Travel Recharge: Ultrawinds Mountain Resorts

For almost two years now, my husband and I have shunned from travel and relaxation. We just got so busy with our daily lives, being new parents, exploring new jobs and generally adjusting to our new kind of life. I am honestly having some issues including health ones from not taking a break. 

Finally, we have decided to take a weekend off. We picked somewhere near and have easy access because we have to be home by the time work starts. I was so excited and up for the slight planning of our trip but so shocked of how much we brought for our daughter. It ranges from the nappies, sterilizers, baby bottles, water bottles, her soap, her dishwashing cleanser, her brushes, vitamins, maintenance medications, etc. How much do toddlers actually need? I am hoping this is just a stage.

From our city in Iligan, my husband and daughter fetched me from work in Initao and had lunch in Panagatan, a seaside restaurant located in Opol, Misamis Oriental. She wanted to jump in the water and swim with the fishes, luckily, she got distracted by the food. I have never seen her so excited before. I mean we go to Cagayan de Oro a few times to do some errands but I think she can sense that this is a different kind of trip. Maybe she can sense that we are super excited, too.

Asking people for directions was the kind of thing my husband like. I am a little techy, so I used my phone’s GPS and he laughed so hard when it prompted him to turn left or right. He funnily joked around and said that it will somehow prompt him to go home while doing his happy hour.

It is a 40-minute drive from Cagayan de Oro although it is located in Bukidnon. You know when you drive from the city and it changes location to a province and the air changes, like it mellows down and became cooler although we can literally see the city behind. The drive felt like that. And I never felt like that for a long time. 

I just wanted to pop out the car and take some picture, if not for my daughter who is sleeping beside and grabbing my hand. So I just enjoyed the greeneries and the bodies of water while I am holding her hand thinking how she have grown so big. I thanked the Father countless time for His glorious creations and for our lives.
We arrived but not without my heart pumping to the 1st gear only roads. Yes, it has been a long time since that sense of fear and excitement with the feeling of relief when you finally arrived. Fresh air, cool view and finally sometime to ourselves.

We reserved a double bed room. It was so simple but I liked their glass door installments. It made the room felt so big and I so loved that I can see the greeneries. Marley explored the room and she inexplicably loved it. She loved that she can climb up and down the bed. She owned the room like a boss. 

We just slept for the afternoon and went strolling when the sun came down. My girl was ecstatic especially when she saw a pony. She laughed at how it neighed. She actually wants to pet it but we were afraid to touch it. 

We had dinner at their restaurant and opted to do night swimming but it was too chilly and Marley was shivering so hard that upon 5 minutes of swimming we stopped and returned in the morning. This is the highlight of the resort, their infinity pool. It is relaxing overlooking Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon. Though the water is chlorinated, we did enjoy a lot and my daughter’s happiness while flapping in the water was something that money can’t buy. 

For the rest of the morning we had breakfast, strolled around, met some new acquaintances and swam until she got to too tired to even climbed to bed. And from there, we ended our travel and head home. With our heart and soul recharged after a long time of a break-less-monotonous-life.

From this trip, I have relearned that sometimes taking a time-off and spending some money on a trip is not bad. We were different when we came back home. It felt like we reconnected and my daughter loved us even more. This is something she will definitely she will look back on. Hoping it will be one of the many.

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Compact Travel 2013

January – My boyfriend and I were scouting for a venue to cater the upcoming wedding of his brother. And on that day also, I promised some of our missionary priest friends to visit their place in Pindugangan. On the way to Spiritans’ Home, there are beautiful boulders that we stopped by to take a picture. We also stopped by one of the iconic houses in our place, our former President’s home, the Macapagal House.

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February – What is fun about my work is that I have two gay co-workers. There is something about gays that I really enjoyed. So we had our mini date in Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park. And I had to explore Jimenez, it my work place after all. It’s a simple old town with beautiful things to offer.

