Saturday, April 2, 2016

Falls Expectations: Guide to Mainit Hot Springs and Montañeza Falls (Montañeza, Malabuyoc, Cebu)

Far from the maddening crowds of the city and their April Foolishness, I decided to take three of my friends to my paternal hometown, Malabuyoc. As expected, it was the first time any of them had heard of the town. I expected as much from anyone. Not a lot of people know where this place is nor what it has to offer but I expect myself to change that soon.

Malabuyoc is a small municipality in the southwestern corner of Cebu island. It has received accolade as one of the eight towns to receive the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) from DILG. It also has not one, but TWO waterfalls, Montañeza Falls and Kabutongan Falls (one of which you will see in this post). It also boasts of accessible pools of sulfuric vents which heat four pools of hot springs. And, to top it all off, I have heard that reef sharks frequent the nearby shore. As a freediver, I am excited to confirm the last fact about Malabuyoc.

In an effort to increase the tourism in the town and for all of Cebu, sit back and let this be a sneak peak to one of your options. Here's a quick view of how our day went.

5:00 AM:
Meet-up with the others at a nearby convenience store across the Cebu South Bus Terminal

6:00 AM: 
Riding a non-aircon bus to Carcar (there was a consensus to pick up lechon to eat for lunch).

~7:00 AM:

Arrival in Carcar City. For the four of us, we bought a kilo of lechon, 2 packs of achara, and 12 big pieces of hanging rice (puso). We also had breakfast in Carcar.

9:00 AM:
Riding another non-aircon bus to Montañeza, Malabuyoc.

11:30 AM:

Arrival at Montañeza. There are motorcycles here to take you to the entrance of the hot springs. Also, there is some light trekking to be done before you get to the gate, where they do briefings and you pay for the Entrance Fee. If you are first timers, there will be a short seminar on the do's and don'ts of the springs.

12:00 NN:
We rented a table near the entrance to eat our lechon and puso. They also had some drinks for sale.

12:30 PM:
We trekked towards the waterfalls. We were informed that a part of the waterfalls was closed off due to falling and unstable boulders from the canyon walls. Yikes! Danger lurks!

Well, we were that kind of bunch that breaks rules, so we said F to that flimsy gate they had and found our way towards the waterfall. On the way we were greeted by amazing cascades. I felt a bit sad that there were a number of graffiti on the canyon walls. Grrr... I really hate irresponsible tourists.

one of the first few falls we saw
Amazing waterfalls with a deep catch basin 
Imagine going through that small crawl space to reach the falls. Take note, claustrophobes.
In one of the crawl spaces, you can find a natural shower like this
a lot of smaller cascades before reaching the source
The raw majesty of the Montañeza Falls.

3:30 PM:
Yes, it took us that long to explore the falls and the area around it. We stopped a lot and took a bunch of photos. Serves me right for taking along people with OC-level photography skills.

We headed our way downstream towards the springs. There were two unbearably hot pools, and I only have tolerance up to my knees for one of the pools. The hottest pool boasts of a temperature of 42.6 degrees Celsius.

There were also other pools with a more accommodating temperature of around 32-35 degrees Celsius. We dipped in those pools to enjoy and let the sulfur eat away our stress.

42.6 degree Celsius pool. Don't let the clear water fool you.

5:30 PM:
After an hour or so of dipping in the hot springs, we made our way to the main road and changed into dry clothes and waited for a bus bound for the city. We splurged and boarded an air conditioned bus, and a great view of the sunset to our left, with the sun trying to hide behind Negros island and is reflected by the blue seas.

The lighting demanded for a selfie to be taken. Don't blame me.

9:00 PM:
Circling back and arriving at the Cebu South Bus Terminal.


Expense Summary:

Bus to Carcar City (non-aircon): P45
1 kg Lechon + 2 achara: P300
Puso (12 big pcs): P100
Bus to Montañeza (non-aircon): P89
Motorcycle to/from the falls: P20 per way
Entrance fee: P20/person
Table rental: P100
Bus going back to Cebu City (aircon): P156

TOTAL COST: P350 + P500 (food)

So, what are you waiting for, fellow travelers? Pack a quick bag and head on to the south! Visit Malabuyoc!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How to Renew Your Driver's License in Cebu City?

*** UPDATE (as of April 2, 2016)
LTO still does not have their plastic cards available. If you renew now, you will be given your old, expired license and an official receipt proving that you have already undergone renewal. There is no news as to when they can provide the plastic cards, with a backlog of as far as April 2015.

Photo Credit to:
9:07 A.M.
Touchdown at SM City Cebu, home of the LTO Driver's License Renewal Center. With my friend to help me pass the time, we sit at the entrance as we watch the multitude of store workers queuing up to start their day of honest labor.

9:32 A.M.
After 30 or so minutes of just sitting there and getting out butts numb, an idea pops into my head: "Why not go to Starbucks and drink a frappuccino while waiting for the gates to be opened, on a relaxing couch and cool music?" After querying with my friend, we circumnavigate the grand building to the coffee shop entrance, order my drink, sit, and wait.
Note: this act proves to be a much needed help, not only for the caffeine boost in the next scene, but also to trigger those kidneys to produce much-needed urine.

