Archive for December, 2010

These fellas had been talking about the Zipline since last night , while this blur blur Malaysian does not know what this is all about and they only thing i got from them  was ‘ We will do the Zipline’ . Well, ok lor, if you insist.

We were on our way towards the Crocodile Farm and  then I spotted ze big ball . I have seen these on TV where people get into this gigantic ball ( Zorb) thingy and then roll downhill and sometimes it involve unprocessed /semi processed /processed  food escaping from your system. Sounds like fun ? B suggested we check it out and walk towards the counter, while I lagged behind  (short of pulling at his shirt- that is, well, we have to be maintain some professionalism even in times of crisis) asking ‘Are you sure about this ?’ But he had this determined look on his face,so…..

I guess it was a go, as B took out his wallet and counted some pesos. We were then asked to sign a waiver form –no, I didn’t read the fine print ( I hope B did) , but guess this must be something to do with not suing them if I break my back or lose my sanity etc

You squeeze/get into the ball head first and then the staff will strap/Velcro you up .Oh, before entering the Zorb please remove glasses, shoes, watches etc. The Zorb is meant for 2 /ride , so after B got strapped in , it was my turn to get in and get secured. As B  could be Phils next singing sensation , it was best to mask his identity with the customary pumpkin, picture below showing a Velcro-ed B inside the ZorbAfter ensuring that both of us brave souls were securely fastened,  the staff got out of the Zorb. I told B that I had watermelon juice for breakfast and he  made me promise  not to throw up on him and vice versa .We took a deep breath and then the world turned topsy turvy as the Zorb rolled down the slope. Saw bits of the blue blue sky, grass, blue blue sky, grass, blue blue sky, grass, i felt like the ball was bouncing in midair . I don’t think we screamed but I remember both of us laughing  ( or was it the other way around, I tend to be a bit braver on paper) after we got over the uncertainty of what to expect – and started to enjoy the sensation of bouncing  and going upside down,  round and round. And in no time, it was over ! We got out of the Zorb- legs first,  a bit tipsy after the ordeal, no broken bones and all smiles.   Great !I didn’t get to take too many pictures of our zorbing fun-  you can get a clearer picture of the zorbing experience from this blog http://www.adaphobic.com/zorbing-at-zorb-park-davao/

This Zorb Park is located at Riverfront Corporate City, Diversion Road, Maa, Davao City. Zorb . The ride costs 200 Peso ( ~ a bit less than RM16). I found out that Zorbing is also available in Malaysia at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) , please click here for more details.

Next , we went hunting for the place where we can try out the zipline – which is something like a flying fox thingy.We were filled with ethusiasm from the zorb exhilarating experience and charged with adrenalin.  Then we saw the big signboard at the road side for Zipcity and stopped.It was a nice and sunny day, good day for flying through the air.

After paying for the tickets – 300 Pesos /pax ( ~ RM24) , the staff helped us to put on a  harness and then gave each of us a safety helmet. Pix below, B (sorry, again with a pumpkin, although it is passed halloween) getting help to strap on the harness. Then we were asked to climb up the steel tower , I can’t remember how many flight of stairs were there but just that it went on and on and  with each ascend my knees got weaker. J and I keep on asking B, why is he making us do this. J was the first to go and after stepping off the tower , he  waved back at us as he flew through the air.

And then ….it was my turn. I start to get a bit panicky as I could not understand what they were saying as the staff were giving the  instructions in Tagalog. Luckily they switch to English after B asked them to. (FYI : Takut has the same meaning in Malay and Tagalog)  It was a weird feeling, at the edge of the step, nothing in front of you, 120 feet of foliage below your feet and your lifeline is this harness and the cable. I was asked to relax and then I took a deep breath and stepped off the tower. WhhhhhEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, it was a great adrenalin rushhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It took a few seconds  to get over the fearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, then I gained the confidence that the harness and the cable is strong and safe , this is when  I started to enjoy the view as I whisked through the air..Whhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. ( and at the back of my mind I was a bit worried that if my shoes came off, I probably will not get them back ).  Great Great Great funnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

Pic below is the valley that one will fly through  plus  a view of Davao Gulf and Mount Apo

After all 3 of us completed the superman stunt, we were transported by a van back to where we started and collect our bags and stuff – all 3 of us were still flushed and gushing with excitement .