March – Sweaty and having so much fun. My boyfriend and I run with our dogs to a fun run. It was the first fun run ever held in our place that people enjoyed it so much as well as our fur babies.

April – Summer time here. We decided to have a family vacation and went to my mother’s hometown, Molave, Zamboanga del Sur we enjoyed the “fiesta” and had some water splash on the towns natural spring pool. Then we head after to the famous Dakak Beach Resort  in Dapitan City. Sun-basking, theme parks, Rizal’s niche and family time.

May – It came like a blast. I celebrated mother’s day with my mom and her friends in Dahilayan Forest Park in Bukidnon enjoying the cold, the fun and most of all the zipline. Then I had one of the most beautiful experience in my life having to go to the beautiful island of Siquijor.

June – I was pretty much in the sick zone. I attended to a local fiesta and ended up with an IV hooked around because of diarrhea and dehydration. I was the only physician available to attend to their hospital. Good thing when I got home, my dog Moccah was there to comfort me.

July – Since my boyfriend loves the food from HUKAD, a local restaurant which means to serve food, he purposely went to my workplace and dropped off Ozamis City to enjoy their delicious food.

August – My nephew and niece with their parents are coming home from Dubai to have a vacation. I had a wedding to attend, I need to circumcise my nephew and I had to work, date, play, etc. Busy month for me. We went to Davao City and enjoyed the D’leoner Resort. We had a blast because my sisters are there also. It’s just that Papa is not around anymore to enjoy with us.

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September – It’s my father’s first death anniversary, my sisters came home and brought our mother to the family’s hangout the Don Arc Beach Resort in Initao Misamis Occidental. And I went with my gay friends again to the famous river in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental, Camil. It has its legend but I just enjoyed the view.

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October – You know Rio in Brazil has the famous Jesus Christ statue watching over the place from the mountains. El Salvador, Misamis Oriental have also their Divine Mercy Statue. It has been the staple for tourism and spirituality of the place.

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November – Water falls tour. Our place Iligan City has 32 waterfalls but only 19 is open to the public. And here is just two of it, Mimbalot and Maria Christina falls and their respective parks.

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December – It was family time and the food which my mom cooks were divine.

I had a blast in 2013. It was full of realizations and fun. Trials and tribulations came but what is more important is how you grow and how you live your life with the memories and lessons you have.

Straight Ahead: The Dahilayan Experience

Sometimes the unplanned things are much better than the things we do planned. I’ve been eying Barangay Dahilayan, Manalo Fortich Bukidnon for a long time. One day the universe connive and brought me to it via my mother and her friends for a post-mother’s day celebration.

At the break of dawn, we were merrily sardined in the car, famished and half-asleep and half-awake. I have some beautifully aged mothers in different phases of womanhood, my mother one. We traveled with their boisterous laughter and some little petty disagreement which includes different sounds of elping snores. I sulk in the side with the thought that BF is left and working. He brings out a little of my Dora-the-Explorer leaf. I don’t crunch much as the adventure type, the adventure chic or rocker slash wanderer but circumstances does take me to those areas. I had so much adventure when I was younger though. I believe being a Zoologist requires it.

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Traffic was of course a part of Cagayan de Oro City. Ever since her swift development the city-liven-traffic pops in the equation. Early morn gravitated by cars and I just want to break out of it. There is nothing more liberating when you slowly feel the pace away from the city. No hurls and burls, only the pure breath of nature and life. And that’s Bukidnon, a breath of fresh air and cool winds. I tracked this road countless times and countless times I am lost in my thoughts with the greens and the mud and the animals and everything.

Getting to the roads of Bukidnon, as the famous mountain resorts of Dahilayan news flashed in blogs, TV and movies, the signage popped everywhere. We were basically famished and wanted to find some spot to take little food but the signage says, DAHILAYAN ADVENTURE PARK STRAIGHT AHEAD. So we decided to go without knowing that there are about millions to go for more STRAIGHT AHEADS. A funny thing here in the Philippines is when you ask directions, when someone points their finger chances are its nearby but when someone points using their lips you better count many miles.

