a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Whoa, What a Climb!

When I'm not able to explore the outdoors, I read blogs and watch hiking adventures on You Tube. Last night, I missed the mountains, again! (Even if I just hiked last weekend, boohoo). While surfing, I chanced on a video of Robin Esrock of The Modern Gonzo. Robin is an adventurer, travel writer and host of Word Travels along with Julia Dimon. You might have caught previous episodes in one of the cable channels. I forgot which one exactly - it's either Discovery Channel or Nat Geo. They're the travel writers whose adventures are shown on t.v.. They actually shot some episodes here in Palawan. Now, that's a great job!

The video below shows Robin hiking Mt. Huashan in Huayin City, China. It's considered a sacred mountain but I am not surprised. With that kind of trail, you will surely go rattle on your knees and utter your most fervent prayers. 

Curious?

Check it out! I've never seen anything like it. At first, I thought it was fake but I did a little research and several various sources all point to the same crazy trail.  Like a true blue acrophobic,  I sweat watching him go through the entire thing.  Will I be able to do it? AS OF THIS TIME?! NO WAY!!! I may enjoy extreme adventures every now and  but this is just way out of my mental capacity to endure. 

Enjoy the video and if you feel like doing this after watching, I SALUTE YOU! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Packed!

After a dreadfully long work week, I will be off to the mountains tomorrow! Yihaaa! I've been looking forward to go hiking because I've been stressed lately.  I need to be in the mountains!

Me and some friends are doing the Makiling Day Hike Traverse again,  (more commonly referred to as MakTrav by mountaineers). We'll start our ascent from Sto. Tomas Batangas and get down at UPLB. It's going to entail a whole day of hiking but I don't mind! I'm just happy to go outside again. The MakTrav trail has tons of beautiful trees, interesting species and tons of ravines.  I really hope I remember the trail and don't get us lost. Hihi.

I've finished packing - my least favorite activity when going away, but it had to be done.  (I think I've said that quite a number of times in the past already, haha!). While I was putting everything I need in a tiny backpack, I am again reminded of how hard I worked to be able to gather all the hiking essentials. Trust me, it took years of dreaming and hard labor to collect everything. My gears aren't all that expensive  but quality is amazing (if it can withstand me, it must be heavy-duty, haha!) My best investment so far are the bags from Deuter. It's really durable! I'm not careful with my gears and I tend to just squeeze everything in and force it to close up but it hasn't given up on me yet. 

When I started hiking, I just used my school bag - a green backpack from JanSport, then eventually switched to a bigger pack from Montanara for longer trips. I didn't have any waterproof pouches and relied on SM  plastics to secure all my clothes (the thick plastic kept them all dry, so thank you SM!). My shoes were the ones I used for street soccer (which helped me get through the slippery terrain). I didn't have a hydration pack or water bottles either so I carried plastic containers all the way up and going down. The Leave No Trace policy was successfully embedded in my mind by our club moderator from AMCI. Up to this day, I feel disgusted when people just leave their garbage in the mountain. I usually bring down some trash when I go hiking, even if it's just a wrapper of candy. I think if all hikers did the same thing, we can help clean up a mountain. :)

I'm still lacking a few equipment (I want a GPS, Go Pro, a new SP/WP Camera perhaps?) but these will do for now. With or without a GPS, my mind is firm that come what may, I will have a blast!  I am getting older so I should stop spending on gears and start saving for the future. Eeeks! 

Happy adventurous weekend everyone!

Haay, how to get everything inside?

My current fave set of packed lunch - high in protein! 

Kikay kit, hahaha!

Trail Food - more than enough. Thank you Pocari Sweat for the free drinks!

Ready to Go!






Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tandem Paragliding in the Philippines : Carmona Fly Site

Good morning! I'll be off in a couple of minutes for a family thing but before that, I'm sharing a video I took while I was up in the air at the Carmona fly site for a tandem paragliding flight - my first one! It was amazing! The feeling is pretty much similar to  riding a plane with no floor and walls. Pilot is Buko Raymundo of AirSports Adventures  Philippines. 

Paragliding is a sport that is just about to take off here in the Philippines.  As of last January, there's only an intimate number of them and I think I've met them all. Hihi! They're  a fun and relaxed bunch and if you want to get to know them, join their Yahoo Group - Skysports PH

Flying is dependent on wind speed and weather conditions so there are times when the  activity needs to be cancelled for safety purposes. To fly  a paraglider, you're going to need to take a course (usually in Bali) and get a license.  If you want to get a feel of it before you invest on gears, do a tandem flight first. Buko's the only Filipino tandem paragliding pilot I know and he usually flies in a pilot from Indonesia to take other passengers.

