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Showing posts from August, 2013

Guest Post : Take to the Seas this Summer

If you fancy a holiday that's a little bit different, why not try a cruise holiday this summer? Rather than sticking to one hotel and staying in the same resort for the duration of your holiday, a cruise offers a fantastic opportunity to explore many different  destinations without lifting a finger to get there.
For instance, you could set sail from Southampton and embark on a tour of some of the Med's most beautiful locations, such as the beautiful Balearic Islands and the sunny coast of Spain. Take a flying visit of Gibraltar, explore Portugal's historic city of Lisbon and take in the sights and sounds of friendly Malta.
If you've been there and done that, don't worry. Cruise holidays certainly don't start and finish with the Mediterranean - far from it! Why not discover other parts of Europe by river, and sail along the Danube from Budapest or discover the wine regions 
of Bordeaux? You could experience the magnificent Northern Lights by touring the Norwegian F…

Of Falls & True Friends

Strapped helplessly on a harness being lowered with a pulley in  a 20 feet steel cage, I let out bouts of panicky high-pitched screams. I didn't care that I'm 31 and with muscles  on the wrong places that makes me look that I wouldn't bat an eyelash if a knife was pointed at my throat,  I felt extremely afraid. My heart revolted against my chest and in seconds, my shirt was drenched with sweat. I was about to cry but the supposedly mature side of my head took over and I found myself, releasing several more piercing screams instead. 
A few meters above me, I hear the sound of sheer enjoyment that came from friends who were fully aware that I suffer from acrophobia. 

My dear old,  "trust them with my life" kind of hiker friends who told me we were just going on a relaxing road trip and a visit to Pagsanjan Falls, which in my mind, (since I've never gone there), involved lazing on a boat and taking tons of landscape shots and group pictures. 

I managed to calm down…

Hiking Mt. Amuyao, Mountain Province

Located in the cold region of the Cordilleras, up northern Philippines, where striking views of rice and vegetable terraces are abundant is Mt. Amuyao. At a height of 2,702 MASL, it is the country's 10th highest peak.  
However, it's not the altitude that drew me and several friends to this mountain but the prospect of witnessing its sheer beauty and most importantly, spend time with good old hiking buddies, one, was temporarily leaving the country to chase the greener pastures in the Middle East. 

We left Manila by taking the 8:30 PM Cable Tours bus that took us directly to Bontoc after 13 slow hours on the road. 
In Bontoc, we were joined by another friend, Roland, a resident of Bontoc. After taking an early lunch, we took the 1:00 PM jeepney to Barlig. It was a two hour ride, passing over a mix of rough and smooth roads  which made sleeping a little challenging. 
By 3:00 PM, we reached the town of Barlig.  As August 9 was a public holiday, there was no one at the office. The lo…

Antipolo : Pinto Art Museum

My interest with paintings, particularly realist styles, started when I was younger, but it's a skill that has eluded me.  I couldn't draw, let alone use a paint brush (except to grill hotdogs :P) even if a kiss from Cristiano Ronaldo was at stake. 

Thank God for galleries and museums that allow me to ogle at art! 

Its halls are enormous and very ideal for huge groups. We were told that they also accept pre-nup pictorials and event reservations. 

My friends and I bounced lively around the place, appreciating practically every detail about the place from the paintings on the walls to its bathroom doors.  I was especially enamored with one of their staff (and I'm sorry I forgot his name) who toured us around the place and identified all the plants and trees I asked about. If I'm not mistaken, he's their resident botanist or a landscape architect, perhaps a part owner? I wasn't paying attention when the topic came up because I was staring at an Alibagbag tree with f…

Mt. Natib Day Hike Traverse

Over the weekend, I reunited with hiker friendsGideon,Ivan Lakwatsero, Arisse and Arvin for my first ever ascent up Mt. Natib in Bataan.  We boarded the 1:30 AM bus from Genesis terminal along EDSA-Cubao and arrived at the waiting shed in Orani after 2.5 hours.
Since we came too early, we were picked up by a hired tricycle driver (60 Pesos/head, 5 people in one trike).  Cold air blasted everywhere as we took the 30-minute uphill trike ride to Barangay Tala.
 After meeting with our guide Wilnor, and registering (30 Pesos/head) at the barangay hall, we started hiking at 5:08 AM. It was a little dark but we didn't need headlamps, dawn was about to break in a few minutes.
The trail started off in a rocky wide road where trees where abundant on the left side and birds gleefully chirping away, obscured by thick foliage.  As weather has not been good the past couple of days around Manila and  several provinces, we were only too glad that the sky was clear. As the sun rose from the sky, we…

Post Race Dispatch : Teva Trail Challenge 2013 + Race Results

The Teva Trail Challenge held last July 28, 2013 at Eartheaven in San Mateo, Rizal was by far, the muddiest, technically challenging but most fun non-ultra race course I've ever joined.
In this promotional outdoor activity by the friendly folks at Teva, an outdoor footwear brand,  participants had to run on slippery, steep terrain and pass through several obstacle courses.
I joined the 10K division as part of the bloggers team, reuniting with blogger friends Dom, CJ & Dhenz, even met a couple of smiley new ones too, Louie, Cheryl  and Thirdy.
First part was a kilometer of road which towards the end of the stretch revealed views of Makati, Ortigas and Pasig. 

Then came the muddy trails where several ropes were installed to protect the runners. I felt bad for those who came in road running shoes, the trail was too slippery for them. The route became a little congested too on some parts as it was obvious that some of those who joined have never been in a forest trail and had diffic…