After the stressing week of midterms and the releasing of results heartbreaking and not results. My friend, classmate, neighbor and the person I always walk whenever going home with decided to escape from law school and everything that has to do with it. As well as the work and the daily life. Since both of us are probinsyana girls or those who grew up in the country side we decided that the best way for us to be filled with positivity is to be with the environment we grew up, the nature. The comfort it offers reminds me of home and the warmth of it. And coincidentally we both have on our bucket list to go is the Sirao Garden and Temple of Leah. With my favorite playlist on! We hit the road for an hour drive.
First Stop Sirao Garden
Mountains. Greens. Trees. Flowers. Fresh Air. It’s really the best healing place for my soul who had been occupied by the pressure of law school. The dizzy life of the city and the fast pacing environment around me. The moment we are out in the city and the mountains and trees are anything I can see. That was really the moment for me realize how much I miss home.
The garden’s flowers are not the rare type. In fact I can almost see this in my hometown but what make’s it stand out is that it was properly arranged in rows, taken care of and how they have grown. Plus the fact that it was already in mountains and cold fresh air is surrounding you with endless greens and trees as well as clear skies it makes the place more astounding. No big cities. No busy life. Just carefree moment. Just a peaceful moment where I can hear the bird and feel the wind kissing me.
And I’m actually embarrassed too. Talk about being too carefree I was wearing my headphones and Most Girls by Hailee was playing I was even dancing and singing and the foreigner couple who was near me told me such a cheerful girl and was smiling. I’m not really good in handling compliments it makes me shy and awkward but I’m glad people can still see the happy virus in me. That I can rarely show my classes as professors always taught I am not serious and not dedicated enough.
There is a small cafe in there and you can order simple dishes even your favorite coffee might be on the menu as well as some delicacies of the place was also there. For me I order sikwati (Cacao chocolate) and Puto Maya (Sticky rice?). Both taste heaven as you sit in there small yet fancy cafe and rest your feet from walking around the garden.
Second Stop Temple of Leah
Going down from the mountains is the next stop the Temple of Leah. I really thought that this temple was preserved due to it being a relic of history only to find out when I got there that the temple was created for the love of the husband to his wife. He build the temple for his love to his late wife as a signed of undying love and faithfulness. The temple was inspired in Greece temple along with statutes that you only find in Greece. All I can comprehend is that she is a goddess in the eyes and heart of his husband. The best feature of this temple is the overlooking view of the city.
It was holiday last Monday so I got the privilege to spend and spare some time off (Law school and work got me chained on a fixed plan and schedules.) and went to the 10,000 Roses Cafe here in Cebu. It’s kind of far from Cebu City but the place is actually nice and small. (Though it’s hard to appreciate if there are lots of tourist and locals and its pretty small compared to what you could have expected.)
The 10,000 Roses Cafe made it’s official announcement of opening late month of 2016 or the early 2017. (Not really sure, I forgot. It’s just it was on my bucket list.) The cafe is affordable like any other cafe’s you see in the city but the main attraction was the 10,000 roses. Such a creative idea to have lights in the form of roses. It attracts both locals and tourist alike and from neighboring city.
The location site is really well thought of. The cafe is situated at the sea side over looking the opposite site and well lighted view of Cebu City. (Yup, you can clearly identify the Crown Tower.) You can really relax and have a good talk or you just want to be left alone.
But my advice do not go there in a holiday or any day that everybody is free. The reason, you can’t fully enjoy the scenery due to the place being overcrowded. You can stroll the area but definitely you can’t go to the center of the roses to have your picture taken.
A private car or rented car you can just drive straight directly to Cordova. (I’m not sure to specifics of direction but you can asked the locals of the place. Just make sure you had GPS so you won’t get lost.) Anyway, my friend and ride a V-hire or van in SM City Reclamation (Not the SM seaside, the one beside Radison Blu Hotel) it cost around 50 pesos if you go straight to Cordova. However, we made a stop on Lapu-lapu to pick the our friend. So via Lapu-Lapu City its only 35.00 php. And from there we rode a jeep which is only 9.00 php. Once we reached our stop that we asked of the driver we rode a tricycle that cost as 10.00php each staright to the 10,000 Roses. We arrived there around 7pm in the evening and really lots of people are already in there.
There is also an entrace fee of 20.00 php. I guess the government officials of the place use the toll to maintain the cleanliness and order of the area since lots of people are really coming.
That is what I usually hear from my friends, acquaintances and relatives. I’m just glad my parents don’t see me like that in a negative way. Let’s just say we had complicated relationship. But being bold does not mean I am doing anything bad, illegal or I’m hurting others. I’m young and there is more to life than meets the eye. I have to spread my wings and see the world in my own eyes.
But whatever you do you should not lose yourself. The self-worth you have for yourself. If you want to explore the life or live with a motto you only live once you should know who you truly are as well as limitations. The reason to know your limitations is to keep yourself away from real danger that will cost your life. Life is not butterflies, unicorns and rainbows. Not the same at what we see on movies and tv series. Make precious memory while not ruining yourself or your future.
I’m cleaning my phone gallery when I saw pictures of my trip in Lake Apo. So I want to share with you the beauty of this place. Spring on the mountain is really a breathtaking view. It’s not rare scenery but its definitely one of the best nature had given to us. Being a wanderlust this is a bucket list. Personally I prefer to be on mountains than on the sea. I don’t know but being surrounded by greens is a soul healer.(That is why when I have enough money I will buy a property similar to Twilight house setting. I so loved that kind of place. I don’t mind the drive going to work. I know living away from the city is my medicine. ) This place is a tourist area. You can actually google lots of pictures and directions. I’m just posting my own experience and let you see things in my view.
Hidden Treasure: Lake Apo
Unlike any adventure you are thinking this one does not need for you to pack up hiking gears. In fact you can bring anything you like and drive your car. The only thing that would really be your enemy is the road not(Not cemented – off road. For me who has not drive in this kind of road it was really a challenge. Since it’s my friend’s car he practically wants to grab the wheel because according to him it will take us forever. On my defense I am not familiar with the road.)and the dust(Imagine the cleaning when you got home, oh well, it was not my problem anymore.) You will not be passing trees instead plantations of pineapples and pineapples and I guess some bananas and mountain views.(Almost all areas on the way is brought and turned into plantations by a big company or so I was told by a friend who was a resident of the barangay where the lake is located.)
Lake Apo has been visited for many reasons. I saw pictures in google that it has been for pre-nuptial weddings, birthdays and mostly when you wanted to chill out with your friends. And really its very ideal for that kind of events. The place is timeless. (Oh, by the way, a university is just located below the mountains other side – Central Mindanao University. It’s one of the biggest university town in the Philippines and top performing too.) According to my grandfather and my friend, the lake is both private own and government own.(Just across the lake you will find a house. People cannot own lake so I guess the land on the other side is what is private. As the lake itself is maintained by the barangay officials.)The vacation house or lake house is private but I guess you can go in there to take pictures. (Not really sure, because on my latest visit we didn’t go there. I just keep jumping on the lake. Ahaha).
By the way, if your swimming skills is crappy you better put on life jacket. There is a current and the lake is deep, very deep. But you can hold on to the rope of your cottage.(Kawayan cottage.)The floating cottage is what makes the place stand out and visited both locals and tourist. You can be in the middle of the lake. How cool is that!
The entrance point is Valencia City, Bukidnon. No planes. Just land travel from Cagayan City or from Davao City.(If you are really not from this places of neighboring places. Bukidnon is actually located in the middle of this two big cities in Mindanao.)Once you reach Valencia City the two ways to go there, if private car you can straight drive as for directions you can asked the local.(I’m so sorry I haven’t paid attention with the streets since my friend is their and I’m quite familiar with the city.)The second one is rent a single motorcycle or if you are many you can actually hire a multicab with the right price. (But if I remember correctly another entry point is in the town of Maramag. But I’m not familiar.) And yes from the city it is quite a distance. An hour drive. No traffic. You’ll just meet big trucks loaded with harvested fruits.
There is no entrance fee. The only thing you shall pay is the cottage fee which is 200php. And that is good for the whole day. And because its quite far the place is not crowded. Three to four families/friends we saw.
You can where your swimsuits who cares this is a free country. Just be prepared for the awkward stares by other people. Haha.. Too bad when we went here (Bukidnon) I didn’t expect we will go to Lake Apo. It was just my whims and he actually said yes. (We only plan to hike mountains.). So along with my other friend we went. Oh well, as they say unplanned moments are the best!
So I decided to post all my travels and food adventures because my personal instagram has official been deactivated for good. And share my little stories while on it. (This the beauty of blog) Include is also how to get in here as well as necessary information. Let’s go!
