Sunday, July 5, 2015

Hiking Log : Mt. Lubog, Rizal

Last week, I joined friends for a quick hike in Rodriguez, Rizal. With the exception of Koi Grey, who had explored the mountain a few years earlier, it was everyone's first time to this fairly new outdoor destination, Mt. Lubog. The origin of its name is unconfirmed but there's a similar word in Tagalog which means submerged, an irony for a mountain that's 955+ MASL high.  
At the trailhead of Mt. Lubog, its summit can be seen at the rightmost part of the photo
From Manila, we traveled in a  hired van and picked up some members of the group along the way. It was past 9:00 AM when we finally arrived in Barangay San Rafael in Rodriguez where we  had to transfer to motorbikes. The barangay hall is beside the public market where you can buy some food and water. A few blocks away is a bakery and just across the street is an eatery where some of us grabbed breakfast.

After getting our stuff from the van, 11 of us split into three tricycles with very intriguing frames. Its front seat was made of stripped rubber while the seat at the back was just a wooden plank. There are no roof or walls like the usual tricycles I'm accustomed to seeing around the streets of Manila. 

By 9:40 AM, we were on our way to the jump-off in Barangay Puray. We were told ride would take two hours and so I braised myself for a long uneventful journey.
Wild trike ride. That's me in a purple shirt. (Photo taken by Paolo)
And was I wrong!

30 minutes into the ride, it got very exciting as we traveled on a steep dirt road. It rained the night before so it was wet and slippery on most parts. I could not count the number of times we had to go down as the trike couldn't handle the terrain with us on it. Other friends on board a separate trike had to go down twice as much as we did as their driver has not passed the route in a while so he had a little difficulty navigating on the tougher sections. 

I sat in front beside another friend which gave us a full view of the action. I felt the struggle of the tires on  parts that were quite technical and required precise maneuvering. Our bodies rocked in different directions. My hands, gripped tightly on the rope  in front of me which served as barriers so we won't fall off.  If you saw the way I held  on to this section of the bike,you'd think I was holding on the last piece of bacon on earth. :P Later on, we were advised by the drivers to just go with the thrust of the bike and not to cling too hard. 

The views as we made our way up were stunning and it truly made up all that muscle jolting we had to go through. 
One of the areas where we stopped for a break. 
Barangay Puray where we had to register is located at around 600 MASL so imagine the steep sections we had to tackle! It took nearly two hours to get there including all the time we stopped for a break and hopped in and out of the bike whenever it got stuck. 

After registering, we traveled another 45 minutes. By the time we reached the jump-off, some of us were already tired and we snacked on bignay and grapes before we started our hike. 

The start of the trek was on a small hill where wild grasses grew abundantly. Yellow flowers, which looked like little sunflowers where everywhere, complimenting the color of the sky which was as blue as the ocean. 

The entire hike was relatively easy. The trail was just occasionally steep  and it only got challenging when we had to pass  over slippery sections. I glanced frequently on the ground as there were a lot of rocks and branches. 

What was particularly amusing about this route are the huge rock formations that can be seen almost the entire way. This was the first time I've seen such trail. Foliage is thick, enormous trees that stretch to the sky can also be seen. For a nature-lover like me, seeing all these was gratifying enough. 
one of the enormous rock formations can be seen all the way to the peak.
After 90 minutes hiking on a relaxed pace, we arrived at the summit. I could hear my companions who were in front exclaiming what a beautiful sight it was.  When I emerged from the trail and finally saw the summit,  I too was impressed. 

Limestone rock formation covered the summit. It is clean and fortunately, no vandals on the rocks. I hope it stays the same way. There is no flat ground so we each picked a spot, joking and giving names to the boulders which can only fit one person. 
Vinci at Mt. Vinci :P 
The summit has a great view of the Sierra Madre, the Philippines' longest mountain range stretching from the province of Cagayan Valley to Quezon. With its size, it comprises 40% of the country's forest cover. (Info from

We took a lot of time ingesting the view since the hike was just quick and we badly needed to recharge ourselves for the motorbike ride back to Barangay San Rafael. :P I was not looking forward to it. 

