Rock to Daranak

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

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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

The artworks speak of the personality of their respective creators.

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!

Buti na lang pala, kahit puyat, I can say “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

God has a wonderful taste when it comes to design and color combination.

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.

Picking up the Pieces at the Peak of Pico de LoroAnyway, 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!

My First Hike Experience: Mt. Talamitam

“Hindi lahat ng expectations na hindi natupad ay hindi na maganda.”

Since the beginning of the year, I had this intense desire to cover new grounds and do things I have never done before. Since mountaineering is gaining popularity these days, I jotted it down on my bucket list. This idea was fuelled when Jin invited Josh and I to climb Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas. At last, may lakad na matutuloy. The only catch is to keep the group small so we can easily monitor each other.

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Dito nag-start ang hiking idea, thanks sa mga escapades ni Jin na-engganyo rin ako

A few weeks before the climb: the original plan is to ascend Mt. Batulao

A few days before the climb: because of the untoward incident that happened in Mt. Batulao, we need to take Mt. Balagbag in Rodriguez Rizal instead.

A few hours before the climb: by faith and by guts, we tried to check if Mt. Batulao is already open for hikers but we were discouraged by the residents and our guide. So our last minute decision is to ascend Mt. Talamitam instead. Since it is my first hike, I don’t have any expectations about mountain climbing except that I will end up feeling tired and exhausted, so it really doesn’t matter to me which mountain we are going to take.

Ok konting backtrack…

Our meeting place is at Jollibee Farmers at 5am of January 30. I felt really excited to see Jezz and Nats because I don’t have an idea that they are also coming. All in, the group is composed of seven, with two ladies Jin and Jovy tapos si Ptr. Josh, Kuya Benj at ako, bukod kay Nats and Jezz. Nang makumpleto na kami and after a short prayer, we boarded a bus to going to Coastal Road, from where we will board a bus going to Nasugbu. Halos puno na ang bus at tayuan na rin pero tinuloy na namin. Besides we are off to adventure, sinimulan lang namin ng maaga 🙂

Bumaba kami sa Evercrest, since we’re gonna try the Batulao trek and from there we will meet our very cool guide – Kuya Jonel. While waiting, we take pictures, have a few chats, bought some candies and snacks, and responded to the call of nature.

Terminal Picture

After deliberation, we’ve decided to take Mt. Talamitam, just a few minutes tricycle ride from Evercrest. We were welcomed by a lot of hikers registering and very accommodating locals.

After registration last minute purchases, off we go! Good thing may carinderia for those na walang dalang baong lunch like me (actually lahat yata kami).

From the registration area at Bayabasan, we started trailing sa sementadong kalsada, na unti-unting nagiging lupa. We also crossed a makeshift bridge made of bamboo. From there, the trail becomes more challenging dahil madawag na. We need to be careful as well from goats roaming around the trail, as well as from their poops. Haha! Also, I never knew that the shade from the shrubs and trees we are trailing will eventually cease as we approach the summit. Kaya samantalahin ang lilim! It was almost 11am when we took our lunch on a shady area, in view of the vast beauty of Batangas city.

 

The midpoint of our trek is an open field where there are lesser trees, but a ploughed space for talbos ng kamote, and a few number of goats and cows. Yet from this place is one of the most scenic spot to appreciate the beauty of Mt. Talamitam. Jin describes it as the one we usually draw in our bond papers as elementary students – the M-shaped mountain with a clear blue sky as background and few trees to none at all. It’s as if my childhood drawing came to life, and just within reach!

We continued our hike under the scorching heat of the sun around 12:30-1:00pm. Sabi nga nila, the nearer you get to the summit the trail gets harder, steeper and more challenging. It became more challenging indeed! During the last stretch before the summit, under the heat of the sun and aching knees and legs, I am already contemplating as to what entered my mind for me to get through this suffering? Haha! Seriously, I feel like I am already giving up. But I have no choice, the summit is just a few steps away, and going back is much harder because I might take the trail alone. Senti lang.

At last, we reached the summit!

Martin

To be honest, I didn’t take pictures as soon as we reached the summit. I tried to find shade first (and comfort my aching legs and catch up for my breath. There is one crowded bahay kubo occupied by other groups and I tried to squeeze myself among them just to hide from the heat. Nang medyo narealize ko na wala akong mapwestuhan, sumuko na ako and good thing is there is another bahay kubo a stone’s throw away. So the whole #TeamHugot, as we call ourselves, headed towards the shade and rested there for a while. We ate snacks, played games and uttered some of our hugot there. We will not call ourselves #TeamHugot if not for these:

“Magtiwala ka sa spikes ng Merrell shoes mo…” – Kuya Jonel (guide) Buti pa ang sapatos pwedeng pagkatiwalaan.” – Jovy. Ang lalim nun Jovs a? Haha!

