Day 8: Last Day in Mindanao

“Make friends, have fun, travel forever and have memories that can last a lifetime”

– Fakir

Features: Hagimit Falls, Maxima Aqua Fun, Buying Souvenirs, Bangkeruhan Market, Day Tour in Kaputian Island

My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

I woke up early, beat and with heavy heart. This will be my last day in Davao City. Grab a quick breakfast, pandesal and coffee near Daylight Inn. Chat with the local vendor and bid my farewell to Grace. She will be back in Manila on an early flight, mine will be at 2300. I went to Bangkeruhan to buy Pomelo and Durian for my family/friends. I tried Marang while waiting. Back to the inn, I pack my bags and check out. I stay in Daylight Inn covering my 3 nights in Davao for Php 250/night fan room. I will not recommend this place if you have other choices like My Hotel or other hostels around Davao. I’ve got tick bites all over my legs, swelling and itchy for the next days.

I went back to my friend Rosa’s place to drop my bag then start my day tour in Kaputian Island. I ride a jeepney from Davao Doctors to Aldevinco, fare cost Php 8.00 to buy my souvenirs. I bought my ref magnet, t-shirt, scarf and tie-dye pajama. Buying all those stuff cost me Php 370.00, I forgot the prices of each item (SORNA!). After buying my pasalubong I ride a jeepney from Aldevinco to Sasa Wharf for Php 15.00. I ride the barge to Babak Wharf for Php 10.00. Kuya Jay, the habal-habal driver is waiting in Babak Wharf. He will drop me to Hagimit Falls and Maxima Aqua Fun for Php 150.00, travel time 30 – 45 minutes. I did not agree on taking the day tour since I went to Monfort Cave the other night. But you can rent his service for Kaputian Island Day Tour for Php 800.00 – 1200.00 good for 2-3 pax. Kuya Jay contact: 0916 115 0189, he is really nice. I like him because he’s not nosy unlike other guides.

He drop me in Hagimit Falls, entrance fee cost Php 40.00 and parking fee for Php 5.00. The spring resort is really refreshing. The water is cold and swimming will be nice but I ditch it. I just want to check out the place, take some photos. I stayed here for a good 30 minutes. Then, we went straight to Maxima Aqua Resort. What a nice person Kuya Jay, I recommend him to my friends that went to Kaputian Island.

Maxima Aqua Fun, its infamous SUPER SLIDE attach from the cliff. I ditched Pearl Farm (too expensive for me). Last day in Davao should be filled with adrenaline and FUN. Day tour is Maxima Aqua Fun cost Php 300.00 in which you can stay from 0900 – 1700. I arrived around 1230, roam around and change to my swim attire. The resort attractions are really fascinating and not for the weak heart. I slide several times until waters filled my mouth, ears and nose. I jump from the diving board. Best thing to try is their WATER BLOB. Really exhilarating! It’s a must!

I got exhausted from the activities. My skin is burned from the sun. I met people who add me up in facebook. Last day here in Mindanao is nothing but fun! It’s time to go back in Davao City. A group of soldiers in vacation and me chipped in habal-habal back to Babak Wharf. These young people are brave and pride our country. it was nice to meet them.

Back to Sasa Wharf, I ride a jeepney to People’s Park downtown. I ate in Penong’s, I love their Inasal Chicken and unlimited rice for Php 98.00. Chow time in Davao is cheap and real good. Penong’s is in every corner of the city. After eating, I went back to Rosa’s apartment to get my things and bid goodbye to my college friend. From Ilustre St, there are jeepney to the airport. You can take a cab as well. Downtown Davao to Francisco Bangoy International Airport PUJ fare is php 16.00 – 20.00, taxi fare is Php 230.00 – Php 250.00. Grab Car/Taxi is also available in the city for your comfort.

