a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Review : Asus ZenFone 2 Laser

Check out my experience using an Asus ZenFone 2! :)

Hiking 6 peaks over the weekend

Click to read about one of my all-time favorite hiking adventures. :)

Osprey Pack : Nova

My new reliable backpacking buddy

Hiking in Bukidnon

A day hike to Mt. Kitanglad and Dulang-Dulang

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Event : Romi Garduce's Alpine Adventures

Recreational Outdoor eXchange (R.O.X.), Southeast Asia's biggest outdoor superstore brings you...



"Learn from the Philippines' Seven Summits Climber, Romi Garduce as he will guide you on how to start your own alpine mountaineering adventure!" (R.O.X.)


Registration starts August 31, 2012 at R.O.X. Bonifacio High Street only.
For those wants to purchase a ticket but cannot go to R.O.X. Bonifacio High Street, 
please email your reservation details to rox.philippines@yahoo.com with the following details:
Number of Slots:
Names of participants:
Address:
Mobile Number:
Email Address:

Registration Fee: PHP 250.00 (inclusions: light snacks, raffle, and exclusive access to the Sale)

R.O.X. BHS Store Hours : 
Sun-Thu : 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Fri-Sat : 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Facebook  - R.O.X. Philippines

Event Details : 
7:00 PM, September 27, 2012 - Thursday 
R.O.X. Bonifacio High Street, Taguig

Click here to find out how to get to R.O.X. : Metro Manila Directions


View Larger Map

Watch this documentary by GMA 7 about Romi Garduce's quest : 






Monday, August 27, 2012

Travel Essentials for Food Adventures

Masferre - Sagada (Photo taken by Jules | www.runningmistress.blogspot.com)
An adventure exhilarates your heart's glorious thumping and at times makes your pores cry buckets of sweat . Such necessary exploits that add meaning to life doesn't always involve climbing a mountain, diving underwater or rappelling down the depths of the earth. It can be about finding and devouring edible treats. While a great food can be found a few blocks away, you should not limit yourself to what's accessible. Explore the food in other places. The world is abundant of it! 

I'm sharing with you a list of essentials when I go wandering in for the sole purpose of satisfying my belly's endless craving. 

When you finish the list, feel free to share yours! :) 

1. Sling bag - I found this useful green bag while traveling in Butuan which can fit practically everything I need to go around . Its design frees both hands which allows me to take a photo and eat a stick of something on my other hand. It's also ideal for sampling street food so I won't have to worry of finding a place to put my stuff down. 

2. Camera - Apart from taking photos as a reminder of awesome times, it also lifts up your mood. You can also take shots of signages/menus when you're feeling too lazy to write notes. 

3. Notebook & Pen - For people like me with a memory that sporadically goes on vacation, writing notes while on the road helps me remember where I found that great meal, how much it costs and how to get there. Since I also love to write and upload photos on Facebook , it's very useful to have a pen and paper which I can always check back and share information to people. 

4. Alcohol - spraying or pouring some alcohol before putting anything on your mouth is a good practice to avoid getting sick while traveling. It can also be an instant freshener if you use the alcologne types. I love using Hygienix. It does not smell like alcohol at all. I use the ones that come with an atomizer which I just refill and I often get feedback that it smells great. Tada! I don't even have to buy cologne anymore. :P. 

5. Medicine - a first aid kit is a must have when traveling but in reality, most people feel too lazy to carry one, myself included. Fortunately, spending time in the outdoors has helped me wrap the idea in my head. If you love to eat, keep antacids and loperamide in your bag. If you have allergies, better bring prescribed medication. 

6. Mints - these serve as instant breath freshener as well as emergency food - until you get somewhere where there's something to eat. 

7. Towel/Handkerchief - these are very useful cleaning spills and wiping sweat off when you're in a humid location or trying something very spicy. It's always advantageous to look fresh and practice good hygiene.

For more of my food adventures, please read my food posts. Click here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Food Quest : Kaffeeklatsch, Baguio City

I love cafes!

More than the aroma of brewing coffee beans, it's  the cozy atmosphere and  fascinating interiors that I look forward to when visiting one.

Fortunately, finding a great cafe in the Philippines is just a Google away and in some cases, from the angelic advice of a fellow outdoor lover and blogger.

In a recent hiking trip to Mt. Pulag, our group decided to relax and grab some snacks in Baguio City before heading back to Manila.

