Hikes | Travels | Food

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How I Wandered Off For 8 Days : PART 1 - Journey to Camiguin

8 Days, Five Provinces, Three major islands, One Little Lady
A week before I turned 27, I went on a backpacking trip and set off to some parts of Mindanao by myself, sailed on a ferry to the Visayas to visit two of my friends, flew back to Manila and rode a 12 hour bus ride up Northen Luzon with two other travel buds. I didn't have any solid goals set, I just wanted to get outside Manila and get to the 3 major islands of the Philippines.  This is how I rolled. 
Dates: November 16-23, 2008
Starting Point : Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Pasay
1. Misamis Oriental – Cagayan De Oro City, Balingoan
2. Camiguin - Mambajao
3. Bukidnon – Malaybalay City
4. Cebu – Mabolo City, Mactan
5. Ilocos Norte – Pagudpud, Bangui, Burgos, Laoag, Batac, Paoay
Money in My Pocket : 10,000 pesos for everything – food, lodging, transpo (excludes the two flights which I booked in advance; Manila to CDO and Cebu to Manila)

I took the 4:25 AM flight from Manila to CDO. I was excited because it would be my first time in Mindanao.  

Upon arrival at the Benoni Port, I went inside a mini grocery fronting the port entrance to buy water. There I asked a cashier how to get to Mambajao, Camiguin's. Pronouncing it as "Mam-badjao", the girl appeared confused. I repeated it about three times before she finally understood what I've been trying to say and corrected me - "ahh, Mam-bahaw". There you go, whew. 

After crossing the street, still unsure where to go, a local in a hot pink jacket started chatting with me. She insisted on touring me around Camiguin. Haha, I wasn't really planning on hiring a guide because I had limited funds but she wouldn't take no for an answer so I relented. She was likeable anyway and she helped me find a super cheap place to stay.  She contacted a friend with a motorbike and he drove us around. (For the bike and the guideship, I paid a total of 700 Pesos with the 200 going to the  guide). First order of business was for me to get settled in a nice, inexpensive lodge. 

We went to the Enigmata Tree House. Unfortunately, the cheap rooms were booked so we moved further down Mambajao. I toured about two other hostels until we finally landed at GV Pension House near the public market. 

I got a fan room for 300 Pesos only (Promo rate!).  I wasn't expecting much but when I got inside, I felt thrilled. I had two single beds all to myself, bathroom and cable t.v.!  I decided the other bed would be just for my bag. After all, it deserves a treat after putting up with me and my crazy adventures. 

After freshening up and snacking on cereals , (totally  skipped lunch :(,  had to save money), I met with the lady again and we started the tour.  

There are a lot of things to do around Camiguin. Ardent Springs and White Island are a must visit. I went to neither because it won't be fun to get wet alone. :P The entire province is enchanting but my favorite destination was our first stop - the Old Volcano. 

Cemented steps on the first part of the trail. Lost my other pics so I couldn't show my fave parts :(
Photo taken while riding a motorbike
This has stations of the cross and the hike up would take you all the way near the summit where the views are breathtaking. I really love it here. You can see the ocean and other mountains. After the hike (My guide appeared tired, maybe because I walk fast. I was excited eh! I love this place), we went to the famous Sunken Cemetery which gave me the chills. You can see a cross on top of the water. The view is hypnotic but eerie. 

I insisted on going to the foot of Mt. Hibok-hibok and stare at it from a distance. I felt attracted to it and wished I had time to climb it. 

I got back to the hotel around 7:00 PM and I was so tired! My legs and butt hurt very badly from the motorbike ride.  I felt abused but it was worth it, hehe! Camiguin was great.  That night, I skipped dinner again and went to sleep. Boo! 

The following day was my schedule back to CDO. But before I departed, I walked around town and passed by Cafe 1914 . It's dubbed  as “Home of the best Halo-Halo in the island”.  For 60 pesos, you get a heaping serving of yummy halo-halo, topped with ice cream and decorated with wafer sticks and marshmallows. I really love their halo-halo! The ice wasn’t as fine as that of the famous Razon’s but the mixture of ingredients is definitely a contender for the best halo-halo in the country.

