a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Review : Asus ZenFone 2 Laser

Check out my experience using an Asus ZenFone 2! :)

Hiking 6 peaks over the weekend

Click to read about one of my all-time favorite hiking adventures. :)

Osprey Pack : Nova

My new reliable backpacking buddy

Hiking in Bukidnon

A day hike to Mt. Kitanglad and Dulang-Dulang

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Part 2 : Bataan Adventures | Where to Eat in Bataan (Updated 2017)

Being an avid hiker and foodie, I've grown very fond of visiting  Bataan.  This province offers several hiking trails (check my post here) passing verdant forests and nicely decorated cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a proper cup of coffee and affordable comfort food. It is also highly accessible from Manila via land travel, making it a good option for a short but rewarding out of town adventure. 

Here's a list of restaurants in Bataan where you can enjoy satisfying meals. 

ANGELITOS (Orani)
The restaurant's name which means little angels (male) was inspired by the owner's 3 young boys, Miguel (after St. Michael), Rafael and Gabriel.This 2 year old family owned restaurant has a homey ambiance and serves any type of food that the family enjoys. 

Dishes are flavorful and priced affordably -100 Pesos above for the main dishes and 20 Pesos above for the desserts. Specialty includes, pork binagoongan and creamy tofu (my fave!). The restroom which has a mini garden is also nice! 
Angelitos
M plus C Building, Tenejero
Orani, Bataan
Contact Number : +63 (047) 237 0743
Facebook Page here
Location map
Related Post : Bataan Tourism | Angelitos 
Notes : Located along a national road, easily reached via tricycle at the town proper

SAVERDE (Abucay)
Located in a side road close to the highway, this home turned restaurant and badminton center offers a memorable plate of beef tapa rice,  marinated beef with rice, nicely enveloped in omelette.  If you like it sweet and savory, you'll enjoy their version of this Pinoy favorite. Another must try is the buttermilk bread. Similar to French toast, the aptly sweet chunky slice of bread is great to be paired with brewed coffee. Price range : 20-75 Pesos. 
Saverde
Gabon St., Abucay, Bataan
Location Map here
Facebook Page here
Business Hours : MONDAY TO SATURDAY, 3:00pm - 12:00mn
Contact Numbers : +63 (047) 633 5270 | (0906) 458 0230

CHOCO-LATE DE BATIROL (Pilar)
This restaurant located within the complex of a gas station serves Filipino dishes and its specialty, hot chocolate prepared with batirol, a wooden object used to whisk the hot pot of a melted cacao beans. It also has a souvenir shop where you can buy snacks to bring back to family and friends.  Dishes start at 200 pesos above and local delicacies such as bibingka, suman at 80 Pesos above. Hot chocolate starts at 100 Pesos.  

Choco-Late de Batirol 
Total Gas Station, Roman Super Highway, Alauli, Pilar, Bataan
Location map here
Business Hours : Monday-Sunday 06:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Contact Numbers : +639228882873 / +63 (47) 6331445
Facebook Page here

THE FOOD PROJECT (Orion)
The restaurant's layout reminds me of a very hip food park with its black walls and wooden tables (perfect for flatlays :P), ideal for young people who want to dine with their friends. Equally pleasing is its food - a fusion of Western and Filipino favorites. Rice meals are at 79 Pesos above. I enjoyed their Sisig rice, nachos and the ribs, their bestseller. I normally don't eat ribs but my seatmate ordered one and it looked so nice, I had  to try it.  

The Food Project
Balagtas, Orion, Bataan
How to get here : (Directions taken from their FB page)

From Central Terminal in Balanga ride a jeepney bound to Orion, when you reach Orion, Shell Gas Station, walk at about 15 to 20 meters going to Orion National Highschool. 
Location map here
Facebook Page here
Business Hours : Tuesday-Sunday, 3:00 PM - 10:00 PM 
Contact Number +63 (04761) 21647
Notes : it's an open-air restaurant and a bit far from the main road. If you're driving, check the location map above for directions

IMA'S PAMANGAN 
Popular for serving Kapampangan and Filipino dishes. Their buffet is a must try for first timers. The spread features numerous dishes that are characteristically Kapampangan,  satisfyingly full of flavor. From the outside, it looks like your typical eatery by the road and I was surprised to discover that beyond its small doors is a wide dining area that can accommodate big groups with its long wooden tables. Its's also air conditioned and the ventilation is actually nice. Buffet is at 200 Pesos. Ala carte dishes are also available. As this place can get really packed during peak hours, contact them for reservation on the number below. 
Ima's Pamangan
Gov. J.J. Linao AlaUli
Pilar, Bataan
Location map here
Business Hours : Daily at 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Contact Number +63 998 564 0275/+0917-572-4703
Facebook Page here
Note : This is located on the same road going to  Mt. Samat, before the long and winding road up the mountain.

