One Fateful Day at Libertad Mangrove Forest

We have been planning to visit Loveland Beach Resort but it was bit far from our town so when we found out about the mangrove forest nearby, we head on to Brgy. Libertad without knowing where it was, all we know there should be a tarpaulin alongside the road, a landmark that the mangrove forest was in that place.

We easily found the place,  before we can call out for someone, an elderly woman came out and I have asked if we are on the right place, we are indeed. We are asked to write in the logbook and paid for the entrance fee that cost ten pesos per person.

There was a cute bridge made of unknown wood at the middle of the healthy mangrove trees, it was heading to a place that looks like a fish pond where there is a turf with TV and if you will continue walking you will be heading to the sea, there was a shade on each side.

Nothing much to see, it was a good place to unwind and escape the busy life in downtown. We stayed a  bit, and I went down the salty water for my photo to be taken and I think it was a bad decision because I maybe disturbed unknown being there because when we are nearing the turf with a TV my sister calls me to take her photo and when I went to her, my android phone jump into the salt water, I immediately went down and I still wasn’t  able to save it, it dies.

Starving, we went to Jollibee Odiongan to eat snacks and it was so forgetful of me to bring my phone at a repair shop, so they can drain the water. It was saddening because it wasn’t cheap and it wasn’t easy to buy. If I would known, what will happen I didn’t go to Libertad Mangrove Forest that day.

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Romblon Baktas Mountaineers Anniversary Climb at Mt. Payaopao

Every time we (my family) do road tripping around the island and every time we passed by at the Municipality of San Agustin I always felt amazing looking at Mt. Payaopao from a distance. The mountain looks so majestic to me, it was surrounded by water and a community on one side. It was my dream to reach the summit one day and see things below, so when I saw a newly establish mountaineering group in Facebook conquering Mt. Payaopao, I immediately joined them.

[Taken a few years ago during our family road trip]

Romblon Baktas Mountaineer planned a revenge climb to Mt. Payaopao since a lot of new members wasn’t able to climb the summit, but due to bad circumstances (bad weather) I wasn’t able to go with them, we are told it was really slippery when they climb due to frequent raining days before the scheduled climb.

On the group first anniversary, another climb was made to Mt. Payaopao (April 15, 2018), since the group was created during their first climb at the said mountain, this time no matter what, I did sure I can climb with them.  Since the municipality of San Agustin is about two hours drive from our town and my family doesn’t want to wait very long for me in the town, they asked my younger cousins (second cousin and a cousin in-law) to be my driver and go hiking with me, which they did.

Mt. Payaopao (also known as Tablas Summit on old maps) at the northeastern extremity of the island, is the highest peak on the island at 2,182 feet (665 m) high and the second highest in the province (after Mount Guiting-Guiting).

Just like before, we all assembled in town and just like before it was Filipino time, we all agreed to meet at 4:30 in the morning, but as expected most of the joiners came late, imagine how long we waited in town. Anyway, my mother and sister went with us at the jump-off and they left when we started walking to the trail. Unlike any other mountains we have climbed, we started climbing through concrete steps which I think almost 200 of them, I lost count eh.

Climbing Mt. Payaopao is harder than our last climb, it was all going up, flat plains were not a normal occurrence. I felt so tired within minutes, especially I am carrying a heavy backpack, my cousins wanted to carry my bag, but I declined to their offer, well that’s me I seldom asked for help. I will do things on my own until I can do it.  My hiking buddy Anna wasn’t able to go because her mother didn’t allow her,  she sounds sick as well when we called her on her phone.

The trail wasn’t that bushy, it has been just  slippery when you are nearing the summit maybe because of the fog during early morning, it was a good thing there are ropes that serves as a guide or help when going up. We reached the summit after two hours and 30 minutes, the summit wasn’t that spacious for many of us. We rested for a bit, ate some snacks, take photos and chit chatting, and then as expected, we introduced each other again and saying the reason why we climb, this is for the benefit of the new joiners.

We’ve been resting for a bit when I can’t find my younger cousins, I have asked someone and I was told they were at the other end so I went looking for them and that’s where I found that they are looking in a mesmerizing scenery. It was very beautiful, so astonishing, I think other hears me exclaiming or they got curious what to see at the other end, they follow and that’s where we took so long taking photos of each other. It turns out, it was the firs time they saw the view even it was their second or third time at the summit, because it was just this time that there was a clearing and the guides clean the bushes in the summit.

We spend a lot of time, waiting for a clearing because we can’t see the view when clouds are on the way. Our group president already called us many times to go down, because the first group whom wasn’t able to see the view we saw already descended to the guide’s house.

We hurriedly went down the peak it is past lunch already, the first group who descended might get bored waiting for us and eat lunch ahead of us. Adrenaline rush, everyone is rushing especially one of the guide which is left to us, a young boy who threw himself between the trees like a monkey.  It took us one hour to reach the guide house, it was planned to have a boodle fight, but it was quite hot to eat in an open space, we ate in groups and afterwards have a customary group photo with the anniversary cake, which others have fun wiping the icing to each other.

Within minutes we reached the jump-off, where we found a few of us got lost and wasn’t able to reach the guide’s house so they have been starved waiting for us to descend, and since we are the first one to descend we waited for a bit to the others and since it is getting late in the afternoon and we still need to travel back to Odiongan a few of us left already after asking permission and bidding goodbye to others.

