Macau Day Trip 2016

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Chinese New Year Feels at Venetian Hotel

Earlier this year, I went back to Hong Kong and celebrated my birthday. I decided to visit Macau not to play casino of course but to visit the famous St. Paul Ruins and other tourist destinations. It was also the first time I experienced a 1 degree temperature! After we checked in our hotel at Tsim Tsa Tsui, me and my cousin Lj immediately went to Cotai Jetty Port bound for Macau.

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Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal

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Inside the Cotai Jet

We had a lot of misadventures before we made it to the port, mainly getting confused on which MTR station we needed to take. I must say that we had a smooth sail going to Macau but the moment we stepped out the port, It was the coldest temperature I’ve ever experienced. A bone chilling 1 degree! not to mention the rain and wind that came hand in hand.The struggle was real! My lips started to get dry and my ears started to feel like it was to fall off.

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Inside the Cotai Jet

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At the entrance of Venetian Hotel

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After we passed immigration, we looked for the free shuttle bus going to the Venetian Hotel,20 minutes later we arrived at the hotel.We roamed around for a bit but since Chinese New Year was just around the corner, a lot of tourists from the Mainland were there.We looked for a place to eat but because I have the habit of always converting everything to peso(which you should avoid when visiting other countries) , all the restaurants within the Venetian Hotel seemed expensive for me.

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Senado Square

I told my cousin to have our lunch near St. Paul ruins since according to my research there was a lot of food stalls around the area. So we took a cab from the hotel to St. Paul Ruins and since it was very cold, we decided to eat noodles which luckily we immediately found a place for.

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The restaurant where we ate

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with my cousin inside Venetian Hotel

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I honestly didn’t know what we ate, all i know was we found a small restaurant that served noodles.I guess that’s another kind of hot pot because there’s a variety of dim sum, meat to vegetables that you can add to your noodles. One of my struggles when travelling abroad was the food, I’m not really into Asian food especially authentic Asian cuisine.

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Tourists around St. Paul Ruins

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The taste is very strong and they love putting some curry powder which I really don’t like. I wasn’t satisfied with what we ate so when I saw McDonald’s I hurried up and ordered nuggets with fries only to find out that the taste wasn’t the same here in PH (poor me). I tried my best to finish what I ordered because it was my first decent meal of the day.

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St. Paul Ruins

 

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The Ruins of St. Paul’s are the ruins of a 16th-century complex in Santo António, Macau, China.Today, the ruins are one of Macau’s best known landmarks.

After we ate, we roamed around Senado Square until it started to rain which made the temperature drop even more. We decided to end our Macau tour with a glimpse of the St. Paul Ruins.The Ruins of St. Paul’s (also known as Sam Ba Sing Tzik) stands adjacent to the famous Mount Fortress and Macau Museum. The front facade and the grand stone stairs are the only remains of the greatest church.

HOW TO GET THERE FROM HONG KONG:

There are two ferry terminals in Hong Kong;

1.Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal -3/F Shun Tak Centre, 200 Connaught Road Central, Sheung Wan–MTR Sheung Wan Station, Exit D

2. Hong Kong China Ferry Terminal-33 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon–MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit A1

We purchased our round trip Cotai Jet Ticket from our Hotel Golden Crown at 290HKD (we got it for a discounted price). But you can also book via Turbo Jet

GETTING AROUND IN MACAU:

1. Free shuttle service provided by the hotels and casino, bus and taxi.

FARE:

Hong Kong – MACAU WEEKDAYS WEEKEND NIGHT SAILING
COTAI JET CLASS 165hkd 177hkd 201hkd
Turbo Jet Economy 164hkd 177hkd 200hkd
MACAU – HONG KONG WEEKDAYS WEEKEND NIGHT SAILING
COTAI JET CLASS 154hkd 167hkd 190hkd
Turbo Jet Economy 153hkd 166hkd 189hkd

For more information about the fare and schedule for Cotai Jet please click here. For Turbo Jet click here.

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“You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go”-Jim Robin

Buwis BuHIKE -Mt. Hapunang Banoi

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We were lucky to witness Mt. Hapunang Banoi’s Sea of Clouds. 

Earlier this year, my friend KC invited me for her first hike. I decided to join her despite the short notice because I thought it was going to be an easy hike, but i was totally wrong! LOL! A few days before I celebrated my birthday, I conquered Mt. Hapunang Banoi located at Barangay Wawa, Rodriguez Rizal.

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Along with Mt. Binacayan and Mt. Pamitinan, Mt. Hapunang Banoi is one of the favorite hiking destinations in Rizal due to its proximity to the metro.

Since it was an ordinary day, we left Cubao around 4am and arrived at the jump off point before 5am. After we registered and paid the tourism fee, we met our tour guide and started our hike.After 15 minutes of walking non stop, I asked for a break because i was on the verge of fainting, which didn’t happen… thankfully I only threw up (gross I know)! LOL!

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Kapit lang, bes!

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The Hanging Bridge

It was the second time that I hiked without enough sleep. After our little break, I felt relieved and was ready to get back on track.So guys, always make sure to get a good night’s rest before the actual climb to avoid ending up like me.

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The Majestic View from Peak 1

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The famous Balete Tree

We reached peak 1 just in time for sunrise and I was so surprised with the sea of clouds. I thought only Mt. Pulag offers this kind of view. I stood there for a couple of minutes while I kept on saying ” OMG! It’s so beautiful! OMG”

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Who run the world?! GIRLS!

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Buwis-BuHIKE shot. It scared the hell out of me! LOL

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Finding inner peace.

As we were the only group there that morning we had a lot of time to take photos. Kuya Junnie (our tour guide/photographer) put my boldness to test doing those death-defying shots. It was a bit hard for me because I was afraid of heights plus you needed to have good balance or else say good-bye to the world. HAHA Just kidding!

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Namaste.

I thought it was the hardest part of the trail but wait! there’s more! From peak 1,we had to step on thin and knife-edged rocks to go on.There was a part that we had to jump over a gap between two rocks.

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One with nature

Upon reaching the summit, our guide took pictures of us while we balanced atop a crag ( a very steep sheer cliff! ) showing off his balancing and rock hopping skills on the jagged and sharp rock formations of the peak.
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Coz girls just wanna HAPBAN (HAPunang BANoi)

 Watching him hop from one rocky outcrop to another was quite impressive! I was really WOWed! Mt. Hapunang Banoi’s rock will tell you straight to your face that they are no ordinary rocks.
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WAWA DAM

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Instead of going back to the jump of point, we traversed to wawa dam to cool down. It was indeed a good way to kick start my birthday celebration.

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Thank you girls for an awesomazing hike!

HOW TO GET THERE via CUBAO
1. You can ride an fx in front of Jollibee and tell the driver to drop you off in Eastwood
2. From Eastwood you can ride a tricycle going to Brgy. Wawa
BUDGET
Cubao to Eastwood – 50php
Tricycle to brgy. Wawa – 20 php
Registration Fee – 20php (But when we went  there it was only 2 php)
Tour Guide Fee: 500php/5 pax – 200/pax(we agree on paying 200 each including the tip for our guide)
Cottage at Wawa Dam – 150php/ 50php/pax
Tricycle to Eastwood – 20php
Eastwood to Cubao- 50php
TOTAL- 410php
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“Be fearless in the pursuit of the things that make you feel alive. Take that leap and make your adventures begin”

 

 

 

 

MT. PULAG: Where were you while we were getting high?

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What a wonderful world!

Mt. Pulag- dubbed as the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines and Luzon’s highest peak is one of the most visited mountain in the country. For the record, hiking Mt. Pulag was not on my bucket list even though a lot of my friends were pushing me to go there to witness the “SEA of CLOUDS”. I asked myself, “Am I brave enough to conquer Mt. Pulag?” According to my friends who went there, the temperature can even go down to negative degrees.  I admit I am quiet frail to low temperatures and I was afraid I wouldn’t survive the hike.

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Local of Kabayan, Benguet (c) Ken Bisnar

Even though I have so many fears and doubts in life, I still seem to end up doing what I thought I wasn’t capable of. So, to cut the long story short I went to Mt. Pulag last November 2015 together with my cousins, Via and Lj. We were talking about having our first legit travel together that is not too expensive, somewhere in Luzon and something that we haven’t done together before. In fact, it was their first mountain to hike. How exciting is that?!

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Hooray for our first legit adventure together cousins! (c) Jeric Tugaf

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Goofing around with ze cousins

We agreed on signing up with Trail Adventours, a group of dynamic personalities whose interest in outdoors has taken them to far off destinations from mountains to distant seas. Their Mt. Pulag package includes everything from round trip transportation, accommodation, fees, camp meals, tour coordinator, TrailAd shirt, bag tag, and of course a certificate of conquest. What else could you ask for? All you need to do is to prepare yourself physically for the hike. — Thank you so much, Jeric (Team Leader), Bugs and Emil!

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Hello Bugs! Sorry Jeric and Emil wala tayong selfie huhu

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The TRAIL

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KIDS, Fall in line NOT FALL in LOVE! LOL  (c) Kris Salvatera

PREPARATION

To be honest, I didn’t have any physical activities to prepare myself for the climb. I was very much concerned about what to wear because I needed to survive not just the trail but also the temperature. I bought some winter clothes and thank God for Uniqlo and Ukay-Ukay (oh yes! That’s where I bought my thermal jacket) where you can buy these things for a pretty decent price. Since we know that for a tropical country like ours, it’s not practical to buy expensive winter clothes.

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Our Jeepney mates

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JangJang Hanging Bridge (c) LJ — Located in Sitio Jangjang Brgy. Ambuklao. It is used to facilitate the transportation of the products from local livelihood like fish and provided safe passage for school children especially during elevated water level in the river.

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The view around Daclan Sulfur Spring

ROAD TO PULAG

We left Manila evening of November 13, 2015 and arrived in Baguio at around 4:30am. There were 23 of us including the 3 tour coordinators from TrailAd. Two jeepneys were waiting for us at the Victory Liner terminal. We were divided into two groups so it would be more comfortable for us to travel for another 4 hours. After an hour, we stopped for breakfast and then off to our side trips (Yes! It was part of the package).Going to our first side trip, we rode on top of the jeepney along with other hikers. Another tick off on my bucket list! Yay! We went to Ambuklao Dam, JangJang hanging bridge and Daclan Sulfur Spring.

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Top Loading for the first time! Wohooooo!

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Daclan Sulfur Spring – It is a sulfuric bubbling muddy hot spring. You can easily notice the smoke and the sulfuric scent that would catch anyone’s attention upon arriving at the steep  going to the spring.

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After our “mini” fieldtrip, we headed to the nearby health center in Ambangeg to secure a medical certificate. You read it right. It was implemented a few days before our scheduled hike due to a death incident of a female hiker. NO MED CERT, NO HIKE. It took us less than an hour before everyone got their medical certificate. We had our lunch after that (c/o TrailAd) and we went straight to DENR registration site to pay for the fees and attend the orientation. Finally, after a long trip, side trips, and orientation we reached BABAN’s HOMESTAY near the ranger station. We were no longer allowed to the campsite because it was too crowded already.

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BABAN’s HOMESTAY

THE HOMESTAY

Thank God that we stayed at the homestay because according to locals the temperature at campsite plummets to freezing. I fell in love with Baban’s interior which made me wanna stay there forever! Lol We shared the room with our new found friends all the way from Chicago, USA!

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The room at the second floor where we slept for 3 hours lol

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Dining Area

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Our roommates in Baban Homestay from Chicago USA. L-R (Me, Kris, Tito Eddie, Tita Liz, Cousin Lj and Via)

We had an early dinner at 5:30pm followed by a “getting to know” part and distribution of TrailAd shirts and bag tag. We slept early since we needed to leave at midnight to reach the summit just in time for sunrise. We woke up at 11pm, munched on some bread and noodles to fill our tank for the long journey.

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Fireplace at Baban’s homestay.

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At the ranger station getting ready for the hike

THE TRAIL

As scheduled, we left the jump off point at exactly 12midnight. I wore 2 leggings and waterproof pants, fleece jacket, long sleeves, sweater, beanie and 2 gloves but the cold still penetrated my skin. I was still shaking! Booo! I brought my day hike bag along with my winter jacket, 2liters of water and some trail food but after few minutes of walking, I already started to catch my breath. I asked my cousin Julius to carry my bag while I try to get back my normal pace (we decided to bring one bag and put all our stuff there and agreed to take turns in carrying it).

