Monthly Archives: March 2012

Zentraveler discovers orchid farm, waterfalls, and white beach near Moalboal!

Moalboal Orchid Farm

When we take a trip in the Philippines we always try to see the local spots of interest and normally hire a local motorized tricycle driver for the day. That way we have our transportation taken care of and are assured they will take us to the destinations of interest. We also give the driver some money so he can have a local lunch and hang-out until we finish photo sessions or whatever.

Tropical Bird

After some intense negotiations we finally agree on a daily price and off we go to the local orchid farm, which is first on our list. Because of the time of the year and lack of rain the orchids were not in full bloom, however the rest of the orchid farm provides some good photo ops including: rare tropical plants, caged tropical birds, an attractive swimming pool set in an outdoor natural setting… plus nature paths with another discovery around every bend. Of special interest is the friendly staff who will be glad to answer any of your questions about tropical plants.

Tropical Plant

Traveling about 30 minutes going through some curvy hilly roads… we arrived at the base of the local falls. There we paid a small fee to park the tricycle and were offered a walking guide service which we took… since we thought this is the best way to get the local scoop… plus you are helping the guide service industry.

Nature Stream

Walking up a gentle slope we had a chance to take some excellent photographs and learn a bit of the culture and local history. After a few kilometers of incredible mountain stream scenery we crossed a natural stream on a foot bridge and soon arrived at the base falls, which is fully equipped to handle tourists including: overnight lodging, restaurant service, tables in front of the waterfall, which you are required to rent if you want to have a drink or lunch. They also have bamboo rafts available if you want to get closer to the falls and capture that winning photograph.

Facilities Base Waterfalls

The name of the waterfalls is called Kawasan Falls, which has three levels and offers swimming and mountain trekking. The falls are quite beautiful with blue water and wild natural vegetation. They are a bit touristy especially on the first level, but certainly worth the hike and the exercise you get… plus breathing high quality fresh air.

Kawasan Falls

Another 45 minutes or so we headed to White Beach, which is currently being developed to create another tourist destination, in close proximity to the Moalboal area. Arriving early afternoon we found a restaurant directly on the beach, where we ordered the fresh catch of the day which was excellent. Asking what kind of fish, we were told:” a pan-fried, lightly breaded red snapper… cooked in lemongrass.” Wow wow eee!

White Beach

We then walked the sandy beach where we took photos of the local boats and native crafts for sale in outdoor vendor stalls. From the outdoor restaurant setting you could see the divers island in the distant. Upon leaving white beach we took dirt roads through some rolling farm land taking in the the red sunset and pretty scenery. We arrived back in our hotel at dusk just in time to toast the days adventures.

Local Beach Vendors

So there you have it! When you arrive at your next travel destination… why not include some side trips and see what the adventure brings you.

Zentravelers Photo Model

QUOTE: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” – Mark Twain

Wave Skimming White Beach

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: The beluga whales are also known as “sea canaries,” belugas are one of the most vocal of all whales. Beluga whales’ dives may last up to 25 minutes and can reach depths of 800 meters. The beluga is able to swim backwards. The word beluga comes from the Russian word “bielo” meaning white. However, these white whales are born dark gray. It can take up to eight years before they turn completely white.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Beluga Whales! They are majestic sea creatures and worth the effort

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: With modern-day airplanes the saying: “travel is half the fun of getting there” is obsolete.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under adventure travel, Blogging, kawasan falls, moalboal orchid farm, Uncategorized, white beach, writing

Zentraveler devours the Philippine fruit Rambutan!

Rambutan Fruit

After arriving in Davao we rented a van for several days and toured the highlands and the fruit-basket of the Philippines. Included in our tour was the Malagos Garden Resort, which has an amazing bird show and lunch buffet included in the price. The Malagos Bird Show is very educational and entertaining for all ages with authentic native dancers and drum beats… resulting in a great unexpected wildlife and cultural experience.

Malagos Garden Resort is a 12 hectare inland Nature Theme Resort located in Bgy. Malagos, Calinan, Davao City. It has the amenities of a Full Service Resort with Overnight Rooms and accommodations, Function and Seminar Halls, Restaurants and Coffee Shop, Landscaped Gardens, Bird Park, Butterfly Sanctuary, Swimming Pool, Children’s Playground, Adventure Activities, among others. It is home to the Philippine Orchid, Vanda Sanderiana, commonly referred to as the Waling Waling, indigenous birds and other wildlife species, the Malagos Gardens Amazing Bird Show and sculptures of Philippine National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva.