ESPADA GRILL- serves grilled tilapia, pork liempo, chicken bbq/inasal and other Filipino dishes. Try their  Monday buffet, a bang for the buck at 195 PHP/head inclusive of meat, vegetables and seafood, dessert and drinks. 
Price Range : 195 PHP for buffet, every Mondays from 11AM-2PMand 5PM-9PM  
Regular Meals start at 100 PHP. Bundles for those dining with a group are also available. 
Address : National Rd. cor Batungbakal Subdivision, Sta. Rosa, Pilar
Facebook Page : Espada Grill

AMANDA'S - offers Filipino cuisine. Every dish we tried here was delicious! I recommend the pinakbet and practically any meal they have that has tilapia. :P 
Address : Villa Carolina Subd., Puerto Rivas,  Balanga
Facebook Page : Amanda's

MT. TARAK GUESTHOUSE & RESTAURANT - offers a wide selection of fusion meals and solo meals named after different types of adventurers like Hunter's 109 Meals, Backpacker Pork Schnitzel, Excurtionist Pollo Al Jerez, Hiker's Chicken Al Ajillo and more.  Try their specialty, Pollo Iberico Antojo, slow-cooked roasted whole chicken that takes an hour to prepare. 
Price Range : Solo meals start at 109. They also serve dishes for sharing. 
Address : MAAP Road, Brgy. Alas-asin, Mariveles, Bataan.
Contact Numbers : +63 917 534 28 87 (mobile) or +63 (047) 6121093 (landline)
Facebook Page : Mt. Tarak Guesthouse and Restaurant

LOLENG'S HUTIEU-AN (Morong) 
This eatery offers Filipino and Vietnamese food. It is named after its owner, Aling Loleng and hutieu, a noodle soup dish. Aling Loleng  is a Filipina who used to work in the Philippine Refugee Processing Center (PRPC) in Morong. During her stint at the center, she gained Vietnamese friends who taught her their cuisine. *PRPC operated from 1980-1994 and  hosted refugees coming from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam war. The PRPC served as their homes while the refugees waited for the processing of their papers to resettlement  countries like the United States, Canada and Norway.(Source : Inquirer
Price Range : starts at 50 PHP
Address : Mayor St. Brgy. Binaritan, Morong, Bataan
Business Hours : 7:00 am to 9:00 pm (Monday to Sunday)

STREGATO GELATERIA (Balanga) 
This pretty cafe  prides itself in serving gelato that has  "less fat, less sugar, but has more intense flavor than ordinary ice cream". Aside from gelato, they also serve rice meals, sandwiches and pastas. 

Price Range : 200 PHP below for the food and 150 PHP below for the blended drinks
Stregato Gelateria
Stregato Gelateria
Galeria Victoria Mall, Balanga
Facebook Page : Stregato Gelateria
Business Hours : Daily, 11:00 AM - 09:00 PM
Notes : It is just outside the entrance of Galeria Victoria Mall, near Dunkin Donuts

THE BEANERY (Balanga, Dinalupihan)
A local chain of  cafes that serves tea, coffee and beautifully plated meals. It's Bataan's version of Starbucks but with cozier interiors! This is one of my favorite cafes in the country and I make it a point to visit a branch when I'm in Bataan. 
Price Range : 120 PHP above for the pastas and around 120 PHP above for the coffee
The Beanery
The Beanery Main Branch, Capitol Drive, San Jose, Balanga City
Facebook Page : The Beanery
*There are two branches in Balanga. One is a few blocks across Crown Royale Hotel.

PLAZA BREW (Balanga)
Located right next to  one of the nicest hotels in Bataan, The Plaza, this cafe serves moist cakes and designer donuts. It is cozy yet formal enough to be a venue  for small business meetings. It is a few steps away from Stregato Gelateria and just in front of Plaza Mayor de Balanga. 

The Plaza Brew
J.P. Rizal Street, Balanga
Location map here
Facebook Page here

Note : Business hours and location may change. Please double check with the restaurant before visiting.

Check out this posts by fellow bloggers on other places to eat in Bataan. 
Love Mindanao Deliciously Yours, Bataan
Blissful Bataan by Turista Trails

Related Posts : 
Part 1 : Outdoor Adventures & Other Places to Visit in Bataan  | Part 3 : Where to Stay in Bataan

How to Get to Bataan?
From Manila, take a bus to Balanga, the provincial capital or to Mariveles, the last municipality. From Balanga, there is a central terminal with trips to other municipalities in the province.

