A Single’s Journey to Family & Finance Conference 2017

I love going to seminars about biblical stewardship and financial management. Partly because yun ang naging course ko noong college, pero mas compelling reason din siguro na kailangan ko ng matinding motivation para maging mas matipid, masinop at enterprising. Kaya nga when I learned about CCF’s Family and Finance Conference on Facebook, I immediately clicked “interested”, without even checking the registration details. 🙂

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Yet when I was notified na malapit na yung event, and I learned that it will cost me P850-1k/tix (P1.5k-2k couple’s rate), medyo napaisip ako. I wanted to give it a go kaso I have bills waiting for me. Kailangan ko ulit I-spell ang P.R.I.O.R.I.T.I.E.S. Sa huli, I decided to give it up (pero narealize ko rin na I really need to learn how to manage my resources para sa mga susunod, hindi na mahirap mag-decide. Haha!).

Eh mabait si Lord. I read from Joei and Me’s Facebook page that she’s giving away free tickets for the event. I messaged her, and she told me to wait until 3pm for the announcement of winners. Since I seldom win in any kind of raffle draws, medyo chill lang. Until I received a personal message from Ms. Joei telling me that I won a pair of tickets! Wooh! Thanks for hosting the giveaway Ms. Joei! God bless you more! 🙂

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So ang medyo inalala ko na lang after ay since couple ticket and napanalunan ko, saying naman ang blessing kung mag-isa lang ako. Syempre meron na ako on top of my mind na iimbitahan, hehe. Kaso, hindi siya available (aww, sad). Then I thought, maybe a college friend? Time to catch up and apply the Pray-Care-Share lesson namin sa church. Kaso I didn’t get any response. Then pag-uwi ko, I realized, bakit hindi si mama? Siya na lang ang ide-date ko! Besides, tamang-tama rin ang seminar na ito as the CFO ng aming munting pamilya. So, ayun na. 🙂

Learning from the gurus

Yung first session pa lang, medyo mahirap na i-swallow. We were asked to conduct a personal financial health check by identifying what we own and what we owe. As an accounting major, at dahil nasa financial management din ang trabaho ko, medyo familiar naman na ako kahit paano sa mga financial concepts being discussed, pero iba ang kabog kapag sarili mong pera ang inaanalyze mo. Pero mas mahirap lalo kung wala ka naman talagang iaanalyze. Haha!

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Then came budgeting. Ang saya! I was encouraged to set financial goal, both for short term, medium term and long term. Ang daling maglista ng mga financial goals natin sa buhay – this age, dapat may ganito na… this age dapat meron na ako nito… this year ganito na dapat…. But setting goals is just the beginning of achieving such goals. It doesn’t end there. Malayong lakbayin pa!

While Joy Mendoza is speaking, alongside her husband Edric Mendoza, about her husband being so in love with spreadsheets, I uttered a silly prayer: Lord, help me to love spreadsheets too. I can’t believe na my whole career revolves around using spreadsheets and yet hindi ganun katindi ang pagmamahal ko dito. Hahaha!IMG_1145

Makailang ulit din tinanong kung ilan ang single sa crowd. Madami rin, considering that the event is a Family and Finance seminar. Magandang pagkakataon to learn the value of finances in the context of the family. The fact that most of the speakers did their talk as couple is something that I really appreciate. #RelationshipGoals indeed.

Ptr. Joby Soriano shared that 2/3 of couples fail to talk about money matters before they say ‘I Do’. No wonder why finances remain as the most argued concern for couples. Contentment is key, he emphasized. We are mere stewards, God is the owner, controller and provider of all things.

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After all the talk, I am convinced that there is really no great divide between the secular and the spiritual. Sabi nga ni Mr. Randell Tiongon, “the whole idea of investing emanates from you being a good steward” and in Proverbs 13:22a, which Mr. Tiongson emphasized as well, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children”.

