SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES: Opening Salvo for 2016

Anawangin!!! Anawangin!!! Anawangin!!!

Among others, this has been what I’ve been seeing on social media these days. Friends heading up north to Zambales to see and frolic in the ashen sands of Anawangin and enjoy the unique coastal feel of this once-a-sleepy beach spot in the town of San Antonio. Those photos online enticed me and my friends to fly from Davao to Manila and head up north to experience it for ourselves. And when we get there, we realized there is more to this town than Anawangin – there’s Capones, there’s Nagsasa.

San Antonio Zambales 10Honestly, Anawangin is more popular to me than its mother town, San Antonio. But what I didn’t know is that San Antonio has already gained its good reputation as holiday destination in Zambales because its beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, rolling hills and scenic coves. Campers and beach lovers living nearby even in Metro Manila considered this as one of top choices.

San Antonio Zambales 2 San Antonio Zambales 3 San Antonio Zambales 18 San Antonio Zambales 20Beach hopping or simply just beach lounging is mainly among the reasons why people flock to San Antonio. Home to secluded yet picturesque coves, this town is undeniably a paradise for beach fanatics. Of course, there is the famous Anawangin, the most popular among the coves in San Antonio. But what impressed me more is the Nagsasa Cove that has become a popular alternative as Anawangin becomes crowded especially during weekends. Nagsasa on the other hand is wider and longer and offers much scenic landscape although about an hour boat ride from Pundaquit, the jump off site to all secluded coves of San Antonio.

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Both Anawangin and Nagsasa Coves are crescent shaped coves with pristine ashen sand beach. What makes these beach spots so unique is the unusual presence of tall pine-like trees that grow round there vicinity. These are not actually pine trees; they are Agoho trees said to be endemic to the Philippines and to some Southeast Asian countries.

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Just like all the photos we’ve seen online, we didn’t miss climbing the hills that embrace these coves and marvel at the stunning view of these beach havens. From the top, the view of the beach and the landscape of agoho trees is remarkable. Maybe, it is one of the reasons why people come back here. The view is incredibly remarkable.

San Antonio Zambales 9 San Antonio Zambales 24 San Antonio Zambales 8Aside from the isolated coves, Capones Island which can be easily accessed the Pundaquit is among the must-visit spots when in San Antonio. The island is to home to the century-old Capones Island Lighthouse which was built 1890 by the Spaniards to guide ships entering Subic Bay and Corregidor. Visitors may enter the building and climb to the top of the tower. Adjacent to Capones Island is the rocky Camara Island. Both are popular island-hopping sidetrip destinations when in this part of Zambales.

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Visiting this popular destinations in San Antonio made me understand why people flock to this part of Zambales especially during weekends. Secluded and semi-private, San Antonio’s pristine coves are worth the long trip. I would say one of the scenic beaches I’ve visited in Luzon. And yes, though from from Davao. I would still come back.

THE TRAVEL TELLER IN VISAYAS: How It Started.

3 Regions | 10 Provinces | 20 days | Pho 10,000.00
This is #TheTravelTellerInVisayas Travel Series.

The Travel Teller In VisayasIt was a sudden plan. Or maybe something that came to mind out of boredom. Or maybe the itch to travel and challenge myself for something that I’ve never done before.

It all started when I wrote down all the 81 provinces in the Philippines and grouped them into the three major islands – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. As I checked the provinces that I have been to, I found out that I have visited more than half of Luzon. And since I am from Mindanao, I have visited most of the provinces we have there. When I checked provinces in the Visayas, I found out that out of the 16, I have gone only to 4 provinces.

4 out of 16. How come? I asked myself when Visayas can even be accessed by boat from northern part of Mindanao. And so out of nothing, this journey was made.

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So what’s the plan? Honestly, no plan at all. Just pack my bag and fly to Visayas. No fixed IT. No bookings. Just couchsurfing. Staying with friends. Cheap hotels. Backpacking. Hitchhiking. Go with the flow. Free rides. Meeting new friends. And more.

THE CHALLENGE? Roam around the three regions in Visayas visiting the 10 Visayan Provinces with Php 10,000.00 budget. That’s the plan. That’s the challenge. That’s

If you’re on the road where I’m going, I will be very happy to meet you.