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The only place where you can have network signal at Baban’s homestay.

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Meet Tita Liz. She flew all the way from Chicago,USA to climb Mt. Pulag. It was also her first! Hooray!

The Ambangeg trail we passed through was the easiest compared to the other trails and the most popular being dubbed “beginner friendly”. As we entered the pine forest, wide unpaved roads greeted us and after a few minutes of walking the trail lead us to the mossy section of the forest. Then came the assault part of the trail which lasted for around 30minutes depending on the person’s pace. Finally after that entire struggle we reached the camp 1.

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Pagod na si ate girl! LOL (c) Kris

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My not so usual OOTD

We took a quick break and went back on the trail. A few hours later we arrived at camp 2. Took a breather while we were waiting for the others in our group. This time, I had to wear my winter jacket because the temperature drops even more. An open trail flanked by grasses and dwarf bamboos will lead you to the peak from camp 2.

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Peak 2

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Nothing beats having people of your life who are willing to take the climb with you.

One last steep terrain and finally we reached the peak of Mt. Pulag. When we got there a bunch of people were waiting for the sunrise. The TrailAd tour guide made some coffee for us. And oh my god! I never tasted 3 in 1 coffee so good. That was the best coffee ever especially when you’re 2,922 meters above sea level. After an hour of waiting, the majestic sea of clouds started rolling in. Though not the same as the one I always see on Google but the feeling when you’re on the top of the 3rd highest mountain was so surreal!

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The trail from Summit back to Peak 2 (Me, Zarina (She’s from Malaysia) and our TrailAd guide, Bugs

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Team Summit!

Only half of the group went to the summit from the peak because most of them were already exhausted. After 15 minutes, we finally arrived at Mt. Pulag summit. I Thank God for giving me a healthy body to conquer the Third Highest mountain in the Philippines.

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Standing at the summit of the third highest mountain in the Philippines. Good job, Marla!

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THANK YOU SO MUCH TRAIL ADVENTOURS AND TO OUR NEW FOUND FRIENDS!

“Spend money on experience. Earthly belongings will fade and won’t have any value in the future. – Anonymous”

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“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” – Alan Aida

That Place Called Sagada : Lake Danum Sunset & Kiltepan Peak Sunrise

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My Sagada  jumpshot

To end our second day trip in Sagada, we went to Lake Danum to watch the sunset(and yes that’s the only reason why I went there. I am very fascinated with sunset for some reasons I don’t know why). Lake Danum is about 4kms away from Sagada Town. If you are used to running or long walks, it is possible to walk all the way from the town center to the Lake but we get there with the private van that we hired since it’s included in our itinerary.

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Lake Danum

Our driver dropped us off first at the Lake to have a photo. It is a small lake surrounded by pine trees and it has the most relaxing atmosphere I’ve ever felt. The place is also perfect for camping or picnic and serves as the jump-off point to Mt. Ampacao trek.

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LOVERS

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Danum is a Kankana-ey (local dialect in Sagada) which means water.

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After some Instagram-worthy photos, our driver brought us to a small hill a few meters away from the lake to watch the sunset. Unfortunately it wasn’t as wonderful as other sunsets that I’ve seen from different places here in the Philippines. I was a little bit sad because I am actually looking forward to seeing a beautiful sunset. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the beautiful scenery at Lake Danum.

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SUNSET

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ze cousin’s jumpshot

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I’m no fan of waking up early in the morning; in other words I’m not a morning person. But the next day, which was our last day in Sagada we decided to catch the sunrise at Kiltepan Peak.

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My Sagada jump shot

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No sea of clouds huhu

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Third wheelin’ HAHAHAHA

Kiltepan is a hill surrounded by Barangay KILong, TeTEP-an, and ANtadao in Sagada, that’s why the place is named KIL-TEP-AN.This place is the most popular spot to catch the famous Sagada sunrise because aside from Mt. Pulag, this place offers a sea of clouds too. From the peak, you can also witness the Kilong Rice Terraces, one of the many rice terraces in town. But aside from that, Kiltepan became more popular because of the movie (where my blog title came from) That Thing Called Tadhana. We arrived too early for the sunrise and to our surprise, we were not the first group of people to reach the area. There were a lot of tourists waiting there for the sunrise too. While waiting, we had breakfast at one of the food stalls there and after that our guide/driver helped us find a good spot at the peak. We waited and waited for the sun. Sadly, the sun was hiding from the fogs. There were no seas of clouds too. Not our lucky day I guess.

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LOVERS in SAGADA.

 

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Nevertheless, I did enjoy our trip in Sagada. I learned a lot from this trip, something that I can share to my friends and to you guys (thanks for reading) as well.

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Sunrise kissing

 

Xoxo,

Marlakwatsera

 

Sakaling Hindi Makarating: A heartbreak and travel movie

Sakaling Hindi Makarating(in case they don’t arrive) is a Filipino Independent road drama film written and directed by Ice Idanan. You might be thinking why I am writing this when in fact all of my blogposts are about my travel. Well, this movie has something to do with travel as well. This movie showcases the beauty of the Philippines.

SHM Batanes

BATANES (photo: Sakaling Hindi Makarating)

My friend Hannah, tagged me the trailer of this movie on facebook because she told me that she remembered me with the main character’s story. After watching the trailer, I somehow agree with her but after watching the whole movie, jeeezzzzzz, did the writer wrote the story of my life? LOL

After 3 attempts of watching it, I was finally able to do so, thanks to my friend Donna, who made it possible because she booked our tickets ahead of time. Last July 2, I was able to watch it in Pineapple Lab, Makati presented by Revenge PH.

SHM Ilocos

ILOCOS (photo: Sakaling Hindi Makarating)

The story is about a young woman named Cielo (Alessandra De Rossi) who was about to get married but unfortunately her boyfriend, Mark (Jay Gonzaga) for 11-years breaks off their engagement two months before the wedding. She isolated herself in an old apartment which was supposedly to be their home. Until one day, a series of anonymous, hand-illustrated postcards from all over the Philippines was delivered to her with a message addressed to a “C” from an “M”. She got curious on who’s sending those postcards so with the help of her neighbour Paul (Pepe Herrera) she decided to go on a trip using the postcards as her guide hoping that this could lead her to finding the mysterious “M”.