Group shot at the summit.
(Bottom : L-R) Vinci Berris, Cynthia  Sy and Paolo Gedalanga
(Top : L-R) Gideon Lasco, Julian Canero, Me , Jeshua Sales, Brent Tan, Carlo Cunanan, Ivan Cultura and Koi Grey
Photo from Carlo Cunanan
As this is a short hike, other side trips can also be done to maximize the travel. Lubog cave is along the trail. It is located at the first rest area and can be explored in 15 minutes. You can also take a dip at Panintingan Falls which is 20 minutes on foot from the jump-off. Being pressed for time, we decided to skip  both places. 

The ride back to San Rafael was mostly downhill which was quicker. We only got down around  2 or 3 times when our bike got stuck in the mud. 

We washed up at the Barangay hall in San Rafael and traveled to UP Town Center in Quezon City for a hearty early dinner. Even if the hike was short and easy, the bike ride was even more challenging. My back and arms were sore and I felt as though we hiked the entire day. 

The newly-opened branch of Kyochon has an attentive and welcoming staff.  Considering we ordered around 60 pieces of wings and drumsticks (all spicy, gah!) and 3 salads, service time was quick too. Hehe! 
at Kyochon UP Town Center. Group photo courtesy of Carlo Cunanan
Chicken coating was crunch and tasty, its flavor extended to its meat. It's delicious albeit too spicy for my taste. The rice is quite memorable too - it's fluffy and moist - exactly the way I want it. :) After consuming an obscene amount of chicken, I haven't craved for chicken since (it's been a week since that hike and I still don't feel like eating chicken :P).  
Hike Details :
A copy of the itinerary is available in Gideon's blog, Pinoy Mountaineer (click here). Thank you for inviting me to this memorable adventure Gid! :) 

Expenses : 
We paid 1,100 Pesos each for the trip inclusive of van rental, guide and registration fees. Visit Pinoy Mountaineer for details on getting here via public transpo. 

Gears & Supplies :
- You can wear a sandals with good traction for this hike but do watch out for tree roots and sharp rocks on the trail
- My water supply for this trip was around 1.2 ML (750 ML water, 500 ML Gatorade). 
- Trail Food & Lunch : slices of zucchini (half), peanuts 
- bring a cap and/or bandana as protection against the sun and dust during the motorbike ride
- Don't forget to bring a first aid kit and a  headlamp (may be needed for caving)

Acknowledgements : 
Thanks to Brent Tan, a new friend from Trail Adventours for organizing everything and to  blogger Leeisure for the helpful details she posted which helped me decide on what to pack for the hike. Her account on Mt. Lubog is here.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Attractions in Tarlac

I've done several hikes in Tarlac in 2012 and 2013 but I never got to explore much because we normally just head straight to the base of the mountain. Three weeks ago, I joined a media familiarization tour hosted by Microtel by Wydham and we got to enjoy some of the destinations around Tarlac that proves that it's more than "just an expanse of flat land". 

Here are places you can visit around Tarlac : 
Aquino Center & Museum - owned and managed by the Ninoy & Cory Aquino foundation, this museum and events venue houses the artifacts and memorabilia of two prominent Filipino politicians, democracy icons, Senator Ninoy and wife, former president Cory Aquino.  
Photo taken at the main entrance of the museum
Aquino Center & Museum
Location : Barangay San Miguel, Tarlac City
Rates : 
Adults - 100 Pesos
*discounted rates offered to Senior citizens and students 
Business Hours :
Open daily, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM 
Closed on New Year, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Christmas
Contact Information : +63(45)985-09-68/985-09-69
Email :
*For inquiries on school trips and events, please contact them directly. 

Monasterio de Tarlac  

Established by the Servants of the Risen Christ, a religious group of men devoted to a life of prayer and work, this Monastery situated on a mountain top offers a beautiful vantage of the nearby peaks in San Jose. Its prominent marker  is a 30-foot statue of the Risen Christ which can be seen from surrounding towns below it.  It is also flocked by religious devotees as it chapel holds a relic of the True Cross, believed to be the cross where Jesus was crucified. 

Monasterio de Tarlac
San Jose, Tarlac 
Mass Schedule : 

Tarlac Recreational Park (TRP)
Managed by the local tourism of Tarlac, this 78-hectare property offers an impressive range of activities for sports and outdoor lovers at reasonable prices.
Kayaking at the lagoon, one of the many activities that can be done in TRP
Formerly the venue of the 2010 Palarong Pambansa, one of the Philippines' biggest sporting events and a scouting ground  for national athletes, the place has an athletics oval  and Olympic-size pool (with a kiddie pool beside it!) which visitors can use.

