FLASH UPDATE: NO DENR Permit, NO ENTRY for Hikers

2 04 2017

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Dolores, Quezon

 

We drove roughly 96 km or 2 hours or so just to be rejected this morning.

While parking karuwahe, locals informed us that permits are now required before hiking Mt. Cristobal and Mt. Banahaw respectively.

One may get in touch with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sariaya Quezon.

LESSON LEARNED: Although you have already been to a place several times, never underestimate permitting in your planning! h

 

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Get your Playlist Ready on your next Roadtrip with Black Widow!

15 05 2016

14-17 April 2016

Bicol Region, Philippines

The song Black Widow that combines a cracking sound of joy, heavy beat and clapping chorus formula was indeed a good concoction for a roadtrip.

Despite the fact that the lyrics chronicle subjects of revenge and feminism in a failed romantic relationship we all turned the negative message into positive coherence to renew the vow of friendship. We were all ready with our wide open road itinerary to explore the beauty of Bicol region, pair of shades, waze – a free GPS driving app and a hat to go with the final get-up.

The song surely capsulized a continuing friendship. “I’m gonna love ya.. I’m gonna love ya” as if saying “I’m gonna drive ya, I’m gonna drive ya” even if you wanted to sleep while on the road.  The song accompanied us, Breadship roadtrippers – Monay, Crinkles, Straw, Eggpie and Ensaymada, the birthday celebrator in our Bicol region adventure. “I’m gonna love ya, until you hate me.. And I’m gonna show ya, what’s really crazy”. We went nuts indeed! So, what’s your playlist?…h

 

 

 

 





The TTs that you should Experience while in Benguet

5 04 2016

TTs – Mt Tabayoc (+/- 2685m asl); Mt Timbak (+/-2,545 m asl)

Saturday, 2 – 3 April 2016

Benguet, Philippines

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Mt Tabayoc – Picturesque mountain and said to be the second highest in mountain in Luzon. One would see the view upfront Lake Tabayo even from the ranger. Official record shows an elevation of 2,842 m asl.

Mt Timbak – sacred place for the locals, ninth highest mountain in the country. Official record shows an elevation of 2,717 m asl. This is located between Atok and Kabayan

 

ITINERARY

Day 1 (travel to the destination)

21:30 ETD Pasay, Joy bus

 

Day 2 (actual hike)

3:00 ETA Baguio (the business district of northen Luzon, +/- 1540m asl considered to be a tropical pine forest ecoregion of the country)

7:00  ETD Slaughter house compound to catch the bus bound to Kabayan, This was where we met Pedro (Peter, real name), a Dutch volunteer and backpacker

11:00 ETA Poblacion, Kabayan, Benguet

12:00 Have lunch at Chogong Restaurant

13:20 Take the local bus going to the jump off (Ballay Elementary School, 1st registration at the local barangay; Take a chartered ride to the Ranger station for the 2nd registration. Otherwise, start walking on a rolling hill up for 1 hr)

15:00 Start pitching tent (Remember that this is the best tip when camping – Pitch tent before it gets dark! Ensure that you will minimize risks while pitching during the night and most of all you could immediately rest after night trekking! Leave unnecessary things on the trail. Make sure you carry your trail food, water, torch/headlamp, raincoat or poncho, jacket. We did hiking at 11 deg C in the dark mossy and rooted forest trail)

16:00 Start hiking (at +/- 2,480 m asl, farm land area so please respect crops of the local community while walking)

17:40 ETA Dungawan (+/- 2,505 m asl, already in the middle of the forest trail, halfway to the summit)

19:20 ETA Summit (be careful stepping on the wooden stairs).

19:30 Start descend

22:00 ETA Ranger, prepare dinner

23:00 Dinner

24:00 Lights out

 

Day 3 (actual hike then travel back from destination)

06:30 Wake up, prepare breakfast, break camp, clean your tent and pack up your things

08:00 Have breakfast with the locals

09:00 Enjoy watching the locals harvest carrots! (if you are lucky to catch the season)

09:30 ETD Ranger bound to Timbak Elementary School (The chartered ride takes 30 minutes only but we did quite a number of stops for photo opt and giving way to counter flow vehicles. Make sure you choose a very good driver like Kagawad)

11:30 ETA Timbak Elementary School, register

11:40 Start hiking (enjoy the short-distance ala pilgrimage trek up alongside farming area of lovely flowers)

