Mt Ulap Overnight Camp Guide




“Just live even though it’s not extraordinary’

– Fakir

Features: Mt Ulap Experience, Budget, Itinerary and Overnight Review

pine-tree-forest

Where is Mt Ulap?

The Benguet Province mountains and trail never fail to amaze our hiking group. The weather and picturesque scene make us go back from time to time. We plan our group climb a month ago and it was a huge success. Checking out blogs for overnight camping trip is hard. I want to share our experience climbing Mt Ulap. The mountain is located in between Ampucao and Sta Fe, Itogon Benguet which is 45 minutes – 1 hour away from Baguio City. Surrounded by pines trees that gives the wintry effect. Peak season is during the summer months. Hiking groups and travel agencies are all over the place throughout the year. Our climb was on September 16 – 18 2016 which is rainy season. Trail is wet and clearing is up to the weather.

back-packer

How to go here:

Buses to Baguio City are very common in Cubao and Pasay Area. We catch our bus at Victory Liner Terminal in Cubao regular bus fare for Php 450.00 and Deluxe bus for Php 750.00. Traveling from Cubao to Baguio City takes around 5 – 6 hours with stop over in Tarlac and Pangasinan.

You can take your private vehicle from Manila to Ampucao or join travel agencies at your own convenience. I checked agencies and they offer Php 1400.00 – 1800.00 per pax. It’s an all in tour with Baguio City side trip and van transfer which good for 10 – 16 pax.

My group prefer a do-it-yourself itinerary so that we can maximize our hiking time and our own budget. We have complete hiking gear like tents, camping stoves, cook wares and other climb essentials.

the-cabin

Hike duration and Camping

Our climb is a bit treacherous due to the weather, light rain and fog compensate our pacing. It took us 6-7 hours before reaching the campsite. Traversing from Ampucao jump-off to Sta. Fe via Philex ridge. The trail is wet but in good condition. It’s not slippery and the view is majestic. The Pine forest is really spectacular. Going up and down within the ridge is difficult especially if you have full pack behind your back. My pack weigh around 15 – 20 kilos a little bit uncomfortable for a woman but physical training pays off. We have our rain gears like ponchos, good hiking shoes and dri-fit clothes. For rainy weather condition, technical clothes help a lot. Even though they are expensive, my shoes and clothes keeps me warm all throughout the climb.

The trail is consist of 5 segments. The ridge is commonly known as Philex Ridge but the locals want to correct it. They call it Ampucao – Sta Fe Ridge. The first segment is called Ambanao Paoay which means GREEN FIELD which is 1788 masl. Second is the infamous Gungal Rock at 1814 masl. Unfortunately due to the rain, we don’t have clearing for the spectacular view. Third will be the SUMMIT of Mt Ulap at 1846 masl, we skip the summit part and trek back the following day. From the camp site to the summit it takes around 15 – 30 minutes up. We had a clearing this time and the scene is just WOW. Upon descending, the fourth segment will be Pong-Ol Burial Caves. Last will be the Sta Fe Jump off. Traversing from Sta Fe is bit rigorous, if you have advance physical fitness then you can traverse from Sta. Fe to Ampucao. Registration is still in Ampucao Barangay Hall.

ampucao-jump-off

Our guide said that the trail is different during the summer months (April – June). The entire ridge is dry with hues of green and brown. Our terrain is foggy, wet, cold and hasty. Stranger Things effect scene. Eerie and dark. Regardless, the entire hike is fun, difficult and tiring which is part of your climb experience. The Benguet trails never fail to amaze me. Climbing in a cold temperature lessen the difficulty unlike hiking during warm days. Water consumption is lesser. Well, this is me. Some people might have high tolerance over dry and hot trails.

We reach the wet and muddy camp site. The saddle camp site is in chaos of puddle and rain water so we decide to move near the sari-sari store. There are no available flat surface for us because it was weekend and full of crazy campers like us. Our guide clean up our camping ground and we manage to set our shelters. There tables and chairs available in the camp so you can comfortably eat or cook your meals. This site will be much appreciated during dry hike. We had fun even though its wet and wild.

descending-of-the-sons-of-mt-cloud

Difficulty LEVEL for me: 5/9

Budget as of Sept 2016

Cubao – Baguio City Bus Fare: Php 450.00
Victor Liner Baguio City Terminal to Central Mall Taxi: Php 51.00
Baguio City – Ampucao Jeepney Fare: Php 31.00
Guide Fee Overnight: Php 800.00 good for 8 – 10 pax (Php 400.00 Dayhike)
Camping Fee: Php 500.00 per group
Registration: Php 100.00 per pax
Porter: Php 500 for 20 kilos (add Php 50.00 per kilo)
Shower: Php 20.00 per pax
Sta Fe – Baguio City Jeepney Regular Fare: Php 50.00

Jeepney Rental from Sta Fe Jump-Off to Baguio City: Php 1000.00 good for 15-18pax (We rented PUJ going back to Baguio City because some of my hiking mates are in a hurry)
Baguio City – Cubao Bus Fare: Php 445.00

the-view-at-the-summit

Souvenirs

T-shirts: Php 200.00

Ref Magnets: Php 25.00 – 50.00

Key Chains: Php 10.00 – 200.00

Wood Trekking Pole: Php 30.00 – 200.00

OUR GROUP BUDGET FOR 8 PAX

Registration Expense: Php 2700 with porter
Camp Meals and Drinks: Php 1200
Transpo All in: 8700

3-in-1-plus-mt-ulap

Budget per pax: 1600 – 1800

Our budget includes breakfast at Good Taste in Central Mall which is open 24/7. We complete our supplies in Baguio City Public Market. We bought ingredients for our Tinolang Manok and buttered Broccoli/Mushroom for dinner. Bought eggs, bread, coffee, spread, rice, condiments, butane gas and etc. We also bought group supplies like garbage bags, tissue, drinks and group water. The entire budget cut for Php 1200.00 which is splurge, you can cut it to Php 800.00 – 1000.00 depending on your needs.

We hire a porter because some of us are newbies in terms of camping. Porter one way cost Php 500.00, it will be your choice if you want someone to bring your packs. There are souvenir shops along the way selling shirts, ref magnets and key chains. A store/sari-sari is available in the campsite. They sell coffee, instant noodles and cold drinks. Transferring around Baguio City, we hired cab to transfer us from the Bus Terminal to Central mall for Php 51.00 which is good for 4-5 pax. We all know that taxi drivers in Baguio City are known for being nice and they give exact change. This is also included on our group budget.

sta-fe-bridge

Sample Overnight Itinerary

Day 0

2200 Call Time Victory Liner Cubao
2300 ETD Manila

Day 1

0500 ETA Baguio City (Victory Liner Terminal
0515 Center Mall
0530 Breakfast at Good Taste
0630 Secure supplies in Baguio City Market
0800 ETD Central Mall
0900 ETA Ampucao Barangay Hall
0915 Register (Secure Guide and Porter)
0930 Hiking Preparation
1030 Start Trek
1330 ETA Ambanao Paoay
1530 ETA Gungal Rock
1730 ETA Camp Site
1800 Prepare Dinner
1900 Socials
2200 Lights Out

(Take 5 – 10 for 10-15 times. Hehe!)

Day 2

0600 Wake up time
0700 Prepare breakfast
0800 Trek to summit
0830 Summit
0930 Trek back to Summit
1000 Breakfast
1030 Break camp
1130 Start descend
1330 ETA Pong-Ol Burial Caves
1400 ETA Sari – sari Stores, Rest
1500 ETA Sta Fe jump – off
1530 Wash up
1630 ETD Sta Fe
1730 ETA Victory Liner Terminal
1800 ETD Baguio City
1200 ETA Manila

titas-of-ulap

You can tour around the city parks or have drinks in bars along Session Road. You can adjust your itinerary accordingly. Our itinerary is for chill and fun climb.

Credits to Katherine Joyce Villados iPhone LOL! And Mama Sarah Monterey shots.

Thank you Mapagmahal Mountaineers (Sir Al, Nolan and Bene), Yapak Mountaineers (Sarah Monterey) and Balanghai G (Gel-gel!)! Till next G! SOYA!