The bus company, Bataan Transit has terminals in Avenida (Manila) and Cubao (Quezon City). For contact information and schedules, visit Bataan Transit’s website or their Facebook Page. Tickets can also be booked online through their partner website, Pinoy Travel.

Another reputable bus company plying routes to Balanga and Mariveles is Genesis Transport which has terminals in Cubao and Pasay (closer to both international and domestic airports). For schedules, contact +63 2 709 0803 or visit their Genesis Transport Inc.’s Facebook Page. Travel time to Balanga takes 3 hours depending on traffic while Mariveles is roughly 90 minutes away from Balanga. 

I've also written about Bataan on Looloo, check article here.

Should you need assistance in arranging your trip or getting additional information  to any of the destinations mentioned above, get in touch with the provincial tourism of Bataan.
Bataan Tourism Center (Balanga) - located along the Roman Highway, Bataan's major highway where public bus and vehicles pass by.  It more than just an office,  it's a destination itself, featuring a gallery, landscaped garden and a souvenir shop selling affordable products from Bataan such as bottled fish, shrimp paste, arrowroot cookies, mussel chips, cashew nuts and more!
Email : bataan_tourism@yahoo.com
Contact Number : +63 (047) 237 4785
Facebook Page : Bataan Tourism
Website : 1Bataan

NOTE : This post was made in collaboration with the provincial tourism of Bataan. I've also been visiting the province a lot lately for personal trips and it has become one of my favorite places because of its accessibility from Manila and good food. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Team Building venue : Haranah Eco Park (Tanay, Rizal)

Summer's here, a season where a lot of companies and organizations plan getaways for its employees or members. If you're looking for a venue to hold your team building, conference or seminar near Manila that's close to nature, consider Haranah Eco Park
A wide open space for your activities
Located in Tanay, Rizal, this 16.2 hectare family-owned eco park offers its visitors a expansive venue to unwind while enjoying generous views of the Sierra Madre mountain range. 

With its proximity to the mountains, the weather is cool year-round and gets even colder  at night, a nice contrast from the heat in the lowlands. 
Scenic mountain views from the Bahay Kubo
Getting here takes around 1.5 hours from Quezon City and 2 hours from Manila with moderate traffic.  It passes MARILAQUE (short for Marikina, Rizal, Laguna, Quezon) highway,  a well-paved road offering scenic mountain views and rocky peaks, a reason why it's  frequented by bikers. 
Established friendly hiking trails
Haranah Eco Park offers the perfect venue for its visitors to interact with each other without the modern day distractions. In place of television and radio are nature's sounds. Cellular network connectivity is limited to Smart and Sun users.  It's a good place to disconnect and do some reflection. 

In line with its mission to promote environmental awareness, some of the flowers and trees along the hiking trail have tags containing its common & scientific name, description and region of origin. Being a plant lover, it was nice to just walk around and look at plants and know its name. (Related post : Tree trekking with Haribon)

Other activities you can do here include hiking, mini obstacle course,  bonfire in designated spots, rock balancing, a form of art where rocks are stacked without the use of adhesives or other materials.  You can also bathe in a small natural pool which can be hiked down a  very steep hill. 

For more information on Rock Balancing, visit their Facebook page here.
Trying out rock balancing with my  fellow bloggers Joshua Berida  and Julia who's on assignment for Langyaw.com
Tent accommodation with foam mattresses are offered. You can also bring your own tents but pitching is allowed in designated areas to preserve the beauty of the place. The camping grounds is on a well-tended grassy area close to trees and surrounded with flowering plants. The restrooms and shower area  is also a couple of feet away so no need to worry about going to the toilet in the middle of the night. 

They also have a kitchen you can use but availing of their food service is also a good idea because they serve good food! The multi-purpose hall which also serves as the dining area is an excellent spot to watch the sunset or just stare at the Sierra Madre mountain range. There's also another area in the property where you can witness a beautiful sunrise. 
Breakfast with a view at Haranah Eco Park's multi-purpose hall and dining area
Facilities : 
Solar-powered multi-purpose hall (seating capacity : 200)
Bahay kubo
View deck and lounge (seating capacity : 15)
Conference Hall (seating capacity : 40)
Amphitheater which can be a venue for outdoor lectures
Designated bonfire areas
Geodesic domes for planting herbs and spices
Hiking trail with stone steps 
Kitchen
Admin building & Clinic
Shower hall and restrooms
Basketball court

Currently, Haranah Eco Park is by reservation only and for big groups, a minimum of 40. In April however, they will be accepting  solo  or small groups. You just need to book in advance. Details provided below. 

