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DoodleScribbles

Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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mariawentoutoftown

Tuburan Escapade: Better than your chocolate-and-flowers kind of date

Valentine’s Day… also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine. A time of the year when the world is filled with songs, flowers and gifts. When smiles are warmer, hugs are tighter, and sweet nothings are exchanged. An annual celebration of love in all forms.

And who said you can’t celebrate this day with friends?

The last time I traveled via Transcentral Highway was in 2017 when my friends and I hiked Mt. Manunggal and Mt. Mauyog in Balamban. It has been quite a long while since my eyes feasted to the view of Cebu’s highlands. The cool wind, the uninterrupted ride (no traffic, yes!), and the long winding stretch of scenic mountain view are already a treat to every traveler’s heart. Going farther north with me are my SMS peeps, James, Chiarra, An Jurvel, CJ Estrada, Kevin, and Belle.

After two hours of van ride, we reached the municipality of Tuburan. The town got its name from the Cebuano word “tubod” which means “spring.” We stopped at the covered court across the San Antonio De Padua Parish Church which is also a pilgrim destination for devotees of the patron saint of the poor, the lost, and more. After a quick lunch and last-minute errands, we charted motorcycles to take is to our first destination.

Sea, sand and sunny smiles
Eve’s Beach Front Home and Garden Resort is a slice of paradise situated not too far from the heart of Tuburan. Their two-storey beach house offers guests enough rooms and space for a weekend getaway. Here, you could either spend an intimate time with your loved one or go with family and friends without worrying much about a crowded shoreline.

Peace and quiet. ©CJ Estrada

It was past noon when my friends and I checked in. Had we been younger, we would be quick to scan the place. Take pictures of whatever Instagrammable spot we find. Chase the sunset. Run straight into the high tide. But, inevitably, time has turned us into titas and titos ─ a little older yet still young at heart. We have a new priority on top of photographs now.

And that is none other than food.

My friends and I quickly turned on our kusinera and kusinero modes. Everyone got busy with slicing, grilling, cooking, with punctuations of lots of laughter and banter in between. As usual, we had a feast enough to last throughout our late-night conversations, swimming, and Tiktok marathon by the beach.

YUM! ©Chiarra

It was only during the morning that we got to explore Eve’s. The beach is lined with tropical trees which also makes it an ideal spot for hammocks. They also have a camping area for guests who opt to pitch their tents.

Helugoodmorneeeeeng!
Striking some ‘child-friendly’ poses

A spring of hope and a ‘hole’ lot more
Tuburan is also known as a “spring of hope” with its abundant water sources. One of their many springs that is recently making rounds in social media is the Blue Hole Spring located in Brgy. San Juan.

Look at that gorgeous view! ©CJ Estrada

Locals and tourists alike visit this natural pool to take a quick dip and enjoy its mesmerizing blue water. On a great day, one can bask in nature’s best with the sun shining warmly over the surrounding green trees and refreshing spring.

Ready to dive?!

But aside from the picturesque view, what makes Blue Hole Spring likable is the kindness of their locals. Kudos to the LGU for the good tourism management. The entrance is free and there are locals and tanods who oversee the order place and the safety of the people. Tables and chairs or cottages are available for rent at a reasonable price. They also have bamboo rafts that you can ride above the blue waters.

What goes up must come down
Of course, our sea to summit experience will not be complete without a taste of the mountains. We headed next to Brgy. Marmol where the infamous Atabay Peak is located. From the circulating pictures we’ve seen, its limestone rock formation could be likened to that of Mt. Mauyog and Licos Peak.

Bird’s eye view of Atabay Peak. ©CJ Estrada

But trust us when we say that Atabay Peak is much scarier than those two.

Not sure if it was the rainy weather, the slippery rocks, or the delicate scaffolding that pushed us to fear but the experience was literally breathtaking. Only a few of us braved to go on the edge and we all came down hurrying away from the intimidating cliff.

Our kind habal-habal drivers offered to take us to a nearby open hill instead which gave us a 360-degree view of the town’s coffee-scented highlands. This hill is located in the Plantation 1 part of Tuburan’s coffee farm which offers the Cebu-grown robusta beans.

Finally, happy faces after the knee-trembling climb!

