Where the Sun Rises First

June 02, 2018 Travel

Every sunrise is a gift. It is a fulfilment of a promise and a hope for a new beginning. It is God’s “hello” or “good morning”. 

So, if there is a place where the sun rises earlier, won’t you want to visit, even just for once?  

When my friends suggested we take a little detour and drop by Pusan Point, the easternmost inland point in the Philippines, on our way to Davao City from the City of Mati, I immediately agreed. After all, who wouldn’t want to set foot where the sun rises first, about 3 to 4 minutes earlier?  

I was with friends from the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines. We attended the 39th Annual Congress and Climb in Maragusan, Compostela Valley, then proceeded to Mati as a side trip.  

The trip to Mati, especially after ticking off three things in my list - visiting Dahican Beach, viewing of the Sleeping Dinosaur, and riding an ultralight plane - would have been enough for me to consider this side trip special. Pusan Point made it extra-special.

We rented a cab from Davao City, and drove for two hours to reach Pusan Point.   

Pusan Point is located in Barangay Santiago in Caraga, Davao Oriental. Caraga is one of the oldest settlements in Mindanao and is home to Mindanao’s oldest Catholic. 

It would have been perfect if we were there to watch the sun rise, but our schedule would not permit, so even if it was already midday, we still pushed through with our plans to visit.

On our way, I couldn’t help but imagine stories Pusan Point had inspired, or the stories it had witnessed as they unfolded. I wondered what the thousands who flocked to this place to watch the first sunrise of the new millennium felt when they witnessed the first rays of the sunshine on this 40-foot high rock promontory.  

The first things we saw when we arrived, apart from the marker, were the old and new lighthouses in their grounds. The old lighthouse, they say, dates back to the 1900s. My mind wandered again to the tales this lighthouse could tell.

Upon entry, guests are led to an interactive science museum. When I searched online, I saw photographs of jagged edges providing a stark contrast to an eternal blue. I wanted to see that first, but the museum was in front of me, so I decided to go there first. I was there already anyway.

The museum is one of the three interactive museums in Davao Oriental. The others are Subangan, located in Mati, which we also visited, and the Mt. Hamiguitan World Heritage Park in San Isidro. 

I didn’t have any expectations, so I was pleasantly surprised to see this well-thought-out museum. It had sections dedicated to Astronomy, Energy, Geography, Chemistry, etc. It also prominently displayed trivia and other information that was good to know.

Outside the museum were a sundial, a swimming pool, and a viewing deck. 

I decided to follow the path that led to the Jubilee Cross. I was enthralled when I reached the edge and saw in front of me, live, the photographs I saw online. Standing there, I noticed it was a perfect spot to watch the waters from the Pacific Ocean slam the cliffs. It was a fantastic sight. 

It gave the feels of old movies about a lover waiting for her man out at sea, or of lovers facing a crossroad in their lives, or of a maiden patiently waiting.

I stayed there for a short while, to think and also to thank God for the opportunity to see that amazing place. This detour was a happy surprise, which also included a short visit to other Davao Oriental’s attractions - Banganga’s Sunrise Boulevard and Cateel’s Aliwagwag Falls.  

I felt our visit was too short and that there was still so much we missed. I can't wait to go back and see more of Davao Oriental. 

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