One of my companions,  Erick Dantoc  of Road Worthy Man, suggested we check out Kaffeeklatsch.

"Cafe clutch?!" was how I repeated it and  images of car clutches started swirling in my head.  My ignorance was in full swing that day. Who names a cafe as such?

We hailed a cab from the Victory Liner terminal, and in less than 20 minutes, we reached Caltex at the corner of City Camp Road. Erick couldn't remember the exact location so we walked a few blocks from the gas station to the cafe which we found on the left side of the road.

A wooden signage with the cafe's name on it hang from its ceiling. Kaffeeklatsch originated from two German words - Kaffee = coffee and  Klatsch = gossip.Currently, it is used as a single word to describe an informal social gathering for coffee and conversation. (thanks Merriam-Webster!)


As soon as we stepped in, we started marveling at the place like little kids gallivanting in an enormous chocolate factory.

The first area resembled a living room that had several leather couches and benches .  To our right was another tiny room that looked a chess area filled with colored chairs. Beside it was  another space where trophies and bottles were displayed in a wooden cabinet.  



It was a Sunday but since the cafe just opened up for the day, there weren't many people.  
Living up to its name for coffee and talk, there aren't a lot of  food selections - mostly just pastas and cookies.

Since I was in the mood for something spontaneous, I opted for the Coffee of the Day, whatever that is.A cup of hot coffee starts at 75 Pesos while pastas cost less than 200 Pesos a plate. The counter where you need to place your order was toward the back area near the restrooms. 

We chose to sit at the second floor which had a low ceiling.  Around 6-7 feet high only on some parts.  It had a bigger seating area where you can chose your own quiet spot. We settled at the couches near the stairs and we still could not stop admiring the place at this point.

 Coffee arrived before we missed it and it pleased me as much as the interiors did.  As I am someone who has coffee pumping into my system, perhaps even more than blood, I've developed a selective taste when it comes to this beloved brews.   This did not disappoint. Even my companions who opted for fruit shakes were equally pleased.



We spent the entire time just chatting, reminiscing our fun hike and enjoying our drinks.  Capping off our Pulag adventure couldn't have been more perfect. :)

And since I really had an amazing time during this trip, I can't help but share with you our group photo taken  by Louie of Travel Factor who we met along the trail. (Hi TF! :))

L-R : Gay &  Shervin Emami, Erick Dantoc, Joseph Dy, Izah Morales, Moi, Marky Go and Olay Rullan. Photo taken in one of our rest stops while hiking in Mt. Pulag
39 City Camp Road, Baguio City, Philippines
Business Hours :
Tue - Fri:16:00-00:00
Sat:16:00-01:00
Sun:16:00-02:00
Contact Number : +63 917 528 5282


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Food Quest : Qizia Cafe, Marikina

After getting drenched under the rain while attempting a decent exercise around the UP Diliman Campus, two friends and I went on a feeding frenzy. Dinner was at Flaming Wings then drinks at Serenitea in Katipunan. By the time it closed, we were still clamoring for a place to continue our laughing session.  

At the advice of a colleague who we disturbed from her beauty sleep, (thanks Shobe!), we decided to check out Qizia Cafe. 

Located   inconspicuously at the back of SDS Medical Center and a few blocks from the doors of the emergency room, Qizia Cafe offers affordable pastas, pizzas, rice meals, desserts, coffee, teas and more. 

Diners can choose to take the tables outside or relish their stay inside an enclosed space with a decent air conditioning system. 


For drinks, they serve tea, coffee, smoothies  and soda. Prices start at 55 Pesos for a generous cup of coffee while other drinks cost no more than 100 Pesos each.  To order, you need to go to the cashier and pay in advance. Food will be served at your table. 



If you're hungry,  you can order from their all-day breakfast menu, pastas, pizzas and sandwiches.
Seafood Pasta, 135 Pesos - looks really plain but it's really, really flavorful! :)
Contrary to other online reviews, service crew were really friendly and attentive.  I guess they must have worked on the customer feedback. :)

I want to return here when I'm overly hungry and try more of their other offers. 

Qizia Cafe 
SDS Medical Center Compound
Katipunan Extension, Concepcion II
Marikina City
+63 02 489-0760
Business  Hours : 9:00 AM - 12:30 AM (Monday-Sunday). 
Please call to confirm opening hours. 
Huge parking space is available. 

