Year is ending, consequently another year beginning!
And the usual scenario is always being on the run at work, more of brain-bled days. There are just a lot of thangs to organize, have a quick mind and to look beyond what is necessary for the next couple of weeks. Not to mention the holidays bustle! Well, the malls are getting festive as I had a quick detour last weekend to pay bills.
Few weeks back, before I could get drowned over with my duties I went for an official trip to off-beaten Tawi-Tawi group! I wasn’t expecting to be back after nine years, what a joy! And again, with a smile shooting more birds with just one stone! This southern most province gave me lasting impression when I first came during Ramadan, to my surprise it was festive every day. They are to my mind are peace loving people. There has been much changes though after nine years.
Back for More!
Why is it that wonderful trips are being challenged? Unperturbed, we touched down at Sanga-Sanga Airport after our flight from Zamboanga was cancelled, after booking last minute a flight from another airlines. So, we set aside official bustle when half of our workmates were left nowhere after the chain cancellations of many flights. Because coming to Bongao is not complete without the trek to Bud, we woke up the next morning earlier for the climb. It was surprising, being there is like a walk in the park – cemented steps got you, it was a lot easier with sheds and benches scattered as you go up. What was more surprising were the friendly macaque monkeys that came nearer interacting with the trekkers! Bud Bongao Forest Park was an experience. We lingered longer at the summit watching the horizon, feeling the warm sun and cool mountain breeze. We came down leisurely still admiring the monkeys, some came near for photos. It was overwhelming, we almost forgot our breakfast. We were famished when we got to our hotel. 😛
The are more than hundred islands surrounding the province, with many beautiful unspoiled islets scattered in the open seas. Panampangan Island is one of them and was a far dream, the locals spoke well on its beauty but said it’s expensive for the speedboat hire. I was telling my buddy then – next time, who knows? Well, in our last day our hosts arranged for some water escapade for the group. Yes, to the islands of Panampangan and Simunul – I was smiling as if my face would split in half (okey, I am exaggerating)! 🙂
Riding on a speeding boat under the sun in the wide expanse of the ocean – all three speedboats, it’s engines sounding weird as it cruised over the waters intermittently bumping the waves. Our guide said, it would take at least three hours to the island on ordinary boats but we did it only in 45 minutes! It was a quickie hop, the waters might get rough later so it was all in a rush. The longest sandbar in the country during low tide, pure and exquisite!
Speeding our way to Siangay Siapuh (aka Laa Islet) for lunch, we raced with other boats! I love the warm sun, salt water spraying over us and the sight of wide blue seas. We lingered longer – food, laughter and fun – and we agreed that nobody would talk about work. A break is a break, we need to recharge bracing for the year end hullabaloos. 🙂
Changes, there has been lot. The Bud has been transformed to Forest Park complete with the cemented steps going up – but still the summit felt good. Laa Islet which was uninhabited before has lot of structures, now transformed to a resort. They call it developments, but I was thinking its effects in the surrounding waters of main island Simunul.
Joy of Passage
I never know when I could be back in the province, but it was another unforgettable trip. I admit the company of workmates from our rural development project is heart warming – well , the strength of our team is our relationship. 🙂 It was one happy memories just like in prior year’s Mindanao cluster travels.
If there was one I wanted to do again while in Bongao, it would be diving. The waters was so inviting, but I never took a dip. I just want it to be in the depths. Well, maybe next time! That night, as I close my eyes still wide awake I tried to recount the day’s hustle – bit of tan and much salt on my skin and hair. It’s been awhile, the pandemic have cut me off from the mainstream out of the blue.
One more challenge as we went home, our final flight for Cagayan de Oro was cancelled! Whew – but never allowed myself to get distracted so we took the boat from Cebu, just right to arrive safe early next morning and still report to work on time. 🙂 A decade of spree travel thought me to grasp sudden detours with an open mind, come out victorious in the end with joyful heart. Travel is indeed empowering! And I’m now ready to be out again.
40 Days till Christmas
If there’s one present I want this Christmas, it would be one not in a box with an ornate bow! Yes, that’s my description of real gift. The one that fill my heart with real gladness. And as I have promised myself, I will definitely go for a dip in my go-to dive resort, that would be enough to brace myself for all the year-end intricacies. It would make me feel good, feel whole, like my healing process is not complete without the depths.
As I scribbled this, the boxes of decor came out from the storage, the Office would soon be with blinking lights, balls and wreaths. The season is all upon us with the festive mode before pandemic, almost back to normal. It’s like going home to Christmas!
Everyone feel brand new. Soon everyone will travel again!