11:50 ETA Summit

12:15 Start descend then head to the highway

13:00 ETA Halsema highway km55

15:30 ETA Baguio

 

Side trips within Baguio

18:00 Tam-awan Village for a unique blend of indigenous aesthetics and craftmanship of Cordilleran art

19:00 Go to Session Road and chill out (too many restaurants to choose from for various foods – pasta, pizza, local food)

21:00 Try the night market for “Ukay-Ukay” or bargain shopping (with defective items or second hand goods)

22:00 Catch the bus back to Manila

 

BUDGET for:+/- 5,000php for a group of 4 pax inclusive of bus from Manila to Baguio, environmental fee, heritage fee, guide, camping fee, entrance fee, food, taxi within Baguio, chartered vehicle within Kabayan and Atok areas, FX or bus from Baguio to Benguet areas

*NOTES: 1) elevation- from my reading using the 2015 calibrated Casio ABT watch; 2) Conserve water from the Mt Tabayoc Ranger, local female/male guides patiently fill up pails for the visitors; 3) Coordinate with Jahmes Calixto for onsite guidance – 0917-3818041 globe, 0918-510 9711 smart. h

 

 

 





7 Cities that you could Bike Ride in Metro Manila within 8 hours

3 01 2016

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Saturday, 2 January 2016

Metro Manila, Philippines

If you want to see Metro Manila without the traffic for a fun and easy bike ride, consider taking the 7-city less than 43km 8-hr bike ride.

I just did the following today with Cham and Tiny, the Giant bike of B3.

ROUTE: Makati, Manila, Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Taguig

START/END: 10am to 6pm

DISTANCE/PACE: 42.38km; 29.7km/h (18.45mph)

ROUTES WITH POINTS OF INTERESTS:

1. MAKATI. See the country’s premier financial capital. Start on Pasay Road or Arnaiz Avenue to get a glimpse of Makati. Cross Osmena Highway to Evangelista. Mind the jeepneys for they will race you though you have already shown them your hand signals.

2. MANILA. Head straight to Libertad- Taft Avenue. Stop for a second in Cartimar for a last minute bike-check (e.g. check the wheels, tires, brakes, chain, alignment, or any accessories such as odometer that you may need for the day).

Then off to F. B. Harrison towards Roxas Blvd. on Service Road for a safe ride. Enjoy the view of Star City, Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Fountain, get mesmerized with the vintage fighting ships of the Philippine Navy as you continue biking towards Manila Yacht Club side. Revel the 2km stretch of Baywalk, the seaside promenade overlooking Manila Bay. See the fisherfolks park their humble boats while they catch their food for the day. This Baywalk is a place where you could come back and see the “best sunset”. See the locals spend their day walking. Witness the underground economy selling various foods and even offering massage on the seaside!

As you reach the US Embassy, you will hit the Manila Museum and Rizal Park where the national Hero named “Jose Protacio Mercado Rizal” is standing still. Cross Katigbak Drive and pass by Manila Hotel. Continue on Bonifacio Drive, pass by Club Intramuros Golf Course. Turn right as you see Anda Circle. Then enjoy biking on the dedicated bicycle path of the “walled city” of Intramuros. It is the historic place built by the Spaniards hundreds years ago. Say “hello” to the security guards dressed as “guardia civil” around the area. Pass by Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, San Agustin Museum. As you finish your wandering, grab a bite, go to Barbaras or Casa Marineros but make sure your pocket is padded with lots of money! Else, head straight to General Luna street then turn left as you see Luna Triangle pass by Manila City hall. Head straight to Manila Central Post Office. Take the bridge going to Sta. Cruz church. Pass by Carriedo, Rizal Avenue and turn right to Claro M. Recto Avenue pass by Mendiola, the street close to Malacanang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines. Mendiola has been the site of numerous and bloody demonstrations. This is also the place that form Manila’s University Belt where colleges and universities are alongside one another. Then pass by Pureza, look down on Hipodromo St while on the bridge towards Altura, V. Mapa, SM City Sta. Mesa

3. QUEZON CITY. As you cross Araneta Avenue, you are now in the 3rd city of the day! Just go straight Aurora Blvd, cross Broadway Avenue, turn right on Gilmore as you see St. Paul University QC

4. SAN JUAN. On Gilmore, stop at Jollibee. They have a space to park your bike while you munch your simple lunch.

As I unlock my Master Lock, I noticed that my front tire was no longer properly inflated! (Sigh!) Thanks to the friendly people around the area who told us that Vulcanizing Shop is on N. Domingo! I paid 40php (<1 USD) . Then the rain started pouring! B3 and I were just waiting for the rain to stop at Los Hermanos Taco Shop near Petron . Afterwards, we continued biking on Ortigas Avenue. Passed by Santolan Avenue, Greenhills Shopping Center then crossed Edsa.