For outdoor lovers who want to try a little bit of everything, there's a  lagoon for kayakers, a wall climbing facility, camping grounds with barbeque pits, fishing area, a short zipline that crosses the lagoon, Dune buggy and karting tracks, bike trails, and an area for airsoft. 

With all the activities you can do around here, you can actually allocate an entire day for a visit. They also have pavilions for private events, perfect for team building or clan reunions. :)
Olympic size pool

Tarlac Recreational Park
Operating Hours for Activities : Tuesday-Sunday 9:00 AM-5:00 PM  
*Cut-off for registration at 4:30 PM   (If coming from outside Tarlac, please email/call them to confirm business hours before going) 
For activity rates,  visit their website, Tarlac Ecotourism 
Facebook Page :Tarlac Ecotourism  
Tel No. +63 (045) 493 – 2471 
Kart City Tarlac (KCT)

Located just across SM Tarlac where buses from Manila pass by, this highly accessible karting facility offers European made karts for rent. Their track configuration changes to cater to regulars.What I particularly like about this place is that it also offers other activities for people who are not into karting. Just outside the track is an area for billiards, videoke and their diner, Chaps Cafe (don't miss the pizza rolls and pata tim! I'd come back here for the food alone :P)

Kart City Tarlac (KCT)

McArthur Highway (in front of SM Tarlac)
Tarlac, Tarlac
Contact Number : +63 (045) 491 4053
Business Hours : Open daily, 3:00 PM - 12:00 MN
10:00 - 02:00 (Sundays)
Website : KCT
Facebook Page : Kart City Tarlac (KCT)
Rates : (inclusive of suit, eye protection)

Image courtesy of Microtel by Wyndham
Microtel by Wydham offers 50 clean, comfortable rooms and suites. Their beds are all queen size and chiropractor-approved (very nice to sleep on!) This branch which garnered a lot of positive reviews at the travel website, Trip Advisor  was recently awarded with the TripAdvisor Certification of Excellence 2015. 

Another thing I liked about this hotel is the stable and fast free wifi. During my stay, I had to catch up on some work in the morning and badly needed a decent internet connection. It was a huge relief that I got things done.  :) I also love that they have a nook where you can get free coffee, tea and water. 

Its location, though a bit of a walk from  Mac Arthur highway, a major road in Tarlac where buses and cars pass by also serves as an advantage because you get some peace and quiet. Nearby attractions include the Aquino Center & Museum (it's actually just beside it, separated by a garden) and Luisita Golf & Country club which has an 18-hole championship course. Trips to other destinations such as Monasterio de Tarlac and TRP, can also be arranged through their reception. 

the cozy, Queen suite where I stayed. Photo taken before I made a mess :P
Microtel Luisita
Luisita, San Miguel, Tarlac
Email :
Rates start at 2,560 Pesos for a room with 1 queen size bed but can also be lower depending on when you book. 
Website : Microtel Tarlac
How to get here? From North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), take SCTEX exit 85 and take the rightmost lane going to Tarlac. Exit at Luisita and turn right, then go straight. Microtel is on your right side, before McArthur Highway. They also offer pick-up from Luisita for those who are taking the public transportation. 

Related posts on Tarlac :
This tour around Tarlac was made possible by Microtel by Wyndham. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Meeting Mt. Sialdang/Halcon

May 18, 2015 holds a  happy event in my outdoor life that I want to share with you. :) After months of planning and training, I finally reached the summit of one of my dream mountains - Mt. Sialdang or popularly known in the local hiking community as Mt. Halcon. 

*Mt. Sialdang is the name given by the locals to the mountain. 
Me at the summit of Mt. Halcon. Photo taken by Gene Gonzales
This beautiful mountain, the highest peak in the province of Oriental Mindoro at a height of 2,582 MASL and 18th among the mountains in the Philippines has been on my hike list for years now. Closed in 2006 by local officials and the DENR, it was only in March 2015 when clear policies were put into place, making hiking activities official from February 1 to May 31 of each year. I was not going to let this year pass without visiting! :) 

It is rated with a difficulty level of 9/9 and  although it's trails are not as technical as what I've seen in other Philippine mountains like Guiting-Guiting or Dulang-Dulang, it's still very steep and arduously loooong! It took us 1.5 days to reach the summit and with the poor traction of my shoe, I found it even more challenging to hike down. It was excruciating to the knees! 
Photo About 30 minutes to the summit
Despite the challenging trail, 
I fell in love with its lush forests and variety of terrain. We hiked through mossy forests, crossed open trails with banana trees everywhere, passed several small falls and crossed a big river.  We were fortunate that limatiks (leeches) were not so active when were there and me and 3 others in our group managed to escape a bite. :)