Since I skipped two meals the previous day, I made up for it and grabbed brunch at RJ Fastfood. They served fern salad with their value meals. The fern salad looks really interesting – very green, like dead, little worms on a plate and its taste reminded me of the local dish – Kilawin; it was slightly salty and tangy.

It was a hot day and I took my sweet time just wandering around the streets where I saw interesting, old structures. Then, it was time to go again.  CDO, I'm coming back!

Click on Part 2 to follow my adventure in CDO. :P

This post is part of my 8-day birthday backpacking trip from Mindanao to Luzon : 

Camiguin Travel Info. Here

Camiguin Travel Information

Rode a jeep waiting outside the airport (17 pesos) – a much cheaper way than riding a cab. It left after about 10minutes of waiting. The jeepney driver let me off at a point where R2-marked jeeps are waiting. This is the jeepney route going to Agora Bus Terminal (8 pesos/head.

From the Agora Bus Terminal (a kilometer away Limketkai Mall and Ororama Megacenter), ride an aircon bus (those buses bound for Butuan) to Balingoan Terminal. (Approximately 1 hr 20 min-2 hours by bus, Fare :110 pesos); You may also eat your breakfast here if you’re not very choosy. There are tons of eateries in the area, as well as a Mister Donut stall. I ate breakfast at this green-walled eatery and paid 63 pesos for a botted water, fish and rice

Once in Balingoan Bus terminal, walk to the Balingoan port – about 100 meters away. It’s super near! Just cross the highway after exiting the Balingoan Bus terminal, turn to your right, walk and turn left at the first road. The walk is less than 10 minutes. If you’re carrying a heavy load and don’t feel like walking, you can just ride a motorela from the bus terminal and pay 5 pesos each.
Balingoan Port to Benoni Port in Camuiguin costs 135pesos each – via Super Ferry. You also have to pay a very cheap terminal fee of 2.25 pesos; At the Balingoan Port, you can also take an early lunch at the Harbor View Inn restaurant; affordable food – I ate a full meal that consisted of an unfamiliar chicken dish, 1 rice, 1 pansit and a can of Coke Light and it only cost 88 pesos.

Crossing time from Balingoan to Benoni is only about 1hr 30 minutes, may be even less, (maximum of 2 hrs during rough weather).
GV Pension House – is a nice budget inn for those who do not want to spend a lot on lodging. I got my room for 300 pesos (promo rate, normally at 500 pesos) and it was so nice and clean! I had two single beds all to myself – well one for me and one for my bag, my own bathroom, a ceiling fan, a small dresser, cable t.v. and a small closet. There’s also this tiny mirror where I can see at least half of my face. They do not serve meals but you can buy cup noodles and other toiletries. It’s also walking distance from the decent eateries (about 5 minutes away on foot) as well as the jeepney stations and vans going back to Benoni Pier
Address: Burgos St. Mambajao, Camiguin
Telephone Number : +63 (88)-387-1041
*All rooms come with private t&b, Cable television, and Standy-by Genset
*All rooms with private cr, Cable tv and stand-by Genset
*Normal rates ranges from 500-750 pesos (aircon rooms; good for two)
*Their location is also good. They don’t have a resto though, but you can just walk to the nearest eatery or restaurant. There are a lot of affordable food (as cheap as 50 pesos per meal, comes with a drink) along the area.
*They also have branches in Cebu City, Masbate, Zamboanga, Leyte, Samar, Bohol.

