Tuesday, November 29, 2011


After Aurora, Zamboanga Del Sur, we proceeded that night to Pagadian City, Zamboanga Del Sur.

We stayed at Pagadian Bay Plaza Hotel which indeed gave us a beautiful view of the bay.
Located at Datoc St Corner Cabrera St Gatas District, Pagadian City Philippines. The Bay Plaza Hotel in Pagadian is affordable with quality accommodation offering harbor and city views in perfect proximity to the capitals vibrant city center and superb leisure activities to experience and explore.

The mid-sized hotel was recommended by a colleague and I was happy we stayed there.

We entered into the hotel lobby quite late in the evening.

the lobby in the morning
Then, we moved to our room. We were quite tired after a very long trip from Zamboanga City to Aurora (which is farther than Pagadian from ZC) and back to Pagadian City.

The aisle was a bit narrow, but the rooms were quite big and comfortable.

We had a real good night sleep!

This is the bathroom.

I woke up early because I wanted to see the view of the Pagadian Bay.

The hotel was located up in the hill plus we were in the fifth floor so we got the perfect panorama of the Pagadian Bay.

Here is Pagadian Bay at 5 to 6 a.m.

The Pagadian Bay was a bit foggy and it had a breath-taking feel.

Inner part of Pagadian Bay, the Big Dao-dao island (Dao-dao Dako) on the center and the smaller Dao-dao Gamay Island on the right foreground.

the colorful castle-like City Agora

Did you know that I felt the San Francisco, California air when I first went to Pagadian City?
It happened to be a cool and foggy day with the rolling landscape of their streets that made me feel I was in the streets of San Francisco.
My friend from Pagadian was "surprised" that I thought so!

The second time I passed Pagadian City, it was really sunny, and I didn't it was San Francisco anymore!
The character of the houses, buildings and architecture became clearer on a sunny day.

Here is Pagadian Bay at 7 to 8 a.m.
This is the view just outside the window.
Best Emporium

road to Southern Mindanao Colleges

Butterbun, also seen in Zamboanga City

Southern Mindanao Colleges = College of Engineering

view of the Best Emporium and neighboring buildings

view of the Pagadian Bay and the mountain

On the horizon, this is what we see.

Dome of a mosque in Sta. Lucia District, with a minaret beside it 

Inner part of Pagadian Bay,
 the smaller Dao-dao Gamay Island in the center.

Can you tell me what kind of boat this is?
The balancer ("katig") appears to be radial...

I was reveling in the view and I couldn't put down my camera!

Eventually, everyone woke up and so we had our breakfast down at the cafe.

Although, it was just an overnight stay, I really liked the hotel!

Soon, we were about to leave and one thing in Pagadian City really caught my eye. 
Of course, the unique Pagadian tricycle!

Its unique tilt makes us wonder...
They say it is built to be able to be positioned well when going up the steep and hilly roads of Pagadian City, as I said "the Streets of San Francisco".

I really haven't gone around Pagadian City but it is good to know that the City is also quite progressive already.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


We had a surprise night visit to Aurora, Zamboanga Del Sur last July 2010.

Where is Aurora, Zamboanga Del Sur?

Aurora is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Zamboanga del SurPhilippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 42,820 people in 8,329 households. It is the easternmost municipality in Zamboanga del Sur, bounded by the Province of Lanao del Norte on its eastern side. The town was named after President Manuel Quezon's wife, Aurora Quezon.
In 1948, a portion of Aurora was separated to form the town of Molave.[1

And here are more data that I gathered from the Aurora, ZDS website.
Aurora is classified as a third-class municipality of Zamboanga del Sur. It was discovered sometime in 1927 by sixteen Cebuano pioneers, although it wasn’t officially created until the 22nd of August, 1942, under Executive Order No. 353. The town got its name from the first lady of the late President Manuel L. Quezon, Doña Aurora Aragon Quezon.

Since the town was established during wartime, there is little information about the first set of officials that ran the municipality after its inception. Whatever information was on hand, however, point to an American mestizo by the name of Col. Luis Morgan as the one who established the first government of Aurora. This government was semi-military in nature and Col. Morgan appointed Anselmo Romanillos as the mayor.
After the war, in 1946, President Manuel L. Quezon appointed Alejandro Ceniza as the municipal mayor until he officially ran for the position and won on January 1948. He was succeeded by Guillerme Ontal, who held the office until 1959, when Ceniza ran again and won. His running mate, Jose Lim Tecson, had to take over the position when Ceniza unexpectedly died in 1962. Ceniza’s younger brother, Antolin, decided to pick up where his brother left off and ran for candidacy in 1962, which the young doctor won. Both Tecson and Ceniza would meet numerous times in the political arena until a new face in the person of Enrique Cabahug emerged in 1988. He would later be re-elected multiple times until the present.
The municipality is reputed to be the number one producer of professionals in the province; it is said that it is rare when a family does not have at least one professional in it. With 8,329 households as of the 2000 census, this is a big claim indeed. When it comes to natural attractions, Aurora boasts of the Aurora Mountain Resort, located in Anonang, one of the municipaliy’s 44 barangays. The resort has two swimming pool amenities that are perfect for family outings and it affords anyone a good view of the place.

