Monday, March 14, 2016

'Tis the season of celebration - again!

          I would like to send my warmest congratulations to the successful examinees who nailed the PSBIM 2016! You made it guys!

Here is the link to the complete list of successful examinees, the newly minted
Diplomates in Internal Medicine.

Photo credits: Katrina Paz U. Campomanes

Only in the Philippines: Britania, The Beautiful

          I have only been to Britania Islands in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur, last January, but still, until today, I am drunkenly spellbound by the beauty of the place.

I am not sure what to call or aptly describe this type of intoxication but you can call it a long-lasting high, and definitely it is something that I would not want to recover from.

Going to Britania has actually been an overstaying entry on my bucket list of places to visit, so when my colleague brought up the idea of going there, I said, “I’m in!” faster than I can say my own name.

We reached Britania after about an hour on the road from Tandag City, the provincial capital. We dined and stayed overnight at La Entrada Resort and Restaurant, and went island hopping the following day.

On arrival at La Entrada Resort and Restaurant. Smiling for the camera while waiting for dinner to be served.

 Definitely I am not a morning person but I successfully dragged myself out of my bed to say hello to The Britania Sunrise. 

All set for island hopping. 

We took the island hopping package of nearby McArthur’s Place, just a stone’s throw away from La Entrada. At McArthur’s Place, we paid Php. 1,500.00 for a four-hour island hopping trip to four of the 24 islands and islets of Britania, scattered on Lianga Bay. (La Entrada offered us the same price for island hopping but only good for three hours.) The randomness on which each island and islet was situated in relation to each other, not to mention their uhmm sizes, or land area, is already a sight to behold in itself. They were like flowers randomly showered by a flower girl on a carpet-laden wedding aisle. 

Too beautiful not to be photographed. A selfie with the islands and islets. 

At McArthur’s Place. 

           We visited four of the 24 islands and islets in Britania, namely, the Naked Island, Hagonoy Island, Hirog-Hirog Island, and Boslon Island.  

           First stop is Hagonoy Island. It was a simple yet a beautiful island. I wanna say, it is virginal, forgive the pun, but one can really tell that it is untouched and unspoiled by the complexity of modernization – and I love it that way. Truly, beauty in simplicity. I did not expect  to find vendors in the island, but yes, there were vendors indeed! If there is one tip I can give you if ever you decide to visit Britania, bring some money when you go island hopping. The vendors were selling souvenir items and most of all, boiled sea shells and it was my first time to eat those. The “saang” is slow cooked initially with sea water, according to “Manang” so that the animal living in it would not hide deep inside the shell, or else, you would not be able to eat it at all. After pulling out the meat from the shell, we soaked it in native white vinegar and oh my, they were delicious!

 Hagonoy Island. Beauty in simplicity. (Photo courtesy of Shiela U. Campomanes)

The “saang” and me. (Photo courtesy of Shiela U. Campomanes)

More “saang” please. My fellow doctors and I enjoying the saang with native vinegar. (Photo courtesy of Shiela U. Campomanes)

After filling ourselves up at Hagonoy Island, our next stop was the Naked Island. If Hagonoy Island was virginal, well this one is uhm, naked, yes – definitely 100% pure and heavenly patch of fine white sand you can enjoy. 

 Taking a walk on the Naked Island. Hagonoy Island on the background
(Photo credit Ivy Matildo-De Jose)

Going wacky on the Naked Island. (Photo courtesy of Shiela U. Campomanes)

     I had to take a picture of our sunny-natured boatman. The guy in the middle of the photo below. He is the story behind our wacky photo on Naked Island. We asked him to take our group picture, and when he did, we were on the verge of dispersing when he said, “Wait! Kanang wacky! (Let me take your wacky photo!) Mabuti pa si Manong, may wacky pang nalalaman.  Talo kami, ah 

Our boatman, smiling for the camera while pulling the ropes of the boat.
(Photo courtesy of Shiela U. Campomanes)

Our boatman, displaying his expertise.

           Next stop is the Buslon Island. Most merchant’s are here probably because this is the common pit-stop of all tourists to take a dip in the pristine waters of Britania, before they hop on to the next stop which is the Hirog-Hirog Island. 

Gifts of the sea. Sea urchin and sea grapes for sale on Buslon island.
(Photo by Shiela U. Campomanes)

           After four hours which seemed like breeze, our tour of the Britania Islands was concluded. I felt I could not get enough of the islands and its waters. As we drove back to the city, I had one thing in mind – I am definitely coming back to Britania. That’s for sure. 

           How to get to Britania Islands: Britania Islands is in the town of San Agustin in Surigao del Sur. San Agustin is around a 6-hour bus ride away from either Davao City or Surigao City, and a 3-hour bus ride from Butuan City. One can also go there by taking a 1-hour plane ride from Cebu City to Tandag City via Cebu Pacific. Cebu Pacific flies to Tandag City three times weekly. From Tandag City, you can take a 1-hour bus ride to San Agustin, the home of Britania Islands.

           When you plan to visit and have questions, you can always ask me anyway. My email is Enjoy!

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