Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Glimpse of Laguindingan and the City of Friendship

I am excited to share a trip I had recently. This is to city called Cagayan De Oro, with the slogan "the City of Friendship." The city is located in Misamis Oriental in Northern Mindanao. Well, my destination was not really CDO but Bukidnon. Since there are no direct flights to Bukidnon, I had to go via the CDO route. But passing an interesting place may mean so much to anyone I guess, especially if it is a place you have never been to. In my case, this was the first time that I visited CDO and my first Mindanao trip ever! After this particular trip/vacation that lasted around three weeks, I was back to Leyte, but we Leyteños are quite popular because of McArthur's "I shall return" statement and indeed I was back to Northern Mindanao treading (figuratively) the same route only six days after! (I’ll tell you about that soon *wink*).

*Note that I took this photo before the plane came to a full stop*

So, first thing’s first, what was my motivation for travelling? I mean, it's not that you always need to have one when travelling – but my reason mainly in this case is because I wanted to leave my hometown for a while, and run away from all the intoxication and boredom I was getting. Apart from that, it was because my Mom bought me tickets. Haha! I joked to her about it, and when she came home that day, she gave me tickets! One round trip ticket Tacloban-Cebu and another round trip ticket Cebu-CDO. I think she knew that I was really bored to death and needed the time off, so she got me those tickets. My return flight was the day before her birthday! Haha. 

Like I mentioned a while ago, my trip was via Cebu – I stayed overnight at my brother’s apartment which only cost me P8.00 since it was one multicab ride from the Mactan International Airport. Talk about savings! Anyway, my brother and I had dinner after his work and decided to do groceries. The following day, since it was my trip to CDO, after preparing a bit and doing some cleaning (older sister duties), I left for the airport and I was glad to have spent only P16.00 for two multicab rides and it was way cheaper than having to spend over a P100.00 for a taxi cab ride.

Arriving in Laguindingan International Airport is a different story. The place is really new and clean and definitely stunning. Some say the looks can be compared to other international airports abroad. And compared to the airport we have in Tacloban – I was speechless. Since it was my first time in Laguindingan, I took an obligatory photo of the airport which I rarely do nowadays since most of my travels involve only the more familiar airports  that I've been to before.

I usually take selfies but this time I was too shy to pose for one since I got ultimately self-conscious travelling alone for this trip. Perhaps if I had someone with me, that selfie would have been a possibility. HAHA.

From Laguindingan airport, there are a lot of shuttle vans headed to CDO proper and the barkers will try and get your attention the moment you step out of the airport. I rode a van headed to Agora Terminal and this commute had cost me P199 which was like a 45-minute ride. I was to meet my sister in the terminal and we rode a jeepney to see LimketKai Mall and visit a Ramen place she always wanted to try. 

Notice the photo on the left and look at the size of the Spicy Seafood ramen which she had to eat all alone. This was the expression on her face when she actually saw her order for the first time. I mean, we were both starving, yes, but that bowl of ramen was quite huge for one person.

After the bountiful meal, we rode a jeepney to reach Centrio--a new Ayala Mall in CDO. Well, we did not really have anything planned, so we just did some window shopping, ate Mochiko balls, bought a couple of stuff I needed for my writing, watched people do Zumba and ate dinner. And did I mention all the talk we have been doing since we saw each other? From Agora terminal and back to Agora terminal again? HAHAHA.

We were bound for Bukidnon at that point so we took the red RTMI bus headed to the food basket of the Philippines, but I'd want to save that story for your next read. I had fun sharing this and we hope to be able to write more about our travels and food finds with you guys!

All the love from us, sisters!

[Sisters of Wander]

All photos used in this article are property of the contributors of Please notify prior to usage of any of the photos.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

At the Atugan

Do you like bridges? Or just love the great, green outdoors? Well there's this bridge in the province of Bukidnon that literally made me gasp for air the first time I saw it. It wasn't technically the first time I passed by the bridge but the first time I saw it and what's underneath it, I was blown away.

This is the Atugan Bridge. This bridge is located at Sayre Highway, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. It's very common actually to pass by here if you're travelling along the Cagayan de Oro - Bukidnon - Davao route. According to sources, the height of the bridge from the earth beneath it up to the actual roadway is about 210-215 meters and it is claimed that it is the highest bridge in the country! It crosses the Atugan canyons and boy does it have a view! 

I had a chance before to attend and watch a 4-wheel drive off road challenge that took place below the bridge and it was tasking to go the bottom of the bridge and it was twice as difficult to hike back to the roadway because of the absence of a real path as well as the steep slopes. I was almost out of breath I wanted to cry but I didn't because it'll expend my energy further. So anyway, here are two photos showing how (1) how above looks like from below and (2) how below looks like from above. Hihi..

I'm from Leyte so I have a bias over the beauty of the longest bridge in the Philippines, the San Juanico Bridge. Although I've seen it a lot of times, San Juanico Bridge never ceases to amaze me. On the other hand, Bukidnon captured my heart the first time I arrived in its mountains and  it continues to do just that. One of the reasons I love Bukidnon is my love for this bridge. It took my breath away when I first saw it and it is not just due to the length of the bridge or its remarkable height, but mostly is the beauty of the things beneath it and the expanse of the beauty that stretches on both sides of the Atugan canyon.

There are a lot of nice things to see in Bukidnon and if you're interested in seeing this bridge, just ride a RTMI bus from Agora Terminal, Cagayan de Oro. However, you'll just get to pass by this bridge and look at it for a few seconds. But you can ask to be dropped off either before or after the bridge by simply asking the conductor or the bus driver. It'll be more convenient to be on a private trip so that you can really take time to take pictures on the bridge at least for a while.

