Hello Davao City!

The highlight of my eventful month of June is my trip to Davao City with my fellow BITGAP members. This year’s National Tour Guides Convention was held in Davao City. The first convention two years ago was held in Bohol, then the 2nd was in Palawan. I wasn’t able to attend last year’s convention so I made up for it by going this year. It was such a wonderful trip! I had a lot of fun and I instantly fell in love with Davao! Weeehh!!! ❤

I had loads of first times in this trip. After all, it was my first time to visit Davao. I was very excited for the trip. Funny thing though, for the first time (and hopefully the last time too), I was late for my boat trip to Cebu. I got left behind. I know, it was all my fault. Lucky for me, I could get the next trip on the same day without having to pay for another ticket. What started not well turned out just fine. But I swear there will never be a next time. Haha!

Let me give an overview of what we did in the trip:

June 15 (Friday) -We spent overnight in Cebu since we didn’t want to have any problem with our flight to Davao on the next day.

June 16 (Saturday) -First day in Davao City! We pre-register for the convention and got our kits. We also had a Davao City tour before heading to Chataeu de Veronica, where we stayed.

June 17 (Sunday) – First day of the convention. During the day, we had Davao City and Eden Nature Park and Resort tour. Then in the evening, we had a fellowship dinner hosted by Davao City Mayor, Sarah Duterte.

June 18 (Monday) -Second day of the convention. We had the plenary during the day, followed by the culmination program and dinner hosted by the Department of Tourism.

June 19 (Tuesday) -Samal Island escapade!

June 20 (Wednesday) -Flight Davao-Cebu; boat trip Cebu-Bohol; Home Sweet Home

I’ll never get tired of sharing about my wonderful trip to Davao! More pics to be posted! Yay! 🙂

Jeff and Ria

You know how I love weddings. So when I saw this video of my elementary classmate’s wedding on facebook, I couldn’t help watching it again and again. And watching it was not enough, I just had to share it here in my blog. The couple looks really great together and it was such a lovely wedding. Congratulations and best wishes to Ria and Jeff! Cheers! 🙂

Weddings in June

June is a famous month for weddings. I wondered why getting married in June is considered good luck so I googled and found some explanations. Some relates it to Juno, the goddess of marriage, from which the month was named after. Back in the middle ages, June was also traditionally considered as the marriage month because people were clean from their annual May baths. There could be more explanations to this but it’s not really that much of a big deal for me. Choosing the wedding date is all up to the couple.

So, this month I attended two weddings. I love attending weddings. I love seeing the bride in her gorgeous wedding dress, and my favorite part is when she walks down the aisle towards the altar where the groom awaits. I also love seeing people all dressed-up for the occasion. One thing though, in all three weddings that I’ve been to, all of them have the motif of blue. So another question would be, why the color blue? 🙂

Alvin & JL 

June 2, 2012
St. Joseph Cathedral, Tagbilaran City
Reception at Bohol Tropics Resort

The newly weds with some Bohol tour guides

I met Alvin in our tour guiding seminar a couple of years ago. As aspiring tour guides, our group easily got along with each other and became friends. When Alvin’s wife, JL, delivered their first baby, I was one of the first people who visited them in the hospital. Then they chose me to be one of Chelsea’s (their daughter’s) godmothers. Chelsea is my first god-daughter! It was such a delight to be given a special part in her life. After a year Alvin and JL’s second child, a cute baby boy named Basti, was born. What a lovely family! Once again this year I was given the chance to be a part of another special occasion, their wedding. I couldn’t be more grateful. I wish them all the best in life! 🙂

Milbert & Analyn

June 14, 2012
San Antonio De Padua Chapel

Milbert and Analyn are two of my good childhood friends. Our friendship started when we became Altar Servers several years ago. We haven’t been in touch with each other in a long time. I was surprised one day when Manoy sent me a chat msg inviting me to their wedding. I was surprised! I had known that they’ve been a couple for a while now but it’s different when they take it to the next level, the M life. I am utterly happy for them! One more thing, they’re expecting their first baby in September. I am so excited! Cheers to the lovely couple! 🙂

