Just a few days ago Cebu registered a high 44.1 degrees heat index according to PAG-ASA Mactan. According to the said local state weather bureau, the heat index (also called human discomfort index) is the actual temperature felt by the body based on air temperature, humidity, and the surrounding environment. Quite a number of people on my FB feed shouted their discomfort with a slew of posts ranging from how polar caps are melting to comparisons of heat felt to the fires of hell reiterating how HOT this summer is becoming.
When it is this HOT, you can’t helped but think of the many places you’d rather want to be than stay at your sauna-like home. Luckily, the Philippines is blessed with a lot of wonderful places offering escape from the summer heat. As an archipelago, our country literally abounds with bodies of water that will refresh you!!! Here are a few outside of Cebu that I was fortunate enough to have visited over the years. I believe these will give you reason to hop on a ferry or book your next flight out of the city!
Canigao Island of Matalom, Leyte is my first trip in Eastern Visayas as a tourist. I once visited Palo and Tacloban, Leyte during a leadership conference a decade back but didn’t have a chance to tour around.
At work, our colleague in UP Cebu pitched for this lovely island for our summer vacation / adventure last year. We conceded gladly after a quick check over the Internet of photos featuring Canigao Island (Due also to a hospitable offer that her family in Matalom will send us off with food :)). Continue reading Canigao Island→
Located in Iloilo’s north, the beautiful Gigantes Islands of Carles Municipality share the Visayan Sea with the fisherfolks of Negros Occidental and Cebu. Going there would take around 2 hours of land travel (private vehicle) from Iloilo City to Estancia port and another 3 hours through the sea on a motorized banca from Estancia town.
The boat-ride is quite rough so those who are prone to sea-sickness or motion-sickness better take some medicine beforehand.
Your island hopping itinerary would be a mix of white islands and sandbar, the blue sea, a “living” cave, and good dose of fun minus the distraction of a mobile connection. To top that, cheap fresh seafoods abound. Shells sell at around 200 pesos to fill a basin.
The UP Cebu Department of Computer Science, a CHED Center of Excellence grantee, went to Pinamungajan, Cebu last April 24-26 to conduct an ICT skills enhancement training for government workers and teachers of the 3rd congressional district.
The ICT training covered topics in office productivity applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, slide presentations, and basic computer operations and troubleshooting.
I was designated to discuss effective slide presentations. To provide a “local feel” to my talk, I made a quick research on Pinamungajan and Toledo City since most of our audience came from the two places.
While scouring the net, I got amazed that Pinamungajan actually has a lot of destinations to please different types of tourists. From their local government website, http://www.pinamungajan.gov.ph, here are the town’s top attractions:
1. Hidden Valley Mountain Resort
We were fortunately given a free tour by the staff of the local government after our Friday session and got to experience what the town website says as: “an adventure in itself as the road winds its way up over scenic rice fields and mountains.” The night time ride allowed us to view the field of stars usually hidden by Cebu City’s lights.
We skipped swimming in their cold pools and instead sang a videoke song or two.
2. Twin falls: Udlom and Sinungkulan Falls
Would have wanted to take a view and a dip into these beauty but we didn’t have time to spare. Sinungkulan is said to be visible when you’re at Hidden Valley Mountain Resort, as both are located in Barangay Lamac, but the night’s darkness also prevented us a view.
3. Tajao Public Beach
We were billeted at Park Place Resort and had Tajao’s public beach as our backyard. The beach has black sand and sports very clean waters. Morning strolls give you a glimpse of the fishing community.
Pinamungajan, being a midwest town, has a spectacular view of the sunset. Their local website describes the sunset experience as: “Whether from a bench in the municipal plaza or from the beaches in Tajao, the spectacular view never fails to refresh a weary soul.”
On our way to the training venue from our accommodation, we get to pass by the ever growing mangroves of Pinamungajan. Would have wanted to ride a banca to cruise along the river which is lined by a mangrove forest quite similar to Bojo River of Aloguinsan town.
Felt fulfilled by the three-day ICT skills training as I can clearly see the participants’ keen interest to our discussions. Hopefully, the training would help them in delivering better public service and that they will be able to pass on the knowledge to others.
Except for my family’s hometown of Balamban, I never had the chance to discover the western portion of Cebu. So off I went to Barili with my friends for my first adventure to Cebu’s west side. It was also perfect to forget momentarily the malicious cases leveled against me and my colleagues.
The group’s plan was to stay overnight at Mantayupan then proceed to Sayaw Beach the next day.
Mantayupan Falls is a sight to behold. It’s elevation is higher than all of the few waterfalls I have seen. Bring along your snack or lunch pack as there are no food stalls in the area. There’s a free grilling area though and your bottled drinks can be chilled by the cool waters.
Going for an overnight stay is not recommended since all you have there is the cool night chill. The place’s single karaoke was not working and the establishment about 200 meters away charges payment to almost everything from entrance, tables, chairs, etc.
The white sands of Sayaw Beach and the unusual bermuda grass there are perfect for those who avoid the crowded beaches of Mactan. Entrance is just Php 15.
Hadsan Beach Cove in Mactan Island, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu was one of the most frequented resorts of batches of UP students back in the 1990s and early years of 2000s. Hadsan was the easy favorite as one can enter the resort at around 50 pesos –great for the budget-consious and -challenged. Testament to Hadsan’s mark in UP is the naming of one of the campus tambayans now more known as the Sagabay tambayan.
Last Monday, my CMSC 21 class took advantage of the Sinulog break and trooped to Hadsan for some team-building action. While the resort needs some repairs to keep pace with the other resorts in Cebu, its old charm remains. Watch out for tuyom and the stone-floored waters though. Thick, calloused feet are an advantage here.
The resort retained its mark of being inexpensive with its entrance fee now just 40 pesos. With the 40-peso rate, expect a self-service accommodation since the resort do not have handy personnel for your group’s needs. You also have to walk a few meters from the beach and your group’s cottage to avail of the free grilling area. What’s nice though is that you can just rent one cottage and colonize the unoccupied ones without resort staff keeping watch.
Note: Hadsan Cove does not provide overnight accommodation.
For those wanting a relaxed beach experience this summer, you should try Olango Island, Cebu. An island just about 30 minutes away from Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City. Olango offers adventurers an inexpensive vacation different from the crowded beaches of Mactan.
Armed with ready-to-grill meat, drinks and snacks, we ventured to this small island in the summer of 2009. We rented a kayak for just 100 pesos good for the whole day. The unli-kayak allowed us to see and paddle through mangroves and off to deeper waters relying mainly on our instincts to go left, right, forward and against the strong currents.
For those who want to mingle with the fishes and spy on the migratory birds, there are also boats which service island-hopping trips for around 1700 pesos.
With the year 2010 about to close, a few friends and I charted a hastily planned beach getaway last December 26. From Jollibee at corner AS Fortuna and Hiway (Mandaue), we took the Maribago jeep armed with lechon manok and bottles of Coke. Portofino Beach Resort, Mactan was the ready answer for the group’s beach-thirst.
Despite the large crowd at the resort, we got to enjoy the waters including the funny intermissions by zipline riders.
Lesson learned: Never head to Portofino on a weekend or holiday if you are allergic to several beach-goers.