Kaya ang Binacayan!

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

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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!

Summit

Nandun ka nga ba sa itaas at aakayin ako sa pag-akyat?

SummitSa pagtahak paakyat sa tuktok ng bundok,

Ininda ang lahat ng mahihirap na pagsubok.

Tangan ang bigat ng mga damdaming naimpok

Umaasang sa itaas masasaid na ang pagkalugmok.

 

Ang mga hakbang ay tila pabigat na ng pabigat

At ang sikat ng araw ay bumabakas na sa aking balat.

Habang papalapit sa dulo, ako’y lalong naaatat –

Nandun ka nga ba sa itaas at aakayin ako sa pag-akyat?

 

Nakarating ako sa itaas – ngunit walang “ikaw” na nadatnan;

Tinapik na lang ang sarili, sinabing “okay lang yan”.

Mabuti na lang ang paligid ay kay inam pagmasdan

Ngunit kailangang tanggapin na ako’y babalik pa rin sa pinagmulan.

 

Ilang bundok pa ba ang aking aakyatin?

Ilang trail, ilang summit, ilang traverse ang tatahakin?

Ilang mountaineers pa ang aking sasalubungin?

Dahil ako’y umaasang ikaw na ang susunod kong babatiin.

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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

Train of Thanks 12-13

Because we’ll never run out of things to be grateful for.

I am making a back-to-back version of my Monday thanksgivings because of, *umm, confession* complacency. But let me redeem myself with some of the awesome things that happened to me for the past two weeks. For God is good and greatly to be praised!

  1. I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to attend the National Leaders Strategic Conference and Retreat (NLSCR) of Foursquare Philippines for the second time, recently held at Davao City Foursquare Gospel Church. Hearing from the national leadership and working with the district leaders to plan and envision the future of the denomination to be a missional movement for the cause of Christ is an overwhelming experience. I thank God for letting me witness how driven the pastors are in accomplishing the Great Commission.
  2. I was able to meet the Christian Education directors and representatives of the 27 districts of Foursquare churches in the Philippines. Incidentally I also represented my district for the National Foursquare Youth Presidents meeting. Issues were discussed, questions were raised and not a few pictures and groupies were taken. In the end, plans we’re ruled out and some matters were settled. Working with the Christian Educators and Youth Leaders from different regions is a both encouraging and refreshing.IMG_1141
  3. Would you believe that this is the first time I boarded a plane? Now I am scrapping it off my bucket list. 🙂
  4. Barry Buzza, former national leader of the Foursquare Church in Canada served as the NLSCR plenary speaker with his lessons on serendipities on the life of David. I really appreciate the extent of his preparation, carefully examining the life of David and drawing out 70 conclusions that relates to the pastorate. I thank the Lord for His revelations through Dr. Buzza’s series of preaching.
  5. I was dared and I survived durian shake! Haha! Also, the MMND delegates for NLSCR, of which I am a part of, had the chance to bond as we roam around Davao and munched on the sumptuous meals (a lot of eat-all-you-can places, mind you! I was able to fill myself with 3 different sessions of buffet breakfast and lunch. One of the best part of the (food) trip was the grilled tuna and kilawin! Awesome!
  6. My guest blogging invitation did materialize! I thank God for the wisdom that I was able to share my biblical insights on how to move on from your past mistakes and how to keep on moving forward. I thank Ms. Charmaine of Organized Lunacy for hosting my blog post. Visit my guest blog here: (link)
  7. When I came back to Manila, I catched up with some of my best buddies and we ended up in Bieter Sizzling Place at B.G. Molina St. Parang, Marikina City. The place is oozing with colors and fun illustrations, which complements the friendliness of the staff and the creativity of their menu. It’s as if I am warped inside a video game. We’ve decided to visit the place again some other time.
  8. I thank the Lord that my online purchase, a stretchable belt bag for my biking sessions, reached me this time. Unlike my previous purchase, I don’t know where in the world it landed. I was also able to buy an arm sleeves and gloves, which I first used for my Mt. Talamitam escapade!
  9. I feel overwhelmed and encouraged every time I sit in the Sunday school class of the teenagers. I feel like I am going back in time when I was just like them, listening to the testimonies of my classmates and sharing my own. I see the future in the young generation today. Thus my conclusion, whatever way we shape the youth of today will be the kind of mold the future will have. Kudos to all the educators who willingly share their lives to the young generation.
  10. We were able to conquer the summit of Mt. Talamitam! I don’t want to spoil the moment because this has to go on a separate post. But praise the Lord for the beauty of His creation!

There you have it, my two-week thanksgiving roundup. What are the things that you are thankful for the last week?

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.