Monday, December 15, 2014

Geminids Meteor Shower in Siargao Island

When I woke up yesterday, the first thing Naldo said to me was "Check your Facebook. We'll go out on a date after we close." Past midnight we went to the beach. The sky was dark. There was no moon and not a single star. And right after setting up, it started raining. Luckily there was a hut nearby so we took shelter. And since we brought food and drinks, we decided to make the most out of it and just have a rainy midnight date instead.

But ten to fifteen minutes later... the moon started to peek through the clouds.

A few more minutes after, a star showed itself.

 Eventually more and more stars appeared. 

I saw the first meteor. Then Naldo saw one too. Our total count: Naldo = 9;  Shirl = 19;  and 9 we saw together. That's a total of 37 shooting stars within an hour. Yeah, it wasn't 120 meteors per hour but 37 meteors/hour on a supposedly rainy night with a 3rd quarter moon lighting up the sky was pretty awesome to us.

And I bet Naldo would have seen more than I have if he wasn't fixing the camera from time to time.

We only got one shot that captured a meteor. heeee!

By the way, the Geminids meteor shower can be seen from December 4-17.

That's all for now. Enjoy and remember "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Things to do in Siargao Island: For the Non Surfers

For us, the best time to visit Siargao Island is during the sunny season which is March to early November. This island is surfer’s paradise but it can be a non-surfer’s heaven as well.

Ø  You really have to come in the summer if you want to go swimming with the sting-less jellyfish. Honestly, we haven't been to Sohoton Lagoon yet but they say it's a piece of heaven. We'll write a separate post about it when we go visit.

Ø  If you don’t like to try surfing, there are other water activities you can do. Turtle Camp (look for Enrique) and Buddha's (look for Stefan) offer kite-surfing lessons. There are kayaks for rent.

You might also be interested in paddle-boarding or diving.

 There are also fishing tours available.

Ø  You don’t have to go deep water to appreciate marine life. Siargao water is amazingly rich. We suggest you bring your own snorkeling gear and underwater camera. Don’t let the weedy parts of the beach fool you. Careful where you step and take a closer look because even in ankle-deep water, you’d find the likes of Emperor Shrimp, Clown Fish and all sorts of colorful sea creatures. Example:

Chocolate Chip Sea Star (Protoreaster nodosus)
This is the best-named sea star ever, yes?  

(By the way, no creatures were harmed in taking these photos.)

Hermit crabs are everywhere too so watch out when picking shells.

Ø  Siargao Island is for nature-lovers and people who know how to appreciate detail. The island’s real beauty is not something you just go to, pay for and see. You have to explore around and you have to be keen. Look carefully at the coconut tree trunk and you might see the lizard known as the Flying Dragon. 
Draco volans locally called "Tambokaka"
We've seen the Flying Dragon glide in action but :-( we're always too slow to take a shot.

     Siargao Island is simply a zoo to the curious. Look up and on the tree branches you might just see bird species you haven't seen yet. Like the...

Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis
These birds truly live up to their name (glossy) and their eyes are like rubies.

White-Collared Kingfisher or Mangrove Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris)
Wish this photo shows how blue the kingfisher's wings really are. Guess we'll have to take a better/closer pic next time. ;-)

Ø  Kermit Resort offers the Drunken Carabao Tour.
This tour is a unique way to explore General Luna's hillside, enjoy the island's beautiful sunset and get drunk with friends.

Ø  Try to learn ahead if there’s going to be a full moon because the full moon here is spectacular.  And such night is perfect for sharing a bottle of red wine with your partner or having s’mores with friends.

 After, you might want to check out the bars or resorts that're holding a full moon party. 

Ø  Explore. Motorbike rental is available at Papa Wave Store. And if you don't know how to ride a motorbike, then rent a buggy. If you're into selfie, these places provide amazing backdrop:

1.       Magpupunko Rock Pools  
2.       Burgos (where we think the best beaches are)
3.       Mangrove areas
4.   Malinao Beach (where Dedon Island is)

Ø  Siargao is known for its waves but there are times in the day when the ocean would be so calm that you’d forget you’re looking at the Pacific.

After a hot, hot day (during summer) take a dip around 4 pm, close your eyes and you’ll find yourself feeling like you’re in a hot spring.  The water is sooo relaxing.

If  you happen to visit Siargao during the rainy/stormy season and you can't do any of the above, then we suggest you at least make the most out of your trip.

Ø Go and check how insane the waves are at Cloud 9. And if you're in luck, witness Kyrone Rathbone, the Tasmanian Madman, in action.
Ø Enjoy a therapeutic and relaxing massage at Harmony Massage, Emerald House. 

Ø Go on a food Trip.  Restaurants and bars here are owned by different nationalities.  

Ø Go shopping. UPDATE!!! AS OF MAY 2015 UNTIL NOW- PAPA WAVE STORE IS CLOSED. Papa Wave Store has home-made souvenirs like fridge magnets and other trinkets made by local artists. Souvenir shirts will be available on February 2015. 

Please don't forget that this is an island and there's no such thing as having a definite itinerary here.

That's it for now. Meanwhile, enjoy and remember: “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller