Loading Map...

CLOUD 9 BLISS

Written on: Sunday July 9th, 2006

A journal entry from: SOUTHEAST ASIA

Togshing Internet Hub
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, NORTHERN MINDANAO (PHILIPPINES)

I've spent the last three weeks traveling along Mindanao's north coast and its adjacent islands. My original plans to travel up north were sabotaged by the typhoons affecting Luzon and its surrounding areas. Fortune again has smiled upon this lone wanderer and I have been blessed with only days of sunshine and outrageous tropical heat. Today marks the final week before I make the journey back onto Canadian soil.

Siargao Island - home to Cloud 9 a popular destination for surfers from around the globe. This isla bonita has been labeled as the surfing capital of the Philippines and the waves here are world-class. Siargao in comparison to other popular tourist destinations in the Philippines is very, very low key. Oh the island life! Attitudes are laid back, the pace is unhurried, worries do not exist and hammocks become one's bestfriend. I found my own nipa-hut along the beach and hired myself a couple of the local boys to be my 'surf coach' for the day (heheh Surf's Up Dianne!!)

All the locals are exceptionally friendly and the foreigners are surprisingly... surfers!?!? All in all, I met a pretty cool bunch to chill and swap stories with. We rented motorbikes and spent a day exploring the island and its many villages. We ventured into the humble village of Pilar. Life here is simple: an entire village of stilt houses nestled in giant mangrove flats, there are chickens scratching about and naked children playing in the dirt. As we passed through the village we were invited to watch the notorious 'bloodsport' of cockfighting... vicious and cruel to say the least, but for these town folk serves as a simple past-time. We eventually found our way to the Magpupungko rock pools where we spent the afternoon soaking and snorkeling in turquoise waters amidst the wicked rock formations. My stay in Siargao was too short, I plan to hit their shores again one of these days... naturally to conquer those majestic waves of Cloud 9.

Camiguin Island - an small volcanic island made up of seven volcanoes. I spent three days exploring this island and its natural beauty. I rented a motorbike and literally cruised around the entire island in 2 1/2 hrs (a 64km circumferential road that navigates the way around the island). We hired a boat to take us to the uninhabited White Island (a blindingly white sandbar 1km offshore) at the crack of dawn. I watched the sun rise and practically baked myself to a crisp (big mistake forgetting the sunblock... the island gets extremely hot because there are no trees or shade). I spent the rest of the day cooling off in a cold-spring and the next night soaking in the hotsprings. If I'm not mistaken I do believe I was the only foreigner on the island... thank goodness for friendly locals!!

The thriving city of CDO - a breath of fresh air after spending a week in Metro Manila. Basically, it's the Philippines, but it's not Manila. Luckily, my aunt has set up shop here in CDO and owns a gorgeous flat, I have spent a couple of nights here and have thoroughly enjoyed the local cuisine and the Mindanao nightlife!!

With the Philippines being a archipelago made up of over 7000 islands there is so much to discover and the possibilities here are endless...

*TO BE CONTINUED*

D  ~_*