There’s comfort in familiarity at times. After more than a weeklong travel in Tawi-tawi then a brief stop in Zamboanga, I was yearning for something familiar. A place to slow down, re-organize and re-energize a bit. When I flew in Davao, it was comforting to know I would be staying at Microtel by Wyndham Davao. It’s actually my second time to stay here and the sixth Microtel by Wyndham branch I’ve been to.
I never get tired of Sagada. Even if go back to the same places I visited there again and again, even if there were hassles or inconveniences encountered going there, the allure never fades. On my recent trip to Sagada, I wanted to venture further and explore the “new” sites recently opened for exploration. My friends and I visited SAGGAS (Sagada Genuine Guides Association) office and was greeted by the jovial, Yaki. We were inquiring about a particular tour but curiosity led us to change plans seeing the map on their wall. We decided to head east then traverse southeast of Sagada going along the border of Alab down south. Our first stop is Kamanbaneng Peak, one of the alternative sunrise destination in Sagada.
Much of Mati City in Davao Oriental has been a surprise. I recall the place having been devastated by Typhoon Pablo a couple of years ago but I’m glad to see the city has recovered and with interesting developments. From the plaza, to the capitol, schools and hospital a familiar paint of purple can be seen which I was told was the color of healing. When I was going around Mati, I had no idea there was a Subangan Museum in which my habal-habal driver recommend I visit. I was hesitant at first but since I was already there, I thought I would do a quick round but ended up staying more than an hour.
It was a feast to the senses. The vibrant colors move in a captivating array of patterns in purple, gold and rich green. The choreography was so just entertaining and their Pangalay (a type of Muslim dance) was just hypnotic in its graceful body movement paired with the elegant gestures of their fingers. I just came back in Tawi-tawi after more than five years since my last visit and already, I’m bombarded by this showcase of Sama culture in this Agal-agal Festival. Agal-agal is the local Sinama term for seaweed, an abundant commodity of Tawi-tawi. I can say what a festive way to welcome my return to the southernmost province of the country.
September in Iligan City is the month-long celebration of the Dyandi Festival. Originally a rite performed by the Dumagats, Maranaos and the Higaonons to pay homage to their patron saint, Saint Michael. It’s a multi-cultural celebration passed through generations now practiced by Christians, Muslims and the natives. It was in 2004 when the city established the Dyandi Festival as their tourism identity. Among the highlight of this month-long revelry is the Kasadya Streetdancing Competition.