“Minsan mas maganda na nakikita mo yung gusto mong puntahan mo para may motivation ka pag-akyat.”

“Minsan ang guide nahuhuli rin, para pag nahulog ka Alam mong may sasalo sayo.”

Heto mas inspiring…

“Hindi lahat ng expectations na hindi natupad ay hindi na maganda.”

“Mas maaappreciate mo ang isang bagay kung alam mong pinaghirapan mo itong makuha.”

“Tanawin mo lang” referring to Mt. Batulao na natatanaw naming from the summit. “Sa ngayon dito muna. Sa susunod, dun naman. Take one step at a time.”

Not until I have mustered enough strength (and the clouds blocked the sun) did I take pictures of the surroundings. My goodness, the scene is so awesome!

NatsJump Shot SoloKuya BenjJezzJinJovyJosh

Of course we took epic pictures of ourselves.

Ohh I forgot to mention that there are locals who sell buko juice, mountain dew (kasi nasa mountain — ok sorry, corny ko), and ice cream on stick. Syempre asahan nang mas mahal, pero dahil umakyat din sila at napagod, the doubled cost is justifiable. We feel you manong.:)

We descended as soon as we have taken enough pictures and the sun has finally surrendered to the clouds, around 3:30pm. The scene gets more interesting because we have taken a much wider trail compared to the steep, narrow trail we had prior to the summit. Plus the cool mountain breeze was a bliss! Tanggal pagod.

When we reached the midpoint, we came across mountaineers who will spend the night at the summit. Some has brought with them Emperador pa nga. Haha! Party party sila.

Since we have chosen a different course, we have to cross a river, (di ko nga alam kung river nga yun, pero running water naman) and I was really tempted to dip my feet on the water. Buti na lang di ako nagpadala sa tukso kahit sobrang pagod na pagod na ang paa ko. But hearing the running water is refreshing. I really love how the nature sings song.

Water

Bago pa man kami makabalik sa carinderia where we first registered, may nadaanan kaming bahay na nagbebenta ng buko juice. There we rested, ate snacks and refreshed ourselves.

A few blocks away, we arrived at the carinderia at Bayabasan, where we again took a rest, bade farewell to our cool guide and boarded a bus to Cubao. Supposedly we want to go to Tagaytay for a sidetrip, buti na lang di na kami tumuloy, otherwise sobrang matatagalan pala kami.Pauwi na

We reached Cubao at almost 11pm, some rushed to their homes already while some of us took a late dinner at King Sisig, Farmers Market.

Dinner

And that my folks, is my first hike experience. Other pictures can be viewed here (link).

Inasmuch as I would like this post to serve as a hikers’ guide to Mt. Talamitam, I think this doesn’t qualify. But I hope these information below will be of help:

Things to bring:

  • Water, lots of it. But if you can afford to bring an extra cash for doubly-priced juice and soda, you can do so.
  • Comfortable clothes. Since wala masyadong puno sa trail ng Talamitam after the midpoint, might as well wear protective gears like arm sleeves and leg warmers. Umbrella din kung kaya mo, para pag-uwi mo makilala ka pa ng mga magulang mo J
  • Shoes or slippers na makapit, yung hinding-hindi ka bibitawan. Haha!
  • But you can eat a heavy meal sa carinderia.
  • Wet wipes para sa tulad ko na nagshorts lang paakyat dahil muntikan ko nang di makilala ang paa ko sa dumi.
  • Loperamide to keep you focused.
  • Motivation to keep you going.

Sabi nila, Mt. Talamitam is for beginners. Actually that’s what I’m thinking of as well. Kahit parang gusto ko na sumuko, that’s because of the scorching heat of the sun. Kaya tip lang, mas maaga ang ascent, mas maganda. We ascended ng halos 9 na rin kasi, epic fail. But still we fell in love with the view.

Here’s some of the cost we’ve incurred:

  • Cubao to Coastal: Php40 each
  • Coastal to Evercrest: Php120 each (pwede na ipadiretso sa Bayabasan, kailangan lang kasi naming i-meet si kuya guide dito)
  • Tricycle to jumpoff: Php150/tricycle (eto yung incidental cost namin since di kami dumiretso sa Bayabasan)
  • Lunch: Php40 and ulam, Php10 ang kanin, (available at the registration area); Php40 ang Mountain Dew or Buko Juice (depende kung san mo bibilhin)
  • Guide Fee: Since cool and very helpful si Kuya, we gave him Php525 (75x7pax) but usually guide fee is pegged at Php400/guide.
  • Registration Fee: Php40 each
  • Restroom: Wiwi is Php5, Php10 kung di inabutan ka, Php20 kung maliligo ka pa
  • Sitio Bayabasan to Cubao: Php150 each
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Ang very cool naming guide. Kuya Jonel 🙂

Since I don’t want to bother myself with computations, and may iba pa akong mga gastos bukod dyan, prepare Php700 to ensure na makakauwi ka 🙂

Until next hike!

