Showing posts with label Philippines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philippines. Show all posts

 If there is one positive influence I have on Jan, it has got to be this.

L-R: Border peak, crater, Kidapawan peak

This is his second time to summit the Philippines' highest mountain. His first climb without me (yep, partially bummed because I couldn't go) and probably his worst hiking experience by far—with plans almost scrapped, major major delays, torrential downpour, and becoming a guide for the first time in an unfamiliar trail real quick because he's the only experienced mountaineer in the group. 
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For the first time in 486 years, we were finally able to do something fun outside our house.

We took a breather at Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort—probably the most expensive and most magastos one-night getaway we ever had. But it's definitely worth it (and bitin).

We went there last Mother's day (which was also just a few days after our second wedding anniversary). So for two days and one night, we were able experience the lifestyle of the rich. Plus, we get to do a lot of things for the first time!

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It's weekend and I still have a lot of incomplete tasks needed to be done at work but I'm still having a hangover from the holidays and I can hardly function. So before I totally ditch blogging about our year-end trip (like what I did to the other trips), I'll throw in a few snaps of our Siargao getaway.

Our first Christmas as married couple was spent in Siargao with family. Five days and two nights in paradise is definitely not enough, especially when were not able to cover everything the island has to offer. We spent a day or two tuck in bed when Typhoon Ursula came raging in. Still, it is one of the best islands I've been to.

Naked Island.

Of course, photos!
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Davao City — Ever thought of trading the hustle and bustle city life for a day or two of unplugging without having to go too far? There’s no bad time for a relaxing escape to the Tengoku Japanese House. Situated not too far away from Eden Nature Park, this charming two-bedroom Japanese-inspired house calls for guests to unplug, reconnect with nature, and rediscover peace and quiet.
The main house.
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This is a long overdue post. And since I convinced myself that I am busy, I never really got to post about the weekend that was well spent in Manila.

We only have a little more than 48 hours and it was Red's first time in the metro so we did all things toursity! Here's how we spent it:

Of course, obligatory pose na pang Instagram!

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Jan and I have been eyeing Dahilayan for a long time. But since we see transportation a potential problem (going to Bacolod or Cebu was easier), it always gets to the bottom of our must-visit list. But not until we had Bill.

Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon is by far our Jan's longest drive. Our road trip destinations are going farther and farther and I guess, sooner or later, we'll find ourselves driving to Camiguin, Dapitan or even as far as Visayas! Or not.
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I knew I should have just rolled this Gov. Gen. and Mati trip into one long blog post. I realized that after coming home late at night from a 2-leg road trip and waking up really early the next day for Easter Sunday service, I'm too drained to churn out something coherent.
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I don’t feel so good about myself, and I don’t think my body likes me much. The brain hasn't really been active at night but I'm still fazed how its idleness can still keep me awake at night. I haven't had enough sleep daily for the past month. This isn't new. And usually, when this happens, a quick beach getaway "fixes" everything.
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Right now, I am writing this blog 1076 kms from where I usually write while I try my very best to sum up my most relaxing vacay, yet. I love that we didn't have to wake up early in the morning and cram as many activities as we can to seize the day.

We have more than enough days to enjoy the island but I don't think I'm ready to leave just yet. Not when I know that a shitload of work is waiting for me.

I also worry my friends back home won't be able to recognize me anymore because I am ten times darker. But I would not have it any other way. I think I am born for the ocean. And if the kiss of the ocean breeze meant a sun-kissed skin, then the sun can have me anytime.
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Yesterday was our baby's string of many firsts.

First, we named our baby, Bill. I know Bill doesn't have anything to do with a car. Unlike others, I didn't name it after its color, it's performance, or whatever's under its hood. I could come up with Silver Bullet, Speed, Sasha (because it is grey haha), Lil Beasty, or even Sasuke because it almost sounds like the car brand. But I like Bill Parish from Meet Joe Black. It doesn't really have to have a significance and I don't need a reason to name it Bill. But Bill sounds good and that's good enough.

