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Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On the Road : Toiletry Kit

I’m flying to CamSur tomorrow to join a 22KM Trail running event organized by The North Face and my bag isn't ready!

Being one heck of a lazy packer, I often put off packing up to the last minute and it’s not because I have an overwhelmingly busy schedule. In fact, I just came from a looong Holy Week break and I spent most of the days doing nothing. Oooh, well, I did clean the bathroom and grouped together my toys (my precious outdoor gears) so I guess I wasn't that lazy. 

How I wish my stuff will magically arrange itself and fit in my tiny green backpack. I've been staring at my pile of junk since I came home this afternoon and everything's still on the same place. Boo.

While I’m trying to gather some inspiration to pack, I’d like to share with you the toiletry kit I bring when I’m traveling.

Insect Repellant, Toothpaste, tooth brush, sunblock, moisturizer, body lotion, soap, deodorant, shampoo

This mesh bag came free with the Tribu sandals I bought back in college. I like it because I can easily hang it practically anywhere and it dries easily. See, some of the places I go to don’t have the perks such a soap dish or spaces where you can put down your kit so I usually just hang it at the door knob or at a small nail on the wall.

I also have 3 separate sets of toiletries to make packing more time-efficient. I have one that stays at home, one that I bring to the office and another that goes with me on the road.

See all those cute bottles and little sachets! :) I didn’t have to spend much on them because some of those are from the hotels where my bro stayed for business. Haha! I still have a load of those that can last for several travels. I also got my sunblock as a freebie from the Lonely Planet magazine launch last year. Nivea's a good sunblock especially the one for the face because it doesn't feel greasy and it's light on the skin.  I also bring Off lotion (another trusted brand) all the time because I’m more terrified of mosquito bites than a snake bike. I hate, hate, hate that itchy feeling. For the face, I don't bring a facial wash anymore if I'm not traveling for more than 3 days. The baby wash serves as both body and facial soap.

Everything I bring are just part of the standard kit except for the lotion and facial moisturizer because I know some people who don’t bother with those two but I’m out in the sun a lot so skin cancer, sunburn and God forbid – premature aging are a threat.

Okay, I gotta go. Here's to more adventures and having fun on the road! :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Gorgeous Morning Indeed!

I was in Subic last weekend for the Luzon leg of the 2011 Kicksand Beach Football tournament. Wohoo! It's my first time to play again after a year of rest from competitive football. I played for my club, LFC Alabang, which is an informal club comprised of ex-varsity players from the south.

It was the morning after a day of playing under the scorching sun and my body was sore - ah  the price you pay when you go against competitive and strong-willed  women!

After washing up, I set off to watch the men’s tournament who were scheduled to play at the beach a few blocks from our hotel. As I stepped out of the door, whoa!!! All I saw where all these guys  from one team stretching against the wall. Muscles of all sorts greeted me. I couldn’t even remember one face.

It was such an adoring sight which a football enthusiast , particularly a female football addict such as myself would gleefully appreciate.

I can only wish that every time I walk out the door, this type of wonderful view will welcome  my "innocent" eyes. 

Okay, this photo hardly says anything at all and I really wish you could have seen it with me. :P

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I adore  football players. They are brave, confident, determined and fun-loving. :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gears : Deuter Friends

Deuter friends - Act Trail 32,  race pack, camera bag and a security wallet belt
Solo traveling, though exciting and fulfilling can get lonely, especially when you're in a destination as beautiful as Batanes and you have no one you can easily share your reactions with. I took this photo inside my room at the Batanes Seaside Lodge & Restaurant during a business trip. It was off season in Batanes and there were not a lot of people in sight so I didn't have anyone to talk to.  I opted stayed in my room and geared up for a hike in Mt. Matarem at 1:00 P.M.  

While preparing, I noticed that I accumulated several gears from the same German brand - Deuter.They look adorable! (And no, this is not a sponsored post, I just love this brand so much that I thought I'd share this with people who are looking for the right backpack). These babies are just amazing that sometimes I feel like they're real people. I mean, put a stuffed Deuter on your back and you'll feel that it's partially carrying  your load, like a porter. Its technology is amazing!

The material used are durable and given my callous nature in handling things, I'd say it has passed the "Jovial Wanderer test".  Until now, my 2 year old Act Trail 32 (the red orange bag), still looks new although the raincover was partially ripped during a hiking trip in Romblon back in 2009,  which I am to blame. I think it might have ripped when I dropped it on the forest trail because I was tired or perhaps while  navigating around a thick bush or something. Out of all the Deuter carriers on that trip, I was the only one with a torn raincover. (Sorry bag, it's not you, it's me!)  I fixed it by putting duct tape over the tear. I still use it up to now. I also have to give credit to 3M Duct Tape!  I wash the rain cover quite often and the tape barely comes off. 

The prices of these bags are just right for all its amazing qualities. You can fill it up to the brim and it won't squirm.  Give it a shot and you won't have to buy a pack for a long time!

Deuter is sold in Toby's Sports and Recreational Outdoor eXchange (R.O.X.).

Ohhh, I am such a fan, let me share with you my older and mushier post about my backpack! Click here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

First Solo Camp-Out

Three years ago on a summer, I finally had the courage to fulfill a dream adventure of mine – camp solo!

The trip came in perfect timing as I had been feeling a need for another self-imposed solitude. Being away from familiar people can be such a liberating experience. Without the buzz of normal life, I am able to allocate time to think about stuff which I normally don’t delve in.

