I don’t get that much opportunity to travel. A few weeks ago however, finding ourselves with a long holiday weekend, my colleagues and I, decided to go out of town–way, way out of town–to de-stress. So we packed up our bags and rode off into the east, to Surigao del Sur. It took eight long hours to get there but the fun and often hilarious company and the awesome destination were worth it.
Our first stop was Enchanted River at Hinatuan [I have no idea if this was a municipality or a village]. The river was not easily accessible, though. From the highway, you had to ride through partially rough, dusty road of about 11 km. Now, why was this river named “Enchanted”? Well, aside from the fact that it was indeed, enchanting, it was mysterious. The water was deep blue, an unusual color for rivers. The river itself was bottomless and the water was salty. It is because the source is the Pacific Ocean. Then at 12 o’clock noon, the caretakers fed the fishes. Out of nowhere, they appeared on the surface and fed on a frenzy, to the sound of 1950’s music. To onlookers, they seemed to be dancing.
After a hearty lunch of seafood, we hopped on the van and proceeded to Tinuy-an Falls, deep in the heart of Bislig. This was even farther. From the highway, it was about 19 kms. We passed a big, open lake and went over three wooden bridges. Some parts of the road were so steep the vehicle faltered at one time. The waterfalls, when we finally beheld it, was breathtaking. To get close, we rode on a bamboo raft and took a refreshing shower under it. The water was warm and invigorating. And we couldn’t take enough photos of it.
AT sunset, we climbed a hundred steps to the Doll House. It’s a small museum full of local and imported dolls collected by this couple, who also own the hilltop restaurant a few paces away. Actually, I found the place a little creepy. I was never really fond of dolls as a child. But the guide narrated very interesting stories about them and we were all amazed to know that those Babushka dolls from Russia were made of gold.
Next day, we went island hopping to a place called Britania. Yes, island hopping. Literally. We boarded a motorized boat and went around several tiny islands, went swimming in two. The water was so so blue, so clean and clear you could see fishes swimming along with you. There were huge boulders and small caves too. And the view all around was simply stunning. Before we set off for home, we had a bountiful lunch at the beach, under the coconut trees; we were served assorted fish, crabs, shrimps and giant squid, and strange-looking but tasty shells, straight out of the ocean, and water from freshly picked buko (young coconut), then sweetened buko meat for dessert. The seaweeds were so fat, juicy and fresh we just had to dip them in coconut vinegar before gulping them, cool and slimy, down our throats.
We were so tired on the way home. But we had loads of fun. We even agreed on a motto for this adventure: The most difficult roads lead to the most beautiful places. And I realized a lot of things,too, like, how beautiful my country is, how blessed I am to have found wonderful friends in my workplace, and to find happiness in nature.