 

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Syempre, Mama and I discussed about what we’ve learned from the conference. Medyo inexplain ko yung ilang concepts na hindi niya masyadong naintindihan, but nevertheless I am glad that like me, she’s encouraged to be more enterprising, to save and on top of that to be a good steward of God’s entrusted resources.

On my part naman, mamahalin ko na si MS Excel.

Tsaka parang rewarding din sigurong maging RFP 🙂

 

Balik-sigla, Marikina!

Bago pa man tuluyang alisin ang mga Christmas displays along the Animal Trail, at least ma-recognize ko man lang through my blog how I really appreciate our local government’s efforts na maibalik ang sigla ng Marikina. Medyo matagal na rin na huli kong na-enjoy ang paglalakad along Animal Trail – pre-Ondoy period pa. Pero pagkatapos ng delubyong hatid ni Ondoy, at ng mga sumunod na mga bagyong nagpaapaw sa Marikina River, naging matamlay ang Pasko ng mga Marikeño (I’m speaking in behalf of those na nasanay na sa mga barangay Christmas displays at sa masiglang tiangge along the river).  Pero sabi nga, comeback is real mah homies!

Eniwei, simulan na natin ang Tour-de-Filipinas!

Luzon:

Ilocos Region c/o Brgy. Kalumpangluzon-1

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Cordillera Administrative Region c/o Brgy. Marikina Heights

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Cagayan Valley c/o Brgy. Concepcion Uno

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Central Luzon c/o Brgy. Nangka

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South Luzon c/o Brgy. Tañongimg_0998

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Bicol Region c/o Brgy. Barangka

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Free eBook: Magplano Kahit Walang Planner

Download PDF here: magplano-kahit-walang-planner

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It’s the time of the year na naman para sa mga makukulay at magagandang mga planners and journals. Napakasarap kaya sa pakiramdam na may bago kang kwaderno na pupunuin mo ng mga ganap mo for the day, week and months. Para sa akin, at sa marami sa atin, wala nang mas exciting pa sa amoy ng isang bagong notebook, lalo na kung may mga inspiring quotes at discount coupons pa na nakaipit sa mga pahina nito. Ay meron pala, amoy ng bagong biling libro, pero ibang topic na yun. 🙂

Aminin mo, hindi porke’t may planner ka nang maganda ay may magandang plano ka na rin for the year that is to come. Marami nga sa atin, clueless talaga sa kung paano ba tatakbo ang taon e. At hindi rin basehan na may planner ka, every plan will fall into their perfect place. Ang totoo nga niyan, may mga taong inaabot lang ng tatlong buwan ang pagkahumaling sa kanilang planner, pagkatapos nun wala na. At the end of the day, It all depends upon YOU kung paano maisasakatuparan ang bawat planong isusulat mo sa planner mo.

Kaya’t may planner ka man o wala, pagtulungan nating i-maximize ang ating taon #NoteToSelf way.

Rock to Daranak

Matagal-tagal na rin mula nang huli kong long ride, at masasabi kong sobra kong na-miss! Sa sobrang na-miss ko nga, halos umuwi na akong lumpo. Ang sakit lang, bes. Bawing-bawi talaga ang matagal na hiatus.

So here’s my entry sa recent escapade ng tropa:

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Initially we’re planning to bike all the way to the Windmills of Pililia, Rizal. Medyo matindi-tindi ang sinapit ng mga kasama ko the last time they went there kaya medyo hesitant din kami na dun nga tumuloy lalo pa’t matagal-tagal kaming napahinga. So we pursued Tanay, Rizal instead. Along the way na lang namin napag-desisyunan na mag-Daranak.

Call time namin ay 5:30am pero kumain muna kami ng lugaw sa Riverpark. Kaya naman ang naging actual ride out namin ay naging 7am na halos.

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Smooth na smooth ang byahe, at maliwanag na rin. Walang babaan, wala ring inom-inom ng tubig! Para sa mga non-pro bikers kagaya namin, isang malaking feat na ang umabot sa Angono, Rizal para sa unang stopover para bumili ng inumin. Ang saya walang baong tubig. Hahaha!