SHM Marinduque

She went to different places in the Philippines which included Zamboanga wherein she witnessed the Vinta Regatta Festival (I swear before this movie I didn’t think that this kind of festival exist) and learned how to swim; She also went to Siquijor and learned how to drive a motorcycle; travelled to Marinduque and met a guy named Manuel (JC Santos) which at first she thought he’s the mysterious M; journeyed to Ilocos Norte and then finally wandered to Batanes where the sender’s identity was disclosed.

SHM Siquijor

SHM Vintas

VINTA. (Photo credit to SHM)

The movie is not your typical “hugot movie”. It has an unexpected twist to a seemingly predictable film, which made all the difference. Much like life, you search for things yet in the end you find yourself. I’ve been in Cielo’s position for once in my life before. I don’t know what to do, so I packed my bag and traveled to new places. And it is true that in leaving you don’t find love, adventure or freedom. More than anything, you find YOU, you find what you really want.

SHM Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA (photo: Sakaling Hindi Makarating)

This film is worth every single penny! Kudos to the whole casts and team!

If you want to get an update when and where will be their next screening you can follow their Instagram account @shmfilm and on facebook Sakaling Hindi Makarating.

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Pepe Herrera (Paul)

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The very talented Director of SHM, Ice Idanan. (Part 2 pleaseeeeee)

 

That Place Called Sagada: Bomod-Ok Falls, Hanging Coffins, Echo Valley

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Where do broken hearts go? LOL

We woke up early the next day since it will be a long day for us. We walked from our transient house to the town proper and bought siomai, wheat bread and coffee for breakfast. We asked the owner of Misty’s on how to get to Bomod-Ok falls (our first destination for the day) since we are not hiring a van (it is expensive because we are only three).

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The Lovers 🙂

He told us that we can ride jeepney going to Banga-an which cost us 20php each (one way) compared if you are going to hire a 700peso private van (budget traveler here eh). After 20 minutes,we arrived at the jump-off point which is located at Barangay Fidelisan. We immediately registered and paid the guide fee. Apparently, during that time, the usual road going to the falls was closed.

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My Sagada’s signature Jump Shot! More to come!

According to our guide, there was an ongoing ritual ceremony at the village. We hired a jeepney, together with the other 3 foreigners to get us there using a different way. I’m not a first timer when it comes to trekking going to the falls. I went to Tappiya Falls in Batad Banaue and when I saw the trail I know what to expect already.

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The view from the jump off point

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Rice paddies

BOMOD-OK FALLS

From the tourist center, they gave us walking sticks and I knew it would be a lot of help so I didn’t hesitate to get one. The trail is mostly downhill and the only thing you have to worry about is the intense heat of the sun. You’ll never mind about it for sure once you see the beautiful rice paddies you’ll pass by after the small village of Fidelisan. It took us an hour to reach Sagada’s Big Falls.

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Our tour guide is kinda busy talking to someone over the phone. Yes! There’s a signal!

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My 2nd Sagada’s signature jump shot!

Nature never failed to amaze me, that’s what I said to myself the moment I saw Bomod-Ok falls. My cousin and his girlfriend was brave enough to swim and enjoy the cold water while I just sat and immersed my feet because I’m too weak for the cold water. LOL! After a few minutes, we decided to leave the falls and start trekking back to the jump-off point. This time, it took us more than an hour.

 

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oh, Mother Nature! You never failed to amaze me!

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BOMOD-OK FALLS

The trail wasn’t that hard, but if you are not used to trekking, hiking or even running I guess it would be a challenge. We rode on top the jeep going back to Barangay Fidelisan. Upon reaching the jump-off point, the jeep going back to Sagada town won’t leave at a specific time; we decided to have our lunch at one of the “carinderia” there.

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Sa dami ng bato dito, hindi ko na alam kung alin dyan ang puso mo #hugot

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My 3rd Sagada’s signature jump shot

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Topload

HANGING COFFINS, ECHO VALLEY

We went back to our transient house right after Bomod-Ok falls to clean up and change clothes. We walked again from Misty’s going to our next destination which is Sagada’s famous HANGING COFFINS. On our way there, we passed by St. Mary the Virgin Church, one of the oldest church structures in Cordillera.

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Before you can proceed to the coffins, everyone is required to have a guide. We paid the corresponding fees at the tourism center along the entrance of the trail. We continued our walk to the cemetery behind the church, which is known as the Calvary Hill, then another narrow trail leading us to Echo Valley. We did what our tour guide and most people do upon reaching this part of hike- shouting to the wind then listening to the echoes of our voices. (I really wanted to shout “walang forever” but then I opted not to, baka isipin nila bitter ako haha).

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Echo Valley

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Going down to see hanging coffins up close

We hiked the narrow path leading us to see the hanging coffins up close. Our guide told us the story behind the hanging coffins as per Igorot’s tradition.

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During their ancestor’s time, they were responsible in making their own coffins. Before the corpse is placed inside the coffin, the body is positioned, seated on a chair with big fire at the back for a few days as means of preservation thru smoke. Kankana-ey doesn’t embalm their dead. Before the funeral, which happens at the break of dawn, the coffin will reach the cliff area one day ahead. The corpse (wrapped in cloth) will be transported by passing it via a line of people (from his/her house) going to the cliff. Whoever gets a spill of blood over their clothes will receive good fortune and whoever drops the body, even by accident, bad luck will befall. The same chair used in the ritual is hung together with the coffin. Another reason why I love to travel here in the Philippines — I am learning a lot. I was really in awe when I found out the story behind this. In fact, I shared the story practically to everyone I talked to the moment I was back from my trip! LOL!

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Sagada’s famous Hanging Coffins

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Why you left me hanging? – Coffins (no pun intended here)

SAGADA POTTERY

This is another must-visit place when you are in Sagada. The Sagada Pottery not only sells finish products, but also demonstrates pottery making.

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To add up to your experience, they can also teach you to mold your own masterpiece. Since I am there already, I tried making my own and I really had fun doing it, of course, with the help of their potter.

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Marla The Potter. My masterpiece

SAGADA WEAVING

I’m not new to weaving since I saw and tried it when I went to Palawan. Sagada has been weaving quality products from bags, slippers, souvenirs and even apparel since 1968. Those men and women working there are the most patient people on earth. They have to do it manually and the process, believe me it’s not as easy as it seems. I have so much respect for these workers.

