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, June 27, 2013

Boracay Adventure : Cliff Diving (or not) at Ariel's Point

Summoning every ounce of inner peace, I courageously stood at the edge of a sturdy wooden plank preparing to jump off an 8 meter cliff. The view from where I stood was gorgeous.  To my left was the lush foliage of the islands of Antique, and below me, the vast, dark blue waters  of  Sulu sea beckoned.  

My gutsy friend preparing for her jump.

The  beautiful views however, couldn't stop the nerves that viciously jolted my system.  I glanced below, a guide just gave me the go signal to jump with his thumbs up. Logic fought with against my fun and foolish side.  What am I doing? 

Known as Ariel's Point, the   popular cliff diving spot can be reached by a 30-45 minute boat ride from station 1 in  Boracay island.  My friend and I booked a cliff diving package  at the Boracay Beach Club office the day we arrived and paid 1,600 Pesos each. The fee for the half day adventure covered  entrance fees, unlimited drinks, snacks, barbecue buffet, life vest, guides  and the  round trip boat ride to Buruanga.  

Visitors can ejoy a relaxing afternoon under the shade of cute umbrellas.
I saw my friend poising to jump on the 5 meter platform. After she received an ok sign from the guides below, I saw her drew in a quick breath and jumped before I found the courage to go off the cliff.  She emerged from underwater a few seconds later. She's alive!

While I was still trying to talk myself into just jumping in, more and more people went ahead of me.  Some, even performed stunts from the highest diving board, a 15 meter drop.  Each one got back up in one piece though some of them did complain feeling some pains on their lower extremities upon hitting the water, but they were smiling nevertheless. 

Near the diving platforms are verandas where you can watch
courageous people jumping off cliffs., definitely not something  you see everyday in the city :P
The serious, boring side of me prevailed. I don't have to do this. I can't just jump from a cliff for fun. I have survived far more challenging things than this.  I retreated. My friend suggested that I jump at a lower point as there were diving boards  3 and 5 meters high but I was too stubborn since I had jumped at a higher cliff in Quezon before. It was 8 meters or nothing. While it's s not exactly the type of travel experience I can be proud of, I  was happy to have made a firm decision  that I don't regret because I made the most of my time  anyway .

Apart from cliff diving, there are other things to do at Ariel's Point. A marine sanctuary is accessible from the boat's docking area and when the waves are kind, one can also do some kayaking. Snorkeling gears and kayaks are also provided at no extra cost. 

Filling barbeque lunch buffet. There's plenty for everyone! :)

When my head stopped throbbing from overthinking,   I retreated back to our table, shaded by an enormous umbrella to enjoy some snacks prepared by the crew. For the next two hours, I remained glued to that chair, enjoying the breeze, the hip music that blared from the speakers and the relaxing vibe that encircled the place, watching people laugh and dance until it was time to head back to another part of paradise. 

The enjoyable boat ride back to Boracay. You can sit at the roof of the boat for a way more
awesome view! :)
For more information on cliff diving at Ariel's Point, check out their website. It's got all the information you'll need. :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lazada : Convenient Shopping Haven for People on the Go

As most of my free time’s filled with food and hiking trips, the willpower to hop to the nearest shopping mall for what I need often eludes me.  

I’ve had great experience buying from other online sites so I find myself visiting a couple of those every now and then for convenience sake.  But I don’t just buy from any site, I only purchase from those  with awesome referrals from people I trust. One of those, which a male colleague has developed a fanatical appreciation on is Lazada, a Philippine online shopping mall.  A busy working dad turned energetic shopper, now that's something! 


I can see why he's so amused with it. Their site doesn’t require a lot of brain cells to navigate. Most of the information you require can be found on the upper portion and several other FAQ’s on the lower left part of the home page.  Apart from the distracting BDO Installment scheme on the right side, the site is clean and pretty straightforward. 

On the left portion, you will find 14 product categories including Lazada High Street which contains featured products to give you some shopping ideas. I often find myself browsing the Women’s clothes and Women's shoes section, however, the most interesting for me at the moment is the travel & luggage category . I've got my eye on this National Geographic pouch where I can put my camera and other accessories. It's shabby chic. Look what I found! :)


I adore the design inside. It's so simple. :)



Scoring good finds is only a click away with a variety of payment schemes available. You can pay cash on delivery, via Visa or Mastercard or pay installment through  BDO credit card with a minimum purchase of 3,000 Pesos. 

Below’s several other helpful information about Lazada straight off their website.

Delivery 
For orders within Metro Manila, we deliver within 5 business days upon finalizing the full payment. For orders outside Metro Manila, we deliver within 5-10 business days.

