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

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 





“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





Bantayan Island, another Fun Place to Watch For!

2 12 2012
Sunday, 13 October 2012
Northwest of Cebu Island,
Visayas region, Philippines

If you want to have a more of nature and less of crowded people, go to Bantayan island for another year-round fun!1-Bantayan look

Find out why the island is true to its name (“bantayan” which means  “to watch closely” in Filipino). Here are the reasons why:

1. The island has something to offer for snorkeling. From Bantayan island, you need to hire a boat to go to the snorkeling areas2-Bantayan sandbar

2. If you really love the sea, you could go island hopping and see for yourself your Bantayan adventure! Bantayan is the main island amongst the Bantayan Island Group which comprise of more than 16 smaller ones

5-Lazy day 

 3. For a lazy afternoon, you could just bum around, enjoy the fresh air,   savour the seabreeze.

4-You could also do some touring.  Hire a van from your hotel and check out the adventure park and resort for a short caving and little sunbathing beside a pool (if you miss a little bit the city life!).  Then go 4-Bantayan treelineto the Sts Peter and Paul Parish church built during the 1580s. Then after a holy hour go to the interesting wet market where you could see different sea species abound. Bantayan is Cebu’s fishing ground and famous for its guinamos (salted fish) and buwad (dried fish). These goods go to the main island – Cebu, to Mindanao and Manila. So before they leave Bantayan and have more padded cost due to the freight charges, why don’t you do your marketing here and enjoy buying for less!3-Bantayan sundown

HOW TO GO THERE: From Manila, take the early flight bound to Cebu so that you could catch the ferry bound to Bantayan island before night time. Travel time: less than 1.5 hours. Then from Cebu Mactan airport, you could either hire a van or ride the bus that will drive you to  Hagnaya port. Bus terminal is located at the North Bus terminal from SM mall. Travel time: about 3 hrs from the airport to the port. Major areas to your point of destination: Liloan, Campostela, Danao city, Carmen, Catmon, Tabogon, Bogo city. Then from the port, take the ferry boat that goes to Bantayan island. There are organized ferry service companies to choose from. Travel time: 1.5 hrs.

WHERE TO STAY: There are quite a number of resorts and even areas for backpackers. But before you land the island, make sure you have already did some booking to avoid annoying sales agent from the port.

BUDGET: About 200 USD (8k php) for a group of 4 people inclusive transportation, hotel, food and even shopping for dried fish! There are very few banks on the island so please ensure that you have already loaded before you go to the island. It is better to enough that would get you a decent place to stay and food to eat than regret. You could use the limited ATM facilities for shopping.

LANGUAGE SPOKEN ON THE ISLAND: They have a fusion of Visayan language (Cebuano, Illonggo, Waray-Waray, Masbatenyo and Boholano). If you are not familiar with any of these you could either converse with the local in Filipino or English. h





Good morning Vietnam!

18 11 2012
Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

It feels morning all the time in Vietnam! People are friendly and there’s good food all day round!

After having your healthy balanced Vietnamese food with fresh herbs, meat and spice, the best way to end the day is to go around HCM on motorbike during the night. Hire a 100 cc bike and enjoy the cooler green environment and breathtaking scenery of the areas Districts 1 to 3 where tourist spots, clubs and good restaurants are located. There are 24 districts in HCM and you do not need to see all these areas for sure!

Enjoy the city’s folk and ancient Vietnamese architecture rich in brick, pottery, ceramic with unique dimension and correlation. While on motorbike, I feasted my eyes looking on to the  well-lighted 68th floor high skyscraper Bitexco Financial Building, 262.5 meters (861 ft). Good thing I wasn’t the one driving! Thanks to both Minh and Tuyen for I reached back the hotel safely! 

Other related blogs >>https://adventureh.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/wanna-be-a-millionaire-go-to-vietnam/

ADVENTURE PROMPT: As a precautionary when on motorbike, carry your backpack in front of you. h





What’s Truly Malaysia for you?

16 11 2012
Friday, 16 November 2012
Klang, Selangor, Malaysia
(32km West of Kuala Lumpur)
 

1. Food. Nasi Lemak goes number 1 on the list for only 1 RM (Malaysian Ringgit) or 14php/33cents. It is a rice-based staple food with some peanuts, dried chillies, cucumber, salted fish, coconut milk, boiled egg and a lot of tasty sauce that you could devour! (Don’t forget to drink “daun teh” green tea afterwards!)

 

2. Green. Your eyes could only hope to see up close and personal the rich   environment  surrounding even right in front of your hotel! 

3. Infrastructure. Towering skyscrapers,  impressive roads and highways will really fuel you to go to various places in the country! h








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