Road Trip to Butuan

After being inebriated from Ike Bravo's birthday, we managed to get up early for the long road trip to historic Butuan. The whole tuna which we were to bring caused some delay as the dealer was either deeply sleeping his ass off or refused to answer our calls from not having the fish. We decided to travel ahead and have the other party follow with the sought after pelagic fish.

An overcast sets the mood of the trip with impending rain from a distance. The landscape was sullen with traces of flooding from the previous nights. Rising water level alarmed the people living near the banks of Madaum with a possibility of evacuation. Water water water everywhere as we cruised along the Agusan provinces. Flooded homes and rice fields against a gray backdrop was the only visual foreplay that you can feast on. The gloominess of the whole scene can be a photographic inspiration but dared not to shoot under the drizzle for the sake of my camera.

We stopped for a lunch break in Bayugan. There was once a huge tree that stood in the same
area to which the resto that we dined in located. All of the wooden materials that was used to build the restaurant came from just one tree. Magkono or Philippine ironwood (Xanthostemon verdugonianus) is the country's hardest tree and the world's second hardest, heaviest and most dense tree. It takes two to four days to cut about a 70cm diameter of the tree.

Getting inside Butuan city proper is impossible without crossing the mighty Agusan river over a bridge. Nahhh not that bridge, the city has a new modern suspension bridge, with a span of 882 meters long. This 2.2 billion peso bridge is a new landmark of the city and one of the favorite places the Butuanons hang out.

Then came the Tuna... it was Lt.Col. Alexis Bravo's birthday, what a long way to eat the sashimi and to get the booze. A great time to mingle and interact with the nice and hospitable Butuanons. Satam got a heavy and respectable introduction from Alex but the brandy seeped through his system and blabbered drunkenly to the guffaws of everybody... Geezzz! i forgot his punchline, it has something to do with eggs. As usual, Richard was drowning himself with his official drink...Cali, waiting for its inebriating effect in futility.

We woke up the following day to observe the Fiesta of Libertad in honor of the Sto. NiƱo. Libertad is a district to where the Bravo's live, it is also one the most significant enclaves in the annal of the country's pre-Hispanic history. Heard about the Balanghai? its the pre-hispanic boat excavated first in 1976 carbon dated to be from 320AD, a year after, another boat was excavated belived to be from 1250AD and in 1986 an excavation reaveled a boat from 900AD period.( It was the most important archaeological findings that debunked the claim that we have no contacts with the outside world before the conquistadors came. A national historical and archaeological museum houses some of Balanghai relics which is situated in Libertad ( This one museum visit induced us with a "Hardy Boyish" spirit that we sped our way to a bigger museum in the downtown area... it was closed on a Sunday to our dismay. While Satam went his way around town, Richard and I were so caught up with the piece of history/archeology we have discovered and proceeded to the old Hispanic church, some historical facts were plastered in the wall that stirred much of our interest with froth. Butuanon historians claimed that the first mass that took place in 1521 by Magellan was in Mazaua, Butuan and not in Limawasa...wheeew! digging into it gives me a head spin. So, off to the carnival.

We witnessed Sinulog not in Cebu but in Libertad hahahaha. It was a grand festivity participated by many contingents as far as Surigao. We stationed ourselves near the Mcdonalds to have a better view of the parade. It did not start as expected, rain was looming and ready to pour and wet everyone. I Left Richard and Satam waiting both for the parade to commence or the rain to pour to photo shoot the participants to where they were congregated. The rain didn't mar the street dancing as the participants were high spirited gyrating to beat of the drums soaked by the trickle of the rain.

Time constrain kept us from learning more of the past but it paved the opportunity to be back soon. Atay! murag na accidentally deleted nako ang birthday pic with the tuna.