5. PASIG. We turned right to ADB Avenue, crossed Dona Julia Vargas and continued on San Miguel Avenue.

6. MANDALUYONG. Instead of taking the Edsa-Shaw flyover, we took the easy and safe side of Shaw Blvd. Then turned left on Acacia Lane, crossed Boni Avenue, continued on Primo Cruz, and the seaside of Pasig River. After hours of biking, I felt the uphill ride on Mandaluyong-Makati bridge!

From there, we were back in Makati. I was already cruising Makati Avenue, Ayala Avenue. We stopped at Rustan’s on McKinley Road to relax and eat the cupcake that my friend Jen has given me earlier. Yes, it was picnic time!

7. TAGUIG. We continued along the greenery area of 5th Ave and Lawton Avenue for a photo op of both Cham and Tiny.

Then I went back to Makati where I started and B3 to Taguig.

(NOTES: There are 17 cities in Metro Manila and majority has no dedicated bicycle path. The route is controlled by where and when you want to start. Bike ride on a holiday is preferable for a relaxed traffic regulations and no-frill bike ride. The duration vary depending on your speed. Jeepneys are the most popular and most decorative public transportation in the country.) h





Be extra careful at Automated Teller Machines!

2 09 2015
2 September 2015
Legaspi Village, Makati
Philippines
I obviously like adventures, but not like this one…
There was a robber at the ATM between Salcedo and Rufino Streets around 20:45 today
As I was waiting for my ATM transaction, I suspiciously identified the man behind me as a potential robber. I wanted to leave but my ATM card was still inside the machine.
The man in his late 40s who was wearing rubber shoes, shorts and shirts looking like he just did some jogging around the park was waiting for me to complete my transaction.
I concluded that the man was a robber when he requested for money from me. He declared that he does not have money for transportation to go home. I communicated back and told him that I do not have money either. No cash from my ATM account.
Another man passed by but did not detect that I already needed help or possibly did not bother. I decided to continue communicating with the robber and gave him the pineapple juice I intended to give my friend. The robber responded that he is a good person then he walked away.
After I have composed myself, I thanked JC (Jesus Christ) and went inside the State Condominium building where the 2 guards were sitting. I reported to them that I was almost robbed at the ATM without them knowing it. They both confirmed that indeed there are no BPI ATM guards posted outside their building. I told them that I was lucky that the machine was offline and no cash was dispensed.
As I was leaving the area, I thought I was safe within Legazpi Village in Makati. I was wrong. I found myself lingering how safe I was 30 minutes BEFORE the incident. I was confidently eating my orange and sipping my pineapple juice as I sat on the pavement of Legazpi Park between Rada and Legazpi Streets while waiting for my gym buddy.
At the gym, it took me 10 minutes on the treadmill before I was able to talk with my gym buddy
I realized that I was still lucky for nothing violent happened and the robber was not successful. Was he just thirsty? h




“Batang Batad” Turns 3!

12 07 2015

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-A Birthday Community Outreach-

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Batad, Banaue, Ifugao, Cordillera

Luzon, Philippines

It all started with one volunteer, my two friends – J for the 1st year and C for the 2nd year.

Then got tripled three times this year! Yes, nine of us went to Cordillera for the birthday community outreach dubbed as “Batang Batad 2015”. Wasn’t it the best gift ever? They spent their weekend with the kids of Batad!!

BEFORE THE OUTREACH. While waiting for Lilian with the sorbetes ordered direct from Lagawe to Batad, we decided to do the Banaue tour. First stop was the trial of the local wooden scooter, then to Banaue Viewpoint where I met the local women who loves saying “Wacky! Wacky!” Then we went shopping and had some cultural awareness at Banaue Museum. Then more shopping at Tam-an Village where the local Ifugao house is showcased. Tam-an Village is just beside Banaue Hotel.