And before we went out the national road I have asked my cousins to go to the port to have a photo of Mt. Payaopao in a distance just like how the first photo above was taken. I am surprised to see that the port was already improved after which, we decided to take another route, round Tablas passing other municipalities going home.

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Family Outing at Mountain Spring Resort

Two years passed, my older cousin and her own family went home again for vacation but this time they are with her husband who just went out from the army,  they have been living far away from the clan since her husband was assigned to his province and days before their vacation ended they organized a family outing.  It was also two years ago when she came home with her kids, after the death of our old aunt that there was a family outing at Sato Beach Resort.

For a change, the family outing was made possible at Mountain Spring Resort when it should be at Mablaran Falls, my family went so I did, but instead of leaving together with them we just followed, we went to town market to buy some stuff because I don’t think it is nice to show up at the resort without bringing anything with us.

Mountain Spring Resort was located in Brgy. Rizal, Odiongan Romblon just a few minutes away from the downtown. A lot of things changed at the resort, way back in College when our institute held the Acquaintance party there was only one small pool then and the place wasn’t big and spacious like today.

Today, there are three pools. The old one, the kids pool and the larger pool for adults complete with slides. The cottage near the kids pool was rented by the clan and since the place wasn’t rented exclusively, aside from us there are also families, group of friends and kids who enjoyed the pool.

Me, not knowing how to swim stays in a corner but most of the time I am in the kids pool, playing with my second cousins (1x) removed, teaching them how to swim (according to me, hahaha). But when the water in the kids pool became so itchy, I decided to say in the bigger pool. I guess the kids started to pee in the pool without leaving out of the water.

Mountain Spring Resort is a hectare of land converted into a farm resort for tourists who are looking for a peaceful place to relax and unwind. It has also a large hall that can be used for seminars, birthday and even wedding celebration. They have a karaoke machine for people who’d like to sing between dipping in at the pool, they have shower rooms and plenty of cottages scattered around and their parking lot was spacious too. They also offered catering for any occasions and have a few rooms for guest who wanted to do overnight stay.

MOUNTAIN SPRING RESORT
Brgy. Rizal, Odiongan, Romblon
Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Mountain-Spring-Resort-607164986084372/
Mobile No. – 0917 808 5982

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. Above written post was my own personal experience and opinion and might be different from yours.

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Odiongan Town Fiesta: Kanidugan Festival 2018

The Kanidugan festival this year wasn’t too exciting, maybe because of the MIMAROPA Festival that was been held a few months ago in Odiongan. I think that’s how it works, if you already watched the big thing, small things doesn’t excites you that much anymore.  The festival wasn’t celebrated on the 5th, to give way to the procession of  Catholic church. The town parade was held in the morning of the 6th day of April, unlike the previous festival the contender this year where from different municipalities of Tablas island.

The first tribe where the Saginyogan Festival (Coco-Banana Festival) from the Municipality of Alcantara, their costume was mainly made of banana leaves and coconut. The festival was first presented in 2010 to bring awareness of the contribution of coconut and banana on enhancing the lives of the locals, especially the farmers.

The Governor of Romblon together with the government employees were in the parade too, everything was good not until one of them (people at the end) left a trash in the middle of the street, an empty water bottle. So disappointing, they should be the one to set an example to the local people eh.

Anyway, the next contender in the town parade was Tribu Banbanon from the Municipality of Looc, they are wearing vibrant color of fairy costumes, one thing you’ll notice on them they are all smiles, they were students of Looc National High School.

Romblon Baktas Mountaineer joins the town parade too, I didn’t go with them because I watched the parade with my mother I can’t left her alone in the street.  What I did was stop them to have a photo and I was dragged by a few to come with them but I declined and reasoned out.

The next contender was Tribu Biga-biga, as what I have heard they are made -up tribe in Odiongan, by the popular group of dancers E2. They are wearing a colorful pink mask and they dance in a a bit seductive manner as their tribe name says.

Tribu Febabosa was the last tribe in the town parade, their costume was exquisite, it is well designed.  When the parade ended we waited for my sister who paraded with her office mates and instead of going to a restaurant for lunch we decided to go home first to check what is our father doing after going home first.

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Twin Hike to Mt. Manapon and Triple Peak Tower (PLDT)

When I was still a kid, I have seen a lot of groups of students walking in our street with their teacher, as I have heard they were on excursion or hiking as part of their Physical Education subject, they are either going to Mainit Falls or the famous PLDT tower. The tower is can be seen from our barangay and it was my childhood dream to reach the peak like them.

[Photo courtesy of Stephen Photography]

Unlike any other climb, my third climb with the RBM last February 25, 2018 was a twin hike. We climb Mt. Manapon (523 msl) and Triple Peak Tower or famously called PLDT (613 msl). I almost wasn’t able to go because my feet was swollen the day before, it has been raining for the past days and I guess the dirty water went through the small cuts in my skin. I took an antibiotic capsule without getting a prescription because I really want to climb and it was a bad decision I made.

[Photo courtesy of Stephen Photography]

Since, the venue of the hike was just in our barangay my sister and I didn’t anymore went to town to be at the meeting place, we just waited for them to pass by and then we meet them at the jump-off. Yap, you read it right. I went hiking with my sister, it cost me a lot to bring her. I have to bribe our mother and we have to ask permission repetitively (lol).

When we met at the spillway, the jump-off place. I was surprised to see that most of them were wearing sweatshirts and jackets, when I have asked my hiking buddies they said it will be cold  up top.  We just waited a bit and then walked further to the foot of the mountain where the normal routine was done, short information drive, stretching and praying for safe climb and descend.

The trail was a bit wet because of the rain days before the scheduled hike. As I didn’t exercise a lot before the hike and I took antibiotic the night before, I was easily tired but the good thing I am with my sister and my hiking buddy Anna. They waited for me despite I am slowing them down, you know what is funny, I keep reminding my sister to be careful, but it turns out it is me who needs to be always be reminded to be careful (lol).

It was a good thing, the hard core members of RBM were just behind us so we didn’t lose our trail despite that our guide was in the first group. We had so much fun along the way, telling stories, laughing and taking selfies and photos, there are trails that were cleaned but there are some who are bushy and plenty of sharp and tall grass.

We saw a lot of things a long the way, beautiful sceneries, landslide, unfamiliar grasses and etc., There are a lot of guava trees but since we are the last one, the ripe fruits were already got taken by the first groups or the first group the previous day who did the pre-climb. and

[Taken at the peak of Mt. Manapon]

Within two hours we reached the peak of Mt. Manapon where the first group where already resting and waiting for us, our friends even teased that they have already lunch. We rested a bit, took a group pictures and started another hike to the Triple Peak Tower (PLDT).

The trail to the next mountain is slippery, foggy and narrow especially when you are nearing at the peak. You need to be careful if you doesn’t want to hurt yourself. We reached the next peak within one hour, it was foggy and there was no clearing which is bad because you can’t appreciate what’s around or below, we are not allowed to go up more at the vicinity because of radiation.

We didn’t stay longer, we took our photos and did the customary group pictures and we started to descend, the trail became more slippery because lots of people already passed by, we have been extra careful but still there are some who slid.

We returned to the peak of Mt. Manapon where we had our group lunch and after which we have small introduction, short meeting when will be the next hike and the signing of the group tarpaulin. It was a knee-breaking experience going down because we’ve climb a lot so we have to move down in frenzy.

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A Day Hike at Mt. Puting Bato in Odiongan, Romblon

This is a long overdue post but since life has been so busy and my laptop broke it wasn’t so easy to blog again.  It was on January 28, 2018 when I climbed again with Romblon Baktas Mountaineers it was my second climb with them. I wasn’t able to go with them at Mt. Payaopao revenge climb because of some circumstances, no driver and bad weather.

Climbing to Mt. Puting Bato was a rush decision, the day before the climb I wasn’t sure if I want to go. I didn’t prepare my bag, nor the things I have to bring, I did it the morning of the climb. I have asked my father to be my driver, when I reached the meeting point as if I was the only one they’re waiting because the group left after a short prayer.

It was already past 8 AM when we started trekking to Mt. Puting Bato, it took so long because we have to wait for other members and we did stretching and short information drive on what to do and what not to do while trekking or in the summit.

There are a lot of new faces on Mt. Puting Bato but I was glad to find familiar faces, I trekked with them and it wasn’t a bad decision because we have so much fun.  We have to walk passing through a small village and a small farm in the upland. I hyperventilate when we are going up a hill, it was very sudden. I think I am feeling anxious of the other hikers behind me, what if I am walking so slow and I am making them wait, I decided to stop and let them pass and when I arrived at the top of the hill I am literally grasping for air, my heart beat so fast and it was hard for me to breath. One of the members told me it happened because we talked so much while walking little did he know I am hyperventilating because I am feeling anxious of the people behind me or maybe there is other reason unknown to me.

The trail at Mt. Puting Bato isn’t a joke, it was bushy, narrow and there was a lot of sharp stones and rocks. Just one wrong step and you hurt yourself, it was scary at first, but once you get used to it, it became easy to walk and find your step. It was surely a lot harder than the hike at Mt. Ope.

We found a small cave along our hike, around lunch time we reached a point the senior hikers called 90 degrees, you have to climb at the top of the tree using a rope and your skills. There was a long line since you can’t stay longer in the tree because it cannot accommodate lots of people, I have tried it, but I didn’t able to reach the top because I wasn’t able to fit myself in the small open space so I could climb backwards, instead of trying harder I went down to avoid getting into an accident because it feels like something is stopping me to do it. Honestly, I have wondered why I didn’t try harder because it wasn’t the normal me, I usually don’t turn my back to a new thrill

We did some experimental climb at the adjacent small cave for the sake of pictures, it was easy going up, but going down was a bit scary because one wrong move and the cave or soil will collapse on top of us.  We continue, walking with the help of our local guide, the road is becoming steeper and higher. We reached a point where some members were resting, but then we are told we missed the viewing point, so we have to go down to climb at another point god thing I brought a walking stick with me, it was already drizzling at the time, we are starting to be soaked in the rain.

We stayed there for about 30 minutes and we started walking again, it was already raining hard and our clothes were already wet when we decided to have lunch since some of us were already starving, the first group was already ahead of us.