Truly a unique blend of art, commerce and nature amidst the cool mountain breeze of the highlands of Davao City. The good thing about the bird show you have a photo opt session after the show to interact with the handlers, birds and local animals.

Tropical Gardens

Traveling with five Pilipino women I followed the theory “while in Rome do as the Romans do!” Soon the table was covered with more than 50 Rambutan fruits, which we devoured until we were full like a Greek feast. The taste is so good it’s hard to describe, but is definitely one of the best tropical fruits I have ever eaten.

Buffet Table Serving

When you are in a foreign country this is one of the rewards where you can sample some exotic fruits and most of the time get a pleasant surprise. Sun, sea, beach and fresh fruit. These are the ingredients of a relaxing stay in a tropical country like the Philippines. For the utmost feeling, it’s a must to learn to know the typical tropical fruit. Though nowadays … you can buy most of this fruit in the USA and in European countries, the taste is at the best in the tropical country itself. So, if you are traveling or living in a tropical paradise, go to the market, buy the fruit and explore the taste of the tropical fruits!

Rambutan fruit has a thick skin that is covered with fine, short hairs. It’s a small fruit, not bigger than the size of a hen’s egg. Inside is a small seed covered with half transparent flesh. The color of rambutan is red or yellow. The fruit has a soft sweet taste. The name “rambutan” comes from the Malay world “rambut”, which means ‘hair’. There is a great demand for this fruit. This resulted in the establishment of many plantations, among others on the islands of Mindanao, Panay, southern Luzon (region Batangas) and Mindoro.

Disclaimer: This website is simply the writers views and is not an attempt to practice medicine or provide specific medical or health advice and should not be used to make a diagnosis or to replace or overrule a qualified health care provider’s judgment. None of the statements on Zentraveler are to be understood as a recommendation on how to treat any disease or health related condition. If you require medical or other assistance Zentraveler strongly encourages users to consult with a qualified health care professional.

So there you have it! When you travel get involved with the local culture to maximize on your travel experience. You can always become a couch potato in the luxury of your own home. “Pass the nachos ma, four of our favorite sitcoms and soaps are on the telly tonight.” “Do you want a giant 5 cheese pizza with pepperoni plus Chinese takeout tonight pa?” “Whatever …..just make the call and tell them to hurry….I’m starving!”

Native Dancers

QUOTE: “Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.”
~ Benjamin Disraeli ~

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Rambutan fruit has many health benefit properties. The skin of the fruit can be used as a fever-lowering drug and dysentery. It’s leaves can cure diarrhea and discolor hair and the nutritious fruit seeds can lower blood sugar (hypoglycemic).

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Rambutan seeds! Get planting grasshopper… your couch potato days are over.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Life is one big adventure. Live it!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under Davao, Davao fruit basket Philippines, malagos bird show, malagos garden resort, Philippine Orchid, rambutan fruit, vanda sanderiana

Zentraveler is evolution for real or the greatest hoax of all times?

Man or Monkey

Evolution is a complex and politically charged subject which lends itself for much food for thought and discussion, whether or not you accept the theory of evolution. There is much scientific content of the defense and explication of Darwin’s theory of how evolution works and on the other side there is everything from the big bang theory to creation in several days.

The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is a scientific theory and, as with all scientific theories it is incapable of being proved. Scientific theories must be falsifiable; that is, one must be able to propose a rational method whereby the theories can be disproved. Intelligent design, whether by a supernatural being or alien beings cannot be disproved.

The history of science may just show that a large number of great discoveries were done by adhering to the assumption that a rational and orderly Creator did exist. There are plenty of examples where good science was done as a result of assuming theological principles.

Ratzsch articulated a principle that science is not really after Truth. It’s just a game. Part of the game is to see how far you can go in explaining something without saying “God did it” because once you do, the game ends. No one can trump the God-card once played and you just are not a gentleman or lady if you stop the card game of science from going on indefinitely.

When I was in high school I just got a short flat top haircut and Mr. Adams our biology teacher had me come up in front of the class and instructed me to turn around slowly and said: “If anyone here doesn’t believe in evolution… just look at Van!”

