I was lucky this time.

Here are fresh takes of the view from above of San Juanico Bridge and Tacloban City.

Photos taken 06 September 2010.

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We recently attended an island wedding held in Calicoan, Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

An island wedding? you ask.

Yep. Something we all looked forward to to experience.

Specially since it was going to be held at Surf Camp Resort.

It was the civil wedding of Niña Bañez, the (only) daughter of our good friends, Tente & Leny, to her long time fiancee Ryan Cerdiña.

Congratulations, Niña and Ryan!

View better quality pre-nuptial and wedding photos: http://gerryruiz.callezaragosa.com/p832662807

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When one goes to tour the Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park in Basey, Samar nowadays, one gets to see invariably only the Sohoton Caves and not the Natural Bridge.

That’s because the Sohoton Natural Bridge is further upstream, perhaps a kilometer or so, and can be reached only by smaller bancas during high tide as the river is shallow in these areas.

In most cases, one has to go trekking through the thick rainforest in order to reach the site.

The first time we got to see the Sohoton Natural bridge was about 10 years ago…

Our first time to see the natural bridge with the Asoy’s, Langston’s and Gasco’s – some 10 years back (when Helly’s hair and mine were still really black haha!)

In succeeding trips we would only get to do the tour inside the Sohoton Caves,  after which we’d head back to civilization.

So we never got to visit the natural bridge again.

Until last week.

This time we made firm plans to go and reach the site as a personal objective. Together with Dr. Ricky and Rica Dimayuga – bigwigs of sister agency Lakbay Capiz Travel & Tours, Ludette and I set our minds to reach the Natural Bridge.

The trek was arduous to say the least, not for the physically unfit. It was an adventure of its own.

When we got near to the site the tide was low and our bigger banca could not navigate the shallow river. So we had to trek up the thick forest and cross the river twice! The latter was a bit tricky as the undercurrent was strong and the riverbed is not exactly flat and sandy; it is full of stones. One false move and there goes your camera equipment!

The scenes around the national park, however, is awesome. You are so close to Mother Nature it’s so quiet and serene – all you hear is the steady rhythmic flow of the shallow river, a bird’s call here and there and the cacophony of sounds of some crickets in concert somewhere nearby. It’s brimming with exotic flora and fauna.

Continue reading »

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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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