Tag Archives: Travel

Reaching Greater Heights: Mt. Pulag – The Third Highest Peak in the Philippines!

I’m an amateur mountain climber. I’ve climbed a few in the past, yes, but my health and time didn’t allow me to really get into it. This year, as part of my new year’s resolution, I promised to climb more mountains.

I found myself already on my second climb this year at the highest peak in Luzon, the Mount Pulag which also happened to be the third highest peak in the whole archipelago of the Philippines (next to Mt. Apo and Mt. Dulang-Dulang – both situated in Mindanao).

I even trained for this because I was told that it’s going to be strenuous. I’ve tried strengthening my legs for about three weeks since I just started working out around the same time this Mt. Pulag climb came about.

I joined the Bokal Extreme event along with with my officemates – the Kaladkarins – for this little “expedition” lol.

Travel time from Manila to Baguio was very smooth and fast – thank you SCTEX! At least around 5 hours inclusive of a couple of stopovers.

We got picked up at the Baguio Victory Liner terminal by what they call the “Monster Jeep,” I don’t have the foggiest idea why they call it like that since it looks like a regular passenger jeepney to me, though a bit bigger (ding!) . From there, we went to the DENR office for the registration and orientation. The travel time here is about 3 hours. We had a 30-minutes stopover for breakfast and a little photo-ops.

(Side note: You can also buy hiking gears here which I thought are way cheaper! ‘Bought my mess kit here!)

Before you’re allowed to climb Mt. Pulag, you have got to present a “Fit to Climb ” medical certificate and attend the 30-40 minutes orientation regarding Mt. Pulag, a bit of its history and the know-how of climbing it.

After the informative lecture, we went to the jump off site to set up camp for the night.

We woke up at around 130 in the morning and started the trek at 2AM. It was really muddy since it rained the night before and it’s still drizzling throughout our hike.

My number one advise for newbie climbers of this great mountain is to wear appropriate clothing. I was stupid enough to think that I could endure the cold by wearing my favorite football jersey so I was freezing by the time we arrived at the “first summit.” It was such a foolish move on my part so please, just please, wear something warm during your climb here.

For amateurs like myself, Ambangeg is the preferred trail. The hike wasn’t that hard even if it’s all muddy so I think if the weather was real good at the time, I thought it’d be a way easier trekking for us. It’s a good thing we waited for the weather to clear up and saw the beautiful mossy plains at the summit and the sea of clouds which is the summit’s main attraction. Watching it is like being one with nature – just beautiful! I think the whole hike ascending and descending took us close to 12 hours. Yes, it was that long but it was all worth it.

I cannot wait to revisit this majestic mountain in the future!

(This was a long overdue post. Since most of my blog posts are pre-scheduled, I didn’t realize that this one didn’t make it to my published posts. It’s still on my draft folder which I’ve only seen today! Ugh! Anyway – here’s my adventure at Mt. Pulag)

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December To Remember In Sagada Part 2: Rocky Valley Inn and Cafe Review (December 2013)

I booked a room for two as early as November since most of the Inns that I’ve contacted are fully booked already because of the bonfire festival and naturally, December’s a peak season in Sagada. I was able to booked at Rocky Valley Inn. I was asked to deposit half of the rate for three days (it’s 250/pax/day.) The inn is located near the Sagada Weaving and is in front of a gas station. It was a  good 8 minute walk from/to the center.

via saggas.org

via saggas.org

the rock formation fronting our veranda

the rock formation fronting our veranda

The place was very clean of course. I thought Alex, the guy who assisted us was very professional. The room given to us was at the second floor with a veranda which I loved by the way because it’s fronting a big beautiful rock formation and it was naturally, freaking cold.

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They have WiFi connection at the ground floor and they also served food. The food was good and reasonably priced. Our only critique is the lack of hospitality from the other girl who’s manning the place who keeps sneering on us. She was probably in a bad mood that weekend. o_O  Overall, our stay was rather okay because the rooms are clean as well as the shared rest rooms. Just good food and clean room. *wink*

Rating: 4.5/10

To be continued…

December To Remember In Sagada! (December 2013)

Yeah, I know. Three’s a charm for me in 2013 – I have a special connection with Sagada that’s why I keep on coming back. Like what I’ve posted previously, there is a feeling of serenity whenever I visit this place.

This time around, I was with my very best friend Dek! I’ve been asking him for quite a while now to go and come with me to Sagada but because of his dayjob, he cannot really commit. Lo and behold though, in December – our schedule suddenly matched! He was transferred to a new program and was given several days of vacation leaves! How amazing is that? Finally, Dek will finally see the beauty that I’ve been raving about since we’ve met!

This is a trip of first times though. It was actually Dek’s first time to visit here and since we’re going the Baguio-Sagada trip, Dek also got the chance to check out the city of pines for the first time!

