a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Friday, April 24, 2009

An Ode to My Backpacking Buddy

From the moment I saw you in Toby's Mega Mall, I knew you were the one.


And when we finally got together, tremendous joy you brought to my adventurous lifestyle

You are a reliable companion which holds the kits to my survival.




I can bring you to anywhere I desire
To the beach,
To the high mountains
Even overseas

I can put you down anywhere and you won't think that I'm taking you for granted


I can ride with you in any mode of transportation and you don't complain



You help me carry my heavy load

You shelter my stuff from the rain with your backpack cover

When I have you on me, I feel your warmth -your frame perfectly contoured on my back.

Your wonderfully formed hip belt, gives me freedom to do anything

I really couldn't ask for anything more,

Except for more adventures with you, my Deuter Act Trail 32.

*Note : This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Aborted Jungle Trek

It was a little before 6:00AM. The sun had just started to rise over the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort where me and my friend Mao spent the night. It was our 3rd day overseas and we decided to check out Sandakan, a city in the Malaysian side of Borneo. The day before, we endured  a 6-hour bus ride from Kota Kinabalu city towards this resort, which sits at the edge of a jungle. Mao immediately left the room hoping to catch the sun rise while I stumbled from the bed to fix myself.

The moment I stepped out of the room, I couldn’t help but be awed with what I saw. The resort was partially covered with fog. Around its vicinity were various species of trees and shrubs that lined the walkway. 







I finally ran into Mao who was avidly taking pictures near the swamp and we set off to explore the farm where we can see the animals. There wasn’t much to see so we walked some more and arrived at this wooden bridge which is used by people who are booked at the posh chalets. Me and Mao started looking around, amazed at the different plants we see. We were both enjoying the scenery when suddenly, I fell to the ground! I felt an intense pain at the in-step of my left foot. For some weird, inexplicable reason, my left foot fell into one of the small holes on one of the planks. After several minutes, I was able to recover and we resumed our morning walk as if nothing happened.

We then saw this board which contains a map of the forest trail and we excitedly went to the entry point of their well-regarded jungle trail. Nick, one of the resort-staff turned chum, told us the night before that we don’t need any guides and that the trail is perfectly safe. We just needed to be wary of leeches. I’ve been beaten before and it didn’t hurt at all so I didn’t have any issues with those. It just looks ugly and the bite bleeds for hours but leeches are harmless.




We finally arrived at the  signage pointing to the entrance of the trail and we excitedly walk towards it. No more than a few seconds, we heard loud growling from inside of the forest. Mao and I looked at each other in alarm. Then we decided to ignore the sound, then made another step. This time, the growling seemed more threatening. The growling, based from my interpretation said, “Take another step and you will be my breakfast.” (It would have sounded scarier if I said it in Tagalog right?!) hehehe. Mao and I looked at each other, again and decided that we’ll just skip the trek and do our morning rituals instead. Yeah, yeah, you can call us wimps but if you were there and heard all the growling, you’re going to freak out too.

Though our jungle trek did not push through, I felt refreshed from our morning walk and the next time we go back, perhaps we already have the courage to go through the entire trail.

Btw, here's the link for this jungle resort.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ready To Win 1 Million in An Adventure Race?

While waiting for my energy refill in Mafia Wars, I chanced on this blog entry about an adventure race organized by Development Bank of the Philippines to promote the RORO (road roll-on, roll-off) Terminal System. It's going to be held on May 15-20, 2009 and will have stops at the following destinations:

  • Surigao del Norte
  • Leyte
  • Cebu
  • Negros Occidental
  • Iloilo
  • Aklan
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Romblon
  • Batangas
  • Manila

It's like the closest thing you'll get to "Amazing Race" and the other magnificent detail about this race is that a whopping 1 Million pesos - tax free awaits the grand prize winners. Naturally, I would have jumped at the chance of joining since I meet all the eligibility requirements except for #2. Aww..how sad. Nah, seriously, it's #4, but then, I knew if really want to join, I can work something out. The race also requires that you have a partner. I have several people in mind already who can be my partner. I guess it's just a matter of wanting to be part of this race. Anyway, I'm not really sure I'll be joining so I will just pass this information around and hope, one of you will join and tell us about it when you're finished.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
1. The race is open to all Filipinos aged 18 years old and above at the time of application.
2. All applicants must be in good physical and mental health.
3. All applicants must have no fear of heights. - who's afraid of heights now? I just conqured my acrophobia last week.
4. All applicants must be licensed drivers.
5. All applicants must know how to swim and bike.

Employees, officers, and directors of the Development Bank of the Philippines, its ad
agencies, and suppliers and all their relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity are not eligible to join.

Click here for more details.

*picture poster courtesy of : http://dbprororace2009.multiply.com/

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My Lakbayan Grade

I can see, I still have a lot to cover but at least my grade increased from a C-. Hehehe! By the year ends, I hope I can raise my grade to a B+. I still have a couple of travels lined-up in the coming months, plus my grand December "exploration" activity where I hope to score a couple of more points. Yihaa!


My Lakbayan grade is C+!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I’ve Changed!

There are only a few people who have seen me get mad. I rarely fight with anyone. I settle every disagreement in the most civilized way I can. I don’t get emotional. I stick to the main issue. I say my piece as calmly as I can and I am prepared to accept a settlement. I don’t hold grudges. Well, this is the new me. Years ago, back when I was a lot younger, I would get so angry, I usually throw stuff at people, shove them or shower them with words of evil. As I was growing up, I realized that being angry does not solve anything. To win a fight, you must detach yourself from the emotional aspects of it and face it as objectively as you can.

This morning, I encountered a situation which tested how much I‘ve changed. I can’t say I passed it with flying colors but I did good. I was so angry at someone for something he had been doing consistently for the past couple of months and I just had to tell him that it was not cool at all. I cursed at him (which I now regret), yelled at him and asked him to get away from my face or I will throw a mug at him. He said something like bring it on, I held on the mug so tightly, preparing to hurl it at his chest. For a few seconds, something took control of me and I was able to think – despite my anger. I thought about my friend who owned the mug – I knew I would break it if I had thrown it. I also thought of the janitor who will be cleaning the mess since the mug felt a little heavy – it may have water in it. This wasn’t their fight. This was mine to claim, mine to win. I decided not to throw it at him at the last minute and he stormed out of the room. I thank God, I did not have to engage in a fist fight. He's 5'10, about 160 pounds, but I have no problems breaking my bone if the situation calls for it.

In an instant, I had my angels beside me – my colleagues showing their moral support, asking if I was okay. I really appreciate the kind gestures even though I couldn’t speak for a few minutes. I was so angry, my heart was racing. A few minutes later, the asshole came back, sent me an instant message and tried to reason out with me. I knew it was all crap and I told him not to talk to me because I have no respect left for him but I said it in a rather kind manner. Now, I have no energy left to argue with him, nothing left to rebuild a broken friendship. I want to forgive him, but I want to forget him (ooh, that’s so Lauren Conrad vs Heidi Montag!).

Now I am back home and I feel light, happy and proud of myself for not allowing anger to turn me into a monster. I was able to tell him what I wanted to say all these months and I am thankful to the Lord for helping me out.

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