Its summit is nothing I've seen before, it is scattered with cuts and slabs of marble and surrounded with colorful shrubs and although we were only given 5 minutes of clearing, we still saw a rewarding view of clouds and nearby mountains. 
Summit break. Photo taken by Gene Gonzales
Crossing the breathtaking Dulangan River. This was also where we set camp for two nights. 
I am already excited to go back next year! :) 

To my Halcon buddies - Allen Yatco, Gene Gonzales, Eric Leron and Carlos, thank you and hope to see you again soon! :) 

Below is a copy of our climbing log and expenses for your reference. 
Climbing Log (via Lantuyan trail): 
Day 0 - May 16, 2015 
- Took the 11:00 AM Fastcat ferry to Calapan
- after arriving in Calapan, we rented a tricycle to Baco from the pier (we stopped over at Jollibee Calapan for 
a quick lunch)
- went to Baco Tourism office to process our permit (advance coordination necessary) 
5:30 PM - ETA, Lantuyan, checked in at Tagbungan Mountain Resort for proper rest

Day 1 - May 17, 2015
6:30 AM Start (assault)
9:00 AM Limatik Infested trail
10:30 AM Big water source (we heard voices when we resumed trekking)
11:30 AM Aplaya (Dungawan) (refilled water at a nearby falls)
12:30pm Aplaya camp site 
2:30pm Dulangan Campsite (river crossing)

Day 2 - May 18, 2015
4:00 AM Start
6:00 AM Last water source before intense assault
8:30 AM Knife-edge
9:15 AM Summit
10:30am Descend summit
3:30pm Back at Dulangan campsite

Day 3 - May 19, 2015
7:10 AM Start descent
8:30 AM Aplaya campsite
11:00 AM Border (Boses / Limatik Trail)
11:45 AM Kubo(kaingin)

12:50 PM Back at jumpoff at Lantuyan 
8:00 PM took Montenegro Ferry back to Batangas Pier 
10:00 PM ETA, Batangas Pier
12 MN ETA, EDSA Magallanes 

Other Information :
Hiking season is February 1-May 31 of each year. 

Advance coordination is required to hike Mt. Halcon, please visit Mt. Halcon - Pinoy Mountaineer for more details.

Contact person : 
Jojo (Baco Tourism Office) - +63 9198821442

My Training Plan
I got sick two weeks before the hike but as I started training months ahead, I was able to develop endurance and the adjustment during the actual hike was not as bad as I expected. 

I trained on my own for  2-3 times a week and the exercises comprised of the following : 

Swimming - 2-3 times a week, 1 hour per session
Elliptical machine - at least 15 minutes ( I hated this :P)
Stairs training - at least 1x a week (I practiced in our office building)
Time & budget permitting - 1 hiked at least 1-2x a month

Diet : 

As I was recovering from sickness,  I fueled my body with good food like quinoa, veggies and fish 5 days before our trip. It really worked well and I felt light and agile during the hike. 

Trail Food & Hydration:

Dried cranberries, GU Energy Gel, peanuts, 500 ML of Pocari Sweat and 500 ML of Gatorade, 1 liter of water. There are several water sources so it was enough to get me through 3D and 2N in the mountain. :) 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Food Trip : Where to Eat in Naga City After an Adventure (Part 1)

Mt. Isarog in the background. Photo taken in an earlier trip to Camarines Sur where we covered an Enduro challenge :)
Naga, an independent city located in the province of Camarines Sur is known as a primary jump-off to several exciting destinations. These include Mt. Isarog, a volcano  frequented by local hikers, Malabsay Falls for those craving for a dip in icy waters and for beach lovers, the pristine islands of Caramoan.  

While some consider it as merely a stopover, I've discovered that its food scene is also worth exploring and  for a foodie like me, it can also be the main destination. Teehee! :) Their restaurants and cafes generally have creative interiors and have a cozy, charming, relaxed vibe – ideal for  solo travelers and intimate groups. Staying for a couple of days is ideal too as the city has a lot of options whatever your budget may be.  

