Thursday, May 6, 2010

So Long...

Scud has a new home.

Lakes, Shipwrecks, and Limestone of Coron - Day 4

I climbed Mt. Tapyas for the second time on our 4th and final day in Coron to catch the sunrise. Contrary to a couple of days back when we were racing to the summit at a brisk pace to catch the sunset, the climb in the early hours of the Monday morning was leisurely. We took our time (it was pitch dark in some places) and I was able to appreciate the view of Coron while walking up the 712 steps.

After snapping photos of the sunset, the Coron town from miles up, and unsuccessfully attempting jump shots we returned to the resort. We hastily took a bath, ate breakfast, had a group photo, and rushed to the airport to catch our 10am flight back to Manila.

The 4-day stay in Coron was a feast to the eyes and a dent to the pocket. I didn't mind. I will still be going back to see more of the islands. Perhaps in a couple of years.


Here is a list I made of what I will remember most of my Coron trip.

1. The safari-like ride from the Busuanga airport to Coron Town Proper. I wished there was a jeepney or open van where I could have stayed on top to shoot a video of the landscape.
2. No Jollibee, McDonald’s, KFC and other fastfood joints. I particularly digged the experience walking at night finding a place to eat. And eating barbecue and isaw and balun-balunan and grilled hotdogs.
3. Islands made out of limestone.
4. Banol Beach.
5. Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake, and Twin Lagoon.
6. Snorkeling.
7. Shipwrecks.
8. Our boat getting hammered by the angry sea on a sunny day on our 3rd day.
9. Climbing all 712 steps of Mt. Tapyas. Twice.
10. New friends. Ka-badminton ko na ang iba sa kanila ngayon.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wrecks, Lakes, and Limestone of Coron - Day 3

It was the last day of island hopping. The weather was great. The sun was up. Clouds were everywhere. But it was all a facade.

When we went out to sea I could see the waves were huge. The sea was angry. And so was the wind. The creak of the boat's structure threatening to give way was audible. With the demented mind that I have, I thought the boat was going to break apart. At one point the roof of our boat got blown away.

Someone started videotaping the wild ride. We smiled. We laughed. It was all a facade, disguising the fact that we were all nervous. Then the captain decided to take a shortcut. And what a shortcut it was. It was a marshland. It was cool.

When we exited the marshland, the sea had changed mood. It was surprisingly calm. We can now safely navigate our way to Gunboat Island where we can snorkel and get a good view of one of the sunken ships of WWII.

The island turned out to be the only land we dropped by the rest of the day. We were brought to one snorkeling site to another. I was most impressed with Coral Island. Corals of all shapes and sizes were everywhere. Fishes were not in abundance but it was worth it.

The two-hour boat ride back to Coron proper was rough. This time we weren't scared. There were other boats traversing the same path. It was like we were on a race on which boat would arrive first at the drop off point. It was fun.


Day 3 Photos

Shortcut Through the Marshland


The Fishermen and the Sea

Gunboat Island

White Moon

Coron at Day's End

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wrecks, Lakes, and Limestone of Coron - Day 2

I cursed the heavens on the second day. I had imagined weeks before the trip taking awesome photographs of Barracuda Lake and Kayangan Lake - the two places in the itinerary I was really looking forward to - but the weather did not cooperate. The sky was dark. And the sun was having one of its moods. I cursed some more, calmed down, and started clicking away on my camera.

I wanted to describe the entire day's experience in writing but since it would take many paragraphs to articulate my thoughts I might as well just share some photos I took and a description or two. And besides I'm pretty sure most of you would skip the text and just view the photos.

So here are the pics. Enjoy!

There is no other way to Barracuda Lake but to navigate these tricky wooden stairs (ladders?). The stairs do not wobble but one needs to take the time going down (and up). Falling down these stairs to the pointed limestone will hurt real bad.


This wooden bridge is the final way to a view of the Barracuda Lake. There are no handles to hold on to but the walk will only take a few seconds.


This is the entire group that I went to Coron with swimming in Barracuda Lake. This lake is huge and deep. What you see here is only a small quarter of how large the lake is. It is said that this is a crater lake similar to Mt. Pinatubo. Divers frequent the lake not because of the fishes but because there is a portion way below the surface where the cold water above and the hot water below diverge. Amazing.


This is a view of the aqua-colored waters of Coron taken from one of the ladders seen in the first photo. The banca in the photo are the divers waiting for our group, all 27 of us, to finish our swim at the lake.


This is a view from a cliff midway to Kayangan Lake. Behind where I took this is a small cave which I forgot to take photos of. There is not much to see anyway based on the photos taken by some friends.


A shot of what is called the freshest lake in the Philippines - Kayangan Lake. It is not as big as Barracuda Lake but the water is clearer. There was no jellyfish seen unlike what was seen in Barracuda. There are fishes too and a small cave located on the opposite side from the wooden plank shown in the photo.


The next stop after the twin visits to Barracuda Lake and Kayangan Lake was the snorkeling sites which Coron is famous for. The group ain't looking for pearls but at schools of fish and tens of porcupines.