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Sinalubong kami ng parade!

After a few minutes, padyak ulit! With occasional stops para maghabol ng hininga, uminom ng tubig at kumbinsihin ang sarili na nasa tamang katinuan pa ako sa kabila ng lahat ng ginagawa kong pagpapagod. Haha!

 

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Isa sa mga best part ng long rides namin sa Rizal ay ang mga luscious green na mga palayan. Yes, luscious talaga kasi ang sarap sarap pagmasdan. Kaya syempre, bike selfie taken from Morong rice fields! 🙂

Pagdating sa Morong town proper, sinalubong kami ng isang mahabang funeral march. Medyo matinding pagsingit-singit at pakikibaka sa mga nagbubuhol-buhol na sasakyan. The best part riding a bike is that you can always squeeze yourself into traffic jams!

Unti-unti nang tumitindi ang init, kumakalam na rin ang sikmura; on top of that, namamanhid na ang mga hita ko kakapadyak! Mabuti na lang talaga may province-feels dahil sa mga bigas na nakalatag sa mga gilid ng kalsada na winawalis-walis pa! Nakaka-relax! Ayun, kahit na G na G pa ang mga kasama ko, nakiusap na akong magpahinga muna sandali sa lilim ng mga puno c/o Baras, Rizal.

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Haha! Huli ka Henry!

After a few minutes, pagkakain ng Beng-Beng padyak kami ulit with the idea na wala nang 10kms nasa Tanay town proper na kami. My goodness, sobrang sakit na talaga ng mga binti at hita ko, pero ilang sandal na lang makakarating na kami ng Tanay… humihingi na talaga ako ng sorry sa katawan kong pinahihirapan ko nang sobra. Haha!

6Pampalubag-loob, sobrang naaliw lang ako sa overarching leaves ala UP on the way to Tanay, Rizal. Sobrang cool!

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Ilang ahon, hingal at pagdadalawang-isip na umuwi ang lumipas, finally nakakakita na kami ng signages leading us to Daranak Falls. Ayun, may destination na kaming pupuntahan. Thinking na malapit na lang na paghihirap ang kailangan naming suungin, medyo na-excite na kami. Pero sa mga signages na nakita ko, isa ito sa mga kinatutuwaan ko… wala lang, siguro kung malakas-lakas lang resistensya namin, baka kayanin namin padyakin hanggang Laguna hanggang sa dumilim.

We could opt to book a nearest hotel para makapagpahinga na rin at maituloy ang desire namin to bike up to Laguna. In that case, TravelBook.ph is a valuable tool para dyan. With just a few clicks, makakakuha ka na ng great deals sa mga nearest hotels, para nga naman tuloy-tuloy ang biking adventure! Or use the link on the sidebar kung need mo maghanap ng ibang hotels. Go lang, bes!

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Eto na nga, binagtas namin ang kalsadang magiging akala namin magiging friendly sa amin. We just thought na kahit paunti-unti lang, maaabot na namin ang inaasam-asam naming rest sa Daranak in a few minute ride. Pero puputok na lang ang mga paa namin at dadanak ang dugo kakapadyak, kakatulak sa mga ahon, dagdagan mo pa ng gutom at galit na galit na sikat ng araw, di pa namin natatanaw ni katiting na tubig ng Daranak. ayun sumuko na lang kami. Napatawag kami ng tricycle para i-rescue kami. At pinagdudahan pa namin na overcharged masyado ang singil sa amin, pero along the way sooooobrang layo pa pala talaga, at puro ahon pa! Good decision. As in. We were charged 50php each, kasama na ng bike. Oohh, the beauty and benefit of a folding bike.

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Yun na, nakarating rin kami sa Daranak Falls! Gutom na gutom na kami kaya after magparada ng mga bikes, for 20php each bike, hanap kami agad ng makakainan. Bago ka pumasok ng entrance, may mga nagtitinda ng mga noodles, inihaw na liempo, tilapia, mga de lata etc. We bought inihaw na tilapia for 150php each, malaki siya and good for 3-4 persons na and additional rice for 10php each. Ok na rin para sa mga gutom at pagod na kagaya namin. We could have added more sa pagkain kaso medyo limited lang ang budget namin. Salamat talaga kay Kuya Benjie. Haha!

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Daranak Falls is a haven for nature lovers. Marami-rami rin ang mga bikers and motorcycle riders na dumadayo dito. Bukod sa Falls na talaga namang nakaka-fall in love, may Calinawan Cave pa na pwedeng pasukin. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get through the cave. Masyado kasi kaming na-fall sa paliligo sa falls.

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11The entrance fee is at 50php each. Open din for photoshoots and prenuptials for 1500php. No pets and alcoholic beverages allowed. May mga picnic sheds din na pwedeng rentahan for 300php and picnic tables for 200php each.

21After considerable time na makapagpahinga, talo-talo na!

“Sa sobrang ganda mo, hindi ko maiwasang hindi ma-fall sayo”

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“Gusto sanang mahulog sayo, kaso natatakot akong baka wala kang intensyong saluhin ako”

Joke lang, di lang ako marunong lumangoy.

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“Falls alarm! Akala ko ok tayo, ang lamig po pala. Awts”

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Nag-decide kaming itigil na ang kasiyahan bandang 4pm at mag-asikaso na pauwi. Akala ko nung una, since ayaw ko sa malamig [na tubig], hindi ko masyadong magugustuhan, pero iba rin kapag nahulog ka na. Haha!

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Ayun, bye Daranak!

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Ordeal pa rin ang pag-uwi pero the best part ay kung saan kami idinaan ng tricycle paakyat, siya rin ang dinaanan ng mga bike namin pababa. Heavenlies! Sobrang saya ng ilang kilometrong downhill! 🙂

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Pero kahit gaano pa kasaya ang lahat, kailangan pa rin naming harapin ang katotohanang gumagabi na at kailangan nang makauwi agad sa aming mga mahal sa buhay dahil may church service pa kinabukasan. Bukod pa dun, halos wala na rin kaming energy. Nagdecide na kami ni Henry na mag-bimodal pero si Kuya Benjie nag-insist na pumadyak pa ulit pauwi through Teresa, Rizal. So we parted ways. I arrived home ng mga 8:30pm.

At ang kinabukasan ay napuno ng limping and agonizing pain sa paglalakad. Para na rin akong nabugbog sa pagod at sakit ng hita, binti at tuhod.

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Until next time! At mukhang marami-rami pang pwedeng mapuntahan sa Tanay, Rizal. 🙂

Art-preciation at Pinto Art Museum

Since I first read about Pinto Art Museum sa isang blog na pina-follow ko, nagkaroon na talaga ako ng desire to visit the place. Hindi dahil sa mahilig ako sa art – actually wala nga yata akong bahid ng artistry sa katawan. I don’t know how to draw, I have no inclination to sculpting, kahit color combination hindi rin ako maaasahan. Masyado lang akong na-curious sa ganda ng lugar based sa pictures and sa reviews na nakikita ko online. One more thing, just a few rides away lang siya from Marikina, so why not give it a shot?

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The opportunity came last Saturday. Medyo kinabahan lang ako na hindi matuloy dahil sa sobrang lakas ng ulan. Good thing, as soon as makumpleto na kami ng mga kasama ko by 3pm, the rain gradually stopped kaya nagpatuloy na kami.

Since weekend kami nagpunta, grabe ang dami ng tao. So I advise na kung maisipan niyong pumunta, do it on weekdays. Sa dami ng tao, usually couples and mga fashionista (sorry not sorry haha!), hindi malabong may photobomber ang mga photos mo. Kailangan mo lang talagang maghintay ng proper timing.