I arrived at the airport at 2230, flight is schedule at 2305. Check in my bag, feel the infinite pricks on my skin and itchy tick bites. I board and dozed my way back to the bustling city of Metro Manila. I got home in Pasig City around 0200. Mindanao is the best trip of my life. I am going to do this until I can.

Ultimately, the overall trip cost me around Php 15000.00 including my airfare. I will provide the itinerary and budget on my next segment.

On my way 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.

Day 5: The Grand Tinuy-An Falls and Hinatuan Enchanted River

“Start the day with breathing life in and exhaling all the worries away”

– Fakir

My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

Features: Tinuy-An Falls, Bislig City, Hinatuan, Enchanted River, Habal-habal Tour, Surigao del Sur

I woke up heaving with excitement for my 5th day here in Mindanao. Everything I do here makes me feel the utmost freedom I wanted in life. The day will be as amazing as the previous days. I continuously fall in love with this place. After having my breakfast, I called my guide to start my day in Tinuy-An Falls. I read from other blogs that you need to go there early in the morning to catch the rainbow so I decide to go there around 0600. Bislig air is refreshing as Siargao Island. It’s a quiet place and very peaceful.

My guide fetch me at 0615, we started the trip to Tinuy-An Falls. From the main road going to the falls will be a rough drive. It will be a 30 minutes bumpy ride. Road blocks, mud and stone path will welcome you. We arrived around 0700, I am the first tourist of the day. I guess I was too early. I paid the entrance fee for Php 20.00. You can explore the place, swim if you like and get all the pictures you want. My first impression, I was overwhelmed by the grand falls in front of me. Pictures don’t give justice to the beautiful fall in front me. The Tinuy-An falls is very high and the curtains of water gives refreshing treat to the guest.

So at this point of time, Pryde (my camera) decides to kill its manual mode. HAHAHA : ( It was busted for some reason so I decide to get my pictures using my ipad and action camera. Still hopes high and enough cameras to cover my trips, I proceed in exploring the falls area. The Manobo tribes are the land lords so they will your guide if you want to check out the upper curtains of the falls. My guide is as quiet as I am as we go further up. There is a man-made stairs that will help you climb. Kuya guide is very kind to help me when we reach the slippery area. The cold splashes from the falls give me the refreshing feeling.

I reached the upper part of the falls, then swim in the ice cold water. The view was as fascinating as you view it below. Getting into high places relieve my addiction to adrenaline. It seems like all the issues in my life wash away by any scenic landscape in front of me. The love for adventure will definitely continue for as long as I can climb and hike and travel and walk and love this life. Tinuy-An Falls is a beauty you cannot see from its photos. It speaks more glamour in real life than check it out from the photos. It’s too dreamy to capture. To pretty to catch. Too real to get. These are my feelings as I view the wonders of the area. Really cool! Returning back to the main road after the trip, you need to ride into the Tribal Habal-habal which is actually part of the ordinance set in Bislig since they are the landlords of the area.

I made new colleagues all the way from Siargao Island. Upon embarking my way to Enchanted River, Jel’s friend from the DIY is also in Bislig for the same tour. I was just too early and unable to check that she messaged me several times for us to cut the cost of the habal-habal. Sometimes being too early can missed cheap opportunities. So, we fetch Grace from her inn and proceed to Hinatuan. We manage to cut the cost from Php 1000.00 to Php 700.00 which is still a good price. The motorcycle ride to Hinatuan is not a joke; another butt numbing trip for 45 minutes on a endless highway starts again.

We arrived at Enchanted River around 1000, registration fee Php 50.00 and you can explore the entire area which currently manage by the local government. At first glance, I am not as fascinated towards the River. It’s way different from the pictures shown in the internet. The turquoise color is gone and the deep blue abyss is not there. A bit disappointed but our guide said it’s currently not good to look because its high tide. Even the water taste a little bit salty. Since its high tide, river water meets the sea which is the reason why it’s a bit salty. Going here made me sweaty so I take the opportunity to dip into the cold relaxing water.