1. Flight from (Terminal 3) Manila to Lumbia Airport Cagayan De Oro, Cebu to Manila – Cebu Pacific – www.cebupacificair.com or you may call them at 63 (02) 702-0-888 ; do check their website regularly for amazingly low promo fares.
2. Balingoan, Misamis Oriental to Benoni, Camiguin and vice versa – Superferry
They have a ticket booth at the Balingoan Pier
Fare from Balingoan Pier (Misamis Oriental) to Benoni Port, Camiguin – 135 pesos, one way (you will be paying a minimal amount of 2.25 pesos for the terminal fee; one way only); log on www.superferry.com.ph; better if you give them a call at (02)528-7000 /917-8892421 (mobile number)
Other Information Sources:
The helpful ones are found on these sites:

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Learning from our Mt. Tarak Experience

Yesterday was another adventure with my travel buds and as always, it was an experience filled with laughter and learnings.

We were not able to make it to the summit because we had a strict turn-around time. Only two people in our very small group made it to the famous ridge-Jules and Ren, about 40 minutes away from the summit, while two us (yours truly and Glee) guarded their packs and slept to our heart’s content in the middle of an inclined terrain, right on top of the soil with a chilly mountain breeze refreshing our sweaty, tired bodies.

Key Learning:

Ang pikon ay laging talo.
The major reason why we did not make it to the summit was due to an encounter with the most arrogant and condescending mountaineer I have ever met. We were in the Papaya river, gearing up for our assault. Based from our IT, we should be able to make it to the summit in time - that's about 90minutes from where we were. We did not hire a guide because the barangay treasurer informed us that we didn’t need one because the trails were clear and leading straight to the summit. From the jump-off to the Papaya river, the trails were good and common sense should point you to the right direction. It was when we reached papaya river where we got a little disoriented since there were several trails and so we asked this seemingly innocent mountaineer who was bathing in the river. I asked him where the trail was which he answered, then I asked how far we were from the summit, which I actually know but wanted to verify since it was pretty obvious he just got down and you know what he said?

“Kami kasi nakuha naming ng 90 minutes, kayo siguro mga dalawang oras.”, and then he smirked. The nerve! Mountaineers are usually respectful and the hard-core veterans I’ve met were not condescending. They’re usually very helpful. Anyway, even if he did not deserve any respect, I politely said thank you and we left. I told my friends of course and they got pissed as well. We talked about him while trekking in a fast pace so we completely missed the correct trail (it’s on your left side, before entering Papaya river) - which was practically screaming with trail signs (rocks on top of each other placed in easy to spot locations). We ended up in a small falls – not bad though and from there, we backtracked a bit and tried to spot the other trails hoping we would find a shortcut (actually Ren, tried to look for other trails while we rested..hehehe). Finally, we decided to make our way back to the Papaya river and that’s when we saw the “Hello, I’m the trail leading to the summit” type of trail. Oh well, we had fun checking out the other side of the Papaya river.

When we reached the correct trail, we were about 30minutes from our turn-around time which was 2:00PM. Earlier, we had agreed that we would head back, wherever part of the mountain we where when 2PM strike because the last bus from Mariveles to Manila, departs at 6:00PM. We tried to go as far as we can and in the end, we were all proud of our efforts.

Me, Glee and Ren had our “post-climb” dinner where we talked about the climb (hehe..kasi ikaw Jules, umuwi ka na eh) and shared what we learned about ourselves and our opportunities for improvement. As for me, I have been taught an important lesson by nature – not to let anger cloud my judgment, so thank you arrogant dude. That day, we missed the summit of Mt. Tarak but what we learned in this climb and the experiences we had as a group of friends was well worth the energy, the time, the pain and the effort.

By the way, here’s our itinerary. I have updated it with some information like the actual bus fares.