Undiscovered Gem: Bawbawon Island
According to one locals the island officially open for public in 2013. It is both private and government property (I’m thinking that the island itself is owned by individuals as well as surrounding lands but the road access was made by the local government. An existing agreement must have been made to benefit both ends. Which is common practice). And it is not cement road so you better be prepare for bumpy ride. (Another reason for the undeveloped road its because driving a tourist from highway to the island is a living of local drivers or the habal-habal drivers.) The island has no running water and electricity so you must bring your own necessities in there. There are locals residing on the island itself who are selling some foods and stuffs.
There are two ways to enter the island first one is by pambot or small boat you have to pay 35php. It will bring you straight to the island beach passing over the mangrove forest. The second one (which I took along with my cousin) is the footbridge. Upon reaching the entrance of the island you can walk via bamboo bridge (Kawayan bridge). The bridge connect the main island to the Bawbawon Island passing under the big mangroves and really a bridge made in the sea! Don’t worry about being lost (I got lost too.) there are locals you will meet once you reach the island and can asked direction.
Passing over the mangroves and reaching the island you must literally enter on a semi forest. Once you passed in here you will reach the beach and locals residents. But you might also wonder that there is not tourist in there its because they are on the other side or rather the inside, in the heart of the island which is another walk. Imagine Boracay station 1, 2 and 3 concept (minus the crowds and all things in the stations but rather over grown grasses and overgrown corals) the island is somewhat that long.
Let’s just say on station 1 is the point where you manage passed the footbridge and the semi forest you will reach the beach but only locals are in there. So another walk(Yup, another walk) but not on the beach side but on the inside of the island itself. It’s because the islands sea shore is mostly made on corals and trees are there you cannot walk. Along the shore there is also caves made of corals! (Too bad I did not have the chance to view it because the water is high and my swimming skills is to save myself and becomes only confident when someone good in swimming is with me.)
Once you’ve passed the lemon grass area you will reach station 2 where mostly cottage are located and you can as well overnight stay in here. (Fun fact bermuda grass is growing in there. Haha.. But remember no water and electricity). Then walking further you can consider is station 3 (just imagine it.. but not really boracay). Compare to area 2 there is not much of a cottage in here. The choice is up to you specially if you are looking for privacy to where you wanted to stay. (Just side note: Unlike in any beaches that you usually go in swimsuits specially for women, locals in there will look at you. Literally stare at you. That is because they are not expose to the kind of seeings. Still conservative. If you don’t want that stare better look for a private place to enjoy.)
How to get in the Island
The nearest point if you are really from far away is to first reach Ozamis City (via plane, boat, or land). Dipolog or Dapitan would be kind of far both that is why I’m recommending Ozamis. (If your have private car or a local near the area just drive straight to Plaridel, Misamis Oriental). From Ozamis (if your commuting) you to there Agora Terminal you can either choose to ride a bus or a van (I recommend the van much faster it will only be an hour travel) that will go to Calamba or Dipolog because you can just tell the driver to drop you off for Bawbawon Island. (Yup, they knew! They would really drop you off at the highway for the entrance of the island.) The fare is 100php for the van, bus its 125php. From drop off point you can hire a habal-habal to reach the foot bridge it will cost you 25php and this would be another 3 kilometers. Once you reach the footbridge sign the attendance for visitors as will as drop off your donation (any amount). And from there you can choice as to whether to walk or to ride a boat. It’s really easy travel
So enjoy the Island! Please respect it. No throwing of garbage or anything. It’s really clean and untouched. And on the closer inspection it is not actually white sand its more of corals. My cousin and I think it was submerged before and the sea water had lower the is why an island was formed.
Finally! Out in the concrete jungle. Out in the woods called reality. Out in the busy buzz of our life. Away from documents and bosses. Escaping the traffic! Even if it is only one day I was able to enjoy a well preserve virgin island was such a blessing.
We worked hard to get were we wanted to. To achieve our dreams. Our families aspirations for us. To prove and be successful in our chosen field. But never forget to take a break in between, meditate and appreciate the beauty God has created and bestowed to us. For with this we shall be reminded that life is not about achievement but as well contentment and happiness.
Bathed yourself to the beauty and wonders of the nature. Cleanse our minds and soul. Let the sun sipped deep to your soul so light will always be your guide. Happy summer!