Merloquet Falls 


Merloquet Falls is one of Mindanao’s most visited waterfalls and is a pride of Zamboanga City, located at Sibulao, approximately 14-15 kms away from the main road of Barangay Vitali. It takes about an hour and a half from main city and an hour from Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay Province to reach Barangay Vitali (so that’s quite a long trip). Upon reaching the place, you also need to take 372 steps to be exact before going down the falls from the parking area or main entrance and that’s a lot. So for those who have Rheumatoid Arthritis or any heart conditions, I would say “Consult your Doctor” first before the attempts because this kind of adventure is not for the weak and wobbly knees and hearts . I also had the hard time walking downstairs because my knees especially felt pretty weak and really wobbly, so much that you can see my knees shaking and it was so obvious with every step. Going up is the hardest part so make sure you rest for 10 minutes in every 100 steps you take. The updated entrance fee is 5 pesos and parking fee is 10 pesos for single motor and 20 pesos for 4 wheel. No more cottages down there so you can just find some comfortable place for eating. Bring some food and water for lunch although there is 1 store available there but they only sell chichiriya and soft drinks.
Merloquet is a two- tiered waterfall and a smaller version of Tinuy-an Falls in Surigao City, it looks like a white curtain hanging down attached to a lush forest wall, but when you look at it closer, the waterfalls was even marvelous and very majestic than it looked. That day it was a regular weekday in Zamboanga City and holiday in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay (Araw ng Ipil) so i thought, this is the best opportunity and chance to escape from busy life and reconnect with the real world. The falls path has some uneven steps and it was a little bit difficult to reach the first tier as these were likely slippery because the rocks were covered in moss. Merloquet Falls actually has two tiers. People usually stay on the lower level which is more sterling but you can actually climb up to higher level by way on its side holding on to the tree roots to get a good look of the lower one. So far Merloquet Falls in Zamboanga City is one of the more majestic waterfalls I’ve visited i (Asik Asik Falls in North Cotabato so far is the best in my opinion) especially because it is clean. 

How to get there:

* Hire a private van for faster and comfortable trip. 

* Ride a rural bus or Hi- Ace van to Vital

* Fare ~ P100 but still depends on whether bus or van, air con or non aircon. 

* Travel time 1 to 1.5 hour from Zamboanga City; 1 hour from Ipil, 3 hours from Pagadian, 5 hours from Dipolog, 6-7 hours from Cagayan de Oro City

* Martial Law Time and that means your safer (Believe me!) 

* When you reach the Main Checkpoint in Vitali, (for van and bus user) get down and proceed to their main bridge and hire a habal-habal and will take you 15-20 minutes to reach the place. 

* The downstair walk to the falls will take you approximately 15-20 minutes more but nothing to worry as the way down there is well paved. 

Other notes: 

* Entrance Fees: P5.00 per head.
* Parking Fees: P10/per motorcycle and P20/for cars and other vehicles.

* Best time to go there: All seasons except on summer, weekdays, holidays.

* 1 day is enough and you have sufficient time to enjoy the waterfalls and even for nice and relax photography. 

* Bring extra clothes of course. 

* Comfortable and proper foot wear for hiking. I wore NATIVE (brand) foot wear.’

* Even on rainy days, the road to waterfalls is super ok and non slippery because it is already well paved. 

* You may want to bring all your gadgets for photography but make sure you have a dry bag that comes along. 

* There is 1 sari sari store at the main entrance so day-trippers like me won’t starve at all. 

* I saw few sacks hanging on trees for garbage, but please CLEAN AS YOU GO! 

* HASTA LA VISTA ZAMBOANGA AND MERLOQUET FALLS! 

Chasing Asik Asik

Ever since then, I always love to visit places that has waterfalls because I find them amazingly beautiful. I guess the sound of the water coming from above eases and calms my mind. I’ve seen and encounter pictures of Asik Asik falls on facebook and saved in my phone’s gallery. I usually keep pictures and have a cheat sheets of places i’d like to go to 1 day whenever I have my availability. So as early as 3 mos prior to the actual trip, i already informed my travel buddy @sethlim and planned about this trip.

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On the very day, me and @sethlim woke up at 3 am to fix our things and cooked some foods to munch while on our way. We were all set and ready to go as we left the house before the very sun to rise and shine. So we chose the Pagadian- Tukuran – Cotabato route, the more critical route as claimed by almost everybody who had the experience to pass by.

2014-05-21 08.32.04So from main Cotabato City, we have reached the Midsayap, North Cotabato which i think took us around an hour to reach this town. From Midsayap to Upper Dado, Alamada I think the travel time is around 2 hours with alternate paved and rough and dirt roads.