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Finally, after the countless and sometimes irritating straight aheads, we arrived. Pure happiness, fresh air and wonderful views. I’d prefer though if they kept much of the natural view and planted the modernization within rather than the other way around.

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I am glad that the locals make money out of it. We ride their horses. I am very much hoping that the poor horses are not so tired from taking visitors including me, heavy is my lastname.

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I beamed at the wonderful views and actually quite sad that my partner-in-rides is not around. I can’t seem to convince my companions to take it or their actual health conditions hinders them. But these ladies do know how to play, it’s nice seeing them play along and have some fun.

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Later on I decided whether I am alone or not, I wouldn’t miss the fun to ride the ziplines. I am a frustrated bird and it seems to be the solution.

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The zipline as always is sublime. My bird dream is materialized to countless pieces in a few minutes. And by that it made my day, not the hotels or different attractions but the fact that in a very short time suspended in the air I was one with nature.

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So with my grand finale and the dearest mothers have already defined their day with conversations, food and pictures, we embarked on the journey. Full-hearted with the day, I’d definitely deep in for another straight ahead.

a Month, a Place and a Smile

Month? A group of 28 to 31 days

Place? Location, destination or an area.

Smile? An expression of  happiness.

566269_4717740734277_729830995_nJanuary

Start of the new year. Resolutions. A new phase. Realizations. Excitements.

Jacko’s Kan-anan

A friend’s family owned restaurant. OUR BARKADAS (group of friends) hangout. Located at Gerona, Andres Bonifacio Ave., Iligan City. Show cases different Filipino cuisines.

Clarisse

Bon’s , the BF, niece. Two almost three. Hype is her word and hungry was the game. Pounding the plates and demanding for her sabaw (soup).

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February

Love month. A year older. Wiser? Maybe. 28 or 29.

Jimenez

North of Mindanao. Misamis Occidental. Work place.

Lydia

Co-worker’s mother-in-law. Beautiful smile. Aged but sure is healthy. Celebrates life with glee.

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March

Fire prevention month. International Women’s Month.

MOAP

Northern Mindanao, Dolphin’s haven. Conservation.

Daryl and John

Co-workers. Loyal gay friends. Happiness. Fun. Food.

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Summer heat. Family Matters. Fiesta.

Dakak Beach Resort

Northern Mindanao. Rizal’s niche. Family.

Mama

Papa’s eternal love. Love. Our lifeline. Our dearest. Our mama.

May

Summer’s last leg. Breathe. A meaningful vacation. Soul searching. What it means to travel.

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Mystical. Love of nature. Peace. An affair with Mayfair Witches. Beaches. Simplicty. Beaches.

Marlina and Dada

Sisters. Reliving childhood. Family. Life. Reconnect.

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Rainy days. New school year. New friends. Upgrades.

Iligan City

Northern Mindanao. City of Water Falls. Home.

Peanut

Dog smile. Simple joys. My best friend. My life. My love. Wiggles and kisses. Loyalty. His roadtrip.

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Chocolate days. Excitement. Arrivals. Family. Personal Holidays.

House

Comfort zone. Niche. Always close to my heart.

Emerald and Lovette

Friends for life. Good food. Good conversation. Still the same.

August

My busy month. Wholeness of family. Too happy. Blessed. Loved.

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Duterte Land. Second home. Missing a piece of me. Second love. Safe and sound.

Family

We are were young. Grown up. Growing big. Love eternally. Misses Papa. Happiness.

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Papa’s death anniversary. Iligan City Fiesta. Excited for something.

Mama and Ate (Older Sister)

Look alike. Most unlikely pair. Fire and Ice. Love each other so much.

