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

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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



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




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


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

RIO IS ART: A Weekend Get Away

21 09 2012
Monday 17 September 2012
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

If you want to feel how it is in Rio for a weekend, try this itinerary (beach, events, sightseeing, hiking):

Friday, Day 1

Arrive late night Guarulhos International Airport

Saturday, Day 2 Copacobana, Ipanema, Harley Davidson Motorcycle event, Corcovado

Early Morning – go to Copacaba and Ipanema for photo opportunities and natural appreciation of beauty. Copacobana is Rio’s major site. Ipanema on the other hand surfaced famous bossa nova songs, my fave.

Mid-morning – I was lucky to see the second Rio Harley Davison Motorcycle event where I saw several models and heard in volume the powerful head turning sound of this big bike!

Afternoon – Catch the tram that would take you to Corcovado, the statue of Christ the Redeemer. This is the largest, most famous Art Deco and considered sanctuary in the country. Christ is soaring high at 30 meters with 8 meter pedestal on Tijuca National Park (710 meters above sea level). Once here, enjoy the panoramic natural beauty of Rio’s sea and mountains. The Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas lies just fronting Corcovado.

Sunday, Day 3 Bodyboarding World Championship event, Urban Hiking on Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf)

Early Morning – Another good thing happened during this trip was my destiny to see and witness the Mundial Bodyboarding/Bodyboarding World Championship event At Copacobana’s Posto 5

Afternoon – Urban Hiking on Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf) and catch the sight of Botafogo and Guanabara Bay. Related link >> https://adventureh.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/urban-hiking-on-pao-de-acucar-sugar-loaf/

Monday, Day 4

Depart early, Guarulhos International Airport

HOW TO GO TO CORCOVADO: This will depend where you will come from. Say Copacabana, go to Bus station 2 and take bus#583. Going back to Copacabana should be bus#584. Otherwise, get the local Rio Guide book for more information.

HOW TO KNOW THE LOCAL EVENTS: From the international airport, go to the information desk. Ask for the guide book and look for what you could find. Also get a map, to know how to get to the event you have chosen!

As I have said, RIO IS ART! Atè a proxima! h

Urban Hiking on Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf)

20 09 2012
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sunday 16 September 2012

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Allow me to say that hiking in Rio maybe tricky.

First, there was the blind jump off that lies inside the parking lot before the beach area with a signage called “Pista Claudio Coutinho”. Inside this park, the trail towards the summit starts with an established 2km pathway that would take you to either Morro da Urca (220 meters high) and or Pão de Açúcar (396 meters high).

Lots of runners, hikers and other outdoor enthusiast abound. You will see some kids testing their skills as they wall climb within the area. You will also enjoy seeing some “saguis” or the small monkeys and other interesting flora and birds.

After you have been mesmerized by its beauty, you will be surprised looking at the approx 85 degree ascend to Morro da Urca and the puzzling trail of Pão de Açúcar as it ends at the established pathway after 2km.

I thought of not liking to start my “walk in the park” break-in hike with an abrupt ascend.  I then decided to proceed with my plan – Pão de Açúcar. My second plan anyway as I have told myself was to hike Morro da Urca the same afternoon. I was assured by the Rio Guide book and the information officers, Lucas and America at Copacobana beach that Pão de Açúcar will only take about 1.5 hours and Morro da Urca is very much lesser.

As I have reached the end of the 2km pathway, I realized the second trick. There was this big cemented structure, and the trail goes just beside it. One needs to pass sideways. Mind you, just keep on the left so that you will not drop directly onto the shoreline! I followed the typical “soil” trail, but I almost got lost at a fork. Good that I heard 2 hikers chit chatting while they ascended or else, I will be one of the statistics of Pão de Açúcar who got injured or so. I went back to the fork and met 1 group who chose the boulder pathway on the right instead of the ‘soil” trail on the left. I tailed them since they had a local travel agency lead who was guiding them on the trail.

The third trick was that I could not reach the summit if I was not in full wall climbing gear. This was confidently verbalized to me by the team lead of the group that I have met. I was only in my running attire. And going back alone onto the same path was not safe at all. Without second thoughts, I decided to join their team who had the itinerary of traversing Pão de Açúcar then descended via the Italian-made bubble shaped glass cable car. This cable gave a 360-degree view of the surrounding areas. I obviously swallowed the financial consequence against security and safety concerns. After all, I was there to have a Rio adventure!

My final trick was that I too hit 2 summits in 1 day – of Pão de Açúcar and Morro da Urca. Thanks to the cable car that run 1400-meter long between these two peaks!

HOW TO GET THERE: This will depend where you will come from. Say Copacabana, go to Bus station 2 and take bus # 511. Going back to Copacabana should be bus#512. Otherwise, get the local Rio Guide book for more bus information and or take the cab (just make sure you have extra cash since some cab charges more than the hotel’s fee).

WHERE TO GET THE RIO GUIDE BOOK: From the international airport, go to the information desk and ask for the map and the guide book. Tiago, the officer will surely assist you!
HOW TO CONTACT THE LOCAL AGENCY: Go to this link >> http://adventuretourismrj.blogspot.com.ar/2011_03_01_archive.html

HOW TO END THE HIKE WITH A FESTIVE MOOD: Go to Pizzeria Laguna, a local eatery in the area before reaching Pista Claudio Coutinho park. Or better yet, boost your energy by eating here before and after hiking, just like what I did! h

Gear Review: Hillary Sleeping Bag

16 07 2012
Tuesday, 19 June 2012
High Camp, Mt Kilimanjaro
Tanzania, East Africa

Five nights of no chills! Bulky but very reliable with -20 temperature rating. I used it up to Barafu Camp with an elevation of 4,700m .

A, our Dutch Kili climb buddy even got surprised when I said that I even melted in my sleeping bag!

This entry is related to >> https://adventureh.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/packing-checklist-mt-kilimanjaro-adventurehescape/


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