When we were in school we were taught that our nearest relatives on the evolution chain were apes with picture descriptions in our text books showing the evolution process. Since then we have learned we have evolved from dinosaur like birds and they are our closest relatives.

Trying to use logic we resemble apes and have taught them to ride motorcycles, act in movies, use computers, wait on tables, in a famous Japanese restaurant— assist with the elderly, use tools, and raised them as our own experimental children. Aside from not having opposing thumbs and walking funny we have many similarities… including a huge brain that can develop learning skills faster than a 5-year-old child.

My first premise is: “I do not have a beak and never had one… therefore I am not a bird or closely related to one” On the birds side they can lay eggs, run fast, fly (humans can’t except with help) and make excellent pets and greeters at fancy restaurants, zoos, and Jimmy Buffett parties. In our local saloon, where I grew up, they taught a large parrot to yell out: “why don’t you buy a drink you cheap son-of a bitch.” One drunken customer killed the parrot by throwing a whiskey bottle and proclaimed a free drink for everyone.

The greatest known salesman in the world is often times referred to as P.T. Barnum circus hustler who claimed they could sell ice to Eskimos and was credited in a newspaper as saying: “there is a sucker born every minute.” Which he claimed he didn’t say, but thanked them for the free advertising. If any one knows about the writing business and getting manuscripts to actually pay for your scientific works… they either live in a dream world or are extremely lucky. My premise goes out on a limb and states writers will try anything imaginable to get published.

Let’s assume for the moment that you are Charles Darwin cruising around the world in your research boat named the “Beagle” and you land on an island totally inhabited by strange-looking animals. Is this when you determined the duck-billed platypus is actually one of us and you decide to sell such an outlandish story to the scientific community…. plus get royalty rights to all of your existing and future writings?

Why did it take Darwin over 20 years before he presented his manuscript and only then when a competitor had the same concept did he present it to the scientific community… who said: “nothing of significance was presented this year.” It’s basically because Darwin thought the scientific community would make him the laughing-stock of modern history and reject the evolution theory in its totality. He possibly didn’t believe in the theory of evolution himself.

So there you have it! Is it possible to start with an amoeba and evolve that into a human with all of our modern technology or is it still a question of how we actually arrived on this earth along with all of the plants and animals. I personally believe they had a “Universal Design Team” that gave us the zebra, the tiger, the lion, the giraffe, the mosquito, the praying mantis, all the fishes in the sea, all of the ants and birds and bees.

Then the creator would say: “we need more stripes, we need to make the kangaroo hop, we need flying fish, beautiful colored birds, how about some walruses, hippos, red striped monkies, back to the drawing board for final approval and like magic… life was created . I can hear the creator saying: “listen up we need to design the fastest running animal in the world… class dismissed. I expect everyone will work very hard and turn in their animal designs for final review.”

Cosmic seconds later a nerdy looking design engineer raises his hand and says: “how about the cheetah he has great legs, endurance, quick speed out of the blocks, and leaps in bounds and meters. The creator passes this design concept around for final drawings and changes and gives it a stamped approval. Next assignment: “I would like to see a slow animal that can hang upside down for hours upon hours.” Someone suggested the sloth which is still in committee for final approval. “Pierre could you meet me after class that animal you call the “Elephante” appears too big to co-mingle on earth and those heavy front tooths will only get in the way in the jungle.”

I only wish I could get on the The Universal Design Team so I could eliminate all harmful bacteria and disease and we continue our lifespan for ever and ever. Oh well! Maybe the creator has other plans for us humanoids.

Humanoids Evolution

QUOTE: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:While he was at Cambridge University, Darwin joined the “Gourmet Club,” which met once a week to eat animals not often found in menus, like hawk and bittern (a type of wading bird in the heron family). His zeal for weird food, however, broke down when he tried an old brown owl, which he found “indescribable.”

But that one episode didn’t end Darwin’s weird gastronomic proclivities. During the voyage of the Beagle, he ate armadillos and agoutis (the rodents were “best meat I ever tasted,” he said).

In Patagonia, South America, Darwin ate a puma (it tasted like veal) and an ostrich-like bird called a Rhea. Actually, Darwin had been looking for this particular species of Rhea, only to find that he had been eating one all along. He sent back the uneaten parts to the Zoological Society in London, which named the bird Rhea darwinii after him!

