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CBC Bloggers' Siquijor Sojourn

I do not remember having as much fun on a Siquijor trip than the one I recently had with bloggers from the Cebu Blogging Community. The CBC-affiliated bloggers were invited to be blogger mentors in the 22nd annual convention of the Regional Association of Development Information Officers (RADIO) 7 at Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort at Tubod, San Juan, Siquijor.



Exciting Boat Trip Going To Dumaguete City 

The bloggers met up with Ferliza Contratista of the Cebu Association of City and Municipal Public Information Officers (CAOCAMPIO) at Pier 1 in Cebu City. We were joined in the trip by Niño and Lav, also of CAOCAMPIO. We boarded Cokaliong Shipping Lines' M/V Filipinas Ozamis, the ship that will take us to Dumaguete City where we will transfer to another boat that will take us to Siquijor. The trip was quite uneventful as maybe the bloggers and Miss Ferliza was still in a getting to know you mode. We had an economy deck ticket but soon found our way to the business class lounge without having to pay extra since there weren't a lot of passengers at the time.

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

The Simple Joys of Tempura at Dumaguete's Rizal Boulevard

We arrived at Dumaguete City at around 2:00 a.m. of October 28. Since, no boat tickets to Siquijor will be issued until 4:30 a.m., we decided to while the time away at the city's famed Rizal Boulevard. Famished at the time, we gobbled up tempura and what joy that brought us as we got to know our fellow bloggers better with stories over a simple snack.

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

On Board M/Bca. Jaziel

By 4:30 a.m., we walked back to the Dumaguete City pier to buy our tickets for our boat ride going to Siquijor. The first trip out of Dumaguete will be on board M/Bca. Jaziel of GL Shipping Lines departing at 5:45 a.m. This time, a small craft plus big waves provided for a more breathtaking trip. We were packed like sardines in a contraption-like cabin wearing life vests throughout the trip. I almost threw up on this trip as I couldn't almost breathe when they closed off all the windows to prevent getting splashed by the water as the sea craft approached each big wave one after the other.


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

The First Few Hours in Siquijor

We safely arrived at the port of Siquijor sometime around 8:00 a.m. and was fetched by Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort's service vehicle designed like a jeepney. Shortly after, we feasted on home cooked meals at a carenderia across the gate of the main entrance of Coco Grove. We had monggos, nilat-ang baboy, lumpia, ginisang baticolon sa manok, pork chop, and fried chicken. It was a filling meal, yet in total we only spend a total of PhP 275 for 12 people. On hindsight, we think that wasn't the right computation. Ahh, I pity that carenderia owner. Hopefully, we can make up for it the next time around.


After checking in at Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort, most of the bloggers went around the resort, did some kayaking and snorkeling, and swam in the swimming pool. Since I had no sleep the night before, I chose to sleep instead. We were to have lunch at the Casa Coco at 11:30 a.m. and the program shall start at around 1:30 p.m. at the resort's open air function hall.

Day 1 Afternoon Session

The official start of the convention was delayed by a bit because they had to wait for some people to arrive. But when the program started, we just breezed through it. Participants were then divided into seven (7) groups and bloggers were assigned to the groupings for the 1st #InfoTourismAdventureRace the morning after. I was assigned to team number 7, by no means a very unique team. While the other teams immediately planned their strategies for the next day's race, team number 7 did not seem to care as they immediately dispersed right after the race guidelines were given. 

The Plan to Sabotage the Race...LOL

Team 7 would meet after dinner. By then, we realized that in terms of average age, it would be the oldest team in the competition. Being aware of that, the team drew up a plan designed to still let the team members enjoy the race, but ease off the pressure of expecting to win. They knew they wouldn't win, so they decided they will maximize the fun instead. But how? 

The design was that since the team will have very little to no chance of winning the race, we will not waste our energy on trying to win. Instead, we will use our energy to focus on dropping by as many places of interest as we can during the race. We knew that while we will be finishing last, we will be the team that will enjoy it the most.

