Saturday, October 8, 2011

Operation Solo Flight Day 2: The Little Niagara of the Philippines... and more

Second day started at 730 am. After fixing myself and the stuff I'd be bringing around (extra clothes, since I'd definitely be swimming :P) I went out of the dorm and found sir James oiling his folding bike. He bid me good morning and asked me what my plans for the day are. I said I'd be visiting Hinatuan Enchanted River and Tinuy-an falls. I asked if it's advisable to stay in Mangagoy overnight, since I'm going to Davao the next day. I thought Mangagoy is near Davao. Haha. He informed me that it is a much longer journey from Mangagoy to Davao than from San Franz, Agusan and advised me to just stay in Hinatuan overnight and then take a bus to San Franz the next morning. I immediately agreed to his suggestion, since that also means that I can visit Lolong (the huge croc) on my way to Davao. He also suggested that I visit Tinuy-an first, then the enchanted river, since the bus to Mangagoy passes by CJ Hometel while the enchanted river is more or less 10km away from the highway.
Another roadtrip
As mentioned, you can hail the bus to Mangagoy right outside CJ Hometel. A bus passes by almost every hour, so I can't miss the upcoming one because that means waiting for another hour for the next one. I waited for about 10 minutes for a bus to arrive, and sir James hailed it for me. I told the conductor I'd be going to Tinuy-an falls and asked him to drop me off there. The fare was Php55.

Yay, sea! After hourssss of forest and farmland views the day before, this is a refreshing break. :)
The bus ride, which was said to take about 2 hours, was uneventful.I was once again treated to a refreshing scenery of forests, barangays and farmlands. After sometime, I saw the boulevard and seaside that I remembered was mentioned in blogs, and knew that I'm almost there. Yay.
Then I saw the sign that said this way to Tinuy-an Falls complete with how far it was (15km) and a picture of a smiling man which happened to be the mayor. I was waiting for the conductor to tell me to get off, but he didn't say a thing. Fortunately, the bus had to stopped somewhere not very far from the sign, and I took the opportunity to inquire. Ay, ma'am sa terminal po yung sakayan, he told me. But another passenger countered this and said, no, there are habal-habals in which you can hire there, pointing to the spot near the sign. Php 100, one way, if you'd prefer to be the only passenger. The terminal would be too far already. The other passengers affirmed this, and so I got off and walked towards the this way sign. Hmm, reminds me of last night. :P
When I reached the waiting shed opposite the sign, there were indeed several habal-habal drivers waiting for passengers. One immediately agreed to take me to Tinuy-an and back for Php 200. I asked how long it would take for the trip to take, and he said about 30 minutes. Warning, time runs slower when you're riding a habal-habal, specially when your butt has gone numb. :P One thing I like about  the driver, he wasn't trying to reach our destination in record time. I'd take a numb butt over a broken neck any day. The road wasn't too rough, contrary to my expectations.
I reached Tinuy-an falls at about 930 to 10am. There was an entrance fee of Php 50 (from one of the blogs I've read, it was only Php10 in 2010. Must be because of the new comfort rooms they built? :P) and they'd issue you a gov't receipt for that. The staffs (from the entrance to the life guards) were very accommodating, and their pride in Tinuy-an was very palpable. When I entered the place and saw the falls, I understood why.

There were several cottages for rent, comfort and shower rooms for both ladies and gents, bamboo rafts to get close to the falls, and ring buoy and life jackets (I dunno if for rent, because I haven't availed of this). There're stairs to go the upper part of the falls, where the water is much more shallow and you can enjoy a back massage courtesy of the cascading water without the fear of drowning. It was a little difficult to climb,  but the view from the top is worth any difficulties.
I stayed for an hour and a half; swimming, having my pictures taken by the lifeguards around (yep, they have friendly lifeguards. Your Php50 is well spent. :) ), taking pictures, talking with other visitors, and pretending to enjoy durian. (Haha, don't get me wrong. I don't hate it, but I can only tolerate a limited quantity before the smell gets to me.) One of the lifeguards brought a ripe durian and insisted that I have some. He mistook my reluctance with shyness and kept egging me to eat. I did eat some, before I 'escaped' by going down in the pretense of intense interest in the wooden rafts. =P

Before leaving Tinuy-an, I took a look at the tshirts that they sell near the entrance. I didn't buy any. Which was too bad since I had no other souvenirs from the place except the big, oval, burn I got from the motorcycle when I stupidly alighted at the right side. XD

Lake 77
I asked the friendly habal-habal driver to stop by Lake 77 on our way back to the highway. I guess I'm anti-Miho (watch: My Girlfriend is a Gumiho) because I love huge expanses of water. There's something about them that tugs at my heart. I don't know what that is, but every time I see rivers, and lakes and seas, I feel light and bubbly inside. One of my many quirks, I suppose.

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I asked Kuya why it's called Lake 77, but he didn't know. There are picnic cottages near the lake, and a huge banner that says it is also a sightseeing destination.

International Doll House
I also asked kuya driver if he knows where the international doll house in  Mangagoy was. He asked another driver that we passed by, and that driver told him the place. I asked him if it's near and he said yes. I really had no plans going there, and I only asked for the sake of having a conversation. =P I also thought that kuya driver will be dropping me off at the waiting shed opposite the sign, but to my surprise, he didn't. So I asked him where are we going and he said, as if puzzled that I didn't know, that he's taking me to the dollhouse. I felt grateful since he didn't asked for more payment and even waited for me to take me back to terminal. Haha thank you so much, kuya! :P

The dollhouse is situated in an elevated place, beside a restaurant which has a good view of the Pacific ocean. They charge Php 20 to see the dolls. One of the caretakers will accompany you to explains bit of histories of the doll collection.
You have to climb these steps to reach the International Doll House

View of the Pacific Ocean from the restaurant beside the doll house.
And here are some of the dolls:

The caretaker told me that the owners (Swiss nationals, if I remembered correctly) collected dolls from the places they visit. Judging from the mighty collection that they have, they've been to loads of places already. I'm jealous. But I'd be sticking to collecting tshirts. Too much horror movies involving dolls had taught me to be wary of them. XD
The caretaker who came with me was also a talented picture-taker. He managed to make a painting in the wall look 3d through my lowly cellphone cam. See this:
Yep, that chair is painted. On the wall.  Flat.
Haha. Awesome no?

From the dollhouse, kuya driver took me to the bus terminal where I'd be boarding a bus back to Hinatuan. It was around 12 noon by then, but I wasn't hungry so I decided to forego lunch. I forgot that the trip back would take 2hours. Oh well, that's for another story. :)

For details on expenses, see: Expenses
Read about my 5-day solo adventures in the south : Butuan city tour, Hinatuan Falls and Enchanted River (and more), Lolong the giant croc, Davao, Samal, and more Davao.

1 comment:

  1. wotttt wottt a very jump pack adventure, I love to read it, I could really felt how much you enjoyed the place... till next backpacking...