Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Experience CDO

"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow."

- Lin Yutang

Last August 1, 2010, the delegates of VYLH (Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health) Region 11 elected me as the Regional Representative. My task is to collate all the reports of Region 11 and present it to the regional meeting. So, in October 21, Kuya Anggo called me.

"Hi Renz, this is your Kuya Anggo from VYLH. We are going to have our regional meeting at Cagayan de Oro. We will stay at Hotel Conchita. I'll send some important travel docs to you and to your Dean."

So the day after, I booked a flight to Cagayan de Oro. I have always wanted to try going to Cagayan de Oro by air. I've been to CDO many times by land and it was exciting at first because you get the chance to see the beautiful scenery of Bukidnon. But as time goes by it gets pretty boring once you get used with the route.

Fast forward to November 12. I arrived at Davao International Airport around 10 am and waited for my flight. My uncle, who happens to work at the airport as the Senior Air Traffic Controller accompanied me up to the predeparture area. It was my first time to board and ride an airplane ALONE.

At around 1140, AirPhil Express Flight 253 departed Davao. The flight was pretty smooth, though I wished had a violent turbulence. Just kidding. Here are some of the aerial shots of Davao City.

20 minutes after departing Davao, the seatbelt sign was on and the pilot announced that we are now on final approach at Cagayan de Oro City. I have the chance to see the aerial view of CDO. Siltation of Cagayan River can be seen very clearly in the air.

When the Q400 finally parked on Lumbia Airport's tarmac, I hailed a taxi and arrived at Hotel Conchita 30 minutes later. Traffic in Cagayan is very different compared to Davao. By three in the afternoon, my long-lost ninang fetched me and treated me in Starbucks and Missy Bonbon. Also, I've finally met Dan, my online bestfriend (LOL) together with his classmate and treated me a melon gelato at Missy Bonbon. Thanks Tita It and Dan for the warm accommodation. Too bad, I forgot to take pictures with Dan and friend at Missy Bonbon.

Meanwhile, back at Hotel Conchita, the other delegates from Bukidnon, Zamboanga, Davao and Butuan have arrived. We had a short briefing about tomorrow's meeting. Later, we went to Limketkai Mall. We took pictures with the mall's authentic conifer tree. Later, we got hungry and decided to eat at Yellow Cab.

The second day was pretty exhausting. We spent the entire day inside the hotel's conference room. We reported about the updates of our region. I was impressed with some of the regional reports, especially in Region 9 and 10. They have exerted extra effort to relay the important information about New Born Screening and Rare Infant Diseases. Fortunately, we finished all of our agenda in just 1 day. Since some of our delegates came from the host city, they toured us in Xavier University. I really liked the architecture of XU and it's relatively bigger compared to Ateneo de Davao University.

Since the famous night cafe aka CDO's Divisoria is just in front of Xavier University, we entered its chaotic streets and alleyways. I was extra careful with my personal things - digicam, cellphone and wallet - that my hands were always in my pocket. I only bought this hipster Ray Ban eyeglasses for only 60 pesos! Despite the mayhem, I was still amazed since we don't have this in Davao. I love Cagayan de Oro for its mayhem (well, in a good way). It's a brand new experience for me!

We went back to the hotel at around 10pm. Everyone was tired except for yours truly, Kat, Shane, Ryan, Leo, Charles and Joan. We tried to knock some of the delegates' room and ran as fast as we could to the adjacent hallway. We missed the feeling of being a kid, by the way. We also shared some ghost stories up to two in the morning.

Going home is the saddest part of the trip. You wish to stay longer when you are about to arrive at your home. We bid farewell to Joan, Ryan, and Norwin. They have to leave early so that they won't miss their respective flights. On the other hand, the Davao and Bukidnon delegates rode a hired van and traveled at least three hours before reaching Valencia City, Bukidnon to eat lunch at Jollibee.

It was a fun trip! I'm looking forward for the National Leadership Congress this coming May 25-27, 2011 to be held at either Corregidor or Batangas.

Youth volunteers, keep the fire burning! :)

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