Monday, September 15, 2014

Journey to the Heart of the Philippines (Day 1)

For the longest time I have been an employee of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, it will be the only time we'll be having a team building activity. Miss Gina Lopez, our Chairman, have always talked about how beautiful the island of Sibuyan in Romblon is. Sure we've seen pictures of it; but for me, it was like any other beautiful rural island. Quite common in our country, I should say. So my expectations were not high. Or I just had to set it that way to avoid disappointments, maybe.

2Go Travel

We started off our trip with a 14 hour ferry ride care of 2Go Travel. I must say, it was quite comfortable for a first timer like me. Team building activity started soon as we settled in. Dinner was served after some games prepared by our facilitator with 2Go. After the dinner came a little drinking session as we enjoyed the live band playing on the background. Of course we spent the rest of the remaining 8 hour-ride sleeping comfortably in our designated bunk beds. Before we know it, we're already in Romblon.

We were welcomed with a beautiful sea breeze and a peaceful island. Since we were forewarned, we got off the ferry wearing our rush guards and swim wear already. We've been told that there will be no time to change our ensemble with the whole day of activities planned for us.

Tiamban Beach

Part of the trip was to experience the whole journey Pinoy style, by riding a jeepney. And since we saw the opportunity, we immediately volunteered to ride on top of it. Off we went to our first destination, Tiamban beach.

A little over 10 minutes, we were already there. And boy, it was beautiful. I was totally impressed as we were welcomed by the serene beach of Tiamban. No exaggeration necessary, it looks so much like the beach of Boracay minus the bars and hotels. Setting my standard as high as Boracay's, you could probably picture it well. Everything you love about the famous beach is in there: white powdery sand, clear pristine calm water, no rocks when you dive into the beach and you can practically swim all day long. I have been to quite a few beaches they say was as beautiful as Boracay, but this, so far, is the only one that really met the Boracay beach standard.

So we had a little strenuous beach activity to pump us up before we had our breakfast by the beach. It was a sumptuous meal prepared by the community, of course. A little more bathing and swimming before we prepped up for our main destination, Sibuyan Island.

We went back to the pier and rode a pump boat going to the small island. It was a two-hour ride while we enjoyed the ocean scenery.

Sibuyan Island

The mangroves smiled upon us as we arrived at the small island. The moment we got off the boat, the majestic Guiting-guiting mountain welcomed us. It was named as such because of its razor-like shape. They say, when you are able to see the mountain with its clear beauty, no fog or clouds, it would mean that you'll find your true love in there.

The Sanctuary Garden Hotel

Top loading the jeepney again, we went on a 15 minute drive going to our hotel, the Sanctuary Garden. It is hard to imagine that in the middle of the Philippine's densest forest came a beautiful hotel like the Sanctuary. It reminds me so much of the hotels and villas in Baguio City. It was definitely far from the expected typical island sanctuary.

The Lambingan Falls

We settled in for a few minutes before we headed to our next destination, the Lambingan falls. A little over thirty minutes and we were there. Yet again, we were warmly welcomed by the community of the barangay. They served us lunch before facilitating our next activity. Lambingan falls was named as such because of its history of being a rendezvous to the lovers of the community back in the day.

A few minutes of trekking before we reached the main falls. It was beautiful as expected. The water was clean and clear that you can practically drink it. A little point system to encourage us before everyone dared to jump off the cliff. It was an adventure like no other. More than anything, I enjoyed floating and swimming in the clear fresh water of the falls.

Magdiwang Beach Fish Sanctuary

Time allotted was never enough to really enjoy it well but we had to pull out to go to our next destination, the fish sanctuary. It was a long drive before we reached the beautiful beach of Magdiwang as we were welcomed with a cool courtesy drink: coconut with bamboo straw. I thought it was so cool and really refreshing. In fact, the coconut juice is unbelievably too much that no matter how hard I try to finish it, it never gets empty.

The beach offers a snorkeling activity assisted by the fishermen waiting for us to take the ride. A little over 15 minutes of boat ride before we reached the snorkeling spot. It was beautiful, period. The healthy reef clearly tells you that the island is virgin and it is on us how we can truly take care and enrich it.

We were there until night falls before heading back to the beach. As we got off the boat, the dinner prepared by the community is almost ready. It was a seafood feast as we enjoyed talking among our colleagues the highlights of the day's event.

We reached our hotel almost 8:00 in the evening and everyone was quite exhausted with the whole day's activities. We freshened up before relaxing in the comforts of our well prepared beds. 


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