Day Tour
April 13,14,15,16, 2017
Fee : P1,000
Inclusions :  a day tour with set lunch
For reservations, contact +63(02)376-6645 or +63 (02)411-6567 or send them an email at postmaster@haranahecopark.com.ph. 

Camping with a small group 
Haranah Eco Park now accepts smaller groups with a minimum of 10 persons. 
The rate is 3,200 Pesos inclusive of tent accommodation, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner and bonfire on the first day, then breakfast and morning snack the next day. To book, get in touch with them directly. Contact details are listed below. 

Other places to visit in Tanay?
Calinawan Cave which can be combined with a side trip to Daranak Falls (blog to follow)
Regina RICAa pilgrimage site and a place for contemplation (blog to follow)
Hiking destinations in Tanay by Pinoy Mountaineer
Tanay Travel Guide by Travel Up

Haranah Eco Park
Sitio Mayagay 2, Barangay Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal
Contact Number : +632-376-6645
Email : postmaster@haranahecopark.com.ph
Facebook Page : http://facebook.com/haranahecopark

Note : This trip was in collaboration with the Tourism Promotions Board and Haranah Eco Park, the marketing arm of DOT (Department of Tourism, Philippines). 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Booking a Nice & Budget-Friendly Hotel via the Traveloka App

Most of my travels are short and involve a mountain hike so I’m often dirty and tired (but still all smiles!) at the end of the day.  After an adventure, all I want is to be able to change my clothes and rest somewhere nice, so if I’m spending a night or two away from home, I always, always make it a point to book my accommodation in advance so I could get comfortable rooms at better deals and spend what I saved up on food or perhaps for another trip (but it will be most likely on food. :P).
Traveloka is a fairly new booking site where you can snag cheap flights and hotel bookings. Making it even more easier and convenient for travelers is its app which I recently downloaded. Its clean, highly-responsive and user-friendly interface is delightful. At its homepage, you can easily navigate your away around whether you’re looking for a flight, hotel or just checking out ongoing promos. 

I've recently used the Traveloka App to book a hotel for my next hiking trip in Pangasinan. To find a good deal, I clicked on “ongoing promos.” Fortunately, there was one that was ending on the same day so I took advantage! The deal was for a hotel discount of up to 50% off if I completed a booking within the promo period.

I entered “Pangasinan” at the Destinations and my check-in dates. I blurred out my travel dates in below screenshot but on the app itself, you’ll be able to select and see the dates. 
After clicking the “Search” button, the app immediately led me to all the available properties on my travel dates. The variety of options by which you can sort out the accommodation is really useful. If budget is a concern, you can sort by “Price” (the icon to sort is at the bottom of the page).  Just make sure it’s not too far from where you’re going so you don’t overspend on transportation costs. 
When choosing an accommodation, I always check out the reviews within the app and on other sites  (other blogs, review sites, Facebook pages). On the app, Traveloka shows feedback from the popular travel review site, TripAdvisor.

There are several options located all over Pangasinan, which is an enormous province so I opened up Google maps on my laptop as well to check the proximity of the hotel from my destination. In the end,  I chose Hotel Monde in Dagupan for its excellent location, reviews online and its reasonable price. 

When booking through apps or websites, I only do the actual booking once I’ve made up my mind. This way, I avoid making errors or encountering a website timeout which is an additional hassle since you need to verify if your booking went through. 
After pressing “Select Room”, I was led to another page that showed the price, room details and the cancellation policy. 

 For a stylish private room with shower located near the city center, plus the promo discount, I thought this was a fair deal.

After finalizing my room choice, I provided my contact details. On this page, you can specify whether you’re booking for yourself or for another person. You can also enter your special requests such as a room away from the main road, late check-in, late check-out, etc. You will also see the price at the bottom of the page. After pressing “Continue”I was led to another page where I saw my booking details  again and this makes it easier for you to review and make revisions on your booking before you pay. (Note : Actual travel dates were blurred on below screenshot)
I clicked “Continue” and this led me to the payment page. 

Traveloka App provides you with a variety of payment methods. For convenience, you can pay through credit or debit card. You can also pay at 7 Eleven stores, M Lhuillier, Cebuana Lhuillier and through banks BDO, BPI, Metrobank. BDO, Landbank, UCPB, RCBC and Chinabank. Note that Traveloka gives you a specific timeframe to make a payment and while there are several payment options, some may not be available at the time of your booking. When paying through banks, it is best to do it during their business hours. 

