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The 1st #InfoTourismAdventureRace in #SensationalSiquijor

#InfoTourismAdventureRace in #SensationalSiquijor
Ready for the 1st #InfoTourismAdventureRace in #SensationalSiquijor

The first #InfoTourismAdventureRace was the highlight during the 22nd annual convention of the Regional Association of Development Information Officers 7 (RADIO 7) at Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort, Tubod, San Juan, Siquijor. This was participated in by tourism officers and public information officers from the central Visayas provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. This was going to be the last RADIO 7 convention that the tourism officers and public information officers from Negros Oriental will be participating in as they will already be separated from the Central Visayas region and integrated into the Negros Island Region by the next year. Public Information Officers participating in the convention were from five (5) different organizations: Association of Government Information Officers (AGIO), Association of Negros Oriental Public Information Officers (ANOPIO), Cebu Association of City and Municipal Public Information Officers (CAOCAMPIO), Siquijor Association of Information Disseminators (SAID), and Bohol's Association of United Development Information Officers (AUDIO).


The first adventure race of its kind in Siquijor, the #InfoTourismAdventureRace was the brainchild of Vince Escario who considers Siquijor as his second home and with the concurrence of PIA 7 regional director Minerva BC Newman. Vince did it with the able help of his assistants, adventure race specialists Mark Christian Kong and Joey Manguerra.

A photo posted by Thaddeau Engaling II (@thadzonline) on


The Teams 

Convention participants were divided into seven (7) different groups who will be participating in the challenge. Each group was assigned at least one (1) blogger mentor affiliated with the Cebu Blogging Community. One group had two (2) blogger mentors and one (1) group was assigned three (3) blogger mentors.

The groups were to create names for their pack. And the team names they came up with are Team Madanihon, Team Kahinam, Team Madasigon, Team IGAT (acronym for Intelligent Goal Achievers Team), Sensational Siquijor Team, Team Mabulukong Pinas, and Vibrant Visayas Team.

Team Madanihon had Carlo Andrew "Caloy" Olano of Kalami Cebu and Why Cebu as its blogger mentor. 


Jeane Louise "JL" Mainit of Lakambini Viajera mentored Team Kahinam. For Team Madasigon, the mentoring blogger was Richard Abad of Bisaya Short Films. Romeo Nicolas "Rome" Bonsocan of Zuprome mentored the Sensational Siquijor Team. 

While yours truly, Thaddeau "Thadz" Engaling II of Wonderful Cebu and Around the Philippines took care of mentoring the Vibrant Visayas Team. The team was originally known as Team Mapinanggaon and later on as Team Blaagers.

Vibrant Visayas Team
Vibrant Visayas Team at Salagdoong Beach


Team IGAT had two blogger mentors in the persons of Eleanor "Miss L" Valeros of Eleanor New Media and Mae Cimafranca of The Apple Daily

Three blogger mentors were assigned to Team Mabulukong Pinas. They are Channel Marie "Shanky" Imperial of ChannelMarie.com, Hoven Andre Encontro of Sugbu.ph and RockXScissors, and Melanie Dianne Manso of Fueled by Caffeine.

A photo posted by Mabulukong Pinas (@mabulukongpinas) on


The Race

The 1st #InfoTourismAdventureRace in #SensationalSiquijor was designed to let the teams experience some of the attractions in the mystic island of fire. Known to many as a land where sorcery and witchcraft is practiced, the adventure race will somehow dispel this unfair perceptions.

There were a total of eight (8) challenges throughout the race spread throughout all six (6) towns of the island province: San Juan, Siquijor, Larena, Enrique Villanueva, Maria, and Lazi. These eight (8) challenges were (1) a sack race at Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort at Tubod, San Juan, (2) a swim at the Capilay Spring Park in Poblacion, San Juan, (3) making herbal oil sourced from coconuts at San Antonio, Siquijor, (4) cooking lunch at the Triad Restaurant and Coffee Shop in Larena, (5) baking pan Bisaya at Binuongan, Enrique Villanueva (Talingting), (6) tree planting at Salagdoong man-made molave forest in Olang, Maria, (7) group photo at Cambugahay Falls in Cangclaran, Lazi, and (8) a group photo at the fish spa under the 400-year old balete tree in Campalanas, Lazi.

Sack Race at Coco Grove 

The race started with a sack race at the activity area of the Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort at Tubod, San Juan, Siquijor. This was the only activity in the race that involved all team members aside from the group photo requirement at the 400-year old balete tree.