My high school friend Nilo was here when he globetrot Philippines for his work. I saw several of his photos from here so this made me decide to include Enchanted River as part of my Mindanao backpacking trip. I am a good swimmer but never a good diving. Taking my underwater photos gave me a hard time. This is part of the disadvantage of backpacking alone. No one will take your damn pictures. Good thing someone invented a timer for cameras. Whoever you are, thank you.

We waited for the fish feeding program in Hinatuan which starts at 1200. Grace got a really good spot at the upper portion and I got one on the lower portion. The staff feed the fishes for the next 15 minutes with background music. After the gig, we decide to go back to Bislig for Grace to take her Tinuy-an Falls trip and me to ready my pack. It was a quick day tour for both Tinuy-An Falls and Hinatuan. I cleaned up back to the hotel and ready my bags to Davao City. I ate roasted chicken for lunch which cost me Php 120.00 with drinks and rice.

I waited for Grace and we hopped into Bachelor Bus bound to Davao City, fare cost Php 300.00 for ordinary bus. The February wind is like a lullaby as we begin our journey. The road trip started around 1700, as we view Banana Plantation and endless greens of Mindanao. This time of my life really change my perspective about travelling this beautiful country. Its broaden my mind and views as we passed by the town after town. There are several bus stops for break and dinner time. As the night time crossed the sky line, I fell asleep and when I woke up we were in Davao Ecoland Terminal. The entire transfer took us 7 hours and it’s worthy. We catch a tricycle to My Hotel to check in but they are fully booked. They refer us to Daylight Inn, we got our double bed fan room for Php 300.00. Same pricing to surrounding inns in Davao, our is near the famous Bankeruhan and other establishment.

Finally, I was able to set foot in the one of the safest place in the world. Tomorrow will be the time to explore Davao City. For now I need to take a rest and have the best sleep.

Touch Down 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 4: A Long Run Around in Mindanao

“A trip so long is a journey to patience”

– Fakir

My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao

Features: Sea and Land Transfer from Siargao Island to Mangagoy, Bislig Surigao del Sur, Travel time, Tinuy-an Falls, Enchanted River, Hinatuan, Bislig and finding a hostel

I am leaving Siargao Island with a little bit of a heavy heart. The life in this island is like a dream I never thought of. I share my life with people I met here and have the waves of desires in our lives. To travel the world and to live in peace. I will never forget the experience Siargao had given me. It was 0400 when I woke up, I barely sleep because I want to stay longer here but I need to move on to my next destination. I clean my locker in Paglaom Hostel, closed my pack and hopped to my habal-habal. The habal-habal rental cost Php 200.00, one of the nearby hostel guest don’t have a ride to we share. Indeed, I am a lucky bastard.

Within 15 minutes we arrived at Dapa Port, the port area is busy with hundreds of tourists and locals line up to get the ferry tickets. I bought a Mabuhay ticket for Php 260.00 and terminal fee for Php 15.00. Economy and business tickets are sold out. The fare is a bit expensive but when I hopped into it, I changed my mind. The Mabuhay class have air-condition, comfortable seat and airplane seat feel. I still wonder why I did hop to a small boat going to Siargao Island. The tricycle driver from Surigao City seems to drop me to a different port. No wonder, all passengers are mostly locals at that time.

I fell asleep as we sail out to the vast sea. The travel time is less than 2 hours since this is a huge vessel. I arrived in Surigao City really drowsy, my head is starting to ached and I need to find my way to the Terminal. I take a jeep to the terminal for Php7.00. I was about to take a bus to Butuan, then another bus/van going to Mangagoy. When I reach the terminal, I learned that vans bound to Davao City are available in Surigao City. I hopped into the crowded van, paid Php300.00 going to San Fran Integrated Terminal. The van route to Butuan City then bound to Surigar del Sur. The entire stop/go routine lasted for another 6 hours of my life before arriving to San Fran. I was tired and weary; I barely slept in the van because the view is just to awesome.

