Sunday, November 20, 2016

Travel Diary 2016: Mountain Road and Tummy Fill in Zamboanga Del Sur

Browie and Mama at Mons Grill
After passing through the coastal town of Sultan Naga Dimaporo, we start our climbto the mountain town of Aurora, part of Zamboanga del Sur. We were so amazed that we saw locals selling crabs and prawns along the mountain roadsides. 
By the time we reached the plains of Zamboanga del Sur, we start to fell hungry and find a place to eat. We were looking for some seafood with the many crabs and prawns we see along the way. It was past 1 P.M. and still no seafood, we are now ready for anything, as long as we can have our tummy filled.

We passed by Molave, and almost all carenderia's we stopped by have nothing to offer except hard boiled eggs. We asked where we can have something to eat, they all pointed us to Mon's Grill in the town of Mahayag.
Mons Grill it is, when we got there, a number of vehicles were parked, praying that there are something left for us. Straight to the counter, aside from Halo-Halo they can only offer us breakfast meals like Chorizo Cebu and Pork Chop with Rice. We ordered pork chop with rice and we wait for about 30 minutes. Hungry but still excited what lies ahead, I got a packed of puto-flan from Mons Salubong corner, its a puto and leche flan in one, and in split the puto flan is gone. 

Browie saw almost every customer orders a halo-halo, so Mama asked me to order one so we can try it. Good thing that they served it right away, what makes it different from what Apareja's offers here in South Cotabato. Mon's Halo-Halo has a powdered milk in it, a twist that makes it a little different from other halo-halo we've tried.

And finally our orders arrive and in total silence, we eat and after a few minutes our plates were emptied. 

Tummies all filled-up, we are back on the road to Zamboanga del Norte and it starts to drizzle.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Travel Diary 2016: A Glimpse of Lanao del Norte

Lanao del Norte is part of Northern Mindanao. We passed by it, had a toilet break in a gasoline station in Sultan Naga Dimaporo. The ride in the province of Lanao del Norte is a break from the rough roads of Lanao del Sur. It was very relaxing, that we even rolled our windows down and enjoy the fresh air and the green ricefields along the way.
Here's a glimpse of Lanao del Norte.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Travel Diary 2016: My OH-OW Moment in Lanao Del Sur

We all got our own OH-OW moments. And mine happens when I am on the road and travelling. During our family roadtrip, I had one while passing Lanao del Sur. While I was being amazed by the abundance of water from the mountainside, I was so surprised to see a tunnel along the way.
A Town Hall that we passed by
Blurry, I was trying to capture the water flowing on the mountainside with my camera phone
I asked Lolo Boy to make a stop, so I can take a picture of the tunnel, not knowing I kept on saying "Oh-wow-ow." I just realized what I was doing when I got in the car and the Browie was laughing and saying "Oh-wow-ow."
Picong Tunnel
And more than a week after our trip, I researched about this tunnel that we passed through along Lanao del Sur. Picong Tunnel  is a 60-meters long tunnel in Picong, Lanao del Sur built by the Americans in World War II.
I got so little information about this tunnel. I told Browie about it and its historical significance, he apologized and told me that he will not laugh at me, when I started saying "oh-wow-ow."
I learned one thing from this experience, to trust my instinct when I feel that a particular place is special, because we will never know what a particular place can offer us.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Travel Diary 2016: Breakfast and A Traffic Violation in Cotabato City

Arrived in Cotabato City at exactly 7:00 A.M. in time for breakfast. We wanted to go more local in the places we ate, but 7 A.M. was quite too early for local reastaurants to open. And the only choice left is our ever reliable fastfood joint, Jollibee.

After breakfast, we are back on the road. I did not bother looking at Google map as we try to get out of the city center, as we started seeing weird looks from pedestrians and cars coming our way. And we heard it, Mr. Traffic Enforcer, whistling and running after us. 
Funny, because of fear, we continued going around the whole block, until a group of enforcer were coming after us. When we stopped, we were all asking for some consideration as we are newbie in the city and that we did not see the one-way sign. They asked for the Lolo Boy's drivers license and saw that we are from South Cotabato, that we are getting direction from Google. After some explanation, they allow us to go and even give us the direction how to get out of the city center toward Pagadian highway.