I and the happy couple 🙂

with Almira

my childhood buddies

Attending their wedding also means seeing my other childhood friends. It’s been a really really loooonng time since I last saw them so it was so great to be with them even just for a few hours. We didn’t have much time to catch up with each others lives but really, just being with them was more than enough for me. It was the icing on the cake. I look forward to spending more time with them soon. 🙂

Photos by roxipie

Banacon Mangrove Plantation is Asia’s Largest

Even with my job as a tour guide, there are still places in my hometown that I haven’t been to. That’s why once in a while, our organization (Bohol Island’s Tour Guides Association of the Philippines, Inc.) conducts familiarization tours in some tourists’ destinations. There’s no better way of learning about a certain place/attraction than by experiencing it first hand. This month we went to Banacon Island where Asia’s largest man-made mangrove plantation is located. Yes, you read it right. The biggest in Asia is Banacon Mangrove Plantation!

Our assembly time was at 6am in Metro Centre hotel. Some of the members were picked up on the way. Banacon island is part of the town Jetafe, which is approximately 92 kilometers away from Tagbilaran City (Bohol’s capital). From the mainland, it takes around 35 minutes by boat to Banacon island. It was a fine sunny day then, a bit too hot for an island hopping activity. Considering our job as tour guides, we were supposed to be immune to the surging heat of the sun as long as we had our sunblock. 🙂

Few meters away from the island, we could already see some women dressed in Filipiniana customes. We were surprised when these women welcomed us with leis made of shells. It was unnecessary but very sweet of them. We were used to being the ones who give welcoming leis to the guests and not the other way around. It felt nice being the tourist for a change. 🙂

We were advised to have the Banacon mangrove forest tour before lunch since the tide was getting low. We rode on bangkas (small river boats) by pairs and took a tour in the mangrove forest. The tour normally lasts for 30 minutes but the sea level in some areas was too low for our bangka motors to run that our boatman had to row our boat manually, thus making the tour longer than usual. The heat from the sun was harshly piercing to the skin, especially that we did the tour on midday. Thankfully, Ms. Sarah (my partner in the bangka) cared to share her sarong with me. Despite the burning heat from the sun, it was still a great experience.

The Banacon Mangrove Plantation is the biggest man-made mangrove plantation in Asia with an area of 484 hectares, plus an additional 200 hectares is planned for expansion. They started planting mangroves in 1957, lead by Mr. Gaudencio Padin.  There are 15 mangrove species in the plantation.

The exhaustion from the tour was immediately relieved by a seafood-rich meal prepared by the island folks. We feasted on luscious crabs, shrimps and other seafood.

They also prepared a short program to entertain us. The women in Filipiniana costumes presented some Philippine folk dances, in which some of my org mates gladly joined. It was really nice of them to prepare something for us.

The People’s Organization hosted our fam tour in the island. The Banacon Fisher Folks & Mangrove Planters Association (a.k.a. BAFFMAPA) president, Mr. Dioscoro ‘Dondon’ Canlubo III, gave a speech about Banacon island and the lifestyle of the island folks. We learned that the name Banacon came from a fish called Banac, which used to be very abundant in the island.

Banacon island has a land area of 11 hectares and 1700 hectares gleaning ground. The population is 1,300, and there are 325 households. The source of electricity is a privately owned generator. People pay 10 pesos per light bulb and 15 pesos for the TV. Power is available from 6pm-10pm only. Water is not readily available in the island. They have to buy it from the barangay for 8 pesos per container.

They have one elementary school.  They don’t have a high school so students have to ride on bangkas to cross to the mainland where they can study high school. Other students opt to study in Cebu island since it’s only an hour away by boat and the fare is 50 pesos.  The main livelihood in the island is fishing. Fresh seafood goods are shipped to be sold in Cebu island. They also sell dried seafood at affordable prices.

For a girl like me who was born and raised in the city, living in the island is tough. I can’t imagine life with limited supply of water and electricity. But feeling the warm welcome of the people in the island, and seeing the friendly smiles on their faces tell me how they’ve embraced their simple life. To me, that’s quite remarkable.  🙂

photos by roxipie

Congratulations, Li’l Bro!

