Guimaras: The land of the Mangoes and oil spill

Monday, October 30, 2006

How to get there:
Take a plane to Iloilo. Ride a ferry boat for just 30mins and viola! Guimaras.

This place is not much of a tourist destination. They have mountains, lighthouses, beaches and a lot of sweet, yummy mangoes. We went there as an Eco-group that wanted to see first-hand the effects of the oil spill to the communities. It was sad to see them greatly affected since the main livelihood in this island is fishing. Nevertheless, the island is still intact and the people have managed to find other means to make money like Mango-farming.

Affected areas.

Despite the oil-spill the island was gorgeous. It was a little hard to go around since jeepneys were the only mode of transportation. Plus, if you wanted to visit the beaches, you had to make special arrangements.

Look at the view! Magnificent!
We stayed in a hotel called Valle Verde Mountain Resort. It was on top of a mountain and they had a swimming pool. There is also a trek about 20mins to a lagoon. Felt like one of the mermaids of Peter Pan. They provided cheap accommodations and great food too.
Peter Pan's lagoon.

Pet turtle?

The black stuff under the trees is oil. We could see it because of the low tide.
We visited quite a number of barangay halls to know more about the oil spill. But we also visited the beaches and it was beautiful too. The sand was not that fine but there were almost no people in the area so I loved it. We also visited the National Mango Research and Development Center. Too bad is wasn't harvest season yet so we couldn't take home free mangoes.

Soon, this place will develop and there will be more livelihood for the locals here. Visit the island!
Nice sunset.

Samal, Bataan: Farming Immersion

Friday, September 8, 2006

It's hard work!
For 3days we were considered as the adopted children of the farmers in Samal, Bataan. This trip was a requirement by Ateneo. All of the seniors would have an immersion but the sector and the places would differ depending on the availability. My group and I were assigned to a farming community in Bataan. For 3days, we lived with the farmers, slept where they slept, ate what they ate and tried to do what they did. After just 2hours of planting rice, our backs hurts, our skins were scorched from the heat and we've become muddier than even possible. I wonder how those farmers did it because they were relatively clean compared to us.
Waiting for dinner!

Taking a bath in the middle of the field.

Ooooh snake. Free touch!

My sibling for the weekend.

Anyway, we enjoyed being outside of our comfort zone. I remember my "house" was at the farthest end of the road. About 15min walk from the barrio, which was a 30min drive from the highway. Our house didn't have a room, just a flat surface to sleep on. We didn't have electricity and a bathroom. We had to make use of the poso in the middle of the field. It was quite and experience but not very different from my grandparent's old house in Laguna. It was fun to play with the kids all day long, whereas the nights were a little quiet since it was very dark in the area.

I glad Ateneo has this kind of program and requires students to have this experience. 

Laguna: Majayjay Falls

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ateneo has this Alternative Class Program (ACP) where for a day, instead of going to classes, you'll be signing up for a different kind of class like Coastal Clean-up or some art class, etc. I decided to sign up for the Environmental trip in Majayjay Falls with my friends.
The water was speeding down.

We just had to get wet.
We went to the falls which included a short hike. Unfortunately, it was raining so hard that we could get near the falls since the current might drown us or bring us downstream. We just had some cold fun by the rocks, just so we'll get wet. 

One of the 1st outings we had as a batch was to go to Puerto Galera. It was one of the nearest beaches in Manila. What happens when you put a bunch of boys together at the beach? Crazy riot! I was the only girl from our batch who came. Nevertheless, it didn't change a thing coz they treat me like one of the boys anyway.
Nice coconut trees. But the buko juice there costs a fortune!

Boys will be boys.

The water is nice there.
We spent around two hours until sunset jumping up and down the big waves. We were trying, very poorly, not to be dragged down the shore. Of course with the big and forceful waves, we were mostly dragged to shore where we rolled over the sand, rocks and pebbles. Despite all the injuries we incurred, we all had a good time. Kudos to Mac for trying very hard not to drown since he didn't know how to swim.
Up and down.
All the prices are bloated in puerto galera. The way to minimize cost is to order lots of rice then egg. haha! oh and bring water bottles then just ask them to refill it. 

Masbate: Halea Adventure Trip

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

My friends goofing around.
Took us almost 24hours to get to Halea, Masbate with all the traffic in Metro Manila. It is so far down Luzon that we passed thru Legazpi and Sorsogon already. At the end of the road in Sorsogon, there is a sea port for boats headed to the Visayas like Masbate, Catanduanes, Leyte. That's how long it took to get there.
Last stretch of the trip. The boat ride.

Nice clear blue sea.
 Once we got there, a feast was laid out for us. We had an island all to ourselves. The island was pretty tiny that only one resort can fit on top of it. There were just 2 rooms with magical views of Mount Mayon and the Visayas islands. The island was leased from the government by my friend's family. Yes, they are rich! I learned that islands cannot be bought in the Philippines no matter how small they are. They can only be leased and after 30-50years, the island will go back to becoming the government's property. We felt very privileged and first class since the island caretakers cooked for us all day long. There were only 4 of us but they cooked for a large group. We did a lot of island hopping too. There were a lot of jellyfishes but they weren't a bother. At one point, we had to go down the boat and walk to the shore. The thing was the water was jellyfish-infested. Apparently, the jellyfishes with clear white heads don't sting much. There were just like sipon when you pick them up. haha!
Going back now. Tired!

Bacolod: UniGames

Friday, February 17, 2006

It's the first time I went to Bacolod with the Ateneo delegation. There is this annual University Games where schools from all parts of the Philippines come to compete in various sports. Of course, I was competing as a member of the Ateneo Swim Team.
Waiting for my event.
I brought my pet bruno with me.

I couldn't help it. I just had to have a chat with the pilot.
The University of St. Lasalle in Bacolod was the host  for the year so they held the competition in their school grounds. I like their outdoor swimming pool. Most schools sleep inside the classrooms of St. Lasalle, Ateneo being a bit more generous, put us up in a hotel. I had to bunk with my 4 teammates and I had to sleep in the floor but it was still fun.

I can't remember if we won or not, but it sure was quality time with my teammates. This was the Ateneo Old School Swim Team with Mica, Em, Hiyas, Ate Sam, El Kapitan, Andrew and some of the older folks.

Where I've Been

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