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



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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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



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




“Batang Batad” Turns 3!

12 07 2015

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

-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

End of the Year Day Hike: Mt Sembrano

17 01 2015

Sunday, 7 December 2014
Pililla, Rizal, Philippines

B1 and B3 informed me of their hike Week1 of December. But when typhoon Ruby international name “Hagupit” planned to hit the country, they aborted their plan. They together with B2 ended up joining J and I to Mt. Sembrano, a 745m above sea level or 2438 ft high located between Rizal and Laguna provinces.

Our itinerary:

1-Target Mt Sembrano5:45 Jollibee Edsa Shangrila

8:00 Brgy Malaya, Pililla, Rizal, Registered at the Barangay hall, 210 m asl.

2- Registration Brgy Malaya 
08:00 Started trekking

Trail and flora nearing Manggahan.

5-Flora at Manggahan

09:00 Manggahan

3-ManggahanI was expecting the Manggahan that I used to know. However, we didn’t catch the sight of the swing made of used tire anymore. The manang (the feminine term for older sister) who used to sell banana or mangoes (depending on the season) was not there too. Instead, we saw the kids of Manggahan (manggahan is a local term for mango plantation) cutting some woods in preparation for their lunch.  I told myself that I had to document it. I wanted to share what was happening to the kids back home who for sure were busy with their PS4 or tablets.

While killing time, I suggested B1 and B2 to prepare their lunch as well. 

4-Manggahan10:45 Continued trekking

6-Nearing South Peak11:45 First or South Peak 

7-View towards North Peak from South Peak.12:45 Lunch

After lunch, I guided B1, B2 and B3 to the summit. We were lucky that typhoon Ruby was not there! We took the pleasure of no scourging sun and no rain before us.

8-Reaching North Peak13:20 Second or North Peak

10-View at North PeakUpon reaching the summit, H took some time with baby digi (my digital Canon) 

9-At North PeakWe all paused for a while and enjoyed the picturesque view of Laguna Lake and nearby landmarks like Talim Island, Sierra Madre range, etc.  14:45 Went back to First Peak

15:45 Manggahan

16:30 Back to Jump-off

We logged out at the Registration. That was the time I realized I forgot my bullcap at Manggahan! For sure it will be of use for the kids anyway :0

HOW TO GO THERE: From Edsa Shaw Boulevard, take the road to SM Angono Rizal. Then from Binangonan, take the Tanay Laguna side, Morong then Baras. Once you reached Brgy Julo of Pililla, the next barangay would be Brgy Quisao. Stop at Brgy Malaya Barangay Hall or Multi-Purpose Building (see 2nd photo above) to register. h


What’s up with Mt Maculot via Rockies in December 2014?

2 01 2015

Cuenca, Batangas, Philippines
Thursday, 26 December 2014

I am into weekly training hikes this month in preparation for an upcoming major event in 2015.
So my friend J and I decided to do our favourite 87km or less than 3 hour bus-ride to Cuenca Batangas where Mt Maculot is located

Since there are 2 access points to Mt Maculot – one via grotto and another via rockies, we decided to do rockies. Upon registration, we were requested to pay 400php (9USD). As expected, we did not agree. We know the trails to the summit and even to the boulder side. Most of all, we know that it used to be more or less 20php sometime ago (less than 1USD)

We aborted the rockies side and did the grotto. h

Related blog >> https://adventureh.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/want-to-hike-maculot/

Hiking Mt Batur in Bali

31 12 2013

Kintamani District, Bali, Indonesia

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Bali is equal to beaches, art and temples, so I said..

Who would have thought that Bali then is also a place for hiking? Not me!

Two days before my flight, I realized that there was a hiking potential in Bali on Mt Batur (Gunung Batur), an active volcano. I started packing with the hope of doing the sunrise hike together with my snorkelling and touristy get-ups.

Upon landing Saturday wee hours in the morning, I told the driver-guide Edy to find a mountain guide for me. After our day tour, Edy was able to contact Komang. It was like a sparkling moment.

Excited as I was, both Edy and I left the hotel at 1:30am the following day. We drove in a dark and rugged cemented road to the northern area of Kintamani from Kuta. We reached the foggy jump off* around 2:30am, 1,215m asl.  At the parking area, I saw some hikers from some parts of the world.

Komang and I started our adventurous hike around 3am in the cold 15 deg coupled with the morning breeze. He lent me his torch. While on trail, I started doubting the weather for a promise of sunrise. But it didn’t stop me. We continued our hike until we reached a flat area near a tree after about 1 km walk where I removed my jacket due to my self-“steaming” condition. I was already perspiring in the cold environment! There I met a teenager who offered to sell soda. I didn’t buy. I don’t really like sodas. I pulled out my water container and took a sip instead.

We continued trekking up to the trail where one could see a small Hindu temple. Komang had to do puja, or called sembhayang a prayer ritual to honor a deity, the “mountain God”. I waited. I took that opportunity to pee in the bushes! Yes, out in the woods.

Good thing that the trail was generally hiker-friendly composed of greyish to blackish soft soil emitted by the volcano. It is no joke when you do “night” trekking specially on a very challenging trail. As you hike up, expect some small, medium rocks to boulder-type. We finally reached the summit lodge area at 4:35am after the 3km walk from the jump-off. It took me 1.5 hours to reach the summit of Mt Batur at 1,717m above sea level I was expecting a 2-hr hike, based on the reviews. I have ascended about 500 m asl in the dark!