From San Fran, I need to take another ride to Mangagoy, Bislig for my Tinuy-An Falls and Enchanted River escapade for the next day. I decide to take Bachelor Bus to Mangagoy paying Php150.00 fare. Van transfer fare is cheaper for Php 80.00 – 100.00. Take the van instead if you want to have a cheaper rate. The travel time from San Fran to Bislig is another 2 – 3 hours butt numbing trip. I met local ladies who are kind enough to give me shelter for the night. I was tired when I got in Bislig, the drivers are hauling around me. I cannot decide because I am starving and headache is around the corner. The local ladies pulled me from the haggling drivers and decide to check me in their houses. I am too grateful for their offer but I decide to say no. I am a bit uncomfortable staying in to someone else’s house rather than taking an inn. They helped me get an air-conditioned room instead in Star Dormitel for Php 300.00 instead of paying Php 550.00 in which I am very thankful.

I was gasping for food when I reached my room. I am tired and really starving so I decide to complete my stocks again and went to Gaisano Mall to purchase some stuff. Bislig City is pretty quiet place to live, its warm and peaceful compare to nearby cities. After getting my food, I ate in my room and search for my habal-habal to fetch me for tomorrow’s adventure. I stayed outside and eat Balut to my heart’s content. I cannot find any available driver so I decide to contact Jel to get her contact instead which she provide immediately (Such an angel to have bumped into). I was able to contact the guide and settle for Php 1000.00 for the entire Tinuy-An and Hinatuan River tour. Everything is settled, I got the food and things I need for the next day activities. I conclude my 10 hours transfer from Siargao Island to Mangagoy, Bislig a huge success with a butt numbing ride to the far flung of Surigao.

Let’s do this 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

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.

Hiking Cliché: What it takes to be a Hiker?

“We see the world on top view, we survive each hardship, as a team and nature’s ultimate lover”

– FAKIR

I was a young and newbie mountaineer. All of the hiking activities I joined into are for entertainment but it doesn’t mean that I am careless to forget the rules of Leave No Trace. I was able to climb 16 peaks with difficulty and pride. I started to seriously devote to climbing this year. I still need to learn the basics of mountaineering before entering to more serious matters.

I take my time, slowly developing myself from being a carefree hiker to responsible climber. My sole purpose in hiking is to get physically fit for my travels but later I find it very important to be part of common goal to conserve and teach other newbies about the wonderful world of mountaineering.

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It was not an easy task to spearhead hiking activity. Even though there are waivers, you still have that conscious societal responsibility to the people joining your group. I envelope my sense of patriotism and dedicate to be part of change instead of adding up as a headache to environmental bureaus. As Mahatma Ghandi says “You must be the change you want to see in this world”.

You don’t want to be nuisance to the vast forestry, locals and living matter in a hiking ground. As a personal advocate to people who want to try hiking, I make sure that they decide base on their capability to take care of the trails and wildlife. To train themselves and become better hikers. Teach the future climbers with respect to the locals, to the wildlife and the things on the trails.

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Hiking is fun and an adventure of a lifetime. I remember creating my own bill way back in college to conserve and protect the life under the natural parks, mountains and other relative conservatoire. As a climber it is tantamount for us to learn the values of being a good hiker.

We do it not just for fun but we acknowledge the fact that this biodiversity will not live for as long as there are people who kills it, little by little. The mountains are giving us the air to breath, fresh water we drink, energy to our household and the LIFE that we should deserve. CLEAN and GREEN.

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To my fellow climber out there, we must be responsible enough to teach our underlings about the rules of the nature. We should have a glorious summit, happy socials and at the same time create a common goal as we introduce the life on the outdoor. What we learn on the trails should be transfer to thousands of new hikers so that we can inhibit to all the values of climbing.