The place I chose was Anawangin Cove. I've been there several times (though, always with friends) and it has become one of my favorite places. It's like a second home, a place where I feel safe and at peace even if it has no cellphone signal or electricity. I've even made new acquaintances among the locals. I'm gotten pretty comfortable travelling to that place that I don't mind the 6 hours commute from where live.

I decided to go on a weekend as it never runs out of people on these days (I scare easily :P). The downside was, I had to rent an entire boat since I was traveling alone and could not find anyone to share a ride with.

After a four hour bus ride, a 30-minute trike toward the shore and a 45 minute boat ride, I finally reached my campsite. I strategically chose to pitch a tent that’s near a makeshift bathroom so I wouldn’t have to worry about a long hike when I have to do my business in the middle of the night.

Loading time

On my first day, I was able to swim and read a book which I haven't finished. It was The Art of War by Sun Tzu. I still wasn’t able to read the whole way through because I keep on dozing off. The breeze was so relaxing! And since time seemed to be moving on a snail’s pace, I was also able to do a lot of thinking and sound tripping with Dr Dre, 2pac and company. 

Hotel Bliss
The most dreaded part of the day came in the evening when the campsite became dark.

I was like a fearful child who believed in ghosts and spiritual elements. I managed to sleep soundly by listening to some more music but around 12 midnight, my slumber was rudely interrupted by a group at a nearby camp who was heavily partying. Everyone seemed drunk.

I tried ignoring them for a few minutes, but the noise became unbearable. Having fun is fine, but acting like you’re the only person in the world and yelling to your heart’s delight in the middle of the night is just disrespectful! The group was a few meters away from the caretaker’s house. They could have at least shown some courtesy.

I fumbled on my headlight, got my Swiss Knife (I wasn’t going to attack them or anything but I wanted to be prepared just in case something comes up). I let myself simmer outside my tent before I approached them. Fortunately, the group broke out for the night before I could reach them and again, there was silence.

I finally got my peace and quiet and immediately fell asleep.

I woke up the following morning a little before 6am to the sound of chirping birds, the gentle breeze and the sound of the waves gently crashing on the shore. After a few minutes though, someone yelled, “Gising na, andyan na ang mga Hapon!” – Haayy..so much for my peace and quiet.

Ignoring the noisy group, I grabbed some food and had a feast by the shore.  I settled for chips, dark chocolate, bottled water and the view of shirtless guys going for an early swim. This is the life!

Breakfast of champs?

Since I had nothing else to do, I decided to swim again. I chanced on some people – a pretty couple - Diane and Raymond and a friend of theirs. We spoke a bit and I told them that there’s a nice spot on the left side of the cove were marine life is abundant. They found the idea enticing and together, we swam farther from the crowd that had swarmed the island. We didn’t get to the spot I told them about due to strong waves. We had to settle at this part near the boulders. We were still able to see tons of interesting sea creatures. We chatted a little while we rested and after that we headed back to the camp for lunch. We parted ways as new acquaintances.

I was exhausted when I finally reached my tent but since I still had a couple of hours left before I needed to pack, I wandered near the shore again and ran into a fisherman I met the very first time I went to Anawangin Cove. We got chummy because he let me ride his boat and we went fishing with his wife. I remembered he caught tons of interesting creatures such as a stingray and a baby shark during that trip.

The last time we talked, he told me how much they’re struggling with their life. He told me how he missed Mindanao and how their life was so much better before they migrated to Zambales. Now he seems more relaxed and happier. He looked younger too. He was sporting a nice cap with the logo of a resort in Pundaquit  and  wore better clothes. He told me that he moved to a different fishing spot and he sometimes transports visitors from the resort. I was happy for him. Life is obviously better for him now.

The hour came when I had to go back home and I felt myself half wanting to be left in the island where it's peacefull and less stressful,  and half wanting to go back to my friends and family. It was a good mix of emotions.

When I  finally got home that evening, I felt reclaimed. I left the city a little dazed from the events that’s occurring around me. I needed the time to get away from everything, not because I am running away from it nor am I scared to face it. I just needed a breather, to be able to see things more objectively so I can create solutions instead of whining about it. It was a great decision and though I got some sunburn, I felt recharged  and ready to take on the challenges that lay ahead. 

*This entry was prepared as part of the  Pinoy Travel Bloggers Blog Carnival for the theme, solo travel. Thank you very much Nina Fuentes of Just Wandering for compiling these. View the rest of the entries here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Oh Dear April

April has always been associated with summer, my least favorite season as it’s always been hot and humid. But this year onwards, I swore to myself to dwell more on happy thoughts, so rather than spend the first month of summer mocking the heat, I decided to engage in several fun activities that will make me feel gleeful of the dry and humid weather.

Here’s my line-up for the summer :

April 2 or 3 – Best Food Forward Bazaar. What better way to start the first weekend of April by surrounding yourself with tasty treats?! :P

April 9 – trail run and hike a mountain

April 16 – play at the Kicksand Beach Football Tournament in Subic. Well hopefully – we’re still lacking a couple of players and I haven’t heard from the rest of the team. Anyway, even if I won’t get to play, I will still go to support my fellow footballers.

April 23-23 weekend – hmm, I don’t know. Maybe – travel solo or just sleep the weekend away! Doing nothing is such a luxury these days.

April 30 – Go somewhere nice in CamSur. I have decided not to reveal the location of my side trip to everyone. The following day – 1st of May, I will be joining a trail running event organized by The North Face. Yipee! I have decided to join the 22KM event instead of 50KM as initially planned because the registration fee for the 50KM event is way too expensive!

Cheers to an awesome April! May everyone enjoy summer!

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