Shipping Rates 
Lazada offers FREE shipping nationwide within the Philippines for orders Php 1,000 and above. Lazada is commited to offering low shipping rates for orders below Php 1,000:
Metro Manila – Php 55
Outside Metro Manila – Php 99

Return
You have up to 7 days from the receipt of your package to process a return at your own costs. Just fill in the return form, send the item back in its original packaging, and we'll be more than happy to process your return.

For more about Lazada, watch this feature from Thumbs Up featuring their gorgeous founders. :) 



Lazada
To begin shopping, visit their website here
To receive quick updates, like their Facebook Page : Lazada Philippines

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Free Airfare Promo from the New Tiger Airways Philippines!

I'm helping a sassy friend spread some exciting news that will ignite the wanderer in you! :) 


To those who have been avidly booking their flights online, you might have noticed that the Sea Air website, www.flyseair.com has a note on the left part of the screen that asks you to go to the Tiger Airways website for bookings on May 20 onward, even their Facebook page  now has the logo Tiger Airways all over it. While, I don't have insider information on what transpired between these two carriers, what I can share with you is the fun stuff. :) 

Known as the leading and most trusted value-for-money carrier in Southeast Asia, Tiger Airways Philippines will make its formal debut in the skies beginning July 10. 

And what better way to kick off  this news with a free airfare promo?! 

Filipino flyers get a chance to fly to their favorite destinations (local or international) for FREE as part of the launching of Tiger Airways Philippines.  

“We at Tiger Airways Philippines embrace the simple belief that travel is about bringing people closer to their desires and experiences.  One way of making air travel more accessible is through offerings such as the free fare promo,” says Olive Ramos, President and CEO of Tiger Airways Philippines. 

Flights booked on www. www.tigerairways.com from June 1 until June 30, 2013 and with travel dates from July 1 to September 30, 2013 can be availed with for free. 

Like a thief in the night, the promo  is made available at varying times during the day from June 1-30 for a duration of two hours only. Subscribe to their FB Page to get this information quickly. Decisive travelers with fast fingers get free flights. :) 

Among the destinations that Tiger Airways Philippines flies to are Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and local destinations such as Clark, Laoag, Bacolod, Kalibo, Cebu, Iloilo, Tacloban, and Puerto Princesa. It has also increased its flight frequency between Manila and Bacolod, and Cebu and Kalibo. A Singapore to Kalibo route will also be launched on July 18, making the carrier the only one to directly fly this route. 

“Travellers now have more freedom to choose an airline that is safe, reliable and seamless.  We are offering this free fare promo for everyone to get a chance to experience the joy of finding a travel partner that understands their needs and truly cares for them.” Ramos adds. 

Tiger Airways Philippines carries a distinguished regional brand that gives importance to safety and reliability, while offering the best value fare to travellers.  The airline operates Airbus A320 and A319, with wider leg rooms to give added comfort to its passengers.  

For more details, log on to www.tigerairways.com or like them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/flyseair. 

Disclaimer : 
I am just helping spread the word. For any feedback/questions/complaints about Tiger Airways, please course it through the proper channels. :) Their FB Page is at https://www.facebook.com/flyseair/.







Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mt. Hibok-Hibok Day Hike Traverse

Mt. Hibok-Hiboks unclimbed peaks
I was high with excitement as we began our hike to the summit of Mt. Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano  in the province of Camiguin in Northern Mindanao. It is one of the island's 7 volcanoes  and the most popular, frequented by both local and foreign hikers.  It's trails are known to be steep and thick with vegetation, a challenging yet rewarding hike with views of nearby islands and provinces. 

Accompanied by friends Ed of Eazy Traveler, Sharon (a doctor who was hiking a mountain for the first time in her life!), artists Rosa and Tupe, a German guy and our funny guide Ronald, we entered the mountain at 5:30 AM via the trail in Barangay Yumbing. It is the longer but more forgiving trail in terms of ascents. We started on an concrete, uphill road providing us a great warm-up.


We saw a lot of Medinilla Pendula growing around the mountain, a flowering shrub endemic to the Philippines
Being a tree lover, vibrant shades of green kept my eyes glued towards the trees. Occasionally, we would see interesting flowers along the way. After 4.5 hours of breathing heavily on the sharp ascents, we reached the crater lake. Fog quickly covered the peaks and the enormous deserted grassland brought out the kid in us. It felt as though we were alone in  a lost world. 

As it was still summer, the lake is murky and not swimmable. Photo from Edgar .
We happily munched on sweet and juicy ferns that grew on the sides of the trail which our guide pointed out to us. On the grass, we took a long break, snacking and laughing as we let fatigue subside.