December 28, 2008 - Sunday 
0430 - Assembly Time - Five Star Cubao
0500 - Depart Five Star (Departure time – as usual, will be strictly followed)
0800 - Arrival at Brgy. Alas-asin, Mariveles, Bataan; register at Brgy. Hall (P40)
0815 - Start trek – (from the street leading outside the barangay hall – turn left – cross the street and go straight to where the signboard to Mt. Tarak is)
1115 – ETA Papaya River, lunch
1200 – Resume Trek
1330 - ETA - Tarak Ridge
1400 – Turn-around time (Start trek down)
1730 – ETA – Old couple’s hut – change
1600 – ETA – Highway; catch bus back to Manila

Actual Expenses:
Bus Fare : Five Star Cubao to Brgy. Alas-Asin, Mariveles – 259pesos (one way, airconditioned)
Brgy. Alas-Asin, Mariveles to Pasay (via Genesis Bus, airconditioned)– 269 pesos
Registration Fee (Barangay Hall) 40 each (plus free use of bathroom)

About 10-15 minutes from the jump-off, we saw an old couple who lived in a hut, they asked for a donation and we also had to register with them. They were nice though and allowed us to use their restrooms which are far more cleaner than the one in the barangay hall. They also gave us boiled bananas for snacks.

IT References:

2. Sykes Outdoor

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I'm supposed to be doing something else but I just have to drop by and greet everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Happy Birthday Jesus! (although there has been a dispute over Jesus' real birthday, some claim it's around the first 6 months of the year) but for us Catholics - well, today is His day...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Success Finally!

Bwahahahaha..(and I just had to laugh in that maniacal tone)…

I was able to produce 48 pieces of edible chocolates. My brother taught me an “only fools can mess this up” type of dessert and I was able to successfully execute the recipe last weekend.


I will start experimenting with the variants in the coming weeks with my loyal friends and family as guinea pigs. My younger sister also came up with a catchy name for my concoctions – Chrissy’s Crispies.

This is what I came up.

The How:
1. Just buy chocolate bars from the specialty stores (one bar costs about 70-75 pesos each) and each big bar can produce up to 25 pieces (1 ounce each piece).
2. Melt the chocolate bars under low heat or do the double broiler method.
3. After the bar has melted, mix the rice crispies. How much rice crispies you will put depends on how much you want in your chocolates.
4. Pour the mixture over the baking cups and wait for it to harden up.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Christmas Shopping Strategy

With Christmas only a couple of days away, almost everyone seems to move in a more hurried rhythm than usual. I myself have been lacking sleep the past three days because I just started with Christmas shopping. I’m quite disorganized this year, I don’t have a dependable Christmas list, that one I bring around when roaming the stores and I just rely on my memory in deciding who to give gifts. It’s weird but the method or the lack of one is working quite well for me. I was able to buy gifts for a lot of people for a small amount. I also shared the expenses with my friend Glee because we had a lot of common pals.

This year's Christmas shopping is so blessed. I ran into a lot bargain sales and I was able to buy tons of great items and even some silver jewelries. It’s like my guardian angel was the one doing the shopping for me given the fact that I hate shopping. The only reason why I go to malls these days is either to meet my friends or to buy something I really need or really want. Traveling has completely changed my vision. I tend to shun away from crowded places. The peace and quiet I experienced during my rendezvous to far-flung places has become a necessity for me and I find myself lusting to breakaway from the city every now and then. I love the city and I am loyal to the Luzon island - where I was born but sometimes, it just sucks to be here – The noise, the pollution and even some of the people. Eventually I learned to deal with those but nothing is better than leaving all these from time to time.

Anyway back to Christmas shopping - The downside of not having a list – because I felt too lazy to do one is now, I have a surplus of some items. I have one roll of magnetic tape, blue cellophane, silver stuff, etc. I will really have to start one after I sleep.

