Having one of the oldest monuments in the Philippines in the form of the impressive San Juan Bautista Church, I wasn’t surprised that there were more to discover in this predominantly Catholic municipality of Jimenez, Misamis Occidental. We met with our local guide from the DOT office to give us a tour of the town. Visiting the church, it was a good idea the tourism installed a few boards showcasing the other attractions in town. Particularly noticeable were the heritage houses, a cemetery and a mysterious tree by the river.
It took us two trips to fully inspect and really appreciate this marvellous Jimenez Church particularly named San Juan Bautista Church. The day before, we passed by this church in haste after a tour of Oroquieta City. It was late afternoon and the church was closed. I wasn’t satisfied seeing just the faced. My fellow travel blogger, Apple of Sole Searching Sole had the same sentiments that we should get back here the next morning. It was a good decision lest we’ll miss one of the most beautiful and well preserved in the island of Mindanao.
It was a case of an unfortunate event that led me to stay in this old family mansion now called the Heritage Mansion Hotel in Baguio City. I had a booking in another hotel but they overbooked the rooms so I was moved here without extra cost in my part. A sort of an upgrade since it the rooms there were a lot more expensive than the one I booked and its much closer to the city center which I liked.
I can’t help but feel nostalgic. Six years is quite a long time to return to a place. Hanoi was such a favorite destination of mine back then. Yes I’ve treaded the streets of the Old Quarter before, went to an overnight cruise at Ha Long Bay and even enjoyed the misty coolness of Sapa Valley during my first visit in Northern Vietnam. But I don’t mind going back to see what has changed that’s why I didn’t think twice when an invite for a familiarization tour of Hanoi, organized by Cebu Pacific Air and Stratworks came in the email. There’s the certain comfort of stepping back into the familiar and also a certain anxiety to see how things have transitioned from now to then.
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’s all about connecting people.There’s a large concentration of Filipino workers in Miri and we want people to easily connect with their families.” Says Ms Joy Caneba, Executive Vice President and COO of AirAsia Zest during the inaugural ceremony in Miri Airport of AirAsia Zest’s flight from Manila to Miri. A first in the country, the Miri route is also a good alternative entry point to nearby Brunei which is only 30 minutes away from the city. Personally, I am interested to the Miri destination as it is the jump-off to one of UNESCO’s Natural World Heritage Site, the Gunung Mulu National Park.
There are two sides in every story, and for an island like Culion, that held the stigma of the long-gone leprosy, there’s the view from the people who lived in the island and those who look upon it from the outside like me. I have this lingering fascination and curiosity with Culion Island that beheld me ever since I’ve heard about it. I wanted delve deeper and see for myself, hear for myself the stories of struggles, perseverance, hope and healing. I know there’s a lot more to Culion Island than what people perceive of it, so I made sure when I returned to Coron, I made a trip to this island used to be known as the “Island of the living dead” and “Island of no return”.