Mt. Batolusong

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The desire to see the slopes and grassland over a mountain peak started when I first tried hiking. The grit and grandeur of far-flung wilds intimidated my innerself to question the wonders that lies beyond the concrete jungle we’re living in. It hurts to know that it became an enigmatic wall that separates us to the indefinite beauty of our physical world. From then on, I told myself that I’d have to visit more of these places.

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Lucky enough, our co-worker Mina agreed to hitch us on their family’s trip to Mt. Batolusong in celebration of her sister’s birthday (Happy Birthday ate Cindy!).

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It was actually a group hike managed by Laagan Backpackers (if you want, you can visit their group page for schedules. I heard that they always have climbs on Wednesday’s), Mina’s family are also joiners here. Overall, we were around 30 pax, I think?

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It was my first time to join a group hike and I’m glad I did because I learned that traveling with other people, strangers or not, makes a journey more interesting and lively, plus you also learn a lot from them, like how salt could prevent muscle cramps when placed under the toungue, and all other stuff I honestly had no idea before.

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Trivia: Mt. Batolusong, located at San Andres, Tanay, Rizal, is just two hours away from Manila. It has a peak of 645 MASL and a level of 3/10 diffiulty. They say that this mountain is part of the Sierra Madre range. Cool.

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As we were briefed, our guide said that our destination was subdivided into two ridges: 1) Duhatan and 2) Mapatag.

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The ascent to Duhatan, despite man-made route, was quite difficult because we had to pass through shallow terrains, rocky streams and slippery mud. I had to keep reminding myself to look at my steps instead of the greenery.

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Thankfully, There were people around who assited us all through out the trek. Also, the bamboos were useful when it became a bit challenging to walk.

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Since we started early, we had the chance to witness the sea of clouds when we reached Duhatan. It was so mesmerizing I had to stop and just stare at it, wishing that somehow I could just jump off and live with the clouds. I wanted to be part of it.

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Mapatag, for me, was more friendly to hikers, there were a lot of talahibs and other shrubs here covering area and the wind is strong enough to create a relaxing sound.

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Finally, when we reached the summit, it felt like all our hardships had paid off, the view on top was magnificent and irreplaceable (so with the memories).

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On other note, I loved the grassy trail going to Kay-ibon Falls (Yes! We had a side trip guys). What’s more refreshing than taking a dip into a cold water after a tiring climb?

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I had visions here that one day when I grow old, I’m going to set out  a camp and live my aging life on a farm, staring at the sky all day long.

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Tips: There are several side trips here which includes: Kay-ibon Falls, Sangab Cave, and other trails eg. Susong Dalaga. If you have more time and stamina, you may also want visit them. They’re all wonderful!

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It was satisfying yet the feeling of isolation and complexity still lingers as to what lies above the hidden vicinity that reaches above the sky. The very reason why the horizon remains a mystery to my bewildered heart. Still, everything else becomes complicated and beautiful.

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As we packed up, I remember vividly the untold stories of sunrises, the secret energies of trees, the melodious choir of birds and crickets, the vast museum of the wild which again, regains familiarity to the most beautiful part of ourselves, however lost and concealed within, always, always comes back to life.

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Palaui Island

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The thing about going home after several months of working away is that you can finally slouch on a couch, stretch your arms wide open and distress all the toxic vibes that can potentially manipulate your spirit to dive in a pool of negativity.

Okay. Breath.

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Fortunately, my sister and her husband came home for vacation this June so we all got to bond together during my leave.

I really like it when everyone is present at home. It feels so comfortable. Even if everyone is really noisy and it’s crowded, and most of the time we’re fighting, it feels so normal, like one weird way of showing how we missed each other.

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A little information about Palaui: It is actually a group of islet strategically located between Pacific Ocean and South China Sea.  It’s verdant interior is filled with coconut trees, mangroves and rattan which makes it look like a jungle when seen at a distance. The beach is predominantly composed of fine and cream colored sand with clear to blue-green water. Furthermore, it became prominent in 1994 when it was declared as a National Marine Reserve, and in 2013, it was further popularized by the American reality TV show: Survivor.

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We started our trip at around 4 am in the morning (via private transport) and it took us around 6-8 hours to reach our destination. Note that this is depending on the speed and stop overs. Same time applies for those who wants to commute from Ilocos. As per research however, it takes about 12 hours of travel time if you’re coming from Manila.

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According to some friends, there are several home-stays around the area but when we reached the place, we only found one resort that was located at Anguib Beach.

Ps. Don’t even try to ask me why it was called: Anguib Beach Resort. lol.

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People said that the highlights of going to Palaui are as follows; Snorkeling, Island hopping, Trek to the falls, Sightseeing and Swimming.

As for the boat lease to reach the islands, there are several packages to choose from and rates vary depending on the destination.

Note: all prices are standardized here.

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As for us, since we were already at Anguib beach, we took the 3-island tour package comprising of; Cape Engaño, Crocodile Island and Punta Verde. This was worth Php. 3,500. You may also visit  pinaysolobackpacker to know more about the updated rentals.

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I would highly recommend that you visit Anguib Beach Resort and Cape Engaño. As for the rest, I think it was overrated and nothing was really interesting there.

Ps. This is just my personal opinion.. you may still venture for yourself because to see is to believe, right?

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Anguib Beach is blessed with tranquility. It has a long expanse of white sand bar which is visible during low tide (8AM-3PM) and becomes deep enough for swimming during high tide (3PM-8AM). It is also favored with calm water so it doesn’t really scare you to swim far.

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Ps. I also love that they have nets for volleyball here because I really enjoyed playing. Haha, hoping we’ll be ‘pro’ next time.

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There are four distinct lighthouses in Northern Luzon and one of which is Cape Engaño. Like the rest, it is mainly made of solar technology so it automatically operates on its own.

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It’s an easy trail going up to the lighthouse so you don’t have to worry. Our guide said that it takes about 229 steps to reach the place. Nevertheless, it’s all worth it because the hill offers a majestic view of the whole Palaui Island.

Note that you are required to hire a tour guide in this place. Rate: Php. 300/ 4 pax, additional 100 for every other more.

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Overall, the resort and other amenities may be a bit pricey but it doesn’t much disappoint. The thing is, we were able to unwind over this quick weekend getaway and  I was able to taste salt in my hair again!!! Haha. I don’t know but this will always bring me excitement and thrill. It  will always feel like home- love. love. everyone.

 

Winter Korea

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Traveling abroad was one of my dreams ever since I was a child so when my co-workers invited me to go to Korea with them, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Who doesn’t want to go to Korea, right? A country known for its cosmetic industry and Kpops – of course, I’ve always wanted to know more about its culture. Continue reading “Winter Korea”

Exploring the City, feat. Veniece Piazza, McKinley Hill

First time visitors are usually speechless in a new environment. At first glance it’s rather decadent. After a while it becomes just another place, just another business. That’s how it boiled down to me. The metropolis which I use to look up to when I was young became just another place, just another business.

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Continue reading “Exploring the City, feat. Veniece Piazza, McKinley Hill”

Contemplating on Ilocano’s

Ilocos will always be my favorite place, my home, my jungle of liberty: Everything that holds my strings together from past to present. So maybe if you ask me “Where’s the best place on Earth?”, the answer will always be ‘Ilocos! ‘. No. Not that I’m bias… Well friends, there is no better place than home.

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Continue reading “Contemplating on Ilocano’s”