We had lunch together and with the help of some umbrella we are able to make our food safe from rain water. We didn’t take long, after we ate we started walking up and down. It wasn’t easy because the trail was already slippery, along the way we saw giant flowering taro into my amazement. Then our guide shows us a cave down below, with the help of an unstable pole they went down to see the cave, I tried it, but I was very scared because it doesn’t feel right, the pole wasn’t that strong and it was quite high and slippery. At that moment, I don’t know but I have remembered my biological grandfather.

Only five of us were left to stay to wait for them, we are already soaked and cold but those who descended was taking their precious time below (lol).  To cut it short, we started walking again, descending the mountain from the other side and since it rained really hard already and the path was already used by the first group, it was really slippery I can’t remember how many times I fell down or slid maybe because I am wearing a running shoes with me. I removed my shoes and wear my slippers, but when the slippers were full of mud I started to slip again so I walked barefooted, it hurts and its killing my sole.

If there was only another way to go down the mountain I will gladly choose it because the path going down isn’t getting any better, slippery and full of sharp rocks. It was a good thing we have a young member who helped us a lot and offer his hands for us to hold on when there was nothing to hold on to.  There was one moment I can’t forget when I fell down because I made sure that everything is good before I stoop down but then I still fell down breaking my hiking stick, it was like a flat line or a feeling that someone was gone. We are the last one to descend the mountain or should I say I was the last one to go down. Our shoes, clothes and bags were full of mud.  I didn’t take a lot of photos because it was very dangerous, my phone might get broke from being soak in the rain or it might broke every time I slid and fell down.

Want to hear a sad story? The next day, I have found out that my biological grandfather died while I keep slipping and hurting myself while descending Mt. Puting Bato, he was frantically rushed to the hospital, but he didn’t make it, he died of heart attacked. I have wondered that maybe when I started hyperventilating and my heart is beating so fast  my grandfather is fighting with his life. I am not able to talk yet with my grandmother what time he had an attacked and died.

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Christmas Fellowship: God’s Greatest Gift

It is Christmas day again soon, the entire theme for the month was God’s Greatest Gift. The Christmas fellowship was celebrated on the 22nd with mini-concert from the young people, they sing, play ukelele and do interpretative dance.  After which was exchange gift, the kids do it first then adults, contrary to the norms you have to go upfront and seek for the person (your monito/monita) you picked from the Christmas draw a week before the fellowship, it was a bit hard because everyone uses aliases. You have until three tries to guess the right person, if you are not able to do it right you have to pay a fine.

It was quite entertaining and funny guessing, everyone had a good laugh.  When the adults finishes their exchange gifts the young people follows where I have joined as well, the process is a bit different you have described your monito/monita.

And as expected, I was told that it was hard for the young people who got my name to choose what gift she should be given to me, there was also a raffle draw.

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Hiking at Mt. Ope with Romblon Baktas Mountaineers

One of the things I want to do is to climb mountains and see things from above, I am fascinated of seeing the sea, the city/town from the peak.  Way back in Korea I was able to hike three mountains, two in Seoul (Dobongsan in Bukhansan National Park is at 740m and Seoraksan at 1,708m, we did the Yangpok Course), and one in Jeju which is Hallasan (1,950m) the highest peak in South Korea, we hike around March which is spring season but Hallasan is still in a blanket of snow and fog.

[Hallasan Peak, Jeju]

I have been asking my family for a long time if we could hike a mountain, but they keep saying if I like it so much I must do it alone, they found it tiring and since I don’t know where to start and how to do it alone because if you don’t know yet mountains in Romblon isn’t like those in Korea or in other countries, there are no developed trails, in Korea they are fully developed and made it to a park where a lot of hikers and mountaineers where doing a day hike to the peak.   What else should I expect when I can’t even dragged them at DIWA (Gabawan Vista Point).  To ease my itchy feet for an dventure they tour me around to different towns and do road tripping around Tablas. Gladly, I was able to find out through my sister’s friend about Romblon Baktas Mountaineers, a group of enthusiastic  people who climb mountains in Romblon for adventure and for a cause (tree planting activity). I was able to go with them on their third climb as a group at  Mt. Ope (433m) located in Camili, Alcantara, Romblon.

As an introvert, it was been a long time since I went out of my comfort zone, I was anxious how to deal with different people I am going to meet on the scheduled climb, I don’t know if it was anxiousness or excitement, but I wasn’t able to sleep the night before our climb, I was wide awake the entire time.  We scheduled to meet at 4:30 in the morning at Children’s Paradise and while we are there I have found out my shoes were not in good condition. I have used it only once and it was being stocked for a few years, gladly I have a pair of slippers with me because going back home to get a new pair of shoes isn’t possible since we are about to leave.

We left Odiongan at 5:30 in the morning, one hour passed from the agreed time, we reached the town of Alcantara after an hour or so, while waiting for the others everyone made their self busy, registering and submitting the application form and etc. My application form was already crumpled being in my bag for a very long time, as I have looked back at my old posts years ago, it seems I had a mistake in it.

Bad luck, as you may call it, something happened to my loose pants when I used the flooded comfort room, I was uncomfortable with it so I asked my sister/mother to buy me a new one at the town market, so they did.  I don’t know if it is just coincidence, but I have noticed there is something stopping me to climb because days before the climb I accidentally step on the stand of mosquito coil which resulted to a wound in my sole, then my left feet feels weird after a minor sprain which I didn’t tell my family because they will not surely allow me to go on hiking, furthermore a day before the hike my toe nails swell and then my shoes broke before we could even leave the town and before going to the foot of the Mt. Ope I ruined my loose pants.  Weird isn’t it?

