Exploring the Island Born of Fire: Camiguin, Philippines Escapade

What does semestral break means to us? For college students, it would be that same good old routine every year. That would be going home, have some chit-chat with friends, plan for an outdoor activity, sit under that acacia tree longing for something new and the rest-BOREDOM.

But this year’s break is totally different to the highest degree. It is the most amazing, astounding, astonishing and incredible experience so far and a combination of the E’s – ENJOY! EXPLORE! EXPERIENCE! With one phrase, it’s “Rock the World SPAMmers!”

It was on the last grace of the cold October winds when we [Rolly and Denmark] were informed by our adviser Dr. Jeng Jeng Bolintao that the research paper she submitted with us as co-researchers was accepted at the 9th School Press Advisers Movement (SPAM) National Media Confab at the Paras Beach Resort, Mambajao, Camiguin Islands last October 27-29, 2015. The said activity is a nationwide gathering of campus journalist from the different school levels- elementary, secondary and tertiary- for a common advocacy which is to promote responsible campus journalism.

…..upon being informed

Denmark’s POV
Upon learning of the good news, it was like, “Wow! What a Perfect Time”. That moment, I thought of blurting out a husky loud laugh. Then one thing more, I was qualified also in the CARASUC Literary Festival for Quiz Bee and so I decided on what event shall I attend. Then I decided, “If it is a call of journalism, then I shall face it.”

Rolly’s POV
After hearing the news, I was in the “Oh Really! Stage of Amusement”. I actually didn’t expect this one but it happened. What I thought was that my last years of this tertiary journey would be spent in the four walls of a cream-colored classroom but God interfered and the rest is history (choossssss!!).

….. On the travel experience

Denmark’s POV
First time lahat! I was a quiet excited that I will be going to the Mindanao Regions. We even spent almost seven hours sitting as the van took us from Ifugao to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay but I did not feel uneasy. We even talked things like what did you put in your trolley bag ‘cause it’s so heavy, are we gonna taste some native seafood cuisines and many other things.

When the plane took off, my mind was swarmed with what if’s questions but at the same time, I felt like I defied gravity for the first time. Many of you might feel amused but it is my first time to ride on a plane (hahahahaha!!!Lolz).

We arrived at the Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro at the peak of the day leaving us no choice but to find our bags and proceed to a cooler area because it’s burning hell out there in the open.

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Thanks to the uncle and aunt of Ma’am Jeng for a little background on the place as well as becoming our tour guides for the day speaking of what is the place famous for and for accompanying us to Balingaoan Port in Misamis Oriental. From the place, we took on a ‘roro’ taking us to the Island Born of Fire, the enchanting Camiguin.

….. Of joining the 9th SPAM

Rolly’s POV
Meeting new friends may be common when someone goes for a gathering but meeting friends in a confab like this is totally different. Imagine having friends coming from the various parts of the country gathered with just one single goal, to promote responsible campus journalism.

Joining the 9th SPAM was an important event ever in my side as a campus journalist because this event is where the delegates just gather to compete but rather, they are here to propose modules, share their own expertise and develop their skills for research. It is not just an ordinary gathering wherein I can just turn my paper to the proctor and wait for the result. It is co coopetition and not competition.

Of course not setting aside our main purpose of coming, we presented our research paper entitled “Upholding Gender-Sensitivity towards Responsible Campus Journalism” to the group gaining attention from delegates of the University of the Philippines-Open University and the Philippine Military Academy as well as inflicting self-realization on the use of gender-biased words in the school papers.

Aside from the research presentation, yours truly (Rolly) joined some other events like Lead Writing-Filipino and Editorial Writing-English both in the College Category.

20151028_102730.jpgDenmark also represented the school in Lead Writing- English, News Editing-English and the Pambansang Pautakang Pampahayagan: SPAM’s 6th Annual National Journalism Quiz Bee all in the tertiary level.

This is actually our first time to join in the nationwide activity so the experience is heartwarming and one worth treasuring with.

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…..of the beautiful Camiguin Islands

Denmark’s POV
Awesome! The place is a total package to behold. Seldom when you see or even think of a port where there is not even a single beggar and that’s why I appreciate Camiguin especially that of Benoni Port so much.

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If everyone also thought of dirty Philippine waters, don’t even place the waters of Camiguin on your list because that would be fooling yourselves. The sea is a paradise of nature lovers offering a variety of activities like snorkeling and scuba diving, parasailing, jet skiing and other water-sport activities.

The island also offers the best of its sand beaches from the black sand beaches to the white beaches of the White Islands. Looking from the mainland, the White Islands is a living giant enchantress of the sea with the main island composed of pure white sands and the surrounding waters colored bright blue-green. It can be spotted even at night because it seemed to be luminous.

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Also, the famous Sunken Cemetery is always a wonder to everyone who saw it because of its history. This scenic view is an unusual wonder but is really somewhat creepy.

Additionally, the friends I met are really entertaining and honestly, I like the chicken being served with varying colors….LOLzzzzz!!

Rolly’s POV
Camiguin offers not just its pristine blue waters but also the memory it would leave to every person’s heart. The island can even make a person forget the problems of life by just watching the setting sun, the clouds embracing the peaks of the Mt. Hibok-hibok, the waters crawling at the purity of the sand and the sea breeze washing out the tired feeling of a traveler.

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Aside from the waters, the island province also provides a variety of the panoramic view of how God molded the contours and slopes of the land into what they called now as the “Island Born of Fire”.

Famous for the sweetest lanzones according to townsfolks, this island never misses to amaze us that we even bought 10 kilos each of this fruit aside from the other two kilos which we have already feasted earlier and it’s “Two-Thumps Up” because the fruit is really sweet just like the people we met [especially at Rocky’s Resto…chaarrrrrr].

We also had a fun ride to the islands version of our tricycle, the motorela. This vehicle seemed to be the combination of a tricycle and a jeep thus could contain at least 12 people. If you have watched any Thailand movie, you would see what I am trying to describe.

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With the travel to this island paradise, we now knew why the people we met would say, “Brace yourselves with nature’s bountiful gifts as you pursue a gratifying intermission from everyday life. Relax! Recreate! Rejuvenate!”

“Nestle in the arms of a tropical utopia,

Unwind in a peaceful paradise,

 Where water meets land

And life meets expectations.”

Trying to imagine and replay those memories in Camiguin and converting it into this piece of writing is so hard for us because we cannot even fathom the feeling of not giving justice to the description of the experiences we had. We have that feeling like “can these words really could supplement how great our experience is not just in the place but most especially the SPAM National Confab which is our primary purpose of going there”.

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The activity opened a huge window of opportunity for us to mingle not because of competition but for coopetition for upholding the campus press. The things we expected is just a small part of our experience. Joining the 9th SPAM National Media Confab provided us the variety of experiences we just dreamt in the past years.

Maybe some would say that we are more excited on getting our barefoot on and put our footprints and stroll on the white sands but don’t worry because we thought of that too. However, unexpected things happened. Who would have thought that delegates from Ifugao State University would make close friends ranging from the City College of San Fernando Pampanga in Luzon to as far as the Sultan Kudarat State University in Mindanao?

Now, we believe that this happened because of the efforts of the organizers of the 9th SPAM National Media Confab in Camiguin to mold us in every aspect of our humanistic journey, the blending of responsible campus journalism and of upholding responsible living and caring of the environment leading to a development of both highly-regarded journalistic and naturalistic living. #SPAMmers

 

(This article was written by Mr. Rolly Keth Nabanalan and was published in the August-October 2015 Issue of the Upland Farm, the official student publication of Ifugao State University, Lamut, Ifugao, Philippines.)

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