Hindi ko na sasabihin ang kabuuan ng trip around the museum – marami na online. I’ll just post some pictures na lang 🙂

*This is what I call trabahong tamad. Basta salpak na lang ng pictures! Haha!*

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Grabe, sobrang ganda ng lugar. Even for someone like me who’s not into arts, na-enjoy ko nang sobra ang pagtake ng pictures. Parang Santorini ang vibe ng lugar, at pabor para sa mga katulad kong kayumanggi ang dominant white na feel ng bawat gallery.

I really appreciate the place. The artworks speak of the personality of its respective creator. I can just imagine the emotions and longings contained in every single work of art displayed there. Hindi lang instagrammable ang bawat piyesa na naka-display sa museum. Actually, hugot-worthy din ang mga likhang-sining na iyon. Ilang luha na kaya ang na-witness ng bawat frame na nakadisplay? Gaano karaming pawis ang tumagaktak para matapos ang bawat sculpture?

Namangha ako sa mga man-made pieces na nakita ko. It only shows how God has been liberal in endowing some people with gifts of artistry and creativity (while some with other skills naman). Hindi man ako nabiyayaan ng artistic prowess, sobrang naappreciate ko naman ang gift niya sa mga artists natin. Iba-ibang medium man ang mga artworks na naroon pero ang naging ultimate impact is to please their respective creators.

Kagaya natin. Iba-iba rin ang wiring. God has crafted us intricately with uniqueness and beauty (or kagwapuhan, haha!) like no other, pero ang ultimate goal is to please our Maker. This is our worship. At kung makikita natin ang ating sarili sa vantage point ni Lord sa langit, siguro para rin Siyang nagmamasid at namamangha sa “gallery of His most precious creation” na Siya mismo ang may-akda.

If you want to know more about Pinto Art and what’s in store for you kung pupunta ka dun, might as well read Ms. Rej Rellova’s blog, the one I’ve cited above. Promise magaganda ang pictures na kuha niya 🙂

Visit Pinto Art Museum’s FB Page for more information.

*Though parang hindi updated as of this article, P200 pesos na ang Entrance Fee for regular folks, FYI*

Kaya ang Binacayan!

February 27, 2016

Together with my bike buddies, we planned to go on a biking + hiking on the mountains of Rodriguez, Rizal. Since Marikina is surrounded with mountains, we are very privileged to be just a couple of minutes away from the hiking destinations of Rizal – and the first on our list is Mt. Binacayan.

At first we have this confidence that we can go on a twin hike – meaning we can climb two mountains in succession. Sayang nga naman kasi yung pagkakataon at ang guide fee. Haha! But as we progress through the trail, di pala madali.

Preparation (or lack of it)

Supposedly, I’ll meet my friends at Marikina Riverpark, sa bahay ng lola ng Henry. I promised to come on or before 12mn since I still have night classes to attend to, at gusto ko pa kasing umuwi ng bahay muna. In fairness, I arrived at 12mn in front of the gate, but I chose not to join them but decided to spend the night elsewhere. Isa kasi yun sa mga weird kong desire – to sleep, or at least spend the night in the streets. I have briefly shared my midnight experience at the Cityhood Park and later on in 7-11 in my previous blog. Out of that midnight madness I was able to compose a poem inspired by mountain climbing.

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It was 3am when I decided to go back to Riverpark and join the rest of my buddies. Di sila agad nagsilabas so I waited still for about 30 minutes! So to kill boredom, I warmed myself up and did some stretching.

As soon as we have filled our stomach with goto, we took a jeepney to Montalban and alighted at San Rafael, their furthermost drop off point. From there, tricycle drivers are waiting and very attentive to “potential” passengers so we just took the nearest tricycle. We asked that we be dropped at DENR.

It was already 4:30am when we reached DENR. A lot of people were congregating at the registration area. It was still dark. At wala akong tulog.