After a few minutes of stretching we started walking, the trail isn’t that great, it was like a dry river full of large stone and boulders, it looks like waterways, when it rains the water from the mountains passed through it. Since, it will be my first climb after so many years and without gym activity I felt tired, especially I am carrying a large and heavy hiking bag with me, I perspired a lot, so I removed the jacket I am wearing.  The trail wasn’t that hard, you will not get lost because it has been just a straight road without going left or right.

We rested a bit on top of a hill and then we continued hiking at the adjacent higher elevation which is already the Mt. Ope, everyone went busy creating memories, pictures here and there and of course a group picture will not be forgotten. After which, we stayed in a shed where a raffle takes place and getting to know each other. If you asked me what did I say, I also forgot what is it aside from introducing my name and being stuck for a few years at home and wanting to do an adventure, I was very tense, it was my first time again  to interact with many people after long years being surrounded only by people I have known since my childhood, I would like to say more, but someone says I already speak too long, I felt slightly offended but I shrugged it off and laughed with it because I already expected to meet different types of people.

The scenery from the peak of Mt. Ope is breathtaking, it was beautiful and scenic, you can see the beauty of Alcantara at its best. It was like the sea was just one fly away from the top, thanks to my sister’s friend I was able to have solo pictures and thanks to self-timer and monopod as well I was able to take my own photo. We stayed for a bit and decided to go down for lunch, we initially agreed to have lunch at the peak, but some of us already went down ahead so we followed. We rested a bit at the house of our guide and have photo opps with her and we descended and rest a bit again in a store to drink a cold cola.

We had lunch at the place where the vehicles were left. It was a bonding moment, sharing each other food and eating while sitting in the grass. I didn’t know the names of the people around me aside from 2-3 of them, but it wasn’t a problem at all, after lunch a short meeting takes place deciding where to climb next and it was voted and agreed to climb back to Mt. Payaopao (665m) as others included me wasn’t able to climb the peak.

Mt. Ope is a good place to hike for beginners, it wasn’t that long to reach the peak, it was only about one hour and 30 minutes, but if you are an expert climber/hiker you can maybe reach it in less than one hour. It was very short compare of my hiking experience in South Korea, where it took me 3-4 hours to reach the peak, honestly, most of the RMB members felt disappointed on the short hike, they wanted more.

As I have heard from the experienced hikers/climbers at RBM Mt. Guiting-guiting is the real deal in Romblon maybe because it was the highest peak in the province, as I have searched the Mt. Guiting-guiting summit it is about 2,058m which is only 108m high compare to Hallasan.  Ahm, I wonder if I could hike it without panting or catching for my breath, well, we did Hallasan in one snowy day so maybe yes or maybe no I could make it at G2 summit someday.

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MIMAROPA Festival 2017: Showdown Competition

It was traffic when the tail of the street dancing parade left, people are rushing to the sports complex to be able to choose a good spot to watch the MIMAROPA Festival Showdown Competition.  There were a lot people lining up at the main gate waiting for the Ambulance to get in but then everyone was told the main gate is closed for public and must use the other gate located at the back of the sports complex or grand stand, this path is leading to the bleachers so we did.

Disappointment of all disappointment, there were already a lot of people, the bleachers are full and even the sports complex stage,  you can’t even see anything from the back not even the grasses  upfront.  Yes, it was a jump pack event, I guess everyone went out on their comfort zone, or in rural joke everyone descended from the boondocks to see the MIMAROPA Festival Street Dancing and Showdown Competition.

There is a lot of people coming in and there are a lot of people going out with disappointment.  I overheard others saying they will just go out because there was no place to sit and even stand, it was a total chaos you can smell each other’s breath and maybe you can even taste each other’s sweat if you are not careful enough (lol). We decided to continue pushing ourselves upfront with the help of people getting out, the space they vacated is our space to move forward.  It turns out there was not enough space because there are mono-blocks chairs and rope string as a barrier, people can’t see at the back because Odionganons left their manners again at home, instead of sitting at the mono-blocks chairs they stand in them blocking all the people at the back and maybe even the people seated in the bleachers.

We are able to see a small space and asked kindly the people in the mono-blocks if we could sit on their front just right behind the rope string, we are permitted by the kind woman who’s also complaining about the manners of others. Heaven sent, there was one police officer who allowed me to go upfront upon asking him nicely if I could go up front to take photos and videos of the showdown competition. Thank you so much Mr. Officer, I am sorry if I couldn’t remember your face even if I met you in the street because I have a poor photographic memory, I can’t even remember the face of the people I have met along the way unless I see them closely.

After saying my thank you or maybe I didn’t, I rush up-front the sports complex without looking back, I might get troubled if I did, an old man who looks like part of the media smiled at me, I smiled back shyly. I looked for a good place to sit below the grand stand and follow other photographers, I have seen the male photographer who looks very familiar to me, but I can’t remember where did I see him, blame it to my memory and being unobservant person.  I was not even seating longer when the female officers started to check people up front for their Media/Press ID provided by the local government, it started when some viewers seat up front as well and I think to avoid the place being crowded they decided to check for Media/Press ID.