I know naming a car is not an uncommon practice. I think, if not all, almost every car owner does it and I think I know why. Mike Wazowski once said, "Once you name it, you start getting attached to it." Once you get attached to it, you take good care of it and I would like to believe that would make you a better driver.

Anyway, it was also yesterday when it had its first wash. Bill needs to look good because we had it blessed.

We also took bill on its first out of town trip. We went to Sarangani Province to celebrate my lola's birthday. But before that, we took it on a road trip.

And a rough one at that. I never really intended Bill to go through such an ordeal. I never expected the road to be unforgiving. Since it was a spur of the moment getaway, the lack of research has taken its toll on the car. But it survived the steep and rocky roads just to get us to this:

Kalon Barak Skyline Ridge

Kalon Barak Skyline Ridge

Kalon Barak Skyline Ridge

Kalon Barak Skyline Ridge

Kalon Barak Skyline Ridge

At least, it was all worthwhile.

Kalon Barak Skyline Ridge is 2,677 feet above sea level. It is located in Malungon, Sarangani Province. We didn't spend a lot of time there since we still have a party to attend to. But I would definitely say that sunrises and sunsets would be breathtaking here. And also, if you're lucky, you might chance upon a sea of clouds and I know that experience is going to be surreal. It's perfect for dates, picnics, and you can even set up camp there.

Kalon Barak Skyline Ridge

Kalon Barak Skyline Ridge

If you are going to travel there on a private transport, I suggest you only do it if you have an SUV or a 4x4 car. Because even if Bill was able to survive all that (Bill is an AUV by the way), I would never do something like that ever again. Naawa talaga ako sa car. That was its first off road experience and probably the last.

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Ilocos Norte is the farthest we've been to in the Philippines (maghintay ka lang Batanes). And like every eager first time visitor, we did almost everything touristy! But also like every thrill-seeking adventurer, we just had to do something that can turn on the rush.

Honestly, I could skip any other tourist attractions around Ilocos but not the sand dunes - the only known sand dunes in the Philippines. So despite being pressed for time (thanks to my friend, insomnia, for keeping me company at night and asleep by the day), we managed to find ways.

Our original plan was to go there before sunrise or before sunset so we can avoid the scorching heat of the sun. But since we scrapped all our plans out and did all things spontaneously, we went there after lunch. Midday. High noon. Beat that.

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I tried to be a regular blogger. Hence, the lame attempt to strike those blogger poses in the quaintest street I've ever been to: Calle Crisologo.

It wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be. So I thought it's a perfect time for photo ops while Jan and I wait for our tummies to go hungry again just after eating okoy and empanada. I'm not really the type who takes a lot of photos, let alone strike a pose. Like I always say, I don't have an ounce of talent for it. There were even times when Jan would ask me, "dili ka magpicture?" (are you not going to take pictures). Sometimes I would. Most of the time I wouldn't. But then I realize I need to breathe life into my Instagram account, my Facebook page, and this blog. Simply put, I just want to have an interesting online presence.

Jan is so supportive about this hooey and has been patiently taking my photos no matter how awkward and annoying it gets. He shows willingness to be one of them - you know, Instagram boyfriends - just so I can master the art of striking those blogger poses which isn't really beneficial to my life, his life, or to anyone's life. But for the love of blogging, social media, and let's just say, art... here goes...

And oh, please excuse the newbieness. 
Where na u? Dito na me. Sent via pigeon.
The street looks more dramatic when it rains.
This is how you take "buwis-buhay" photos in the past. Make it quick or you'll be run over by the calesa.
I love this guy.
Old meets the new
Charming. :)
I think I have this thing for doors.
Calle Crisologo at sundown.
So how did we do?

Weapon of Choice (as if I have a choice haha): Nikon Coolpix s7000 Point and Shoot Camera

Ilocandia Trip:
Pagudpud Tour
Burgos Tour
Vigan Tour
4x4 and Sandboarding Experience
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After enjoying the top tourist attractions in Pagudpud, we had our lunch at past 1:00 in the afternoon and headed to Burgos for our South Tour.