Here’s a list of restaurants in Naga where you can enjoy good meals: 

Bob Marlin -  offers Filipino favorites such as  crispy  pata, Ziggy’s sisig (it's signature dish) and of course Bicolano dishes such as Laing (taro leaves in coconut milk), pinangat (sting ray in coconut milk) and Bicol express (pork cubes in, you guessed it, coconut milk! :P). 

Equally interesting is its reggae-inspired interiors. You can also find plates on its walls signed by celebrity guests - athletes, bands, actors, writers, etc.  The restaurant is like a museum! There's something interesting to see in every corner.  

Tables are huge and can accommodate big groups. It also has al fresco and air conditioned dining areas.  It's also a great place to enjoy cold drinks. Try Rasta Paling (drink shown below), an alcoholic beverage that has lambanog, spiked orange juice  and red syrup. 

Bob Marlin
Facebook Page : Bob Marlin Resto 
Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City
Business Hours : Daily, 10:30 AM - 12 MNFor reservations, call their landline : +63 054 473 13399 

Bigg's Diner - Bicol's leading food chain takes you back in time with its colorful American retro diner theme. There are burgers, fries, rice meals and good desserts too! Their branch along Magsaysay is open 24/7 and offers free wifi. It's a good place to hang out if you're burning time. For burger lovers, the Tower burger is a must try, a monstrous piece with two patties, hash brown, bacon(!!!), caramelized onions, lettuce, tomatoes, 2 pieces of cheese, Spam, and egg! It is best paired with Mello Jello, a soda drink with jelly. 
Facade of Bigg's Diner, Magsaysay branch which is open 24 hours
Bigg's Diner
To find a branch, visit their Facebook Page - Bigg's Diner
Phone : +63 (54)472-4240
Email :
Website : Biggs Diner

Bora Hut - ideal for those who enjoy liquor with pulutan (beer match) while listening to music. Hefty meals that goes well with rice (plenty of rice!) are also available. Place does not have air-conditioning but the place is very spacious and airy. At night, you can also watch local bands performing. 

Bora Hut 
Penafrancia Avenue, Naga City
Business Hours : 
Mon-Sat: 7:00 AM – 2:00 AM
Sun: 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM

More about Bora Hut on my friends' blogs,  FireNFrost and Langyaw

Cha Ced's Kinalas sa Balatas  - if you want to eat like a local and don't mind some meat, try kinalas. It's a noodle dish with a broth made from boiling a pig or cow's head. You can opt to add egg to make it extra filling. Our friends from Naga tourism shared that it's considered as a comfort food, fitting for rainy days or as an after activity snack or a main meal if you plan to add egg. Hihi! You can also add some sauce for extra flavor. For the sauce, I tried a combination of vinegar, patis (fish sauce), sili (red pepper) and lots of calamansi, the same sauce prepared by my friend Wayne who is from Naga. Yum! The bottomless pit in my stomach has met its match and felt very full after a bowl. 

Cha Ced Kinalas sa Balatas
Near Penafrancia Basilica, Naga City

Green Earth Cafe - Veggie lovers unite! One of my favorite restaurants in the city is this quiet restaurant inside Villa Sorabella Subdivision. They serve vegetarian dishes that are pretty on the plate and happy for the palate. :) 

Green Earth Cafe
Facebook Page
Business Hours :
10:00 AM-9:00 PM
3rd St. cor Soriano Ave.
Villa Sorabella Subdivision.
Concepcion Grande, Naga City
Orders may take some time. You can place an advance order by calling the numbers below :
Landline : +63(54) 475-50-18

Mobile : 0928-550-5246

Part 2 of where to find awesome food in Naga will be posted soon! :) 

Also worth reading is this comprehensive food guide by Kara Santos of Travel Up. She's also from Naga and is very much familiar with its food scene. Link here. 

Related Posts (just click on the links below) : 

Hungry for adventure? 
Waterfalls Trekking in Pili, Camarines Sur 
Waterfalls Trekking at Engkanto Falls 

Where to Stay in Naga City?

Want to try a unique kind of beach? 
White Pebble Beach in Minalabac, Bagolatao 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hiking : Munga Peak, Camarines Norte

Mahabang Buhangin Beach
It was still dark when I opened my eyes. Had it not been for the disruptive snoring coming from the tent beside ours, which was loud enough to drown the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, I wouldn't have gotten up so quickly. :P 

I prepped for a short hike up Munga Peak.  We were told it's about an hour from our camp. Unlike the usual hikes I do, getting ready was refreshingly simple. I was on slippers,  a cap and in my pocket were several pieces of Mentos which is also what I bring as emergency food for long hikes because it's light and easily fits in the bag. I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade which I bought before we traveled to the island and in a few minutes, I was all set. :)
Area near our camp

Mahabang Buhangin beach where we set camp is in Tinaga island, a popular camping ground for travelers visiting Calaguas,  a group of 17 islands and islets in Camarines Norte in the Bicol region.  