My shots with my DSLR wasn’t that clear because I failed to get a focal point and I was anxious to use the sports menu to take many shots thinking I will have an empty battery before all the contenders could finish dancing, I brought a power bank with me but I also forgot about having it in my bag (lol).

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

Anyway, the program proper started with short messages from the local politicians. I admire how Governor Firmalo says only one word  just not to delay the showdown competition, don’t ask me what did he says, because it slip out on my mind because of my terrifying moment.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The showdown proper started from an intermission number from the winning tribe among the Romblon Festival Competition, which is the contenders from San Jose, Romblon featuring their Carabao Festival.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

All performers were given ten minutes to set and prepare their props, first performer to do a showdown was no other than the “Pag-alad Festival” from Sibuyan, Romblon.  They started their performance with about two minutes of introduction/history about the origin of the festival.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The setting was one cloudy day when there are many fishes and crabs, the door opens showing the male dancers and the drums started playing it was the sign for the male to start dancing, their movements wasn’t in unison and then here comes the gay ladies in female clothing adorned with white hair dresses, followed by the female dancers in their petal style dresses. Their performance wasn’t too good, it was not very united that I could not get a story about them dancing, they just go out and go in and dance carrying different props, something is missing in their performance, furthermore they also didn’t use a lot of stage props aside from the trees I wonder if they are too heavy to carry or there is no enough budget for stage props.  Honestly, if you are watching a movie on the television and you don’t like what’s on the screen, it is the time to click forward or next, that’s what happen when my phone was already out of memory that I have to change it to a new SD card and what is disappointing the battery of my dslr runs out so I have to change to a new one.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The second performers was the Tribe Bitianon from Narra Palawan showcasing their “Palay Festival”. The scene started showing the male and female dancers dancing gracefully on their large dresses, well they’re not carrying a large basket at this time.  The door closes and when it opens the male dancers (which maybe the farmers) unveil to the viewer’s eyes and the door featuring the official seal of Narra, Palawan opens  at their back showing the female dancers and then they started dancing and chanting “Go Palawan!”  The Palay festival shows how the farmers celebrate for their bountiful palay harvest and the rest is history…

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The third performer was the Bila-Bila Festival from Marinduque, I don’t know their story line because I can’t create one from their performance. The scene started on what it looks like they are portraying a fiesta/festival and inviting the public to join the joyous occasion. At this time a  few indigenous people and the butterflies (who are just green worms since they don’t have wings yet dances smartly and lightly when they exited the morions came in and they portray a bit of the moriones festival and the rest is a next/forward button please.

The next to perform was the “Kalap Festival” from Calapan. The scene opens showing what it looks like farmers or they loggers cutting large trees with the use of their axes? Haha, just kidding! When they exited a large stump was dragged up front where there are four open spaces, in each spaces the provinces of MIMAROPA was featured. The first one is the provinces of Mindoro where they have shown  an indigenous people “Mangyan” holding his tobacco, it was quite funny how the “Mangyan” scratches his thigh and the way he seated was really like a normal “Mangyan”. Next was Marinduque which is known as the origin of Moriones Festival and the next one is Romblon as the marble capital of the Philippines for me, I think they failed in this because they showed a large marble jar, they should show the mortar because it is the most popular product of Romblon, you will see mortars in every marble souvenir shop in Romblon, the last one was Palawan they have shown the symbol of the city, but it was a downer that the peacock was missing on the stump space I guess the bird got bored waiting and she ate somewhere that’s why when she came out she is a bit healthy that she cannot even flapped her wings in to audience laughter.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

When the jungle opens the log dancers were shown in their bright gold log dresses and that’s where the Kalap Festival showdown fully started, logs and fishes dances and even the logs headed carabaos too. Next scene where female dancers in their gold Maria Clara dress dancing as if celebrating for the good rice harvest, they were joined by the farmers carrying scythes. After wards the jungle opens and went to the deep blue sea where the fishes dances and they were later joined by the log dancers carrying spears and the scene later end when the fishes were speared.

Next scene the farmers and the female dancers in the Maria Clara dress was shown, the door closes and only the female dancers were left in the middle and then here comes the log dancers carrying a bolo, they ambushed the women. I wonder what happened, did the trees and logs had revenge for unnecessary logging of the local people? Hehehe, kidding  aside the log dancers changed their hair dresses to a red cloth wrapped around their head, so the log dancers became a pirate then? Of course the farmers came to the rescue with their axes and as the typical Filipino story the intruders were defeated by the heroic farmers to the joy of the female and fishes dancers.  Hahaha

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

Tribu Tandikan from Puerto Princesa was the next one to perform. The scene started showing three indigenous Aeta hunters dancing and then male blue bird came into the scene as well as the female brown bird they went out and went they went back they are already in a large group, I think they are celebrating seeing the two birds, to cut the story short the two birds left leaving an egg. The scene closes and another scene was shown showing male and female dancers dressed in traditional clothing (our great grandma’s era Maria Clara’s style dresses) I think they are celebrating for their bountiful harvest, dancing and singing with the male dancers carrying a guitar. What’s next the indigenous people and the local people met for what it looks like a trade, the bird’s egg that was traded for a basket full of corns and crops was put into something that looks like a nest, fast forward the egg hatched to a beautiful blue and brown feather combination to the locals joy, then more brown birds came out from the back stage as if they are celebrating for the new born.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The door closes and the male dancers came in carrying a what looks like a pole banner showcasing the signs of the provinces included in the MIMAROPA region, while the blue birds are laying some eggs (haha), and then the blue birds came in the stage dancing and they were chased out by the locals bringing the MIMAROPA signs, as well as spears they owned the stage dancing with what it looks like pandango sa ilaw, to cut the story short in the stage a very colorful MIMAROPA signage was left.

There was already a bar left on my second battery after recording non-stop. Feeling anxious that I can’t anymore record the performance of Tribu Mangyan I decided to use my phone to record the next performer, which is the Bahaghari Festival from Oriental Mindoro, they started their performance, stating the history of Bahaghari festival how the rainbow guided them to their destination when they lose their direction after a turbulent weather.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The makeshift door opens showing the drummers riding a small boat while playing their drums, they ended with a blast, blowing/spitting something in the air I wonder if it was water or smoke, but I guess it was water because as it says a rainbow has an element of water and the sun who was next to perform. When these two were combined a rainbow was made to the amazement of the indigenous people who looks like Mangyans in their gold tribal dress, but unlike the Tribu Mangyan who did the street dancing in their bare skin, they uses skin tone body tights, I guess their confidence level to show bare skin wasn’t that huge like the  performers from Occidental Mindoro.

The rainbow fairies dance gracefully and in unison in the audience amazement because when their dress goes up a colorful rainbow underlining dress were shown and next to perform where the colorful dancers with colorful foam headdresses they were joined by the suns, when they exited the fairies came in again with their tiny gold pots, they dance happily and at the end a large pot was shown, it was believed that at the end of a rainbow there was a pot of gold isn’t it?

The last to perform was the awaited tribe of everyone the “Tribu Mangyan” from Occidental Mindoro. People were shouting as they started to perform showing a Mangyan couple dancing with a basket and when the makeshift door of field and trees opens more female Mangyan dancers was shown and they started to dance with their basket and then they give way to their male dancers who are all wearing just a “bahag” without their upper garments, they dance well, they move as one and what is amazing their movements, gestures were really of those indigenous people, they were very entertaining to watch especially they are smiles or should I say grins. It was funny when the male dancers on their bahag with baskets on their backs dances facing backwards showing their bare butt cheeks to the people.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

My gosh, I can’t give justice to their performance just by narrating it. It should be much better to see it live or even in a video. They also have shown the provinces included in the MIMAROPA region, but unlike Kalap Festival theirs was well crafted and portrayed. All I can say they are indeed the best, their movements were perfect they move as one person.

People started to go home after the Tribu Mangyan’s performance before I can see my sister she already saw me first and we decided to go near the dancers to have some photo opps, the dancers from Mindoro (Oriental and Occidental) as well as the one from Puerto Princesa were very kind to pose for a photo when they are all tired and exhausted.  I don’t know where are the other dancers who finishes their performance first, maybe they already went home to their quarters.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The Tribu Mangyan dancers were very energetic, it seems they didn’t just took a huge drums of confidence, but they also eat a lot of energy bars and drink a lot of energy drinks. They are all fully charged that they dance every time their drums were requested by the host to play, the host requested to do some hand waves to the left and to the right and all the performers who were left inthe grounds were happy to oblige.

We had some photo opps with other performers because we can’t request all of them (haha), what’s funny they photobomb when you do a selfie, we are very pleased of their kind gestures and we are able to find one friend.

Anyway, to cut the story short, Puerto Princesa won the  best in musicalities. Calapan was the second placer with their Kalap Festival, the first places goes to Tandikan Festival of Puerto Princesa and of course the Champion were the Tribu Mangyan’s of Occidental Mindoro.

Congratulations to the winners and cheers to everyone!

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MIMAROPA Festival 2017: Street Dancing Competition

Day 3. This is the highlight of the festival, the first day was just an appetizer and the second day was just a little break to sip a glass of water after you choked (lol).  Well, we went to town as early as one ‘clock in the afternoon, yes one hour before the street dancing competition to find a good place to see the whole parade. You know, being early is a way better than being late and unable to see the visitors and contenders.  We took our grandmother with us, we went to the ground of OSCES to see what’s happening, we seated and waited a bit and then we return to the shop of a family friend to wait for the parade.

To wait for something is somehow boring but exciting when it is worth it. The street dancing started at 2 ‘o’clock as scheduled, unlike the first day there are a lot of people in the street. It seems everyone was now informed about the most awaited MIMAROPA festival street dancing.

Pag-alad Festival

The first tribe was from Sibuyan, Romblon featuring their “Pag-alad Festival”  it is commemoration  of the transfer of the town of Azagra (Punta Kawit) to Sitio Pag-alad because of the scarcity of water. It also celebrates in thanksgiving the festivity of Our Lady of Immaculate Concepcion.

Pag-alad Festival

The female tribe dancers alternately carrying a flower and a basket were dressed in a bright green tops and yellow skirt which was cut like a flower petal, their heads were adorned with feathery head dress, and they were followed by the beautiful shemales in their bright green cloths carrying a piece of bamboo shoots that serves as water basin and at their back were the male dancers on their white patterned with violet  and yellow long shorts and tops with them was a net and a large fish and as expected the drummers were the last one in the tribe.  The dancers movement isn’t new, it is the typical movement of street dancers in Kanidugan festival, left, left and right, right. The sounds of their drum is a trademark too that they are indeed from Romblon, it sounds  festive and happy that when you heard it, you will feel like dancing with them.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The next tribe was Tribu Bitianon from Narra, Palawan featuring their “Palay Festival” honoring the town’s palay farmers, their tribe was headed by three people dress in monkey costume and a person in white bird dress followed by their male in red pairs of regional dress and female dancers  wearing colorful dresses which is dominant with yellow, red and brown. The female dancers move and dance joyfully despite their large dresses and large basket on their back.