We set the goal to reach the summits, to view the world from the peak and to be proud of ourselves. We need to be part of something beneficial rather than being part of the problem. In climbing there are no HARDCORE, SLOW PACER, BEGINNER, OR PROFESSIONAL. We are the HIKERS that respect each other and the outdoors.

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SO LONG PIRATES!!!

Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio and Jereca Custodio Copy Right

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.

The Mother Falls of Aurora

Ditumabo Falls

The high and mighty. Showering me from the mountains

The high and mighty. Showering me from the mountains

After breakfast, we check in to our Villa in Barangay Zabali. It is a house converted to inn which can accommodate up to 40 persons. We left our baggage bring our cameras and swimming gears heading to trek to the falls. Aurora Province, our first tour will be the Mother’s Fall or Ditumabo Falls in San Luis, Aurora Philippines.

One Way

One Way

The Wooden Bridge, Imagine 300-500 passers everyday during the vacation season

The Wooden Bridge, Imagine 300-500 passers everyday during the vacation season

From Baler to San Luis, it takes around 30 to 45 minutes drive. Our tour guides give us briefing before we start the trek going to the falls, it will take one hour walking into the river, land and wood bridges before reaching the falls.

The Sun, The Forest and The Greens

The Sun, The Forest and The Greens

Freshly picked coconuts. Oh LIFE!

Freshly picked coconuts. Oh LIFE!

The river is very clean and locals maintain the spot. Bottled water and food are not allowed in the falls and trekking area but there are food stalls available at the jump off offering fresh coconut juice, grilled corn, barbeques and sodas.

Sweet Life

Sweet Life

Jump Off to the Mother Falls

Jump Off to the Mother Falls

The futile land of Aurora is very diverse and have beautiful scenery. It was a breathtaking sight for all of us. The water is crystal clear, cold and refreshing. The entire trek is perspiring and tiring but our eyes were fed by luscious surroundings. Reaching the falls gave us chills because the water.

The trail life

The trail life

A Man-made Dam to prevent flashflood during the rainy season

A Man-made Dam to prevent flashflood during the rainy season

The Ditumabo Falls is around 140 feet high. The flowing water gives cold air, refreshing everyone from their sweaty clothes. I did not resist from the cold water, I immediately dive giving icy bites on my skin. We swim for 30 minutes before deciding to go back because it was crowded. People coming from different towns filled the place.

High School Friends Photo Ops in the Water Duct

High School Friends Photo Ops in the Water Duct

The Groupie on the Duct, my college friends.

The Groupie on the Duct, my college friends.

We need to move to give space to other tourist so we went back. It was not easy going back because people are piling up on a line, trails and bridges are built for just one person. We need to take turns which makes trekking back longer. Trekking into the stone river area is not easy, people in different ages need to wait for their turns.

Water Duct from the falls to cascade the water downtown

Water Duct from the falls to cascade the water downtown

Little trinkets of water from the mountain

Little trinkets of water from the mountain

Some people where thrown away by the current of the water and it was not easy task controlling the rapids. When we reach the jump off, all of us are tired and starving.

Mini Dam with my Sister Jec and Future Bro-in-Law Chris

Mini Dam with my Sister Jec and Future Bro-in-Law Chris

The refreshing water from the Falls with Xy and Bandam (Bonding with great friends)

The refreshing water from the Falls with Xy and Bandam (Bonding with great friends)

It’s time for food tripping. I choose to get grilled corn for Php 20.00 / $0.45, coconut for Php 25.00 / $0.57, bottled soda for Php 10.00 / $0.23, barbeque for Php 30.00 / $0.68 and chip for Php 15.00 / $0.33. The good thing visiting here is that price is not that expensive unlike other known tourist destination, so KUDOS to Aurora Tourism.

The Mother Falls of Aurora

The Mother Falls of Aurora

Image Sources: Nilo Canlas and Xyrik Manongsong (Approved Photos)

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.

