Sometimes it’s disheartening to see a place change. There are times when places are best not seen again as not to ruin the initial perception of a place. Like love at first sight, when emotions run high and the amazing sense of bewilderment how something could captivate your being without understanding. Sometimes it’s beyond words, like how the placidness of a lake can calms one’s inner being. How a wisp of mist gently dances above the water can hypnotise. How the light plays with your vision. Such is the morning at Lake Seloton when I first experienced the place. However, things have slightly changed on my recent visit.
Lake Sebu has seen its share of development in the years. Apart from the tranquil three lakes in this land of dreamweavers, the Lake Sebu Zipline has been a big draw — being the highest in the country and personally the most scenic as well. The #TravelMindanao team of course wouldn’t miss experiencing this one. Even if I had rode the Lake Sebu Zipline before, I was still excited to try it again. The group headed to Hikong Alu, the first of the seven falls in Lake Sebu where the jump-off for the zipline is stationed.
“Bumabagyo tas pupunta kayo dun?!! (It’s storming and you guys are going there?)” a grumpy old man blurted while we’re warming ourselves with soup and coffee in a roadside eatery in Hinatuan. Yes the weather looked dreary and occasional rain showers threatened to dampen our excitement to visit the much talked about Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. We trusted our instincts and continued with our plans, Typhoon Zenaida can’t rain in our parade and it turned out to be one of the best decisions we made in this trip.
Maybe we got a little too comfortable when we visited the Cathedral Falls. Going to Sta Cruz Falls, also in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, was an unexpected contrast yet still a welcome adventure. Since most of us haven’t been there (except for Alex of Bagdok on the Road) and we had no idea what the trail is like. We only knew that from the highway, the falls is at the tail end of a 1.5 – 2km trek along the river. We got two guides with us after meeting with the Mayor of Kapatagan Mr Lagura and Sta Cruz Barangay Captain Neceas Booc, just to assure our safety. I think they had a good idea of what lay beyond the peeling and undistinguishable signage “This way to Sta Cruz Falls” by the road-side and letting us discover it for ourselves what’s ahead.
November was a kick-off of the TravelMindanao Project. It was a thrilling whirlwind 20-days (and would have been more if not for Super Typhoon Yolanda’s unexpected arrival) for me but was quite fulfilling in discovering (and re-discovering) different facets of Mindanao. So what started as a joke from the recent WAT 2.0 in Iligan evolved to an advocacy, a call to action to Travel to Mindanao. With a group of 8 travel bloggers we explored Mindanao to showcase the sights, the people, the experience and hoping you consider Mindanao on you next travel plan. Here’s a snippet on some of the highlights of this project.
This month of November, I along with 7 other travel bloggers will give some travel loving to the much maligned Philippine region of Mindanao. Yes, starting November 6, we’ll be exploring Mindanao to experience and share with you destinations where you can safely travel through yet enjoy stunning nature trips, extreme adventures, mouth-watering delicacies, rich culture and the unique warmth of Mindnanoans. Let us change your perception of Mindanao and hopefully this TravelMindanao project would entice you to book your next travel here.
Let’s forget about the violence or the unrest that Cotabato City is known for. This post will sum up what I have posted about this much maligned city and would focus on things you could see and do. While I could say that this city, found at the heart of Mindanao, locked between Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao, is generally safe, caution is still recommended and I would suggest to ask assistance at the local tourism office.