Camera 360

Upon reaching Barangay Upper Dado, we went to the municipal tourism office as per advise. Unfortunately, we were saddened by the news that Asik Asik Falls was closed and shut down as per advise by the governor because of the recent  cholera outbreak occured in this town. Being persistent, I talked to the Mayor and insisted that we came from a very long trip all the way from Zamboanga just to have at least a glimpse of this famous waterfalls. I even insisted that we are medical doctors and that we surely know the precautionary measures to avoid contracting cholera along the way. The mayor replied that in fact they denied a group of koreans who also came from a very long trip all the way from Korea. Hopelessly, While I was thinking of my travel back to zamboanga, somebody introduced me to a Tourism head who is a former number 1 municipal councilor of this town and actually the over all responsible for the decision of accepting us or denying us from seeing the falls. Luckily he speaks chavacano and was a zamboanga resident 20 yrs ago, so he must have a soft spot from zamboangenos. In short we were allowed to check the place with the condition of visiting the local health center and pay a courtesy call to the municipal health officer who is actually busy admitting 1000+ dehydrated patients because of cholera which we did in no time.

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Upon reaching the jump-off point, i was greeted with a perfect picturseque of a scenic landscape.

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Camera 360

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Too excited, we hurriedly walked through a descending trail until you reach a stairway of about 1000+ steps or an hour trek or less depending on how fast you walk. As we almost reach the waterfalls, i am deeply amazed by the scenic view. A virgin place indeed signifies the untainted purity of nature unravaged by human habitation representing calmness, beauty and exoticness of the nature. I can even feel the freshness of the air, the moisture that passes through my nostrils that reaches my alveoli, as well as the smell of the bushes, the virgin trees and the rheum that surrounds the waterfalls, a good reason to escape from the life in city. Almost there, the sound of flowing water is all that can be heard and it calms and refreshens my mind. The water, making its way around, over and through the rocks, makes a beautiful noise. I couldn’t wait to see it. So we  reached Asik-asik Falls after an hour or so, and my jaw literally dropped as I was mesmerized by this falls with its enchanting beauty. I even forget about the stressful trekking experience. It’s unbelievable, divine, majestic and it’s surreal.

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Fresh, super cold and very clear water flows down the hillside in all directions and in case you have no plans of getting wet, do not even attempt to come closer.2014-05-21 13.55.16_0The falls is literally everywhere coz in some areas it falls in thick sheets from ridges high above. The water is clean, clear, pure and unpolluted because this place is just newly discovered and newly open to public. It’s very refreshing as it flows swiftly over weathered rocks and thick moss. Below a bed of rocks lies a small pool where anyone could at least swim or just get wet and be soaked. So i spent the whole afternoon here taking picture perfect sceneries while creating unforgetable moments with my bff and travel buddy Dr. Joseph Lim @sethlim . Enjoy my blog guys! Thank you for dropping by.

Is Durian dangerous to eat? Find out here.

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Durian… Well, first and foremost durian (along wd Marang) is my ultimate favorite fruit. Ever since i can remember i always love munching durian every season in Jolo. This is a fruit that grows commonly in Mindanao but accordingly the most tasty durian comes from Jolo and Davao. This fruit has a very distinctive odor that has been compared to a clogged drain or rotten eggs. As a matter of fact they have forbidden passengers to carry the durian inside the airplane unless placed in a container well sealed and packed.

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One of my college bestfriend described it as “rotting onions, unwashed soiled socks and even dead animals”. The soft flesh of the durian is enveloped in a hard, woody like, very thorny covering and if one of these fruits was to fall on your head, probably you could have an internal brain hemorrhage or if on your face, probably could open hundreds of your facial pores. They say durian can also prove deadly in combination with excessive alcohol intake. In fact, according to researchers at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, it says that durian contains a sulphur-like compound that, when ingested, makes it hard for the liver to break down alcohol. So for those who are alcoholic beverage drinker, please avoid eating durian while having alcoholic drinking spree. One of the researches i have read, it says there that in combination, the alcohol will inhibit the activity of aldehyde something (forgot the complete name of that enzyme) making it to accumulate and not be broken down thus causing alcohol intoxication and eventually death. So if you’ve been drinking to excess and snacking on Durian, you may be at risk for liver damage or even severe alcohol poisoning that could prove fatal.

 

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But what is good in durian is that it has also health benefits according to http://wiki-fitness.com/durian-fruit-health-benefits/ and that include:

1. Increases Immunity

2. Cures Anemia

3. Improves Bone Health

4. Improves Sleep quality

5. Maintain Blood pressure (U see, this is in contrary to the report that it elevates Blood Pressure)

6. Fights Free radicals

7. Improves Digestion

8. Slow the Ageing effect

9. Protect from cancer.

Please see more at: http://wiki-fitness.com/durian-fruit-health-benefits/#sthash.8n1J4Of8.dpuf

Well, talking about nutritional contents, durian is just like other tropical fruits such as Banana, avocado, and jackfruit (langka or nangkah in tausug term) is rich in energy, minerals and vitamins.100 g fresh fruit provides 147 calories. Please check out this link http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/durian-fruit.html

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* The fruit is made of soft, easily digestible flesh made of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that when eaten replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly. Though it contains a relatively high amount of fats among fruits, it is free from saturated fats and cholesterol.