Credit card has always been my preferred payment mode as I can get instant confirmation and it’s more hassle-free for me.  (If you want to check out how payment goes through via bank payment, check out Lakas ng Trip’s Post here)

In below screenshot, you’ll notice a time frame beside each payment method. That is the number of hours/minutes you have to make a payment to secure your booking.
On the next page, I entered my card details. Before paying, I applied the coupon code which I copied from the “Ongoing Promos” section and  gleefully saw the room rate reduced to 50% off. Yay!
I clicked “Pay Now” to finalize my payment. Since I used a credit card enabled with a verification code for online payments, I had to enter the code sent to me which took less than a minute.  After I received confirmation that payment was successful, I received a text right away confirming my booking then after another minute, I received my Traveloka voucher containing my booking details along with a receipt. 

In a matter of minutes, I was able to book a room through Traveloka’s user-friendly app. My stay will be in May and I will update this post to tell you how it went.:) 

Check out my posts on hiking here.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Review : Supremo 4K Action Camera for the Everyday Adventurer

When I started hiking about 16 or 17 years ago, my mentor, a mountaineer from AMCI Mountaineering Club, formerly called Ayala Mountaineers shared with us this outdoor philosophy when in the mountains : 
Leave nothing but footprints
Take nothing but pictures
Kill nothing but time
Supremo 4K action camera 
Starting young, this got imprinted in my head but back then, taking  even just one photo or video clip was costly. You need to load your camera with a film and have it printed - and if you want videos, you need to buy  a separate gadget!  Nowadays, with technology, taking pictures or videos as souvenirs of a happy adventure is now cheaper and much more convenient.  I’m so happy I don’t have to borrow a friend’s film to get a copy of pictures, whew! There’s also so many options that would fit your budget. 

As a matter of convenience, I use my phone to take photos and videos but I’m not comfortable bring it out all the time especially when there’s water involved such as river trekking, canyoneering or kayaking. 

Thankfully, Supremo Philippines sent me their latest action camera to try, the Supremo 4K which can take 4K videos and quality photos up to 16MP. When put inside its waterproof casing, you can bring it underwater upto 30 meters, so that's around 98 feet. That's deep enough to enable you to take shots while snorkeling as most spots are close to the reef. 

It came in a nice box and packed with an overwhelming number of accessories which you can use to attach or mount the camera depending on your adventure. 

Here’s a list of what you’ll get along with the Supremo 4K camera :
Supremo wrist remote, Waterproof case + replacement backdoor, Frame, Quick Release buckle, J-hook buckle, 360-degrees rotating swivel arm, 3-way pivot arm + thumb screws, Lock bolt, Flat mount, Curved mount, Clip mount, Handlebar mount, Safety tether, Straps, 3M Adhesives, Rechargeable batteries (you get 2 for each unit!). Wall charger, USB Cable and User manual

Technical Specs : (Skip  this part if you're like me who's not quite keen on the technical specs. To be honest, the only thing I was interested in was knowing how deep I could use it underwater, hehe!) 
Lens angle - 170 degrees, 7G A+ FIsheye Super Wide Angle Lends
Screen - 2.0" LCD screen (960*240)
Video - 4K at 24fps, 2.7K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps video quality
Photo - 16MP (20MPx interpolated/14MP/12MP/10MP/8MP/5MP JPEG
Battery - 1000mAh, 3.7V lithium battery
Waterproof - maximum at 30 meters
Ports - HDMI Mini (Type D) and USB 2.0 ports 
Memory Card - 4GB to 32GB Micro SD Card (sold separately)
Diving Mode - Red light compensation function in diving mode 

Note that you'll need a Micro SD card to be able to use it. As mentioned above, it's not included in the unit but other retail stores may offer it. Supremo recommends using a Class 10 MicrosSD card with at least 48mb/s writing speed to enjoy seamless HD and 4K video recording. The memory card can be expanded up to 32GB. I'm currently using a 32GB Samsung Evo microSD  which I bought from Lazada. I haven't had any issues with it so far. Transferring files from my camera to the laptop is quite fast. I just plug the cable in, select Mass storage from the camera and I can easily view the files and videos. 

Supremo 4K retails between 3,680-6500 Pesos depending on where you buy it. It's 3,680 Pesos at Kimstore as of this writing.  I posted a list where you can buy Supremo 4K below. 

I’m also sharing with you this informative unboxing video which I found online by Life is Kulayful and Manila Shaker. Click here.

So, how do I find Supremo 4K?  
Like I've said, I’m not a very techy person. In fact, when I opened my Supremo 4K, I felt a bit intimidated but following the manual and user guide  was quite easy and in about 30 minutes, I felt comfortable using it. Don’t lose it!  

As an ordinary user who just wants to take nice photos and videos as keepsakes, I’m quite satisfied and would happily recommend Supremo 4K to everyone who is looking for a budget-friendly action camera that takes quality photos and videos. I also swim in a pool about 1-3 times a week and I love how I can record my swim sessions so I can see how I'm doing since I normally swim alone.  It‘s also worth noting that you would may need to change or experiment with the settings to fit to your liking. I can’t deal with poor image quality and I don’t like editing too much so I searched online for suggestions on the proper settings. 

Supremo 4K sample photo#1
I only cropped it a bit as my hand popped in the screen :P. 
Settings : 
Photo size - 8MP
Picture quality - fine
HD On

The sky was really dark and cloudy when I took the shot and there's a bit of fog at the peak. 
Taken on a hike at Manabu peak in Batangas
Supremo 4K sample photo #2  
I didn't edit this in any way. This was taken deep in the forest so it's also a bit dark when I took it. 
Papaya river at Mt. Tarak, Bataan

Supremo 4K sample raw video 

Settings : 1080P 30fps

*When watching a video on YouTube, remember to update the viewing quality (click the settings button near the bottom right of the video on YouTube) as default view might be a low resolution. 480p is clear enough and easier to load if your internet access is slow. 

Tip : Should you need more sample videos taken with Supremo 4K, just type "Supremo 4K" on the search box  on YouTube. 

As for durability, I’ve only been using it for about two months so I can’t give a fair verdict yet. I’m the type who absentmindedly drops stuff (which is why my phone is in a reliable Otterbox case :P). You can ask me again on Instagram after a few months if you’re curious to know if my Supremo 4K is still functioning. My IG user ID is @Jovialwanderer.

To help you make a decision, you can also check out what other users have to say about Supremo 4K in this Facebook GroupI'm not sure if it’s affiliated in any way with Supremo Philippines but it’s helpful.  It's a closed group so you need to join to view the content.  

Where to buy Supremo4K in the Philippines?
Abenson, Ambassador, Automatic, AV Surfer, D'24K, Electroworld, F8 Photo, 
Globe Telecom Stores, IGIG, J&R Appliances, Kimstore.com, Lazada.com, M20 Enterprise, 

Macys Camera Shop, Photoline, PRG Photo Shop, The Landmark Corp and SupremoWorld.com

Supremo World 
Facebook Page :  facebook.com/supremoworld 
Website : http://supremoworld.com/

Here are other reviews on Supremo 4K which you may want to check out :
Pinoy Adventurista
Justin Vawter

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Feature : Save money for your next travels with Shopback

Not everyone enjoys malls or have the time or energy to visit one, especially if you’re someone who’s either hiking or swimming or just sleeping or eating :P. (ehem!)

I only go when I really, really have to and it’s a chore I just have to get over and done with.

Fortunately, it’s so much easier these days to just buy stuff online and it’s become more secure too which is why I love online shopping. It’s just so convenient and if I see several options online, I have time to do more research or ask around (thank you Social media!) before making a purchase.

Since I love shopping online, I got excited when Shopback invited me to try out their platform. Shopback is a website that helps you get the best deals and discounts on 300+ stores, plus Cashback! Cashback is really just "getting cash back" when you make a purchase passing through Shopback’s site.



ShopBack works with merchants who reward them with a commission when referring a customer to shop on their site. When you spend online through ShopBack, they give
you a portion of your purchase back as Cashback.

Just recently, I had to buy a MicroSD card for my Supremo 4K action cam. I decided to go to a mall and sadly, not only did it stress me out having to talk to sales people (I wasn’t feeling sociable that day), I also didn’t find anything that suited my needs.

The next day, I followed a friend’s advice to check out Lazada and in a few minutes, I was able to buy one, a reliable MicroSD card that came at a good price!  I only wished I learned about ShopBack before I bought one.  (Lazada vouchers and promotions up for grabs  at ShopBack!

So, how to get Started with ShopBack?
Go to ShopBack website. Create your profile – either use your Facebook login or sign in using your email address.