10:03 A.M.
The flood gates are opened and the throng of people wanting to get in are set forth the mall confines. I watch this happen in slow motion from the couch of Starbucks, and quickly realizing what I must be doing. Run.

I tell my friend to meet me at the LTO Renewal Center as I make a run for it towards there, with the other people (mostly men) as my competitors of my little marathon.

For those of you who do not know where the LTO Renewal Center in SM Cebu is, it is located directly one floor below the bowling complex. It looks like this:

Photo Credit to:
I crossed my imaginary finish line. I am number 24. Now I start my stopwatch to monitor the rate of my renewal process.

Step 1: Cashier

  • You Fall in line to the drug testing cashier (HLO testing). Make sure you prepare: your expiring/expired license, PHP 400 for the drug test and physical (300 and 100, respectively), and a pen (doesn't matter if blue or black). After you pay, the cashier gives you a wad of papers to fill up. Now starts the second marathon, the marathon of speed writing. The first one to submit their completely filled-up forms will get the #1 priority number, and so on, on the area beside the cashier.

Step 2: Urine Sampling 
  • You wait on the steel benches for your priority number to be lit up on the properly marked announcement screen. Once your number shows on the second step, prepare your bladders. You will now be submitting a urine sample. Each bottle is labeled with your name, and as you hand in the filled-up container, you sign on top of it.

Step 3: Biometrics
  • Once your priority number flashed on the screen for Step 3, you will be asked to have your right thumb print scanned thrice, and a webcam picture of you will be taken.

Step 4: Medical Exam
  • This is the last part of the battery of tests you have to undergo. In this step, you will me made to look at the Snellen Eye Chart for visual acuity (practice on line 8 for you not so visually gifted), a quick BP check and history taking by the doctor. Also, it is here that you will be weighed and your height measured.

When you are done with this stage, the papers you have left and your expiring/expired license will be inspected by Manong Guard. You will then write your name on his logbook, and proceed next door, to the LTO License Renewal stage.

11:03 A.M.
I have just finished writing my name in Manong Guard's logbook, and proceed to the adjacent place and show your documents. The gentleman there will give you a sheet to fill up, which you will return to him once you're done. Here's the gentleman, strategically situated at the entrance of the Renewal Center:

And, here's the form that you need to fill up:

After you have filled this form up, the gentleman will staple your expiring/expired license to it, and you need to submit it to the 1st counter.

Now, at this Renewal Center, there are not much people, so the room gets kinda quiet. The people at the counter will begin to shout your name. There are 4 counters you need to go to, each with its specific tasks:

1: Evaluator
- This guy is who you will submit your form/old-license hybrid to.

2: AMPI Photo/Signature
- Here's where you will be photographed for your license, and your signature be recorded for printing on your card.
- Follow this woman's directions for the photo to the letter. Also, you might wanna spruce up a bit before you go meet her.

3: Cashier
- Here's where you need to pay for your renewal fee (plus any other penalties for overdue renewal)
- Renewal Rate: PHP 350.00
- Penalty Rate: PHP 75.00
- Comp Fee: PHP 67.63 (I honestly have no idea what this is)

4: Releasing

- This guy will be the last one to call you out to give you your renewed license. He will also need for you to log it in his own logbook that you received your renewed license.
- Also, this guy sells license card jackets to help protect your license from wear and tear. I didn't bother to buy one since my old card jacket is still functioning. (But, me thinks it's around PHP 50)

Stopwatch time: ~ 1 hr, 50 mins
Over-all Rating of the Service: 4.5 / 5

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What to expect this Sinulog in: Fuente Rotunda


So, I was on my way home from work when I, as always, passed by the Fuente Circle/Rotunda and found that it was still full of life at 12 MN! People were eating, sharing stories and having a great time!

In this time of pure celebration City-wide, one cannot seem to help to have some of that celebration to spill over to the days dawning the weekend.

So I, The Incursionist!, give you details, in still photos, on what to expect in and around the rotunda this fun-filled weekend.

Fuente Circle is located here:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Transcript of "How to be Alone" by Andrea Dorfman and Tanya Davis


I was planning on doing something very productive related to information dissemination for the upcoming Sinulog 2013 event here in Cebu City. Unfortunately, I was thwarted by my medieval cathode ray tube of a PC monitor. It seems that it was overwhelmed with the resolutions of the pictures I wanted to screenshot (resulting to cropped images, at best).

So, the impulsiveness in me decided on a quick fallback plan: to create another transcript for a YouTube video.

Now, a little history I share with this video. I've seen this video during the times when I was at my bedrock. This brought me to surface, so to speak, and made me decide that wallowing around in self-pity and despair is not a good way to go. This was my catalyst, my junction in the long journey of my quarter-life crisis.

This is a video made by Andrea Dorfman, based on a poem of Tanya Davis. I hope you enjoy!

by Tanya Davis, video by Andre Dorfman

If you are, at first, lonely, be patient.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sinulog 2013 Routes

Hello once again, people. As you might have realized, I have gotten back into the 'blogosphere' with my previous post. And with the Sinulog festival waiting to rock Cebu City this 2013 yet again, most of you would want to know some appropriate details.

Whether religious or party-nut alike, you might find this post informative. So, here are the routes of another year of prayer and fun mixed into one.