High five Pirates!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go

Day 2: Surfing and Siargao Island

“The beauty of each place I visit exceeds more than my imagination”

– Fakir

My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

Manila – Butuan City – Surigao City – Siargao Island – Bucas Grande – Surigao – Davao City – Samal Island – Davao del Norte – Davao – Manila itinerary.

Features: Surigao City to Siargao Island, Paglaom Hostel, Surfing at Cloud 9, Magpupungko Pool, Marsh, Cave and the Siargao People

Arriving at the port to catch the first trip to Dapa Port in Siargao. I purchased my ticket for Php 250.00, enter a small boat and waited for it to be filled. After an hour waiting the boat left Surigao City at 0600, the sea is calm, the sky is cloudy and the air is refreshing. I fell asleep for a few minutes, woke up because of the heat of the sun is bathing on my face. Then the view was spectacular, range of hills, and islands before my eyes are arrange beautifully. I just saw Bucas Grande, one of the islands of Surigao Del Norte. I wanted to go there but renting a boat is way expensive for me. I settle myself of viewing the endless green and blue array of the islands. Its one of the prettiest island I saw in my entire trip. I can stare it for another whole day.

Its still far to Siargao but I rather stay awake and marvel to the view for the next 30-45 minutes. The boat arrive in Dapa Port around 0830, the tourism office will asked you to sign the tourist sheet which actually good in case of emergency they will be the one who will do the call out. Its good for me since I am traveling alone. Another series of barkers, dispatchers and habal-habal drivers will hover you to get their habal-habal services. I just stood around the corner, observe a bit and I can feel the a low because I haven’t eaten heavy meal yet. Being hungry is a lot worse than getting lost. HEHE

In the middle of the crowd, someone snatch me and offer Php 50.00 to Paglaom Hostel. From Dapa Port to GL / General Luna is usually cost Php 200.00 good for 3 pax. So I immediately grab Kuya Bebot’s offer before it lasts. The never-ending question of being alone started here. Kuya offered me habal-habal trip to Magpupungko Pool for Php 700.00 saving Php 100.00 for the usual cost which is good for 2-3 pax. Then he asked me if I will go on island hopping and Bucas Grande. I told him that Bucas Grande is very expensive for me. He will have guests from Manila on the next day which he offered both island hopping and Bucas Grande tour for Php 4000.00 which I can chipped into. The usual rate for boat for island hopping to Guyam, Naked and Daku minimum costs Php 1,200.00 depending on the number of pax. I agreed to the terms and will meet them tomorrow. So we travel from Dapa to GL for 20-30 minutes.

I arrived in Paglaom Hostel, deem culture shock to the people around me. Both Filipinos and foreigns, so my thick shell melts down and I welcome the introvert me. I am too shy to talk to them at first. Paglaom Hostel cost Pho 300.00 per night. Bunk bed, bathroom, kitchen, personal locker and lanai to keep the conversation. If you want cheaper, there are inns that offer as low as Php 150.00 per night. I prefer Paglaom because I want to meet Sunny and Cocoy which are owners of the hostel. I set my things down, write my name on my bunk bed, lock my things, prepare my day pack and change clothes. Then, I am going to cloud 9 to try surfing.

I change my itinerary on the spot. Decide to surf first, then Magpupungko Pool. No rest needed. I need to compact my time because of unexpected addition to my itinerary. So I went ahead to Could 9, take a quick a lunch (fried blue marlin and rice) for Php 55.00 and pick up my long board. I hire a trainer because I am not good at boarding stuff even though I tried surfing several times. My trainer give me the basic long boarding lesson and we head to the water. Board rental (short or long) cost Php 350.00 for half day and Php 500.00 for a whole day. Trainer cost Php 200.00 per hour. The waves of Siargao are higher than any surf spots in the Philippines. Its the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines” after all. The waves are the one you can see in surfing movie. Aqua green, high and

endless. I am pretty boring when I started, my arms and upper body are weak. i cannot stand at all. I fell several times but I am determined enough to paddle my board. I keep on thinking on how I was able to pull it off before. I want to stand and ride my waves. I will not stop until I am able to ride. So I focus on my goal, 30 minutes later, I was able to stand on my glory.

I enjoy the rest of my surfing gig proud and mighty. I am getting good every time I tried surfing. It a happy ending after all, I was all smiles and giggly when I finish boarding. I want to stay longer but I need to visit Magpupungko. I rest a few minutes, take my picture at the infamous Cloud 9 bridge and head off to Magpupungko Pool. Its at least 30 minutes away from General Luna, I hire a habal-habal (motorcycle) for Php 700.00 which is actually good for 3 persons. I was still on a high after the surfing gig. The fresh air of Siargao and its scenic view will relax your soul. The island have uncanny weather system, half of the island is experiencing rain and the other half is smiling sunny. I am still having the best time, rain or shine.

I arrived Magpupungko at 1400, its raining hard but its low tide so you can actually swim to the nature-made infinity pool. Entrance fee cost Php 50.00 and you can rent tables/chairs/cottages or just put your things on the beach side. After the rain subsides, I walk to the pool slight rain pouring my head and again all smiles. I was so happy I forgot that I am tired. The marvelous sight of Mapupungko Pool will make your day. Its a clash of waves, sand bar in the middle and a cliff pool near the beach shore. I enjoy the rest of my day swimming, jumping off the cliff, diving and taking pictures. The place is pure happiness for a person who loves the water.

The trip just started yet I am congratulating myself for achieving this far. I can say that I am now  comfortable to conduct this kind solo venture. I explore the entire Pool area, around 0430, I decide to rest a bit before going back to GL. I am indeed a camper, I brought my gears with me because I love to sip coffee everywhere I go. So I heat water, enjoy my instant coffee and instant noodles to quench the starvation. This day is full of exploration and first time. After having my afternoon snack, I decide to go back to GL to rest. My guide advised me to check out Tayangban Cave since he saw junkie I am when I jump off the cliff several times.

The Tayangban Cave have little canyon to trek before heading in the cave. The entrance fee cost Php 20.00, exploring the cave add-ons is Php 50.00 for locals (Filipino) and Php 50.00 entrance / explore Php 50.00 for foreign tourist. I explore the cave which is a little bit intense but I am glad to drop by, the cave is underneath the national highway system in Siargao. It starts at the right side of the road and you will end up on the left side. Its a 15 minute spelunking activity which is a must try.

After my brief caving experience, we continue the ride back to GL. I asked my guide to stop by the Paghungawan Marsh for me to take my video. The marsh is home for Saltwater Crocodiles which is similar to the giant crocodile of Butuan, Lolong. The road system of Siargao is already equipped which is a sign of tourism boost in the region. If you want to explore Siargao Island, you can rent your own habal-habal which cost Php 350-500 per day, gasoline at your own expense. I can only drive a bike and too scared to drive my own motorcycle. I need a driver to prolong my life. Hehe

I went back to GL around 1800. The day is tiring, traveling both sea and land is exhausting. I need to buy some thing while staying in Siargao. I went to the market bought tuna and ingridients, went back to Paglaom and start to cook my food. The troop are asking me to go out since its Jungle Night. I am not the party head and I am too tired to go out. I also need to be early for the Bucas Grande trip. I did not join the jungle night and stayed in the cozy Paglaom lanai all throughout the night before going to bed. I am still adjusting to the friendliness of the people around me. Dumbfounded on how they seem to know each other in a very short time. I am thinking of extending my stay here if only I allot more days for this trip. I need more days because I am enjoying it way too much.

The night is deep, my call time is 0600. I need to rest and in my bunk before I am engrossed to fun of the night. The Siargao trip is truly magnificent. This is one of the best islands I visited, currently pulling this place as one of my top destination. I doze off to sleep and wonder for the love Bucas

Grande can give to me. Too tired and sleepy, I dream of having the wonderful time of my life. To live like this is to FEEL LIFE.

Catch you tomorrow PIRATES!

