Davao City Day 1

June 16, 2012

It was a sunny day in Davao City. We arrived at around 1:30pm via Cebu Pacific from Cebu. From the airport, we went straight to Microtel for the pre-registration. Then after our late lunch, we had our Davao City tour. Here are some pics of the places we visited on our first day. 🙂

with TG Ruby and TG JD at Davao City Airport arrival area

Kublai Cafe at Ponce Suites, the ARTBAHAY of Kublai Millan

One of the unique and artistic cafe’s I’ve been to. It was a very quick stop just to let us take a few pictures of  Kublai Millan’s (the owner) impressive artworks.

Notice the baby oble at the side? cute 🙂 Kublai is a Fine Arts graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman

D’Bone Collector Museum


 Davao Crocodile Park


We started the tour at around 3pm which left us only a few hours for the tour. We were supposed to watch a fire dance but unfortunately, the dancers had a show in another place. Our first day in Davao was well-spent. A bit exhausting, but the fun was totally worth it. 🙂

One thing Tagbilaran and Davao City have in common- A road named after the 4th Philippine President.

Photos by roxipie

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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! 🙂

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

Sofitel King Bed

One of the highlights in my trip to Manila last December was the special sleepover with my fabulous friends at Sofitel. Thanks to our very generous friend, Olive, we could spend a night in one of the luxurious rooms in the hotel. What better way of spending happy times with a bunch of friends whom I haven’t seen since graduation day (which was like almost two years ago?!) than by a slumber party a.k.a. chikka-galore-night in an exquisite room with the biggest and most comfy bed I’ve ever laid on! 🙂

F is for Fab Friends!

It may not look it but we're all ladies here...

It was a memorable night filled with fun and laughter. We haven’t been in touch with each other for a while so we had lots of stories to tell. One night wasn’t enough for us to talk about everything but we just made the most of what we got. Can’t wait for the next slumber party!

In this Sofitel King bed, we will never be apart..

I’ve just gotta emphasize that I super loved the glorious bed! It was so soft and laying on it felt heavenly! And, it was incredibly big! Just imagine, the four of us (I, Olive, Jenny, & Kimmy) could fit in comfortably. There was even room for one more! Too bad our other friend, Char, couldn’t make it that night.

The Club Room

We stayed in one of the most expensive rooms in the hotel. No wonder everything in it spells A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

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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