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Matalom: Experiencing its ‘katahum’ for a day

It was said that the Spaniards once saw the flaming red of the fire trees that dotted the shores of Matalom beach. They asked the natives the local dialect for “hermosa” or beautiful and they were answered, “Matahum” or “Matalom.” This was the origin of the town’s name.

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Matalom proper (c) James

Matalom is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Leyte. A south western coastal town inhabited by peaceful and sea-loving people, it is best known for the scenic Canigao Island. But is this the only thing they can offer? The answer is a resounding no.

Fresh from Cebu, my sister, James and I took a PUJ from Hilongos to experience Matalom for a day. It was almost 7 am when we arrived in Brgy. Santa Fe. Originally, we planned on going to Canigao Island first but due to time constraints, we decided to head to the nearby Karap-agan Falls instead.

Karap-agan Falls
Karap-agan Falls, also known as Mahayahay Falls, is located in Sitio Mahayahay, Caridad Norte, Matalom. Along the Santa Fe highway, we found a habal-habal driver who agreed to drive us to the place for Php100/pax (roundtrip). The ride did not take long and we were dropped to a familiar riverbank where the jump off point to the falls is. There are no signages so it is preferable to have someone familiar with the trail or a local to ask directions. As for us, we have my sister.

We took the 15 to 20-minute trek guided by the stream. It was dry season, so it was not surprising to see the shallow waters. What’s surprising to see though was how still the river was.

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A glimpse of Karap-agan Falls

The first time my sister and I went to Karap-agan Falls was back in 2017. And nothing much has changed. It remains untamed, secluded and less touristy. When we got there, we had the place all to ourselves. 😀

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Finally, nakaligo na!

They say love is sweeter the second time around and I couldn’t agree more. I finally got to experience its waterfalls up close (no newly permed hair this time). Even though there was lesser water than before, we still enjoyed its two-tiered cascades.

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Fallin’
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The sister.

Hitoog Cave
Do you dabble your toes in the water or plunge right into it?

Creating another buzz among locals of Matalom is the Hitoog Cave and Underground Spring located in Brgy. Hitoog, Matalom. This has been a common side trip when going to Karap-agan Falls. For 20 pesos, one can enjoy swimming in the cave pool. A man-made pool also serves as a catch basin of the water overflowing from the cave. Whichever option you choose, an icy-cold treat awaits you!

P.S. This destination was part of my 2017 visit in Karap-agan Falls. I added the info here because I didn’t get a chance to write about it before. And it will be a worthy addition to your Matalom escapade.

Canigao Island
Coelho once said that everything is connected — that all roads meet and that all rivers flow into the same sea. And true to this, from waterfalls and spring, our trip led to the sea.

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Santa Fe port (c) James

Canigao Island, an islet just five kilometers off the shores of Matalom, has been a favorite inexpensive weekend getaway among locals. A former fishermen’s sanctuary, this little paradise has become a tourist destination sometime in 2005.

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Beach!!

After paying 120 pesos (80 php roundtrip fare & 40 php entrance fee) at the Santa Fe port, we boarded the ferryboat that would take us to the island. There was no specific time when the boat will depart but as long as the minimum number of passengers has been reached, we were allowed to sail. Big outrigger boats can transport up to 60 passengers.

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James 😉

Canigao Island is known for its white sands, turquoise seas, extensive coral reef ground and diverse marine life. The place is suitable for swimming and diving. An overnight stay will also give you the chance to experience the beautiful colors of sunset and sunrise, and the star-speckled sky at night.

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Nahulog ang piso pose.

As for my sister, James and I, we decided to stay just for the afternoon. When the sun’s heat is at its height. But what is a sun-kissed skin to a fun experience right?

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Crystal clear. ❤
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Guess who’s older?
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Nindot diay ning naay thirdwheel... 😀
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Sunod balik diri dapat camping na 😉

It has been the policy of LGU Matalom and Marina Coast Guard not to allow trips to the islet beyond 5 pm for safety and security reasons. Tourists who intend to stay for an overnight must cross to the island before the mentioned time, while those who don’t must sail back to Santa Fe port before at 4 pm.

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Leaving the island at 3 pm.

Matalom’s katahum is indeed priceless. There are far more secret havens this town can offer. All it takes is a mind set for an adventure, a heart humble enough to respect nature’s beauty and two feet willing to wander to far-off places.

Here’s to exploring more of Leyte. Carpe diem!


sdr

If you ever go and do it for the Gram, take your trash with you — every piece, every gram.

Negros Oriental Backpacking: Weekend Escape

From numerous mountains, lakes, waterfalls, beach resorts to historical places, sumptuous food and gentle people, the province of Negros Oriental continues to attract a lot of tourists each year. It’s close proximity to the islands of Siquijor and Cebu also played to its advantage.

As for James and I, our Negros Oriental Backpacking trip is not just a simple visit but an escape from the traffic, noise, dynamics and pollution of the city life.