If you are going for a DIY tour, the best way to get around Ilocos is to ride a tricycle. You may opt for a cheaper alternative which is riding a bus albeit waiting for the next bus will just eat all your time up.

Once you get off from the bus, tricycles are just everywhere. They offer South (Burgos) and North (Pagudpud) tours at a standard rate. Each tour costs Php 600 (max of 3 pax per tricycle) and you will be taken to the following places:
South Tour (Burgos) North Tour (Pagudpud)
-Cape Bojeador Light House
-Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
-Bangui Windmills
-Kabigan Falls
-Bantay Abot Cave
-Patapat Viaduct
-Blue Lagoon Beach
Tricycles in Ilocos are quite small. So it is best to only have two people in one tricycle if you want to travel comfortably. You can do both South and North Tours in one day.

You may also want to read: DIY Pagudpud Tour
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Before we landed in Laoag City, we HAD a planned itinerary. The weather forecast app warned us about heavy rains and scattered thunderstorms. So we had it all planned out. Let's do Plan A. If weather does not permit us, we'll do Plan B. But traveling does not always work that way. However convenient traveling from Davao to Ilocos by plane is, still got our energies drained. It was raining when we got there. So we just decided to sleep for the rest of the day, scrap all our plans out, and do what we do best: go traveling spontaneously.
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One of the reasons why I was so excited about this trip is because I would finally be reintroducing myself to my roots.

I am an Ilocano. Both my parents and most of my relatives from both sides are Ilocanos. But since I was raised in Davao, I never really got to know my roots. The only evident thing that would give away the Ilocano in me would be my skin and my love for gulay, suka, and bagoong.

When we booked this trip, I thought my Ilocano speaking skills would give me the upper hand to act like a local and haggle for prices and avoid being taken advantage of as a tourist. Alas, my accent just doesn't cut it and I sound so hilaw. Haha

Anyway, this post will not have a lot of details about the trip, but rather a summary of our adventures and mishaps. But don't worry guys, I'll also be sharing with you our DIY Itinerary. So please stay tuned for that. But for now, here's how our Ilocandia Trip went:
Calle Crisiologo

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Just when I thought there won't be any travels for me in the next two months, the curse month really has its way of telling me that things will never go my way because I just found myself traveling to the easternmost point of the Philippines only to have my breath be taken away by this gorgeous sunrise.

Sunrise at Pusan Point

I've known Pusan Point when it became the venue for people to gather and catch the first sunrise of the new millennium. And until this very day, people still go there to be the very first one to catch a glimpse of the sunrise.
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I think scaling mountains on our anniversary is an unspoken thing. It's never in our intention to hike every anniversary, but it happens all the time.

I guess, part of it is the need to pause from climbing the corporate ladder and have a breather. Another part is simply because we have always been in constant search for adventure and we love doing offbeat things together.

So for our third anniversary, Jan and I conquered El Nido's highest, the Taraw Cliff.

Taraw Cliff, El Nido

I would say we are truly blessed that we don't have to go too far to experience one of the world's greatest wonders. I am so grateful to have experienced El Nido first hand (and with the one I love). And to see such magnificence from a bird's eye view made us so alive. However, getting there is quite an ordeal (as what I've heard from a first-time climber).
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I wonder how many pieces of my heart have I got left because I keep on leaving them everywhere I go.

This time, I left my heart in El Nido.

El Nido, Palawan

El Nido wasn't really part of our travel plans this year. Yes, we've always wanted to go to El Nido but not anytime soon. I guess, luck was on our side and the impulse to explore something new was so strong, we unexpectedly made El Nido happen, not to mention sooner than expected.
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Whew! That's a long title. But not as long as the road that we took just to get to this paradise.
Island Garden in Pangubatan Samal

Situated more than 40kms away from Babak, Samal, the Island Garden Resort in Pangubatan is not known to many (at least for me). I've never heard about this resort until Jan's office mates decided to have their quarterly event here. But for some reason, the event didn't push through - which could only mean, Jan and I ended up having the whole weekend all to ourselves!
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Hanggang saan aabot ang bente pesos mo?