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Sagada Weaving

It takes patience, hard work, heart and passion for them to create such beautiful products. Another thing I learned from traveling is not to haggle especially if you are aware of how much effort  they have to put in to finish a certain product.

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She’s still working despite of being pregnant

How to get to Bomod-OK Falls

Via Private Van – 700pesos Roundtrip

Via Public Transportation: Ride a jeepney in front of the municipal hall of Sagada going to Banga-an for 20pesos (one way). Tell the driver to drop you off at the jump-off point going to Bomod-Ok.

How to get to Sagada Weaving and Pottery

Private Van that you can book at the tourism center for 700 pesos Round Trip with Sunset at Lake Danum (soon on my blog)

Tour / Guide Fees:

Bomod-Ok Falls – 500 php (for 5 pax)

Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins – 200 php (for 3pax)

Sagada Pottery – 100 php (If you would like to try making your pot)

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2 thumbs up for Bomod-Ok Falls!

For more detailed information about my Sagada Trip, check on the link below:

Part 1: That Place Called SAGADA: Day 1 – Lumiang-Sumaguing Cave Connection

 

That Place Called SAGADA: Day 1 – Lumiang-Sumaguing Cave Connection

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Where do broken hearts go? Rome? Manila? Baguio? Sagada? – Who’s not familiar with these lines? I believe a lot of Filipinos all over the world got hooked with the phenomenal indie film who made its way to the big screen the year after – Our moving on movie: That Thing Called Tadhana (now you have an idea where I got the title of this blog). Sagada was one amongst the other places where in they shot the movie.

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Our home for 3 days. Misty’s Lodge

Sagada is one of the tourist destinations in the country which is situated in Mountain Province. After that movie was shown, Sagada became a lot more famous, not just for tourists, but also for those people who got their heart-broken and wanted to move on. And I’m serious when I say that it became the “Moving on Destination” for many Filipinos. LOL!

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Goofing around

It took me a year before I finally convinced myself to visit this place because it became too crowded already (with this, I am happy coz more tourists means more jobs for the locals).

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Misty’s Restaurant

I’m thankful that my cousin and his girlfriend joined me on this trip. We decided to go there on the wee hours to avoid the throngs of tourists. I was the one who did our itinerary, booked our accommodation and planned the budget. We left Manila on March 12 (Saturday) at 9:30pm and arrived early in Baguio. We waited for a couple of hours since the bus departing to Sagada will leave at 5:30am. I slept most of the time on the bus because if not, I’m pretty sure that I will feel dizzy and vomit because I’m not used to traversing zigzag roads. We arrived almost lunch time and realized I forgot to search where our transient house is located (Note: please DO review before going to a certain place especially if it is your first time).  I guess we are fortunate enough to not shed a single sweat in looking for our transient house because the lady, whom we asked for directions, called the owner. Few minutes later, a van picked us up and brought us to our home for 3 days, which happened to be 5-10 minutes away from town (geeezzz! Why didn’t I search for a good location instead of focusing on the interior of the place? Question I asked myself when I found out).

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I fell in love with Misty’s interior.

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Yes! This is our room. Good for 6 persons I guess. (sorry for our messy stuffs)

Upon seeing Misty’s lodge from afar, I told myself “I love this place! It may be far from everything but, hey, this place is so nice and quiet”. We checked in first, left our things in our room, checked the place (I do love the homey feeling), took some photos and decided to go down and have our lunch. Misty has its own restaurant and they do serve rice meals. I ordered Adobo and was surprised with their to-share- servings! I have to say I liked it except for the violet rice (which I really don’t like – not so picky here but I’m not fan of sticky rice).

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My cousin Sep and his gf Lj

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Lunch at Misty’s

After lunch, we changed our clothes for spelunking/caving as our first activity. The guide fee is just the same whether you go solo or travel as a group. However, you’ll save a lot on transportation if you go in groups of 5 or more. In our case, luck is on our side again, as we found joiners whom we can split the fee with. We chose the Lumiang-Sumaguing cave connection instead of Sumaguing only.

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on our way to Lumiang Cave

 

 

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Third wheelin’ lol

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what to wear? Dry-fit shirt, leggings/shorts, slippers/aqua shoes O-O-TI-DEY!

LUMIANG CAVE

At the entrance of the cave you will see a stack of wooden coffins that has been there for years. Some coffins are smaller than the others although they died as an adult. The body is positioned like a fetus because they believe that when people die, we go back to birth. Those who died of disease are in a different site. The infants are buried in their own homes because they believed that those little ones still need to be taken care of their families.

 

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Wooden coffins at the entrance of Lumiang Cave

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At the entrance of Lumaing Cave

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Honestly, I really had a weird feeling upon seeing those coffins

While we were taking some photos, our guide started lighting the gas lamp. The cave is mostly downhill and you’ll have to go through some small passages. It was a bit difficult for me because it’s too dark, as the gas lamp only provides a mere speck of light in the pitch black space.

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While waiting for our guide to light the gas lamp (kunwari hindi kami kabado)

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Fifth wheelin’ now huhu

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As you can see, if not for the flashlight and the gas lamp you can’t see anything because it’s too dark inside

There was no harness or gear to help you. Instead, you have to hold on to some ropes and step on your guide’s shoulder (which at first I’m a bit hesitant to do I but I guess that’s the only way for you to move forward).

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Those “hanapin mo ko” moments hahahaha

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Aside from that rope courses form part of the journey, where in there’s a need to do the duck walk, move sideways (using your butt), jump to the next rock, squeeze yourself through some small openings. It was a heck of a challenge to be very flexible so you can fit in and move forward. More rock-climbing, bat-poop-touching, and sliding followed, until we got to Sumaguing cave.

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Nagawa ko pang um-AURA!

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Blue Team on the left, Red Team on the right and me? maiTEAM! huhuhaha with our new-found friends Kenneth and Marianne

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Dahil walang partner, sariling sikap na lang LOL

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One last group photo before we proceed

SUMAGUING CAVE

Sumaguing cave also known as Sagada’s Big Cave, is considered as the most visited cave in town. While Lumiang was physically challenging, Sumaguing was all aesthetics.

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Sumaguing Cave connection from Lumiang

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Our guide said it’s an alligator (hard to believe I Know! lol)

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It was easier to tread because people just have to slide or walk around rock formations and water pools. You will see stalactites and stalagmites beautifully shaped by nature itself. They named some formations such as King and Queen’s curtains, pregnant woman, alligator and rice terraces.