Dinner by the Beach

We enjoyed a sumptuous dinner by the beach at Coco Grove on the first night. We were treated to lechon, kare-kare, escabeche, bam-i, chicken satay, sauteed mixed vegetables, humba, chicken in and carrot sauce. While eating, 2 singers entertained us. There were also fire dancers later that evening but I wasn't able to witness this since I still had to meet with my team. For dessert, they served fruits, brazo de mercedes, leche flan, and chocolate cake.

Mornings at Salamandas

We spent our mornings eating breakfast at the Salamandas Restaurant by the beach. We had a choice of longganiza, tocino, beef tapa, fish fillet, and American breakfast to go with coffee or tea, watermelon, papaya, or banana for fruit, and orange juice, calamansi juice, or apple juice for a drink.


#InfoTourismAdventureRace

On 29 October 2015, we were going to participate in the 1st #InfoTourismAdventureRace organized by the brilliant Vince Escario. While my team already had a grand design of finishing last for the race as we have talked the night before, the best of a human's competitive spirit got the better of them at the start of competition. Sensing that somehow, they might have a chance to compete at the start, they gave it their best shot in the first two activities, the sack race and the swim challenge at Capilay Spring Park at the San Juan town center.

Soon after, team leader Tootsie Escobia who swam at Capilay realized that the race just got real and accepted the reality that they really won't be able to compete. By the time we got to the 4th stop at the Triad Restaurant and Coffee Shop at Larena, our team was still running tied for third place. That was when everyone in the team decided to take it slow and enjoy the rest of the day. While we were formally known as the Vibrant Visayas team, somebody in the group coined the term Team Blaagers instead, a play of the English word blog and the Cebuano word laag, thus blaagers. The adventure race no longer was a race but became an adventure craze.
A photo posted by Thaddeau Engaling II (@thadzonline) on

We were lucky that in the group were two (2) quite influential Siquijodnons, Maria town ex-mayor Irving Roy Vios and San Juan town SB secretary Jacinto "Toting" Maata. They toured us around Enrique Villanueva, Larena, Maria, and Lazi towns. When we finished the race, we were one full hour behind the 5th placed team.

Salagdoong Beach
Team Blaagers at Salagdoong Beach


Dinner at the Siquijor Boulevard

Dinner would be served at the Siquijor Boulevard with the municipality of Siquijor as host. We feasted on escabeche, calamari, meatballs, bam-i, beef steak, adobong nokus, and fruit salad.

Siquijor Boulevard
Team Blaagers at Siquijor Boulevard

Bloggers Bonding Night

While the race was tiring, it was a fulfilling experience not just for the participants but for the bloggers as well. The bloggers convened at Coco Grove's function room after dinner and started to work on the blogs of the participating teams. This would be the start of a long night of kulitan that will end in late dawn giving us very little sleep before the next day's presentations. When we moved on to one of our assigned rooms, we played fun rounds of Never Have I Ever and Concentration with consequences.

Bloggers' Presentations

Despite very little sleep, the CBC bloggers were up and about early on October 30 in anticipation of the blog presentations. Unfortunately, the wifi connection was not cooperating, so we had to make do with video presentations, photo slideshows, and powerpoint presentations. Each presentation was unique in a way but nevertheless somehow captured all the fun the convention participants had the day before.

The Return Trip 

The return trip would be loud and boisterous! While the ferry ride from Siquijor to Dumaguete was a lot less rough this time aboard a bigger boat, it was again quite uneventful. We dropped by Sans Rival in Dumaguete to buy some pasalubong then proceeded to Sibulan port to board a small boat to take us across to Santander town on the Cebu mainland. There was a scary moment when the boat's engines seemed to have stopped in the middle of rough seas.

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

We boarded an air conditioned Ceres bus upon arrival at Puerto del Sol in Lilo-an, Santander, Cebu. There were more kulitan moments in the almost 4-hour long trip. We arrived at the Cebu South Bus Terminal sometime around 9:00 p.m. already of October 30.

The Pains of Saying Goodbye

Before parting ways, we would have dinner at Barbeque Boss in Panagdait sans Carlo, Mae, Hoven, and Eleanor. It was heartbreaking to part ways with people we had a great bonding time with in Siquijor, but it is great knowing we found new friends who have all become closer to us in the past three (3) days.


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