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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Post End of the World Travel Plans


If I were to believe the Mayan prophecy then there's no need for me to make travel plans beyond 2012. However, since I'm already penciling out destinations for 2013 - that means the hell with the world crumbling and those end of times murmurs in 2012. I expect my feet to walk over new grounds next year from the far bending corners of the Philippines to Indonesia to Myanmar, Laos, India and to far away Montreal in Canada. There's a satisfying sense just thinking about it all. But, playing the idea in your head is different than making it happen. That's where all the heist-like planning comes into place. This early I've been scouring the world wide web to find budget friendly hotels and booking plane tickets at a bargain price. I already got lucky with a very cheap round-trip ticket I scored to Jakarta later next year, so I must remain like a CIA-trained shadow surveying for more great deals.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Greens and Sierra Madre as Far as the Eyes Can See.


A couple of months back, while me and Lauren was in the midst of what we call as epic moments construction phase as friends, we always find ourselves opting to take an out of town trip as opposed to hanging out on smokey bars. The most recent was our 6-day Mindanao trip which took us to the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Sultan Kudarat. During the early stages of our timeline as best friends, we went to this place situated in Tanay, Rizal. Lauren discovered it about a year ago when she was looking for affordable travel deals online.  Sierra Madre Resorts at first glance looks like the rough and tumble, long forgotten and abandoned resort - protruding in a low-key appearance beside Marcos Hi-Way in Brgy. Mayagay. 

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sultan Kudarat: No Danzig, But Us at Kalamansig


After a couple of hours of ragged joyride along the scenic Upi-Lebak National Hi-way, we finally reached the town of Lebak as darkness starts to take a bite of the remaining sunlight. We were there for enough time to stretch our legs, because as quickly after we shook off our cramps we boarded a tricycle for a six kilometer trip to the next municipality of Kalamansig. As the beautiful scenery we encountered on the way to Lebak wasn't enough, we saw the sun as it slowly fades away in the horizon as we passed by the vast green rice fields. Rolling smoothly on the highway I saw the towering trees deeply rooted at both sides with branches extending and touching each other at the center of the road. Looking up I could see the welcoming party already.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chapter 3: The Lightness of Meeting an Old Romantic Tagbanwa Couple



Under gloomy skies and over calm waters, our boat threaded the stillness of the sea unto a place not frequented by tourists. Passing through tiny islands dominated by edgy limestone cliffs, to which our boatman Russell points to, as some of the treacherous path leading to hidden lakes, where the people of the Tagbanua tribe collects their supply for the birds' nest trade. I imagined a scenario of what it feels like being transported back in the 1950's and instead of going to Coron Island, we are heading to the mysterious Asmat region in Papua New Guinea.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid: The Golden Mosque of Cotabato City


Mere minutes from stepping out of an AirPhil Express' flight to Cotabato City, a different kind of smoldering  excitement stuttered up my veins. I've heard a lot about this city, mostly negative ones. The kind that warns you not to go out walking on your own and other paranoia fed by mainstream media. As Lauren and I got out of the small airport terminal, we were greeted by dozens of marines manning their positions, armed with long rifles, standing on guard with an alert set of eyes, hidden behind their dark rip-off Oakley sunglasses - the kind of gaze that makes you feel it at the back of your head. I nodded at one of them and a few of them smiled back. I said to myself, here we are now, in the city most often mis-understood and I wonder if I will go home with a new found understanding of this city, or be just one of those who'll say "I told ya so - the place is dangerous". I remember that moment, as we flagged a tricycle driver to take us to the Golden Mosque, the feeling of fear is in a wait-and-see situation.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Film Pirates & Surfers of Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental


After a hot day under the sun, of breaking rocks proportion and enjoying the ardent mood of Kadayawan Festival in Davao City. I joined a small group of avid film photographers; Lauren, Master Erick and Surfer Kara, right off the bat early the next day, on a journey to the city of Mati - the capital of Davao Oriental. Our mission was to find some waves and shoot some outstanding scenery, either digitally-in my case and on old school film. If there's any indication of what their bag of film cameras suggests, the trio are indeed armed to their teeth. Lomography speaking.

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