In the Philippines, Holy Week – that long weekend from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday – is a time when people flock to the beach or go to the highlands to cool off. We used to do that for some time until it became a hassle to find flights, bus trips, ferry trips or resorts at a time when everyone else was trying to do the same thing. Or to go to a beach where there was hardly any breathing room.
We’ve already seen it from a distance the day before, as our ferry made its way from Pasacao in Camarines Sur towards the port of San Pascual in Burias Island, Masbate. It looked like a massive piece of rock, almost featureless, from afar. But now, as our rented motorized outrigger neared Animasola Island on our island-hopping jaunt, we began to realize that this place could be the most interesting piece of marine real estate in San Pascual. Continue reading Animasola Island Rocks!
It’s a destination so notorious for witchcraft and sorcery that many friends wondered aloud why we would ever want to visit the island in the first place. Travel shows highlighting folk healing further added to the mystique about the island province of Siquijor but we were after other attractions here. Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) almost put a stop to our travel plans but before 2013 was over we hopped aboard a ferry at Dumaguete City on our way to the island Spanish colonizers called “Isla del Fuego” (Island of Fire).
We had our apprehensions before proceeding on the drive to our major destination for the day. Already we had to dodge some rocks resting on the side of the coastal road from Diguisit Beach, reminders of landslides that occur in this area. Soon we were headed up a steep and twisting road so narrow that it can only accommodate a single vehicle at a time. Fortunately it was not raining this morning or the road might get too slippery. A single mistake could send the car careening off the road into the sea a few hundred feet below. Fortunately too, the people here have a system in place to ensure that only one car or a single line of vehicles going in one direction will be on the road at any given time.
2015 was in several ways a boon for travel. With unusually few typhoons throughout the year and somewhat less rougher seas it was possible to visit various spots in the Philippines almost the whole year round. Here are some of our photo highlights from the year that was.
It was still dark with the sound of waves crashing against the sandy shores of Sabang Beach faintly echoing in the distance when the trike showed up on schedule. Still groggy after waking up a few minutes earlier I lazily picked up my equipment and started to clamber aboard the three-wheeled vehicle that was going to take me to my destination when my trike driver halted me. “Sir, I don’t think you can go to Diguisit Beach in that attire,” he said, smiling at me. I looked up at him in my shorts and sleeveless shirt, “Why not?” He explained that the trip would take us over hilly ground and that it would be very cold. I ended up having to borrow Nina’s jacket – a bit small for me but it was the only heavy clothing available.
We honestly didn’t know what to expect on this trek even after doing quite a bit of research about it. A month before our Baler trip, Typhoon Lando had struck Aurora province. We were almost certain that it would not have spared the town of San Luis where the Ditumabo Falls is situated. Now surveying the landscape around us we could see fallen trees littering the landscape and rocks scattered about the fast-flowing stream that led to the falls. Our trike driver/tour guide assured us, however, that contrary to our fears the typhoon had actually made the hike easier.