Oh..and if I wake up early enough, I will be working on my latest endeavor – making chocolates. My brother taught me a new “recipe” and I can’t wait to try it. It seemed really easy and this time – I am swearing on my Alan Shearer shirt and favorite green Petzl headlamp that it’s going to go well. It has to go well, I have to master some dessert of some sort. I even have several gift boxes for it because I’m dead set on giving them out as gifts. By the way – the disastrous truffles I made last week remains untouched inside our ref and it’s looking more disgusting each day. Hay. Surprisingly, it has evolved - now it looks like one big mound of shit in a plastic container, instead of several pieces. My mom stacked them up because they were taking space. Another lesson learn – start with a few pieces first. You know, one of my ever-reliable and loyal friends was nice enough to offer her life – volunteering to eat my truffles but I love her too much to feed her those, plus there’s also my hurt ego. I am too embarrassed to share them to people outside my family. Oh well, shit happens, I am going to have to learn more and try again. Who knows dba, some day, I will make chocolates for the guy I love. Ahehehe! I don't know who that is yet but it's exciting thinking about it. Eeks..mushy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Day I Tried to Make Truffles - A Story of Disaster

One Saturday night, I  decided to skip a company party and stayed home to engage in a domestic adventure - making truffles. I found a seemingly fool-proof recipe online and I decided to try it despite my limited kitchen skills. Well, I’ve baked before and sometimes I cook dishes like pasta (Lucky Me pancit canton counts right? Oh yeah, I know how to make pesto too,  because it's so easy!) . I also know how to fry, you know  hotdogs and ham. Hehehe..but frying is my Achilles' heel. I hate waiting and so most of what I fry end up burnt beyond recognition – but I still eat it out of loyalty to myself.

I used to bake choco chip cookies back in college and feed it to my victims - usually close friends and family members. I did receive good feedback so I guess it wasn’t that bad although the consistency of my cookies are similar to brownies.

This time around – I chose truffles because it sounds nice and the recipe seemed simple and everybody goes – oh woow, you’re making truffles. Hehehe!

So that was how I ended up in our kitchen dressed like I was going to a football game with measuring cups and those cute little bottles of flavorings in front of me. I tried to be a good girl and followed the recipe, except I added an extra something which I couldn’t resist adding at the last minute – banana flavoring. I guess I should have measured how much I  placed in it but I decided to just pour the syrup freely and let it do its magic. Unfortunately – magic was the last thing it did. I placed too much of the banana flavor which made the whole thing smell so artificial. I also encountered a problem with the mixer because I couldn’t find the base that goes with the machine so I ended up mixing everything manually. At first I was glad because it provided a great tricep work-out – mixing all that heavy goey stuff in. Then I got tired. I think I only did the truffles for 30 minutes, then I got bored so I decided to stop and let it chill inside the ref.  

After two hours, the mixture was still too soft to look like a truffle. I then decided to play some computer games, then watched one of my favorite movies – Tears of the Sun. The following morning, when I woke up, I checked my truffles and it looked like chocolate icing. It was still too soft to form as a truffle! Argh, I felt so disappointed with myself and thought that I should have done some more reading about it instead of just plunging in. What was I thinking?
Feeling depressed,  I went out with my backpacking friends that afternoon and tried to cheer myself up.  I felt like a moron having messed up a simple recipe. I was actually  thinking of giving it to everyone as Christmas gifts and be known as the sporty friend who makes great chocolate truffles.

Rainbow after The Rain
When I got home, my mom advised that I should just roll it over with the peanuts I bought. I tried it but it was just so gooey, it melts in my hand. After a  little more effort with the rolling and mixing, they finally looked okay and I placed them in muffin sheets. I call them fear factor truffles after one of my former favorite shows because they look like shit. Even I cannot muster the enthusiasm to eat it.

I decided to just have fun with it and experiment with the mixtures. I did not just stop with adding peanutes to the so-called shit truffles. I came up with another odd ingredient to mix with it – crushed durian cookies which I got in Bukidnon and that’s what got me smiling. I also came up with another flavor – the super fart – which had both durian and crushed peanuts in it.

I should stop talking because this is the part where most people go – “what a weirdo!”.
Seriously though, I wonder what it tastes like because I haven’t tried them yet after adding the extra ingredients. I guess I’ll bring some to work tomorrow ...hmm.