Add Life to your Years

To age is way different from being mature.

Guess what? Tatanda na naman tayo ng isang taon pa. Oo isang taon ulit. Ang bilis ano? Dati ang umo-occupy lang ng isipan natin ay kung paano gagawin ang mga homework ng terror nating high school teacher, o kung kagaya kitang mabait, iniisip online game na lalaruin pagkatapos ng uwian. O di kaya naman ang itsura ng crush mo na dino-drowing mo pa sa likod ng notebook na may mukha ng mayor niyo sa cover.

Add Life to your YearsNgayon, ang dami-dami na nating iniisip. Sa sobrang dami, mahirap na ngang isakatuparan ang iba e. Naaalala ko pa na ang mga topics namin ng mga kaibigan ko few years back ay umiikot lang halos sa adolescence stage na pinagdadaanan namin. Ngayon pati ang inflation, politika at showbiz, bukod pa sa mga trabaho namin at planong bumuo ng sariling pamilya ay napag-uusapan na rin. Idagdag mo pa ang walang kamatayang ice breaker tuwing magkakasama ang dating magkakaklase: sino-sino na ang mga nabuntis sa batch natin?

Yet to age is way different from being mature. Age deals with the years in our life; maturity is the life in our years. Yet they have to coincide at some point. They have to meet along the way.

Tumatanda na nga tayo. At kung sasabihin mo sa aking kalabaw lang ang tumatanda, ano ka exempted? We age, whether obvious sa itsura o pigura, o kung mapalad ka’t nabiyayaan ng baby face, still we really cannot deny the fact that we age. And with age come tons of responsibilities we need to embrace and carry through.

Yet to age is way different from being mature. Age deals with the years in our life; maturity is the life in our years. Yet they have to coincide at some point. They have to meet along the way.

Medyo may kaunting panghihinayang lang ako sa tinakbo ng karera ko sa buhay a few seasons back and I reaped the consequences of my decisions then. Yet I know that in God’s panoramic perspective, there are really no accidents. I am part of something bigger, sabi nga ni Nick Fury. “That it’s brave to ask ‘what if,’ [that] I think it’s braver to ask ‘what is’” sabi naman ni pareng Popoy. Until now, I am picking myself up, but I am learning in the process.

Di pa huli ang lahat para sa atin, at least yan ang sabi ng imaginary friend ko. It doesn’t matter kung nasa kalendaryo pa ang edad mo o wala na, at least nasa bingo card pa rin. And that’s what matters – may bilang ka, at pwede pang pagbuhulin ang iyong edad at ang iyong pinagkatandaan.

Quote 2Discover your purpose, live your passion, find your niche.

And this is what makes the New Year more exciting! It gives us a glimmer of motivation to add life to our years! Gusto mong umakyat ng bundok? Then go! Nauuso na ang mga mountain hiking groups. You want to travel the world, or the country at least? Madami nang promo fares. If you want to be an advocate of financial literacy, or responsible parenting, or you just want to have a voice in the world of internet, then blogosphere is readily available. At kung maisipan mong maging ganap na blogger at single, unattached ka, you might as well consider joining our P.S.A. group – ibang kalidad!

Let’s add life to our years. Lagyan natin ng konting palabok ang buhay by escaping the usual routine we are so familiar with. Ako nga gusto kong mas maging active pa sa pagbibisikleta ko. Gusto ko ding umakyat sa bundok with friends. Mas maraming books ang gusto kong mabasa this year. And the weirdest thing na bina-bargain ko pa sa kunsensya ko ay ang sumakay sa bus papunta sa isang malayong lugar na unfamiliar para lang maglagalag pagkatapos ay uuwi na ulit. Bottom line is, let us all age gracefully!

Pagbigyan niyo na rin ako. Dala lang din marahil nang nasa Quarter-life crisis na ako. 🙂 Promise, makaka-move on din ako sa pagtatanong kung sino-sino pa ba sa mga ka-batch ko ang nanay at tatay na.

Startup 2016

Bagong taon. Bagong mga plano. Pero ano nga ba ang magbabago?

Bagong taon na naman. Panahon na naman ng mga New Year’s resolutions na hindi naman talaga natutupad ng karamihan sa atin, kasama na ako. Sa mga susunod na linggo, dadagsa na naman sa mga gym at sports complex ang mga strong-willed men and women na nais nang sunugin ang mga taba at cholesterol na inimbak ilang araw lang ang nakakalipas. Kung paanong ang September ay may dalang “Wake me up when September ends”, mabubuhay ulit ang status na “New Year, New Me” at “Oplan Balik Alindog”. Malamang sa malamang din, makiisa rin ako sa programa, nagmamakaawa na rin kasi ang mga pantalon ko dahil sa parusang ibinibigay ko sa kanila.

