We were windswept as we went back to island camping at our fave Kalanggaman Island (shades of summertime!) taking in the sun and the sea for the 1st 15K Kayak Marathon (open invitational)  – a 15-kilometer kayaking marathon race from Kalanggaman Island to Palompon town proper last Friday, Oct 28, 2011.

It was island party time Thursday night, then up early at the crack of dawn the next day for the 6AM start of the race.

There were a total of 14 tandem registrants, some coming from Tagbilaran, Bohol; Basey, Samar and Tacloban, and one German tandem. The out-of-towners, however, were out-classed by the local fisherfolks who grabbed all the top prizes – their knowledge and familiarity of the race route undoubtedly serving them well.

It took the 1st placers, Lloydan Cabagte & Judy Singson (Kayak # 02) roughly 2 hours and 10 minutes to navigate the 15-kilometer distance from the island to the Port of Palompon over a relatively calm, early morning sea.

The winners:

Champion: Lloydan Cabagte & Judy Singson (Kayak # 02)

2nd Place: Willy Booc & Junior Bregildo (Kayak # 03)

3rd Place: Ariel Ilaida & Elmo Lagat (Kayak # 01)

4th Place: Alberto Yaon & Diosdado Parader (Kayak # 09)

Prizes: 1st Prize – PhP15,000 + trophy; 2nd Prize – PhP10,000 + trophy;  3rd Prize – PhP7,000 + trophy; and 4th Prize – PhP5,000 + trophy

The kayak race was the opening salvo of Palompon’s “Lawig ni Señor Iko” – a month-long series of activities leading to the town’s fiesta celebration honoring its patron saint, St. Francis Xavier.

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We had visiting guests from California over the weekend and it was an opportunity for us to finally get to visit and see for ourselves a not-so-open secret anymore of a quiet hideway in Southern Leyte.

Traveling straight from the US of A, our guests arrived at NAIA early Saturday morning, then took a connecting flight for Tacloban. So after lunch at Rafael’s Farm in Babatngon we were off for the 3 1/2-hour drive to Macrohon, Southern Leyte.

We had a brief stop-over at the country’s tallest bridge, the Agas-agas Bridge in Sogod, So. Leyte, and we finally reached Kuting Reef around 7PM just in time for a sumptuous dinner.

After a long day, most of which was spent on the road, Kuting Reef was simply a cozy, relaxing haven to dig into.

The food was great; service was good and the staff are friendly and accommodating.

Those wanting to escape from the usual routine of web surfing and mobile phone SMS would love it here – mobile phone signals are almost non-existent, save for a few spots where one can freeze and do FB sneaks using the cellphone.

I had no doubt I would survive a weekend without the internet… and I was right. ;) What I was more worried about was when they turned on the huge projector screen and started showing “Just for Laughs” video…

Uh oh… could videoke be not far behind and ruin an otherwise quiet, perfect evening???

Well, the gods heard my prayers: no videoke here. Great. I hate videoke.

With special thanks to Raquel Nazario Espiritusanto who made this visit happen. ;) Thanks, Rocky!

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