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Sumaguing Cave also known as Porn Cave (Go figure it out!) hahaha

The stalactites and stalagmites inside the caves are formed when water drips from the cracks of the ceiling of the cave. This water highly contains calcite which is the major ingredient of either stalactite or stalagmite. In case you are confused which is which just remember the “C” in stalactite for “Ceiling” and the “G” in stalagmite for “Ground”. And they always form in pair.

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King’s Curtain

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If you think that’s easy, na ah!

We finished the cave connection nearly 4 hours. It was indeed another death-defying activity but, hey, I am proud to say I survived Lumiang-Sumaguing Cave connection! Wohooooo! To cap off the day, we had our dinner at the famous Yoghurt House.

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Wohooooo! We survived Lumiang-Sumaguing Cave Connection!

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way out from Sumaguing cave

 

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Dinner at Yoghurt House

WHAT TO WEAR and BRING:

  1. Slippers, trekking sandals, aqua shoes No need to wear trekking shoes since you will be asked to leave your footwear and also please avoid wearing flip-flops scratch free because most part of the cave are slippery.
  2. Quick-dry clothes like dry fit shirts/shorts, rashguards, leggings so it would allow you to move quickly and comfortably.
  3. Ziplock or dry bag or water-resistant bag – you need to secure you gadgets/camera as most part of the cave is wet
  4. Flashlights / headlamps
  5. Water – for drinking

Expenses:

Sumaguing Cave only – P500 (up to 4 pax)

Lumiang-Sumaguing cave connection -P400/person

Rountrip Transpostation – P500

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I SURVIVED LUMIANG-SUMAGUING CAVE!!

“BE BRAVE. TAKE RISKS. NOTHING CAN SUBSTITUTE EXPERIENCE.”

Day Hike: Mt. Daraitan traverse to Tinipak River

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Ready to Assault!

I thought Mt. Gulugod-Baboy was my first and last mountain. Well, I spoke too soon. Despite of me being weak when it comes to ascending trail, I still wanted to climb more mountains. Hiking is like drugs. Once you experience it, you’ll want more of it (Don’t get me wrong, I never and will never try prohibited drugs). The experience gets so addicting!

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The Daraitan Crew 2nd Group!

Mt. Daraitan is located in Barangay Daraitan, Tanay Rizal. Mt. Daraitan, standing at 739+ MASL (meters above sea level) is a gem at the heart of the great Sierra Madre mountain range. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that full of adventures, Mt. Daraitan is the place to be!

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Not so usual OOTD

PREPARATION

I joined my friend’s friend hiking group which is INCLIMBERS going to Mt. Daraitan. Before the hike, to better prepare myself, I read some blogs and reviews about it. A week before the hike, I also did some cardio exercise to condition my body. I ran every afternoon at UP oval for an hour and diligently used stairs at the office from ground floor to fifth floor. Beat that!

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Chill pa kami dyan

ROAD TO MT. DARAITAN

Call time was at 9am, Farmer’s Cubao. We left at 10am and stopped along the way to transfer to another car which, unfortunately, broke down when we were almost at the jump off point (maybe because of the bumpy ride). We waited for a couple of minutes hoping that it can be fixed until they told us that we (Me, Wend and Kei) should go first at the jump off point to inform the other group (btw, there’s no signal at the area that’s why we can’t text them). When we reached the jump off point, the other group was already worried waiting for us. We told them what happened and decided to have lunch while we are waiting for the other three participants who were left to fix the car. It’s already 2:30pm when the group decided to proceed because our guide told us it won’t be easy to hike at night. Since it’s maximum of 10pax per guide and we were 17 (20 including the other 3), we were divided into two groups. Hoping that the other three can still join us, we waited for a few minutes but the first group went ahead after we prayed. Few minutes later and still no words from the other three, we left the jump off point and started the hike.

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Overflowing Assault!

THE TRAIL

I must warn you, it is going to be a tough climb (Kahit anong paghahanda ang ginawa mo, masasaktan at mahihirapan ka pa din lol). I know that most of the mountains are not easy to climb but this one, this particular one, requires more of what is necessary (maybe just for me).

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Just after a few minutes on the trail, I found myself panting already so I asked for a minute to rest because the group’s pacing was kinda fast. Maybe because most in our group were guys. I think they don’t know the word “rest” or “take 5” haha coz we barely rested. I almost surrendered because the trail seems like a never-ending assault. Weng and I didn’t have enough sleep the night before which made the hike even harder.

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Our guide (forgot his name), offered to carry our bag (suki talaga ako ng porter! Huhu) and even made me a stick to help me walk (pabebe hiker boohoooo!).

Mt. Daraitan’s trail was merciless. Every time I tried to check the trail ahead of us, it was an overflowing assault with the ascent becoming steeper. It was too late for me to give up though.

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The Hugot King and Queen

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LNT. Leave No Trace

Instead of asking our guide if we are near the summit, I started to throw my “HUGOT LINES” (means the accompanying words draw emotions out of him/her) to lighten up the hike and became the “HUGOT QUEEN” in an instant! LOL! After 2 hours of painstaking walk, we reached station 2. I asked our guide again how many more minutes till we reach the summit and you don’t have any idea how relieved I am when he told us that we were 15-20 minutes away. Hooray! The experience was all worth it upon reaching the summit.

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One of the few Take 5 we had. Kunwari masaya! lol

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Finally! SUMMIT! WOhooooo!

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After enjoying the view and taking Instagram-worthy photos, we started our descent. We used a different trail to traverse in Tinipak River. If you think that going up was the hardest part, na ah! Descending was even more difficult.

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I’m smiling but my legs were shaking

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New found friends at the summit of Mt. Daraitan

My legs were shaking, I can no longer bend my knees, I can’t see the trail because it was too dark and only 3 in the group had flashlight. I’m too exhausted that’s why I kept on asking over and over again if we were near. It was an “Iyak-Tawa” moment for me knowing that we are still far from Tinipak River.

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Sa mga nangiwan, babalik ka rin! hahah GIRL POWER!