If you want to explore more of Marikina's edible delights, visit this helpful blog :  All Over Marikina

Monday, August 20, 2012

The John that Made my Heart Sing

It was our last day in Tadian, a municipality in Mountain Province, located 6 hours away by bus from Baguio City. After shopping for souvenirs and tasting local treats at the Agro-Industrial fair, my friend and I bid goodbyes to our host, the amiable tourism officer Ms. Lynber Miclat. She had graciously took us in her home for the Ayyoweng di Lambak ed Tadian Festival. It's a thanksgiving celebration held in March where the barangays of Tadian converge and perform dances and hold various activities.  

We still had a couple of hours to burn before the 12 noon bus ride back to Baguio so we decided to walk around town. Though the temperature around Tadian is relatively cold, the sun was high, I was mildly sweating and feeling tired from wandering around. We found ourselves craving for some snacks before the long commute. 

From across the public market, we chanced on Family Bakeshop & Cafe. It's a small bakeshop with 2-3 tables. Here you can order brewed coffee, pancit and tadaaa - bread.



I had just ordered brewed coffee and pancit at the counter when one of the ladies brought out a heaping tray of bread fresh from the oven. I was instantly hypnotized. The bread was shaped like a hotdog - long and barely 1.5 inches wide. I stood marveling at it for a couple of seconds and without much thought, I had ordered a piece. The next events were a haze. I remember sitting at a stool with our pancit and coffee. I recall biting into the bread. The dough was still warm and very soft. Its taste was close to a glazed donut. I devoured it in seconds. Then I ordered again, and then ordered some more.


 I remembered to asked for its name when my lustful appetite was satisfied. 
 "Ano pong tawag dito?" (What's the name of this bread?) 

"Long john." , the lady answered. 

As I was still in a delirious state from consuming this delicious bread, my head couldn't comprehend the syllables. 

 "Huh?" "Long john." , the lady repeated. 

"Long john.", like a dazed damsel, I repeated. 

Only 5 Pesos a piece and I my senses were treated to indulgence. 

Normally glazed with sugar, long johns are best consumed when fresh from the oven. Being a fan of bread, this is the first time I've seen a local bakeshop made this thinly and deliciously. 

In the US, long john donuts are thicker and wider and sometimes filled with other ingredients such as custard or chocolate. 

For travel information on Tadian, please visit my other post - Munching Around Tadian.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Exhilarating Rides to Tinglayan


On the way to Tinglayan, a municipality in Kalinga, the public jeep stopped at a barangay to unload some supplies. At this point, we were less than 20 minutes from the town proper where I would be staying for my much clamored solo R&R and I was left with two other female passengers. I noticed both of them were feeling impatient from the stop-over and started conversing with the driver. 

After a few minutes, one of them spoke to me. 

"Shenasajahl jkwkAshkak saklasf ?" 

And all three turned to me expecting a response. 

Still tired from the 12 hour bus ride from Manila and the 2.5 hour jeepney ride, my mind was shuffling in between reality and neverland. I stared back with a blank look on my face, unable to decipher what was said. 

One of the quick-thinking passengers, a slender teen translated in Filipino. "May bagahe ka ba?" (Do you have any big luggages?). I shook my head and told them I only had a backpack. 

"Halika na. Doon na tayo sumabay." (Let’s go and hitch a ride there.) 

Huh, where??? 

My eyes followed the two women as they flagged down a dump truck that had just brought down some gravel to a home, a couple of blocks away from our parked jeep. I watched them expertly climb up the big truck.  

Truck ride #1
It's been a while since I last rode one of these things and it felt like it was my first time again.

Being petite and not exactly flexible, I held my breathe as I raised my right leg and planted it on a dangling metal near one of the front tires of the truck. I stretched my arms as far as I can to grasp a metal railing at the top of the truck as I pushed the rest of my voluptuous self up. 

Ommmp! 

I swung my other foot inside the truck’s dusty floor. I felt my inner thighs straining from the sudden movement.

I made it in! After ensuring that everyone had made it at the back of the truck, the driver ignited the engine and we continued our journey around the mountains. The road was a combination of paved and rocky patches with views of Chico River and lush green mountains towering on the left side. As the truck slinked around the mountains, my butt shuffled back and forth, brushing against dirt but the rewarding views of the mountain sides and the gushing river made every clinging grime bearable. 


Want to check out the amazing views? Check out this video I took while rolling on my butt at the back of a dump truck! :p 


The truck stopped at a nearby construction site. My co-passengers started talking to each other again. I found out that we were still a couple of minutes away from the town proper. One woman was carrying a huge sack so it was going to be a tough hike. Fortunately, another truck passed by, this time, carrying more people. In fact, it was almost full. But such is the generosity of the people on this side of the country that they tried to make room for us. 

Truck ride #2
Unlike our previous ride, this truck had no enclosures, no walls where you can lean on your back. We had to cling to ropes, bars or whatever we could get our hands to prevent us from bouncing off. In fact, there was barely enough space to firmly plant my feet. After several breath taking minutes, the truck reached the town proper. One of the ladies went down and showed me Sleeping Beauty Inn, my home for the night. 

And the next few two days deserves its own story.  :) 

Want to visit Tinglayan? Go to this link for a travel guide to Tinglayan.

Tinglayan Travel Guide (Kalinga)


Tinglayan is a scenic municipality of the province of Kalinga, located 3 hours away from its capital, Tabuk. Its community is surrounded by lush mountains with the Chico River flowing on one side. It is a destination for those who love nature, hiking and immersing into other cultures.

Before you visit Kalinga, it is highly recommended to read this nicely written and informative article from Kayumanggi Trails for an Outsider’s Guide to Kalinga Sensibilities.

How to Get to Kalinga : 
From Manila, ride a Tabuk-bound bus from Victory Liner Kamias. Fare is 569 Pesos as of August 2012 (One-way, aircon).
Website : www.victoryliner.com
There are about three tips departing in the evening for Tabuk. Call the terminal to confirm prior to your trip. Tickets can also be purchased in advance.
Travel Time : 12 hours

 As an alternate, you can also ride a bus to Tugeugarao (599 Pesos), also at the same terminal as this has more trips. From Tuguegarao, Tabuk is 1.5 hours away by public van which are parked at the side of Brickstone Mall, less than a 10-minute walk across the Victory Liner terminal in Tuguegarao.

Another option would be to travel via Bontoc or Baguio. From Manila, Cable Tours has a single daily trip to Bontoc (650 Pesos) departing at 8:30 PM.
Address : E. Rodriguez Sr. QC., across Trinity University of Asia
Call +63 09298194688 to verify the trip schedule.

To go back to Manila, you can take an afternoon bus from Tabuk or make your way to Tuguegarao which has several buses departing in the morning for Manila. Victory Liner, Florida, Dalin bus lines have trips back to Manila. You can also continue your adventures to Baguio City. Tabuk and Dagupan have bus terminals servicing this route. (Fare is 450 Pesos, non-aircon), most of which depart in the afternoon starting at 3:00 PM.

How to Get to Tinglayan : 
From Tabuk, ride a jeep or bus in front of the police station across the St. William’s Cathedral. Be there by 9:00 AM. Fare is 120 Pesos and travel time is 3 hours around the mountains with breathtaking views and deep ravines. Ordinary buses to Bontoc also pass by Tinglayan.

Activities Available :
1. Hike Sleeping Beauty (also called as Mt. Mating-oy Dinayao) –it’s an 8-hour hike to its summit according to a local guide I consulted.
2. Trek to Palan-ah falls and hotsprings.
3. Visit the local tattoo artists.
4. See the Chico River up-close. Please check with the tourism office and check weather forecast before taking the trail down. The trail is less than 20 minutes down at the back of the elementary school in Tinglayan.

More sights here : http://www.nscb.gov.ph/rucar/fnf_kalinga.htm

 Tinglayan Accommodations : 
1. Sleeping Beauty Inn – situated near the major road and also has nice views of Sleeping Beauty.
Rate : 200 Pesos; has a restaurant overlooking the Chico river and a store where you can buy groceries and souvenirs.

 2. Riverside Inn – 250 Pesos/Head, situated in Brgy. Lup Lupa. The accommodation is beside the Chico River. The jeep/bus to Tinglayan will pass by Brgy. Lup Lupa

3. Homestays – check with the local tourism office.

Guide : Francis Pa-In - +63 0915-769-0843 Rate is 800 Pesos/Day (1 PAX), for two, 500/head. The guide fee lessens per additional person.

Budget : Ideal budget depends on what you want to do but mine was just 2,500 Pesos for two nights. I decided to just walk around town and wade at the Chico River.

Other Helpful Reads : 
1. Kayumanggi Trails
2. Journeying James
3. Escape Islands
4. Lakwatsero
5. Eazy Traveler

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