a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Office for the Day

As with any other normal work, my job can be quite annoying and stressful because I organize adventure tours/lessons and it involves dealing with a lot of people. But what's amazing about it are those days when I have to get outside and  experience adventure.

Pictures below were taken from yesterday's paragliding session. I had to meet with our contact from the paragliding industry to finalize some arrangements and he managed to drag me to the site. I was also supposed to do a tandem flight with a licensed instructor but it was too windy so the guys did ground handling lessons and some power kiting. I really had to get some work done so I stayed inside the 4x4 and worked on my laptop for a couple of minutes but then I began to feel bored. It was too nice outside so I tried to get some work done for a few more minutes before I gave in to the call of the "wild" and sat on this blue chair just staring at the wide grassland with a happy smile on my face. It started to rain so we had to abort paragliding for the day. Oh well, I'll leave it for another day.



The ladies room - marked by purple wild flowers




Saturday, November 27, 2010

One Day

I stand firmly by my fantasy that one day prince charming would finally find me. He may not own a castle or come riding atop a horse, but I know he will be someone who will make me smile and exert rigorous efforts just to be with me.

Despite my optimism, there are times when I feel panicky. What if he has died and I’ve been waiting for no one? Or what if I’m destined for single blessedness for the rest of eternity and never have the chance to feel deliriously in-love? I’m not in my early twenties anymore and people my age are either getting married or engaged to someone . Me, I’m still waiting, like Rapunzel on top of a tower. Oh why doesn’t my prince know how to use a harness?!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not desperate for love. It’s just the I’ve always wondered what it’s like to have another guy in your life who’s neither a friend nor a relative , what’s it like to be introduced as a girlfriend, not a teammate from football or someone who likes hiking or adventure. It would be cool if the time would come when that special someone will introduce me as their adventure partner for life. Hehehe, cheesy but cute eh. :P

Well, I’ve done my part. I’ve prayed, I’m constantly working on myself. I’ve learned to be patient and more caring. I learned to dress better and I can now cook without causing severe damage to the pan. I learned how to talk to a guy I like without stuttering. I finally learned the art of playing cool even if deep inside, I’m worse than an ice cream melting under the sun. Yet for some reason, perhaps by divine intervention, prince charming and I managed to avert each other in our daily routines. Now, I don’t want you giving me advice and all that – “he will come when you least expect it.”, I am way past that. Now, I am just waiting – patiently, lovingly so that when he comes, I will be more ready than Romy Garduce when he climbed Mt. Everest.

I prefer my fairy tale over any other story and so I am prepared to wait – like a paraglider waiting the whole day for the proper wind speed (I’m currently in a paragliding site as I’m writing this, thus the comparison, hehe), and when it comes, I am up in the air experiencing the best ride of my life.

I will see you soon Prince Charming and you better know be ready for an extreme adventure. :P

Friday, November 26, 2010

Surprises Surprises

I hate surprises. There's something about getting caught off guard that annoys me.

The other side of it which flatters me though is the amount of effort people put to pull it off.

The very first time my friends threw a surprise birthday thing for me was in High School. Everyone suddenly ignored me. I thought I did something wrong. I felt extremely annoyed that they seemed to be talking about something else and not telling me about it. When I entered the cafeteria during that afternoon, I saw most of my friends gathered on three tables and they all yelled - Surprise! I felt a mixture of annoyance and happiness.

The second time my friends surprised me, I was close to throwing a fit. We were walking towards the gym and my friends were all saying mean stuff about my bag. When we arrived at our lockers, my friend pulled out a Speedo gym bag from hers and yelled surprise. Everyone chipped in for that green Speedo bag and I felt so blessed to have friends who can sacrifice their allowances just to get me a present.

The third time my friends surprised me, I caught them planning about it and I ended up inviting my crush. I was like, "Hey, I think they're planning to surprise me tomorrow night for my birthday. You should come!" Haha!He did came for my party and my friends still managed to surprise me because they were able to successfully make me believe that the party wasn't pushing through.

Yesterday, two friends suprised me by going to my work to bring me my green birthday cupcake (wee, I miss Sonja's! I was just thinking about it) and a new fuschia sports cap. :)

Today's my birthday and I feel extremely blessed and thankful for all the greetings and the surprises. :P

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Missin These Days

Taken January 2010. Me and my friends  hiked around Sagada until we got so exhausted, we had to sleep on the grass to recover.  I don't get to do these much lately. I miss these.   