Way up

With our guide Kuya Abner, nagsimula ang aming lakbayin sa sementadong daan na unti-unting nagiging malubak, hanggang sa maging lupa. We were walking with 2-3 groups of varying ages, mostly mga babae. Our guide thought na baka matagalan kami kapag maraming kasabay, he led us to an alternate route to overtake all the other groups. True enough, we we’re able to surpass them for 15-20 minutes I guess, some of which ginamit namin for rest. Sobrang dilim pa nun and we care less about taking pictures. Haha!

We continued walking and the sun is already dawning. Habang lumalaon, mas bumibigat ang paghinga ko at ang mga yapak ko. Iba pala ang epekto ng puyat! Upon reaching a point na umiikot na ang paningin ko at halos di na ako makahakbang, I pleaded to the group that they leave me on a certain place so I can rest and they can proceed to the summit. They insisted to wait on me to catch up my pace and my breathing. Nakikita ko pa lang ang taas ng aakyatin, parang di ko na yata kaya! At that moment, I was just praying and rebuking myself: “what in the world are you doing?”

Thank God for my friends waited for me for more or less 10 minutes. We started trekking again, this time slowly to accommodate my incapacity. There was even a place when I just slumped beside a huge rock, took a nap while the rest are busy taking pictures. Imagine how incapacitated I feel during those time!

May kuha naman akong picture, pero halatang kuhang groggy.

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Again, a few minutes after my nap, the sun is already kissing my face. Only then I have realized that we have already reached our first spot perfect for pictures. I managed to roam around the place and the first thing I noticed are the sharp lime stones. Sobrang nakakatusok at nakakasugat kung hindi ka mag-iingat. But the view – so breathtaking! The Sierra Madre mountain range is in sight and below you can see the snake-shaped Wawa River.

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Ang nakakatuwa dun, biglang nawala ang antok, pagod at pagkahilo ko! I felt revived because of the sun and the view! Dahil dun, napagtripan akong kuhanan ng mga buwis-buhay pictures ni manong guide.

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Since it seemed like ok na ulit ang pacing namin, nagpatuloy kami sa paglakad. Grabe ang mga lime stones, kung hindi lang kami nakapagsuot ng gloves, halos nagkandasugat-sugat na siguro kami. I love the warmth of the sunrise din. Iba pala kapag sa bundok ka mismo, with fresh air and the warmth of the sun, talagang nabubuhayan ka ng loob at lumalakas ang katawan.

And again, we had another photo session habang nagpapahinga.

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When we’re about to reach the summit, marami na rin kaming nakakasabay paglakad. Kaya when we reached the highest point, Kuya Abner led us to somewhere else, sa place na mas maganda daw ang picture taking. At hindi nga kami nagkamali! So while some are taking snacks, paisa-isa kaming kinukuhanan ni manong guide ng mga buwis buhay shots namin.

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Nang medyo nabawasan na ang tao sa summit, we took our chance. From the highest point of Binacayan you will really appreciate the remaining green nature ng paligid. Halos nauubos na rin kasi talaga ang mga bundok dahil tinatayuan na ng mga subdivisions. From the summit, we took some group photos.

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Sa aming descent, mas lalo naming naappreciate si Kuya Abner. He really gave us what we wanted sa isang mountain hiking – a very challenging trail. We walked a different trail mula sa kanina so we can reach the base ng mas maaga. Iniisip niya kasi mag twin hike talaga kami.

Dumausdos, tumalon, lumusot sa mga bato at sumabit… we have concluded as a group that Mt. Binacayan is not a chill climb. I also realized that different mountains have different experiences to offer sa mga mountaineers.

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One thing na nakakatuwa pababa, habang nangangatog na ang aming mga tuhod sa pagod, at ang mga “crinkles” – huge boulders na parang crinkles. Grabe nakakagutom sila. We took pictures syempre. Pero nung tumingin ako sa likod – namangha ako sa taas nang inakyat at binaba namin!

