our companion suggested the ghost tour activity but we didn’t have anything planned after dinner, so we went back to the city. Savannah is different at night. The historical homes look menacing compared to the friendly pieces of photography at day time. As a child, I was told that in order not to see things you don’t want to see, avoid looking into people’s windows, dark alleys and tree tops. And being stubborn, it has always been my fascination to do things I’m told not to.

Savannah at night

Super old cemetery!
Super old cemetery!
Oglethorpe Mansion. The guide warns that most people whose brave enough to take pictures here almost always find some peculiarity in the pictures. Oh well...
Oglethorpe Mansion. The guide warns that most people whose brave enough to take pictures here almost always find some peculiarity in the pictures. Oh well…
On the way to more haunted spots in the city...
On the way to more haunted spots in the city…
Vintage cinema!
Vintage cinema!
Old and haunted...
Old and haunted…
Tour details...
Tour details…
Tomochichi's!
Tomochichi’s!
You thought they are the same...didn't you?
You thought they are the same…didn’t you?

But stubbornly looking at windows, dark alleys and tree tops in Savannah was no different than my home town, I haven’t seen anything I am not supposed to see. If I did, it would have been my first. 🙂

The ghost guide is jolly. Scary stories that is supposed to scare makes me laugh instead. He brought us to most visited haunted spots in the city. In every place, we were told of it’s scary tales. He warned about pictures in Oglethorpe mansion but instead of being scared, it makes me itch to have my picture taken there. Because he seemed in a hurry, I didn’t have pictures in all spots. I lost the chance to capture real ghost in my camera, if ever they really exist.

Enjoying the night

At the park...
At the park…
Tomochichi's gravestone
Tomochichi’s gravestone
The haunted Oglethorpe mansion!
The haunted Oglethorpe mansion!
Tourist and our guide!
Tourist and our guide!
Colonial Park Cemetery (an early graveyard dating back to the English colony of Georgia)
Colonial Park Cemetery (an early graveyard dating back to the English colony of Georgia)

Savannah at night is just as beautiful at day time. The dark gives it a whole new glow. It was almost midnight after our ghost tour but the streets are still busy. I may not have a ghostly experience but seeing the city in a different light was just as memorable.

Historical Savannah

If not for the company sponsored trip to the US last April 2013, I would have been traveling to another province in the Philippines for my 3rd birthday trip. So when I was invited for a trip to Savannah on the weekend of my 27th birthday, I agreed without 2nd thoughts. Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia which is known to attract millions of visitors for its city’s architecture and historic buildings. Because of its old age, the city is believed to be haunted. Ghost and paranormal tours are considered a must experience.

It was an overnight escapade. Left Atlanta on a hired car early by Saturday. Reached Savannah around lunch time and proceeded to the historical tour right away on a guided tour bus. And since I easily get bored listening to histories, I busied myself taking snaps of the historical homes and architectures.

Historical homes

Savannah-Views (7)-tile (Large) Savannah-Views (20)-tile (Large) Savannah-Views (25)-tile (Large) Savannah-Views (32)-tile (Large)

It amazed me how the buildings seem to have it’s own allure despite the monotonous color combination of white,orange and black. Each architecture is different. I couldn’t even picked a favorite. Every home is totally unique. The guide related that most homes are renovated in closest state to it’s original. And unfortunately, most are only restored on the outside. Touring inside the house is highly discouraged.

Parks and views

Aside from the grandiose homes, there are a number of sights in the city. After the tour we had lunch at the city market then continued roaming around the city. At night we went on a ghost tour (story next post: Mystical Savannah). The next day, after attending the mass, we spent the remaining time on the Sunday walking around, taking our time on cam-whoring (story next next post: More Of Savannah).

Top, Right: Getting ready for the tour. Bottom, Right: On the tour bus
Top, Right: Getting ready for the tour. Bottom, Right: On the tour bus
Late lunch at city market after the tour.
Late lunch at city market after the tour.
Wandering around Savannah's baywalk after lunch!
Wandering around Savannah’s baywalk after lunch!
Wandering around Savannah's baywalk after lunch!
Wandering around Savannah’s baywalk after lunch!
Park hopping and photo ops!
Park hopping and photo ops!
Park hopping and photo ops!
Park hopping and photo ops!