I got tired dipping my face underwater staring at Nemo and of his species and went aboard our boat to rest. I was not the only one who had the same idea. But alas rest was not to be. We took turns jumping off the boat for the customary jumpshot. Here is a photo of what a friend calls his Superman shot.


Island hopping for the day finished early. While others decided to grab a bite or went to a dive shop to try on their wet suits for the next day's dive, I and 7 others decided to go to Mt. Tapias and watch the sunset. The sun was falling when we made the first step of the 717 steps needed to get to the top. We arrived at the summit with minutes to spare. The view from the top - a 360-degree view of the islands of Coron - was breathtaking.


The sky turns yellow as the sun sets in Coron.


This is the big cross at the top of Mt. Tapias.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wrecks, Lakes, and Limestone of Coron - Day 1

There are a few facts I learned about Palawan when I was in grade school. It was the island where migrants from nearby Asian countries settled. It boasted of caves. And it scared the wits out of my young mind that it was where people suffering from leprosy were exiled to. It was only many years later that I learned the facts of Palawan – it boasted of beautiful beaches, underground rivers, humongous limestone, numerous snorkeling and diving sites, and Edward Hagedorn.

I wanted to get to Palawan after feasting on Flickr photos and on Dante Nico Garcia’s Ploning which was shot entirely in Cuyo, Palawan. So when I got an invite to travel to Coron with my tennis buddies I did not think twice. Actually I did but after declining their two previous invites – Caramoan in 2008 and El Nido in 2009 - I wasn’t going to pass up on the opportunity and regret doing so.

So on the 3rd week of March I and 26 others boarded the Cebu Pacific flight to Busuanga. I wasn’t surprised that the Busuanga Airport was small and rather similar to the airports of Dumaguete and Naga. The 40-minute ride to Coron was like going on a safari sans the giraffes and the zebras and the elephants and the lions and the tigers. The land was huge and parched and barren. Of course there were trees. And mountains. And some cows. And lots of dung.

After checking-in at Princess of Coron where we were going to sleep for the next three nights we headed to our first day of island hopping.

The itinerary was:
1. Twin Lagoon. My first view of the Palawan limestone. It was everywhere. Breathtakingly beautiful.
2. Banol Beach. One of the best beaches I’ve been to.

3. CYC Island. A rather small island similar to Potipot Island in Zambales.
4. Skeleton Wreck. One among many Japanese war boats gunned down by the Americans at the end of World War II. It has since become a snorkeling site in Coron.
5. Maquinit Hot Spring. This should have been renamed Maquinit Very Hot Spring. My balls got cooked. Almost.


Coron Photos - Day 1

- Busuanga Airport -

- House on Stilts -

- Limestone and Clouds -

- Facing the Twin Lagoon -

- The Shoreline of Banol Beach -

- Banol Beach Sparkles -

- Maquinit Hot Spring -

- View of Siete Pecados at Maquinit Hot Spring -

Friday, April 23, 2010

General Santos City's Kalilangan Festival

It was said to be the highest recorded temperature recorded for the year at that time. It was a Sunday and it was barely 7 or 8 hours after I first set foot on Mindanao soil. I had my week-old camera slung around my neck. My jeans was stooping low on my hips I had to grab it by the waistband and repeatedly hike it up. I cursed myself for forgetting the belt I hung on the doorknob in my room back in Manila.

The street (or was it a highway?) was teeming with people – spectators, organizers, photographers, dancers. It was street dancing day for General Santos City’s less popular Kalilangan Festival. The more popular festival – Tuna Festival – is held in September where tourists diverge on the city in droves.

The festival isn’t as grand or as commercialized as the other festival that I have ever attended – Cebu’s Sinulog. It’s a good thing in my book. It’s not too crowded and no one shooed me away when I was practically in the middle of the street taking photos like a madman. I lost touch with Dong Ho, Lawstude, and Jonee when the activity commenced who I think were also busy taking photos and enjoying the sights and sounds of the Kalilangan Festival. We re-grouped a hour or two later when we had to leave and chase the falling sun in Gumasa.


Thanks to Sheng, who by the way is a wonderful host, and GenSan bloggers for the free food and travel tips. Thanks also to Donna for the free after-dinner meal at her Piyesta restaurant located at the Robinsan's Mall in General Santos. Piyesta's kurat sticks are delicious with a little bit of spice in it.


Kalilangan Festival Photos

Kalilangan Festival in Violet

The Hat

Star on a Hat

A Sea of Yellow

Dance! Dance! Dance!

Children of the Corn

Taking a Rest

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Scud turns a year older after 232 posts and 10,000+ page views. I am humbled and blessed.

Monday, April 19, 2010

10 Random Facts

I got tagged by my good friend Sonia to write about 10 random facts about me. Since this is my first time to get tagged, I’m going to give in to doc’s request. There’s another reason too why I'm giving in - I may no longer be able to get free consults over the phone. Haha.

1. I badly want a car of my own. If I had one, it would only take me half an hour to drive from the apartment to the office. At present, it takes me an hour more since I commute daily and FX taxis are almost always full when they pass by my place.