House of Dakay in Batanes

June 2009

The driver brought us down at the corner of the House of Dakay, which is one of the must-sees in Batanes. It’s the oldest stone house in Batan Island from 1887 and has been featured numerous times in various local and international publications.  It is also a UNESCO Heritage Building. The current owner is lola Florestida, a friendly  woman in her 80’s who has also become famous because of their house.  I also read from several blogs that she is perhaps the most photographed woman in Batanes.

My friend and I took pictures of the house from the outside. Usually, visitors only take pictures of the façade and leave. I was not satisfied. I wanted to go inside and take a look and have a chat with lola Ida. We walked with hesitant steps towards the house. I was actually afraid there might be a fierce dog somewhere who will spring and bite me on the leg. (Yes, I am vividly paranoid!)  

Slowly, we made our way to the door from the left side. I saw an old lady walking in the middle of the room. Oh, she must be that famous Ivatan! In my most active tone, I yelled, “Good afternoon pohhhh!”. The old lady jumped two steps back and held her heart. She remained speechless and frozen in her place for a few seconds. Her eyes bulged and she looked at me as if I were a ghost or perhaps a criminal. For a brief moment, I thought I had caused her a heart attack because she remained motionless for a few seconds. When she regained her composure, I apologized profusely from the door. Remembering the efforts we made to get there, I asked her if we can enter her house in a timid voice. To my relief, she said yes. She seemed to have forgiven me and we were able to chat nicely after that.

She sat on her bed while our eyes wandered around. The house was more like a small room. The floor and tables were dusty. I felt sad. Here was a UNESCO building and only the façade appeared to be in good shape. I wondered if she was receiving help from the government.

I took out my camera and turned on the video. She began telling about the house in a clear voice. Since I have already read from blogs most of what she told us about their home, I began asking her juicier questions. I asked about her lovelife, the answer to which she averted with poise. Hehe. I was just curious you know. She did mention about a son and about a sister she lived with. I forgot about the rest of what we talked about but before we left, we gave her something to help her out.  She never asked or made a hint to give her something in return. It’s just our own little way of thanking her for accommodating us warmly and somewhat of a  peace offering for accelerating her heartbeat. :P










Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sea Air – Bringing Batanes Closer to Travelers

Sea Air, a local airline that heavily promotes leisure travel has launched a contest that will enable 7 winners to be part of their Batanes Bloggers Tour during its winter season  - where temperature can go as low as 7 degrees Celsius!!! As an adventurer and a no friss traveler, the mention of Batanes, with its promise of enthralling landscapes, activates a level of excitement in my bloodstream. As the northernmost province of the Philippines with its community of friendly, honest people living humbly in a unique bucolic setting this destination has and will perpetually mesmerize travelers.

To experience winter particularly in the Philippines is a dream adventure of mine. For some reason, cold weather makes me feel elated. The layers of clothing don’t bother me. I even went to great lengths of investing in apparels to better equip myself to cold weather. Having to grab of cup of coffee to warm up my body, makes me feel like a child who just picked up candy. I have traveled and experienced butt-numbing bus rides for a great adventures in places with cold weather like Sagada, Batad and Banaue.

I want to be part of this because aside from traveling, I love to share and write about my adventures. If in certain occasions I cannot write, I talk about it with an infectious level of excitement that I am able to influence the person I’m talking with to crave traveling.

If I win, I will be extremely grateful for the free airline tickets that Sea Air doesn’t even have to feed me or give me shelter. I just want to get there! I have slept in an airport, a cold pavement in a gasoline station, a scary motel in Surigao, slept in mountains during camping trips and slept soundly through thunderstorms. My optimistic outlook allows me to have kick-ass, fun-filled travels come what may. Though I have been to Batanes before, I haven’t had enough and I am practically on my knees for another opportunity to go back there on my dream season – winter!