After breakfast, me and several other friends - Kate, Ron, Ian, Ice and Tina went to the shore and joined the rest of the people from our tour group. The start of the hike was a little challenging as we were walking on powder-like sand. It was a great leg work-out though. :)
Trail starts at the beach! (Photo from Ice Clemente)
We headed toward the right side (facing the water) of the island and in about 15 minutes, we arrived at the registration area. As I had been seeing mostly water since the previous day, I felt excited when I saw that the trail head has lots of trees. 
Making our way up the hill. Photo from Ice Clemente
It was moderately steep but very manageable. It wasn't slippery and our rubber slippers held on. 
Group shot before we entered the main trail. Behind us is the registration hut.  (Photo from Ice Clemente)
In just a few minutes, we arrived at a view deck. From here, we could see practically the entire shoreline of Mahabang Buhangin. Although I've already seen some photos online, it still felt awesome to see it in front of me.  

We headed at the left side of the trail where grasses were a little too tall for me and Tina as we're both under 5 feet tall :P. 

This area gave us a different vantage, a view of nearby islands.  There wasn't any cover to protect us from the sun but it was very windy. 
Balagbag Island in front of us
This peak has a flat grassy area and it felt nice to just sit down, feel the wind and stare at the view, despite the sun's rays gleefully radiating down on us. 

After taking souvenir shots, we headed down to clean up and prepare for the trip back to Vinzons Port. 

Here's a travel video of our trip made by my friend Ian. :) Happy viewing. It's a bit long though but it sums up what we did the entire weekend. :P 

Hiking Details :
This was a trip with 9 other colleagues. Since we wanted a hassle-free vacation,  we availed the services of Northlink Tour, a Daet-based tour provider which was recommended by my former manager who hails from Daet, Camarines Norte's capital. I paid 2,200 for the package which included 4 meals and boat ride from Vinzons Port and back. (Transportation from Manila not included). Since the hike was not part of the package, we paid additional 40 Pesos each which included the registration fee and payment to guides. 

A DIY trip to Calaguas Group of islands can also be done. Please check out the links below for some very helpful information : 
KirkAnatomy - How to get to Calaguas
Lakwatsero - Calaguas Islands

Note : I am aware of the concerns raised by fellow travelers regarding the island's commercialization but during our  trip (and I can only speak of what I experienced during our trip), camping ground was clean and I did not see any garbages along the shore and although there were plenty of people, the noise was minimal. I do hope people visiting this place continue to respect the island and the people who live there.  

As for Northlink Tour's services, I am very happy with how they handled the trip. They gave us an orientation on what to expect in the island and even gave us a short lecture about Calaguas to help us appreciate the place more. Everyone had enough food, the staff regularly checked on us and they were all very cordial and professional. :) You can get in touch with them on Facebook - Northlink Tour.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Product Test : A Hiker’s Must Have - BSI Medicated Spray

I enjoy long hikes. Some take 5 hours to complete while the longer and more challenging routes take about 12 hours or more. To ensure I have enough endurance for these hikes, I swim at least 1.5K KM, two-three times a week, alternating it with some light runs. As such, muscle pain is something that I have to deal with frequently. I often feel some aches on the shoulders, back and the calves from all the training and hikes – and  oh especially the hikes! :P   While this type of involved soreness eventually heals in a day or two, I’m happy to discover a partner (albeit no romantic inklings:P) that takes away the discomfort instantly so I can easily return to my routine or jump into another adventure.

After a 1.5KM swim last Sunday, my first after a month of rest post sickness, my shoulders and upper back felt pretty sore. What was supposed to be just a normal workout felt like a feat. :P . I didn’t have time to get a massage and so I went to the office the next day with aching muscles. Throughout the day, I stretched several times at my desk hoping to relieve myself of the pain but it didn’t really work.  

