Blessed with natural coastlines hugging the northern seas of Mindanao, the province of Misamis Occidental never ceases to sea experiences they can have us experience. Their undulating coastlines feature from white sandy beaches to coastal mangrove forests up to bay areas creating natural calm sea conditions. With these natural settings, the towns of Sapang Dalaga and Lopez Jaena are able to put up tethered floating cottages that locals and guests can experience.
GAKITS OF LOPEZ JAENA
Meeting one of the youngest chief executives, Mayor Pinky of Lopez Jaena Municipality welcomed us with a striking dance performance backed up by her supportive workforce in the tune of their very own town’s catchy anthem. The melody and choreography including the warm smiles and atmosphere led some of us to join their performance along with non other by RD May Unchuan herself. Surrounded by a thick mangrove canopy as our backdrop under the bluest sky during our travel, we danced and sweated away the fun before we head again to another sumptuous buffet of Lechon and, of course, seafood.
Dining on a raised bamboo platform above the edges of mangrove root formations serenaded by the melodic sea and therapeutic whistling of the wind apart from dipping our seafood finds in their best-tasting vinegar dip was indeed heaven! Momentarily, with full belly, we are instructed to don our lifevests as we need to board tourist boats for the GAKITS – the floating cottages of Lopez Jaena.
There is a bit walk towards the wharf where the classy white yet colourful tourist boats are docked. The travel to the gakits is about 15–20minutes approximate. With indeed calm winds and sea waves, the cruise was smooth sailing. Before we know it, we are about to dock on a two-story floating bamboo cottage.
Care is indeed needed while transferring to the cottages due to some wave action. Better hold on tight and maintain those lifevests donned.
Nevertheless, the bit of thrill would be exchanged for excitement soon as you set foot on multifeatured bamboo cottages.
Here is what we have with the SAN LUIS FLOATING COTTAGE:
There are multiple swings from bamboo to recycled tires. There is a submerged portion about 5×5 feet in dimension where children can safely enjoy the seawater without the fear of drowning. There is quite a steep ladder leading to an upper deck where you can enjoy the panoramic views of Lopez Jaena’s shoreline and calm sea. On the lower deck, there is a spacious dining area and a grill nook. The floating cottage also has a lowered platform where you can splash safely towards the waters.
FLOATING COTTAGES OF SAPANG DALAGA
Surrounded by one of the best bay areas of Misamis Occidental, the Floating Cottages of Sapang Dalaga are truly one of the recommended destinations at the northern fringes of the province.
Involving a 15-20 minute drive from the provincial road would lead you to their very own modest wharf. A striking feature of their port is the amazing and colossal Jesus Christ the Redeemer statue on top of a hill. Apart from that, you can see the towering mountain ranges of the neighbouring Zamboanga del Norte province, a sign that we are indeed in a bordering town.
Since the floating cottages are located inside a bay area, expect more calm sea conditions. In case a guest has seasickness, this is a better option for them. Enjoy the day’s excursion and leave the food preparations behind as the community offers meal preparations on your behalf. Arrive with your food ready and devour them fresh and hot once at the cottages.
After a day’s enjoyment at the bay, one can say refer to their wishes and prayer atop the Christ Redeemer. A quick hike on a developed stairway would lead you to its ultimate platform – best to come before sunset and be rewarded with an amazing view of the bay with illuminated with warm shades of the setting sultry sun. If you extended your stay until the dark hours, be still and calm and soon be surrounded by multitudes of fireflies nestled in their favourite trees – What a sight to behold!
After our brief stay, we are ferried to the private resort of their Mayor where we get to meet him in person and enjoy another Lechon and Seafood dinner. We are also given access to try his saltwater infinity pool where we can see distant flickering from the residential and wharf below. It was indeed another well-spent dinner time at Misamis Occidental.
MORE TO OFFER
Apart from these floating cottages, there are so many water-related activities you can enjoy like the white beaches and Mangrove Park of Baliangao and the exclusive beach resort at Panamao. The growing tourism destinations soon would unravel as the continuing Maricaban infrastructure of Sinacaban akin to the Maldives.