Start the year right:HBO–Hike-Bike-Outreach

12 02 2011
Sunday, 30 January 2011
Butuan City-Camiguin Island,
Mindanao, Philippines

Crinkles got Trek, his gray mountain bike late last year. Out of excitement, he thought of going biking wherever I choose. I suggested biking on Camiguin island so I could go back and return the good deed I received from the family at the foot of Mt. Tres Marias.

The family way back in 2009 offered a raincoat and clothes to me as soon as they saw me got soaked in the rain. With short conversations while sipping the home made coffee that Manang Carmelita prepared for me, I felt the warmth of their home. We could hardly understand each other since I do not speak Visayan dialect nor they know Tagalog but I could not describe in words their hospitality.

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Preparation for HBO

To make the route more exciting, I got the map and looked for a place I have not been. I found Butuan to be just the right place to land from Manila. Without hesitation, Almond excitingly joined too and I booked the three of us via PAL last November.

Five days before the flight, Brodear got 3 boxes from Doc Sandy of Paulina’s in Cartimar Pasay. The 3 bikes: Trek, GT and Cham now have something to tuck in while on board PAL.

Brodear helped me out packed the 3 bikes and we headed off to the cargo after knowing that we will pay only half the price (if we will have excess baggage fee will be as high as 9K PHP, 180USD since we still have other goods for Outreach).

Hike

Our day hike to Camiguin Island’s Hibok-Hibok (1,332 meters above sea level) via Ardent Hot Spring totalled 5 hours. We started with a chicken breakfast inside the resort. Then we headed off to the foot of the mountain.

After bouldering the wet trail we reached the summit seeing 95% visibility. We still managed the chance for few snaps in bad weather though. On our descend, we had lunch at PNOC and soaked ourselves for 30 minutes in the 39 degrees hot spring before proceeding to our ‘side trip’, the White Sandbar right across the resort where we stayed.

Bike

Biking around Butuan city reached 13km only. This included our road biking to the local government unit, the bus station and our marketing at Gaisano Mall. Meanwhile, biking from Binoni port to Yumbing on Camiguin island was a gradual sloping 27km. Mind you, we had backpacks while on bike. I could still remember how the local halo-halo saved our day!

Outreach

We had two low impact Outreach activities. One in Butuan City and another one on Camiguin island.

In Butuan city, Ms Lilit Mission-Concon of Tourism Office and her friendly team welcomed us. They advised us to go to the City Social Welfare Development (CSWD) Office for our goodies. Ms Asuncion L. Dalugdugan then received the clothes we handed over for the recent flood victims.

Manang Carmelita was teary eyed when Almond, Crinkles and I gave the goodies to them in Itom, Camiguin island. She thought we will just hike up Tres Marias and not to visit them. She offered coffee but we opted to leave so that they could save it for their next meal.

HOW TO GO THERE

Better take PAL from Manila to Butuan city.  No hassle when checking in. Flight attendants are very courteous and will give you computations for price comparison if you want to avail of your baggage allowance or have it cargoed.

Once you landed, look for vans available since the airport is 15 minutes away from the main area of the city. Then take the Bachelor Tours to reach Balingoan port to reach Camiguin island. From there, you may choose the vessels called “roro” available. (There is an available roro every 30 minutes).

WHERE TO STAY

Hotel Karaga is the perfect place for bikers while in Butuan city. They have a special parking for your bikes! Thanks to the owners Mr Iwa and Mr Perkin who were very accommodating to the three of us! Mr Iwa even drove us to the bus station to ensure that we will be able to catch the schedule. Check out their website > > http://www.hotelkaraga.com

Meanwhile, you will have a homey stay at Sabacajan Beach and Cottages on Camiguin island. This family owned place is manned by Mommy Terry and her daughters. Give them an email and they will surely reserve a room for you (joebabess@yahoo.com).

Starting the year with HBO – hike, bike and outreach was all fun and adventure! h

ITINERARY (Hike-Bike-Outreach)

Day 1

1050 ETD Manila to Butuan via PAL

1220 ETA Butuan city

Check in Hotel Karaga

Assemble the bike

Bike around and go to the local government unit (LGU) to hand over the goods for the Outreach

Check the bus schedule bound to Balingoan port and the vessel that sails to Camiguin island

Have Dinner

Day 2

0600 ETD Butuan bus bound to Camiguin Benoni port. Make sure you are 15 minutes before the bus schedule since the bus leaves on time. We took the Bachelor Tours

0900 ETA Balingoan

1030 ETD Balingoan

1130 ETA Camiguin port

1200 Bike to Sabacajan

Have lunch along the way

1500 ETA Sabacajan Beach and Cottages, check in

1630 Go to Itom for Outreach

1800 Have Dinner

Day 3

0600 ETD to hike Hibok-Hibok

0630 Breakfast at Ardent Hot Spring

0730 Start of Trek

1230 End of Trek

1300 Hot Spring experience

1500 White Sandbar

1600 ETD Sabacajan Beach and Cottages to pack up things

1800 ETD Camiguin Benoni port

1900 ETD Balingoan port

2200 ETA Butuan city

2230 ETA Karaga Hotel

2300 Have Dinner

Day 4

1250 ETD Butuan city to Manila

1420 ETA Manila

BUDGET: 9K PHP (180 USD per fun biker/hiker for 3 pax with provisions for bike cargo cost airline-bus-vessel)

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