I sat on the wooden bench, had breakfast and waited for the sunrise. No bright sky out there. Venus was not visible. I could not even see the woman hiker sitting next to me. After 30 minutes of my silent moment, Komang was already offering the hot Balinese tea since he saw me already feeling cold and sleepy. I only had 1 hour sleep before the hike. Komang offered the area near the kitchen so that I could warm myself while waiting for the sunrise. I went inside where all the guides were staying. Then I fell comfortably asleep with my feet up rested on the wall. After 45 minutes, Komang woke me up. It was time to do the Mt Batur tour.

We started hiking around the summit and went further down towards the volcanic steam. I never thought that Komang is also a magician aside from being a mountain guide. He created more mist at a vent that made all the monkeys around the area wondering. When I saw 3 monkeys already near me, Komang and I continued our adventure towards the bat cave. There was a small temple inside the cave. However, we didn’t go inside since we didn’t have the traditional clothing worn during worship that locals and tourists use to wrap around from waist down. This clothing is equal to the “malong”, a traditional tube skirt. Since Hindu worshipping varies depending on the deity and place, it is not appropriate for locals and tourists to face this temple in their pants.

At the mouth of the cave, I saw the photographer’s side of Komang. He made me strong! He got a palm-sized stone and held my baby digi (my 60D canon) and took a snap. Lo and behold! I really looked like I had muscles!  

Then we paid respect and offered thanksgiving prayer to the small Hindu temple, also a marker of Mt Batur. We saw some international and local tourists. I had snaps with local tourist upon their request. I didn’t know why they like having photo with me. Then snaps around the caldera where monkeys abound. I have confirmed that these monkeys were friendly since two tents were still standing freely! It could be dangerous at times..

At 7am, Komang and I started descending to the longer trail. It was a refreshing view. I had a different vantage point of Mt Batur and I saw some flora within the area. “Pelan-pelan” (slowly) was the Indonesian word of the day. It could be a good mantra while descending since small rocks could be so tricky.

Upon reaching a pavement, Komang’s other side surfaced once again. He taught me how to descend the cemented road facing back instead of facing the trail ahead of you. I admit. It was easier. Five minutes before 8am, the phone rang. Edy was already checking on us. Suddenly, it rained. Good thing we were already few steps away from the jump-off. It was my cue to use my umbrella. As a gratitude to my trustworthy Mt Batur guide Komang I gave him my bush hat, more appropriate apparel for his profession so he will no longer use his bullcap. The bush hat symbolizes our new friendship so more mountains to climb in Bali.


1:30am ETD Kuta hotel           

2:30am ETA jump-off, Kintamani District

2:45am Briefing for the hike (trail, safety, gadgets, things to bring, time to go back to the jump-off)

3:00am Start ascend

4:30am ETA Summit crater, breakfast, rest

6:00am Continue trek around the entire crater, summit, bat cave

7:00am Start descend

8:00am ETA jump-off, parking lot, board vehicle

10:00am ETA Kuta hotel (due to traffic approx 2 hrs instead of 1 hr)


  1. Hiking shoes
  2. Jacket
  3. Hiking pants
  4. Camera (like my baby digi with wide lens)
  5. Raincoat or umbrella
  6. Headlamp, torch or flashlight
  7. Drinking water in a container
  8. Tips for the mountain guide and driver
  9. Open-mindedness


  1. Make sure you have a trustworthy and English-speaking driver like Edy and Batur guide like Komang J
  2. Pray pray pray for a safe fun hike!!

*starting point of the hike.h

One Day Hike, A Lifetime Memories: Mt Maculot Traverse

22 03 2013
Sunday, 20 January 2013
Cuenca, Batangas, Philippines

After a month or so of no outdoor activities, where else could I gear up? Of course Maculot! Crinkles, Monay and I wanted something more than the rockies itinerary. To make it more exciting then, a traverse hike would be the best! Let me share with you this safest route (grotto traverse rockies). Oh, before telling you the itinerary, I should say why it is the safest for me. Less hikers take the grotto side and traverse to rockies. Therefore, in case of any untoward incidents, more people may respond to you and not just those from the registration area! Besides, after grotto is already a forested area. Better,don’t get trapped in a very unfashionable way! So here goes:

Itinerary: Traverse from Grotto to Rockies side
7am – ETD Makati for North contingents, take the bus bound to Lipa, Batangas
8am – ETD Alabang for South contingents, take the bus bound to Lipa1-Maculot from the local market
10am – ETA Lipa, proceed to any nearby fast food for breakfast; this will be the waiting area for other fun hikers, just don’t forget to send them sms!
11am – ETD Lipa, take the jeepney bound to Cuenca
11:15am – local market, take the tricyle, go to Grotto registration area 
11:30am – start ascend, hike-up
12:30pm – ETD grotto, have lunch, photo op, then descend to the grassland  area – about 3-4 ft tall (depending on the season)
2-View After Grotto
13:30pm – ETD first rope area with bouldering.
Then continue hiking to the forested area
4-View after Rope1
13:50pm – ETD second rope area, but with dependencies on the traffic on trail. Hike up to the rooted area5-Rope2
14:20pm – ETD summit, photo op, enjoy the view of Taal6-Taal from Summit
15:30pm – ETD 7-11, there are sari-sari stores (more than 1 underground economy abound specially during Holy Week selling soda, candies etc). Go to rockies (be extra careful here for visibility may be a challenge specially from 4pm onwards)
16:30pm-  start descend, otherwise leave at 15:45 if rockies’ visibility is not good
7-Trail from Rockies side
18:00pm – ETA rockies side registration area, local market
More of Maculot >> https://adventureh.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/want-to-hike-maculot/

Don’t forget your sunscreen! All for Fun! h

%d bloggers like this: