Monday, April 22, 2013

A glimpse on the ever-charming Cagwait White Beach

Blessed with verdant forests, pristine beaches, and exquisite flora and fauna, Surigao del Sur is truly a potential tourism hub in the Philippines. A number of breathtaking places is yet to be explored, discovered and experienced in the said province – giving avenues for explorers and travelers to find out these gems of nature.

Being born in Surigao del Sur is a wonderful opportunity for me to visit the gifts of nature but I must admit that I have only visited few. “Huwag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan!” is a challenge that I face and will conquer soon… Starting off in my hometown, the Municipality of Cagwait.
This is one of the million reasons why IT'S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES
Brief History

Cagwait is a coastal town located in the central part of the province of Surigao del Sur. It straddles along the coast of Pacific Ocean and Mount Diwata. It has a total land area of 21,410 hectares and a population of 19,899 (NSO, 2007) scattered among its eleven (11) barangays.

Historical Origin of Cagwait

Young sailors from Leyte, who escaped from enslaving hands of Spaniards, sailed southward in 1840 in a boat called “veloz” and noticed they were passing  into a bay resembling a human mouth, which in vernacular, it is called “mao rag wait.” The bay looked like an open mouth and the peninsula resembling the esophagus. The settlers later on called the place “Cagwait.”

Thus in July 1840, when Father Juan Engrova first baptized the people in the new settlement, wrote the name Cagwait in his record entitled, “Libros de Bautismos,” 1845-1860.

The diversity of the marine and forest ecosystem facing the bay and the land along it are fertile. It favors for growing crops that attracted more and more settlers from other and nearby places.

The ever-charming Cagwait Beach

The Municipality of Cagwait houses the ever-charming Cagwait White Beach.
Oh, Cagwait Beach...
Once named as Waikiki Beach by an aviator Charles Lindbergh because of its resemblance to the famous beach in Hawaii, Cagwait Beach is a long stretch of white powdery sand forming a C-shape. An aerial view shows a clamshell-like formation, truly a scene to behold. The picturesque view of the beach from different angles makes it more attractive to tourists and locals alike.
Clamshell-like view 
The clear turquoise water of the beach is simply irresistible, captivating and inviting –just so perfect for everyone to enjoy swimming. One can even think of taking a plunge instantly because of its charm. Big waves for surfing and skimboarding are readily available for the enthusiasts, truly a beach for the adventurous visitors and the ordinary beach lovers.
A perfect place for respite
The long shoreline welcomes everyone for a barefoot-walk and even sprint. The considerable width as well allows people to play volleyball, parlor games and the like.
The long stretch of white sand is simply breathtaking :-)
The continuous development in Cagwait White Beach pave way for a vibrant local tourism whereby beach goers and potential tourists can enjoy. First is the mushrooming of private-owned resorts with affordable accommodations. These establishments have upgraded a beach bumming experience by offering among others, sea sports adventure such as riding a banana boat, kayaking and jet skiing. These are really great options for the locals and tourists alike. 
A beach dancing performance
Second on the list is the annual celebration of Kaliguan Festival held every 3rd week of June in honor of St. John the Baptist. This gala has attracted people from neighboring places and even across the globe to witness the colorful celebration of great harvest. Beach dancing competition is the most unique cultural dance contest there is in the country where the performers literally present their number along the shorelines of the beach. Another highlight of the festival is the Perlas ng Kaliguan where lovely candidates show wit and grace during the entire competition. The other activities include boat racing, fluvial parade, sand art competition, pinoy games, agri-trade fair, beach volleyball, beach party and many many more. 
DEPEd teachers in their production number during Kaliguan Festival

Rolly with a huge backdrop at the floating stage

Proudly wearing buli hats during Kaliguan Festival. With me is Brian and Ondoy

With two of my bestfriends Brian and Asterio
Completing the list of BROLJ: Rolly and Lloyd :-)
Third is the media presence of Cagwait Beach; that would mean being featured in Living Asia, TV Patrol Weekend, GMA 7 and a number of blogs. Thanks to all for promoting Cagwait in your most creative way.   
Cagwait Beach featured in Choose Philippines through a friend Almer Casio

Cagwait Beach featured in the Best Philippine Beaches
The Cagwait White Beach is truly a blessing for the locals who never fail to appreciate its beauty and its contribution to the tourism development. A place for respite, batch reunion and family gatherings, Cagwait Beach will always have a welcoming gesture to everyone. For me, I have never missed and would never miss an opportunity to go there everytime I am home. Oh, mentioning of going home makes me ecstatic. See you again my beloved Cagwait Beach.
My nieces and nephew enjoying at the beach
Getting There:

From Butuan City, Bislig City and Davao City

Ride a bus going to Tandag City and tell the bus conductor that you are going to Cagwait. Alight at the junction area where you can see the welcome landmark. The bus driver and the conductor usually announce that you have arrived in Cagwait. From there, you can hire a motorized tricycle and tell the driver that you are heading to the Cagwait White Beach. There are resorts along the beach for you to choose from. You can ask some questions from the driver so you would be guided. Fare is Php 15 –Php 20.

From Tandag City

You can ride a bus heading to Butuan, Davao or Bislig City and tell the bus conductor that you will alight at the intersection of Cagwait There are also jeepneys and vans from Tandag as options for you to reach Cagwait.

Where to stay

If you are planning to stay overnight, here are your options to stay at:

Tourism Inn
Xtreme Beach Resort

Cottages are also available along the beach.

A pose at the ever-charming Cagwait Beach
Photo Credits:

Asterio Ugat, Jr.
Almer Casio 
Best Philippine Beaches
Choose Philippines

Information Credit: 

Municipality of Cagwait

Saturday, April 20, 2013

MSU-IIT commends 1,539 graduates in its 43rd Commencement Exercises

The 43rd Commencement Exercises of MSU-IIT
The Iligan Institute of Technology of the Mindanao State University commends 1,539 graduates from the different schools and colleges of the institute during its 43rd Commencement Exercises on April 8, 2013. MSU-IIT: Going Beyond Borders was the class theme – urging the graduates to meet the demands and challenges of the present time.

The Baccalaureate Services

With over a thousand candidates for graduation, the processional march was one of the longest lines one could ever witness during graduation. That alone, consumed 45 minutes for everyone to endure. Well, one has to withstand it, after all, on that same day, the candidates for graduation will be conferred with their respective degrees :D
The Baccalaureate Ceremony
With the spiritual leaders having reached their seats on stage signaled the MSU-IIT Octava Choral Society to render the invocation. This was followed by the baccalaureate prayers initiated by Ustadz Aladin Saga Deron, President of Imam League, Rev. Jonathan M. Cal of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and Fr. Leo A. Illah, C.S.Sp, Chaplain of the Catholic Center Campus Ministry. Father Leo before saying a prayer encouraged everyone to be always grateful and thankful to God the Almighty.

Daxter, William L. Gulben, BS EE, Magna Cum Laude, the class first honorable mention led the prayer response of the candidates for graduation. After which was the presentation of tokens and love offerings to the spiritual leaders.

The Commencement Ceremonies

Another processional march joined by the institute officials, the MSU System officials, the Regents of the University System, the Chancellor, the Guest Speaker, The University President and the Colors came to play.
The Candidates for Graduation
Dr. Sukarno D. Tanggol, the Institute Chancellor introduced the commencement speaker to everyone’s excitement. Citing his credentials being a physicist, a writer, a professor, a blogger among others, the candidates for graduation couldn’t wait for him to deliver his speech.

And so, Dr. Isagani Cruz greeted everyone “Maayong Buntag!!!”

Starting with the interpretation of the number 13, he assured the graduates that it is a lucky number. “You must start working on your next dream. This is where you will need a lot more luck,” he said.

“Chance favors the prepared mind,” he added.

Moreover, he challenged everyone by saying, “according to economists and other experts, the “new growth pole” in the country is Mindanao. This is where the country will rise or fall. “You are lucky because you are in Mindanao. You are right here where the action is. You are lucky because you studied in a school that is rooted solidly in Mindanao. You are lucky because you graduated from a school that has never deviated from its tradition of academic excellence in many fields, particularly science and technology. You have been well-prepared for the task that you now face.”

He continued, “What is the task that you now face? It is to propel Mindanao to its position of leadership. It is to be the pilot in the ship that is the country. It is to be the leader of the almost a hundred million Filipinos ready to become, if we will believe the foreign press, the next Asian tiger.
The MSU System President and IIT Chancellor giving the plaque of appreciation to the commencement speaker
Everyone applauded, being grateful to the inspirational message of Dr. Cruz.

Dr. Edgar W. Ignacio, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs recognized the candidates for graduation who received academic leadership and co-curricular awards.

Dr. Tanggol then presented 1,539 candidates for graduation to the MSU System President Dr. Macapado Muslim who then conferred various degrees to the graduates.
The graduates, faculty members and the parents
Ms. Almera O. Manan, the class valedictorian and a Magna Cum Laude BS Biology graduate, delivered her valedictory address. She tearfully recalled how she went through the challenges of being a student. Spending sleepless nights, taking endless exams and passing loads of requirements have become a routine to her and her classmates. “This is now the fruit of our labor, the result of all the hardships we had,” she proudly said. “Thank you to all our mentors, who have helped us throughout our journey in IIT,” she added.

Then, the class song entitled READY TO GO BEYOND was led by Ms. Casteelyn H. Bacera, AB English and a music awardee.
Hon. Roberto N. Lim, President of the MSU Alumni Association and Alumni Regent led the oath-taking of the graduates; after which he jokingly said, “Now, you can cry.”

Ms. Marie Joy L. Requiroso, a BS Bio graduate and class salutatorian led the pledge of loyalty to the Alma Mater.

Then the singing of the Himno ng Pamantasan signaled the finale of the Commencement Exercises.


Friday, April 19, 2013

CBAA Pre-commencement Exercises

The 43rd CBAA Pre-commencement and Recognition Ceremonies
The graduation ceremony in MSU-IIT comprises the pre-commencement and commencement exercises. The latter is the conferment of degrees to the graduating class while the former is the awarding of diplomas, academic, co-curricular and extra curricular awards.

The College of Business Administration and Accountancy had its pre-commencement exercises last April 6, 2013 at the MSU-IIT Gym. The program started at exactly 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon with a processional march of the candidates for graduation, the college faculty, the college dean, institute officials and the guest of honor. Ms. Safa O. Manala-o, a colleague in MBM hosted the ceremony and facilitated the flow of the program.
The candidates for graduation...
Prof. Julita W. Bokingo, dean of CBAA gladly welcomed everyone to the affair and congratulated the graduating class for a job well done. She further presented one hundred and fifty one (151) candidates for graduation of the college; to wit: five (5) from the Master in Business Management, fifty-one (51) from Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, sixteen (16) from BSBA major in Business Economics and seventy-nine (79) from BSBA major in Entrepreneurial Marketing.

Recognition of the graduates with extra-curricular, co-curricular achievements and academic awards followed. Leading the 2013 graduating class of CBAA is Ms. Gie Ann Mae C. Racines, a BSBA major in Entrepreneurial Marketing graduate. The junior students with a grade point average (GPA) of 1.75 or higher were also recognized during the program.

Mr. Romeo L. Bato, CPA, MM the guest of honor inspired the graduating class with his life-changing experiences. His message was centered into GPS, encouraging  the graduates to go beyond borders. The first letter G stands for GOALS. Citing a quote from an author he said, “Goals should be in writing, because if they are not written, they remain wishes – which may not come true.” “Read your goals everyday and you will realize you are getting closer towards reaching it because the more you read it, the more you become conscious of where you are heading to,” he added. The next letter P is all about preparation. Everyone was encouraged to continue learning. The last letter S stands for Service. “Becoming rich is within reach if you learn to serve other people,” he said. Be always willing to be of service to your community and the more people you help, the more you could be successful.

The hooding of graduates in the Masters Degree Program  as well as the distribution of the diploma were then made to the delight of the graduating class. 
Awarding of Diplomas
With fellow MBM candidates for graduation, Van and Ma'am Abeth
Ms. Iris M. Dajao-Opiso, MBM graduate with highest GPA moved everyone to have faith, hope and love in everything a person does. Ms. Racines, the class valedictorian tearfully reminisced the struggles of being a student and the friendship built along the journey. Moreover, Ms. Shiny Rose M. Salem, the class salutatorian urged the graduating class to be grateful to their parents, guardians, families and relatives for the continued support. “Thank you Ma and Pa, for being our BDO’s – someone who always find ways to give what we need through the years,” she sincerely expressed.

A proud parent Mrs. Evangeline C. Racines, mother of the class valedictorian also shared her experiences of being a mother and her thanksgiving for the honor the graduates bring to their respective families.
The dignitaries...
Prof. Stephen C. Fajardo, Assistant Dean of CBAA formally closed the ceremony leaving everyone smiling specially the graduating class who were given the idea to become future mates :D

With Kai Darul, a blogger friend... 
Photo Credit: Ma'am Iris Dajao-Opiso and Ms. Kai Darul

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Exploring Camiguin Island in a Day - Part II

This is the continuation of my day tour in Camiguin Island. Check the first part here.

From Sto. Nino Cold Spring, we proceeded to Soda Swimming Pool. Kuya Jojo told me that the water tastes like soda, hence the name of the pool. Having heard it, I planned to taste the water. Great that they have a drinking station for everyone to make use of. Entrance fee is Php 20.00. 
Welcome to Soda Swimming Pool

This is where I tasted the water. Indeed, it has a different taste from the fresh water... 
I took a plunge in the swimming pool and couldn’t help myself but pay attention to the boys scout undergoing a first-aid training and swimming lesson. Because the pool was a bit crowded, I did not stay long there. 
Boys scout enjoying their training
I changed clothes for our next visit - the old church. 
The side view of the old church 
The ruined church was caused by the eruption of Mt. Volcan way back May 13, 1871. The remnants would tell us how strong the foundation of the building then. When I went up the stairs, the cold breeze, the serenity of the place and the lush trees made me pause for a moment, acknowledging the holiness of the place. The surroundings made me render reverence to the ruined church and to the people who were affected by the volcanic eruption. 
The chapel within the old church
Inside the old church is a chapel for the visitors to light up candles and pray. I took my turn and prayed for a moment. 
The old convent
Then I went at the back of the old church where the convent is located. With my curiosity, I asked Kuya Jojo to help me in climbing the ruined walls of that convent. I stayed there for a moment, getting entwined with the solemnity of the place. 
Taking a pose on top of the wall at the old convent 

Still in awe with the old church 
We then proceeded to the Sunken Cemetery, another ruin caused the eruption of Mt. Vulcan. The locals there were excited enough to take photos and here are the results. 
The symbolic cross at the sunken cemetery 
You can also go closer at the big cross by riding a boat for a fee worth Php 100. 
Holding the tip of the cross
Our next stop was one of my favorites – the Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort. 
This pool is perfect for swimming.
The swimming pools contain fresh and hot sulphuric flowing water. Temperature in every pool varies from thirty three degrees centigrade to thrity-eight degrees centigrade to answer to individual needs and desire. This made me love to stay more than an hour just soaking, soaking and soaking :D I loved to stay there just to relax and yes meditate. 
This has the highest temperature among the pools... So hot in here... :D
Other than the varying temperatures, visitors also have the option of diving, swimming or just soak depending upon the depth of the water. Knowing the several positive therapeutic effects on skin diseases, asthma (steam from pools provide bronchodilation effect), neuralgia (nerve pain) and rheumatism (joint pains on the shoulder, neck and wrist) made me love the pool even more. It was simply soothing and relieving. Wow!!! From that point, bringing my family and friends there is one of my goals.
Enjoying the moderate temperature of the water
Since the skin pores tend to open when exposed to warm or hot water and close to cold water exposure, one is advised to have a cold shower after a dip at the swimming pool. 
Just wanted to soak...soak...soak... :D
We’re down to our last stop – the Katibawasan Falls. 
The welcoming view of the falls 
Succeeding the main entrance, one could hear the gushing water, quite refreshing to listen to. The moment I took a glance at the waterfalls is the same moment that I fell in love with Camiguin.hehe. Camiguin is simply amazing. Kuya Jojo was clever enough to arrange the itinerary so well that even the last stop was equally enthralling, captivating and breathtaking. 
The beautiful Katibawasan Falls
The stair going down the falls is quite steep but mind you, it is worth the effort. The falls is 250 ft. tall that I found it hard to capture its entirety using the point and shoot camera. I savored the moment being there and with no hesitation, I took a plunge in its mini-lagoon. The water was colder than that of Sto. Nino cold spring, causing me not to stay longer in the water :D I braved myself going closer to its drop but was warned that its a bit dangerous, so I heeded their advice :D 
Getting closer at the drop of the falls