ON OUR WAY TO BATAD. While I was busy coordinating with some more logistics like picking up the spaghetti ordered from Las Vegas Restaurant, the other volunteers excitingly went on top of the chartered jeepney for their ‘topload’ experience. Grateful moment was the time we started walking on foot for more than 1 hour with the goodies loaded by each one of us from the saddle.

OUTREACH PROPER. Without having eaten our lunch, we started setting up at 12n since kids were mushrooming around. We handed the spaghetti and drinks then the much awaited sorbetes. It was their first time to see and tasted a real local ice cream in the country. For the locals, their “ice cream” is solely the “ice candy” inside a square-shape styropor. The experience didn’t stop there. They too had movie time with a projector set-up by the Tostados boys – B1, B3 and B4. We were supposed to play “Rio” but movie didn’t work out. Good thing that B4 was ready with his “Avengers”.

While the kids were watching the movie, we indulged ourselves for lunch. It was almost 3pm. Then we started repacking the goodies inside a classroom. The whole area became like a “repacking assembly line”. It was a smooth process spearheaded by the ladies – Cath, Emerald, Jonine, Lianne, Migs.  Kids who rendered a song, a poem or who even won the “Bring Me” game got a bag or two. Of course, Lianne didn’t get any bag although she has shown us her dance moves right in front of the kids!

I was in awe when the teacher mentioned “Bring me a kuto!”.  It helped me gain a better perspective for the next Batang Batad in 2016 since lice infestation seemingly was common.

AFTER THE OUTREACH. As part of my Thanksgiving to the volunteers, I decided to invite the two remaining mumbakis in the village. The mumbakis are the Ifugao religious specialist who says prayers and does rituals to various deities specially after a rice harvest. They offer chicken. They chant memorized lines, oral traditions, stories and lineages that are passed on from generations to generations in a rhythmic tone. They only pause when they share tapuy, the local rice wine and when they refill chewing betel nut and leaves called “nga nga” or “moma”.

Uncle Simon’s Viewpoint Inn wrapped up our day.

MORE SIDETRIPS. B1, B3 and B4 game me “fried pusit” (squid) for breakfast. I then became brave enough to take everyone at the Viewpoint, the highest point where one could both see the whole rice terraces and the saddle. I may say that Ifugao Rice Terraces was a phenomenal trekking on the rice paddy coupled by the descent to Tappiya Waterfalls.

Lilian, the local contact hosted our lunch with her tinolang manok. Thanks to the mumbaki who gave us one of the two chickens used for their ritual. After walking around 600meters for our backpacks at Uncle Simon’s Viewpoint Inn, we all decided to go back to the saddle. Since we were one hour early than the agreed time for the chartered jeepney, all of us consumed the tapuy from the locals. It was an afternoon “tagayan” or alcohol drinking session.

BACK TO BANAUE. Maybe because of the alcohol spirit and not the deities of the mumbakis, we decided to go “topload” on our way back to Banaue.

I may say that this year marked the birth of a new friendship – the “Mumbeki gang” – no one else but – Cath, Emerald, Jonine, Lianne, Migs, B1, B3 and B4.

*1) To some countries, “Bata” is a brand of shoes or a city in Equatorial Guinea. But “bata” in Filipino language means “kid” or children. Hence, Batang Batad means Batad child. Batad is a village in Banaue, Ifugao, Cordillera region. This is known to be the UNESCO Heritage Site location of the amphitheatre rice terraces at 1,100m elevation. 2) sorbetes is a local ice cream in the country made from coconut milk and peddled by street hawkers. 3) kuto is a louse or wingless insect. h





Quick Subic Bay!

28 04 2015
Saturday, 18 April 2015
Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales
Luzon, Philippines

Subic Freeport Zone is less than 250km from Metro Manila or 2.5 hrs via NLEX North Luzon Expressway and SCTEX Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway. Therefore if you want a quick feel of nature, try to grab your bag and spare 2 days and 1 night! Choices of fun outdoor activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, swim with dolphins, boat tours or some safari, bat adventure, monkey encounters on the road to Ocean Adventure, hiking, zip line, and immersion with indigenous people like Aetas await you.

You can snorkel in a resort 20km away from Waterfront Road, the main thoroughfare where nightlife ends at 4am. Or just bum around in the infinity pool. Just enjoy! h








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