Wanderers Tip: It is unusual but it is nice to visit the bridge during the colder months (well, Bukidnon is generally cooler than most of the Philippine provinces) after a drizzle or rain because the temperature and the rain create fog formations under the bridge producing a more scenic, picturesque view that is perfect for photo ops!

I now love two bridges in the Philippines and they are such beautiful things. But apart from the structure itself is the greenery that is simply wonderful and every time I see naturally beautiful things, I try to pause and catch my breath and thank the Supreme Being that made all these. Every beautiful thing not created by man amazes me and reinforces my belief that there must be somebody greater than anyone of us who can create such eye-gasmic scenery for us to appreciate and even more so, protect. To all the wanderers out there, I hope that you get to be at the Atugan soon so you'll get the beautiful picture that I'm trying to get at. :)

[Sisters of Wander]

All photos used in this article are property of the contributors of Please notify prior to usage of any of the photos.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wandering Off to the Island of Boracay Philippines

Boracay Island is a beautiful paradise located at Malay, Aklan, Western Visayas, Philippines. Original wander plan was just to have a bit of Iloilo food trip (air fare promos to Iloilo: hooray!) for the weekend. However, flexible plans mean flexible and the Sisters of Wander have never visited the island yet, so we booked a hotel in  Boracay Station 3 and we took the Ceres bus from Tagbak terminal in Iloilo and rode the Caticlan-bound bus. This trip fare is P350.00 and you will be dropped at the Caticlan Jetty Port. It took us around 6 hours when normally according to friends it only stretches to about 4-5 hours. The delay might have been caused by the road repairs.

We knew that going to Boracay will be quite costly for a trip since it is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the Philippines. Despite this knowledge, it was still  much to our surprise that prior to riding the bangka or boat to the island of Boracay, we paid a total of P200.00 (around $4.60) for the following:

Bangka/boat from Caticlan Jetty Port: P25.00
Environmental fee: P75.00
Terminal fee: P100.00

Fret not. Just try to remember that it is a very arduous task to maintain the cleanliness of an island that gets thousands of visitors each year while sustaining employment. 

And if this is the initial view that you see, you wouldn't really mind, would you?

The bangka ride takes about 5-10 minutes before it arrives at the terminal port on the other side. 

You can take the Boracay multicabs for a fee or take the tricycle just as we did. Simply tell the driver where you are checked in and they'll try to drop you at the nearest entrance point in your station or hotel.

It was dusk when we arrived and the scenery further blew us away. Just take note however that it is quite warm when you are not on the beach side because of the wind breakers that are situated in front of hotels and other establishments. 

Despite being surrounded by the sea, this island has a Yellowcab, Starbucks, McDonalds, Lonely Planet, Crazy Crepes, Gerry's Grill, Shakey's, Fruits in Ice Cream among a plethora of local and MNC establishments as well as spas and bars.

There a lot of activities to choose from while in Boracay. People convince you to have activities from the moment you start strolling along Boracay island. You can do scuba diving, ride banana boats or speed boats, go for helmet diving, island hopping, parasailing, snorkeling, jet skiing and a whole lot more!

Being on a budget trip meant fewer activities but more reasons to go back! We tried helmet diving and enjoyed the view underwater feeding fish and posing for photos. 

We went island hopping for three hours as well and we visited Puka beach and picked up shells and little corals on the shore and were not quite sure (pun not intended) if that was legal. Teehee!

Before going back to our station, we went to a snorkeling area (snorkeling fee: P20.00 per person) and looked at the beautiful creatures under water. Be careful though, there were tiny invisible creatures that pricked us a couple of times while we were on the water. Ouch!

The nightlife in Boracay is equally exciting for the party animals out there. Several bars, clubs, and live entertainment are present during the night. There are fire dancers everywhere and live bands as well. Shopping is also exciting at night after an entire day of adventures.

Souvenirs and Fire Dancers make the nightlife even more exciting.

And since the sisters of wander craved for (1) seafood and (2) a buffet, it is only practical to visit a Seafood Buffet and we found  Victory Beach Resort's Seafood Buffet for only P280.00. What a treat! This is the face of one of the sisters too excited about her unlimited oysters:

 I think she ate about 200 of them. Sorry oysters, that was genocide done by one sister of wander. :P

So if you guys feel like visiting Boracay, you can choose the route we took via Iloilo or you can book a flight to Caticlan. But, whichever route you decide to take is OK because for sure no matter what activity you prefer in the island of Boracay, whether it be swimming, partying, water adventures, food trip, or just chilling, this little paradise in Panay can surely accommodate your vacation needs. :)

 Thank you Boracay for an amazing weekend. Hope this love affair will never end. So this isn't a goodbye but a see you soon!

[Sisters of Wander]

All photos used in this article are property of the contributors of Please notify prior to usage of any of the photos.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Welcome Sisters!

Hello everyone and welcome to the Sisterhood! We are the Soledad sisters and the three of us are scattered accordingly: one in Luzon, another in Visayas, and another in Mindanao. The three of us love food and travel so much and we'd like to share our adventures with all of you.

This blog will try to exhibit our mini adventures around the Philippines related to the places we visit and the different cuisines that we love or we just want to try out. We hope to give you information that can inspire you to visit these places or try our food adventures soon :)


Happy travelling and happy eating from the Sisters of Wander! :)

About us:

Jemima - the sister of Luzon
Jessa - the sister of Visayas
Jemika - the sister of Mindanao

Bonding bonding din pag may time kase madalang lang 'to :))