Hikes | Travels | Food

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Friday, October 29, 2010

Last Minute Climbing Trip in Gulugod Baboy, Batangas

This trip was back in 2007 when I was pretty new at organizing trips. Me and my friend finalized the venue like a day before we left. I have never been to the place and only found about it because a friend suggested it was a safe place for two crazy girls on a last minute mountain adventure.

My hiking buddy for that day is a good friend from HS who I trust with my life. It was her first mountain climbing trip and she had been wanting to try the sport. I had been hiking in mountains since college but I wasn’t an expert. I just love  the outdoors. I got the itinerary and information by researching from the web. (I love Google!)

We started trekking around 10:45 AM. Sun was high and there was no wind. I can still remember how humid it was. We didn’t see anyone else climbing and we almost missed the entry point to the mountain. We just laughed it off. In fact, laughter got us through all our misadventures that weekend. Less than an hour of trekking, Bitchay’s shoe – last used in HS when she played for our school’s volleyball team, gave up and she climbed the rest of the way barefooted! Way to go gal pal!

We reached the summit after 3 hours of trekking. We ran into a mountaineering group who invited us to camp with them but we felt shy to join them. We opted to go down the same day and check in at Phil Pan resort which is the nearest resort to the jump-off and a popular stop for mountaineers. On our way down the mountain, about 30 minutes on foot from the resort, we decided to hitch on a passing jeep. In it were three young guys. Hehe! They generously gave us a lift and we got down quickly.

When we reached Phil pan, we found out that the rate per night was higher than what we anticipated so we bargained with the owner. She was kind enough to help us out. She was intrigued with us because she normally sees huge groups of mountaineers but rarely two little ms. Sunshines.

Water Misadventure!
After showering and taking our dinner, we easily fell asleep. The following morning, we wandered around the area and reached another resort where we met a young male caretaker who let us borrow their kayaks for free! 

Thing was, I didn’t know shit about paddling but we had a great time anyway even if we wandered a bit far from the shore. We actually got caught in the current and started heading for the open waters where there were passing boats. We started yelling “Open water, open water! Helpp!”. 

Seeing that yelling would get us nowhere, we stopped panicking and thought of what to do. This I gotta hand it to Bitchay. She completely took over. She was at the back part and directed me where to paddle. I listened. I had to because we were at the open water already and the current was strong. Our tandem effort worked and we reached the shore safely. We immediately returned the kayak after that and made our way back to Phil Pan but before we got back to our resort, we saw some tractors and had our pictorials there. I’ve always had a thing for heavy machinery. One of my dreams is to drive either a tractor, backhoe or a bulldozer. Haha!

After that, we dined at an eatery before we returned to where we checked in.
The rest of the day went by – me and Bitchay laughing and talking all the way. We again ran into the group we met at the mountain the day before and we hanged out with them for a few minutes. Then we had to pack and head home. This definitely boils down as one of the best adventures I’ve experienced because of the company I was with and now, I am so happy to announce that my gal pal, is embarking on another adventure – with me and her special guy to the most awesome adventure ever - her journey to the altar. 

Congratulations gal pal! 

Getting started with kayaking :P

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Dream Baguio Trip

I terribly miss Baguio’s cold, gloomy weather. Last time I was there was last April 2010 when I participated at a trail run event organized by The North Face. I was with my favorite trail running buddies. I was also able to meet with a friend who now resides in Baguio and currently running his own bar with his brother – former football playmates of mine. My friend took me to Oh My Gulay, a restaurant that serves vegetarian meals amidst a cozy setting of  plants and old furnitures.

Well, I’ve always had fond memories of Baguio. Me and my mom used to go there a lot back when we were monitoring the renovation of our property there. We never lived in it. It was given to my dad as payment for his services as a financial adviser or something and we sold it during hard times. Since I was not into backpacking back then, I never had the chance to roam alone and explore it for myself.  Even when I got older, Baguio was always a destination with friends.

Now I want to go back to Baguio and embark on a solo adventure. I don’t think I’d get lonely because Baguio’s awfully crowded lately.

I also want to check out Bencab Museum which spiked my curiosity when my friend found this painting of a woman who  looks eerily  a lot like me and posted it on his Facebook and tagged me. I hope the painting’s still there when I drop by.

I wish I can go this weekend but I really can’t. For now, I am sharing you my itinerary. Perhaps, you would want to try this as well. Happy Traveling!

Information Sources:


2011 On My Mind

2010’s barely over but I am already setting new goals for myself for 2011.
  • Have a podium finish at a trail running event. Hehe!
  • Compete in a 50 KM Trail running event.
  • Reach the summit at the Kinabalu Climbathon. When I joined for the first time back in 2009, I was able to reach as far as KM 6 which is 2.72KM away from the summit. Though I still had strength to continue, we were not allowed to proceed because I did not make it to the cut-off time. For 2011, I hope to be a finisher.
I really hope and pray that when I read this again some time in the future that I have accomplished these all. : )

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Baguio Travel Information + Itinerary

Hola! I'm sharing some Baguio travel information I researched for a friend who’s going on a budget date to Baguio. :) 

Disclaimer : All information provided are based from online research and what I read from trip advisor. I have documented all information sources as well. 

How to Get to Baguio 
Visit this link to get the schedules and fares of Victory Liner buses going to Baguio. Victory Liner is a favorite of many travelers as it has numerous trips and terminals from Manila. Fare coming from the Cubao Terminal is 445 Pesos (one way). Victory Liner also offers Deluxe buses, supposedly more comfortable but I've never tried it as it's more expensive (715 Pesos). I never had problems with the regular aircon buses so I'd like to think I'm not missing much. 

Where to Eat
1Oh My Gulay –romantic vibe, artsy restaurant – near KFC Session Road; Price of Food : 200 Pesos/Meal (with Drinks); Tip: Upo ka sa pinakataas kasi maganda sunset dito. Tska romantic atmosphere.hehe; Type of Food : Vegetarian;
Address : Top Floor, La Azotea Bldg., Session Road, Baguio City, Benguet

2. 50’s Diner Address: 92 Upper General Luna Road, Corner Brent Road, Baguio City: 
Contact Person : Toni Candelaria at 09166595555 Price range: P65-230 per person
How To Get To 50’s Diner, Baguio City - From Session Road, take Leonard Wood Road ;  easy to spot the restaurant at the intersection of General Luna St., Brent Rd., and Leonard Wood Road
    3. O' Mai Khan – must eat in Baguio according to Trip Advisor reviews; They serve Mongolian Buffet for 200 pesos
Address : 12 Otek St | Rizal Park, Baguio, Luzon, Philippines
Number (074) 442 5885

For more top pick restaurants of Trip Advisor travelers in Baguio, check out this link.

Cheap Accommodation in Baguio:
1.Hotel 45 - near SM Baguio
Address : 58 Session Road, Baguio
Wifi Access - stronger lobby area
*There are 2 Hotel 45 in Baguio.
The other one is  located here: Newer and more quiet (based from visitors feedbacks)
Bagong Bayan St., Brgy. Salud Mitra
Baguio City
(with country and area code) Tel. #: 63-74-4466306; 3042963
Cell #: 0917-7008805
Rate : 1,300-1,600 per night
Check out reviews here.

2. Hotel Veniz – the best budget hotel in Baguio according to Trip Advisor reviews; near Burnham Park;there's Mc Do here and a grocery
Address : One Abanao St., Baguio City 2600, Philippines
Rate : 1295 pesos (good for two);
Phone: (63) (74) 446 0700 to 03
Cellphone: +63 0917 506 0701
Telefax: (63) (74) 446 0704
Email:  hotelvenizbaguio@yahoo.com
Call our toll free number: (02) 871-1510 (Manila)

Information Sourced from  Hotel Veniz
Day 1 :
Arrival in Baguio
Breakfast at Cordillera Café
Check in at Hotel Veniz
1:00 PM –Walk Near hotel Vicinity
Dinner at : Oh My Gulay or O’ Mai Khan

Day 2 :
Naguilian Area:
(Sights) Lourdes Grotto, Easter Weaving Room, Tam-awan Village, Wood Carvers Village, BenCab Museum
 (optional: add 4 hours) plus Asin Hot Springs, Nangalisan River
(Duration) 4 hours - 1 day: sightseeing, shopping, picnic meals, swimming

Day 3 :
Camp John Hay Area:
(Sights) Historical Core, History Trail, Eco Trail, Bell House, Bell Ampitheater, Scout Hill, Shalan di Kabadjo, Igorot Garden, Butterfly Sanctuary, Mini Golf, Golf, Driving Range
(Shopping) Mile-Hi Center
(Optional: add 4 more hours) Philippine Military Academy, Balatoc Mine Tour
(Duration) 4 hours - 1 day: includes sightseeing, nature hiking trails, shopping, golf, arcade games, meals

Other Places to Visit in Baguio
1.Tam-awan Village  - From city proper, you can ride a taxi going here. Around 70-100 pesos ang fare. They also have a cafe, museum and a gallery.
Entrance Fees :
Adult : 50 pesos/each
Open: 8AM-6PM