And before I get some officemates poisoned, let me share with you two things I realized after engaging in my so-called domestic adventure:

1. I got to work on my patience.
2. I need to learn how to be graceful.

It's pretty amusing how spending time with yourself can make you internalize about the things you need to improve. :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Weekend Adventure

This coming weekend, I have no big plans but to enjoy it quietly, go jogging, fix my files, do some planning for 2009 and engage in my latest conquest – truffles. No I am not going shopping for chocolates. I will make them! I shall play the role of a kitchen fairy turning raw ingredients into magical treats. No mountains to climb, no places to discover but our kitchen. This weekend, I shall be a dessert warrior and these are part of my battle gear:

I found a seemingly fool-proof recipe online. I just hope this time, this domestic thing won’t turn into disaster. You see, I easily get bored and I am a bit impatient. I hate waiting, that’s why me and cooking don’t always go as peacefully as it normally should. Just this year, I almost burned myself and the house trying to fry hotdogs, but I never give up trying to discover that one signature dish or dessert that I will be known for. Maybe this time, I will be successful, who knows, my truffles may become so yummy, I will be known as the truffles princess or something. Hahaha! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Addictions

I've recently taken a new interest in playing the online games available in Facebook. I didn't realize there were tons to choose from, it's quite entertaining. One particular game that is coveting some of my sleeping time is the Word Challenge. I love it. It's similar to Text Twist which is one of my favorite games. Hehehe... I also love Scrabble and forming puzzles. Did that when I was a kid and I still find it amusing until now. It's quite delightful to know that some things haven't changed. I still love word games. I still love puzzles.

There's also another game which got most of my officemates hooked, it's called Mafia Wars where you get to do virtual crimes and get rewarded for it. It goes against my virtues but if I'm going to be really honest about the whole thing, I do find it a bit entertaining. I played it a while ago and I already beat some guys up - virtually.

On a more virtous note..hehehe, guess what?! I already booked two flights for the first 6 months of 2009 and I'm quite excited about it because both are part of my dream destinations list. Yihaaa! Can't wait to go and I've been praying about those trips. It's going to take a lot of hard work since one of those destinations involves a very high mountain.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Way to A Woman's Heart is Also Through Her Stomach - That is if The Woman Is Me

The very first time I met my sister’s suitor inside our house – I felt an irrational but normal reaction any sibling would have. I wanted to pound his face to the ground without knowing anything about him. Fortunately, the sane part of me took over and I gave him a bright smile instead. After a light, routine interrogation, I left them alone. I was again reminded of the fact the my younger sister isn’t five anymore , she’s actually way past her teens but then, I’m the older sister, being extra protective to the young ones is innate, plus being a defender in football for the past 13 years makes me extra aggressive. He better not mess with my sister.

However, 2 boxes of donuts, 1 box of brownies and 1 box of cheese rolls later, my initial first impression of my sister’s suitor has changed in a positive light. I am now looking forward to get to know him more and to see what other treats he could bring inside the house. Hehehe..let me make this clear though - I am not selling out, it’s just that, I asked about him and he seems like a decent guy. The heavenly food he brings are just a plus. I could have bought them myself anyway. I heard the guy is careful with his money and quite thoughtful too. I still need to do some further investigation so I am not letting my guard down, but I am quite thankful to him for introducing me to two wonderful food finds – Becky’s Kitchen brownies and Mary Grace cheese rolls.

Let me tell you a bit about this two amazing foods that definitely made their way to my heart.

Becky’s Kitchen Brownies soft, chewy, not so sweet brownies, the exact way I want it. It come’s with nuts – which I don’t like, but I have to agree that it blends well with the brownies. It’s not your ordinary peanut, I am guessing it’s walnut. I just love them! I actually dropped the entire box because of my excitement when I first saw them in the ref- being a brownie lover and all, but it still tasted great. I love them! I love them!!! Oopps, did I just say that again?

