That One Saturday I Joined a Matin-ao Trail Hike

After several Saturdays of planning to join this hike (which I always put off because sleep is life hahaha), I finally was able to push myself to wake up early in the morning and drag myself to McDonald’s where the agreed assembly area would be. My friend, Erns, was already there waiting for me. We would be joining a group of friends who bonded over hiking and alumni homecoming preparations (Hi, Saturday Warriors!). The start of the trail was in Barangay Bonbon since Matin-ao is part of the barangay. I think it was already almost 6 A.M. when we started hiking. The sun was up but the air was cool. It was a good day for a hike.

So let me show you the awesome views I saw along the way. This was primary reason I wanted to join the hike.

There was a community we passed by along the way which made me wonder what it was like to live away from the city.

I snapped photos of flowers which I shall use for future painting references.

Although there were a number of times that I found myself chugging my water bottle and catching my breath, it was a relatively easy hike especially for a newbie like me. We were chitchatting while walking. It was like a stroll in a park. Well, it was partly because Daryl, who frequents this trail, kept telling me that we were near the end of the trail. “It is near that next turn, Kat.” “Just a few more steps.” All lies. hahaha  The pedometer reading on my phone recorded my 16,417 steps that morning.

Saturday Warriors on a hike.

We met kids with a carabao. What a cheerful child!

I forgot the beads of sweat trickling down my face whenever I saw a view like this.

How marvelous Our Creator is!

At the end of the trail is a rolling plain that makes you want to sing like Maria in the Sound of Music!

Erns was happy to reach this place.

From this vantage point, you can see Mt. Mayapay.

The best part of this experience was sitting on the grass and eating breakfast. Ha! Who said we were on diet? Never mind the amorseco (Chrysopogon aciculatus) on our clothes, it was a wonderful experience.

Thank you, Saturday Warriors, for letting me tag along your hike!

Photo credit: Siegred Lumayag Colima

A Roadtrip to Roadtrip

My aunt came home one afternoon from a get-together with friends. She told us they went to a new cafe along the diversion road in the city. She said that the food was good. It was not accessible by public transportation so when my cousins invited me to go with them, I dropped everything. I cannot pass up the opportunity.

The cafe is named Roadtrip. It is a both a carwash and a cafe. So while you wait for your car to be washed, you can dine in their cafe.  The cafe was cozy and breezy with all the open windows.

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I love the stairs.  They are made of old tires that are filled with concrete.

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The cafe is pet-friendly. We brought my cousins’ mini-pinscher  and she felt at home.

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There is also a backyard with ducks. ( I was only able to capture one duck in the photo.)

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This is what we ordered- longsilog (longganisa, fried rice and egg) and bacon cheeseburger.

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This is the bacon cheeseburger upclose. It was delicious.  (Disclosure: I went back with friends. Twice.)

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Since we went to the Roadtrip Cafe early in the afternoon, we went to a roadtrip (literally!). This time… to the beach!

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I sometimes forget that we live near the beach.  One can just rent a cottage here for P50 (~$1).

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My cousins’ dog went for a swim.

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On the way the beach, we crossed the Masao bridge. The bridge crosses the Masao river.

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There are people who make a living from the river.

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We also went to the nearby barangay, Lumbocan, out of curiousity. We found this beautiful fishpond.

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 Oh, we passed by the area where pots of bougainvillea were sold. I love bougainvillea.

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We called it a day since our youngest roadtripper was already tired.

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Have you explored your hometown lately?

LPA and Agaton Blues

I have experienced flooding before- in 1979, 1999, 2011. It happens to us with a more than a decade interval. I did not expect it to come too soon.  The non-stop raining for the past two weeks was something to be concerned about.

My cousin and I were chatting about how my aunt reacted to the flooding in their street.  She described it as ‘thrilling’ because it has been stationary near their gate for days.

This  was our version of thrilling by Sunday afternoon, January 19.
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We even managed to build a makeshift fort for our dog to prevent him from jumping into the water.
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By late afternoon on Sunday, the water level already rose.
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My friend who lives near the river already evacuated their families.

