Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Divilacan, Isabela: A Delayed Flight and an Afternoon of Sloshing through Mangroves

Divilacan Dicatian Mangrove Reflections
Dicatian Reflections, lovely even with the overcast conditions
After an afternoon and evening of rain, the sun showed up in the morning.  However, our plane didn't.  Garbled radio messages from Manila clarified little of what we need to know.  As it turned out, we didn't get to fly on our scheduled day of return to Tuguegarao.  But one good thing to come out of this was meeting Divilacan's tourism operations officer, Natalie Almazan, at the SkyPasada check-in facility.  She was set to fly to Tuguegarao but promptly endorsed us to her staff through the power of the good, old-fashioned written letter.

We were really keen on visiting Divilacan but our guides in Maconacon kept telling us it was difficult to go there, a day is not enough to appreciate the side trip, and that it's hard to coordinate with the tourism office owing to the lack of a reliable SMART mobile signal.  So you can say that the flight delay turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Divilacan Crossing the Narrow Bridge
Narrow bridge crossing
It's a 20-25-minute motorcycle ride to get there, passing through hilly terrain, several narrow bridges, and dirt roads.  When we got to the municipio, we were greeted by our guide, Jane Llego, and the spectacle of a sweeping view of the Divilacan coast to the east and Mount Divilacan to the west from the rooftop.  But before we can set out for any sightseeing, courtesy calls were in order.  So it was mid-afternoon when we got going, heading off to the mangroves of Dicatian.  By then, the sky wore a veil of grey.  The tide was low so we were able to go far out, chancing upon a Dumagat fisherman in the shallows.  He was taking stock of his catch before heading home.
Divilacan Dumagat Fisherman
Dumagat fisherman by Dicatian
We passed by Dicatian Lake on the way back to town, site of the crocodile sanctuary and a crocodile release project of the Mabuwaya Foundation.  As there was no breeze, the still waters seemed like a mirror, reflecting the grey sky.  The temptation to paddle around was tempered by the fact that the boats parked by the shore didn't have oars.  Good thing as our trip was cut short by the heavy rains that soaked us as we sat at the back of the kuliglig (motorized cart).

We were supposed to stay in the guests' lodge at Mayor Bulan's house but it was full, packed with members of the Emergency Rescue Team from Cauayan who were conducting training workshops over the past few days.  So we found ourselves billeted at the house of the father of our guide, Jane, who happens to be Divilacan's long-standing municipal treasurer. 
Divilacan Dictian Bare Trees
Dicatian bare trees
It was providential that we got to meet Mang Tony Singueo as he is the grandson of the late Sergeant Ceferino Singueo who led a patrol to these parts many decades ago in pursuit of a fugitive.  Seeing the beauty and promise of the place, he settled here, the first of settlers from Pangasinan who helped cleared the area for planting rice and root crops inland and coconuts along the shore.  It was Lolo Ceferino who requested the weaning of Divilacan from Barrio Antagan.  It rained well into the night but over dinner of fried fish and vegetables, we shared stories before the generator was shut off around 10 (Divilacan still has no electricity.  Curiously, the municipio has a biometric time-in/time-out system which is more advanced than even a lot of private offices in Manila).

We rose to a sunny morning, hesitant to leave and really wanting to explore more of Divilacan.  By God's Provision, we will be back.

Trivia:  The name Divilacan comes from the words "Di" meaning origin and "Vilacan" to mean shells, or "abounding in shells."  For more info, visit www.wowdivilacan.com • Lagal[og] thanks Natalie Almazan and Jane Llego of the tourism office as well as Tatay Singueo for all their help during our short stay in Divilacan. 

Maconacon Dimanok AplayaRead my related posts:  
Maconacon, Isabela:  Reading Thoreau, Hiking the Forest, Crossing Dicatayan and Hearing the Ghosts of a Storm Past  


Related Posts with Thumbnails