Order Here:

Becky's Kitchen
1061 P. Ocampo cor. Bautista St.
Singalong, Manila
Tel: 525-1648, 523-4245
Info from: http://www.clickthecity.com/yp/detail.asp?brid=1&shopid=2886&pg=1&subcatid=33&catid=7

A second bakery is also here:

Community Center, Suha Street, Valle Verde 1, Pasig City; Telephone: (02)671-7606

Mary Grace cheese rollthe first time I laid eyes on the cheese roll, I snubbed it and thought that it was just any ordinary cheese roll. I’m not really a fan of those but I decided to give it a shot one fateful morning when I was doing my morning rounds at our refrigerator. The first bite and my heart swooned. There’s tons of cheese to bite, the dough is as soft as my belly fat. It was cheese roll nirvana! Love it!

Picture from http://marygracecafe.com

They have a stall at the 4th level Shangri La Plaza Mall.

You may also visit their website and drool at : http://marygracecafe.com/desserts.html

Visit their Café Here:

Operating Hours: Monday to Saturday (11am to 10pm), Sunday (12nn to 10pm)
Cafe +632 858, 0858
Office: +632 821 3197
Mobile: +63917 814 2263

Information that comes with great review can be found here:


To the guy who introduced me to these two fab foods – big thanks to you..but don’t let your guard down, because I still have my eyes on you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


There are a lot of things I fear and I wonder how I ever get anywhere else, get to do a lot of everything else. I’m afraid of the dark, I’m afraid of the supernatural. I am afraid of crime, I am afraid of deep waters, speaking in front of a huge crowd. I am afraid of cats and I am afraid of heights and the list goes on.

And every time I encounter that familiar feeling of dread - that mixture of sweat and cold that makes me want to run back to my mother - I do the following things :

1. Pray

2. Breathe in


3. Let go of my fear...

I guess that's what makes me a brave person.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Three Straight Days of Merriment and Body Pains

The past three days has been a mixture of events that brought fun and body pains to myself and my activity buds.

November 29-30

Me and the rest of my backpacking group (with the exception of Oli , Gay, Olay) – ECOF celebrated our first anniversary in Anawangin Cove. There was another important reason behind the trip but I can’t share what it is because it’s not my tale to tell. The bad part was since we chose to go frolicking in a remote island with no cellphone signal, we had to miss an important annual event – Alan’s birthday party (Sorry Alan..sorry Pat!). Alan is my friend from college and I’ve known him for about 12 years. I thank God he was quite understanding about the whole thing but I still feel guilty about it. I am currently racking my brain on how to make up for what I missed.

Anyway, back to my Anawangin tale…on my 7th time there, I saw some changes over the place – two of those, I am half-happy about:

1. There are some ice cream vendors in the area. It’s just so weird hearing the ice cream man’s bell in the place! It used to be just the wind and the ocean! On the other hand, I am glad that these people can earn additional income because Anawangin Cove is pretty packed on weekends. Hay..bitter sweet… 2. I almost had my breath knocked off because I saw some guy selling souveneirs! That is so Puerto Galera! What they do is they hop on a boat from the Pundakit shore where all the resorts are and catch a ride back if there’s a vacant boat. I don’t blame them because they are just trying to earn a living in a decent manner. Oh well…at least the place is still clean- at least on that side which is owned by a certain Mr. Aguilar. They charge 100 pesos/head (another positive change because they used to charge 150 pesos/head) and they now issue an official receipt.

Now, comes the fun part of my story…bouldering! I wouldn’t recommend it because we nearly had two casualties and none of us are trained...It was quite irresponsible..but when you’re young, OCCASSIONALLY, the prospect of death and pain in exchange for adventure is appealing. There are boulders in that area where one misstep will send you crashing about 20 feet towards a rocky shore with strong waves. That’s where we went and climbed. It was exhilarating especially since I’m acrophobic. Everyone got down safe and thrilled and I prayed to the Lord after that. We had to swim back to shore though so it felt like a duathlon thing. I also realized that I got to learn more about bouldering because it seems like a great sport. I’m a natural at it but I need to know how to do it right.

