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Showing posts from November, 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...
We finished exploring the entire place in less…

PART 6: A Day in Wonderland - Paoay, Ilocos Norte

One of my dreams was to see the San Augustine church or  commonly known as Paoay church. I might have seen it on t.v. or read about it somewhere.  It's one of the four baroque churches that can be found in the Philippines and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. There was something so enigmatic about it. I knew I had to see it at the soonest possible time.

I was finally able to see it when I went backpacking with two other friends.

You know what I felt when I saw it for the very first time? My jaws dropped wide open. I smiled instantly, I kept uttering the words wow. I couldn’t believe I was finally seeing what I’ve been dying to see.  It was magical. The enormous and breathtaking Paoay church loomed in front of me and I felt like what Alice did when she stepped into wonderland. I know it may not have the same effect for some, but I don't know,  I am just so drawn to it. 

Fortunately, the church doors were open and we went inside to say our prayers. I was so thankful to God …

PART 5 - Third Wheeling Up Northern Luzon

On my 7th day of wandering around the Philippines, I joined my friends, Glee and Laurence on their trip up north.  I had just flown in from Cebu that day. We boarded the 9:30 PM pink Florida bus from Manila that goes straight to the municipality of Pagudpud. The one way ticket costs 550 pesos (You can purchase tickets in advance). The terminal is right before UST if you’re coming from Quiapo. 

The bus had comfortable seats, good air-conditioning and a restroom that was pretty challenging to use while the bus is in motion. I had fun utilizing it though, it presented an opportunity to test the endurance of my knees. After that, I made sure I peed at every restroom stop.

For some reason, what was supposed to be a 10 hour ride became 12 hours. Upon reaching the Pagudpud town proper, (without eating breakfast since we were on a tight budget) we immediately hired a tricycle for a day tour.  The driver's name is Kuya Ramon. He's such an amiable guy, the epitome of the famous catchphra…

The Mt. Batulao Freaky Experience

Me and two friends (plus our guide) had been trekking for about 45 minutes - even running on the trail on some parts when we decided to take a 5-minute rest. We used the time to joke around. Just before we resumed our trek, I said something about looking for my soul mate in the mountains. JayZ joined in saying he was also searching for one,  while Mira said she wasn’t interested. 

After several minutes of trekking, I began to feel an invisible weight on my back, as though someone was piggybacking. I decided to ignore it. But then the feeling grew worse and I suddenly felt so weak which was weird because I was in relatively good condition, I had enough sleep and we even ate breakfast at Wendy’s prior to the climb. We also carried little weight on our backs since it was just a day hike. The trails in Batulao are merciful with occasional steep parts but then there are tons of flat ground too for you to recover. 

I never felt so weak in a climb before. I felt that I was carrying a person …

The Mt. Batulao Traverse

Last weekend, I went climbing in Mt. Batulao with my friends Jay-Z and Mira, and I just finished washing my heavily soiled shoes . There’s still some mud on my legs which I did not bother to remove since I’m taking a bath tomorrow morning anyway. Since Batulao is a relatively easy climb, I feel normal, except that my hair stinks. Poor pillow of mine will need a pillowcase change tomorrow. This is my fourth time here since college. This mountain was our venue for training climbs but this is the first time I can remember that I fully enjoyed the scenery and found appreciation for this beautiful mountain. It’s because the only memories I have of Batulao prior to this climb was the scorching heat, the overly muddy trails and the steep trails near the summit. I guess it was due to the pressure of undergoing training and looking after the neophytes of my former mountaineering club that I don’t have any fond recollection of amazing landscapes such as these:

We decided to do a traverse ascendi…

Climbing Mt. Batulao Tomorrow...Yipee

Since the much awaited football tournament, supposedly for tomorrow, was cancelled and moved for next week – I will not be able to play due to another commitment and I’ve been scowling ever since I found out about it yesterday morning. Agh, I hate last minute cancelations. I’m going to miss my team. We even have this nice uniform which feels really great and I was actually excited to wear it. I’ve been praying that the organizers move it on Saturday so I can play. It’s a coed tournament and I knew some of the guys we’re up against and it was going to be fun because we’ll probably ram each other in the field and laugh about it after the game.
On a more positive note - I’m off to climb Mt. Batulao tomorrow on such short notice. I just found out about it this morning when a friend from Sykes Outdoor told me he’s going and I sort of invited myself. Well, he was fine with it and the only problem I foresee is that for the nth time, I’m going to be a third wheel! This other girl is going wit…