The Long Wait…

… is killing me! 🙁

For about a month now, i’ve been eagerly waiting to hear from this group of people regarding a decision that could change my life. Initially, I was amazed by how fast everything was churning in. Until I was asked to wait for a week… and the waiting dragged on and on and on… I’m now at a point wherein pinapasa-Diyos ko na lang. If t’s for me, then thank you Lord. 🙂

But still… haaay… sana tumawag na sila. I just need one phone call to end this waiting game. Grrr! Ang hirap talaga pag “low EQ!” :-S

Camiguin Day 1: A Valentines Getaway

Follow our trail: (Camiguin Day 1: Our Valentine Getaway); (Camiguin Day 2: Fell in Love with Camiguin Today); (Day 3: It’s Cold in Cagayan de Oro)

We were able to get our air tickets via the Cebu Pacific’s seat sale last November. It was a series of firsts for me: fitime to book a flight online, first time to plan a trip way ahead of time, first time to ride a Cebu Pacific plane, and first time on a plane with C!

All Cebu Pacific’s flights are in NAIA Terminal 3 and as a first timer, I was quite impressed with the spacious area and hassle free boarding. I’m also a happy customer of Cebu Pacific because both our flights were on time and we even arrived at our destinations earlier than expected.
Hello Cagayan de Oro!

We landed at CdO airport at 5:20am, 15 minutes earlier than our scheduled arrival. Since it’s still dark outside, we waited for a while inside the arrival area before haggling with cab drivers in a quest to get the lowest rate going to Macabalan Port. The first driver that we talked to offered Php 250; and since that was more or less the rate I saw during my extensive research prior to the trip, we chose him already. It was chaotic outside the airport and I don’t want to stay there any longer. It’s still early, so the driver advised us to wait at Jollibee (the only fastfood chain open 24 hours) at Downtown first since Paras Sea Cat leaves at 8:30am.

We had breakfast and from there, we hailed a cab to Macabalan Port again (Php 60) and bought tickets at Paras Sea Cat booth inside the Port. We bought our tickets at a discounted rate of Php 350 each. There’s an ongoing Php 50 off sale at that time until Valentine’s Day. The ferry left at exactly 8:30 and arrived at 10:45.

Finally in Camiguin!

Mang Frank was waiting for us already at the Benoni Port in Camiguin. He’s one of the most recommended guides in the Girltalk Forum and luckily, he was available during our travel dates. We agreed on Php 2000 for one day tour and service to and from Benoni Port.

the habal-habal - Camiguin's own version of Manila's tricycles

From the Port, we went straight to see Jasmin by the Sea Resort. We didn’t have any reservations but gambled because we read a lot of good reviews for them including that of Lonely Planet’s. Luckily, they have a vacant beachfront fan room for only Php 600 with our own bathroom! We rested for a while and at 1:30pm, hopped on the multicab to see the sights of the island.

Camiguin Sightseeing

Our tour started with a so-so lunch at Vjandep restaurant. Nothing special here, but food is cheaper as compared to other restaurants. For only Php 103, we had two viands already and the driver eats for free. The highlight, perhaps, of the meal was the pastel. Vjandep is well known for this delicious delicacy, and for Php 11, we had sweet dessert that C and I shared.

I’ll let the pictures do the narrating now:

Katibawasan Falls. I was awed by gigantic waterfalls. It was my first time to see one up close and it was just awesome! The water was so cold and C had a blast taking photos. I forgot how tall it is, but our guide mentioned that part of it was damaged by a typhoon recently. Php 20 entrance fee.
Stations of the Cross. Another attraction in Camiguin where in you had to climb up more than a hundred steps to follow the trail of, yeah, stations of the cross. I don’t like climbing up stairs because I hate to have sore legs the rest of the trip, so we decided to pass up on this.
Guiob Church Ruins. From the outside, it looks bland and uneventful so I was quite hesitant to explore inside. The marker says that it’s the ruins of a church that was brought down by a very strong earthquake more than a hundred years ago. I think that was also the same earthquake that sunk nearby towns, hence, the famous sunken cemetery.

and finally…
Sunken Cemetery. Waited for hours to catch the sunset here for C’s pictures. The locals told us that the cross was put up only a few years ago to mark the spot where the sunken cemetery is. You can rent a banca at Php 5 each person to bring you to the cross. We opted not to.

my own photo of the marker - TSAMBA. Hahaha

After the Sunken Cemetery, we decided to call it a day. Was back at Jasmine’s at 7pm, had dinner in their restaurant (calamares 150 and pork fillet 170), and dozed off to sleep. Did I mention that our room was directly facing the beach? The waves can get really loud as the night gets deeper. It was like sleeping while being lullaby-d by the sea.

