Trip to Surigao

We have many friends in Davao City now, but it is still loud, smoggy, and hot. Our family has learned to manage it by getting out of the city every few months, taking a day trip or an overnight to somewhere quieter, cooler, and more relaxing. In July, we drove to Surigao to stay overnight in Bislig City and visit Tinuy-an Falls and the Enchanted River.

We had a 4 hour drive over mountain roads through the bukid, including long stretches without pavement, scary wooden bridges, and shambling carabao along the side of the road. After pulling into Bislig, we ate dinner at a clifftop restaurant overlooking the Pacific. While waiting for our order, the girls visited a doll museum. Hosanna asked, “Daddy, why don’t they let anybody touch the dolls?”

“Think about your dolls at home, Hosanna. Did any of them look this nice when they were new?”


“Do they now?”

(Frowny face.)

“That’s why.”




Tinuy-An Falls is “the Niagara Falls” of the Philippines. Hosanna, normally so fond of mugging for the camera, for some reason didn’t really want to cooperate with any family pictures, so her recalcitrance is here memorialized for posterity.



The Enchanted River flows forth from a fathomless hole in the earth in a paradisal setting. I couldn’t help but recall Coleridge’s “Kublah Khan” and “the sacred river” flowing from its “chasm”. (Click for larger view of the panorama shot.)



During our last trip to the States, we bought ourselves a new toy: a GoPro for taking underwater shots, and a special snorkeling mask to mount it on. It saw good service at the Enchanted River. (The water at Tinuy-An was too murky for pictures.) We hope to take it back to Cebu next year for another swim with the whale sharks.



Matt diving in above the bottomless pit.



The schools of fish swam at leisure, unperturbed by diving visitors.


Ezekiel underwater:





Photos from Outreach in July

We’ve been a bit remiss in blogging, though there’s been plenty of action on our Facebook page. Here, I’ll just share some photos from the last month.

Here are some buntis (expecting mothers) gathered for the clinic’s prenatal outreach to the Badjao community in Isla Verde:





Naomi came along with Sora, the better to see babies. She is wearing her colorful “Badjao pants” in an effort to fit in.






The results of the fire several weeks ago can still be seen near in the blacked sticks protruding from the water – the remains of bamboo houses that burned to the waterline. This photo was taken from the roof of the new medical clinic building where the prenatal outreach is also held.