There is more to Mindanao than armed conflict–in fact, that may soon become a thing of the past if PH leaders are able to make the right legislative decisions (on time). But I am not here to make a case for the Bangsamoro Basic Law. I’m here to talk about how beautiful the place is, because of the few times I’ve been there, I only saw order–and a lot of happy, peace-loving, and disciplined people.
Just last weekend, a client–abruptly, If I may say–sent me and a teammate to a CSR coverage in Surigao City. I say it’s still worth the nerve-racking turbo prop ride (with an impeding storm, mind you), because they were doing an environmental program. The best decision I made that trip was to skip the evening socials on the second day and squeeze in a quick Day Asan Floating Village side-trip a couple of hours before the flight back to Manila.
If you are coming from Surigao City, there is only one way to go to Day-Asan. Well, actually, two but they’re pretty much the same. You either take a habal-habal (motorcyle) or a multi-cab (trike) near the market and that would cost you a little more than a hundred. It’s just a quick 15 – 20 minute ride. Going back is cheaper at P40.00.
Meet my boat man and tour guide, Julito Catarman. He’s quite low key but extremely popular, especially online. Almost every person who posted a review on TripAdvisor said they had the best snorkeling experience thanks to this guy, and you know what, they’re right. He is a genius! He even let me borrow his mask when I said I wanted to go snorkeling but didn’t have any gear. The tour costs P500.00, but I suggest you give him a generous tip. 🙂
Aboard our equally famous ride. They call it the Super Baroto, one of the few tourist boats in the area, which also functions as a passenger and emergency boat for the village. Pregnant and about to give birth or dying of impacho? You’d probably ride the Super Baroto on the way to the nearest community hospital / midwife. No kidding!
This fellow is Mang Julito’s neighbor. I’ve heard that several people tried to buy it from him in the past, but our good old man knew it’s better to keep the lucky clam.
Day-Asan is a village on stilts. Most people built their houses in this manner for livelihood. Aquaculture is especially popular, but these guys go for more high-value yield versus the usual milkfish or tilapia. Lobster, anyone? That’s P2,500 a kilo.
From the passenger waiting area / dock, the tour would take you past the houses and into a mangrove forest. Look down from time to time to see multitudes of seagrass and then look ahead as you come closer to the open sea.
Day-Asan reminds me of the mangrove forest in Cagbalete, as well as Iwahig in Palawan. Guys! Mang Julito says fireflies appear at night, but there are no special tours designed for watching them. At least, there’s none YET.
The last part of the tour involves snorkeling. No gear? Afraid to swim? No underwater camera? No problemo. This contraption is meant to address all of your concerns.
And what it does is this. Photo taken using my trusty 5S.
I guess we all know that no photo would be able to justify the beauty under sea. My suggestion of course, is for you to actually go there and see these things. And I hope you find your self lost for words like I was. To cap off, let me give you a photo of lato. Picked it fresh from the sea, then ate it. Delicioso!
This blog post is part of my 2015 travel project called #epic7107 — to vist as many places within the home-country as possible and to write not just about destinations, but also, people.