 

Finally, after more than 3 hours of descent, we reached our destination. Unfortunately, since it’s late in the evening already we didn’t see the beauty of Tinipak River (May Revenge to! Promise!). Some of them went ahead to Tinipak cave and did some spelunking while Me and Kei chose to stay at the sari-sari store to rest and eat. After an hour, we left Tinipak and proceed at the jump off point where the first group was already waiting for us because it was already 11pm (whaaaaat?! Didn’t notice the time!). We took a shower and fixed our things, paid the tour guide and left the place.

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It was hardest climb I’ve ever done (out of 6 mountains as of this writing) and I will never ever forget the experience. I think I had a little bit of trauma after that hike because it took me a week before I was able to recover!

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The beauty behind me!

Mt. Daraitan: 739+ MASL

Jump off point: Barangay Daraitan, Tanay Riza                                                                              Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2.5-4 hours                                                               Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 1-3

How to get there:
Public: Jeep or van, Edsa-Shaw Crossing going to Tanay and get off at Jollibee Tanay and hire a tricycle going to Barangay Daraitan.Then raft at Daraitan River and another tricyle going to Barangay hall. Approximately 3-4 hours travel time.
Private: Drive to Tanay taking Ortigas Extension to Rizal Provincial Road,Roman Rojas Rd and Marikina-Infanta Hwy/Marilaque Hwy/R-6 to Tanay tracing the way to Laguna.Left turn to a dirt road with a sign that leads to Brgy. Daraitan. Follow the road til you reach the daraitan river then cross the bridge and follow the road going to Barangay Hall.
Things to bring:
  • At least 3 Liters of water
  • Packed Lunch
  • Trail food (nuts, chocolates, jellyace)
  • Sunblock, Raincoat, Cap, Shades etc
  • Extra clothes
  • Towel
  • Waterproof bag for your gadgets in case of rain
  • Toiletries
  • Flashlight / Headlamp
  • Garbage Bag
  • First aid kit

Tips and reminders:

  • PACK LIGHT – It’s almost uphill from start to finish, so if you can lessen your weight it would be easier (Sabi nga nila, iwanan mo yung mga bagay na nagpapabigat sa buhay mo LOL)
  • I know the trail is not easy. Just push through it and later on you’ll get used to it (Kapag paulit-ulit ka ng nasasaktan, masasanay ka na din HAHAH).
  • Always register with the local tourisn center. Get a local guide if needed.
  • Always follow rules and policies set by the authorities. Follow your guide coz they know what they are saying. (Kaya tayo nasasaktan madalas, dahil sa katigasan ng mga ulo natin. May warning na, tumuloy pa din LOL).
  • Show respect and courtesy towards the locals.
  • Do what good mountaineers do, LNT. LEAVE NO TRACE.

BUDGET: 500-700 pesos

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It is a beautiful thing to have lungs that allow you to breathe air and legs that allow you to climb mountains, and it’s a shame that sometimes we don’t realize that that’s enough”

 

 

 

 

Vigan and Beyond

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Part of Calle Crisologo

The first time I visited Vigan in 2013, I can’t help but to fall in love with the place and its history. Not just with Vigan but of course with other places in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. I was there with a friend and I said to myself that one day I will bring my family there. True enough, fast forward to January 2015, I’ve decided to celebrate my birthday there (not exactly on my birthday because I still have work) and bring my family since my Mom came home for a vacation. It was a last-minute trip because I have to check my budget first (it was my treat to my family) and my work schedule as well. Thank God and everything fell into place. A week before our departure date I was able to book our hotel, find a van rental and create our itinerary.

At the famous Cale Crisoogo

The famous Calle Crisologo

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My brother will kill me for posting his photo haha

On January 23, 2015 at 5 in the morning, we arrived in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Since most of the restaurants were still closed, we decided to take a nap inside our van. Around 6:30am, I roamed around to score a place to have our breakfast. My itchy feet brought me to Vigan’s famous Calle Crisologo – a half-kilometer cobblestone street lined with fine examples of 18th century Filipino-Spanish architecture. To say that Calle Crisologo is beautiful is an understatement – it is a sight to behold! And if you get to view it at night, it becomes surreal, like drifting back through time. You can also ride a “Kalesa” (it’s a horse-drawn carriage which, if I’m not mistaken, will cost you roughly about 250php). This will give you a trip-down-memory feels. They say you shouldn’t miss the Bantay Bell Tower (which I haven’t visited yet Well, at least I will always have the reason to go back and embrace the 10-hour ride lol). After breakfast, we roamed around and bought some souvenirs, then off we head to Baluarte.

Grandma with Kalesa at the back

Grandma with Kalesa at the back

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The famous Baluarte is just 10-minute ride away from Vigan and owned by Governor Chavit Singson. It is also a must to visit this place because, unlike the usual zoos we are used to seeing in the metro, it is a place where animals roam freely. And, oh, have I mentioned that you don’t need to pay any fees to enjoy Baluarte? Yup! You read it right! Gov. Singson is generous enough to waive off any fees for the visitors to fully enjoy the experience. He said that it is his gift to his fellow Filipinos. How cool is that?

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A male peacock showing his feather

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First time to see an Ostrich

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That was back in 2013

Some of the animals you could see here are ostriches, horses, monkeys, deers (I guess those ARE deers lol) camels, (desert feels, really!), tigers (there’s one where you can have your photo taken), peacocks (if you are lucky enough, you’ll see how the male peacock flirts with a female one by displaying his feathers), eagles, iguanas, pythons and there’s also a butterfly sanctuary. There’s even a live show where you can get a chance to interact with other animals – of course with a guidance of their friendly zoo keepers.

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My first and last time na hahawak ako ng ahas! Throwback 2013

From Vigan, we drove all the way to Ilocos Norte for 2 hours. Our first stop was Batac, where Ferdinand Marcos Presidential Center is located. The home of the late President Ferdinand Marcos now converted into a museum with his own memorabilia and other family members as well during his political life.

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Also, within the same building is the mausoleum of Pres. Marcos himself. It is a small air-conditioned dimly lit room with lots of flowers (I’m just not sure if those were real). Upon entering the room, you will hear background music (a Gregorian chant I guess). A caretaker will follow you because taking pictures are prohibited inside the mausoleum.

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My brothers and cousins acting like a prisoner lol

That was the second time I saw his preserved body but up until now I am having doubts if it is indeed real (hahaha may pagdududa pa! Yes my trust issues po talaga ako lol). After our brief visit to Batac, we headed to our last destination for the day. A nearby town of Paoay.

