Just recently, before October bid goodbye to us, we had been invited to be mentors for the 22nd Regional Association of Development Information Officers – 7 Convention and 1st #InfoTourismAdventureRace in no less than Isla del Fuego, Siquijor. The entire convention was also participated by Philippine Information Agency and augmented by the force of 10 able blogger mentors from Cebu Blogging Community.
The team from Cebu Blogging Community was composed of Channel Marie Imperial of channelmarie.com, Carlo Andrew Olano of kalamicebu.com, Thaddeau Engaling II of philippine-tourist.blogspot.com, Eleanor Valeros of eleanornewmedia.com, Jeane Louise Mainit of viajeracebuana.com, Richard Abad of bisayashortfilms.blogspot.com, Mae Ann Cimafranca of hotels-in-cebu.com, Melanie Dianne Manso of fueledbycaffeine.net, Romeo Nicolas Bonsocan of zuprome.com, and Hoven Encontro of Sugbu.ph. We were picked from the roster of the bloggers who had ranked well in Alexa and are already underway of reaching the top. WE have what it takes to mentor the Information and as well as the Tourism Officers from all over the province with our varied skills and strengths for blogging. This would not be possible without PIA Cebu’s powerhouse cast, Miss Rachelle Nessia, Miss Ferliza Contratista and Miss Minerva BC Newman. The over all brilliant musings over the Island of Fire was brought about by Mr. Vince Escario, our game master for the adventure race. He was the one who made sure that everything is covered on the race. He patiently briefed us on what to do and what to expect on our challenges. 🙂
The day came when we have to split into teams and find out our own members from the participants. They had their own choice of groupings, thus, already eliminating the chance of being in a wrong group. We were then assigned by the Regional Director of PIA 7, Ma’am Minerva BC Newman, to our own groups. It was not us who chose who we can pair with, but nonetheless, we definitely all stood up to the challenge of meeting new people and making an imprint in the crowd. I may had a difficulty gathering my group for the pre race strategy but when the day of the race came, we were able to somehow synergize our efforts and made it our fuel to continue the race in less than record time. We unconsciously complimented each one since we are made sure to cover each shortcoming with our strengths, and made our prayers loud enough to be heard with the Omnipresent One above.
Another blessing that I had recognized was the gift of friends who had became an inspiration for this reverie. They served as the motivation when I thought I will break down from stress and pressure, when I thought that I wont be able to make it in the race, when I thought that I will be down with fatigue after the race and when I almost threw away my netbook amid utter exhaustion. They served as the force to pull me back to reality when all else failed. The gift of laughter and good cheer was also one thing that brought me back to the reality we are in. I had the best weekend ever with these guys. They may seemingly be social media geeks [yes you heard that right. I am guilty on it as well], but WE surely know have to have FUN.
Being a first timer at Isla Del Fuego, I had my worries and doubts, especially with the ugly image it has harbored since time immemorial. It had always given me piloerection every time I hear the name of the island, and of big waves that seemed to swallow the seacraft every time it passes Dumaguete waters en route to Siquijor. I had heard nasty stories of white caps in the waters that suddenly appear as if beckoning the passengers not to trespass the waters. I had braved the waves since the earliest days I can remember when family summer excursions meant traversing seas and trenches and getting into islands. I had already been warned by my Mother of certain “mambabarangs” but nonetheless I still made my sojourn to the island. I had braved the waves and had emerged victorious and I went home unscathed.
Journeying to the island is such an achievement that I somehow was able to weave the memories from my reverie. Was it from the charm of the Tubod Marine Sanctuary? Or perhaps the “lumay” effect of the Lana Making and the Pan Bisaya [a.k.a. coco bread] that we painstakingly made at Enrique Villanueva? Whatever it was, I surely did had a blast. 🙂
More on my thoughts in the coming blog posts. This is just a sneak peak of the fun I had at Siquijor. Truly, Isla Del Fuego holds a certain mystical charm that I, an intuitive traveler, was able to discover. 🙂
More pics to follow! 🙂 Part 2 on my blog soon! 🙂