After an hour of resuming our hike, we reached the peak where we saw the crater lake like a big hole emerging from the ground.  Then fog settled in again covering the view.
Foggy summit. Photo from Edgar Yap.
For some reason, seeing the crater lake from the peak felt very rewarding. 
The hike down was still quite steep on most parts while on some sections, we had to step over sharp rocks, which is a typical terrain of a volcano. Despite the challenging portions, I was just grateful that the trees shielded us from the sun. It would have been a grimmer story had the sun shined  heavily down on us.  


By 5:14 PM, Sharon and I, along with our patient guide Ronald arrived at Ardent Hot Springs. Most of the people in our group went ahead to catch up on other things while ever reliable Edgar had buttered chicken and soup waiting for us when we arrived at the restaurant. :P

Hiking Notes :
Mt. Hibok-Hibok is in Mambajao, Camiguin. From Manila, take a flight to Cagayan de Oro (costs around 4K, regular fare). From CDO, travel 30-45 minutes via taxi (250 Pesos) or 2 jeepney rides (about 25 Pesos in all) to Agora Bus Terminal, then take a 2 hour bus to Balingoan Pier (143 Pesos, aircon). From Balingoan, there are ferry trips throughout the day to Camiguin (170 Pesos).  From Camiguin, you need to take a habal-habal or ride a motorela to your chosen jump-off. You can also start via the trail at the back of Ardent Hot Spring which is recommended for those who have issues with their knees. Do consult with Ronald, he's knowledgeable. :) 

If you want to avoid sea travel, you can take a flight from Manila to Cebu, then Cebu to Camiguin via Cebu Pacific. More Camiguin Travel info. can be found via PinaySoloBackpacker

On an average hiking pace, the Yumbing-Ardent Spring day hike traverse  would take 6-8 hours. Bring ample trail water (at least 1.5 Liters, more if you drink a lot) and packed lunch.  Maybe I just missed it but I don't remember a water source along the way. You also need to register at the DENR and pay a fee of 200/head.  

For guideship, contact Ronald Rabile at  +63(0910) 659-3349 - (he's the same guy who  accompanied other blogger friends - Jules of RunningMistress and Gideon of PinoyMountaineer, where you can find a hiking itinerary to Mt. Hibok-Hibok).



Post Run Dispatch : Ayala Land's Explorac Trail Run


Sun was just beginning to appear from the sky as the gun went off for the 11KM division. As my friends and I stood in the middle, squeezed in the midst of an enormous crowd, we had a very relaxing start and just walked the first few feet away from the starting line.  

I was feeling lethargic and wasn't in the mood to sweat the morning off.  None of us managed to get a decent sleep as we rushed for the media shuttle that departed at 1:30 AM from Manila and got to Pampanga in about two hours. 

Sleepy but excited. Taken before gun start with fellow bloggers Darwin (TrackingTreasure.net),
Nel (Pasahera.com) and colleague Don. :P 
When I finally felt like running, I didn't stop until I got to kilometer 5. The scenery got so interesting, I had to stop for souvenir shots and lavish the view of mountains and enormous trees along the way.

One of the challenging parts of the trail was going up this rocky ravine.
 It  was scary!
The route passed a community of our Aeta bros and sis. I heard them giggling as we approached their area.
I looked up happily and waved back. Seeing how excited we were to see them,
they went down from a hill and had photos taken with us.  It was the sweetest thing.  :)
Unlike the first kilometers which was through a flat and sandy trail, the farther part of the route led us under the SCTEX bridge, an Aeta community,  small waterfalls and several sections where we had to dip our shoes in mud and water. 



With the nice combination of flat and hilly terrain accompanied with awesome nature views,  this has got to be one of my favorite race routes to date. :) I crossed the finish line in under two hours which is an average time, but still, I was just happy to have finished the entire thing. :)

Congratulations to all the participants, race organizers and sponsors. Special thanks to KC Aguila from the PR of Primer Group of Companies for the invite. 

Oh and if you're interested to join running events, just check out the organized races at takbo.ph


"This event is presented by Ayala Land which is about to develop a 1,000-hectare residential area complete with recreational facilities, leisure park as well as schools, industries and golf courses within Porac." (Info. courtesy of JazzRunner) It is hosted by R.O.X. and is part of their vision to allow individuals to choose their own adventure and go for it. 

EXPLORAC would not have been made possible if not for sponsors such as Primer Group of Companies, The North Face, Gatorade, AXN, Nathan, Sea to Summit, Black Diamond, Dispatch, and Center for Outdoor Recreation and Expedition.

R.O.X. is owned and operated by the Primer Group of Companies, Asia's next retail giant.


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