Later, I found out that Zipcity is actually one of the slower and shorter (320m of cable ) Zipline in Davao, Wow…i think we should plan to  try the Xcelerator zipline when I visit Davao next time. This is said  to be the longest and fastest zipline in Asia- 200 feet high and 1 km length. Sounds like great great fun!

Click here for Zipcity website

There are some good pictures from this blog   – http://www.claireraborar.com/travel/davao-zip-lining-at-zip-city-hilltop/

Thanks B for these unforgetable experiences!!

Was in Davao Philippines  for a few days for work and we put up  at Hotel Tropika http://www.hoteltropikadavao.com/(Km7 Lanang, Davao City, Tel : 082 234 3332) which was quite new and had a pleasant set up, no lifts mind you, breakfast indoor or outdoors, free wifi ( which sorry to say didn’t work very well during my stay), basic amenities and free breakfast. I was charged Pesos 2,000/ nite, which was ~ RM144

Breakfast :

I had – Beef Tapa- cured beef ( marinated with sugar, pepper, soy sauce, vinegar etc)  , which came with eggs ( choice of scrambled, sunny side up or hard boiled), pickled vegetable and served with sinangag (garlic rice) . It looked kinda simple and dry but this turned out to be rather good – the beef tapa was tasty and tender, the rice was fragrant, I enjoyed this.

B had the American stir fry thingy ,which had mushroom, bacon , potatoes with onions, scrambled eggs and pieces of toast, the verdict – pretty good too , the only complain was that it was a bit oily

J had the Logganisa ( pork sausage) set

When D joined us later he selected the egg combination set ( where you get 3 eggs served in any style that you want) and when the waiter brought the dish , we all look at each other and said- eh, the egg set looked the same as what J had- turned out that the waiter did a mistake, it WAS the Logganisa set. Anyway, D seemed to have enjoyed the Logganisa

( FYI, when D checked with the young waiter how much was  he paid per day and according to our young friend, he is paid 20 pesos for a 6 hours of work  ( I think it was 6),that comes to ~ RM1.45 per day.  And he completed 4 years of computer studies too)

After breakfast, we started our journey, first stop- Gap Farming Resort.

After the guard let us into the gate by the side, B proceed to pay for the entrance fee. The first thing to greet us was this gigantic monument of a farmer riding on a water buffalo, incidentally, in Tagalog, buffalo = kerbau, which is the same as what we would say in malay.

A sign under the monument proclaim  : This is a monument of a poor pioneer settler as one of the great developers of  a very rich Mindanao.  B and J were sniggering and taking close up pictures of  the kerbau’s  naughty  bits

The opposite of the monument were huge letters making up the words  ‘ The Land of Promise’ . Davao is sometimes referred to as The land of promise due to it’s abundance and for being a  typhoon free zone

 

It was a pleasant walk , lots of green, kinda breezy and not to mention I had great company.

We saw Santa sitting in a hot air balloon plus baby Jesus and the 3 wise men. In the picture below you can see one very inquisitive little girl doing a thorough investigation of the hot air balloon

We walked passed the Parade of Philippine Presidents ( not just the presidents were on parade, national heroes too,  including  ( details extracted from Wikipedia) ; Jose Rizal (the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era) , Melchora Aquino (grand woman of the revolution) , Cayetano Arellano (the first Chief Justice of  The Supreme Court under the American Civil Govt), Teodora Alonso (mother of Jose Rizal) ,  Andres Bonifacio ( a founder and later the supreme leader of the katipunan movement which sought the independence of the Philippines from the Spanish  colonial rule and started the Philippine Revolution ) , Francisco Balagtas ( prominent poet, and is widely considered as the Tagalog equivalent of Shakespeare) among others

I find this bust of Pres. Joseph Estrada rather cute and lively, don’t cha think ? He was flanked by  Ramos and  Arroyo.

We then came to a WWII Japanese cave

Once inside the well lit cave, we were greeted by a statue of a snake ( oh..i was sooo scared). And we were joined later by Cylops , who welcomed us with open arms

After the cave ( which took less than 1 minute to complete ), we headed uphill and came to the Land of Promise sign, beside this was a collected of scary looking statues, these ‘creatures’ are part of the myths /forklore of the Philippines

Unless indicated otherwise- The coloured  italics below are extracted from Wikipedia.  The creature leading the pack in the picture above is a Tikbalang – a half man and half horse creature  : It travels at night to rape female mortals. The raped women will then give birth to more tikbalang.  They are also believed to cause travelers to lose their way particularly in mountainous or forest areas Tikbalangs are very playful with people, and they usually make a person imagine things that aren’t real. Sometimes a Tikbalang will drive a person crazy. Legends say that when rain falls while the sun is shining, a pair of Tikbalangs are being wed. Since horses only arrived in the Philippine archipelago during the Spanish colonization (thus, the borrowed term ‘kabayo’), there is a theory that the image of a half-horse, half-man creature was propagated by the conquistadors to keep the natives afraid of the night.