FOLLOW MY JOURNEY THROUGH THIS DIARY:

1. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY ONE
2. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY TWO
3. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY THREE
4. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY FOUR
5. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY FIVE
6. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY SIX
7. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY SEVEN
8. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY EIGHT
9. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY NINE
10. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY TEN
11. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY ELEVEN
12. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY TWELVE
13. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY THIRTEEN
14. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY FOURTEEN
15. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY FIFTEEN
16. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY SIXTEEN
17. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY SEVENTEEN
18. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY EIGHTEEN
19. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY NINETEEN
20. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY TWENTY

The THREE REGIONS 

☑ Central Visayas Region
☑ Negros Island Region
☑ Western Visayas Region

The TEN PROVINCES 

☑ Province of Cebu
☑ Province of Bohol
☑ Province of Siquijor
☑ Province of Negros Oriental
☑ Province of Negros Occidental
☑ Province of Iloilo
☑ Province of Guimaras
☑ Province of Aklan
☑ Province of Capiz
☑ Province of Antique

Tintin and OlanPS: Tintin is traveling with me. My favorite little Travel Buddy!

TUPI, SOUTH COTABATO: Simply Beautiful

South Cotabato now gradually known as the Land of the Dreamweavers is best known for its vast plantation of fruits and vegetables. The province owes its fertile soil to the volcanic waste that eroded from the orifice of the magnificent Mt. Matutum. One of the towns in the Province richly endowed with this natural resources is the town of Tupi.

WELCOME TO TUPI

WELCOME TO TUPI, SOUTH COTABATO

Tupi is known as the fruit capital not only of South Cotabato but the whole of SoCCSKSarGen Region. It boasts of its vast pineapple plantations just located along the national highway with the imposing view of the majestic Mount Matutum dominating in the background. Aside from pineapple and other fruits, Tupi is also greatly known for its vast cut-flower and vegetables lantation.

South Cotabato is also known as the Land of the Dreamweavers.

South Cotabato is also known as the Land of the Dreamweavers.

The Majestic Mount Matutum

The Majestic Mount Matutum

The Vast Pineapple Plantation of Tupi, South Cotabato

The Vast Pineapple Plantation of Tupi, South Cotabato

Along the national highway is the Tupi Fruit Stand that sells tropical fruit produce and preserved fruits from Tupi. It is strategically located along the national highway within Barangay Kablon and Polonuling. If you’re into bottled fruit jams, perhaps you’ve heard of Kablon Farms. They’re from Tupi.

Tupi Fruit Stand located along the national highway within Barangay Kablon and Polonuling.

Tupi Fruit Stand located along the national highway within Barangay Kablon and Polonuling.

sweet fresh delicious pineapple

sweet fresh delicious pineapple

In the heart of the town is the charming Tupi Municipal Hall and Town Plaza. Its unique architectural design with attention-grabbing colors possesses a stunning appeal that has become a unique attraction to passersby. Believe me, I was captivated too by this structure when we passed by the town.

I was captivated by this structure when we passed by the town.

I was captivated by this structure when we passed by the town.

Attention-grabber Municipal Town Hall

Attention-grabber Municipal Town Hall

Beautiful Tupi

Beautiful Tupi

The Municipal Town Plaza

The Municipal Town Plaza

About 20-minute drive from the town proper is the Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape. Deep into this forest reserve is the Linan Tarsier Sanctuary situated in Sitio Bagong Silang, a small B’laan village in Barangay Linan.

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Linan Tarsier Sanctuary Reception Area

The Travel Teller in Byaheng Mindanaw | Tupi Leg

The Travel Teller in Byaheng Mindanaw | Tupi Leg

Long before the strict conservation of Tarsier and other wild life in this protected area, B’laans were used to cut trees and burn them to make charcoals as source of livelihood. When the local government implemented the protection of the wildlife in the site, they found it hard to convince the B’laans to stop this practice. But with the alternative livelihood program and intense information drive introduced to the community about the necessity to protect the habitat, the locals eventually realized the importance of the wildlife and the need to conserve them.

B'laan House in Sitio Linan

B’laan House in Sitio Linan

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Fadlung, a B’laan Musical Instrument

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I bought this tribal musical instrument for only Php 300.00

Today, Linan Tarsier Sanctuary is both managed by the local government and the B’laan community with the support of the NGOs and other agencies. Together, they work hard to preserve the Tarsiers that they locally “tukay mal” or “small monkey” and other wildlife that can be found at the foot of Mt. Matutum like squirrels, flying foxes, civets, and several species of eagles.

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THE TRAVEL TELLER and the B’laan Culture

Those who’d like to Visit Linan Tarsier Sanctuary can also experience immersion program with the B’laan community. B’laans are generally hospitable and good-natured people. Here, you will experience indigenous culture, local food and their way of life. You will not only be amazed by the wildlife of Sitio Linan but also by the rich culture of the IP community living and protecting the area.

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Native Chicken Soup

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Deep Fried Freshwater Crablets

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Native Chicken Adobo in Bamboo Loot

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Ampalaya Leaves Salad

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B’laan Delectable Dishes

So the next time you visit South Cobatabo, don’t just pass by Tupi. Perhaps, you can park your car on the side, run to the vast Pineapple Plantation and get yourself a striking selfie there with Mt. Matutum at your background. Or perhaps, a selfie at the Municipal Hall or maybe a selfie of you eating pineapple at the Tupi Fruit Stand. Or better yet, go to Linan and spend the night there with the B’laans and the Tarsiers. Because just so you know, TUPI IS BEAUTIFUL.

VIDEO: The Travel Teller’s Crazy Adventures in 2014

The past year 2014 was an incredible year for me roaming around some parts of the country and around the marvelous regions of home island of Mindanao. I did so many crazy and exciting things that I never even imagine I could make. The past year too allowed me to meet some equally crazy friends who share the same passion and love for great travels and interesting culture – we called ourselves the loyal brothers and sisters of #ByahengMindanaw, travel and discover Mindanao and share it to the World. This video compiles some of the craziest and memorable moments I had in 2014 shared with some of my crazy and funny friends I found this year. All these are captured and made in MINDANAO!

 

It’s a NEW YEAR and sure there are exciting things in store for me this year.
So excited! BRING IT ON 2015! 

BARAS BIRD SANCTUARY: A Surreal Sight To Behold

While walking around Baras Bird Sanctuary, Mr. Rey Malana, the owner, mentioned that the best way to observe these flocks of birds actively flying from tree to tree is from the top of the Observatory Deck. I was thrilled I wanted him to bring us there right away. But when we reached area, it wasn’t the ordinary observation deck I painted on my head. It was a huge Sampaloc Tree towering at 50 feet high with a makeshift steel ladder nailed on the trunk. There was no deck up there. Only branches big enough to carry my weight. While everyone chose to stay on the ground, there I was succumbing to this “sense of adventure” that has brought me to places I never imagined to see. I braved enough and made it to the top. And up there I marveled at one of most beautiful sight I’ve seen in years. Oh God, I wish I lived here.

Baras Bird Sanctuary 75Baras Bird Sanctuary 47Baras Bird Sanctuary 57 Baras Bird Sanctuary 73 Baras Bird Sanctuary 74 Baras Bird Sanctuary 78 Baras Bird Sanctuary 81Baras Bird Sanctuary 89See those white things on top of the trees? Yes, they’re all birds.

IT’S DEFINITELY WORTH THE CLIMB.

BARAS BIRD SANCTUARY CLIMBBaras Bird Sanctuary is the most visited tourist site in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat and going there is just easy. It is very accessible to any type of transportation and about 20 minute away from the main city. You can also frop by the Tacurong City Tourism Office for more information and who knows they might give you a free ride going there. Swear, thousands of birds await you.

HERONS AND EGRETS AS PHOTOGRAPHED AS WILD BIRD PHOTOGRAPHERS OF THE PHILIPPINES

Baras Bird Sanctuary 200 Baras Bird Sanctuary 201 Baras Bird Sanctuary 202 Baras Bird Sanctuary 203 Baras Bird Sanctuary 204 Baras Bird Sanctuary 205 Baras Bird Sanctuary 206 Baras Bird Sanctuary 207 Baras Bird Sanctuary 208 Baras Bird Sanctuary 209 Baras Bird Sanctuary 210 Baras Bird Sanctuary 211