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.
Beautiful row of pastel colored houses flank the wide up uphill street of Upper McKinley Hill road. Most of the time when I pass through this opulent neighborhood in McKinley Hill, it always feels like I’m in a different place. Where structures are elegantly adorned in Venetian Gothic architecture. A faux Venice Piazza stands at the rotunda. The pace seemed to channel the holistic vibe of the people in Venice having a focused environment where they can easily live, work, play, learn and shop. A few bloggers where in for a closer look-see of this burgeoning development from Megaworld Corporation and get a feel what its like to live in a Mediterranean-inspired neighborhood mixed with the dynamism of people of Manila.
It was an advocacy to entice more people to travel to Mindanao, the southernmost major island of the Philippines. A region much maligned due to isolated insurgencies which affected nearby regions. Born out of Iligan’s Waterfalling activity, Travel Mindanao is a project by a group of travel bloggers with a common zest for adventure and to showcase the best of Mindanao. The project was supposed to be in a span of a month but I had to catch up shortening my participation to 20 days. Still, after seven provinces, it was one of my memorable journeys in the country.
I just realized it was almost three years when I last went to Banaue. This part of the Cordilleras has a special place in my travels being one of the first few places I visited in the Cordilleras. Ever since my first visit to Batad, I’ve gone back here more often than I could remember. But this time I was here to run my first 21k road-trail. Team Malaya organized a Banaue-Batad Marathon and I excitedly singed up. Since it was my first halfy I wanted to have a good rest before the race. When in Banaue, I often go straight to the towns of Batad or Bangaan but this time I have to stay in town. I looked through Agoda and glad to find Banaue Hotel listed there. A familiar sight for me since I’ve visited it before and explored the village behind it. I guess it was it’s about time I stay in this already an institution of an accommodation in the home of the 8th wonder of the world.
“Rapids ahead! Give me your paddles and lean forward on your side of the raft! Hold on to the rope tight!” our guide yelled. Before I could blurt “What?! Why?!” from my head, the three of us followed his instruction in an instant, With our bellies resting on the raft, the next thing I noticed our guide was paddling madly at the rear, our raft was turning on one side and we’re facing the wild river water upfront! The raft rocking heavily on turbulent waters. Before I could scream, splash of water engulfed us! It was crazy but it was fun! And that was just part of our our 2-hour Cagayan de Oro White Water Rafting experience.