a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thank You! Summing up January’s Happy Adventures

January will come to a close in a few days and I shall bid goodbye to an adventure-filled month within the confines of our home, taking it easy while sipping cups of coffee. I part with this moth with gratitude for all the wonderful experiences – both done solo and with an energetic bunch of old and new friends.

Here’s a rundown of how the first month of the year went.

1. January 8 - Solo Adventure at Tatlong Krus, Laguna – I first saw Kape Kesada, an art gallery café in Paete by browsing through a friend’s album on Facebook. Coffee and paintings happen to be two of my favorite things (ah scratch that, I like paintings, I LOOVEE coffee!) and so I knew I’d be going here soon. While doing some research, I also discovered a hiking trail where imposing views of Laguna bay can be seen. It seemed safe and easy, quite doable on my own.

It rained pretty much the entire time I was in Paete and even if I was drenched, cold and alone, I had a great time. The views at the peak which features Laguna de Bay and its surrounding town were a delight after a 40-minute hike amidst a forested uphill trail.

Kape Kesada which was the main reason for my trip showcased beautiful paintings depicting rural life. Here, I stayed for hours enjoying the artworks and reading books over cups of Kapeng Barako.



2. January 12 - Joseph Apsay's first exhibit – a friend has been doodling on his notepad since college days and he rarely shows his works to anyone. 10 years after college, he finally had the courage to present his paintings on a private exhibit during a birthday dinner. With his talent, I am sure it will just be a matter of months before he shares his work to the rest of the public. Go Joseph!



Photo Courtesy of Gerald Santayana

3. January 14 - Mt. Maculot Day Hike One of my favorite mountains was the destination for my cousin’s first mountain experience, which she survived with an ultra positive attitude while battling the heart-racing steep trails. A bonus was a side trip to Taal Lake through a forested path inside a barangay, separated from the main road by 1,009 stone steps.

We caped off the long day with more chatting over cups of coffee at Café Lipa. You bet we were still pretty much hyped up on our bus ride home. Me and my cousin constantly had to remind each other to pipe down a bit while laughing and talking the entire time because it was past 9pm and most of the passengers wanted to sleep.




4. January 21-22 - 2 Days, 6 Peaks – This trip practically made my year. It’s an item off my bucket list! Some people asked why I'd want to engage into such exhausting ordeal but I don't have a logical reason. All I know is that I love mountains and being there makes me happier.

Our small group traversed to both paved and unchartered paths around the mountains of Batangas and Cavite. For two days, all we did was hike and all logistics were taken care of by our 2-person crew who treated us like their own children. We had to sleep on cold wooden benches with no walls on our first night, eat wherever it’s convenient – be it on a highway cement or while in the mountain on top of the soil but these were small sacrifices compared to this physically grueling but amazing experience.



P.S. I'd like so say thank you to the organizer of this trip, Ceejay Custodio, President and co-founder of Green Mountain Tribe. It's a pleasure to hike with people who are truly passionate about mountains. See, when you love something, you also have the responsibility to protect it and that's what some people these days forget. It's not about conquering a mountain, it's about preserving it for others to enjoy its beauty. That means not leaving any trash behind or putting up unnecessary signages. Rule of thumb - leave a mountain as though you have not passed through but always acknowledge the locals and the people you encounter along the way. If you can also pick up trash that's been left behind, even if it's just a wrapper, do it. 

So what’s next for February? I will be slowing down a bit to focus on other things I dream of doing, but hiking will still be definitely part of the agenda. :) 

Thank you for taking time to read this and I wish you bigger adventures! :) 

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