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

 Bohol – Cebu Travel and Tours Itinerary for 4 Days and 3 Nights



Bohol Tour for 3 Days and 2 Nights

Cebu Day Tour, Accidental Backpacking Escapade

Day 1

0500 Call Time for our 0745 Flight Manila – Tagbilaran Bohol

0515 ETD Home in Marikina City

0600 ETA NAIA Terminal 4

0630 Waiting for Boarding (Already Web Check-in the day before the actual flight to avoid long lines)

0745 ETD NAIA Terminal 4 (No Delay because 1st flight to Tagbilaran)

0900 ETA Tagbilaran Airport

0915 Pre-hired Car and Driver Service for Bohol Countryside Tour

0945 Blood Compact

1000 Baclayon Church

1030 Python

1100 Buffet Lunch At Loboc River Cruise

1230 Chocolate Hills

1315 Bilar Man made Forest

1345 Butterfly Garden

1415 Tarsier Conservation Area

1445 Bamboo Hanging Bridge

1515 Souvenir Shop

1545 ETD Panglao Island

1645 ETA Flushing Meadow Resort and Playground in Panglao Island

1730 Wash up / Free Time / Swimming in the beach and Infinity Pool

1900 Dinner

2200 Lights Out

 

 

Day 2

0430 Call Time

0500 Breakfast

0530 Prepare for Dolphin Watching and Island Hopping

0600 ETD Resort via Hired Boat

0645 ETA Dolphin Watching Site

0800 ETD Start Island Hopping

0930 ETA Balicasag Island

1000 Snorkelling with paddle boat / Guide / Snorkel Gears 100% Must Try (Turtle Watching and Scuba Diving are also available)

1200 ETD Balicasag Island

1300 ETA Virgin Island

1315 Walk to the Sandbar if its Low Tide

1345 ETD Virgin Island

1415 ETA Flushing Meadow

1430 ETD BK Mall Tagbilaran City

1500 ETA Tagbilaran

1515 Lunch at STK

1600 Purchase Dry Goods, Peanut Kisses and other Souvenir Items

1700 ETD Tagbilaran via Hired Car

1730 ETA Resort

1800 Free Time

2100 Dinner at Hotel Restaurant

2300 Lights Out

 

 

Day 3

0600 Breakfast

0700 Swimming, Kayaking, Paddle Boating

1000 Explore Panglao Beach

1100 Wash up and Pack things

1200 Check Out at Resort Hotel

1230 Lunch at The Bee Farm Panglao

1400 ETD Bee Farm

1430 ETA Tagbilaran Airport

1500 Waiting for boarding

1545 ETD Tagbilaran Airport

1700 ETA NAIA Terminal 4

But WAIT THERE’S MORE. Flight got cancelled due to troubled aircraft on the runway. All flights will be re-booked 2 days from the orginal flight schedule which is too long for us.

1500 Waiting for boarding

1600 Flight got cancelled

1730 Request Refund

1830 ETD Tagbilaran Airport

1900 ETA Tagbilaran Port: Purchase Ticket to Cebu Port via Lite Ferry (Slow Boat)

1930 Booked flight Mactan Airport to NAIA Terminal 3: Next Day Flight

2100 Dinner at Marina Cafe

2200 Waiting for Ferry Boarding

2230 ETD Tagbilaran Port

0330 ETA Port of Cebu

 

Day 4

0600 ETD Port of Cebu

0615 ETA Larsian for Breakfast

0730 Cebu Day Tour

0800 Hired Car and Driver for Cebu Day Tour

0830 Taoist Temple

0930 Magellan’s Cross

0945 Sto Nino Parish Church

1015 Fort San Pedro

1100 Heritage of Cebu / Yap Ancestral House

1115 Museo Carcel

1200 Taboan for Dry Goods

1300 Lunch at CnT Lechon

1430 SM Seaside: Coffee at Room for Dessert

1530 ETD SM Seaside

1630 ETA Mactan International Airport

1700 Waiting for boarding

1730 ETD Mactan Intl Airport (Flight Delayed for 2 hours)

1900 ETD Mactan Intl Airport 

2000 ETA NAIA Terminal 3

2015 ETD NAIA

2230 HOME after Manila traffic!!

 

See you later PIRATES!!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Bolinao Pangasinan Backpacking Itinerary 2 Days / 1 Night

JeiManlalayag Edition

 

Day 1

0300 Call Time

0400 ETD Home

0430 ETA Five Star Teminal

0445 ETD Bus bound to DAU Pampanga

0600 ETA DAU Terminal

0605 Meet up with PNJ

0630 ETD Dau Terminal: Catch the bus bound to Alaminos

1100 ETA Alaminos City

1130 Early Lunch at Alaminos Food Court

1230 ETD Alaminos City

1330 Bolinao

1400 Hire Tricycle for Bolinao Day Tour

1430 Complete Supplies in Flee Market or Bolinao Market

1500 Start Bolinao Day Tour

1515 Enchanted Cave

1545 Wonderful Cave

1630 Bolinao Rock Formation

1700 Bolinao Lighthouse

1730 ETA Patar Beach

1800 Rent Cottage and Set up Tents

1830 Prepare Dinner

1900 Dinner / Socials

2200 Lights Out

 

 

Day 2

0500 Call Time

0530 Prepare Breakfast (Boodle Fight)

0600 Breakfast

0700 Explore Patar Beach / Swimming

0900 Wash up / Purchase Souvenir / Prepare for Bolinao Falls Tour

0930 ETD Patar Beach

1100 ETA Bolinao Falls

1115 Register and Pay Entrance Fee

1130 Explore Bolinao Falls

1300 ETD Bolinao Falls

1330 ETA Bolinao Poblacion

1345 Purchase Dry Goods

1400 Late Lunch at Adora’s

1500 ETD Bolinao (We missed the Bolinao – Manila Bus)

1600 ETA Alaminos City

1700 ETD Alaminos via Five Star Bus

2100 ETA Marquee Mall Bus Terminal

2200 SM Pampanga

2300 Home in Pampanga: Return trip to Manila the next day

PS: You can take the Bus bound to Cubao if your residing in Manila

ETA from Alaminos to Cubao is 5-6 hours. Add 1 hour from Bolinao. 24 hour in 1-2 hours bus interval are available in Alaminos City.

1700 ETA Alaminos

1200 ETA Five Star Terminal

 

See you later PIRATES!!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Patar Beach and Bolinao Falls: Friendship Goals

 

“Treasure the friends you have since you were young. As they are the most precious people that can insult and love you at the same time”

  • Fakir

Features: Patar Beach, Bolinao Falls, Bolinao Market, Adora’s and Bolinao Town

 

The cold December breeze put me to sleep inside my sleeping bag and the tent I borrowed. I can hear the waves of the sea that seems to sing lullaby. I woke up early in the morning, early riser as ever. I sleep well and the cold air welcomes my morning. I start to deal with our breakfast meal, cooking rice, preparing the left overs from last night dinner and staring to the vast shoreline across our cottage. My friend Nilo joined me afterwards and we start to cook our food. We decide to put up a boodle fight breakfast for our OFW friend Pher and his girlfriend Lee.

 

 We cooked scrambled eggs, tuyo (dried fish), corned beef and pre-heat our left over sinigang. Served with hot chocolate and coffee. We are in happy land us we are all woke up and dig in our morning. The sun rise after the cloudy yesterday to our satisfaction. After we ate, we decide to explore the white pebbled sand of Patar Beach. The shoreline stretch in the Northern part of the Philippines. The water is crystal clear and waves are bit rush since there still storm rummaging the South. The sand of Patar is very pretty, its not as fine as Panglao nor Boracay but it does have its own glory.

 

We goofed around the beach, swim and take endless pictures until battery life had gone. Our service tricycle is already waiting for our next stop. BOLINAO FALLS. After dipping to the cold blue water and experience the sun. We decide to wash up to go to our next adventure. Showering in Patar public bath house cost Php 15 – 20.00 with unlimited water source. HEHE. As we dress up for our next adventure, we settle our bill and purchase our souvenirs at the entrance. Shirts cost from Php 120.00 – 350.00 in which you can haggle, I purchase my batik (dyed) shirt and refrigerator magnets.

 

We rented our tricycle service for Bolinao Falls for Php 800.00. We started to hit the road around 0930, the sun beaming happily and the journey just started. From Patar Beach going to Bolinao Falls road experience is bumpy and long. It will take at least 1 hour ride. Since it rained yesterday, the road to the falls is mud dirt. Concrete roads are not yet fixed and we need to take off the tricycle several times and push the tricycle out of the mud. We missed the Bolinao sign-age so we got lost that actually prolong the ride. We back track the mud-fill road. Until we finally we can go down and stretched our legs and backs.

 

We trail down for 1-2 minutes, paid for entrance fee which is Php 50.00. Cottages are for free, I failed to asked if they are free if its peak season. Most of the fee we had are deducted because its off peak. Few tourist are roaming around. According to the locals during the summer which is from April to June. The entire place is jammed with tourists like a market sale. I appreciate less people, quiet places and abundant with good food.

 

Upon reaching the falls, I am in 100% awe but it was a stunning place to view. The water is cold and refreshing while the endless 4 – 5 layer falls is heavily pouring down on its creek. You can jump the cliff off if your daredevil enough but I learn my lesson. I attempted a cliff jump before and I was pulled down by water which leave a traumatic experience. I can do it again for as long guide will be there to pull me out of the water or if it just a simple cliff diving.

 

We take pictures and videos all over the falls. I tried to jump off from a tree going to the deep creek part which is exhilarating. The adventures seems to be endless. If your going here its best to bring PICNIC LUNCH or SNACKS that can be enjoyed with your family, love ones and friends. After getting all the pictures we needed. We head back to Bolinao Town that took us at least 30 minutes to reach. We purchased our dried fish and fish sauces.

 

We supposed to go back to Alaminos to have the HUNDRED ISLAND tour because gale warning is already lifted. But due to emergency back home, we need to go back early. So we scratch the deal and just take our lunch at ADORA’S. Famous restaurant in Bolinao which serves cooked local cuisine, snacks, halo-halo and all types of pancit (noodles). After our heavy lunch, we head out to the bus station and we missed the afternoon Bolinao – Cubao bus. HEHE. There is only one available ATM in Bolinao which will cut your money from Php 30-50.00. Better be prepared and ready your cash before going to Bolinao depending on your budget and number.

 

We hopped in to a van going to Alaminos to catch another bus bound to Manila that took us another 1 hour of travel time. Reaching Alaminos we catched the bus bound to Cubao, settle for another 3-4 hours bus ride to home. We paid Php for the fare to Marquee Mall in Dau Pampanga to head back home I am still on leave at work and will take weekend with my family so I decide to join them back home. Traffic is heavy in Tarlac because of ongoing road repairs. We reached Pampanga around 2100, left Alaminos at 1700.

 

We took another jeep to SM Pampanga via NLEX then take another jeep to Sta Ana Pampanga to head back home. Due to the recent rain, our area is severely flooded, my friend and his girlfriend cannot make it home. So its another pajama night for the 3 of us. We end up our Stormy Trip to North happily regardless if we when home wet. We still think we are wild and over the decade of friendship, this is how we celebrate! Travel with friends if you have time and thank them for staying beside you even if you are crazy and doom.

 

LET FRIENDSHIP LAST PIRATES! SEE YOU AGAIN!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Bolinao Pangasinan: Backpacking Friendship

Cherish the moments with people who support and love you beyond imperfection.”

DSC_0476

Bolinao Rock Formation

  • Fakir

Features: Bolinao Pangasinan Backpacking, Enchanted Cave, Wonderful Cave, Bolinao Rock Formation, Bolinao Lighthouse, Patar Beach, Camping and Tricycle Tour.

DSC_0156

Jei, Pher, Lee and Nilo (Left to Right)

It was time of the year where I meet my high school buddies and have our annual trip. We are celebrating decade of friendship, we choose to celebrate in Bolinao, Pangasinan. Amidst the uncanny weather condition due to the recent December typhoon, I manage to convince our friend Pher which is a balikbayan (OFW) from Dubai to spend the weekend with me and Nhey. The south is being bashed by rain and winds so we decide to go to Northern Philippines to avoid the rainy weather. Another chasing the sun in Ber months, an episode of catching the rays of the sun under extreme weather.

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Since I am Manila-based and they are living in Pampanga, we decide meet up in DAU Terminal to be chance passengers bound to Alaminos or Bolinao. Fare from Manila to Dau cost Php 132.00. We are able to complete the group of 4 around 0630, hopped in to the bus bound to Alaminos (non-aircondition) fare price cost around Php200.00. One of the most irritating bus ride of my life. After entering Tarlac proper, the bus did nothing but stop/go. There is no express public bus to Pangasinan, you need to be patient with the run around of public transport system especially if you ride a non-aircondition bus which fare is less expensive apart from AC bus. I recommend you to ride the AC bus it cost more but a lot faster that non-AC. It will save you so much time.

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We arrive in Alaminos at 1100, the cloudy sky line of Pangasinan greet us warmly. We had an early lunch in Food Court Alaminos, taste the great Pangasinan / Ilocano dish. We want to explore the Hundred Islands National Park so we rent 2 tricycles which cost us Php 80.00 per ride. Unfortunately, gale warning is not lifted even though there is no signal warning in Pangasinan. A total waste of time since terminals in Alaminos Bayan should be aware so I feel scammed by the drivers. NOT HELPFUL AT ALL.

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So we went back to Alaminos, transfer to van to Bolinao which cost Php 50.00. Apart from eating we haven’t started the trip, the sky is getting gloomy and drops of water started to fall. I am still praying for clear sky because dragging your friends with your adventure while a typhoon is ongoing, guilty feeling lingers. We only have this little chance of being together since we have long distance relationship so we need to push this plan further. The van dropped us in gasoline station where his kumpare Kuya Rey will tour us in Bolinao. We decide to start the trip and closed the deal at Php 700.00 for a day tour in Bolinao to Patar Beach.

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Before starting the tour we stop over to flee market to complete our camping supplies. I already brought my camping gears and equipments, we need the food and drinks. After getting all the supplies we need to last the night in Bolinao, we proceed on our tour. The rain is softly kissing my lips as I back ride in the tricycle. According to Kuya Rey, Patar is pretty far from the Poblacion. We reach Enchanted Cave is 1-hour time.

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First stop, ENCHANTED CAVE. My friend always want to go to Hinatuan Enchanted River in Surigao del Sur. But since we don’t have the budget for airplane tickets, I decide to go to Bolinao for this attraction. Entrance fee cost Php 150.00 and Parking Fee is Php 20.00. The entrance fee surge from Php 50.00 to Php 150.00, pricing change when summer 2015 arrive. As per the cashier they change the pricing to upgrade the resort. The fees are way too much, other tourist destination don’t charge that much because it is supposed to be for free.

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Anyway, the cave is spectacular. Clear turquoise water welcome us, the artificial lighting did not do good but enchanted cave is still amazing. At the time we are there, the water is 10-foot deep, according to the caretaker it can take up to 15-foot if its high tide. The water is cold and refreshing after the long travel time from Manila. This officially kick our day tour. We spend at least an hour swimming and taking pictures before deciding to move on to the next cave.

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Second destination, Wonderful Cave. I accidentally drop my sling bag which carries my dslr camera and tablet. Disappointed to learn that it damage the lens of my beloved camera and my tablet got a nicked. REALLY SAD FACE HERE. Nevertheless we resume the tour, we haggle for the entrance fee since we will just look around for a few minutes. We are able to cut the fee from Php 100.00 to Php 70.00 which might will not be applicable during peak season. Comparing it to other sight seeing cities, Bolinao is not yet administer properly by the tourism office because the caves are owned by private persons.

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The cave is pretty much the same with enchanted cave but the latter is more formidable in terms of facility. Enchanted is more on business tourist spot while wonderful is quiet. Its already 1630, we still need to check out 2 more spots before proceeding to Patar Beach. I was quite disoriented about my broken lens. HEHE! Still need to continue, we spend a good 15 minutes here then went to Bolinao Rock Formation.