Here are some screenshots that explain how Shopback works : 



You can request for payout once you've reached Redeemable Cashback of P300.00
Bonus can only be cashed out when your Redeemable Cashback reaches P300.00

How to get your cash?
You can get your cash through PayPal or bank account:
Paypal
BDO
BPI
Metrobank
Eastwest
Chinabank
Security Bank
RCBC
UCPB
Globe GCash
Unionbank
PNB


For easier access, you can also download its app on Google Play, Apple App Store or through Shopback Cashback Buddy website (for laptops and desktops only)

You also get a PHP100 Bonus on your first purchase. Cool deal eh?


For travelers, below’s a screenshot of ShopBack’s partner merchants. I have an upcoming trip soon and I’m looking forward to getting good deals on accommodation.  



Over-all, ShopBack presents another fun and creative way of giving customers a discount, a treat for us online shoppers. J

Need more information on ShopBack? Check out these articles about their service on Inquirer, Manila Times and The Philippine Star

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Hiking in La Trinidad : Tayawan View Deck and Mt. Kalugong

After hiking Mt. Yangbew (post here), my friend and I walked back to Tawang Barangay Hall. Just outside its building is a path that leads to our next stop, Tayawan view deck. 
 Similar to the start to Mt. Yangbew, we were welcomed by a steep trail, but thankfully, not as "breath-taking". 

Interestingly, there is a cemetery built on a mountainside along the trail, so we walked  quietly as we passed tombs out of respect for the deceased. 

It took around 30 minutes to get to the shed  of Tayawan View Deck. Fortunately, we had the spot to ourselves. It was almost 12 noon and the sun was out to play but we could hardly feel its heat as the breeze was cool. Once again, we put on our jackets, slumped on the benches and ate our snacks. 

From where we sat, we can see houses and other structures in La Trinidad. Gazing down, everything looked like tiny, colorful Legos scattered at the foot of mountains. 
Tayawan View Deck in Barangay Tawang, La Trinidad
From Tayawan view deck, we followed a trail to Mt. Kalugong, our last stop.
Again, the trail was easy to spot and unlike the first two trails we did, it was much easier but still scenic. Along the way, we spotted huge rock formations at the side of the trail.
Trail from Tayawan view deck to Mt. Kalugong
Behind us, a view of Mt. Yangbew. It was amusing to see where we were a few hours earlier. :)

The hike from Tayawan to Mt. Kalugong took less than an hour. We emerged at the side of the eco park where we found nice picnic tables, tree swings and traditional huts. There's also a store selling snacks. After paying the entrance fee (50 Pesos), we explored the area to check out more rock formations.
One of the numerous areas in Mt. Kalugong where you can see La Trinidad.
To be honest, climbing over rock formations has become very scary for me every since my rock climbing accident in 2009 where my left leg got stitched up and took months before I fully recovered.  If it wasn't for my brave friend Jules, I may have skipped the rocks at Mt. Kalugong, which would be a shame because seeing clouds hovering over the town below was beautiful, truly a must see for nature lovers!

Mt. Kalugong has several small peaks that can accommodate several small groups. Though there were other visitors, we enjoyed a quiet time and even met the friendly manager of its cliff side cafe! (Check it out here.)

On the way down, we took the road to Barangay Cruz which is close to the main road to La Trinidad where you can take a jeep or cab back to Baguio city. This is also the road used by non-hikers or people who just want to enjoy the park's facilities at Mt. Kalugong. You can actually take your vehicle or cab all the way up to the entrance. 

How to Get to Mt. Kalugong 
From the jeepney terminal along Magsaysay Avenue in Baguio city, take a jeep bound for La Trinidad and asked to be dropped off at Barangay Cruz (Upper). Your marker would be Baguio Memorial Services which is an establishment along the main road. From there, ask for directions to Mt. Kalugong. You can also take a cab either from Baguio or La Trinidad town proper until you're close to the park entrance. Take note that Mt. Kalugong is in Barangay Tawang but is accessible from Barangay Cruz. 

Entrance Fee : 50 PHP

Check out my post about other easy hike in La Trinidad, Mt. Yangbew. :)

Other helpful resources:

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/mount-kalugong/
http://www.pagnapagna.com/2015/11/mt-tayawan.html
http://francramon.com/taleofthetrail-mount-kalugong-and-mount-yangbo-la-trinidad-benguet








Saturday, February 4, 2017

Hiking in La Trinidad : Mt. Yangbew

To kickoff 2017, I  returned to the Cordillera region with one of my closest friends, Jules. We wanted to take it easy  so we decided to try a couple of short but very scenic trails in Benguet I found online (References posted below). 

Barangay Tawang in La Trinidad,the capital of the province of Benguet  is less than an hour from Baguio city and features several accessible, scenic mountain trails - Mt. Yangbew (also known as Mt. Jambo), Tayawan view deck and Mt. Kalugong. These are all beginner-friendly or as the younger Pinoy millenials would say, pabebe-friendly. :P
Facing one of the several clusters of rock formationat the summit of Mt. Yangbew in La Trinidad, Benguet
 (Photo taken by Jules Picato)
Since we were taking a super early bus ride,  (1:30 AM early! :P), we made sure  we got nice, comfy seats. Fortunately, with 3 days prior to the trip, we were able to book online via iWantSeats.

In five hours, we arrived in the City of Pines and walked towards Session Road to hunt for a hotel. Fortunately, a vacant room was immediately available at Benguet Prime Hotel so we were able to leave our bags.  We took our sweet time and grabbed a simple breakfast at Zola, a 24 hour restaurant along Session road. 
Tawang Barangay Hall located a few blocks off the main road. 

From Session Road, we took  a cab to Barangay Tawang in La Trinidad. Taking Ambiong road, travel time took less about 30 minutes, maybe even less. After registering at the barangay hall, we walked about a kilometer or two towards the trailhead of Mt. Yangbew. Guides are not required but should you need one, you can inquire at the reception.  Personally, with only one trail leading to the summit from the jump off, I can't imagine anyone getting lost in its trails. 
A view of La Trinidad from Mt. Yangbew
It takes an hour to get to peak, if you take it  slow. The trail is relatively easy - nothing technical. You basically just walk your way to the top. The most difficult part for me was this steep, sweat-inducing cement road at the start of the hike. It was a shock to our lowlander lungs!  

After this section, we went up a mildly steep dirt road and took numerous stops  along the way because the view of La Trinidad from behind is so nice! The weather was perfect - bright, clear blue skies and though it was past 9:00 AM, it was still cold and the sun was gentle on the skin. We actually wore our jackets while hiking because it still felt very chilly. 
My yogi friend Jules 

The peak is so enormous, there's a riding trail for horses! There's also stunning views everywhere, which includes the entire La Trinidad and other mountains in the Cordilleras. From afar, we saw the radio transmitters from Mt. Cabuyao in Tuba,which are shaped like the ears of Mickey Mouse.  

There's so much to see at the peak that we spent about an hour, admiring the view and taking tons of souvenir shots. 

Mt. Yangbew, with its scenic peak and short, beginner-friendly trails is a recommended mountain for those who are looking for a quick hike close to Baguio. 

Our next stop was Tayawan View Deck which has a trail at the side of Tawang Barangay Hall (Post here).

Environmental Rates as of January 2017 (in Philippine Pesos)
Local hikers and bikers - 30 PHP
Local Students - 25 PHP
Foreigners - 50 PHP
Campers, those who are spending the night (foreign and local) - 100 PHP
Notes : 
- Walk-in hikers, campers and bikers are welcome.
- Bring your own trash back down with you. 

How to Get to Mt. Yangbew
From Manila, take a bus to Baguio.  The closest terminals from NAIA airport are Victory Liner and Genesis, both in Pasay  (just refer to Google maps to locate the terminals). Joy Bus is the deluxe bus service of Genesis, which we took. You can book online via iWantSeats or PinoyTravel. I prefer the former because I can choose seats in advance. However, payment mode is through bank deposit. For online payments, try the latter. I haven't booked with them but my colleagues have and it's legit. 

From Baguio city, take a cab to Tawang Barangay Hall in La Trinidad. Our driver took Ambiong road to avoid the traffic and our fare was 120+/- PHP. (Note : GrabTaxi, a ride hailing service is now in Baguio. Download the app to book a cab). You can also take a jeep bound for Tomay from Magsaysay Avenue in Baguio and asked to be dropped off at the junction to Brgy. Tawang.

Where to Stay in Baguio?
I prefer staying close to Session road and my favorite hotels in the area are Hotel 45 Main which is almost, always fully booked, City Center Hotel (2000+/-/night) and Benguet Prime Hotel (starts at 2000 PHP/night). I also usually check Agoda. Click here to search for excellent deals on your accommodation. 

Visit below sites for additional information : 
http://www.sunstar.com.ph/baguio/local-news/2016/07/06/mount-yangbew-re-opens-hikers-483787
http://www.cordilleransun.com/2016/03/hiking-destination-in-la-trinidad-gets.html
http://francramon.com/taleofthetrail-mount-kalugong-and-mount-yangbo-la-trinidad-benguet/
http://www.pagnapagna.com/2015/11/mt-tayawan.html
http://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/mount-jumbo-la-trinidad-benguet-ph/

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