Day 1: The Journey to Mindanao for 8 Days and 7 Nights

“Plan ahead, pack your bags, secure your tickets and get broke. Live the life you think you deserve.”

– Fakir

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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: Manila to Butuan, Butuan to Surigao City, Golden Mile Pension Haus and Transfers

I always wanted to backpack a place I never set foot. In July 2015, I booked tickets from Manila to Butuan and Davao to Manila. I think its possible to set a thousand kilometers road trip in Butuan to Davao. Buses to Davao are all over Mindanao. I got 2 different tickets, no itinerary yet and I will deal with it at least 2-3 months before the trip. I purchase an all-in-fare ticket to Butuan for Php 625.00 and back to Manila for Php 500.00. Later I added check-in baggage for Php 224.00 each ticket to suffice my pack and equipment. Its still pretty cheap so I decide to pursue the dream and wait for 7 months.

Finally, its almost a month before the trip. I check out the timeline, initially wanted to go to Manila – Butuan – Davao – South Cotabato – Davao del Sur – Davao Del Norte – Davao City – Manila itinerary. But, I change my mind because transferring to Butuan to Davao to Lake Sebu will consume so much time. I decide to go to Siargao Island in which I found out that there are several places I could explore in Siargao for non-surfer like me. There is so much that it would cost so much. I decided to have Manila – Butuan City – Surigao City – Siargao Island – Surigao – Davao City – Samal Island – Davao del Norte – Davao – Manila itinerary.

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February 25, it was my flight to Butuan City. I am coughing out loud and caring for a flu for the past days. I went on hiking 1 week ago, prior to that went back from my Bohol trip. I was exhausted and exasperating in excitement that led me to sickness. So I pack my bags, make sure that everything on my checklist are securely put on my pack. My flight was change from 0740 to 13:25 which actually ruin my itinerary. I was supposed to tour in Butuan but decide to scratch it on the list. I went to the NAIA Terminal 3 way too early. 3 hours before the flight I landed in the airport. I thought traffic is heavy because portion of EDSA is closed because its a public holiday.

I just waited and abuse the free internet in the airport, listen to songs until my flight was called for boarding. It was a smooth flight of 1 hour to Butuan City. As I view the mountain range of Agusan, I was mesmerized and its just the start but its already worth it. I got out of Bancasi Airport, van dispatchers and travel agencies are now offering their services. I was starving; I ate in the canteen outside the airport. I order Tinolang Tuna and rice with a drink for Php 80.00. Then hop to the van going to Surigao City for Php 200.00. The original plan is taking Bachelor Bus to Surigao City but the terminal is about 5-10 minutes away from the airport. You need to walk from the airport to the highway and catch a multicab to Butuan Integrated Terminal if you want to catch the bus. Fare is almost the same or the bus is more expensive than van transfer.

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From Butuan Airport to Surigao City will take a cruel 5-6 hours travel time. The van is stopping to pick up passengers which prolong the entire trip. I slept several times, asking if we are near yet its still far. Good thing that the place is too damn beautiful where the mountain range is meeting the blue waters of the sea. I could not agree no more. It’s night time when I arrive at Surigao Integrated Terminal. Some tricycle drivers offer service from the terminal to the Centro (downtown) for Php 50.00 but I decide to take the multicab instead for Php8.00 to Vasquez Street where most inns are located. I did not booked for one so I walk in to Golden Mile Pension Hauz.

Unfortunately their fan room for Php300.00 is under construction. Then it started to rain hard so I need to take immediate shelter. I haggle for their rooms since I will be staying for a good 8 hours. From Php850.00, they gave me the air-conditioned room for Php550.00. I am exhausted and starving from the trip. I walk around, found barbeque restaurant Zouk. Order myself rice, grilled chicken wings and chicken innards with carbonated drinks for Php78.00. Dig in, pay and went back to the hotel to call it a night.

I woke up around 0400, drink coffee and some of my biscuits. I arrange my pack then left the hotel then catch the first trip to Siargao Island. I was again way too early because I am too eager to reach Siargao. I have lots of activities to do in the island. I want have fun after the road trip that doesn’t seem to end. I will right the entire Siargao Island travel on my next blog. There is more in this island that won’t fit in this entry.

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Road 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.

Mt Ulap Overnight Camp Guide




“Just live even though it’s not extraordinary’

– Fakir

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

Things to do in Surigao Del Norte

“You live as if impossible don’t exist”

-Fakir

Features: Siagao Island, Bucas Grande and when in Surigao del Norte.

These are the things that fascinate me as I visit the Southern part of the Philippines. Paradise for both who love adventure and serene beauty of nature. Siargao Island and Bucas Grande offers it all. For surfer and non surfer, this place will satisfy your cravings to nature.

  1. Be captivated by General Luna’s coastline.

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2. Man-made infinity pool in the heart of Siargao Island.

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3. As part of the Siargao Island hopping. Daku means big. Daku Island will surely take your breath away.

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4. The infamous Cloud 9 of General Luna.

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5. Paglaom Hostel. Happy vibe and owners. Php 300.00 / night. Cheap find to meet rare people.

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6. Cliff diving. Just jump!

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7. The view is rare. I find utmost peace. This is life we all deserve.

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8. White sand and sun. Naked Island will burn both your skin and heart. So pretty.

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9. Tojoman Lagoon in Bucas Grande. See the colorful stingless jellyfish!

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10. Ride with the local paddler going to the Tojoman Lagoon.

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11. Watch locals as they catch fish using spears and traps.

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12. The Snoring Cave gives you delight in your eyes as the aquamarine water beams underwater.

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13. Paghungawan Marsh is home of the Philippine Crocodile.

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14. YUP! Siargao Island. Surfing Capital of the Philippines.

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14 marvelous things you can do in Surigao del Norte!

Ay! Ay! 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.

 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.

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.

Manabu Sunrie

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.

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.

Burot Beach

JEitinerary: (I adjusted my Day 1 for 4 hours. Hehe)

Morning in Burot Beach

Morning in Burot Beach

Day 1

0430 ETD from Pasig City

0500 ETA Taft Pasay City Bus Terminal

(At the back of McDonalds near MRT station, Batangas Bound bus lines are available. Beware bus take passenger within service road so it will take time before you get to the destination)

0530 ETD Bus going to Lian

0815 ETA Lian, Batangas

(Go to the Poblacion Terminal, jeep bound for Calatagan are available)

0830 ETD Lian Poblacion to Calatagan Bayan

0915 ETA Calatagan Bayan

(Alternative Route: Van from Taft Pasay City at the back of Kabayan Hotel to Calatagan: Trip 4-5 hours)

930 Complete Supplies

0945 ETD Calatagan Poblacion

1000 ETA Burot Beach

(Take tricycle to Burot Beach. Got it for Php 150.00 / $4.00 good for 3 pax. Cons of going SOLO. T.T)

1015 Secure Camp Area and Pitch Tent

1100 Prepare Lunch

1300 Free Time (Swimming, Beach Bumming, etc)

1500 Meryenda

1700 Prepare Dinner

1900 Dinner and Socials

Day 2

600 Wake up call

630 Prepare Breakfast

700 Breakfast

730 Free Time (Swimming, Beach Bumming, etc)

1000 Wash up

1100 Break Camp

1200 ETD Burot Beach

1215 ETA Catalgan Poblacion

1230 ETD Calatagan to Taft Pasay City

(I took the van because Bus from Calatagan to Manila took me 2 hours of my time. It did not arrive on schedule.)

1730 ETA Pasay City

Burot Beach, Me and my Stick

Burot Beach, Me and my Stick

This is a personal itinerary that I made and actually done. I always find alternative ways to go to the place after getting lost and asked local on how to get there. See you on the road!

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.

Towering Heights of Mt Arayat

The thrill of being on the TOP of the world is indescribable.
The thrill of being on the TOP of the world is indescribable.

Getting high like this make me feel powerful. Not anyone can go here. Not anyone have the stamina. The energy. The time. The journey.