From your comfortable seat at Turayog, you can see the sparkling Mambulao Bay. - Photo courtesy of ELSIE SUOBIRON
Parang - all they way … Three young visitors having a grand time in Turayog Sky, with the lake-looking waters of Mambulao Bay and the shore of Parang (left of picture) on the outskirts of Mambulao poblacion showing in the background.
Across the Internet world … These lady visitors hope that this particular snap would go a long way ---- across the Internet! The blue-rich Mambulao Bay showing in the background.
In love …. “I love Turayog in the Sky” – that’s what these two ladies are trying to emote as they strike an arm-heart pose, with the Bulalakaw beach (right of pic) and Vinzons Makulabo Island in the background. – Pictures courtesy of ELISE SUOBIRON/Hawaii
By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
SOME people would like to taste the salt of the bay and touch the water, fearing that if that precious moment to do this was squandered, the pleasure won't come back in a life time.
Others would like to commune with its quiet - from afar - from where they could see its vastness, its discordant blue hues that jump against the blinding flashes sent forth by the nine o’clock sun, and to marvel upon its majesty, one that creates an urge to whistle an ancient song or maybe write a rimeless poem.
I, for one, would like to flirt with its grandeur - from a distance - if I had my way.
Browsing the internet, I chanced on a picture taken from an unheard of viewing perch atop a mountain at Baranggay Calogcog, in my hometown Mambulao, CamNorte, the Philippines.
I came to know it as Turayog, a name that hints at heights.
Nestling alone on this part of the world, this spot offers everyone a view of Mambulao Bay in vogue – almost a 180- degree magnificence, so vast no picture frame could ever hold it from springing out.
Then your eyes would languidly trace that white ribbon of a concrete road stretching from that spot where the village of Parang fades at the foot of that half-denuded mountain, up to the other village some three kilometers away, which, to your satisfied delight, is a colony of old and new houses and tastefully-painted bancas dancing in the water just next to the sand.
Ah …! that should be Calero!
Sweeping your eyes to the right, there you will see some islands you readily recognize as that of Calalanay’s and Calambayungan’s – this one is immediately betrayed by the forlorn, ancient chimney that was once a witness to the runaway progress brought about by iron ore mining.
And a witness as to how this affluence suddenly spirited itself away, leaving a whole community in near-poverty.
In Turayog, among its birds and trees, the breeze sweeps almost persistently ... won't let you dwell with boredom that usually gives company to loners who may happen by.
Already, this place whose name doesn’t give a hint as to its meaning except that the place is perched in the sky, was until lately a place known only to jeepney drivers plying the Mambulao poblacion-Sta Barbara route.
“Sabihin mo sa driver na ibaba ka sa Turayog at hindi ka mawawala (tell the driver to drop you off at Turayog and you won’t get lost),” says Elsie Suobiron, a Hawaii-based Mambulao native, who one day, would like to see this place -- her family home -- as a new tourist windfall.
This early, however, she’s already singing about it to friends and relatives from overseas and MetroM, telling them to come as she enticed them to see the blue bay from a comfortable seat while drinking brewed kapeng barako or sipping a cool buko nectar and savoring Bicol-concocted delicacies from tikoy, puto, bibingka, to the more sophisticated tidbits that included konserbang pili and konserbang mani.
Over the past few months, Elsie’s friends from MetroM and overseas came over to have a look.
They were not disappointed.
For a place where they could shoot the breeze, Turayog is just perfect.
And they wondered if somehow it could be fine-tuned: it has the potential to draw nature lovers who don’t want to travel long on boats just to see how Calalanay Island looks or how the beach on Bunog Island compares with that of Parang’s.
A rare scenery from Turayog that you can frame inside your head forever is that of the Bulalakaw village and its beach, which is about five kilometers away through the air, to the right of your periphery.
An isolated coastal baranggay, Bulalakaw could be a hassle if you intend to go there. But from where you sit here at Turayog, seeing this tiny village through a thin curtain of fogs on a cloudy day, but with no threats of rain, would be more than satisfying.
Suddenly, Elsie remembers something cultural.
“I want to give the Kabihug tribe a chance to show off their traditional dances to the visitors,” Elsie said.
The Kabihugs, a tribal group that branches out of the Negrito fame and living in a community nearby, have a rich traditional story that visitors could follow through their dances, she noted.
She said if her budget permits, she would build a so-called cultural hall where the Kabihug tribal dancers could perform while the visitors watch in breezy comfort.
Or for a more natural feel, they could dance under the sun in all their glory inherited from their forbears.
One of her pet project is the “kabibe ng perlas” (mother of pearl) that she wants to display.
“I want to put up a giant bi-valve shell complete with a pearl as my tribute to our country’s ancient name ‘Pearl of the Orient’,” Elsie says, adding: “it would be captioned Pearl of the Orient”.
Which is just timely, as Filipinas is being resurrected to officially replace our country’s official name, the “Philippines”.
Visitors who have a very limited time to spend while in Mambulao could always opt for Turayog and what it could offer.
The place is accessible without much trouble, especially if you have a 4x4 that could easily negotiate the not-so-rough road that takes off from Calogcog.
But a public transport such as the jeepney is readily available at the public terminal next to the wet-and-dry market.
From here, you only need about 20 minutes and presto! You’re in the sky!
So far, Mambulao, a second class fishing community with no more fish to catch from the bay but still with lots of gold to offer to those who greed and would like to die for it, could only show off two places that tourists would care about – the Calalanay Island, a white-sanded beach about a kilometer off the Larap coast, and the three-meter wide, rock-pestered dipping beach waters at Baranggay Pag-asa.
And one day Turayog, mind you, could be the third … it is raring to offer its gems – a rare, picturesque view of Mambulao Bay and the mountains in the horizon that are only now being told about after centuries of being incognito on the natural geographic map, a healthy sweep of bird-laden breeze up and down the rolling mountain slopes nearby, and an experience to be in commune with nature however brief it may be. Ah … this one is priceless!
And a bonus, which could be some amusing tales and stories about the place never heard of outside its natural walls.
As I rattled off earlier in this piece, Turayog hints at heights.
Now, I could be more precise: Turayog is an exhilarating sojourn in the sky!
IT’S MORE FUN IN MAMBULAO! FUNNIER IN TURAYOG!
GO FOR IT!!!
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