Palay Festival

The third tribe was the delegates from Marinduque featuring their “Bila-Bila Festival” which is Butterfly Festival in English language. The festival was celebrated in Boac Marinduque every December 8 and as you noticed unlike any other festivals in the Philippines which usually honor patron saints, Bila-bila festival celebrates the life cycle of butterflies. The butterfly farming is one of Marinduque’s unique industry and this festival helps to promote the province as the butterfly center of the Philippines.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

As expected the delegation from Marinduque was headed by the morions.  As we all knew, Moriones Festival is a popular celebration in Marinduque during Lenten season.

Bila-Bila Festival

The other dancers were dress like Aeta while the rest are in their green butterfly costumes, pink wings for females and blue wings for males, flowers and gold ornaments dominate their costumes. I have noticed the butterfly dancers were wearing a thick nude lipsticks, their makeup made them like goddesses of butterflies.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The fourth delegation was from Calapan featuring their “Kalap Festival”  which is celebrated every March 21, it is the city’s official festival. It was originally derived from the tagalog word Kalap means to gather, during the old times people gather woods to provide warmth and  to cook food. The term was then use as the name of the festival to show the culture and history of Calapan City. It was launched on 2009 and is still successfully being held every year.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

Well, if you would like to see a dancing log don’t look any further because the delegates from Calapan just showed everyone that even logs can dance well.  With them were dancers dress in sea blue diving suit paired with a fish, I think they are the gatherer of fishes together with them are females dresses in Maria Clara gold dress.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

If butterfly and logs can dance, birds can dance well too in the street this was proven by Tribu Tandikan from Puerto Princesa Palawan featuring “Tandikan Festival” named after the local term of the grandiose bird with colorful feathers and the symbol of the city of Puerto Princesa, the peacock.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

What’s admiring was the person carrying a large feather at his back, I wonder how did he make it without getting a back ache.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

Their tribe was made by males dress as Aeta hunters, local people dress in traditional dancers clothing. Well, being in the heat while watching the street dancing is energy draining but the Talandikan dancers dressed on blue and brown peacock costume made everything refreshing, the wind from their wings is an oasis in the dessert.  Wasn’t able to take good photos of them because when they passed by, you have to move far from the street or else you will eat their feathers (lol).

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

There is a rainbow after the rain so after being refreshed from the cold wind of Talandikan dancers here comes the “Bahaghari Festival” from Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro. The festival is a colorful commemoration of the importance of the rainbow in the history of the town of Pinamalayan.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

According to an old story, the early settlers of this town came from Marinduque. While on this way to Mindoro on their bancas, they encountered turbulent weather and lost their direction. They prayed to God Almighty for deliverance and guidance, whereupon the weather cleared and a rainbow appeared on the horizon. The crew shouted “ipinamalay” meaning- it was made known.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

They followed the direction of the rainbow and landed at what is now Brgy. Lumangbayan and established the first settlement which they named Pinamalayan. The rainbow became the historical landmark of the town.  – source: ormindoro.gov.ph

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

Just like a rainbow their costumes were very colorful in nature, the head dresses of their pretty female dancers looks so yummy and jelly but they are actually made of foams.  When there’s rainbow there will be a sun and of course beautiful fairies enjoying an amazing day.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

Everyone has been amazed with the different tribes that went by but it turns out the best is yet to come, every one was shocked and left in awe when a “Tribu Mangyan” from Occidental Mindoro owns and dominated the street. Mangyan is an indigenous  group found in the island of Mindoro.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

I was amazed and admired their huge confidence to walk and dance in the street of Odiongan on their bare feet and wearing just a bahag showing their butt cheeks so I gave them a round of applause because I can’t fathom nor see myself wearing just a tiny clothing down there like what they’ve just done, I might need to take a many many large huge drums of confidence (hahaha).

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

A bahag  is the traditional or tribal dress of Mangyans,  they wear loincloth and a shirt they call balukas. Tadyawan is one of the eight ethnic group of Mangyans in the island of Mindoro and Tadyawan Festival was also called “Mangyan Day” correct me if I am wrong.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

As everyone has been amused with “Tribu Mangyan” and they couldn’t get over on what they just see. It was late to realized that they are the last tribe at the street dancing, I even overheard someone saying “bitin”, which means wanting for more.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

When the end of the parade ends we left and went to another location to take more photos because our current location wasn’t good enough since it was against the sun. We decided to wait at the old market beside one of the old hardware in town, as expected there are a lot of people waiting for the street dancers.  It took a long time before we could even see the head of the parade, people are getting anxious and impatient that they went over the white line with this a police from Mindoro blurted out that people in Odiongan are hard headed (lol). When the parade ended the huge flock of people went to the sports complex where the MIMAROPA festival showdown will take place, I will blog about it in separate posts, check it out soon.

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