2. BenCab Museum
Address: KM 6 Asin Road, Tuba, Benguet
Number : (74) 442-7165
Website : BenCab Museum
Taxi: 15-minute drive from Baguio City center.
Public transport: Jeep to Asin from jeepney terminal near Baguio market
Museum hours:
Open daily except Mondays, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day
from 9:00am to 6:00pm (last entry at 5:30pm)

Admission to the Museum:
General: PHP 100.00

For other great suggestions on where to go around Baguio, visit the following links : 
Travelog Philippines
Travelling Dork

(Post updated October 2012)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hell Time with Wedges

 Written : October 15, 2010

Yesterday was the worst fashion experience I’ve had in my entire life.  I got home feeling helpless, weak, sweaty and  with unbelievably swollen feet. It looked even worse than my toes when we climbed Mt. Guiting-Guiting a year ago  At least during that climbing trip, I was wearing a comfortable, reliable pair of Merrell footwear.  Yesterday, I wore this chic pair of wedges – approximately 3-4 inches in height.  My legs looked longer on it and the best thing of all is that it matches my cute “Blair Waldorf”-inspired dress. Unfortunately, looking chic can be a pain especially if you can’t afford those uber comfortable high-heeled designer shoes. The first few minutes I walked in it were quite bearable but it made my pace so much slower. I used to overtake almost every pedestrian in the street but on my gruesome lady wedges, I moved like I had all the time in the world. That meant I felt  more tensed. I was used to having everything in a blur.  With yesterday’s pace, I had time to feel the wind, witness the birds flying from the sky and see the face of every commuter that walked ahead of me. Although moving slower does have its optimistic perspectives,  I hated the feeling of being constricted from moving as fast as I wanted. And since it took a lot of effort for me to move from one point to another, I was less cheerful than normal. No wonder some fashionable women in heels appear either  snobbish or fragile, with the pain one incurs from wearing these hideous footwear, who would have the energy to be sociable?! I  promise myself to  be extra understanding to bitches on heels after having been able to feel a piece of their agony. It was not my first time on heels but it’s been a while since I stepped out of my flat shoes so I was practically back to being a heels-virgin.

I was supposed to wear my chic shoes today  for a very special appointment but I just couldn’t muster the strength to have it on my feet again. Now I’m back to my black, comfy flats. I got to my destination earlier two hours before schedule and I have the strength again to smile at every individual I came across with. Yes! Life is great again! I’d probably get another pair  but one that’s more realistically wearable and fits my lifestyle. I absolutely love the way wedges make my legs appear acceptable in size. Trust me, on a normal day, I have one of the biggest and muscular legs you’ll witness from a lady(?!). 

Note to Self:  Being fashionable is great. You just need to find  something that goes with your personality. You don’t need to wear the same stuff models wear. In the end, it still boils down to comfort and efficiency in  savvy styles.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hanging Tough

This is not a rant. Please be patient and read through the end.

I have a lot to frown about this year. 2010 brought me a string of unfortunate events in both my personal life and career. As if those weren’t enough, I have all these little annoying circumstances that happened to me in the past few weeks : 1. I just had a bad haircut and now my hair which normally looks nice, is always in messy ruffles..Arrgh, I don’t do messy ruffles. 2. My cellphone broke for the second time – just when I’ve gotten used to using a Qwerty keypad. It’s back at the repair shop and I’m just waiting for them to replace my phone if it doesn’t get fixed. Apparently, there’s something wrong with the software (entirely not my fault I assure you). 3. I gained weight so I need to go back at lessening my food intake because I don’t get to exercise much. I’m tired and don’t like running in pavements. 4. This one is not a minor thing and I wish it didn’t have to happen. I don’t want to divulge any details because I’m hoping that one of these days, this issue I have with someone I know for years will get resolved. What else, I guess that’s about it. Now that I’ve written those down, it does not seem a lot but those got to me because on top of my bigger issues, they came in perfect timing!

But being the ever optimistic person that I am, I choose to be happy and face all these challenges head on. I am blessed to have the ability to smile wholeheartedly even if things are going rough, even more blessed to have the support of my family and an amazing set of friends. It’s been tough but I am confident in God’s power that everything will be fine again. I just need to hold on a bit tighter. I’ve also been blessed to have the opportunity to travel and try all these amazing adventures. What else, oh yes, I became an emotionally stronger person, much more stronger than I was before. That alone gives me happiness in this trying phase in my life.

I can feel the I am nearing the end of the tunnel – right where all the light is. One of these days, I will get to that point in life where I am supposed to be but for now, I just need to hang in there and hang tough until I get there. :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Charmed by A Phlebotomist

The sight of a phlebotomist usually insights fear to people who are afraid of blood or those who are wary of needles. Though I do not suffer from such, I do feel icky when undergoing blood tests. I mean, who enjoys getting pricked right? I may be eccentric, but I’m not in that level. Hehe!