Camiguin Day 2: Fell in Love with Camiguin Today

The previous day was tiring and for me, not worth much raves. I kept on telling C that I wan’t that amazed by the sights that we have seen so far and came to a conclusion that it’s because I have already seen too many pictures while I was doing my research over the internet – hence, the excitement of seeing something the first time wore off.

Or maybe I was expecting too much of Camiguin. Or maybe I was just tired yesterday. But we definitely fell in love with Camiguin today! These are the reasons why:

Reason number 1: White Island

Hoping for a better day, we woke up early to catch the sunrise at White Island. One can see White Island from the highway – it’s literally w stretch of white island in the middle of the sea, bare of any artificial distractions (kudos to the local government for its effort in keeping its natural beauty!) We made arrangements with Mang Frank the previous day and he referred us to a boat that will take us to White Island for Php 200. After the 10-minute scary boat ride, this is what welcomed us:

pristine, white sand
ahhh… paradise

White island is so beautiful! We were the only people there at that time. Our timing was just perfect because a few minutes later, we were able to witness the most amazing sunrise.

Falling in Love with Camiguin
Cheesy na kung cheesy… hahaha!

Our boat picked us up at 7am. By that time, we had enough of the island already. We also did not want to burn our skin too much from sun exposure that’s why we decided to return to Mambajao already. We had breakfast at Paras Beach Resort, one of the most expensive resorts in Camiguin. We had ordinary “silog” meals that were so expensive! (spam and tapa 195 each). We ate in one of their gazebos overlooking the sea and white island. They have perhaps the best view of white island in the whole stretch, but the actual resort is small and quite cramped.


Reason number 2: Ardent Hot Springs

This place is super duper highly recommended. We had a great time soaking in the pool! It was relaxing and the temperature of the water is just perfect. I think we were there for more than two hours. Haay, uber bliss!

Ardent have cottages also with rates ranging from Php 1200-2500 per night. They also have tents for overnight for Php 200. Cottages are Php 70-100 rent for one whole day. Definitely worth a night’s stay.


Reason number 3: King Crab at J&A Fishpen

our first time to see and eat a crab this big!

After a refreshing soak at Ardent, we went back to the resort to pack our things. We’re supposed to check out of Jasmin’s at 12 noon and transfer to Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin, a resort nearby. I made prior reservations at BBC and checking in was a breeze. After dropping off our things, we had lunch at J&A Fishpen. Paid Php1,200 for that gigantic crab alone! 

J&A Fishpen is perhaps the most well-known seafood restaurant in Camiguin. It is located near Benoni Port which is about 20-30minutes away from Mambajao. So why do I recommend eating here? It is for two reasons:


1. You will eat in cottages in the middle of the lagoon with an amazing view.

2. Your food is guaranteed fresh. Our crab was hauled up straight from the water!

Reason number 4: Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin

BBC is definitely the most beautiful resort in Camiguin. Service was so good and the whole place shines with an aura of relaxation, peace, and beauty. We fell in love with this resort and will definitely recommend this to our friends.
 

Rested for a while (while C watched TV – obviously missed it J) in our chic and spacious cabana then had a dip in the outdoor jacuzzi prior to having our massage at the mini day spa (450 whole body with free facial). Just make sure to make arrangements ahead of time because the masseurs are not really employees of BBC, I think. They’re on call and in our case they were more than an hour late.

Had dinner at the hotel restaurant (carbonara 165, prito misto del mar seafood platter with white wine 240). Food was so-so and pricey, but I still love BBC!

Please check out my review of BBC for pictures of this beautiful resort. 🙂

Camiguin Day 3&4: Cold CdO

Follow our trail: (Camiguin Day 1: Our Valentine Getaway); (Camiguin Day 2: Fell in Love with Camiguin Today); (Day 3: It’s Cold in Cagayan de Oro)

C at the original Vjandep Bakery

We woke up the following day with a heavy heart – today is our last day in Camiguin and we’re supposed to catch the ferry going back to CdO after lunch.