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photos by roxipie

Last March 20 was a very special day for my family. My little brother graduated from high school! We couldn’t be more proud. Seems just yesterday when he was this little boy who’d come running to my classroom when they fetch me from school. A naughty and sweet brother at the same time. Now, look how big he is! He’s even taller than I am! It’s still hard to believe sometimes. He is and will always be our baby. Pretty soon, he’ll have a girlfriend and I still don’t know how to handle that! Haha


Okay, so after posting the pictures from the wedding, I just couldn’t go on without saying anything about the bride, who is a very dear friend to me. Jenevieve or Jen as we all usually call her (and sometimes Jinibebe for me), is one of my group mates in my major subjects in college. She is such a sweet sweet girl with that distinct childlike way of talking. That was actually what I first noticed in her. Bakit ang bagal niya magsalita?, I used to wonder. It might bother you a little at first but you’ll get the hang of it after a while. Eventually you’ll realize that it’s one of the things you’ll like about her. She’s smart, diligent, responsible and not to mention, OC- in a very good way. Believe me, you could definitely use someone like her in your group. But I should also tell you that she’s a perfectionist. She’s very committed and determined to do the best in every work and she radiates this to everyone in the group. Jen is also malambing and super makulit!! Better watch when her kulitness strikes!
Among my group mates, Jen was the last person I could imagine to marry. Not only was she the youngest among us, but she also hadn’t been in a relationship for quite a while. Plus, she wasn’t the type of girl who would go through marriage sooner. I witnessed how attached she is to her  family and I thought it would be difficult for her to let them go. She was their baby girl. So when I found out about her engagement, I was like– Jen’s getting married!!!? I was surprised and excited at the same time!
Not long ago, our other batch mate also got married with someone she met during her internship in the US. So when Jen also met someone (also during her internship in the US), I would tease her and say that she’ll be getting married next. And true enough, nag-dilang anghel ako!!! Jen did get married next!
Despite the fact that I was miles away from Manila, I wouldn’t dare miss a dear friend’s wedding. To be honest, I was also very curious about her fiance and was concerned if he was really the one for her. It hasn’t been long since she met the guy so I thought Jen must have fallen hard for him.The last thing I wanted was for her to get hurt. Given the cultural difference and the length of their relationship, I couldn’t be too sure until I meet him personally.
And so came the big day. It was nice to be with friends whom I haven’t seen in a long time. We were so thrilled to see the wedding. We didn’t get a chance to talk/chika-chika with the bride but it was clear to us that she was very happy. Jen looked really lovely in her wedding dress. Seeing her walk down the aisle with her parents was very touching that I almost cried. Mike himself was an equally handsome groom. He was obviously in love with Jen. It was all over his face as he watched the bride walk to him. I couldn’t be happier for the both of them. The garden wedding did not push through due to the rain but it didn’t stop the sheer joy and love reflected in everybody’s faces on that special day.

Corporate Social Responsibility (BITGAP goes to Bien Unido)

I recently joined the Bohol Island Tour Guides Association of the Philippines, Inc. (BITGAP). Last October 10, 2011 (Monday), we had our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity. We went to the town of Bien Unido, located at the northern part of Bohol, about 107 kilometers away from Tagbilaran City. It took more than two hours to get there from the city by bus. We visited Hingotanan West Seaweed Farming, which was more than an hour away from the mainland by boat. We interacted with some seaweed farmers and they showed us the basics and techniques they use in planting seaweeds. We also went to an island about an hour away from the seaweed farm, still part of/ one of the barangays of Bien Unido, called Bilangbilangan East (/Diot).

Picture! Picture!

Breakfast at Bohol Yacht Club and courtesy call to Mayor Niňo Rey F. Boniel of Bien Unido…

On the way to the seaweed farm….

At Hingotanan West Seaweed Farming…

Seaweed planting demo..

Going to Bilangbilangan East island. Our boat couldn’t reach the island cause the sea was getting too shallow so we all had to walk a distance from the boat to the island…

Coastal clean up and interaction with the Bilangbilangan East residents…

Photos by: Roxipie and Franz Labad