We went to Aurora to fetch one of the nursing students who had his internship there.
But most of all, to surprise him because it was his birthday!

It was really a special trip because it takes about 8 hours from Zamboanga City before we reach Aurora, Zamboanga Del Sur.

So when we arrived at about 7 p.m., all we could see in Aurora were the houses.
That was fine because it was enough for me to be impressed that it was a progressive town after all.

It was quite funny that when we were told to look for a two-storey house with a veranda, I thought that it was an easy task.
But, I found out that most of the houses in Aurora, ZDS were  two-storey with a veranda!
Maybe, that was because it is said Aurora is the number one producer of professionals in the Province... isn't this an interesting fact!!!

Anyway, here are some scenes of the surprise birthday!
The surprise party was complete with a lechon (a sign of a real celebration in the Philippines!) and a nice birthday cake!!!
We had to balance our acts while carrying the cake all the way from ZC to ZDS!
Luckily, the cake was still intact when we arrived in Aurora.

It is eating time!!!
Since we arrived at a bit passed 8 p.m., including the time looking for the house, most of the kids already ate dinner.
The group picture, of course, is always part of the fun!

And, of course, the real fun comes with unexpected "kulitan"!

The hospital where the kids had their internship (is that what they call it?) is close to the house.
Lights from the Aurora General Hospital near the house, across the park

One of the very interesting places that took my attention is little park in Aurora, Zamboanga Del Sur, across the house where the kids were staying.

It was dark but I can see a well manicured park with interesting "stone animals". A nice place for family fun.

I have to see Aurora, ZDS in the daytime. I don't think I can do that again soon.
But, I was glad to see a glimpse of the place even at night.

We left for Pagadian City that same night where we stayed for the night.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


These are just some of the things that caught my interest in Coron... Whatnots, I may say!!!

Q1: Do you recognize me?

The first time I showed this in Facebook, a friend immediately commented, "What a cute frog!"

As we were having our dinner, I noticed this at one side of the ceiling... 
therefore, it couldn't be a frog!

Of course, looking closely, it is the ever famous "TUKÔ"!

It is a present issue in the Philippines wherein   the gecko is considered to be endangered and shouldn't be sold. 
In fact, in websites, they say it costs a million but I think, they just made fun of the illegal sale and trading issue.

Now, you can see me in full body view!!!

The tukô is the Philippine gecko.
The Tokay Gecko is known as a Tuko or Toko in the Philippines, Tokek in Indonesian/Javanese, and tắc kè in Vietnamese, for its characteristic vocalizations. People have mixed feelings about it ranging from terror of the belief that its feet can tear your skin off to admiration for its entertaining vocalizations;[citation needed] in the Philippines, most people respect it and value it because it eats dangerous pests such as scorpions and giant centipedes.[citation needed]
The Tokay Gecko is the second largest Gecko species, attaining lengths of about 30–40 cm (11–15 inches) for males, and 20–30 cm (7–11 inches) for females, with weights of only 150–300g (5–10 oz). They are distinctive in appearance, with a bluish or grayish body, sporting spots ranging from light yellow to bright red. The male is more brightly colored than the female. They have large eyes with a vertical slit pupil. Eyes are brown to greenish brown and can be orange or yellow.

There were also lots of "cute" and unique bugs there.
Unique because we don't see them as big and as colorful in our place.

Q2: Have you seen me before?
This appears to be a scarab beetle but unfortunately, I couldn't identify this specifically.
Maybe someone can help me here.
Scarabs are stout-bodied beetles, many with bright metallic colors, measuring between 1.5 and 160 mm. They have distinctive, clubbedantennae composed of plates called lamellae that can be compressed into a ball or fanned out like leaves to sense odors. The front legs of many species are broad and adapted for digging.

Q3: How about me?
I am a bug but I look like a beetle.