We availed of the complimentary breakfast at 9am (breakfast was surprisingly good! I had danggit and C had tocino). Afterwards, we took more pictures around the resort, and had a nice dip at the pool, before finally checking out.

On our way to Benoni Port, we passed by Vjandep Bakery to buy boxes of pastel as pasalubong to our families and officemates.

C and I boarded Super Star Ferry at 1:30. For someone who’s scared of boats, I must say I enjoyed the ride. Well, I was asleep most of the time. Little did I know that C was seasick the whole time!  I was a bit guilty when I found out. :-S

A little over an hour later, we docked at Balingoan Port in Cagayan de Oro. We followed the people on their way out of the port, and rode a habal habal to the bus station for Php 5 each. On our way to the bus station, we passed by some vans going to CdO. We decided to skip the bus and took the faster van for Php 100 each.

Traffic to CdO proper is a nightmare. Took us more than two hours before we reached Gaisano Mall. From there we hailed a cab going to Willshire Inn, where we were booked to stay the night for Php 500.

I will never recommend Willshire Inn to anyone, even to budget travelers. The room was naturally hot (I don’t know why) and it seems that the aircon isn’t functioning at all! Our room was scary, and old; there’s no toilet seat, and I didn’t even bother to use the shower because it looks like it hasn’t been used for a long time. To be able to use the TV, you have to leave a deposit of Php 300 before they give you the remote control. The staff isn’t accommodating at all. The whole place smells like durian, C said; but for me, the hallway reminds me of public hospitals. It was a total nightmare.

Note: I booked a night here because it was highly recommended by another blogger, not because of the price. I do not mind paying a little extra for a little more comfort.

We went out of the room to have a super late lunch and early dinner at Butcher’s Best. The barbeque and liempo were delicious and affordable; but the service is so-so. I didn’t hear not even a single thank you nor even saw one of the servers smile at us. Maybe it’s because we were also a little grouchy because of our tiring and not-so-good experiences so far in CdO, so we just ate as fast as possible and left.

In order to divert our attention, we walked to their Divisoria Night Market for a stroll and for C to take some pictures.
 

There’s nothing really special in the night market – most of the good being sold are also from Manila. We just ate so the food stalls didn’t appeal to us. There were so many people and there was a Pinoy Big Brother special satellite broadcast that night, so the place was jampacked with people. We decided to call it a night. Our flight on the way home was at 2pm the following day. And we’re happy with the thought of finally going home to be with our familes.

But we will definitely miss Camiguin…

It’s a Date! Rent Gala Night Preview on Feb4! :-)

C bought us loge seats for the “Rent” Gala Night Preview on Feb 4! And I’m so excited! We’ll, i’m not really a die-hard fan of plays and musicals such as this one, but it’s going to be a very different experience… and I can’t wait! 🙂

About the Show (from ABSCBN where we purchased the tickets):

ROBBIE GUEVARA DIRECTS RENT, CAST ANNOUNCED

Robbie Guevara directs RENT, the East Village-set 1990’s musical that will run this coming February 2010 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City.

Santi Santamaria, 9 Works Theatrical’s Executive Producer in a statement said, “Rent is set in New York City’s gritty East Village, and this revolutionary rock musical is an imaginative retelling of the classic Puccini opera, La Boheme. This unforgettable and timeless story of a group of starving artists, who, despite poverty and illness, learn to fall in love and find their voices, brings a universal message of hope for everyone. We’re thrilled to bring this important piece of Broadway musical theatre to the local Filipino community.”

Gian Magdangal leads the cast as Roger Davis,  a songwriter who is HIV positive, with Fred Lo as Mark Cohen, an independent filmmaker and Roger’s roommate and Nicole Asensio as Mimi Márquez, an exotic dancer with HIV.

Going Cold Turkey

COLD TURKEY:  universally understood to mean to quit smoking abruptly, often without forethought or preparation, nor a gradual reduction in amount smoked. Most people also assume cold turkey means to quit smoking without using any smoking cessation aids such as nicotine gum or patches.

Today, I’m officially smoke-free for 14 days. Not that long, but quite a peat for someone who used to consume 6-10 sticks per day. I started this habit in 2004, when I started working. From a stick per day, my consuption gradually increased through the years. I didn’t think of giving it up, not even once.

Until now.

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