Home > December 2011
I've mentioned in some of my previous posts that I'm a backpacker but I haven't really fully understood what that word means (so pardon me if I used it incorrectly). I probably haven't grasped its true essence yet but at least I now have a good understanding what backpacking/backpacker entails. And I more or less know what type of backpacker I am.
It was worth the trouble and distance, really. Kabigan Falls is an enchanting falls located at the eastern part of Balaoi. It's an 80-feet waterfall surrounded by thick forest which reminded me of Mt. Makiling. The waterdrop can hit you real hard and it's quite a challenge to swim toward the center where the downward current's strongest. Strangely enough, the water's not too cold despite the damp atmosphere.
The primary purpose of our trip in Candelaria, Quezon one sunny day in April 2011 was to attend a friend's wedding. Friends talked about plans of spending the night on a beach so I made sure I packed some extra clothes. The hotel we stayed at had a huge pool but it had some funny smell so we weren't really enticed to take a dip. It was a good thing that we had a friend who knew a few beaches in Quezon, or rather a friend who's friends with people who know a lot of beaches in Quezon.
With a few choices given to us, we went for Kuwebang Lampas (or Kwebang Lampas). It sounded interesting. How far it is from here, we asked. One to two hours. Not bad. Do we spend the night there? No, we leave before dusk. A few chatter and we called it a night. The next morning ignoring our grumbling stomach, we left the hotel and boarded a bus bound for Bicol.
[Nice little swamp]
He dropped us off in Brgy. Bantigue, where we hopped on a small boat which crossed a very peaceful swamp, transferring us to a rocky beach front. We played around and took photos while waiting for another boat to take us to Kwebang Lampas.
The boat was too small it couldn't accommodate all of us so some of our peers decided to trek to the beach. I wasn't in the mood to hike so I stayed on the tiny boat.
It's just about a kilometer stretch of white sand but my golly, it's a paradise for every beach lover. A little undiscovered paradise that is hidden by limestone cliffs at both ends. Never mind if there was a large swarm of people frolicking on the beach. Never mind if we vied for space to camp and eat.
But what is CouchSurfing.com? For starters, it is a real-life social network site that connects travelers, or "surfers" who are willing to offer a free place to stay among visiting 'friends'. Just like Facebook, it incorporates features such as user profiles, photos and friend requests. Instead of looking for people you know, you use CouchSurfing.com to find people who'd like to meet in places you want to visit. You can arrange to meet for a drink somewhere or even request to stay with them — on their couch or sometimes in a guest room.
For backpackers wanting to save on accommodation, this is a perfect deal. Before you get too excited, learn the basics of Couchsurfing first.
How to Couchsurf
Couchsurfing is as simple as creating an account on Couchsurfing.com and then looking for a suitable person to stay with or meet. Finding a good host may prove to be a little challenging but you can improve your chances by creating a good profile. Your profile is the most important part of your couchsurfing life.
Hosts have requirements too, which are normally stated on their profiles. They indicate where in their house the guests can sleep (photos may be available), what type of people they're willing to accept and which time of the year they can accept travellers. They can decline offers. After every CouchSurfing interaction, the people involved leave references about each other — positive, neutral or negative. A negative feedback means a bad reputation.
Now, the most important question - Is it Safe?
I haven't personally tried it yet although I have an account with them. I've looked at some of the members' profiles and most testimonials are relatively positive. You'd be surprised to learn that there are several Filipino members acting either travellers or hosts.
The site's service is designed around the premise similar to eBay's - People are basically good. However, there have been some unfortunate and well-publicised accounts of violent and non-violent crimes perpetrated by bogus couchsurfing hosts.
To build confidence among its users, Couchsurfing has adopted some “security and verification features, one of which is the “official verification”, where the user donates a minimum of $25 dollars to verify their name (through a credit/debit card) and address (by entering a code mailed on a postcard).
Still you can't rule out the fact that there are risks involved with this kind of set-up because after all, you're staying at a stranger's house.
Some safety tips for couchsurfers:
1. Take time to read and review people’s testimonials and references
2. Arrange meet-ups in a public place, like a café or restaurant near their house.
3. Always have a plan B. Make sure to keep contact details of a nearby hotel just in case.
4. Most importantly, always let someone know where you’re going (forward address details to a trusted friend, and call or email to let them know how things are going there once you’ve arrived.)
Good luck and let us know of your first Couchsurfing experience. :-)
Are you afraid of flying?
|CDO-bound on a rainy afternoon|
Here are different ways by which you can help the victims.
DSWD. Volunteers needed at DSWD Cagayan de Oro (Masterson rd, Upper Carmen) to repack and deliver relief goods. Call +63906-615-0095 or tweet @DSWDserve.
Iligan Bloggers Society. Meet at Rizal Park at 8AM on December 18, 2011. Look for Erika Cruz 0905-280-2002
Rock Ed Iligan. Running a soup kitchen in Iligan now. Donate any amount so they can continue to serve hot meals for homeless families in the neighborhood to BPI Loyola 3080.0073.44. Tweet @rockedradio for help
Red Cross via credit card & bank deposit. Visit http://www.redcross.org.ph/donatenow
Red Cross via Globe. Text RED < amount > to 2899. You may transfer P5, 25, 50, 100, 300, 500
Red Cross via Smart. Text RED < amount > to 4143. Valid donation amounts 10, 25, 50, 100
Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro needs donations in CASH, FOOD (noodles, canned goods, etc.), BOTTLED WATER, and CLEAN CLOTHES. Details here: http://www.xu.edu.ph/index.php/other-news/642-bagyong-sendong-relief-operations-in-xavier-university/
Iligan Bloggers Society is asking for cash donations, canned goods, noodles, bath and laundry soaps, toothpaste, rice, used clothings, slippers. Details here: http://iliganbloggers.com/food/one-for-iligan-help-the-typhoon-sendong-victims/
ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya. Donations accepted in cash and in kind. Details: http://www.facebook.com/notes/anc-247/heres-how-you-can-help-victims-of-sendong-via-sagip-kapamilya/10150529342939122
Globe G-Cash. Text DONATE(space)AMOUNT(space)MPIN(space)SLB and send to 2882.
|This was CDO at night. Taken during our CDO trip last August.|
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- ► 2012 (93)
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- What Type of Backpacker Are You?
- In Japar, We Slept Under the Stars
- Pagudpud Getaway
- Kuwebang Lampas - Discovering a Nice Beach in Quez...
- Couchsurfing - More than a Social Networking Site ...
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- A Guide for Beginning Travel Writers - Like Me
- Ways to Help Sendong Victims
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- ▼ December (12)