Fortunately, a package of BSI medicated spray was waiting for me when I got home. It’s a non-aerosol topical pain reliever approved by the Philippine FDA as a home remedy drug. I excitedly sprayed it on my back and was amused at how easy it got to the hard to reach parts such as the mid upper back. I felt comfort in less than a minute. There was a cool sensation and some little sting on the parts where I sprayed too much (so do take note of that when you use it).The smell is minty and not as strong as other topical pain relievers I’ve used. I actually like the smell. :) 

BSI Medicated spray is exactly what I needed! Handy, lightweight, easy to apply and fits easily in my backpack!  At 388 Pesos for a 64 ML bottle that’ll probably last for months, it’s a good deal. I can hold off the massage for now and redirect the money to my hiking funds, yay!

Aside from being a pain reliever, it also aids in reducing muscle swelling such as sprain and cramps which some hikers experience.  It’s convenient to use even while on the trail because you don’t have to clean your hands before applying it. You just need to spray it on the affected part, no need massage it over!  Another one of its salient attributes is it contains all-natural ingredients so it’s safe to use as often as needed.  It’s truly an excellent addition to my first aid kit but I’m hoping I don’t have to use it for a sprain :P.

BSI Medicated Spray has been in the Philippine market for over 5 years and its target users include athletes, senior citizens, office workers, housewives, OFWs who suffer muscular pain.

Where to Buy : Mercury Drug Store, Rose Pharmacy, and South Star Drug
Price : 388 Pesos (64ml)

This spray was also tested by fellow bloggers who are into running and triathlon. Just click on the link to read about their experience using BSI Medicated Spray :

BSI MEDICATED SPRAY is distributed by New Smart Formulae Trading Corp, a pharmaceutical distributor of high quality products in the Philippines.  

Disclaimer : This is a sponsored post. I accept collaborations for products that I’ve tried, liked and are relevant to travel, adventure and sports. :) 

Naga Series : Waterfalls Trekking at Engkanto Falls

My young, happy and oh so carefree friends stripping down to enjoy the cold water
After rappelling at Nalalata falls the previous day (blog here), we traveled 45 minutes from Naga city to Libmanan in Camarines Sur for the afternoon’s adventure, a trek to Engkanto Falls. 

At the jump-off in Barangay Bical, we met with  Mr. Roderick  Fabor, head of Libmanan Tourism, and other friendly folks from the local tourism.  After exchanging pleasantries, we commenced trekking and soon found ourselves on a scenic but muddy trail.

The landscape was so bucolic - rice fields on our right and coconut trees everywhere. 
We had to cross this wooden bamboo bridge to get to the other side of the trail 
Engkanto Falls is a series of 20 cascades, with a height of 1 meter or less. Its name, a Filipino word that refers to supernatural beings that guard the environment, are believed to dwell in the area - adding excitement to exploring a less known destination in Camarines Sur. 

After about 15 minutes, a section of the falls emerged.  We were told we would be trekking on the falls instead of around it. I knew from experience that the portion of the boulder where water passes is usually safe to walk on because the current makes the surface less slippery but, hearing the roar of the water was still intimidating. I dismissed any thought of slipping and focused on enjoying the trek. It was such a thrilling experience! :)

Muddy trail with branches everywhere 
Some areas were a little challenging because you need to use both hands. It was especially tricky for my other companions who carried SLR's (Travel tip : bring a dry bag or a waterproof bag so you don't have to worry about your gears or better yet, get a waterproof camera and phone :)). 

Our short trek terminated at a picturesque  part of the falls. We were told that there's a cave about an hour  from where we were but it was nearing sunset so we decided to head down. 
One of the wider cascades of Engkanto Falls
It had been an exciting trek capped off with a cool swim and some fitting snacks - freshly picked coconut and 3N’s toasted siopao. This bread which has diced pork fillings is one of Naga’s famous snacks. 

Check out blogger friend, Estan’s post about Engkanto Falls. 

How to fulfill this adventure? Get in touch with Libmanan on Facebook 

Travel Tips :
Recommended footwear - although my companions who wore rubber slippers managed the trek just fine, it would be safer to wear a footwear that dries easily and preferably with straps so you can wear it while swimming as the water is  shallow on most parts and there's plenty of small sharp rocks. 

Bring : snacks, dry bag for wet clothes
*There's a changing area at the jump-off. 

Engkanto Falls 
Barangay Bical,
Libmanan, Camarines Sur, Bicol Region

Related Posts : 
Waterfalls Hiking in Pili, Camarines Sur

Note : 
This trek was a collaboration with NagaX, Naga's tourism arm and the local government unit of Libmanan. 


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