Sack race at Coco Grove
Sack race at Coco Grove
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)

Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort

Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort in Tubod, San Juan, Siquijor is one of the biggest resorts in the island province of Siquijor (if not the biggest). Owned by Michael Butler, Coco Grove features an 800 meter beach, three (3) swimming pools of various depths and sizes, three (3) full service restaurants, a dive shop, a game room, an outdoor activity area, an open air function hall, and 91 hotel rooms.




Swim at Capilay Spring Park

The second challenge was for one (1) team member to swim one length of the second chamber of the Capilay Spring Park at the center of San Juan town. The Capilay Spring Park is a popular public swimming pool where locals and tourists bathe in the cool, refreshing cold spring waters.

Capilay Spring park
Swimming at Capilay Spring Park
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)
The chambers at the Capilay Spring Park were constructed in 1863. The cold springs can be found in the first chamber, the second chamber is the public swimming pool where locals and tourists love to bathe, and the third chamber is the chamber where some locals do their laundry. Capilay also has it's own legend. It is named after the former ruler of the place then known as Makalipay, Datu Capilay.



Craft Lana at San Antonio

The third challenge in the race happened at San Antonio, Siquijor which is famous for its mystic healing practices. The challenge involved the teams crafting it's own lana or herbal oil sourced from coconuts. Teams were given three (3) coconuts which they will use to make their herbal oils. The game masters thought that this process would take between two (2) to three (3) hours, but teams did the process in less than an hour.


lana sa San Antonio, Siquijor
Cooking herbal oil
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)

Contrary to popular belief that Siquijor is a land of sorcery, witchcraft, and flying shape shifters, the mystic practices of the island actually focuses more on the altruistic nature of healing and protection. All teams converge at the humble abode of Annie and Ando Ponce, who are members of the Association of Siquijor Healers (ASH). Annie and Ando offers services in himulso (pulse consultation), toob (smoke herbal healing), hilot (traditional massage), tawal (ritual healing, and sells lana (herbal oil or liniment), sumpa (herbal for protection), and other herbal products and accessories such as the popular colorful herbal bracelets.

herbal bracelets
Herbal bracelets
(Phpto courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


San Antonio is the bailiwick of herbalists in Siquijor with tehn ASH members residing in the area. Most of the herbalists who live at San Antonio learned their craft as early as when they were thirteen (13) years old passed on from a long line of family tradition from that can be traced back to their great great grandparents.


Cook Lunch at Triad Restaurant and Coffee Shop

All teams came early at the fourth stop of the race, way too early, some 2-3 hours early. This caught both the activity marshals and the staff at the Triad Restaurant and Coffee Shop off guard.

Larena Triad Restaurant and Coffee Shop
Larena Triad Restaurant and Coffee Shop
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


The challenge at the Triad Restaurant and Coffee Shop atop Larena's hills was for the teams to cook their own lunch composed of salawaki (a type of sea urchin), grilled fish, and grilled pork belly.

salawaki sa Siquijor
Preparing lunch
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


Since all teams were way ahead of expected schedule, we stayed for a while at the Triad, enjoying the views it had to offer, rest for a little bit, and breathe in some fresh air.

View from Triad
View from Triad
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)



Triad Restaurant and Coffee Shop

The Triad Restaurant and Coffee Shop atop the hills of Larena is owned by dentists Napoleon and Elena Masayon who are a couple. It is so named because it offers a vantage view of the three other major islands that make up the Central Visayas region: Cebu, Bohol, and Negros. It is also situated at the boundary of three (3) barangays: Nonoc, Cang-alias, and Cangbagsa.

Triad Viewing Deck
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


Side Trip 1: Sandugan Beach Boulevard

The team I was assigned to, sensing that they had a very slim chance of winning the race, decided midway in the race that they'll just take it slow and maximize their time by visiting more places instead of hastily doing the required challenges. The team would still be doing all the mandatory challenges but will make stops in several places of interest along the way. The first stop of such reverie was the Sandugan Boulevard along Sandugan Beach in Larena. Originally the Team Mapinanggaon and later Vibrant Visayas Team, team members joked that they'd rather call their team blaagers, a play of the English word blog and the Cebuano word laag which means to roam around. We had a fun photo shoot here including a hilarious attempt at a failed jump shot and a photo with one of the team members lying on the pavement, after which he funnily complained that the surface was too hot.