Centennial Dao Tree (Dracontomelon dao)
The last part of our round Tuburan escapade is a trip to Brgy. Jagbuaya where the centennial Dao tree is. According to locals, this giant tree is approximately 200 years old and could possibly be one of the oldest trees in the country. Years of rain have eroded parts of the bank yet you could see how this Dao tree continues to thrive and survive.

Kataas… sa kahoy. LOL!
Capping our Tuburan escapade with one last happy groupfie!

Overall, this weekend was a wonderful celebration of Valentine’s Day (and birthday). No fancy dates or flowers and chocolates, just pure fun. Here’s to more moments like this! ❤

Check out CJ’s vlog during our Tuburan escapade on YouTube:

Durano Eco Farm and Spring Resort: A retreat for escapists

In less than a 30-minute drive from a side street in the town center of Carmen lies a quiet place that escapists from the big city will truly enjoy. Durano Eco Farm and Spring Resort easily rings a bell for most Cebuanos. It is one of Carmen’s quadruple treat when it comes to cold spring waters, alongside Middle Earth Mountain Resort, Mt. Uragay Spring Resort, and Alhibe Farm.

A natural retreat

Durano Eco Farm and Spring Resort is situated not too far from the main road, but far enough to be considered remote. The place is teeming with lots of trees and plants that will captivate the eyes ─ especially those of plantitas and plantitos. I appreciate how the management try to preserve its natural ecology by limiting the number of structural changes in the resort.

What I found interesting in Durano were their homestays. In this day of skyscraper buildings, the sight of treehouses and nipa huts is a breath of fresh air. They have an option for visitors to pitch their own tents too, but I personally would not recommend it. Not the best camping spot.

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Mt. Kalatkat: The things we give and take

The pandemic has opened our eyes to a world that seems to always take. Lives and livelihood are lost. Every day feels like another step away from time, opportunities, relationships, connections, sanity and peace of mind. It’s the ultimate survival test — and the animal in each of us is out.

I honestly never thought we’d get this worse. Our panic and fear turned to greed and selfishness. There is a me-first mentality that runs on a global, national, local and personal scale. We push and shove one another, determined to keep our spot of existence. This is not a health threat anymore. This is a threat to life.

As I started doubting the future, I looked for comfort from the past. I came across old photographs from last year’s hike for a cause that we held in Carcar City. It not only reminded me of our exciting experience in Mt. Kalatkat, but it gave me the much-needed assurance that there is still goodness in people’s hearts. That we are capable of caring and giving, too.

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Fallin’ Down South: A weekend of feast, fog and falls

With the world in utter chaos today due to COVID-19, we are reminded of our mortality — our vulnerability despite having played like gods over other creatures. As death threatens to knock on our doorsteps, we realize the value of living.

To live, not merely exist. But have we made the most of life?

Continue reading “Fallin’ Down South: A weekend of feast, fog and falls”

There are no such thing as tourist spots in Bung-aw

Having spent seven years in the concrete jungles of Cebu gave me a pair of eyes that looks at province life with extra appreciation and love. Like most people around my age, I started craving for the simplicity and warmth that rural places have to offer. Going home for me has become more than just reuniting with my family. It has now become a form of healing.

At the height of ticking off #bucketlists and #travelgoals, more and more places are “discovered” each day, topping the trends on Facebook and Instagram. While this is essentially harmless, I personally don’t like the idea of calling every place a tourist spot. I believe that, in a way, we rob it of its personality.

To set an example, let me take you to my hometown.

Bung-aw is a mountain barangay in the municipality of Hilongos in the province of Leyte. We do not have something elaborate to boast apart from our simple way of life. However, a few years ago, people from far off places started coming. The reason? Didang river.

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Kala-Wiji Chronicles: Part 3 (The Beauty of Mt. Wiji)

From a number of plot twists to finally reaching Mt. Kalatungan, our three-day climb culminated with a traverse hike to Mt. Wiji.

Mt. Wiji stands at the height of 2819.78 meters above sea level and is located at the southern part of Kalatungan Mountain Range. The mountain is named after the first Japanese who made it into the peak, but locals refer to it as Mt. Lumpanag or Makaupao.

The early morning wind greeted us with a chill and by the time we sipped our coffees, we were wearing layers of clothes and jackets to counter the very cold temperature. We were supposed to start the ascend at 8 am based on our initial itinerary, but Kuya Babu and the guides suggested that we start early for us to witness the sunrise and [probably] the sea of clouds. So there, in the darkness of the dawn, we started our trek.