 Directly behind the Tikbalang is the gigantic Kapre – a tall dark creature smoking a tobacco,   Kapre is a filthy, dark giant who likes to smoke huge rolls of cigars, and hide within and atop large trees, particularly the balate and old acacia or mango trees. A Filipino Bigfoot , it scares away little children who play at night. If you’re stuck in a place and you keep going around in circles, you’re said to be played around by a Kapre. To escape its control, you must remove your t-shirt, and wear it inside-out.

 The  lady clad in green,  atop the tree ( top right corner in the pix above ) is a manananggal , an aswang that can fly after separating itself from the lower half of its body. It eats babies and fetuses from a mothers womb. It eats babies by means of passing their long tongue through a small hole from the roof of a house. The sharp end of the tongue touches the mother’s navel to suck the blood of the fetus or unborn child. This creature’s name was derived from the Filipino word, tanggal, which means “to separate” because of the manananggal’s ability to separate itself from its lower body.

 The other half of the manananggal

A manananggal can also be a sorceress that visits villages and barrios. To feed, the self-segmenter chooses an isolated place where she will leave her lower torso while she hunts at night. When she separates from her lower torso, she then gains her ability to fly. She then goes off in search of houses where pregnant women reside. Upon choosing a suitable victim, the Manananggal alights on the house and inserts her tongue through the roof. The tongue is long, hollow and extremely flexible. She uses it to puncture the womb of the sleeping woman and to suck out the fetus. At other times, she seduces men with her beauty and lures them to a private place before eating them alive. She usually eats the insides, like the heart, stomach or the liver. Sunlight is deadly to the Manananggal when she is in her monstrous form. Should her two halves still be separate with the coming of dawn, she will be destroyed. According to legend, to destroy the Manananggal, one should search for the lower torso that she leaves behind during her nightly hunts. Salt, ash, and/or garlic should then be placed on the exposed flesh, preventing the monster from combining again and leaving it vulnerable to sunlight. Small containers of salt, ash and raw rice, and the smell of burning rubber are said to deter the Manananggal from approaching one’s house.

I think the people at Gap Farming Resort are a bunch of witty fellas, apart from the local mythical creatures, Dracula was amongst them and his plaque read as ‘ a foreign guest’

 In the picture above, the woman in front of Dracula is an Aswang. Aswang are shapeshifters. They are human-like by day but transform into different monstrous forms to harass and eat awake humans at night, especially pregnant women who are about to give birth.  Aswangs can change from a human to an animal form, usually as a bat, a pig or a black dog. Some aswangs can change form at will, others through the use of foul oils concocted by evil magicians. Aswangs appear at night to prey upon unwary travellers or sleeping people. It is said that they have a peculiar liking for the taste of human liver.

Behind the Dracula ,are the Nuno sa punso (literally, goblin of the mound) are goblins or elves who live within mysterious lumps of soil (ant hills). They can provide a person who steps on their shelter with good luck or misfortune. Superstitious Filipinos, when passing by a mound, will ask the resident nuno’s permission to let them pass with the phrase, “Tabi-tabi po”. Strange and sudden illnesses that befall a person are sometimes attributed to nunos.

I can’t find out who is the guy beside Dracula with the ‘Jockey Warren’ underwear, anyone can help ?  

There was also a chapel in the Resort .

In the glass cabinet below the picture of Mary and Jesus are a pair of crutches, left by a cripple who no longer needed them after he was blessed by a  miracle. In the glass cabinet on the right, is a statue of Mary of  Magdalene, with a plague  ‘The appearance to Mary of Magdalene’

 Parade of the Indegenious Tribe, we just passed through and didn’t get up close and personal with them

From the map, there were also orchids, cactus gardens, and fruit plantation but we weren’t ( I mean, the guys) weren’t too interested in this as they wanted to end the tour to the next thing on the agenda- the Zipline