Sa Mt. Capistrano po.

Standing just around 600+ mASL, Mt. Capistrano has become a favorite hiking destination for newbies and seasoned hikers alike.

The unique rock formations at the summit urged me to climb this mountain even though I was advised not to do any hikes until my knee is fully healed. But then, you're talking to Sarah. When has Sarah ever listened? #WagGayahin

We originally planned to hike at 6AM. But since we wanted to catch the sunrise and be able to go to other places in Bukidnon, we decided to start trekking at 4AM (even without headlamps). Thankfully, our phones can also function as flashlights - which we were actually very reluctant to use just so we can still have enough battery to take photos with it when we reach the summit. Haha. Again #WagGayahin.

The trek starts with a cemented stairs, which will lead to steeper trails with ropes to assist the hiker. The hike was actually pretty easy. Although, I would imagine it to be difficult when it gets muddy during rainy days. And even more so that we didn't even wear proper hiking outfits.
We didn't have pictures during the ascent since it was still dark. Most of our pictures were taken during the descent.

You will know you are nearing summit when rock formations begin to appear.

We made it to the summit after an hour and a half of trekking. We were the first ones to reach the summit. So we really got to enjoy the mountain all to ourselves. We had a plenty of time to rest before the sun came out showing us the majestic mountain ranges that surround us. It was beautiful and breathtaking.

The only ugly thing about Mt. Capistrano is the vandalism. Since it is only a leisure hike and entrance fee is really low (Php 20), it's no surprise that anyone - even those who are not aware of the principles of Leave No Trace - can climb there and do whatever the hell they want. I hope the LGU does something about this before it's too late. Require all hikers to have an orientation first before the climb, perhaps? But I do appreciate their efforts in keeping it clean as a clean-up drive was happening when we were there.
Vandalism at the rocks behind me :(
Anyway, despite that, we still enjoyed the beauty Mt. Capistrano offered. Since we got there about an hour earlier than the others, we took the liberty to take photos while the summit is not yet jam-packed with people. We ate our breakfasts, had little socials, and decided to go down when people started to flock and get loud.

With Mark (his first climb) and Ismael

How do I actually go across the other rock without falling? Natakot. Kaya nagselfie na lang.
Of course, an obligatory couple shot. Haha
We almost got lost on our way down since we couldn't recognize or should I say, we haven't actually seen the trail we have passed through going up. One trail leads to our jump-off point and the other leads to another barangay. Good thing there were mountain rangers who pointed us the right way when we already started going down the wrong trail. I wonder saan kami pupulutin after kung nagpatuloy kami.

The descent was supposed to be easy but my knee was killing me. It took us a little more than an hour to descend not because I was slowing down but because there was already an influx of people going up and the trails are really narrow. Di na kami nilubayan ng traffic. Pati sa bundok meron din po.

A view of the rice fields will make you stop and get awed with it from time to time.

Nevertheless, it was a great hike. Even though it didn't start out well (I'll never do another night trek without headlamp ever again) and did not end really well (the knee was hurting so badly), it feels great knowing I have influenced another person to start and keep hiking the mountains. We definitely had a good time.

Mt. Capistrano, located at Malaybalay, Bukidnon, is an easy hike. It's just a short trek with little technical features in between assaults. It's a good starter mountain for newbies and a perfect hiking destination for those want to train regularly for the next major hike. I wish Davao had something the same (as if I can still do another hike). Geez, my knee is already pleading mercy. So I might take a 2 or 3-month long hiatus or even more before I conquer another mountain. This time, I will strictly enforce this to myself kasi baka tuluyan na akong malumpo.

Side trip at Over View Bukidnon
DavaoeƱo pride.

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