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A few minute walk at narating namin ang isang stop-over na tindahan. We bought juice, took a rest. Sa pagod, nagdecide kaming wag nang ituloy ang plano na mag twin hike. Tambay na lang daw sa Wawa Dam!

Nabuhayan lalo kami ng dugo when we can see the familiar road na dinaanan namin bago kami umakyat. Sa wakas nasa base na kami ulit! Si Kevin sobrang nagmamadali na at naiwan kami sa paglalakad. May nakita kaming sobrang taas na puno and we took the chance na magpapicture din dun!

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Even kay Lola na nanonood sa amin while taking pictures sa puno!

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We caught up with Kevin and Kuya Abner sa bilihan ng lutong ulam. We’ve decided to take our lunch sa Wawa Dam, rest for a while (nakatulog talaga ako ng mahaba dun) at maligo! I tell you ang lamig at tunog ng tubig ay sobrang inviting!

Umuwi kami probably mga 3pm or later than that. Good thing di namin ipinilit magbike and hike, else uuwi kaming gumagapang. Haha!

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Buti na lang pala, kahit puyat, I can say “Kaya ang Binacayan!”

Picking up the Pieces at the Peak of Pico de Loro

O di ba ang haba ng title? Haha! Wala lang yan. Actually it was meant to be a group hike with my co-bloggers from PSA. Expected ko nga madaming sasama from the group, so I immediately gave my “I’m in!” sa organizer. Pero habang papalapit ang date ng akyat, aba nababawasan ang may interest sumama! Ayun, ang nangyari apat kami from PSA (including Joseph, na siya ring organizer) na sumama sa isang grupo na hindi ko na nagawang bilangin – at halos lahat sila ay galing sa iisang church! Technically, kung hindi lang sa mga co-bloggers ko, wala talaga akong kakilala sa buong grupo.

Anyway, this is the chronology of events when I climbed Mt. Palay-palay (Pico de Loro):

The team which I will be joining will go straight to Pico from Los Banos, with only Lanie and I coming from Manila. Dahil kami lang yung nahiwalay, we’ve made necessary adjustments so we’ll not be a burden to the group. We met around 4am at Alimall, had breakfast at Jollibee Farmers and boarded to Coastal Terminal around 5am. Sobrang dilim pa, as in. Subsequently, we boarded a bus going to Ternate, Cavite, at nakiusap na ibaba na lang kami sa terminal nila. Mukhang sanay naman na ang mga bus drivers sa mga pumupunta sa Pico.

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We arrived at the terminal ng bus and we were welcomed by friendly tricycle drivers offering us a ride papunta sa DENR. We tried to wait for Joseph’s team but apparently malayo pa sila. We’ve decided to take the ride na agad. The tricycle ride was fun, with lots of enjoyable sights to behold! At yung kalsada, sobrang sarap bisikletahin!

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We reached the DENR/Registration area, rested for a while and answered the call of nature habang naghihintay sa iba. We stayed for about 30 minutes din yata, and there was no more cellphone signal kaya mahirap na silang tawagan. Since we don’t want to hike under the heat of the sun, we decided to hike on our own. Buti na lang talaga Lanie is so adventurous din, so no worries on my part.

After registering ourselves, we just left a note for Joseph na nauna na kaming umakyat. The thing is, we are hiking on our own, wala kaming guide!

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The first thing you’ll appreciate sa trek is the clear, flowing water and its sound! So relaxing! Ingat lang baka madulas, but you will really feel that the nature is really embracing you dahil sa tunog, sa simoy ng paligid and the greenery surrounding you.

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Along the way you will encounter huge trees, even mga punong nakabagsak that you have to cross over. As we are progressing sa trail, I can say that Mt. Palay-palay is good for beginners – hindi mainit dahil maraming lilim at hindi masyadong steep ang mga dadaanan. Ang dami na nga naming napag-usapan ni madam as we go along.