In the evening, I got a text from my boss about a tweet from Prof. Mahar Lagmay, executive director of Project NOAH. I verified it. True enough I got the same information. Prof Lagmay is an expert I asked about flood maps before and I trust his assessment.
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This made us decide to prepare for flooding. From previous experience, we know the flood-prone areas in the house so we quickly vacated the area.

Remember my living room last Christmas?
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We emptied it. Almost.
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We transferred the furniture to my Aunt’s house.
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Their living room turned into a bodega. We reinforced the furniture legs with plastic cups.

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That afternoon, my aunt already secured her plants on the waiting shed bench.

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We slept tight when the 11:30 PM warning of Prof Lagmay had passed.
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When we woke up, we are still dry. However, heavy rains kept pounding. The Tropical Depression Agaton showed its strength after being categorized as a low pressure area (LPA) for more than a week. The water level of the mighty Agusan River rose.

Then, my living room had two inches of flood. Yes, we still have power and my aunt was able to watch her favorite teleserye.
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My aunt’s porch was flooded. We were grateful that the living room was dry.
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My rooms were still safe and dry.
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The dogs were safe and dry.
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By Tuesday morning, rain was reduced to drizzles and the water in my home was slowly receding. It was cleanup time for us. My aunt started scooping out flood waters to the pail and I carried those pails 50 steps away to my bathroom. It was a good workout.
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We did the same thing with my living room that by Tuesday afternoon, my floors were squeaky clean. I purposely sat on the floor to show you how clean it is. Pardon the fashion faux pas.
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We had time to roam around the neighborhood and the streets were still flooded.

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There are still thousands of families in the evacuation centers. I know someone who lost their home. I know someone whose brother had to be rescued.

My beloved city is under the state of calamity. I am fine. My family is fine. But there are still thousands who are homeless. The water level has not yet subsided.

Please keep us in your prayers.

Butuan City and the Mighty Agusan River

‘Biyahe ni Drew’  on GMA NewsTV featured my beloved Butuan City last Friday.  In one of the segments, he rode a boat along  the Agusan River. That is when I realized I forgot to write about my Abayan experience end of July.  Yes, I am that late in writing about it. Abayan Festival is a fluvial parade in honor of St. Anne, Mama Mary’s mother.  I have experienced boat rides along the river hundreds of times before.  However, I have not tried to ride the boat upstream.  This was the first time.

Here is an aerial view of the river which I took  in one of the plane rides home. Agusan River is the 3rd longest river in the country.

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We got to the PPA compound early after the Sunday mass. It was a last-minute decision to go there so I was not able to bring my camera. What I had was my Nokia 6230i phone which broke down after it was low on battery for taking all these pictures.

Anyway, free tickets were distributed for those who wanted to ride the boat. It is actually a fluvial procession with the pumpboat carrying St Anne heading the ‘expedition’
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This is what the pump boat looks like.
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I wanted to see what Agusan upstream looks like. There were a lot of greens but there were also some communities living by the river.The upstream ride approaches the second bridge.

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One can only take this shot at this angle if one is on a boat so I took advantage of it even with my phone camera.
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 If you want a glimpse of my city, watch this episode of Biyahe ni Drew. (Video by santoleater on YouTube)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7FGa7xHwAQ]

New Business in Town

Going home from the cemetery last November 1, we took a different route. I wanted to do landscape photography. (Yes, frustrated photographer here!)

I got what I wanted. The alternate route had pretty rolling hills.

And there were ducks gathering around a lake. This is what I love about provincial life.

Along this road, we also discovered a new resort.

Construction is still ongoing but there is already a functional swimming pool.

The resort already accepts guests who want to use the pool. We grabbed the opportunity and returned in the afternoon. Since only a few knew the place exists, we look like we own the place. 😀

The place also has a function room for those who want to hold their parties and meetings here.

We swam till dusk.  I love that the resort is surrounded by mountains. No obstructive view of those dangling electric wires.

 The place is pretty at night.

The resort is not yet fully opened and they do not even have a signboard. The resort is a water park for kids complete with slides and other water activities. I found this taped to a column in the entrance. So, if you happen to be in Butuan City, you now know who to call. 😉

A new business like this needs an online presence. Everyone uses the Internet to search for places to eat, things to buy and resorts to enjoy.  Having a website, a Facebook page or a twitter account  is just a start.

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