traversing GenSan

travellers always associate General Santos City with the sea mainly because of its well-known product – gigantic yellowfin tuna.

but if you are looking for more fun-under-the-sun (at sakit sa katawan tulad ko hahaha), then visit the city’s outback - the Kalaja Karst. encompassing the city’s mountainous terrains, the area is ideal for trekking, birdwatching, mountain bike, river crossing and canyoneering.

sadly, we only got half-day to explore Kalaja Karst so we decided to proceed to Asbekong Waterfalls, a series of seven small waterfalls located at the boundary of the city and Polomolok

the trip to the falls is both fantastic and challenging. proceed first to Barangay Conel then 45-minutes via habal-habal to the community of B’laan. additional 30-minutes river trekking before you reach the first waterfall. add another 30minutes and you will reach the seventh.

be awed by the majestic profile of Mt Matutum, surrounding hills (reminds me of Busuanga Island of Palawan), beautiful gorges and sweet songs of birds. saw two chinese goshawk (not black-shouldered kite as mentioned in the first version of this post), flowerpeckers and bushchats.

of course, don’t forget to swim in the cold and refreshing water

if you have time still, visit the Kalaja cave and explore the hidden World War II bunkers made by Japanese soldiers that camped in the city during the war.

yes yes, don’t miss a visit to the city’s fish port. however, one needs to coordinate early with the city’s tourism since trip to the port is heavily regulated.

but the hassle is worth it. very nice to see first-hand the port’s early morning activities – fisherfolk carrying, tagging and cleaning (removing gills, stomach and other internal organs) giant tunas and blue marlins (an adult may weighed more than 100 kilos), bartering and learning how to identify first-class fish meat.

finally, enjoy sugba with beer and durian as desert, yumyum :)

General Santos City


* photos by A. Larracas


Talaandig Festival

three days of music, dances, art, fun and memorable experience with the Talaandig.

very fortunate that we were able to join the annual festival of one of the colourful indigenous tribes of Bukidnon.

the Talaandig Festival, held every 3rd week of October in their community in Lantapan, is a multi-days event of camaraderie, sharing and festivity.

this year, datus and leaders of other tribes in Bukidnon attended the festival to express their unity towards lasting peace between the different katutubo and Bangsamoro groups in Bukidnon.

the culminating day of the festival started with prayers and singing of Lupang Hinirang in Talaandig language; soothing sound of bamboo flute and energetic beatings of percussion; traditional dances;

sharing of agricultural products, fruits, kakanin and rootcrops, yumyum. stuff myself with lots of nilagang mais, kamote, gabi and green bayabas hehehe;

a tribal wedding;

and kainan ulit after :)

makigulo sa pinakamahirap na palaro - a relay composed of palosebo,

setting up of kalan, roasting, pounding and preparing coffee; and plucking and roasting a chicken, grabe!

kahit matindi ang ulan, everybody are having a great time.

capped the night with more music, jamming and dancing

the Talaandig are warm and happy people

showed us their craftsmanship and award-winning artworks such as soil-paintings

and sculptures;

taught us how to play drums and bamboo flute (i need lots of practice huhuhu);

welcomed us in their jamming sessions;

and best of all, flowing brewed coffee in every home, very nice hehehe.

thanks to our friends Angging and Mavic for the invitation and introducing us to their future community :) and to Soliman and his family for their hospitality.

next year ulit hehehe. balik-balik!

Talaandig Festival


Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon


ArtBike: Museums

with typhoon Quiel looming in the horizon, I and Ani (my bike) pedaled to Manila City from Quezon City (distance of 13 km) to join the 4th ArtBike*, a unique biking event that promotes the country's proud history, culture and talents.

this month features museums - visits to some of our vaults of arts and cultures.

first, bike ride within the old-walled city of Intramuros. been to this famous tourist spot countless of times but it’s my first time to navigate the cobblestone streets of Intramuros in a bicycle.

next stop, the National Museum ( the main building houses some of the country’s treasures such as the famous Spoliarium of Juan Luna and the “Assassination of Governor Bustamante”, a famous and awarded work of Felix Resurrección Hidalgo.

the country’s primary museum also houses the works of our national artists – Fernando Amorsolo, Botong Francisco, Juan Arellano, etc.

then a quick stop to Hiraya Gallery (530 UN Avenue, Manila). the gallery is a small virtual space that showcases the works of new and emerging artists.

it started to drizzle when we arrived at the Metropolitan Museum ( located at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas building along Roxas boulevard, the Met houses modern and contemporary visual paintings and installations.

the Met also kept another famous work of Hidalgo titled the “Las Virgenes Cristianas expuestas al populacho” (The Christian virgins Exposed to the Populace), the silver medallist during the 1884 Exposición Nacional de Bellas Arte, the same competition where Luna also gained international recognition. too bad, only a reproduction of the said painting is available for public viewing.

the weather turned bad when we arrived at Galleria Duemilla ( yet, we were received with warm hospitality by the owner Silvana Ancellotti-Diaz. the galleria showcases contemporary paintings, sculptures, paper works, installations, etc.

Silvania also gave us a quick tour of her compound, working stations, their vintage car collection, etc.

raining still, we arrived at Avellano Gallery (House A-19, 2680 F.B. Harrison, Pasay City). the gallery showcases unique spiral metal installations, glass work, etc.

decided to break out from the group (missed the GSIS Museum) because of the bad weather and an expected long ride back to QC (more than 20km). encountered the wrath of Quiel on the return trip – strong winds and blinding downpour, exciting hehehe. but when both brakes of Ani failed, it obliterated the fun, tsk.

a very informative day and wonderful urban bike tour :)



Manila – Pasay

*the ArtBike was conceptualized by group of friends who loves biking and art. thru this initiative, they hope to promote the country’s diverse natural wealth, talent and culture. ArtBike is held every first Saturday of the month.