Body Slamming Against the Waves

It’s the season for surfing and the waves in Anawangin brought delight to those with skim boards. We encountered nice waves..I’m not a surfer or anything like that …I just enjoy riding the waves using my body. It seems more fun that way but I do want to experience surfing, at least maybe once. The crazy thing we did was slam our bodies against the waves in 3 feet of water. It seems foolish but it was really fun. All of us scratched our heads after that thinking what came over us to do such a thing because it brought us body pains.

December 1 - The Much Awaited Sykes Football Tournament

I can’t believe I was finally able to play after several moths of anticipating. It was supposed to be held last Nov. 16 (on the day of my flight to CDO) but something came up and it was moved to December 1 when I can finally play!

It was a one day league held at the Ateneo field 2 in Katipunan. Our team played a total of four games before finally succumbing against team KPT on the battle for third place. Our team played a great game and at the end, we were all proud of our efforts.

It was a day of reuniting with my first love – football, and a day of laughing with my teammates. I love my team and I am proud of them because everyone are decent footballers but I’m afraid this may be our last tournament together since most of them are moving into another company. Oh well, we can always text and play somewhere else with a field. Sykes also sponsored all food and beverages so it was like a picnic tournament. There was so much food! I love it!

I saw so many great players and a lot of cute guys since it was mixed gender tournament. Hehehe! There was also a lot of body contact involved and some guy who’s about 5’10 ft accidentally grabbed my left breast and sent me hurling into the muddy grass as he turned to avoid my tackles because I was defending our goal. I was deeply focused on the game and I knew it was an accident so I chose not to be bothered by the incident.

I also realized that I should perhaps consider switching into another sport like wrestling because I really love slamming people into the ground. In one particular game, I slammed 3 guys into the ground in a span of 15 minutes..thank God they all understood the body language of football or I would have gone home with a blackeye. I incurred no penalties this year ..yipee! All my body slamming were appropriately done..hehehe!

Now I am home and my body is in pain. I haven’t taken a bath and my hair is sticky from sweating but I’m feeling too lazy to take a bath. Surprisingly, I feel happy because I knew our team fought well in the tournament.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

PART 7 - Malacañang of the North

After lunch at the Herencia Cafe, we flagged a  tricycle to take us to the Malacañang of the North. I don't really know anything about it  except that I read from another blog that it was built as a rest house for the Marcoses, a famous political clan in the Philipines. It's off my itinerary but I was curious to see what it looks like. 

There weren't a lot of visitors when we arrived and we didn't find anyone available to tour us  around so we just wandered off on our own. It would have been nice to know something about the place though.  Me and my friend just pretended to be little Marcoses and walked around looking for "Lola Imelda".  I found the rooms and furniture quite appealing especially since I am a fan of huge spaces. I can tell it has seen better days though. 

Paoay lake can be seen from the lawn. Staring at it was relaxing. How nice it would be to have a garden with a massive view of the lake. Dreaming...

Just visiting:P
We finished exploring the entire place in less than an hour, mostly laughing our way around.

After traveling for 8 days around the Philippines, it was finally, time to go home. Though vacation's over, I felt more than ready to go back because I missed my family. 

Ilocos Norte was my last destination in my birthday backpacking trip. My two friends continued their travel to Ilocos Sur while I headed back to Manila to go back to work since I've already been gone for a week. 

I started the journey alone and was ending it alone. I waited for a bus from the highway excitedly. No more living out of my backpack. Although it's thrilling to be on the road, I love being home more. :)

I might not have to explore much but I got  the vacation I wanted. :) 

This post is part of my 8-day birthday backpacking trip from Mindanao to Luzon

PART 7 - Malacañang of the North and the Journey Back Home 

P.S. I have a friend who traveled around Mindanao for 16 days on a 400 Peso/Day budget. Please read about his adventures by visiting his blog - Journeying James

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