Serendipity. That’s how I  would call what happened yesterday afternoon when we went to the hospital to visit our friend and fellow outdoorsman Adrian who is in the hospital due to a lump near his heart. We were hoping to donate blood as well should he need it for his treatment. Several of our friends were not qualified to donate blood so there were only 3 of us who went to get our blood test.

It was a mini adventure trying to locate the blood bank. It was in a separate building which we found by asking the staff. It was like passing through a maze to get there. I was particularly amused at the interesting business establishments around the hospital such as Red Ribbon, Jollibee, Delifrance, Figaro, Dimsum & Dumplings and 7Eleven. It felt more like a simple hotel than a hospital. It smelled nice too. The comfort rooms are amusing as well. There’s a huge full-size mirror right before you enter the restroom even bigger than the one inside Serendra’s public toilets. I wonder what’s it for since people who go to hospitals normally don’t need to doll up. Maybe it’s a Feng Shui thing.

We reached a vacant area that looked like an airport lobby and asked the guard what to do. He directed us to this machine where we were to get our numbers. It was cool! We punched a number assigned to the blood bank and a little print out spurted from the machine indicating our number in the queue.

We then proceeded to the second floor to fill up these questionnaires and waited for our turn to get called. As we sat in the huge waiting area, a guy exited from the blood bank and me and my friend looked at each other. He looked cute – as in boy next door who’s a little naughty kind of cute. I swore to my friend that I’m getting my blood test from him and nobody else. My friend giggled and joked that maybe we should offer something else other than blood – like perhaps – flesh? Hahaha!

After a few minutes, me and two other friends got called inside the room. Our other friend got left behind because she did not pass the initial screening. There were two people conducting the initial interview – one was a friendly looking nurse and the other one was the cute guy we saw. Oh my gosh. I waited for my turn and by luck, or perhaps fate, I ended up at his desk and he verified my answers from the questionnaire we filled up earlier.

His eyes were his best feature. It was a combination that said “Hey I’m the marrying type of guy, but I can also be very naughty.” Hahaha! After all that verification, I moved to the second phase - drawing of blood for testing. He wrapped this rubber thing around my arm. As he was doing that, another concern hit me. If I was going to donate blood that day, can I eat before giving out blood? Though his looks caught me off-guard and made me feel slightly giggly and my hands sweaty and cold, my appetite for food was not shaken, not one bit. I was hungry and I needed to eat already. So I grilled him with questions - “Could I eat? Can I drink coffee?” Obviously, my priorities are still intact.

It was music to my ears when he said I could – but not 30 minutes before I give blood and that I should avoid alcohol and fatty, oily foods. I smiled at him enthusiastically and suddenly felt a sharp pain on my arm. I could feel the needle pricking me much deeper than the usual and I slightly yelled in pain. I think I got him distracted because I kept asking questions about food. He immediately apologized. I tried to rack my brain for other points for discussion but my stomach was growling and could not produce any flirting scheme. I said goodbye and smiled at him the sweetest way I could. The results won’t come out until two hours so I had time to eat and then when I’m all nourished again, maybe I could come up with something to get his Facebook account or something.

Two hours later, me and my friend returned to the blood bank – full from food and the cake treat from our UK-based friend Mira – (hehe). I was feeling hopeful that I may be able to donate blood and perhaps chat more with mr. Phlebotomist. After waiting for a few minutes, mr. P. regretfully informed me of the results. I had way too much WBC which is not acceptable for donating blood. I felt alarmed, was I sick as well? I felt extremely fine. He said it’s probably due to some minor infection which may not be serious. I was disappointed. The blood could have helped my friend a lot but then I guess there’s an even bigger purpose for my blood. At least I met mr. P. and was also able to spend some time with my friends who I haven’t seen in a while. I bid goodbye to Mr. P.. Perhaps it’s the last time I’ll ever see of him and I realized, I was actually looking forward more to donating blood.

And since we are in the subject of blood, I would like to appeal to you to be a donor. The demand for blood is huge. According to an article from 2009, our country needs 900,000 of bags annually. You surely don’t get paid for it but the rewards are far greater than money - you get to help people live longer and your body also benefits from it (like lower your risk to Cardiovascular diseases, replenish your blood supply to help your body function more efficiently. More benefits here.)

If you are interested, the Red Cross Philippines site has outlined all the information you need in giving blood
You may also give them a call here to find out where you can give blood.
National Blood Services Office : +63(02) 527-0000 loc. 106 (Reception)

If you want to help my friend, please email me at : beadedtraveler@gmail.com to get details on how you can donate blood for him.

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