IMG_20190217_070247.jpg Continue reading “Negros Oriental Backpacking: Weekend Escape”

Fallin’ Down South: Waterfall Hopping in Barili, Badian and Ginatilan

Waterfalls are one of nature’s many gifts that touch us deeply from the senses to the soul. The sound of water splashing and birds chirping, backdropped with a lush greenery around, make up a transformative vibe for any traveler. There is something rather special about them, it feels a little more personal. Like a secret only you know about. This is why a hike that ends in a waterfall is considered pure bliss by many.

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A year ago (yes, it took my lazy butt a year to finally write about it), James and I headed south of Cebu to chase some waterfalls. Chase. Aside from the obvious reason that waters run endlessly, why do we often call the act “chasing”? Is it because waterfalls change with seasons and yesterday’s scene may not be the same as today’s? Or are we in pursuit of something intangible? I wonder how many waterfalls it would take for us to find the right answer. Continue reading “Fallin’ Down South: Waterfall Hopping in Barili, Badian and Ginatilan”

Negros Oriental Backpacking: Chasing Waterfalls

They say that the Earth has music for those who listen. There is a reason why we call it whisper of the wind, rhythm of the waves, song of the bird, and dance of a flame. Nature is one big concert hall playing a symphony in sync with man’s beating heart. If we only stop, we could hear them.

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An adventure begins

Negros Oriental for instance is home to several waterfalls offering visitors a one-of-a-kind music. The town of Valencia alone has 10 (according to Erwin of EnrouteNegros) and probably more. Of all these waterfalls, Pulangbato Falls and Casaroro Falls are the most sought after destinations. Aside from tourists, these natural cascades have been a common sidetrip for hikers who climbed the infamous Mt. Talinis.

As for James and I, it was part of our Negros Oriental backpacking trip. After enjoying the silence of  the Twin Lakes on our first day, we were up for some water splashes this time. Continue reading “Negros Oriental Backpacking: Chasing Waterfalls”

Mt. Pinatubo: A 42km Golden Adventure

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Sunrise ❤

“Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?”

The classic story of the phoenix is that of resilience and hope. For centuries, this mythical bird became a symbolic reminder of people who has risen from the ashes. Those who bounced back up after their world came crashing down. Those who built themselves after falling apart.

Most of us talk about the phoenix but rarely of the flame. Just as how in life we see more of the outcome and less of the process. That is why this entry is not just about standing above the crater of Mt. Pinatubo. It is about zooming in to the beauty of the disaster we found during our 42-kilometer hike. Continue reading “Mt. Pinatubo: A 42km Golden Adventure”

Hindang: What a sleepy town in Leyte has to offer

We are all familiar with its irregular crevices, multiple galleries, entrances, exits and shafts. Its fossil passages are adorned with various stalactites and stalagmites. It’s dark and it’s cold. It’s eerie with its chambers full of secrets awaiting to be unraveled — or not.

Yes, you got it right. I’m referring to the morphology of caves.

Personally, I have not gone to many caves in the country. My up-close encounter would only include Hito-og Cave in Matalom, Hinangdanan Cave in Bohol, Titip Cave in Cebu, and Bontoc Caves in Hindang. The latter, I would say, is the most interesting by far.

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Tell me what stories rest within you.

Continue reading “Hindang: What a sleepy town in Leyte has to offer”

Negros Oriental Backpacking: Twin Lakes

A month before our Mt. Talinis climb, I went to Negros Oriental to celebrate a special day. I was supposed to feel a year older — a year wiser — but coming into this strange place awakened the childlike excitement in me.

Where to go? What to do?

I do not have a good sense of direction and James did not have a strict itinerary. In the end, we only relied our sense of wonder and wander. But guess what? It was all that we needed.

Giddy feet!

Continue reading “Negros Oriental Backpacking: Twin Lakes”

Oh la lango: A Pedaled Story in Olango Island

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.”

No man could better say this than Ernest Hemingway, one of 20th century’s literary giants. At a young age, we were taught to ride a bike, to pedal away without a care in the world, to bask under the heat of the sun, and to come home with skins glistening with sweat. But as the years pass, our priorities change. We no longer have the luxury of time to relive simple childhood joys. Life, in its most pragmatic way, has pushed us to channel our energy in surviving. But are we living?

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Island Vibe ❤

Continue reading “Oh la lango: A Pedaled Story in Olango Island”

Mt. Talinis: Where expectation meets reality

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Do you prefer hiking with a specific group of people or do you like seeing new faces? At its core, mountain climbing is not just about reaching the top. Most often, what matters most are the experiences and memories we shared along the trail. And admit it, when you look at those instagrammable photos, your mind travels back to the conversations, big or small. Those candid laughter, comfortable jokes and banters, little slips, unguarded expressions, and many more.

This is why WHO you go in the mountains with counts. Friends or strangers, each has its pros and cons that can make or break the success of any climb.

If this was two years ago, I would avoid any chance of meeting new faces. But the mountains had taught me the beauty of building connections… in nature and in people. So now I don’t mind — at least not much. Continue reading “Mt. Talinis: Where expectation meets reality”

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