I deserve to be part of  Sea Air's tour because no matter what happens during travel, I can be trusted to enjoy it to the fullest! I fell on a bridge while trekking in Mt. Kinabalu. I got knocked down for several seconds and when I opened my eyes and saw the look of shock of my companions, I just laughed away though my neck and back hurt. We managed to trek another hour around the park after that. I also incurred 7 stitches in a rock climbing accident in Wawa last year, and I managed to get down the mountain, devour a boodle feast with my friends before I was brought to the emergency room for my stitches. Even if the pain was strong enough to knock my breath on several occasions, I manage to laugh as I talk to the doctor and text away as he started with the minor operation. Several weeks after that, I flew to Busuanga with my friend and I was able to reach the top of Mt. Tapyas using one foot because my stitches have not been removed. Then the month after that, I climbed mt. Asog where my stitches incurred an infection because I had to crawl in mud. Suffice to say, nothing and no one can stop me from wandering!

Though I’ve been to many places and experienced a lot of exciting adventures, I became more aware of the fact that there is still more places I haven’t seen and this realization has only made me more humble. I don’t sneer at people who do not travel, I help fellow travelers as much as I can and I am open to gaining more knowledge from the places I go to or from the people I encounter. Aside from an open spirit, I seem to find ceaseless reasons to be happy about something even if not everything turns out well.

We are fortunate that we have airlines carriers such as Sea Air that allows people to safely go back to their far-flung hometowns faster or explore incredible places within the Philippines. Sea Air is a travelers’ access to a great adventure. Aside from Basco (Batanes) Sea Air also has flights from Manila to exciting destinations such as El Nido & Taytay (both in Palawan), Tablas (Romblon), and the illustrious Boracay. Both Tablas and Taytay are unusual destinations that arouses the curiosity of travelers. To know more about Sea Air, flight schedules or book a flight, log on to their website.  This is also where you can get pertinent travel information on Boracay, Batanes and Clark.

It is also advisable to Like their Fanpage on Facebook as they often have a lot of promotional activities where they give out plenty of prizes and enticing free trips such as this!

And since I am a big fan of sharing, here is how you can also get a chance to win in three easy steps
1. Log on to Facebook.
2. Like the Sea Air Fan Page
3. Go to their notes page, specifically this page to get the full details. :)


Ready to fly?!



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Early Morning Visual Food Trip

When I am able to drag myself out of bed early in the morning – that’s before 5:00 a.m., I ralk. That’s my term for the kind of exercise I do – a bit of running and lots of walking! I used to like running on the pavement but I grew tired of it. Now I only want to do runs in the mountains or do a lot of hiking.

This morning, I was able to run at the the Maysilo circle in Mandaluyong where a lot of runners, joggers and walkers converge on a daily basis. I chose this area solely for its accessibility but it’s not my favorite place to have a relaxing run because of this one major detail. There’s too much food establishments along this route that a foodie like me find it very difficult to concentrate! I almost collided with another runner and in another instance against a tree because I kept looking at all the restaurants across the street. Though majority of them were still close, the signages and pictures fronting these establishments taunted the foodie in me. I was both perspiring from the run and drooling inside – imagining all the great food these places could offer. They also have interesting names like Momsy’s or Mama Atay’s. There’s also Soms Noodle House, Little Ongpin, Kazam’s Kebab, Kowloon West, Pan De Manila, Senior Pedro, Andok’s, Baliwag, this other chicken house which I forgot the name, Tapa King, a 24-Hour Shakey’s and MORE! You can spend an entire day along this area eating and still miss out a lot. There are also several spas and a 24 hour Thai Massage within the vicinity, plus a dozen popular fast food chains.

I only ran for a few minutes. I tried to regain focus by running after this guy in red like a bull. I think he may have slightly noticed I was chasing him but as long as he doesn't report me to the nearest police station, I don't care. I have no idea who he is or what he looks like. He was running faster than the others and I thought I could overtake him. I almost did but I felt myself giving up my little race. I was out of shape. I walked a bit and started feeling dizzy. I tried to regain my composure. There is no way I am fainting on this pavement surrounded with strangers. I began to feel normal after a few more minutes of walking.

I was able to do only 30 minutes of my so-called morning exercise which took away the stress I’m feeling on my back. I returned home feeling rejuvenated yet very much famished. Who wouldn’t be, the names of these restaurants were enough to spark my stomach into a feeding frenzy. I can sense a food expedition coming in the next couple of weeks. :P

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