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Sa midpoint of your Pico journey, you will arrive sa tinatawag nilang viewdeck. Kung napagod ka na sa pag-akyat mo, you’ll find this place as a breathing point where you can rest for a while as you gaze upon the enjoyable view of the mountain.

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However, viewdeck is just a foretaste of what Pico has to offer. So we continued our trek, this time halos nawala na sa isip namin na may susunod pa sa amin na supposedly kasama namin sa pag-akyat.

At one point, medyo luluwag ang dadaanan, but i’ve noticed some trees were left with vandalism and carvings, obviously from other hikers.

In just a few minutes from the viewdeck we arrived at what I call the “marketplace”. Natuwa akong maraming mga stalls na nagbebenta ng pagkain – cup noodles, chips, halo-halo, softdrinks… it’s actually a relief lalo na sa mga nagugutom na at napapagod katulad naming dalawa. You will also notice na may mga nagtatayo ng tents, natutulog at kumukuha ng pictures within the area’s scenic spots. As for the two of us, since almost lunch time na, we attended to our stomach’s demands.

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After we have taken our early lunch dumating din sa wakas ang team nila Joseph! We joined them for a while, had a few chat and while they were taking their lunch, I left the group for a while and decided to take pictures for myself. Me time ba.

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As soon as they have rested, we immediately headed our way to reach the summit. At last may kasama na kaming aakyat! During this time, medyo mahirap na ang trail. Sobrang steep, sobrang dulas. If not for the shrubs sa gilid ng daan, mahirap umakyat.

As we are nearing the summit, ramdam na namin ang sobrang lakas ng hangin. Not just an ordinary breeze, I must say – as in sobrang lakas that our progress is so gradual. Nakakapuwing, nakakatangay. Mahirap tumayo habang umaakyat since sobrang lakas nga ng hangin kaya halos pagapang na lang ang akyat naming lahat, and halos paisa-isa.

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And praise God, we were able to reach the summit!

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Indeed, so worth it!

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On the summit you’ll see bodies of water surrounding Ternate, Cavite and Batangas. You can also have a glance of Mindoro, at kung anu-ano pang di ko naman alam dahil wala akong mapagtanungan. But the view, I must say left me bewildered. God has a wonderful taste when it comes to design and color combination. Haha!

However, the summit is not the only challenge of Pico de Loro. There’s a pillar of rock called the Monolith where the courageous dare to climb. And in fairness, not a few people are queuing to conquer its peak! We were even advised to wait for at least three (3) hours to have our turn on the Monolith. Unfortunately, since alam naming na matatagalan kami pagbaba, we just let go of the desire. Siguro next time na.IMG_2076

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Our descent now turned to be my mini-PSA meet up with Joseph, Jem and Lanie. Kwentuhan, konting tawanan. Konti lang kasi mahirap tumawa habang humihingal. Sayang nga lang wala yung iba. Kelan kaya kami makukumpleto? But so far, this meet-up na ang pinakamarami. Haha!

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Pababa, medyo nauubusan na rin kami ng kwento. Pagod na kasi. Ang mga kwento ay unti-unting napapalitan ng hugot lines.

Until we’ve reached the flowing water again.

And the registration area.

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And answered the nature’s call sa mga nangangailangang tumugon.

Pabalik, Lanie and I joined Joseph’s crew sa ni-rent nilang jeepney. So nasama kami sa byahe nila to Waltermart (somewhere in Cavite, di ko talaga alam. Haha!) and we requested that we are to be dropped off to Dasmarinas, where we will be riding a bus to Pasay.

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Okay, balik ako sa title. Picking up the pieces at the peak of Pico de Loro? Sabi sa inyo wala lang yun e. Haha! Nalimutan kong sabihin, the hike was February 8 pa. Late na masyado no? Pasensya na.

Note: Sorry, I’ve lost track of all the expenses 😦

See you next hike!