I am a shield bug.
Pentatomoidea is a superfamily of insects in the Heteroptera suborder of the Hemiptera order and, as such, share a common arrangement of sucking mouthparts.[1] They are commonly referred to as shield bugschust bugs, and stink bugs.
Acanthosomatidae is a family of Hemiptera, commonly named “shield bugs,” for which Kumar in his World revision recognizes 47 genera; now this number is 54 genera, with about 200 species, and is one of the least diversified families within Pentatomoidea.[1]
I remember the time when we had our Entomology class (scientific study of insects) and we used to look for bugs and beetles, moths and butterflies.
I loved the colorful jewel bugs most of all. 

Q4: What kind of bird am I?

I thought it was just a plain crow, but I found out what kind of bird it was.
I am an Asian Glossy Starling.

Aplonis panayensis
Lowland areas from second growth to cities
Common and gregariousFlies to and from roosts in noisy flocks. Adults are all black glossed with green while immatures have white underparts finely streaked with black. Both adults and immatures have blood red eyes.
Here are other shots I have...

And I like the silhouette shots.

Q5: Do you recognize what I am?
Do you consider me a fruit?
Here are more pictures of me...

Or am I a nut?
I am a cashew fruit.
The cashew is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. It is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew nuts and cashew apples.
The tree is small and evergreen, growing to 10-12m (~32 ft) tall, with a short, often irregularly shaped trunk. The leaves are spirally arranged, leathery textured, elliptic to obovate, 4 to 22 cm long and 2 to 15 cm broad, with a smooth margin. The flowers are produced in a panicle or corymb up to 26 cm long, each flower small, pale green at first then turning reddish, with five slender, acute petals 7 to 15 mm long. The largest cashew tree in the world covers an area of about 7,500 square metres (81,000 sq ft).

BUT, I am not a real fruit.
The fruit of the cashew tree is an accessory fruit (sometimes called a pseudocarp or false fruit). What appears to be the fruit is an oval or pear-shaped structure that develops from the pedicel and the receptacle of the cashew flower.[1] Called the cashew apple, better known in Central America as "marañón", it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure about 5–11 cm long. It is edible, and has a strong "sweet" smell and a sweet taste. The pulp of the cashew apple is very juicy, but the skin is fragile, making it unsuitable for transport. In Latin America, a fruit drink is made from the cashew apple pulp which has a very refreshing taste and tropical flavor that can be described as having notes of mango, raw green pepper, and just a little hint of grapefruit-like citrus

Nor am I a real nut.
The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe that grows at the end of the cashew apple. The drupe develops first on the tree, and then the pedicel expands into the cashew apple. Within the true fruit is a singleseed, the cashew nut. Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the nut of the cashew is a seed. The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing an allergenic phenolic resin, anacardic acid, a potent skin irritantchemically related to the more well known allergenic oil urushiol which is also a toxin found in the related poison ivy.

Q6: What am I?

.I saw this shell on top of the wooden shelf, with a few smaller shells beside it. Of course, it was dried up and empty.
When I was trying to remember what kind of shell this was, all I could remember was Codakia, which is actually another kind of shell.
But, this turned out to the Tridacna Maximus.
The maxima clam (Tridacna maxima), also known as the small giant clam, is a species of bivalve found throughout the Indo-Pacific. They are much sought after in the aquarium trade, as their often striking coloration mimics that of the true giant clam, however the maximas maintain a manageable size, with the shells of large specimen typically not exceeding 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in length.

Q7: Have you seen me in Fishville?
The scalloped shell may actually be the live Tridacna.
 Am I brain coral?

I guess it is... looks like a brain to me!
Brain coral is a common name given to corals in the family Faviidae so called due to their generally spheroid shape and grooved surface which resembles a brain. Each head of coral is formed by a colony of genetically identical polyps which secrete a hard skeleton of calcium carbonate; this makes them important coral reef builders like other stony corals in the order Scleractinia.

Q8: Have you seen me before?

Aren't they beautiful?

These are called Million Flowers.

Q8: I am quite common, right?
I was so attracted to the vermillion color!

This is a lily!

Lilium is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs. Most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere, though the range extends into the northern subtropics. They comprise a genus of about 110 species in the lily family (Liliaceae).
Lilies form an important group of flowering garden plants, and are important culturally and in literature in much of the world. Some species are sometimes grown or harvested for the edible bulbs.
Lilies are leafy stemmed herbs. They form naked or tunic-less scaly underground bulbs which are their overwintering organs. 
The large flowers have six tepals. They are often fragrant, and come in a range of colours ranging through whites, yellows, oranges, pinks, reds and purples. Markings include spots and brush strokes. The plants are late spring or summer flowering.
These are some of the flora and fauna that caught my eye in Coron.
Aren't they interesting?