* Durian is rich in dietary fiber, which makes it a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps to protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time and as well as binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.

* The durian fruit is a good source of antioxidant vitamin-C(about 33% of RDA). Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals.

* The fruit is an excellent source of health benefiting B-complex groups of vitamins; a rare feature among fruits, such as niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential for the body as it requires them from external sources to replenish.

* Further, it also contains a good amount of minerals like manganese, copper, iron and magnesium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme,superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.

* Fresh durian fruit is a very rich source of potassium. Potassium is an important electrolyte of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

* Additionally, it also contains high levels of essential amino acid, tryptophan (also known as “nature’s sleeping pill”) which in the body metabolizes into serotonin and melatonin; these neuro-chemicals have important functions like sleep induction and in the treatment of epilepsy.

So that was it and as of writing, I am enjoying tons of durian fruit given to me by my patients here. Thanks and enjoy reading my blog.

 

 

Congrats, you’re a full-pledged Doctor, Now what?!

A lot of people have dream of becoming a doctor and saving lives, but the process requires to accomplish this goal is extremely rigorous. And I am one of those. I remember applying at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University – School of Medicine without even a penny on my pocket. I have to try my luck at least for the scholarship and go through the different process including: 3 written exams (including the NMAT, School’s entrance exam and School of Medicine Exam) and 2 interviews and to my luck I was accepted as 1 of 5 scholars of Kellogs Scholarship given by the school. 
 
After 5 gruelling years including the post-graduate internship and masteral I finally made the big “IT”! I can’t even imagine that i am through the hell in medicine years. I pushed through the years of hard work, the self-doubt, the lack of self-trust and self esteem, the angst, and the exhaustion to finally be at the end of the journey.
 
Yes I am a full-pledged medical doctor now. Every human being attached to me is proud, my family is proud, my friends are proud, in fact I am smiling or even grinning ear to ear. The only being who aren’t proud are my enemies, the insecures and the fakes. But nonetheless, I made it. Welcome to the less-than-one percent.

Now when you are a doctor, the world is ready to embrace you with limitless chances and opportunities. You don’t have to beg for the hospital to hire you, you don’t have to say please or ask favor because they will, as a matter of fact, they throw jobs at you.

This may sound appealing at the start, but after that, it’s not anymore. not even close. Wanna know why? 

 

1. Residency

2. Fellowship

3. Reality Check. You now realize that life kept moving while you were on this journey and later you also realize that you have missed a lot, including a simple birthday of your parents, or dinner time together with the family.

4. The dilemma of having your own patients. 

4. You can actually find a lot of free time but your mind easily gets agitated, impatient, or restless.

5. Now you wanna ask yourself, if it was all worth it.

But if u think you are well prepared to go through all of these, well then GO & GET IT. As they say, when the Going gets tough, the TOUGH get going… In other words, when the situation becomes almost impossible, those who are truly strong are wise enough to pull out, rather than being totally decimated. 

So here I am, providing you the “behind the scene” look and giving you the bird’s eye view to your immediate future as a Medical Doctor… Good luck and Allah Bless You!

 

PS:

I am sharing you my fave song entitled “The Rainbow Interlude” written by Mariah Carey because this song has the power to drive and motivate me to strive harder and it never fails to bring up the vibes in me. So here it is: 

I know there is a rainbow
For me to follow
To get beyond my sorrow
Thunder now precedes the sunlight
So I’ll be alright
If I can find that rainbow’s end

I will be alright
(If I can)
Find that rainbow’s end

 

A Funny Convo.

Funny converation between me and my 2 midwives. 

The conversation is about who among the 3 of us is more photogenic while taking selfie/ selfwe.

Midwife 1 (Seph Berdoguillo, the claimer) Naahhh ako talaga ang pinaka pretty!! Tingnan nyo ang pic, O! 

Midwife 2 (MJ Daud Hamid, Di patalo) Excuse me, ako nu!

ME: Sige na pagbigyan ko na kayo..

Midwife 2 (MJ Daud Hamid) , buti pa si doc, humble lang. Cge na joseph, ikaw na ang pinaka beauty pero alam mo, ANG BEAUTY MO PARANG PASSWORD!!!

MIDWIFE 1 (JOSEPH) At bakit naman password aber!!!

ME: Bakeeet?!!!

Midwife 2 (Mj Daud Hamid) Ang beauty nya doc parang PASSWORD…. 

Alam mo kung bakit Joseph? Parang PASSWORD Dahil IKAW LANG ANG NAKAKAALAM!!!

Boooooooom!!!!