Travel Mindanao | Asik-asik Falls: The Long Journey, Rough Rides and Enchantment

The enchanting Asik-asik Falls
The enchanting Asik-asik Falls

There was a little apprehension in the next leg of our #TravelMindanao adventure coming from Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. We were headed northern counterpart of Cotabato this time and we can’t help thinking about its tainted reputation of sudden insurgencies. I’ve traveled to places like this while most of the time its safe, it helps to keep a low-profile so we were cautious. What ensued was the most arduous journey of #TravelMindanao in my opinion but rewarded with the sight of Asik-Asik Falls in Alamada, North Cotabato. Personally, one of the most enchanting and surreal falls I’ve seen in the Philippines.

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Transit | Cherry Bus to El Nido from Puerto Princesa

The Cherry Bus in El Nido
The Cherry Bus in El Nido

(Updated February 12, 2015) It’s always nice to have a healthy competition around. With El Nido growing into popularity, people wouldn’t mind traveling the 6-7 hours length just to enjoy El Nido, the northern beaches and islands of Palawan. Now with the entry of another bus company, Cherry Bus, there’s more frequency, convenience and cheaper travel to one of my favorite destinations in Palawan. Here’s how the new bus compares.

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The Long Road to Riverside Inn, Luplupa Kalinga

Inside the D'Rising Bus to Bontoc
Inside the D’Rising Bus to Bontoc

It was the holiday season long-break and a couple of my friends (RoadworthyMan and Hapipaks) wanted to visit Fang-Od, the famed mambabatok in Buscalan Kalinga and have themselves inked. It was kind of unexpected that transportation options quickly ran out even a few days ahead before the trip. I guess gone are the days where I can easily go to Baguio, Banaue or Sagada on a whim during this season as this time, people should book way ahead. I volunteered to help and give them another option to Buscalan, not only to accompany them but partly to join them as well as I wanted to revisit Kalinga again for the holidays. What ensued was a trip of misadventures on our way to Riverside Inn, Luplupa, Kalinga.

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Into Iligan City : Getting to Know the City of Waterfalls

Arriving at Laguindingan Airport
Arriving at Laguindingan Airport

I must admit, Iligan City is one of those cities in Mindanao that sees little tourist because of its smeared reputation from past “bombing” incidents in the city. I even remember a friend telling me that “I have to dodge bombs there before I can visit the waterfalls”. But I learned many times already from past visits to Tawi-tawi, Basilan and even Cotabato to not hastily judge a place by how media perceives it. One thing I know for a fact, Iligan City has plenty of waterfalls, 23 of them documented, and for a waterfall chaser like me, I know I’m gonna have a field day in this city. More apt this time is that Iligan Bloggers Society, organised a Waterfalling Adventure Tour event, where in 5 days, we get to explore 7 waterfalls, experience the festivities and culture of Iligan. I only have to shell out a minimum amount, my flight ticket and I don’t have to trouble myself in logistics . How can I resist that? I signed up immediately and was lucky to be one of the participants to this year’s tour. It’s time to experience Iligan!

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The Roads to Tinglayan Kalinga: From Tabuk and Bontoc

On the road top load from Tinglayan to Bontoc
On the road top load from Tinglayan to Bontoc

It was one of those spontaneous trips I wasn’t sure it would push through. The Philippine habagat (southwest wind) has been whipping up mean rains in the metro it takes some effort to bypass the floods and the traffic. But I had my eyes set on Kalinga province for sometime, particularly to see their supposedly dying Batok (tattoo) art. So when the rains abated, we got a signal from our guide in Tinglayan of good weather there. I quickly packed my bags and prepared for the long road to Tinglayan, the jump-off for exploration on the province of Kalinga.

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Singapore Changi Airport, A Destination in Itself

Inside the Changi Terminal 3
Inside the Changi Terminal 3

I’ve always been used to airports as a place I just usually drive in and fly out. It’s not a place I would stay too long unless I end up with a long layover in between flights. Singapore Changi Airport is a lot different though. While I have been to this airport several times already throughout the years it was on my recent visit that I got to know it more. I got an invitation from Samantha Lee, Corporate Communications Manager of Changi Airport, last year about a tour of Changi when I’m in the Singapore. Fortunately, the invite was still open so I took it up on my recent visit there. She and her associate made us discover that there’s a lot more to see in Changi Airport enough for me to say that it’s definitely a destination in itself.

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Transit: Off to Sibaltan, Where the Sun Rises in El Nido

Sibaltan Beach
Sibaltan Beach illuminated by the morning sun

Like George Mallory was saying, “Because it’s there!”, is there any other good reason to explore? A lot of people mainly see the EL Nido town and the islands of Bacuit Bay, but that’s only a small part of the El Nido Municipality. Slowly the northern regions of El Nido are getting some good exposure but I’ve always wondered what the eastern part of El Nido looks like. Does it have some magnificent islands and beaches as the eastern side? Curiosity got me going, coming a long with a friend, we were off to Sibaltan on the eastern side of El Nido.

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