Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vacation 101: Last Summer Getaway

My last summer getaway was planned more than a year ago. I was still working for a research company then and had the opportunity to work with Carlo,, a most trusted, informative travel guru as I call him. I would get dazzled at his monthly trips and wait for him to tell us all about his new experiences. He is the epitome of a traveler. He researches, checks hotels, works around the budget, goes to tourist and not so tourist spots, takes beautiful pictures and engages with people. He could live his life traveling and he's good with it. With all his experience, he is also knowledgeable on travel rules and tips we really don't pay attention to. He's also following the progress of the travel industries and share his opinions in his blog. He could perfectly work for a travel magazine, be your personal travel organizer, analyst for an airline company or a high-class travel agency.

June of last year, I caught a travel bug. My last year summer vacation was so short that I was looking for more. Just in time, I found out that he was looking at Cebu Pacific flights for his next adventure. It was then that I had the sense to consult with him. I told him that I wanted to go somewhere very relaxing, nature-inspired and budget friendly, preferably a place I've never been to before. He paused for a few seconds and mentioned CAMIGUIN. My face immediately lit up.

But of course. I've been hearing about Camiguin for quite some time and most of it are good reviews. It is a small island at the tip of Mindanao that showcases a clean provincial life with lots of scenery, springs, beach and volcanoes. Carlo insisted that it is a place I should visit at least once in my entire life. He told me he was more relaxed in Camiguin than in any part of the country. He visits there regularly because the scenes are relaxing, there are tons of springs to choose from, the white beach is very nice and compared to Boracay-living, Camiguin is very cheap. Except for the night life and mainstream restaurants, Camiguin has more mystery and character than any other island. He even mentioned that it's one of the photographer's heavens.

With all the build up, I quickly googled the place and was captured indeed by the images. I quickly called Mitch to confirm if he wanted to explore the island with me and he obliged... after I built it up of course. I went to the Cebu Pacific website and Carlo assisted me to get some really cheap round trip tickets for two. With patience, I got two round trip tickets to Cagayan De Oro for around 4,500 pesos. Not bad considering that I had picked better travel time. We scheduled it for October of 2008 as Carlo suggested.

Unfortunately before we were able to reach October, a corporate dysfunction was upon us. Our start up client in New York got bankrupt and was forced to liquidate its assets. By around June we were advised that we would be properly and generously compensated and would add another extra month to secure ourselves another job. I for one didn't suffer from any emotional outbreak. Both Carlo and I knew that we were just having fun with work and it was not something we took seriously. Research is like air to us, there wasn't something new that could hold us back and cry over the retrenchment. In fact, we welcomed it because of the compensation. For the first time in my ever professional life, I experienced a company shut down. We know what happened from there. After a few months or so, just like a domino effect, America went on recession.

By around July we were already cashing in our last paycheck before I moved on to a new corporate home of mine. But then again I still have something to look forward to, but Mitch had a once in a lifetime opportunity to go with is uncle, the master photographer, to Kota Kinabalu Malaysia to shoot the Shangri-la Resort. It was an all expense paid trip. How could anyone beat that opportunity? Although it is exactly on the same weekend as our Camiguin trip. It was a no-brainer. He had to go to Malaysia first. So, we re-booked the Camiguin trip to late summer of 2009, which would actually materialize two days from now. Good things come to those who wait.

This vacation is one year in the making and you could just understand how much excited I am to finally see Cagayan De Oro and Camiguin. Without any hindrances at bay, I called up Carlo and he helped me organize my trip. Thank god for him he was able to give me a reliable contact where we could stay for a very cheap price with all the amenities that we require. The place is air-conditioned, with own private shower, cable TV and a paluto-service. It is across a popular resort and restaurant with round trip boat rental fares and multi-cab fares. Since Carlo helped me with the itinerary, he called up his contact and was able to secure us very discounted rates in all services and rentals. Not to mention, I was sharing this with my uncle yesterday in Facebook when he insisted that I go to his aunt's house in Camiguin. Both of us hailing from Cebu, I didn't realize that he has relatives in Camiguin. So, he organized a scheduled lunch for us at his relatives' house and organized a trip for us at the soda pools and falls. Everything seems to be falling into place. I am overly excited.

Majority of our trip, we would stay in Camiguin allowing only an overnight stay in Cagayan De Oro. As much as I want to do white water rafting and all the extreme water sports Cagayan is known for, I don't think I could do it alone. My companion is not willing. So we have to maximize what we could see and do for this trip...on budget of course.

I've researched all the stops, made budgetary notes that I'm sure Mitch wouldn't read, printed travel schedules and list of places to visit. The only things left for me to do are to shop for toiletries, medicine and pack my stuff. I've also researched the weather forecast last night due to thunder and heavy rains that are making me nervous. As long as it won't develop into a storm, we're fine with it. For the past two trips that I had, we had rain. Gosh, let this be my rain-free trip, please. I'll remember to pray and offer eggs because I'd really hate to miss these:

*Famed White Island with Mt. Hibok-Hibok backdrop

**Ardent Springs (one of the few springs in Camiguin)

**Tuasan Falls

**Sunken Cemetery

These are just few of the places we'll visit. Clearly, anyone would understand my anticipation. Soon, I would have my own pictures to post.

Pix Source:


Anonymous said...

we're planning our Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin outing. Do we need a tour guide for our Camiguin trip?

opinionatedbanana said...

This will be my first time to go to Camiguin as well. But for me, it depends on two things. One, if you're really the backpacker type, who is happy to get lost, talk to locals and explore the island with only your research as your guide, then Camiguin (based from what I heard) is not that hard to master. It's a relatively small island and all you need to do is to rent a multi-cab there and let the driver take you places. My uncle said that you could visit Camiguin's best places in one day. As far as CDO is concerned, they have packaged tours for extreme sports and commuting is never a problem. And the second thing you have to consider is the time. IF your trip is short, I suggest getting those packaged tours or guide so that you can properly manage your time. If those two main factors do not bother you, I don't think you need a tour guide.

Anonymous said...


We have just added your latest post "Opinionated Banana: Vacation 101: Last Summer Getaway" to our Directory of Pets . You can check the inclusion of the post here . We are delighted to invite you to submit all your future posts to the directory and get a huge base of visitors to your website.

Warm Regards Team