Startup 2016Umorder ako ng isang Financial Management planner. Sobrang benta sa akin ang pagkakaroon ng bagong mindset pagdating sa pagma-manage ng pera sa pagpasok ng bagong taon. Sisimulan ko sana sa planner. Yung planner na may mga tips sa pagba-budget, inspiring stories ng mga taong nagsikap at nagtagumpay, mga reminders sa pagtitipid, atbp. Ilang planner na rin ang sinimulan ko nang mga nakalipas na taon pero hanggang tatlong linggo lang yata ang validity ng desire ko sa paglapat ng mga bagay-bagay sa napipili kong planner.

Sa kasamaang palad, may nagkainteres yata sa planner ko. Ni hindi pa nga nagsisimula ang bagong taon at di ko pa nga nasisilayan, di pa nasusulatan, nawala na agad. Pero hayaan mo na, kung sino man ang nakakuha at nagkainteres sa package na may pangalan ko naman at address, sa kanya na lang yun. Besides, baka mas makatulong sa iyo yan. Mukhang di nga yata kasi ako pang-planner. Dahil ba wala naman akong plano? O mas maganda lang na spontaneous? Parang mga lakad ng barkada, mas natutuloy kapag walang plano.

Bagong taon. Bagong mga plano. Pero ano nga ba ang magbabago?

Iiwanan ko ang 2015 nang may masasaya at malulungkot na entries sa journal ko. Mga bagay na natanggap, mga bagong kakilala at kaibigan, ilan sa mga goals na natupad (gagawa na nga ako ng bucket list para mas organized), ilang mga mahahalagang lessons na natutunan, at si Maine Mendoza. Gayundin, may relasyon din na nawala, mga pangarap na kailangang i-realign, mga frustrations na kailangang i-address, disappointments na kailangang tanggapin at teledrama sa hapon na di pa rin pala natatapos. Isang bagong taon na naman ang papasok – what’s in store for me? For us? For Pia Wurtzbach?

Higit sa bagong kalendaryo ng Mercury Drug at mga discount coupon, ang bagong taon ay nagbibigay ng bagong pag-asa. Pag-asa na anuman ang iniwan natin ng nakalipas na taon, maaari pa nating itama, o kung hindi man ay paghugutan ng mga lessons na ipapamana natin sa ating future self.

Anong magbabago? Nandyan pa rin naman ang mga weird weather disturbances unless kumilos ang lahat laban sa climate change. May mga corrupt pa ring opisyales unless seryosohin talaga ang battle against corruption. May carmaggedon pa rin partikular sa EDSA unless all of a sudden maisipan ng lahat ng mga motorista na lumipat na lang sa pagbi-bike.

Higit sa bagong kalendaryo ng Mercury Drug at mga discount coupon, ang bagong taon ay nagbibigay ng bagong pag-asa. Pag-asa na anuman ang iniwan natin ng nakalipas na taon, maaari pa nating itama, o kung hindi man ay paghugutan ng mga lessons na ipapamana natin sa ating future self. Mabilis na tumatakbo ang panahon, lalo na para sa mga taong pilit na naghahabol ng mga personal deadlines nila. May mga naghahabol na baka maiwanan na sila ng kalendaryo at single pa rin sila. May mga naghahabol sa kanilang mga pangarap na magkakotse sa edad na ganito, bahay sa taong ganyan. Hindi masama, it gives us motivation and direction kung saan natin gusto mapunta at nais nating makamit.

Quote 1

Mabilis umuusad ang panahon, ngunit sa pag-usad nito, ang gusto ko sana ay hindi lang ako basta naghahabol sa panahon at mga personal deadlines ko – gusto ko ding mas makapag-impart ng blessing and inspiration sa mga nasa paligid ko, by word and by deed. Syempre gusto ko ring lumiit ang abdominal fats ko at mapalitan ng six pack. Hahaha!

Ito ang pag-asang hatid sa akin ng bagong taon: na maaari kong baguhin at patunayan na kaya kong higitan ang aking nakaraan. Gayundin ang hatid nito para sa iyo. Ewan ko lang kung tatanggapin mo.

Hinihintay ko pa rin ang planner ko. Baka makunsensya pa ang kumuha. Haha! Pero alam nating lahat na wala sa planner ang pag-asa, wala sa kalendaryo o sa petsa. Ang pag-asa ay nasa atin, sa ating disiplina at sa ating willingness to change ourselves for the better.

For a better 2016.

For world peace.

Forever.