 

Welcome to Aurora Province

I am on-the-go for several weeks now and I find myself travel back to NORTH.

The Surfing Board against the tides and lights
The Surfing Board against the tides and lights

We booked our tour to Baler, that is a two days and 1 night trip. On a warm Friday night we begun our journey to one of the surfing hotspots in the North. This is a van tour which cost Php 2100 or $47 – 50.00 inclusive of tour, accommodation and food. This is really a cheap tour, if your going backpacking it might cost you more because transportation there is a bit nifty especially if you’re a foreign tourist.

Signage of a Hotel in Baler. This is not our accommodating hotel though. Hehe

Signage of a Hotel in Baler. This is not our accommodating hotel though. Hehe

From Manila to Baler, it took us 5-6 hours travel time with 2 stop over. The road is not very kind in some areas. Our driver encountered rough, zigzag, narrow and eerie roads on the way but still we manage to get there 30 minutes earlier than expected.

Morning Rush in Sabang, Baler Aurora

Morning Rush in Sabang, Baler Aurora

We reached Sabang Beach on its sunrise, the sun kissing the Pacific Ocean. The sand is black and the breeze gives relaxation. It was a perfect day for the tour. Everyone did not mind the bumpy travel and very eager to start the day in Baler.

Aurora Province. Pristine Panorama

Aurora Province. Pristine Panorama

We hit food stalls first to energize for our first activity. Baler doesn’t really offer good food unlike other provinces of the Philippines but the eatery is cheap and budget friendly. Food budget can be around Php700.00 / $15-20.00 for 2 days and 1 night but that would vary depending on how often and big your meal.

Aurora welcomes us very warmly

Aurora welcomes us very warmly

Image Sources: Nilo Canlas and Xyrik Manongsong (Approved Photos)

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 Daguldul

We're still CHEERFUL. Perks of being a CRAZY ADVENTURE SEEKER!

We’re still CHEERFUL. Perks of being a CRAZY ADVENTURE SEEKER!

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1

0600 ETD Lipa via Bus (You can take the Cubao or Buendia Bus whichever is near from your house. We took Araneta Center Terminal)

0830 At Lipa, rent a jeepney to Barangay Hugom (Lipa to Barangay Hugom is a 2 hour ride)

Option 2: For Small Group,Solo or Dual Hikers

From Bus Drop Off in Front of Jolibee, ride a jeepnet to SM Lipa then take Jeep to San Juan. From San Juan take a tricycle to Barangay Hugom (It will be a journey)

1130 ETA Brgy. Hugom Outpost. Register and arrange for guide.

1300 Start Trek – Pavement road from Barangay Outpost or ride a jeepney or tricycle

1530 ETA Mang Lizardo’s place

1730 ETA Niyugan Campsite, Set Camp (We set our camp around 1900 due to heavy rain, slow-mo effect)

1900 Dinner / Socials (Nope, we did not eat on time!)

Day 2

0600 Wake up call (Chilly morning)

0620 Start Trek going to summit

0640 ETA summit

0800 ETD from summit

0830 Breakfast (We did ot eat)

0930 Break Camp

1000 Start Descent

1100 Back at Mang Lizardo’s place (We ate)

1200 Resume descent

1400 ETA Laiya Beach. (Rented a cottage for Php 500.00 with a long table: No Entrace once you rented the cottage)

1700 ETA SM Lipa. Took the Bus to Manila

1900 ETA Manila

Things to Bring

•A good pair of trekking shoes or rubber shoes

•Sun and Rain Protection (Sun Block, RAIN COAT / PONCHO, shades, cap etc..)

•Water or re hydration fluids(prescribed is 3L)

•Extra clothes and clothes for swimming

•Slippers

•Toiletries

•Personal Medications

•Packed lunch

•Snacks (Trail Food)

•Headlamp/ Flashlight

•Extra plastic

•Camera

•Mess Kit

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.