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Bolinao Rock Formation, supposed to be we are route to Cindy’s Cave but Kuya Rey informed us that the cave is a bit mysterious. I was a freak when it comes to ghost stories and spiritual events. We passed the last cave and proceed to the Rock Formation. Entrance fee cost Php 80.00, we haggle again since we are not staying here. We were able to pay for Php 50.00 each and explore the site. The rockies can be compare to the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Ilocos Norte, although the rocks here are black while the Kapurpurawan have smooth white marble formation.

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We had fun here because the view is spectacular. The high tidal waves that bumping to the rocks made an awesome view. There are moments when the storm bring so much life to certain places. This is the best moment to capture the rapture of the waves against the high rocks that play as barrier to the entire Rock Formation shoreline. Indeed a worthy place to visit on your next rainy season adventure. We took a lot of picture and videos, stayed at least an hour. At 0530 we move to Bolinao Lighthouse to view the sun set.

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Last part of the day tour, Bolinao Lighthouse. The sun is now embracing the sea and the sky is on fire. The lively yellow orange ball of fire is now bidding farewell to its day. It was the perfect time of the day to be at the Bolinao Lighthouse, free entrance and if the caretaker is available you can actually get inside it. Unfortunately, the caretaker already left since its almost night time. We just settle on taking our moment while viewing the beautiful sunset. The night sky easily spread, then we proceed to Patar Beach to rest. The day tour is a success even though we embarked with turmoil onset of the tour.

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Reaching Patar Beach. The waves are stronger and the cold wind is giving chill to our spines. I brought two tents to occupy so that we can save on our budget. Table rent will only cost Php 300.00 for the entire night but my friend have another thought about staying outdoors. He still check-in to one of the Nipa Hut with bedroom and receiving room which is good for 4-6 pax. The overnight rental is Php 1500.00, the cost is lower because its off peak season.

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We set our packs down, rest a bit and start to cook our dinner we bought over the flee market. We have Pork Sinigang and Grilled Pork, some booze to share and life to talk about. It seems like our friendship matures over the years but we are still the same people. We are happy to reunite once more and bit by bit we are able to fulfil some of our life goals. Truly, backpacking with my high school buddies is great and the experience that will last. Its about time to sleep, lights, camera, out.

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Day 1 is done with a blast. I will write another review for our Day 2. Exploring Patar Beach and Bolinao Falls.

Sojourn to our next trip Pirates!!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Manabu Peak and Mt Maculot Twin Hike

“The great outdoors can push the limitations of your physical prowess to its utmost power

– Fakir

Features: Manabu Peak, Tatay Tino’s Free Coffee, Hiking, Camping, Twin Climb, Mt Maculot, Day Hiking and 2 Mountains in 2 Days

The Beautiful Kitanglad Range

 

How to be a weekend warrior? Its the time of the year again where most of our annual vacation leaves are already used. We do no longer have sufficient time to go far away from home and work. Some people have one day rest but for others we have two. Good thing I work with two rest days which happen every Saturday and Sunday. I need to come up with a climbing activity that will over power my dull weekends at home. It was 2 months now since my last climb so I decide to go on a camping trip with a fellow hiker and office mate.

Manabu Trail

Manabu Trail

I decided to grant the wish of Chey to climb Mt Maculot and Camp in Manabu Peak as our orignal itinerary. We are supposed to be five in the group but before we take off we were down to two. So me and my friend Chey decide to continue our trip to Batangas. Off to Araneta Center Cubao around 0900, we completed our supplies and hopped into bus bound for Batangas City. We took off in Lipa-Tramo Exit. Fare price Php 132.00 from Cubao to Lipa-Tramo Exit.

The infamous coffee and Tatay Tino

The infamous coffee and Tatay Tino

From the toll exit we ride jeep to Lipa Poblacion for Php 8.00. Then take another jeepney to Fiesta mall for Php 8.00. We reached Fiesta Mall around 1230 so we took our lunch before we head to the jump off. We ride tricycle from Fiesta Mall to Manabu Jump-off for Php 100.00. Register in the Barangay hall for free and you can leave any amount as donation. We reached the jump off, it was warm and you can smell the mountain. We rest for a bit before we begin to ascend.

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The Dawn in the Camp Site

Starting around 1400, guides are not required in Manabu which is a good thing. Trail is visible but challenging if its your first time. TRUST YOUR INSTINCT, make sure you trek the clean trail and you were on the right track if your still ending up seeing the trail sign. Trail sign in Maculot is a map of all stations printed in tarpaulin. Providing where you are in the trail, this serves as the navigator if you did not hire a guide.

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Manabu Sunrise

Two months of no hike, running or gym training. I lose weight for the past few months because of appetite lose and stress surrounding me. Going back to the mountains with someone which is very fit makes me feel weak. My pack is killing me, my lungs will burst any time and my body is about to split in half. Assaulting becomes harder and as we move station by station. I can feel my hips and legs are fading away from my body. It was painful and glorious at the same time.

Sunrise and Me

Sunrise and Me

We reached Tatay Tino’s kubo which is the STARBUCKS in this mountain. Giving free brewed coffee which is delightful. It will wake you body up to continue once last draw to station 6 where the camp is located. My legs are getting weak, no sleep and heavy backpack. I had 2 coffee cups, it was too delicious not to drink. Tatay is very accommodating to hikers in which he is respected as the land lord of this mountain. Leaving the coffee behind, continuing this climb. I need to make it in the summit otherwise I will roll over from its slope. I am tired, weary and sweaty. Sun sets in which we are able to marvel along the trail. Such a beautiful sight even though I am about to die.

Camping in the FOG site

Camping in the FOG site

We reached the camp site around 1730, vast camping ground that can accommodate 20-30 2P tents. We found our spot, set our camp and started cooking our dinner. We missed our hiking friends from Balanghai G and our friends from Yapak which have their own endeavours. I cannot keep up with the group I founded because I will keep of seeing the person I hated the most. We missed our friends who are reluctant now in terms of climbing and have set their priorities. This is mostly our conversation on our socials. We are unable to mingle with other hikers because we are tired. So we put our lights out around 2100.

Balanghai At SUMMIT

Balanghai At SUMMIT

The mist of dawn made it very cold. The wind is howling as I woke up around 0300. It still dark outside, sleep was good and the temperature is getting low. I waited for the sun rise because I cannot go back to sleep. Hundreds of memories keep on flooding my mind. I had the best year in terms of climbing. Manabu will be my 17th climb and Maculot will be my 18th. The sun is about to shine, the yellow orange light is coming and the sight is tremendously pretty. The sunlight that touches my old damp skin gives warm. I wake up Chey from her slumber for us to reached the summit which is 5 minutes away from the camp site.

Mt Maculot Summit

Mt Maculot Summit

Manabu summit have cross made by the locals. The space is a bit smaller that can only accommodate 20 – 30 people at large. Since it was weekend, several hikers were as mad as we are. Jam packed summit, it was. We all watched the beautiful sun rise which is very marvellous. It was once of the best sun rise I ever seen at the top of a mountain. After taking all the pictures we need, we descend to take our breakfast. We ate and break the camp.

Mt Maculot Rockies

Mt Maculot Rockies

I want to go down early to taste the delicious coffee at Tatay Toni’s. Heavy meal then barako coffee will make your day. We need to energize before climbing Mt Maculot. The smell of coffee created an ultimate euphoric feeling, its like waking up from a good dream. We continue the descent with a happy mood. The day will be long for the two of us. We reached the jump-off around 1000. Then freshen a bit before taking off to Fiesta mall via tricycle.

Me at Rockies in Mt Maculot]

Me at Rockies in Mt Maculot

We hopped into jeepney bound to SM Lipa to catch another jeepney to Cuenca route to Lemery. Fare Fiesta Mall to SM Lipa is Php 8.00, Manabu jumpoff to SM Lipa via tricycle just add Php 50.00. From SM Lipa to Cuenca Poblacion fare is Php 25.00, then take another tricycle to Barangay Hall to register and to get your guide. Guide fees varies depending on the type of climb.