2. I have a demented mind. When I see women fixing their eyes with a pencil, I imagine the fx taxi we’re riding on abruptly stopping and the pencil would get lodged in her eyes. Blood would ooze out and I would just stare at her with a smirk on my face. I also imagine planes I am flying on diving into the sea waters below or breaking into tiny little pieces in mid-air. Parang LOST lang.

3. It’s the middle of April and I have only completed reading two books – Honeymooners: A Cautionary Tale and Flipped. I have been reading Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore for a couple of months now but I am not even halfway through. I have also started randomly reading ebooks at work whichever tickles my fancy on a particular day – Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl, Haruki Murakami’s After Dark, Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time – but could only muster reading a few pages before losing interest.

4. I get embarrassed when my family and relatives introduce me as Engr. Scud or when I see my name prefixed with Engr. on the mail. It’s not that I don’t deserve to be called one. I do. It’s just that that hasn’t been my profession for many years now and I’m not obsessed with titles.

5. I own two phones and subscribe to two internet providers. I am satisfied with all of them except for one. It makes me so stark raving mad I make my pillows my punching bag each time it conks out.

6. I sleep an average of 6 hours per day, even on weekends.

7. I am not a big fan of my writing. I wish I could free-write as well as Sonia or Kevin. Or write meaningful posts as well as Atticus or Panaderos. Or be as deep a writer as Prinsesa Musang or Ahmer. Or write short stories as well as Gillboard. Or be as articulate as Raft3r. Or review films as well as Oggs or WCS Minor Circuit.

8. I weighed 98lbs in 2002. I have gained 40lbs since then. I am more hefty but still look as young. Haha.

9. I have spent weekends at the apartment without talking to a single soul or stepping out of the front door to get some polluted air.

10. I am selling my Canon S5IS. Any takers?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Battlestar Galactica








This show is my current addiction. I'm hooked.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Humor of Wowowee

This is a collection of questions and actual answers, shared by a friend in Facebook, of contest participants of Wowowee. A fantastic way to cap a great and satisfying day for Scud.

Q: "Ano sa Tagalog ang teeth?"
A: "Utong!"

Q: "Kung ang light ay ilaw, ano naman ang lightning?"
A: "Umiilaw!"

Q: "Kung vegetarian ang tawag sa kumakain ng gulay, ano ang tawag sa kumakain ng tao? A: "Humanitarian?"

Q: "Sina Michael at Raphael ay mga."
A: "Ninja?"

Q: "Ano ang karaniwang kasunod ng kidlat?"
A: "Sunog!"

Q: "Magbigay ng sikat na Willie."
A: "Willie da pooh!"

Q: "Ang mga Hindu ay galing sa aling bansa?"
A: "Hindunesia?"

Q: "Anong hayop si King Kong?"
A: "Pagong!"

Q: "Magbigay ng mabahong pagkain."
A: "Tae!"

Q: "Saang bansa matatagpuan ang mga Canadians?"
A: "Canadia!"

Q: "Kumpletuhin - Little Red."
A: "Ribbon!"

Q: "Ano ang tinatanggal sa itlog bago ito kainin?"
A: "Buhok?"

Q: "Magbigay ng pagkain na dumidikit sa ngipin."
A: "Tinga!"

Q: "Anong oras kadalasang pinapatay ang TV?"
A: "Pag balita?"

Q: "Ano ang tawag mo sa anak ng taong grasa?"
A: "Baby oil?"

Q: "Saan karaniwang ginagawa ang mga sweets na ginagamit sa halu-halo?"
A: "Sweetserland?"

Q: "Sinong higanteng G ang tinalo ni David?"
A: "Godzilla?"

Q: "Ano ang mas malaki, itlog ng ibon o sanggol ng tao?"
A: "Itlog ng tao!"

Q: "Anong S ang tawag sa duktor nag nago-opera?"
A: "Sadista?"

Q: "Blank is the best policy."
A: "Ice tea?"

Q: "Saan binaril si Jose Rizal?"
A: "Sa likod!"

Q: "Fill in the blanks - Beauty is in the eye of the ____."
A: "Tiger?"

Q: "Ano ang kinakain ng monkey-eating eagle?"
A: "Saging!"

Q: "Kung ang suka ay vinegar, ano naman ang Inggles ng toyo?"
A: "Baliw!"

Q: "Anong tawag mo sa kapatid ng nanay mo?"
A: "Kamag-anak!"

Q: "Saan nakukuha ang sakit na AIDS?"
A: "Sa motel?"

Q: "Kung ang H2O ay water, ano naman ang CO2?"
A: "Cold water!"

Q: "Sinong cartoon charcater ang sumisigaw ng yabba dabba doo?"
A: "Si scooby dooby doo?"

Q: "Heto na si kaka, bubuka-bukaka."
A: "Operadang bakla?"

Q: "Ilan ang bituin sa American flag?"
A: "Madami!"

Q: "Ano ang tawag mo sa taong isa lang ang mata?"
A: "Abnormal!"