In the Galapagos, Darwin ate iguanas and giant tortoises. He liked it so much he loaded up 48 of them aboard the Beagle, to be eaten on the journey back!

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Weird animals… they are kinda of neat to have around.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Evolve or die Grasshopper… I know you shed your skin like a snake. What’s next?

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under Blogging, Charles Darwin, creation theory, evolution theory, natural selection, Practical Zen, Uncategorized, Universal Design Team, writing

Zentraveler travels to Moaboal scuba diving center!

Moalboal Scuba Diving

Always looking for a new travel destination… a fellow traveler at Bo’s Coffee shop in Cebu mentioned Moalboal is an excellent travel destination… just two and one half hours from Cebu by bus or make arrangements for a taxi or private van from Mactan airport. To get there is very easy. We took a taxi from our hotel in Cebu to the South Bus Terminal, purchased our tickets, and learned from the ticket agent a bus leaves for Moalboal every thirty minutes.

“On the road again” was singing in my brain as we headed out in a new aircon bus with the window shades closed and a good soundtrack of relaxing music on the overhead speakers. “Sit back Jack leave the driving to us Gus” was spinning though my head as we headed out for another adventure. After a few hours of cruising through the countryside our bus came to a slow stop… arriving at the bus stop on the main road next to the local market.

Motorized Tricycle

From the bus stop we hired a motorized tricycle, distance approximately 3km, and proceeded to Marcosas Cottages Resort … located near Panagsama beach. We made an advanced reservation via the internet and was pleasantly surprised when we checked into the resort. If you could find the perfect resort with everything…. including quiet, plus close to good restaurants and diveshops, we found it.

Marcosas Cottage

To start out the staff was very friendly and showed us to our private cottage along a well landscaped path with beautiful flowers, tropical gardens, and shrubs hidden in the woods. Everything was spotless clean with no chemical smells. The cottage was cozy with plenty of room indoors and a small porch to take coffee or just hang out. Unpacking in micro seconds, we changed into our bathing suits and headed to their outdoor swimming pool… situated among the grasses and flowers. The resort offers professional massages and has a fully equipped restaurant and bar, and can arrange scuba diving and special tourist destination trips.

Marcosas Swimming Pool

After a long swim, we relaxed on chase lounges taking in the sunset with a special fruit drink cocktail. We went back to our cottage, showered and then took dinner at their restaurant. We ordered the local fish, which was excellent and ended the meal with an ice-cream halo halo and soon drifted off for a good nights sleep.

Halo Halo Dessert

The following day we headed along the coast with its flowery fragrance and walked past many scuba dive shops, restaurants, and bars… along what the locals call: “restaurant row.” Our digital cameras were clicking through the seascapes and scenes.

Local Eatery and Bar

Taking a breather from our photo ops, with our cameras, now an extended appendage to our bodies… we wondered what we did before the digital age. We ended up having a great lunch at an Italian restaurant named: “Marina Cusiana Italiana” …located on the corner facing the sea at the end of the first strip of restaurants.

Italian Salad

Sitting on the outdoor deck like movie stars, waiting for our Italian salads, I mentioned to Perla this scene with the island in the distant and small colorful native fishing boats, working their way toward shore, would be a great movie set. Perla said: “Don’t muck it up with a James Bond exploding boat episode. This is nature as it is meant to be.”

Moalboal Seascape

So there you have it! If you want a relaxing vacation, would like to go to an island and scuba dive, or just hangout taking in the scenery and having great meal after great meal… then why not book a vacation to Moalboal and see for yourself what everyone is talking about.

Moalboal Dive Shop

QUOTE:“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:Ice swimming is thought to be excellent for the health: it improves circulation, can help ease symptoms of arthritis, and leave you feeling happy and content. But in Finland, the thrill of the competition is just as important as the related health benefits. Throughout the year, in different parts of the country, men and women between the ages of 20 and 60 years old swim a freezing 25 meter track (complete with spectators, journalists, and umpires), all for the glory of having dipped into the icy depths of the sea and surviving to tell the story.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Icebergs….they don’t do well in global warming!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:It’s all in Zee travel grasshopper…now get jumping, jiving, and moving to avert old age!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Leave a comment

Filed under adventure travel, Blogging, Marcosas Cottages Resort, Marina Cusiana Italiana, Moalboal scuba diving, travel, Uncategorized, writing