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Shoe Selfie

We chose to climb from Summit and the Rockies for Php 500.00. The popular guide fee is Mt Maculot Rockies for Php 400.00 minimum of 5 pax, all in excess of 5 pax cost Php 50.00 per pax. Maculot Traverse cost Php 800.00. Overnight Rockies Php 1000.00, Traverse 1500.00 and Rockies-Summit cost Php 1200. Adding pax for overnight climb cost Php 100.00 per pax. We left our packs in the bath house at the base of the mountain, brought only the things we required on a day climb. Tricycle from Cuenca Poblacion to jump off cost Php 20.00 per pax.

Rockies Trail

Rockies Trail

The guide fee is really expensive if your hiking alone or for 2 pax. According to our guide, if its a returned climb you can waive off the guide since the trail is easy to track. The guide fee info looks like a menu from a restaurant. HeHe. We started our climb around 1300, it was tough and painful. My lungs are breaking into pieces and sweat is like rain in June. I am totally feeling weak because of the humidity. Its been 2 months from my last hike, then 2 mountains is really killing me. We reach the camp site is 2 hours, rest a bit and continue to climb to the summit.

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The summit have wild grass everywhere at the start of the assault. You need to wear long sleeves and pants to prevent scratches from talahib. From the camp site to the summit in good pacing, you can reach it in 30 minutes. We reached the summit, eat our lunch and take all the photos at the top. A good 15 minutes passed, we decided to go down to the Rockies. The usual climb starts from Rockies to the Summit but the Rockies is overcrowded so we decide to trek the Summit first before proceeding to the Rockies Part.

The view is scenic

The view is scenic

Rockies is a ridge from the camp site which is about 15 minutes away. The trail is a bit technical, it will be a difficult terrain for first timers. My stamina and endurance are depleting is fast paced, on this part I am panting regularly. For my energy to last, I am no longer muttering words. We reached the top of the Rockies around 1600, marvelled ourselves to the beauty. The sun shines adorably against Taal Lake. You can view the Malarayat Range, Taal Volcano and Mt Makiling. This mountain is very popular, now I do no long wonder why.

Panorama of Manabu Peak

Panorama of Manabu Peak and Kitanglad Range

We ascend around 1700, no break or rest. Trekking down from Rockies to the jump-off took 1 hour. We reach the bath house, water from their reserved is already drained. So we move to another bath house and the long line started. I am extreme exhausted, hungry and smelly. After taking our turn to the wash room, we immediately hopped back to Cuenca Poblacion to catch a jeepney back to SM Lipa for dinner and hopped into a bus bound to Manila. Fare cost Php 30.00 from Cuenca to SM Lipa.

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We ate in Mang Inasal SM Lipa for unlimited rice. HEHE. After the heavy dinner, we catch the bus to Manila around 2100. We reached the city around 2300, tired but happy from our 2 days itinerary. Reaching my bed after the tiresome 2 climb in 2 days with 2 person and 1 experience of a lifetime.

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SEE YOU ON OUR NEXT CLIMB PIRATES!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio and Nilo Canlas Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Sorsogon: Inner Beauty of South

“Awaken your soul to the joy and peace of this world. Learn to take the road of sound and calm towards achieving GOALS”

– Fakir

Albay – Sorsogon Solo Bicol Itinerary

Features: Tricycle Road Trip, Irosin, Bulusan National Park, Falls, Dancalan Beach, and Mateo Hot Spring in San Benon

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The escapades in Albay are delightful. The food, locals and the tourist spots are melting my heart away. I started very early, checked out in Magayon Hotel around 0430. Full packed to Sorsogon, I went straight to Legazpi Grand Terminal via tricycle for Php 40.00. I arrive in the terminal too early, bus bound for Sorsogon are not available at that time. Since its off-peak season, bus coming in and out of Albay don’t follow schedule. I waited for 2 hours before a bus bound for Sorsogon arrived.

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I hopped into the bus from Albay to Sorsogon fare cost Php74.00, this is an ordinary bus. You can also take the bus to Matnog, Sorsogon if you are bound to Irosin. The bus left from Albay around 0600, with various stop over the driver drop me off in Sorsogon, Sorsogon intersection where I took jeepney to Irosin for Php 50.00. On my way to Irosin, haciendas and beautiful farm homes are built in between hectares of Koprahan or coconut plantation. The place is luscious green, have fresh air to breath and a developing love for South.

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The trip to Sorsogon proper to Irosin took 2 hours. I arrived in Irosin Public Market, waited for my friend and was drove off to rural barangay. The peaceful life in rural place like Irosin will catch you your. I want to live in this quiet place, at least 2 or 3 months. Leaving the buzzing sound of the city life. I wish I can turn my life down here in Manila, drove off far from the hassle of traffic and nosy people around me.

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After I digging my breakfast prepared by my friend, we started our day tour in Irosin. I need to take that photo in front of the monumental welcome structure of Irosin. This is the gateway of Luzon and Visayas. Matnog is near the place were the port is located. Transporting buses all over Luzon to Samar or Leyte. Someday, I will go on another road trip to Samar and Leyte to see San Juanico Bridge. We went to Bulusan National Park to see the lake and take a lot of pictures. Unfortunately there was movie shoot that time, the whole place was rented by the production in which we are prohibited to enter.

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Still we continue on our road trip, we went to Nasipit Falls. Entrance cost Php 10.00 were you can swim over the fresh cold water spring from the mountain. There were torrential rain because of the typhoon hitting in the North so the place is full of fallen leaves. I took some picture then we were on the road again for our next G. On our way to Dancalan Beach Resort still here in Bulusan, Sorsogon. We stopped in the middle of the highway which actually put me to my inner peace. The highway which is constructed in the mountainous part have this scenic top view of the entire Bulusan shore line. It was just beautiful and right I away, I fell in love again.

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We reached Dancalan beach at high noon, dark clouds still forming. It was low tide to the entire diverse shore is showing its glamour. The coral reefs are flaunting their colorful formation. I guess the entire Danacalan Cove is 10 times larger than Anawangin Cove. It was kilometers of white sand and rock formation. I guess summer here will be an EPIC LEISURE. The entrance cost Php 10.00 and nipa hut rental is Php 30.00. CHEAP DEAL ALERT!

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Camping is also suitable or you can rent a room ranging from Php 500.00 – 1000.00 which are huge enough to accommodate an entire family or 5-10 pax. Fresh seaweed is free of charge so you make that delicious PAKO SALAD. Before we went to the beach, we bought ingredients and rice for our lunch. We grilled pork and hotdogs plus a bottle of beer. I don’t usually drink but I need to toast for this day with a friend who actually treated me very well in her hometown. Truly grateful for giving me the ride here in Sorsogon.

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The tour in Bulusan and nearby town is unexpected. The swirling wind and continues rain make this little town solemn. After the trip to Dancalan Beach, we went straight to San Benon where the famous hot springs are located. We docked into San Mateo Hot Spring, entrance fee Php 20.00 and nipa hut rental is Php 100.00 that can accommodate at least 10-15 sitting capacity.

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After being restless from series of hoping from one public transport to another, its time to take a nice dip into the HOT SPRING. Imagining those hot springs from Japan, steam coming out from the pool and you can have hard boiled egg from the source of water. You can choose a pool to dip, the warm, the hot and very hot jacuzzi. I dip all available pool and immensely got BURN from the jacuzzi. It was very hot, I think 40-42 degrees hot tub. The spring made my muscles relax and comfortable after 3 days of soul-searching Bicol region.

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My one day affair in Sorsogon is truly remarkable. From the Manila to the outskirt of Albay and the accidental trip to Irosin make this trip such an experience to my traveling career. Going back to Manila leave happy thoughts. Since this way out of my itinerary, night time reached Irosin and jeepney route to Sorsogon last trip left. I packed my bags, prepare to hitch any passenger bus from Matnog Port. Bus route from Samar / Leyte bound for Manila.

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It was 2300 in the evening when I was able to hopped in the Bus. It was one of the uncomfortable trips of my life. Since the bus is not full, most of the seats are being used as beds so I settle nearly behind the vehicle. So much bumps and the air-condition is in lowest possible temperature. Stop over in Camarines Sur after 3 hours travel, my neck is incurably painful and my back is killing me because it too cold. Good thing the conductor and driver ask me for Php 500.00 from Irosin to Pasay City. The fare usually cost Php 900.00 – 1000.00 which save me almost half of the budget. I will never ride that bus company again.

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The trip is almost over, the experience was quite an adventure. Going solo on a road trip creates so much memories and bunch of travel idea. Learning the ways of backpacking and the lesson of the in0/out of going on trip. To initiate trip accordingly based on experiences by other people, especially reading too many travel blog can be very useful in exploring this world. Backpacking like this open my mind into more possibilities of traveling solo.

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Sometimes you need to go on impulsive trip, decide where to go. Make sure you have internet and get all the information you needed. Take the bus with your pack and travel with style!!

See you again PIRATES!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Trilogy Hike: Mt Gola, Mt Manalmon and Mt Matinik

“I hope you remember that my laughs and smiles are 100 times healthier when I am with you.”

      • Fakir into the Mountains

 

The smells of summer cast happiness to our old dying nation. The heat of the sun is burning all the way, from city to the provincial fields. The mountains are delightful for the brim light coming from the star. It was time to unfathomable adventures until the summer last.

 

I wish this will be the best summer for me. One of our unimaginable summer. My no more tears formula from loneliness of the warm climate bring sad memories from the ghost of my own past. Now, I want to change and leave nothing but happay memories. After exploring the Burot Beach in Calatagan,Batangas. Still on my 5-day vacation leave, I came to continue my exploration without getting tired to the peaks of San Miguel, Bulacan. Originally, it was a planned hike to Mt Maculot but after learning that overnight seems to be impossible. The plan changed abruptly to Twin Hike for Manalmon and Gola.

Ruining the Batangas escapades, after tanning in Burot (See Related Article: http://lenlenmanlalayag.com/2015/04/14/burot-beach-going-solo/). I went back to Manila, slept a bit, change my pack from beach attires to climbing stuff. Meet up with the group and went straight to Cubao Terminal. Hola, from South to North! From Cubao to San Miguel, Bulacan, you can hopped in to bus bound to Cabanatuan via Sta Rita for Php 100-120.00 / $2.00 – 2.70. Day hike is very applicable but you need to be very early. After exiting Sta Rita NLEX toll, you must be an HOKAGE to bypass the traffic.

 

There will be a bus stop in San Miguel proper, hire a tricycle to Sitio Madlum. Fare is around Php 70.00 – 80.00 / head for a group of 4 or 5 in 1 tricycle. It will take 20 – 30 minutes tryke ride to the Sitio. It was mid morning when we reach the registration hall. We met our guide, Tatay Carling and Tatay Tonyo which were very pleasant to mountaineers. They even have equipment brought to them by hikers. Humidity is high but the dancing bamboos give fresh air around the river.

 

Registration fee cost Php5.00 and guide fee is Php300.00 day hike or overnight. We started trekking in high noon. The infamous Madlum River, several horror stories were provided to us upon starting the climb. Yes!! It’s killing me softly. I hate horror movies, stories and the monsters below the bed. Madlum have it all. Anyway, back to the trail. The air is refreshing, 10 – 20 minutes later, we arrive near a creek where water source is available. We dipped into the cold water, dive to the murky abyss. After TAKE 30, we decide to continue the hike hitting MT GOLA as our first mountain.

 

 

Mt Gola is good for beginners, the trail is diverse with rock formation sulfuric acid seems to melt on the boulders. Reaching the summit will take less than an hour. The sun sets down and the twinkling sky line is on the surface of the Earth. The pretty natural light from the moon is giving us faint light and give calming ambiance to the entire trail. Mulawin trees are all over the place, summer gashed out their leaves and the effect is splendid. Since the darkness started to run unto us, we trek down and start to hike to Mt Manalmon to set our camp.

 

We reached the camp at full darkness. Nothing beats the night sky during summer over the mountain. It very hard to describe how pretty the stars. Million of stars above dancing with the moonlight. Another FEELS when you climb a mountain. You cannot pay for the beauty seen beyond the city lights. Moving forward from my poetic damnation, we cooked dinner, ate it and socials started once more.

 

 

The worst nightmare of the cowardly ME, they started to talk about the headless priest, the big bird who eat humans and the endless river killing. I got enough of it and decided to sleep. I cannot sleep, I can feel the stories lurking from my restless body. It was hot inside my tent, too cold to sleep outside. I transferred to another tent with my buddy because I cannot bear sleeping alone, its haunting me. The cruelty of having vivid imagination, too much horrors can bring worst nightmares.

 

 

I can hear the wind whistling all around the camp area, we were the only one who camp out here. The rest of the hikers ducked near the water source. The howling sound of the animals suddenly stop and later I was sound asleep. The morning sun is the greatest of all. I can finally breath properly. LOL! Breakfast serve, chomped the remaining food on our packs and head to our 2nd summit. MT MANALMON peak is wonderful, the entire trail easy to trek and the view can amaze you. After going bananas in the summit it was an official declaration to trek down and finish the last G of the day. Spelunking in Bayukbok Cave (See related article: http://lenlenmanlalayag.com/2015/06/25/bayukbok-cave-do-the-body-language/)

 

 

But, our guide is very proud of us and asked us if we wanted to trail another mountain. MT MATINIK is privately owned by a local which is our guide’s relative. The trail is not officially open to hikers because they are still waiting for the private transaction being dealt with the owner of the property. Since our guide is a relative, he introduce us this mountain. We are happy to be part of the few hikers that were able to climb this closed trail. YIHAAA! Feeling HARDCORE! HEHE

 

The mountain do not have permanent trail, locals climb here to get fruits and sad to say Kaingin. Our guide cut out few bushes to create new trail and the name really fits this mountain. MATINIK which means THORNY. Thorns from wild grass immediately scratched us while we hike up. Thorns and heat were not an ideal combination. GRRRR! It was scorching hot, we were in the middle of April’s warmth and thorns everywhere. This peak is the highest out of the 3 summits. We were able to climb after an hour or so. The view differs from every corner of Sitio Madlum.

 

We trek down on another trail with luscious wild grass and humidity. I managed to drink all my trail water and my throat starts to ache. We reached the field back to the river and WHAAALALALA, finish 3 summits in mid morning. Filing up my bottle from the water source, we head back to the jump-off to rest before starting the caving activity.

 

Lunch is served, I need to rest for a while now before starting another trail. I find this hammock hanging in between bamboos. It was the most relaxing part of the trip, the sway and the cold wind makes me want to sleep and forget the cave. Of course, my hike mates won’t allow me to sleep and I need to finish our escapades here in Madlum. So we headed to the cave after resting for a couple of minutes! POWER!

 

My first trilogy was full of surprises and one of the most memorable hikes I had. Remembering it brings bittersweet smiles. But things happen for a reason, and the REASON IS YOU. LOL!

 

  • HUGOT TEAM

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Mt Binacayan and Mt Pamitinan: TWINNING CLIMB

“The SWEEPER on mountain trail is responsible that no one is LEFT BEHIND. The STRONGEST and the TACTICIAN”

Stare all the way down at the top of Mt Pamitinan Peak

Stare all the way down at the top of Mt Pamitinan Peak

Left to assist the weak and making sure that everyone on the hiking group are in line with the itinerary. The sweeper is a leader which aids those who have lesser physical power because in the trail, no once should fall behind regardless of time constraint.

The Seafarer and the Step Crawlers!

The Seafarer and the Step Crawlers!

I have nowhere to go. I want to climb and hike this weekend but most of my friends are not into the mountains. My trail friends have different schedules, rest days or just busy. I’ve got nowhere to go. Surfing the internet makes me dumb, too much running makes me ill and staying in my apartment kills the hell out me. I want to go out but nowhere to go. Bumping to a friend in facebook about their schedule climb, I immediately jump into my usual impulsiveness and join their group for this twin hike.

the Trail Life like no other. Mt Binacayan diversity

the Trail Life like no other. Mt Binacayan diversity

It was very unusual for me to start the climb on a Sunday morning. I usually go out of the city every Friday or a Saturday. I feel dumb and shit for days now, losing the will to continue my workouts, my runs and my family. Affected by some sort of personal decision and wasted energy, I want to climb to feel the never-ending happiness. That FEELS though. I cramming with my life, as an idiot, I need to settle my education, finances and my freaking life. But for today, I will climb and make new friends out of it.

Parkour plus Hiking is equals to this selfie. DISCLAIMER: Mike is a Pro Parkour Enthusiast

Parkour plus Hiking is equals to this selfie. DISCLAIMER: Mike is a Pro Parkour Enthusiast

The edge of the world. (Not really extreme, angle shot)

The edge of the world. (Not really extreme, angle shot)

After contacting my friend from previous work, decided to join their climb. I was too eager that I woke up midnight of Sunday even though the call time is around 0400. I was too early. HEHE. I packed my things, chugged all the water at home, left early and eat all the energy. From Pasig to Cubao, I ducked in and ate my big breakfast. I went to Jolibee Farmers, then wrong branch, went to the correct one in the Mall.

Mt Binacayan Rockies Trail

Mt Binacayan Rockies Trail

I met the Gang, introduce my babbler shit out of me and tried to mingle. I do no longer want to be the HATE person I was. I want to be nice to this trail people. I remember my trail gang, Balanghai G and Yapak. It makes me sad not to be with them. It was my first time to hike with other group. I miss the team spirit and the excitement that caters a hiking day.

Bold Boulders of Binacayan Trail

Bold Boulders of Binacayan Trail

We were able to hopped into our FX to Wawa Montalban, renting the entire PUV up to the DENR building. I met Kuya Albert again (The Hugot Guide), I want him to guide us through. I’ve known him from my previous venture in the Rodriguez Range, Mt Hapunang Banoi day hike. We wait for a couple of minutes for our last pair of guest climbers, registered in DENR and barangay hall. Morning in Rodroguez is nostalgic, the dew from the forest makes the trail wet and muddy. At last jump off, killer pavement jump off.

Unlimited Rock Formation in Mt Binacayan

Unlimited Rock Formation in Mt Binacayan

I wasted energy by talking so much. Sorry guys, I just missed talking to a person. I had my walls, pc and keyboard for a long time. The HAKBANGGAPANGHAGPANG troupe made their way, hitting Mt Binacayan. The pavement road which is part of the trail kick me into my gut. Sweat is pouring all over my body after 10 minutes of climb until we reach the muddy uphill trail. So this is it. This is the world I currently committed with.

Jeimanlalayag meets HakbangGapangHakpang Gang

Jeimanlalayag meets HakbangGapangHakpang Gang

The slimy mud makes the trail difficult to trek. We don’t have the usual pep talk, LNT advise, the prayer or the group warm up. Maybe, I miss the old day but they are now long gone. Moving forward, after catching up with the mud track, we reach the boulder part. I am not particular with boulder and rockies. I am the sandy, dusty and dry hiker. I want dry ground from the surface rather that sedimentary rocks and stones. I feel like touching the rocks will break them into dust and it makes me sentimental when I feel like destroying something from nature.

Anyway, the rockies trail is still magnificent. This trail was open a year ago, one of the mainstream peaks because its near Metro Manila, 3/9 difficulty and the summit is glorious. The scenic view from the boulders is really enticing, no wonder hikers from all over the place are running through the trails of Rodriguez. We were able to complete the journey to the summit after 2-3 hours of trekking, endless selfies and human traffic. The rocks are sharps, it will be best to wear gloves, shoes, long pants and long sleeves to avoid getting scratches or serious wounds. The summit view is worthy and thus we descend are way back to start a brand new trail.

The Summit of Mt Binacayan

The Summit of Mt Binacayan

We started to trek around 0630. We managed to go down around 1200, rest, lunch time, videoke??! and rest room time. It was Sunday but the place is full with other groups, trails were jam-packed. People from different part of the region were here to explore the 4 open trails in Barangay Wawa: Mt Ayaas, Mt Hapunang Banoi, Mt Pamitinan and Mt Binacayan. Other newly open trails for Rodriguez notably from pinoymountaineer.com itinerary, Mt Lubog and Mt Sipit Ulang. I managed to trek Mt Ayaas and Mt Hapunang Banoi on previous occasions which I haven’t yet reviewed. I will review them once I got the inspiration and some sort of will power to arrange! Sorry!

Get dirty and rowdy!

Get dirty and rowdy!

Mt Pamitinan View from its Rockies Trail

Mt Pamitinan View from its Rockies Trail

So after relaxing for a bit, we decide to continue the trek to our second mountain for the day. Mt. Pamitinan, even though our guide gave us warning that many hikers were still up there and trail traffic was linger. Feeling STRONG and EMOTIONAL, only 5 out of 11 from the group decide to continue. Still feeling beat, I mentally struggle because the heat of the sun suffocates me.

Mt Pamitinan: Peak 1

Mt Pamitinan: Peak 1

My ultimate weakness when it comes to hiking is the heat and humidity. It builds up from my lungs down to my legs. Heavy breathing, I feel like melting slowly to the ground. I became weary that I am being left behind, this time pacing is really slow. I can feel my sticky cold sweat from my head down to my back. I need cold wind to pacify the vertigo otherwise I might collapse any time.

Twin Hike Trail View as we Ascend with Power

Twin Hike Trail View as we Ascend with Power

Pamitina Peak One Shoe Photo OP!

Pamitina Peak One Shoe Photo OP!

The trail for Mt Pamitinan is familiar because this is also the jump off for Mt Hapunang Banoi. Since, I aware of the trail. I also know the difficulty for the first 30 minutes. It was tiring, 30 minutes of muddy assault. On this journey, I learn that discontinuing my physical fitness training actually loosen my legs and lungs capability. I promised that once I’m back to the city, I will regain my power and strength. I don’t want to feel weak again. In which I did. While writing this review, I manage to increase my mileage when it comes to running, cross training with biking, indulging to swimming and strengthening my core.

Mt Pamitinan Summit

Mt Pamitinan Summit

Our guide is right, there were several hikers on the junction box. We were able to encounter 5-7 groups going down to their next mountain, resting or really wanted to go home! Reaching the junction trail to Pamitinan and Hapunang Banoi, there were other groups resting because trekking up or down. We also rested for a bit. We were out of itinerary so it we need to hurry before the sun sets down. Around 1500 we trail up to the summit. The rockies started again which slows us down, its a WAY TICKET TO THE SUMMIT. Another group of hikers were going down, we need to stop and give way and vice versa. So it took us a little bit of time before reaching the 1st peak.

"Sit down and enjoy the view"

“Sit down and enjoy the view”

The is also spectacular. Dreamy. It smells SUCCESS. Its LOVE. Its HOPE. Yeah, I was the relentless broken soul and heart. Cutting my crap out, we were able to reach our 2nd Peak in no time, after waiting 10-20 minutes before the group ahead of us went down. The Summit can only accommodate 5-10 persons otherwise, in excess of the number will fall off the cliff. LOL! Never mind the hundred selfies, I was worn out and haggard!!

 Success is BETTER on GREATER HEIGHTS


Success is BETTER on GREATER HEIGHTS

IMG_20150830_075451

Time checks 1600: time to trail down. The wind came from the west, breezy and bringing dark clouds. Then, it started to rain. We slowed down due to the group which is ahead of us. As a courtesy when it comes to hiking, climbers should give way to those who have faster pacing. We need to acknowledge the fact that hiking is not a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis.

Thumbs Up for this DAY!

Thumbs Up for this DAY!

If a person have a greater strength, you need to allow them first and make them ADVANCE either trailing up or down. DONT BE A NUISANCE to other hikers. Anyway, we were able to advance further. Rain water washed out all the thirst I had. It’s almost zero visibility on the trail head. We reach the foot bridge from the jump off around 1730. It’s still raining hard due to thunderstorm but we don’t mind because we were able to finish damn hike.

The Marikina River

The Marikina River

The FEELS of twinning climb is really unbearable happiness. I realize that hiking still make wonders on my soul-searching heart. I just love the mountains. The view from the above. The refreshing terrain. The adventure. The life.

Day hike using a long back pack.

Day hike using a long back pack.

Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.