So for this trip,we didn’t do any bus booking – you see, it’s crazy for us to do that because it’s the holiday – it was the freaking December 27! We’re basically chance passengers to any bus companies that could take us to Baguio. Eventually, we settled for Dagupan Bus Company. Earlier in the afternoon of December 27, we’re waiting for the Genesis Bus Baguio trip but we were told that it’d be later in the night that the bus will be arriving so we’re to take a chance at Dagupan’s and can you believe that I’ve to stand until we reached Mabalacat, Pampanga? Oh well, I told you it’s a trip of first time right?

Dek's first time in Baguio!

Dek’s first time in Baguio!

We arrived in Baguio City at around three in the morning so we have ample time to check out the city. We went to Burnham Park and the areas surrounding it. It was pretty nice though, it reminded me during my first time in Baguio with my family during my teen years. It was the holy week and we’ve to sleep in the park along with many tourists! It was fun though.

inside the Burnham Park

inside the Burnham Park

Anyways, so we walked around Baguio (SM, the church, Wet Market, Session Road) and we even got lost because I can’t seem to remember the bus terminal for Sagada until it suddenly dawned on me that we’re just walking in circle and the terminal’s just beside the wet market! lol

There were tons of tourist and locals at the terminal and the wait was pretty long. We’re able to get hold of the first trip and I’m telling you, it was freezing!!! It was another six hours to Sagada so we rested a little and ready ourself for the even colder Sagada…

To be continued…

My Version Of OKTOBERFEST in Sagada Part 4: Cave Connection and Marlboro Country At Night! (October 2013)

The next day, Carlo had to leave early to cover the local election the next day. The rest of us went to the SAGGAS Office to choose what we should do although it was already pre-determined that we’ll go caving.We decided to go ahead with the cave connection from Lumiang Cave to Sumaging Cave. An ardous yet exciting four hours caving (which I did the first time I was there)

the coffins at the entrance of the Lumiang cave

the coffins at the entrance of the Lumiang cave

Hello there!!!

Hello there!!!

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one of the most photographed rock formation within this cave!

one of the most photographed rock formation within this cave!

Evolution of Man? LOL

Evolution of Man? LOL

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I really loved this!

I really loved this!

with our dependable guide Edwin aka Kilpot!

with our dependable guide Edwin aka Kilpot!

After our spelunking adventure, we’re contemplating on going to Mount Ampacao but it was pretty late – around 5PM if I’m not mistaken. We’re actually after the sunset but as I’ve said – it’s late already. We just opted to go to the Marlboro Country! Can you believe it! After four hours in the cave, we’ve to go to the peak of the Marlboro Mountains for a 90minutes hiking and another 90 going down, mind you.

we were accompanied by Patrick as well

we were accompanied by Patrick as well

we're tired but we're happy!

we’re tired but we’re happy!

Edwin and Patrick made a bonfire! Yay!

Edwin and Patrick made a bonfire! Yay!

It was very special though, I personally loved every minute of it. It was foggy so we didn’t see the view but the feeling on top of these mountains is just different. It’s like you are one with nature!

After our Marlboro Country adventure, we went tothe Yoghurt House and had some yoghurt then we decided to grab some drinks at Vincent’s Cafe before calling it a day!

The street below Yoghurt House. Pretty isn't?

The street below Yoghurt House. Pretty isn’t?

Let's drink to that folks!

Let’s drink to that folks!

To be continued…

My Version Of OKTOBERFEST in Sagada Part 3: The Wedding (October 2013)

On our first night, we had our dinner at the Yoghurt House (on my recommendation ofcourse.) We’re supposed to visit a place where they serve pinikpikan but we didn’t have a booking so I persuaded them to try out Yoghurt House. They loved it! (It’s their first time in Sagada except for Carlo who visited about 10 years ago)

Joba and Russell

Joba and Russell

Me, Anna and Carlo

Me, Anna and Carlo

Yoghurt of course! Duh!

Yoghurt of course! Duh!

On that night, we’re also invited for a wedding! Yay! Exciting! Edwin invited us for their friends’ wedding! Anna, Carlo and I were so giddy about attending a traditional Sagada wedding so we all agreed but Joba and his beau decided to stay at the guest house. All good though 🙂

The wedding was amazing! We met the bride and groom. And we’re even invited to dance. As killjoy as I could get, Anna was the only one who participated. I was really freezing! (excuses, excuses…lol)

Anna being taught how to use the gong

Anna being taught how to use the gong

Go Anna!

Go Anna!

the wedding dance!

the wedding dance!

We went back to the guest house at around 12 midnight. The wedding celebration was fun and I wished I’ve also participated but maybe next time 🙂

To be continued…

My Version Of OKTOBERFEST in Sagada Part 2: George Guest House Extension (October 2013)

the extension building of George Guest House

the extension building of George Guest House

I was able to book us three rooms at George Guest House. Their main building was already fully booked so we were placed at their “extension” building. I really loved this inn. We’ve to cancel one room because two rooms are big enough for our group. The couple occupied a room at the ground floor while the three of us (Anna, Carlo and I) Occupied a room at the third floor which can actually accommodate at least six people.

our room, there's another bed at the other side :)

our room, there’s another bed at the other side 🙂

landscape view from our window

landscape view from our window

ready to sleep?

ready to sleep?

I remember this because I was watching the telecast of Miss Supranational 2013 where Miss Philippines Mutya Datul won the crown! #trivia101

I remember this because I was watching the telecast of Miss Supranational 2013 where Miss Philippines Mutya Datul won the crown! #trivia101

It was an awesome experience staying at the guest house. I’d book here on my next visit for sure…

YOU CAN CONTACT THEM AT +639399020996AND THEIR RATES DURING THIS TIME WAS P250/PAX/DAY.

to be continued…

My Version Of OKTOBERFEST in Sagada! (October 2013)

My travels are becoming Sagada-centric but I couldn’t resist going back to this place! Last October, I came back at this wonderful place for the second time in 2013 and my third in total with some folks – my college friend Joba, her boyfriend Russell and colleagues Anna and Carlo. I wasn’t really planning on going but I feel lousy at my dayjob so I decided to accept Joba’s invitation to go again. It was just a couple of months ago since I went there then.

the view on our way to Sagada

the view on our way to Sagada

I’m far from being an expert traveler but I did suggest some stuff to do during our three days stay there.

the Kapay-Aw Rice Terraces in the background! Amazing isn't?

the Kapay-Aw Rice Terraces in the background! Amazing isn’t?

On our way to Pongas Falls

On our way to Pongas Falls

the breathtaking view on our way to Pongas Falls...

the breathtaking view on our way to Pongas Falls…

We went to the Pongas Falls on our first day. This time, we’re assisted by Edwin’s cousin named Patrick. It was a raining a little and the current of the falls was pretty strong so we just stayed there no longer than 30 minutes. Such a bummer, good thing we rented a van to take us back.

The Pongas Falls

The Pongas Falls

amazing shot of the falls!

amazing shot of the falls!

To Be Continued…

Eat, Drink, Love Sagada Style (June 2013)

During my three day solo backpacking, I was only able to try 4 diners.

1st day: I had a hearty lunch and dinner at the Yoghurt House and it’s still as smashing from two years ago! The place looks even better now. The price was still reasonable. I think I spent close to P300 for each meal (lunch and dinner).

Yum Yum! #selfie1

Yum Yum! #selfie1

lunch anyone? I arrived in Sagada at around 10AM...so brunch it is!

lunch anyone? I arrived in Sagada at around 10AM…so brunch it is!

the veranda at the Yoghurt House #selfie2

the veranda at the Yoghurt House #selfie2

Yup! It was a really fine dinner! #selfie3

Yup! It was a really fine dinner! #selfie3

pretty cozy huh?

pretty cozy huh?

Then on my second day (dinner) – I went to the Yoghurt House again. 🙂 I love their Salad!

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2. I tried eating at Bana’s for breakfast which is just a block away from the lodge (I believe I was with the couple here, sorry I didn’t bring a cam here – I was really starving then.) The cost was alright, it was close to P100 – not bad at all.

3. The couple and I went to Kimchi. We had our lunch there (on my third day.) The food was okay here. Nothing to really rave about. I love the ambiance of the place though. You can write on their wall as well.

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The couple signing on the wall!

The couple signing on the wall!

Haha! I think I had Adobo then...

Haha! I think I had Adobo then…

I also had a couple of beers at Persimone Cafe…this was during the second night If I’m not mistaken…

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Prior to my last night in Sagada, the couple and I decided to go picnic near the St.Mary The Virgin Church. Actually, it’s much closer to the school ground. We just love nature I supposed.

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On my last night, the couple and I settled at Vincent’s Cafe (my favorite in the trip)

The wall painting at Vincent's Cafe

The wall painting at Vincent’s Cafe

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the note we posted at the wall

the note we posted at the wall

 

cheers!

cheers!

Since the cafe’s closed at 10, we decided to go to my room at the lodge and continue the siesta! lol

my new friends!

my new friends!

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The morning after, it was all too quiet. 🙂 I readied my things right away because it was my last day and I’ve to catch the earliest bus to Baguio City. It was overcast, foggy and sad. It was sad because I’m gonna be missing this place 🙂

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Goin' back to reality

Goin’ back to reality