Initao

Family hangout. White sands. Perfect sunsets. Beach love on a non-summer day.

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Mama’s birth month. To remember the semestral breaks. Reckoning and awakening.

Silvestro’s Bistro

A new place. Coffee. Salads. Authentic foreign cuisine. Dating a beloved.

Me and Bon

Almost there. Beloved. Happiness. In love.

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Halloween. ALMOST CHRISTMAS YEY! Time to remember all the ancestors. Candles. Flowers.

Linamon, Lanao del Norte

A town after Iligan. Crocodile River. Cousin’s new place.

Clarence

Nephew. Innocent. Unexpected but loved. Source of new happiness.

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December

Jesus’ birth. The meaning hope. Sacrifice. Reflect. Worshiping God’s greatest gift, JESUS.

Mimbalot Falls

One of 32 falls in Iligan City. The easiest access. Still very beautiful. Water fun.

Jenny

A new friend. Ilongga. Iloilo based. Backpacker.

Compact Travel

2007 – This year highlighted one of my best travels possible with my sisters, climbing Mt. Apo, the Philippines highest peak. Steadily growing, a dormant Volcano with completed sulfur grounds, lush thick greeneries, deep lakes, open field which are a previous craters  and views to die for.

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Foot of Mt. Apo Digos Trail

2008 – Productivity and family were the words. I started summer with diving in Talikod Islands which was both wonderful and horrifying experience. Wonderful because I was 20 feet under watching the beautiful underwater scenes and horrifying because as I went up to the boat, a sea snake deliberately crawl its way to my back (Luckily I have a protective suit). Then, we went to the “then” Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur (not yet discovered by many) . Going to the Enchanted river, went Island hopping and experiencing the best seafoods of my life. I thought my summer was over but it didn’t until I went to Camp Sabros, Digos to experience my first ever “unintentional” off-road and zipline.

My ’08 was far from over, during the semestral break my sister treated my parents and me to a trip to Camiguin Islands. An island I was overly used to going for quite some time in my college years due to field trips. I never grow tired of this place.

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White Island over viewing Camiguin.

2009 – Busiest days due to school work in my doctorate. No option for travel.

2010 – I was Davao-based due to an internship. The first half was all work and no play but the second half is an overnight stay in an island getaway resort called Leticia by the sea. It is an all expense paid trip (thank you for the sponsors). Then getting better with the last Christmas trip with my father, Eden Nature Park in Toril, Davao City and a ‘Christmas in Tagum City’ experience.

Davao City Kadayawan Festival
Davao City Kadayawan Festival

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Tagum, Davao City
Tagum, Davao City
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Zipline in Eden Nature Park

2011 – It is another year of super charge life changes. Board exams and starting a real and definitive career but nonetheless I can never miss an opportunity to travel despite hindering circumstances. Coming back home before the dreaded bored exams. Iligan was a sweet escape and so is visiting our long time friends the Spiritans Father.

Spiritans, Pindugangan, Iligan City
Spiritans, Pindugangan, Iligan City

Later that year, my sisters schemed another get away for us. It was a birthday out of town for my sister. Once again, the tres marias (my sisters and I) went to an unfamiliar town, Lake Sebu of South Cotabato.

Punta Isla Lake Resort, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
Punta Isla Lake Resort, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
7 Falls Zipline, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
7 Falls Zipline, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

2012 – It is a year of trials, at the last quarter of 2011, December 17 to be exact we were swimming for our lives because we were devastated with typhoon Sendong. It is also the year of my father’s health demise and eventually his death. Despite all these great challenges, I made a few strides to Cebu City after a long time, I rediscovered Iligan and start an out-of-town career path.

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Crown Regency Hotel, Cebu City
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Cebu City
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Simala Church, Cebu
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Maria Christina Falls, Iligan City
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Pindugangan, Iligan City
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St. John the Baptiste Church, Iligan City

2013 Starting a new adventure and hopefully more travels.