Dinagat’s Summer Sunset as captured by my sister-in-law, Maria Susan Geraldino-Geotina.

By Mayette Timblaco-Geraldino

I have always been fascinated by Dinagat Islands. Dinagat fascinates me not only because I’m married to a ‘lumad’ Dinagatnon, but more so because of its mystique, breathtaking islets, white beaches, blue-green seas, beautiful sunsets, and friendly people.

Unfiltered sunset colors of Mauswagon, Dinagat captured by Joyce Geraldino Geotina.

My nephew, Paulie, enjoying his summer vacation in Kapakyan, Dinagat Islands.

My nephew, Paulie, enjoying his summer vacation in Kapakyan, Dinagat Islands.

One of my husband’s fond childhood memories is his family’s fish pen or ‘bungsod’ in Tagbuyakhaw that teemed with fresh and prized variety of fishes. Add to that the sorts of shellfish, crustaceans, and seaweed that delight his family’s dinner table. He loves to recall how the fresh breeze in the family’s rice farm in Malandog always lulls him to sleep in a hammock . He always speak of his hometown with pride and longing ….


Fish pen or ‘bungsod’ in Dinagat Islands, captured by my sister-in-law, Gina Geraldino.

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The family’s rice farm in Malandog, Dinagat Islands as captured by sister-in-law, Ann Geraldino.

During college days, my friend, Zilda, used to regale me with stories of the island’s amazing rock formation, white powdery sand of Bitaog Beach, fresh water stream that defies gravity, and its unexplored caves adorned by stalactites and stalagmites.

And yes, “Who has not heard of the enigmatic Philippine Benevolent Missionary Association (PBMA) founded by the highly revered supreme leader Ruben Edera Ecleo, Sr?” was her standard closing statement, in dialect.

R. Ecleo Shrine in San Jose, Dinagat (Screengrabbed from the Internet)

Dinagat Island's amazing rock formation and islets captured by sister-in-law, Nian Geraldino.

It’s also compelling to hear the elders’ voices inflect as they whisper about the trove of Yamashita treasures that are said to be left hidden by the Japanese soldiers in the caves’ caverns and in the huge rocks’ nooks and crevices, during World War II.

It’s a historical fact that Dinagat, according to US Gen. Douglas MacArthur, was one of “three island-sentinels guarding the (southern) Philippines from the enemies in the Pacific.”

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Rock formation along the San Jose-Loreto route in Dinagat Islands by Nian Geraldino.

Bitaog Beach by Jannice Olarte Geraldino.

Dinagat islands was also featured in the National Geographic due to its newly discovered  unique species of tarsier, a big-eyed nocturnal animal about the size of an adult man’s hand, which is described as ” bigger in size, has darker hair and has stubbier fingers and toes.”

These newly discovered unique breed of primates, says the Biodiversity Institute of the University of Kansas, will “no doubt attract attention as an adorably cute new ecotourism focal point.”

   Dinagat Tarsier as featured in the National Geographic @

Isn’t Dinagat Islands fascinating? My hubby, fondly called Tata by family and friends, definitely thinks so and invites everyone to visit the place he calls ‘home.’ 

Manong Crispin, caretaker of the family’s coconut farm in Kapakyan, Dinagat Islands.

Where ‘home’ is the fascinating Dinagat Islands…

Is Sunset World really where amazing moments are born?

What are some fun and meaningful ways to celebrate a 27th wedding anniversary? Our children and niece may have thought, “What about gifting mom and dad an all inclusive, all-expense paid one week romantic getaway in Cancun?” And that’s exactly what they did!

Our suite, which is located at the 8th floor of the hotel, has a balcony which offers a charming view of the Caribbean’s turquoise blue sea. At night, the calming sound of the ocean lulls us to sleep. 

As Sunset World Premier Elite members, we also have access to the Sunset Marina Resort and Yacht Club, a Mediterranean-style resort which claims to provide a peaceful and relaxing respite for couples and families, alike.

Together with Carlo Pintor, our resort associate, my husband and I had a sumptuous buffet breakfast and a guided tour at the Marina.

So, does Sunset World really offer amazing moments for its members? So far, it’s a yes for us! And we have not even visited yet the famous Sunset Fishermen and Hacienda Tres Rios luxury resorts.  But there is always a next time. 

Exploring the Mayan ruins of the gods and a ‘sacred well’


What are some fun and meaningful ways to celebrate a 27th wedding anniversary? Our children and niece may have thought, “What about gifting mom and dad an all inclusive, all-expense paid one week romantic getaway?” And that’s exactly what they did!

On Monday, August 3rd, we explored two of Mexico’s amazing treasures – the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and the Ik-Kil Cenote.

By bus, it took us about 2.5 hours to reach Chichen Itza from Cancun. As our tour group entered the ruins, it suddenly rained. “It’s a blessing from the gods,” quipped Orlando, our tour guide, who announced that it has not rained there for a long time. Still, Chichen Itza, which means “at the mouth of the well of Itza,”  sweltered with scorching heat and high humidity. 

Orlando then directed us to converge around the 90-foot tall Temple of Kukulkan – the heart of the ruins and Chichen Itza’s most important ceremonial structure. The pyramid is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is named after one of Maya’s supreme gods, Kukulkan – a feathered serpent bird.

And then we all heard it – an echo that sounded like a Quetzal bird call as we clapped in unison at the foot of the West side face of “El Castillo.” We did it again at the North side and the same chirping sound could clearly be heard. Interestingly, though, the ‘chirping echo’ does not work in the East and South side faces of the pyramid. I stood at the foot of the castle in awe, while recalling the Mayan’s human sacrifices as seen in Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. 

The magnificent ‘chirping’ pyramid is said to have been built during the 11th to 13th centuries on the foundations of previous temples. It is also claimed that the architecture of the four-sided structure is situated to mark the solstices and equinoxes. Each face of the Temple of Kukulkan has a stairway with 91 steps, which, together with the shared step of the platform at the top, add up to 365, the number of days in a year. 

The Mayans are credited for creating a ‘sophisticated set of calendars even more exact than our own and that culminates with the alignment of our sun and the Milky Way Galaxy – a 26,000 year cycle.’ They also created the number 0! In fact, the Mayan civilization is known to have practiced the most complex cultures in the Western Hemisphere until 900 A.D. 

It was indeed amazing to see one of the world history lessons come alive! 

But our tour did not end there. Cesar, our driver, whisked us to the amazing Ik- Kil Cenote, a  deep natural pit under a jungle-framed sky where ‘vines form wild cathedral walls leading up to shafts of sunlight.’  Swimming in the crisp mineral-rich pool of pristine waters provided us with the much needed relief to the scorching heat of Chichen Itza.


Ik-Kil Cenote, one of the estimated 7000 cenotes in Mexico, is formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock. It is about 25 meters beneath the surface easily accessible via a stairway that is carved into limestone rock. The pool itself is about 60 meters in diameter and 35 meters deep, where small black fishes can be seen frolicking under the turquoise waters. Cenotes, which means sacred well, were revered by the Mayans as portals to commune with the gods.

Indeed, today’s visit to the Mayan ruins and the Ik-Kil Cenote are culturally-enriched packets of fun, spiritual, and enriching vacation experience from which we, as a couple, may draw the strength from should we encounter some un-intended bumps and detours in our journey.

What about an all-inclusive romantic getaway in Cancun?


What are some fun and meaningful ways to celebrate a wedding anniversary? Our children and niece may have thought, “What about gifting mom and dad an all-inclusive, all-expense paid wedding anniversary getaway in Cancun?” And that’s exactly what they have decided to do! 

This is the fist day of our one week all-inclusive vacation in Cancun, Mexico, courtesy of our dear children and niece – Charisse Faye, Genesis, Keith, Sharmayne, and Katrina Leslie. 

But first, let me reflect on what keeps this marriage strong for 27 years.

Just like any other couple, our journey has been marked by moments of highs and lows – a seeming roller coaster of laughter and tears. 

Through it all, I thank God for cuddling us even when the ‘branch’ seemed to have teetered off from the ‘vine.’ It’s no coincidence that during our weakest moment as a couple, great opportunities came knocking and strangers embraced us as friends. Such instances, I believe,  are hallmarks of the divine.

Then, there is my husband. It is not easy to be married to an empowered but flawed woman. It requires someone’s devotion to make her feel whole, patience to calm her anger and fear, faith  to temper her pains, humility to hone her innate strengths, and fidelity to keep her beautiful and sane.      

I tried to write him a poem. But my muse abandoned my poetic sense. Then, while lounging at the outdoor pool of our hotel, Cancun’s gentle breeze wafted Air Supply’sJust as I am to our ears. The song aptly captures the unwritten poem that I wanted to write for my panggang


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