2018 Abaca Festival: Bicol Festival of Festivals Showdown

Performance from Tiwi's Coron Festival
Performance from Tiwi’s Coron Festival

It took me 12 years before I stepped my foot on back to the island of province of Catanduanes. And what better time than in the midst of their festivities. The 2018 Abaca Festival is on their 3rd year. The month long celebration aims to showcase their native abaca fiber or Manila hemp which is one of the main products of the province and source of livelihood. The month-long festival have pockets of activity culminating towards the 4th week of May. One of the much awaited is the Bicol Festival of Festivals Showdown where contingents from Bicol region participate in a dance showdown. A colorful revelry with heart pounding beats and awe-inspiring performance. An exciting return to what is now known as the Happy Island!

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Siargao Taktak Falls and Magpupungko Rock Pools

Magpupungko Rock Pools aerial view
Magpupungko Rock Pools aerial view

My road trip around Siargao continues after that fun spelunking at Tayangban Cave. I didn’t bother to change to dry clothes as I know, the hour-long trip to Sta Monica, north of Siargao is enough to air me dry. It was a scenic ride passing by the beaches of San Isidro. Our stop was Taktak Falls, the only known waterfalls on the island. Then later head south again to cap the afternoon at Magpupungko Rock Pools.

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Tayangban Cave | Spelunking and Swim at Siargao’s Sinkhole

One of the cave openings at Tayangban Cave
One of the cave openings at Tayangban Cave

Siargao may be known as one of the country’s main surfing haven, but for a casual to non-surfer like me, I’m more interested on what other places I can visit on this island. I dedicated a day for exploring Siargao by road and hired a habal-habal to take me around. Upon checking out of Buddha’s Surf Resort, I transferred to another hotel near Dapa port so I can be early next day for the boat to Socorro. Left my other bags and immediately started for our first destination – the Tayangban Cave in Pilar. I really have no idea what the cave features are which made it more exciting.

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Stay | Buddha’s Surf Resort Siargao

Hanging out at the hammock at Buddha's Surf Resort
Hanging out at the hammock at Buddha’s Surf Resort

What does Buddha do on his spare time? He surfs! Well that’s what the owners of Buddha’s Surf Resort in Siargao thinks. It’s just amusing to see a figure of Buddha lifting a surfboard when I arrived at the resort. Located right smack between the famous Cloud 9 surf spot and the bustling General Luna, Buddha’s Surf Resort is one of the pioneer establishment in Siargao that has long catered to visitors of the island.

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Bucas Grande | The Giant Mangroves of San Roque

The San Roque Giant Mangrove boardwalk
The San Roque Giant Mangrove boardwalk

I was planning to go back early to Siargao but decided to take it easy. Spent the morning at the Puting Bato beach and enjoyed some down time at Sohoton Bay Resort. Before making my way back to Siargao, Sir Ed suggested we visit one of the attractions that was to open this April 2018 – the Giant Mangroves of San Roque. These rainforest of the sea have always fascinated me. They are one of the indication how healthy the environment is so I try to see them when there is one in the area.

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Bucas Grande | Sohoton Cove: Raw and Beguiling

An overview of a portion of Sohoton Cove
An overview of a portion of Sohoton Cove

This is one of the places where you had to know the right time to visit. Access to Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande is only during low tide. Coming from Tundan Cave, we went back to Sohoton Bay Resort for a short lunch break before returning for the cove in the early afternoon. I was already impressed with what I’ve seen of Bucas Grande in general. The low round karst hills and islets reminds me of chocolate hills but this one over the majestic Palawan blue waters. That’s until we passed through the 40-meter low cave and entered the world of Sohoton Cove.

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Day Hike | Crossing Boundaries for Mt Mamara

At the summit of Mt Mamara with the summit of Mt Daraitan behind
At the summit of Mt Mamara with the summit of Mt Daraitan behind

Change of plans. I love it when my companions are just ready for anything. Meeting hiking buddies Christine and Marky early Friday morning in Cubao, we were supposed to go to another mountain. As fast as the changing wind, we decided to visit another mountain at the vicinity of Daraitan – Mt Mamara. A smaller brother of Mt Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal, Mt Mamara was opened as an alternative to climbers who got cut-off from the maximum 300 pax per day limit of climbers for Mt Daraitan. It may be a minor mountain but the rewards of the climb is equally captivating.

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