Sandugan Beach
Failed attempt at a jump shot
(Photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


Sandugan Boulevard
Goofing around at Sandugan Boulevard
(Photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


Sandugan Boulevard is a stretch of the 75-kilometer Siquijor Circumferential Road that is less than a kilometer and adorned with 56 lamp posts that illumine the road at night. This is probably the best spot to watch a beautiful sunset in Siquijor. The seascape off Sandugan Beach is also a protected marine sanctuary.


Bake Pan Bisaya at Lilibeth's

Right after lunch was another challenge that involved food. Were these organizers trying to stuff us too much so we'll all run a little slower? I hope not. Kidding aside, the challenge was to learn how to bake Siquijor's famous pan Bisaya. 


Siquijor Pan Bisaya
Pan Bisaya
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


Teams learned how to bake the bread from Lilibeth Viernes-Alce, a 47-year old Camugao, Enrique Villanueva town resident who runs a humble mini bread station in the town's barangay Binuongan. Lilibeth showed participants how to make the dough, fill in the bread with bucayo, knead the dough into shape, and cook it in a traditional clay oven with the fire on top. Since there were only two (2) ovens available, teams had to take turns doing the challenge.

baking bread in Siquijor
Mixing the dough
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


Baking bread in Siquijor
Kneading the dough
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


Traditional clay oven
Traditional clay oven
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


While waiting for the other teams to finish their task, teams who had nothing to do made use of their time enjoying the beauty of the place which was beside a beach.

Enrique Villanueva Beach
Beach at Enrique Villanueva
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


They also had a chance to do interviews with Lilibeth and Enrique Villanueva town mayor Gerold Pal-ing who was at the venue.

Lilibeth Viernes-Alce
Lilibeth Viernes-Alce
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


Mayor Gerold Pal-ing
Enrique Villanueva town mayor Gerold Pal-ing
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)

Side Trip 2: Cang-isok House

By the time we finished the native bread baking challenge, we were already in last place. We would fall further behind as we would drop by more places. The second stop that we made that was not part of the race was at Cang-isok House in barangay Libo, Enrique Villanueva. The Cang-isok-House, also referred to as the Tejano House was built by Spanish man Mariano Tejano in the mid-1800's using hardwoods such as tugas and molave, and nipa  for roofing. The house is in a sorry state, probably abandoned by its private owners. This is a pity since this is the oldest known surviving house in the entire Siquijor province.

Cang-isok House
Cang-isok House
(Photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


Side Trip 3: A Tour of Maria's Churches

Prior to completing the next challenge at the Salagdoong forest, we dropped by the Our Lady of the Divine Providence Church and the Poor Clare Monastery at the center of town in Maria. One of our team members, Irving Roy Vios, was the former mayor of Maria and by default he was our tour guide. He did a wonderful job.

Sta. Maria Church Siquijor
Our Lady of the Divine Providence Church in Maria
(Photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


The Our Lady of Divine Providence Church, known to locals as the Sta. Maria Church, is a Spanish colonial era church probably more known for the legendary tales of it's sad-faced image of Santa Rita of Cascia, better known as the Black Maria.


Tree Planting at Salagdoong Man-made Molave Forest

The original plan at the Salagdoong man-made molave forest was to plant some rattan saplings. But since the race organizers had a difficulty remembering where they dug the holes, teams were only required to take a group photo of the rattan saplings. The team I was with, no longer pressured with winning, actually planted some of the rattan saplings.

Salagdoong man-made molave forest
Planting a rattan sapling at Salagdoong forest
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)

Salagdoong Man-made Molave Forest

The Salagdoong man-made molave forest in Olang, Maria town is not only the biggest of its kind in the country. It is also the biggest in the entire Southeast Asia. Agriculturist Agripino Lumunggo started the forest during the administrations of former Philippine presidents Carlo P. Garcia and Ramon Magsaysay. Today, it covers a total area of 202.15 hectares planted with molave, bogo, and moabog hardwood trees as well as rattan. It's natural canopy-like tree cover welcomes visitors heading to the Salagdoong Beach Resort.

Salagdoong Forest
Salagdoong forest
(Photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


Side Trip 4: Salagdoong Beach Resort

Prior to race day, organizers also thought about making the famous cliff dive at Salagdoong Beach Resort a part of the challenge but they found it too risky so they scrapped it off the list of required activities. Salagdoong Beach Resort is the popular cliff diving destination in Siquijor. It is also where most tourists doing the roundabout Siquijor tour have lunch as this is usually the midpoint of most tours being offered.

Salagdoong Beach Resort
Salagdoong Beach Resort
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)



Group Photo at Cambugahay Falls

Cambugahay Falls was the sixth stop of the adventure race. The original challenge was for two (2) team members to do the vine swing and splash into the water. Again, race organizers found this to be too risky and scrapped it off. Also worrying about the health and stamina conditions of some participants, the organizers made do with one or two team members having a photograph with the Cambugahay Falls as background. When we got to Cambugahay, the adventure coordinator already left and only the medical team was waiting for us. By then, we were a full hour behind the team running at 6th place.

Cambugahay Falls
Cambugahay Falls
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)

Cambugahay Falls

Cambugahay Falls is the most popular waterfalls in Siquijor. The three-level waterfalls is located in Cangclaran, Lazi, Siquijor and actually encompasses the three (3) barangays of Cangclaran, Po-o, and Capalasanan. The name Cambugahay comes from the Cebuano word buhagay which means overflowing, obviously referring to its gushing waters.

Cambugahay Falls
Cambugahay Falls
(Photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


To get to the falls, one has to negotiate a descent into 135 flights of stone steps. But is the way up that is more challenging. The path is kinda treacherous as their are no railings to hold on as you navigate the stone stairs. Popular activities at the Cambuhagay Falls are the vine swing and waterfall diving.

Cambugahay Falls
Stone steps to Cambugahay Falls
(Photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)



Side Trip 5: Lazi Church and Convent

The last of the side trips we took as a team took us to the San Isidro Labrador Parish Church and Convent in Lazi. One interesting feature of the Lazi Church built in 1884 is its wooden floor panels that are well-preserved to this date.

Lazi Church
San Isidro Labrador Church in Lazi
(Photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


The Lazi Convent which was inaugurated in 1891 now houses the Siquijor Heritage Museum. It is one of the biggest and oldest convents not only in the Philippines but also in the entire Asian continent.

Lazi Convent
Lazi Convent
(Photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)



Group Photo at 400-Year Old Balete Tree

The last challenge involved a group photo at the 400-year old balete tree at Campalanas, Lazi, Siquijor. Team members also enjoyed a fish spa experience on the spring under the ancient tree while they were gathering information about the place.

Lazi balete tree
Team Vibrant Visayas at the 400-year old balete tree
(photo courtesy of April Joy "Bebsy" Lamis)


Finish Line

The original plan was to have the finish line at the Siquijor Boulevard where all the teams will converge for dinner hosted by the municipality of Siquijor. But since the teams hurdled the challenges more easily than expected, race organizers made the necessary adjustments and transferred the finish line to where the race started at the activity area of the Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort.

 

Race Results

Team Madanihon topped the race, Team Kahinam was at second place, Team Madasigon came in at third place, Team IGAT copped fourth place, the Sensational Siquijor Team was at fifth place, Team Mabulukong Pinas ranked sixth, and the Vibrant Visayas Team finished at seventh and last place.

Blog Outputs

During the race, teams were also tasked to gather information about the places and activities involved in the challenge. The outputs of the teams participating in the race were published in two (2) already existing blogs of the CBC-affiliated bloggers and five (5) new blogs created by the bloggers themselves and populated with articles from the convention participants.

Team Madasigon's video blog entry is uploaded to Richard's vlog at bisayafilms.blogspot.com. Below is their video output.



Team Madanihon updated an old blog by Carlo to make it into 168 Travel Guides by Team Madanihon. URL to Carlo's blog is 168tourpilipinas.blogspot.com.

Of the five (5) new blogs, two (2) blogs are hosted on a free Wordpress.com account while the other three (3) blogs are created on the Blogger or Blogspot platform. The two (2) Wordpress blogs are teamigatsiquijor.wordpress.com of Team IGAT and teamkahinam.wordpress.com of Team Kahinam.

The blogs created on the Blogger or Blogspot platform are sensationalsiquijor.blogspot.com of the Sensational Siquijor Team, mabulukongpinas.blogspot.com of Team Mabulukong Pinas, and vibrantvisayas.blogspot.com of the Vibrant Visayas Team.

Feedback

Generally, participants have positive feedback about the race. Although most agreed that the implementation was not perfect, there were no major flaws pointed out. There is definitely some room for improvement but as it is, the 1st #InfoTourismAdventureRace in #SensationalSiquijor was simply awesome and fantastic.
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4 comments:

  1. Lingawa ani oi! Sayang wala ko nakakuyog. Siquijor is one of the islands near Cebu that I really want to visit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should visit soon! It's really beautiful.

      Delete
  2. Looks so FUN!! I'd love to visit Siquijor in the future and it's such a great idea that they came up with this kind of race. Thumbs-up!! :D

    ReplyDelete