A grateful pose... :-)
What can I say… The day tour was truly amazing anyone could really appreciate and be thankful for. A big WOW was all I could utter and an endless thank you to Kuya Jojo for the great experience. Thank you for taking photos, for bringing me to enchanting places and for the safe travel. Oh Camiguin, when can I see you again… I so miss you…

Monday, April 15, 2013

Exploring Camiguin Island in a Day - Part I

I got so excited with the set itinerary as suggested by Kuya Jojo that I managed to wake up so early; i.e. 4:00 o’clock in the morning. I fixed my bed, bathed and ate some biscuits. Then Kuya Jojo fetched me and apologized for the delay because rain was pouring while he was on his way to fetch me. We then started our whole day tour in Camiguin.

Our first stop was at the White Island, so named because of its white sand, not so-powdery though. This sandbar is situated 2 kilometers across the Agoho Sea with a breathtaking view of Mt. Hibok-Hibok and the old Mt. Vulcan. I paid 440 pesos inclusive of the entrance fee and that of the motor driver. I also rented life jacket and goggles worth Php 100.
Getting ready for the boat ride to the White Island

Gloomy weather at the White Island
The White Island
With the sight of Mt. Vulcan and Mt. Hibok-Hibok
Taking a pose at the White Island
Rain was hitting hard as we approached the white island – a welcoming phenomenon for a great day tour.hehe. Thank God the rain stopped when we reached the island. We hurriedly boarded off the boat and enjoyed the picturesque view of the mountains. 
Getting prepared for snorkelling
I immediately took a plunge in its clear turquoise waters, so inviting for swimming. With the swimming gears, I started snorkelling. I needed to swim away from the sandbar so I could see more of the living creatures beneath the sea. Diverse fishes and corals welcomed me that me made more excited to explore further; until I saw a snake-like fish… I paused for a moment, observed it and with all my might, I started to swim back to the sandbar…hahaha… Kakatakot lang kaya… :D

Still enjoying the great white island, I met a college classmate Aaron Langam and we took photos, shared updates and whereabouts. Thanks Aaron :D Glad to meet you in Camiguin.
With Aaron, a college classmate
I didn’t mind checking the time because it was indeed relaxing staying at the white island. Great that it was my first stop when the sun was not scorchingly hot – a perfect time for swimming, snorkelling and beach bumming.
An exhibit of souvenir items
Souvenir items were attractively displayed at the jump point and I couldn’t help myself buying some.
Another set of souvenir items
Then we took our breakfast in one of the budget restaurants along the highway.
A breathtaking view at Brgy. Naasag :-)
One good thing in Camiguin is the circumferential road for easy and convenient access to the entire island. While we were heading to the walkway station, I requested Kuya Jojo to stop for a while because of the breathtaking view at Brgy. Naasag. I savored the moment breathing fresh air and appreciating the magnificent beauty of the mountain and the sea. The scenery made me think to have my home built there, or have a shed and even just a table where I could write, ponder and plan things.hehe… I so miss this area that I want to go back the soonest time possible.
Taking time to relax and be photographed :-)
I just love the serene water and fresh air
The walkway is a concreted path to the old Mt. Vulcan, an avenue for the stations of the cross, and a perfect place to view the ocean and the lush trees. I managed to reach the 14th station, disregarding the many steps to hurdle. I have with me my umbrella and while heading to the top, I met again Aaron and his officemate.
A welcome mark at the Walkway

One of the Stations of the Cross
WOW!!! Another breathtaking scenery in Camiguin. I just breathed deeply, meditating and enjoying the wonderful creation of God.
Simply breathtaking!!!
Our next stop was at the Sto. NiƱo Cold Spring. After eating some snacks, I took a plunge in the swimming pool, and hey, it’s really really cold :D 
Facility Charges at Sto. Nino Cold Spring
A refreshing view at the cold spring
The pool is large enough to accommodate a number of swimmers.
I love the hugeness of the pool
Taking a rest after swimming :D

To be continued...