Monday, November 27, 2006

CDO-Davao-Cebu Travel Blog

November 20: Cagayan de Oro

We flew to CDO in the wee hours of the morning on November 20, 2006. I was with Janette Toral (Founder,, Cannie May Encarnacion (Owner, Your One Stop Shopping Network, and Jonas de los Reyes (E-commerce Manager, who was my colleague and seatmate at One Hundred Services, Inc. a few years back). The Cebu Pacific flight was delayed and since the plane wasn’t filled up we were all freezing and couldn’t sleep during the flight.

Arriving at CDO early in the morning we all trudged to Dynasty Court Hotel, a popular local hotel. After checking in, Jonas and I went to McDonald’s to break our fast. Seeing that Xavier University was nearby, we immediately went there to meet up with educators from the computer sciences department. Then I brought Jonas to Vjandep, a local pastry shop known for its Pastel. Pastel is a pastry filled up with yummy caramel. Since it was too hot outside and we had to prepare for the workshop in the afternoon, we had Chinese food for lunch at the Dynasty Court Hotel. The food serving was huge and Jonas and I ended up having a doggie bag.

After the afternoon workshop, Jonas and I went to Netopia to check our mail and get some work done. Then it was off to Malberry Suites Hotel, a new place right behind Robinson’s, for my meeting with SEO Philippines members based in Cagayan de Oro. Little did we know that they were also founders of, Jonas and I ended up getting educated on the tourist spots of CDO (which I managed to visit last year with friends from the Yellow Pages – see my blog about it at (Check out Tabby’s blog at

And then Jonas and I got lost. We were supposed to have dinner at the Plaza. After some calls to friends, we headed off to Limketkai. Surprisingly, the area had free wi-fi at most of the restaurants. We were really funny while having dinner. Barely talking because we were each sending SMS to friends, the waiters probably thought we were a couple fighting using our mobile phones. Ha-ha. I guess we were both just tired from talking the whole day and I don’t remember Jonas being talkative at all when we were seatmates three years ago.

Back at the hotel, I promptly fell asleep and ignored the mumu in the room.

November 21: Davao

After just 3 hours of sleep I had to get up and check-out for our road trip to Davao. Paying in cash, I managed to get 30% off the regular rate. Cool! Janette, Cannie and Stephanie Carragos (CEO, Syntactics) were already jovial even at 3 a.m. Waited for Jonas and the van and off we went to the darkness. It was my first road trip in the Mindanao area and had no idea what was outside the van. It was pitch black. My imagination was running wild, so I just prayed and forced myself to sleep.

I think I managed to discover a thousand new sleeping positions in the van. The worst was feeling I was upside down when we were traversing the zigzag. That got me quite dizzy. I couldn’t imagine how I managed to sleep. I kept checking my watch and it was moving quite fast – I dozed in 30-minute segments. The sun finally went up and I finally saw the countryside. It wasn’t so different from the road trips I’ve taken in Luzon. Except for a few lush greenery, things were very much the same with the Banawe and Bicol trips I’ve taken.

We stopped over at Seagull Mountain Resort for some breakfast. Someone mentioned that the place is called “Buda” (not sure if I heard it right) and is known to be the “Baguio” of CDO-dash-Davao. It was sure a lot like Baguio because it was quite cold. I had native hot chocolate (take note “native” and not the Ovaltine they served coz I’m unfortunately allergic to powdered drinks). I had yummy chicken longganisa, the longsilog even had some dilis on the side.

I didn’t sleep much the rest of the way. We arrived at Casa Leticia, Davao at around 9 a.m. Bumped into Andrew Gaston, sales director of Dream Satellite TV, at the hotel. I fell asleep after checking-in and then got up around lunch time to bring Jonas around.

We were going to have lunch at The Venue, but it was still closed, so after calling Rex of Bayantel, we headed off to Harana. Jonas and I had spare ribs, but they didn’t have any durian cake. I then brought Jonas to Aldevinco to get some durian spread and candies. Then off we went to Ranchero Grill for the workshop.

The workshop was attended by a much different group from CDO. The audience was more internet savvy and well-versed in SEO. There were guests from the government, media and the business sector. A lot more networking happened after the seminar. I was quite in a rush though because I have another speaking engagement. Bid goodbye to Jonas who had to fly to Cebu that night because the flights the next day were already booked.

After checking my mail and getting some more work done, I managed to find my way around Ateneo de Davao for my speaking engagement with the computer science seniors class. The students were really excited over the game I played for the t-shirts. Thanks to Professor Edwin Marañon for allowing me to speak to the seniors.

My day wasn’t over yet. After my stint at the Ateneo, I got myself a cab for my next event – meeting SEO Philippines members at Blugre Café. I was quite surprised with the turn-out. Guests ranged between beginner to expert SEOs. The famous blogger-Councilor of Davao City also attended the meeting. Most of the places in Davao had free wi-fi hotspots. (which I think is really, really cool!).

After my meeting with the SEOs, I met up with the other speakers and hanged-out at Blugre Café. Tasted durian coffee (quite yummy) and had a cheesecake (I can just imagine how fat I’ll be when I get home). Spent also some time with my Davao friend, Rex and then we all went back to the hotel, exhausted.

I was the last one to have breakfast the next day. Janette, Cannie, Stephanie and Abby were all checking their mail and doing some business the next day. I guess I was just really exhausted with all my activities. Janette rode with me to the airport and we had a very interesting talk about tarot reading and feng shui. Told her I love reading about ghosts and paranormal experiences.

At the airport I was quite desperate to taste the famous durian cake. Rob, a college friend, was unfortunately in Manila, and he was the one who told me about how delicious durian cake is. Found some durian ice cream and coaxed the others to taste it. I didn’t want to try out the durian pie (saving that for next time) though. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any durian cake, but I found some durian rolls. Bought a pack and shared it with Janette, Cannie, Stephanie and Abby. It was a good think I brought Kremil-S, Cannie had a stomachache from eating too much durian food.


We were all nervous about getting to the venue for the workshop on time. So we split up. Cannie and Stephanie rode with me to Waterfront Hotel and they just switched taxis. It took me some time to get a room at Waterfront. Ended up having to upgrade my room because they didn’t have any available. I could’ve waited but I didn’t want to be late for my speaking engagement.

After doing some calls for my meetings the next day, I rushed off to Rajah Hotel for the workshop. I changed my tactic in giving away the shirts (and I won’t reveal it here), and that made more people participate in introducing Google products.

Networking followed the workshop. Excused myself to accompany Jonas to buy some pasalubong. Good thing Darwin showed up. After going around and through Fuente Osmena, Jonas and I settled for a while at Mango Brutus to taste the siomai Darwin bought for us. It was really maanghang (chilly)! So Jonas got some mango shakes to “cool” down our burning tongues. The chili sauce really made me sweat. Went back to Rajah Hotel to meet up with Janette and the others for the meeting with the rural bank association.

Dinner was at Saang’s Seafood Resaturant. I ate there before with friends from DPC Yellow Pages. The place is half-way through the mountain and overlooks Cebu City. The big imposing dark abandoned building that’s near the place is now Marco Polo Cebu. I think I’ll have the place operate for a year or two first before checking it out. (Might have mumus).

Back at the hotel, I managed to watch a part of my favorite telenovela (the only thing that I watch on TV now). I haven’t had time to watch TV lately. I then got a call from my best friend and off I went to see him and his siomai place.

The next two days were also busy since I had to go around schools and also met up with members of SEO Philippines in Cebu. I also managed to squeeze in dinner with Max, a college friend, and of course, spent time with my very busy best friend who’s building up his siomai empire.