I get a lot of inquiries about paragliding so I'm giving you Buko's contact information:
Buko Raymundo
Mobile :9178167820
Email : buko314@gmail.com 
Fee (As of Jan. 2011): 3,500 Pesos - Minimum of 10 minutes in the air; 

Blog about my first flight here

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Batanes Turmeric Rice - Love at Second Sight

My so-called "one-pack ab" is a testament to one of my many passions in life - a steaming bowl of  white rice! Though I have lessened my intake in my quest to losing those extra pounds,  I have decided, as firmly as a priest's vow of celibacy, that it will never  ever get taken out of my meals,  well at least not for breakfast. :P

Such was my appreciation for white rice that I sneered at the thought of turmeric rice, a famous specialty in Batanes. I read about it somewhere while doing research prior to our trip - my first ever trip to this dream destination of mine! I've never encountered such dish and  neither its yellow color, which reminded me of ginger,  nor the name - turmeric, sounded appealing. 

It was lunch time. Me and a friend had just finished touring Sabtang along with several amiable members of the Camera Club of the Philippines. We had just met them at the port that morning and since we were stingy travelers, we  joined their group and split the costs on a hired jeep that took us around.

We were able to visit four picturesque destinations. Our first stop was Saviduk, a municipality filled with stone houses. Then we proceeded to Chamantad-Tinyan view deck which offers unbelievable views of the Pacific ocean, Chavayan – another community of stone houses with beautiful mountain ranges as backdrop and lastly, the Nakabuang Beach in Malakdang, where one can find an interesting rock formation in the shape of an arch.





Roaming Sabtang was a  treat to the eyes and now it was our tummies' turn to feast. As usual, I was eager to eat!  The food started coming in platters - pinakbet, lobsters, banana fritters and along with those came turmeric rice.


Ahhhhh, the moment of truth.

I anticipated the worst as I opened my mouth for my first taste of  turmeric rice. I might have even closed my eyes in case I had to make an intense effort to shove it down my throat.  Then it was finally in! I chewed and  had a moment of enlightenment. It's not bad at all! In fact, I like it! It does not have a gingery after-taste as I imagined it would have, no overpowering flavor actually. It's like my favorite cup of white rice with a hint of something good. It's color suddenly became appealing to me and I was smiling all throughout lunch. There was great food, amazing company, breathtaking views - and I stumbled on an edible treat that I like!

This was prepared as an entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for July 2011 with the theme “Awesome Food Experience While Traveling In The Philippines”, hosted by Our Awesome Planet's - Anton Diaz.





Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mt. Maculot Day Hike Traverse

I've been wanting to do a traverse in Maculot, ascending from the grotto to the summit, and finally to Rockies. I am so happy that I was able to do it! My adventure buddy for the day is my friend Ivan and this is his first climb! Yay, congrats!

We started hiking at 9:00 AM. I didn't know the way from Grotto to summit and the only information I have are from the net but thank God we were able get directions from the friendly locals and met other climbers so we followed them.

As it had been raining, the terrain was very muddy and slippery. There was also this ascent  portion of the climb which scared me a lot because we had to walk over boulders and cling to a rope. It was high and triggered my acrophobia. I am also afraid of boulders because of a rock climbing accident 2 years ago where I incurred 7 stitches on my left leg (and now I have a keloid as souvenir, haha). I had to rest for a minute to get my "balls" back to continue the rest of the climb. Hahaha!

We eventually finished - happy, muddy all-over and ahead of schedule! Yay! 
Thank you God for another amazing climb! :) 



From grotto to summit


Rope time!
Rockies

Here's our itinerary with updated expenses.
IT Source is Pinoy Mountaineer. I just added some info. 


Day Hike Traverse (Route : Grotto-Summit-Rockies)
0400 Board Lemery-bound bus from Buendia. Terminal is near LRT Gil Puyat Station - (P120-130 Pesos). A good meeting place would be KFC/Wendy's/7 Eleven which are all within walking distance from the terminal. 


*Alternate route to Cuenca : Road works currently ongoing at the national highway to Cuenca so buses are unable to pass through. Board a Lipa bound bus and get down at Tambo. Cross the highway and board a jeepney to Lemery.) It would take you to Cuenca where you can get a tricycle to the registration area. Bus fare from Buendia to Tambo is 120 Pesos and jeep from Tambo to Cuenca is around 24 Pesos/head


0700 ETA Cuenca Registration area.  Originally located at Municipal Hall but this has been moved recently.  Tricycle drivers  know where this is. (70 Pesos/trike); Registration Fee is 10 Pesos/Person. Get the number of the barangay tanod on shift in case of emergencies. 0800 ETA jump-off point, start traverse.
0915 ETA Grotto, take pictures
0930 Set out for the peak via forested trail
1200 ETA summit. Lunch.
1230 Start descent to shoulder campsite and rockies
1430 ETA rockies; take pictures
1500 ETA start descent to mountaineer's store
1620 ETA mountaineer's store; tidy up then head back to the highway for Manila-bound bus

Recommended Things to Bring:
2-3 Liters of Water (Pocari Sweat is a good drink but you still need to bring water. I usually bring 1.5 Liters of Water and 500 ML Pocari Sweat)
Trail Food (Like nuts, chocolate, jelly sticks. I buy energy bars and usually consume  only 1 piece for a day hike here)
Packed lunch
Rain gear
Trash bag 


What to Expect :
Steep Trails :) Mt. Maculot is a great training climb because majority of the trail is uphill. 
Some bouldering - there are ropes in place to assist you.  You will encounter two areas with ropes. 
Prepare for rain

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