It was 5 am when streaks of light started painting the sky with shades of pinks and purples. Although Mt. Wiji is less than a kilometer away from Bamboo Camp, the trail going to the peak is very steep. But despite our huffs, pants and coughs, the gorgeous view made it a whole lot easier.

We didn’t mind our aching muscles or joints. We didn’t mind our heavy loads. We didn’t even mind when our knees and chin almost touch with every step. We were just thankful for a blessed day.

Continue reading “Kala-Wiji Chronicles: Part 3 (The Beauty of Mt. Wiji)”

Kala-Wiji Chronicles: Part 2 (Surviving Mt. Kalatungan)

Have you ever got that feeling when you know exactly you’re about to do something big? It’s like all the small moments pile up into something bigger and you find yourself saying, “No going back now. This is it.”

That was how we felt on the dawn of November 22. After all the plot twists and yesterday’s rain, we’ve probably seen the worst possible scenarios. Things seemed less daunting now and we’re ready to do what we’re meant be doing. That is to climb Mt. Kalatungan.

Kalatungan Mountain Range has an estimated area of 55,692 hectares that is bounded by the municipality of Talakag on the north, the municipality of Lantapan and the city of Valencia on the west, and the municipality of Pangantucan on the south. Mt. Kalatungan, it’s highest peak, is now officially the 5th highest mountain in the Philippines at a height of 2880 MASL.

Continue reading “Kala-Wiji Chronicles: Part 2 (Surviving Mt. Kalatungan)”

Kala-Wiji Chronicles: Part 1 (The Plot Twists)

We all handle plot twists a little differently. There are those who sit meticulously to plan their next steps. Others don’t give a second thought and just hope for things to work out. There are those who stop dead in their tracks and try to muster the courage to make things happen again. Others can’t handle the change and run away. We can be planners or takers. Drifters or runners. We all put ourselves out there. Sometimes it’s full of regret, but most often it’s full of surprises. Just like this recent hike.

To end the year 2019, my friends and I decided to climb the Philippines’ highest, Mt. Apo (via Sta. Cruz – Kidapawan Trail). We had our activity booked, our itinerary mapped out. Everything was in order for the coming November 21 to 23 — or so we thought.

After months of rehabilitation from the recent El Nino, Mt. Apo reopened its trails for climbers. However, we received a news that travel agencies, guides and tourism office reached an agreement that there will be no more exit to Kidapawan Trail starting October. LGU Kidapawan has declined all exits from Davao. This was our first plot twist. We were given two options instead: 1) opt for the Kidapawan entry and exit [backtrail] or 2) opt for the Sta. Cruz – Bansalan Trail. Despite our anticipation of the majestic Lake Venado in Kidapawan, we chose the latter for a better experience.

And just when we thought there’ll be no more hurdles, a series of shocks followed. By mid-October, an earthquake swarm struck the province of Cotabato. This raised our initial unease because it might trigger the active volcano that we were planning to climb. Unease turned to fear when successive tremors jolted Davao where Mt. Apo is. That was the last straw. By November, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Davao Region and Davao LGU announced the closure of Mt. Apo until further notice.

When you’re in a bad situation, are you going to back out, wait or figure out a solution?

Continue reading “Kala-Wiji Chronicles: Part 1 (The Plot Twists)”

Quick and dirty tips to staying dry… on the trail

Most people like things wet but definitely not during a hike in the mountains. From slippery trails to soggy socks, getting wet might just not be one’s idea of fun. And while keeping up-to-date with the weather forecast has proven advantageous, nature has its own playful tricks.

But before we admit defeat and put on our sulky faces, there are actually many ways to face the cold spells coolly. It just requires a little extra precaution. As they say, staying dry is easier than drying out.

1. Before ticking off you gear list, take care of its carrier — that is you and your backpack. Take time to do research (bahala’g masuko si Cynthia Villar) on how to protect yourself and your backpack from rain cheaply and quickly.

Make sure you have your rain cover. If you do not have waterproof jackets and pants, you can always opt for the cheaper rain poncho.

dav
Team Buwad!

Continue reading “Quick and dirty tips to staying dry… on the trail”

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