It was an experience to remember, after more than 4 hours on the road. Another thing that made our Cotabato City stop memorable is finding Rio Grande de Mindanao. Browie wanted to see Rio Grande de Mindanao, because of his HEKASI class, but then X naman kami, when we told him that it was Rio Grande, until we cross another bridge, and Google map shows it to be the Rio Grande de Mindanao.
An hour around Cotabato City, but more than an hour of memories.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Travel Diary 2016: Province of Maguindanao

Why via Maguindanao? We wanted to get to Dipolog City at a shortest possible time. But more than that, I want to explore even along the main thoroughfare of the Province of Maguindanao. 
Maguindanao is part of ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao). And in the past years it has been pictured as the place of the Maguindanao Massacre and Mamasapano Clash. At times being the one in-charge with checking if we are on track with the route we are taking, fear creeps in, but then the thrist for an adventure erases it and makes me want to see more of what Maguindanao can offer.
We reached the Municipality of Shariff Aguak around 5:30 A.M.. Shariff Aguak formerly Maganoy and the legislative capital of Maguindanao. As we passed by, the people were just starting up their day. In the poblacion of Shariff Aguak, we passed by Maguindanao Capitol Building.

After more that 10 minutes, we entered the town of Datu Saudi-Ampatuan, were everything we see were paited in pink. I wanted to stop by the famous pink mosque, but then I find it too early, that we might disturb our the morning prayer.

Along the way we saw grandiose mosque and almost every second we would pass by one. Around 6:00 A.M. we reached Cotabato City, after about an hour, we were backed on the road. We passed by the town of Parang and Matanog, here we saw how abundant the mountains of Maguindanao. Spring waters, oozing out of the mountainsides and green cornfields on its rolling hillside.

People stopped by to take a picture of small waterfalls along the way.

Our Ate Nene and Miya sleeping at back of the car
There are parts of the roads that are under contruction, making our travel time longer than expected. But then, after more than 4 hours on the road in the Province of Maguindanao, it gives me a sense of wanting this piece of paradise a secret. Away from commercialism that might, at one point will destroy the beauty of the place.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Preparation for the November 2016 Road Trip

I loved doing all the nitty gritty stuff of travelling. Every road trips starts with finding the best and fastest route. For our South Central to Northern Mindanao road trip, Mr. Google gave us three options; via Isulan, Tacurong-Mamasapano and Bukidnon-Cagayan de Oro. A week prior, we opted to pass the Tacurong City via Mamasapano, but then an incident happened, that Mr. Google points us to take the Isulan-Cotabato City route.
 Born and raised in Mindanao, but I have to admit that I have some hesitations in planning our trip, much more that I am travelling with my whole family. But then, once bitten by the travel bug, not a single shot of any drug can calm those itchy feet from wandering.
Mama and Papa are diabetics, and to others travelling long distance is a problem, but with them, we just make sure that we have more than enough sugar source with us. And I always make sure that our time and stop-over allows us take our meals on time.
Food is a must for us, Browie calls it, his “energy burst.” And medicine is a must especially that we eat whatever the place offers. Mama would always ask the locals what delicacies they have, and being a foodie family we try and eat it. Antacid, Loperamide and Antihistamine are the three must have in our medicine kit.

Toiletries and Medicines

I got two ziplocked bags for my clothes for the 3 days road trip

Bag full of munchies, nuts and chocolates and crackers is a must for our parents

We also travel with just an old bitten map, but then with technology at hand, WAZE and GOOGLE MAPs help a lot. For finding a place to eat, we always ask the locals where to eat.

And the most important thing to bring with you in every road trip, an open mind and a thirst for adventure. With it, everything will turn out good and fun, no matter how many wrong turns you would take, it will always be FUN.