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PAOAY CHURCH

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Inside the church

This place is very famous because of the St. Augustine Church of Paoay – one of the four baroque churches in the country. It is also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site on 1993. It is made of coral blocks and brick that incorporates Gothic, Baroque and Oriental designs that add up to its striking appeal (thanks to Wikipedia for that information lol). It is built to withstand earthquakes by the Augustinian friars in 1694 to adapt to the Philippines’ earthquake-prone reputation.

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From Paoay, we drove to Laoag to rest. We stayed at Palacio de Laoag. P5,500 for a night for 10 pa with free breakfast. Good deal right? The room is okay with a single bed, a double deck and an extra mattresses plus a small comfort room. Not bad for an overnight stay.

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The new endorser of Palacio De Laoag lol (I can’t find the other photos of the hotel huhu)

Hotel amenities included swimming pool and a small bar where you can drink and play billiards. The food was great.

On our second day after our breakfast, our first destination was Bangui Windmill. It was an hour and half drive from Laoag. As I’ve mentioned it was my second time in Ilocos but it was my first time to see these giant “electric fans”. The Windmills generates 40% of Ilocos’ electricity, contributing in reduced greenhouse effect that leads to global warming. Amazing isn’t it?!

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Bangui Windmill (and the only decent photo I have *sigh*)

Seeing these numerous beautiful giant electric fans is one of the highlight of our Ilocos adventure. From Bangui, we went back to Suba in Paoay to visit the Malacanang of the North also known as Malacanang Ti Amianan. It is the official residence of the Marcos’ in Ilocos Norte.

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Malacanang Ti Amianan (This area is the one facing the Paoay Lake)

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Not allowed to sit

Trivia: Malacanang Ti Amianan was the birthday gift of the first lady Imelda Marcos to her husband’s 60th birthday (Bongga ng gift! Ako nga kahit doll house lang e lol).

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I didn’t know that it should be a serious shot haha Can’t help but to smile

Our Ilocos trip won’t be complete without the extreme sport activities at La Paz Sand dunes. I asked my siblings and cousins if they wanna try (crossing my fingers while asking them because it’s on my bucket list). Good thing they said yes! challenge accepted! Wohooooooo!

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The 4×4 Ride. Chill pa kami dyan lol

We first took  a 4×4 ride. Go figure! We had to stand at the back, hold on tight (kagaya ng pag kapit mo sa mga pangako nya na babalik siya charot! #hugot), no harness nor anything! One have to make sure they ate “Balot”! As Filipinos say it “pampalakas ng tuhod”. Literally, cause believe me when I say that this ride scared the hell out of me. I’m not a fan of any extreme amusement ride and riding that 4×4 felt like I rode a roller coaster again and again!

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Stop Over before the extreme activities for picture taking

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Best in Nga-Nga award goes to *drum roll* lol That’s my not afraid look bwhahahaha

The route was different trails and we started of course with the easiest. “Mani Lang!” Then it became challenging until I thought it was the end, but wait! There’s more!

The jeep stopped at the edge of a slope, stepped on the gas and drove down. Everyone screamed so hard!! The feeling is so surreal! I even cracked a joke to our driver and said “Kuya, may mga madaling daan naman bakit doon tayo sa mahirap dumaan? Yung puso ko nakadikit lang ng scotch tape to muntik ng matanggal!”. LOL

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Look how steep the trail is and my epic face!

Besides the 4×4 ride, they also offer sand boarding. There are 3 levels that you can try in different ways. The instructor gave us option if we want to sit or stand and we chose the latter. I didn’t have a hard time doing it because for me it’s like I’m just surfing. (I’m not bragging swear!)

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Stoked! (Wore a long sleeves coz it’s too hot and I wore it the wrong way!)

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Stoked! (Wore a long sleeves coz it’s too hot and I wore it the wrong way!)

Everyone tried it even my 7-year-old cousin who was shaking after (so proud of him). We went to another level, which is a little bit steeper than the first one. I was at the middle of the slope when I fell off the board because I was looking at my GoPro lol.

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My 7-year-old cousin

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Finally we reached the last level, it was very steep. And because I’m afraid of heights, I didn’t try it. My brothers and my cousins (except the little one) tried it but this time they were sitting.

After that we decided to end the activity and go back to the registration where my mom and grandma was waiting. If you wanna try this activity, I suggest you schedule irt early in the morning or late in the aftenoon because we did it at 2 in the afternoon under the heat of the sun.

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You bet how many times we did it just to have this shot lol

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WE SURVIVED PAOAY SAND DUNES!!!

To sum it up, it was indeed a super fun experience specially because I spent it with my family. Two days full of memories with special people in my life was a great way to celebrate my birthday. It was PRICELESS!

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Every family has a story to tell.. Welcome to OURS. 🙂

How to get to Vigan/Laoag:

Via Private Car – 8-10 hours; Via Plane to Laoag Airport – Less than an hour

There’s a lot of bus company that can take you to Vigan/Laoag and it’s up to you which one you want. (The First time I went to Ilocos, I took Florida’s sleeper bus)

  1. Florida (Manila near UST)
  2. Partas (Cubao and Pasay)
  3. Dominion (Cubao)

I suggest to make an early reservation.

From Calle Crisologo to Bantay Bell Tower or to Baluarte – You ca hire a tricycle or ride a Kalesa (if you are going to Bantay Bell Tower)

From Vigan to Laoag: You can take Partas Bus. Travel time is 1.5 – 2 hours

Tour around Laoag: The first time I went there hire a tricycle to bring us to Paoay Church, Batac and Malacanang Ti Amianan

Fees:

Pres. Marcos Center – P50.00 ; Malacanang Ti Amianan – P30.00

La Paz Sand Dunes 4×4 and sand boarding – P2500/5 pax (in our case we were 6 adults and 1 kid because we are so skinny lol)

Where to eat:

There’s a lot of restaurants from low budget – high end restos both in Vigan and Ilocos Norte. But my favorite is at Batac Riverside Empanadaan near Pres. Marcos Center.

“Time spent with FAMILY is worth every second…”

First Day Hike: GV (Goodvibes) sa MT. GB (Gulugod-Baboy)

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I’m afraid of heights. In fact, I get into panic mode at the very thought of it. You see, I’m not a sporty type of person. Call me weak, whatever. Unlike the lure of the sea, never in my wildest imagination did I think I would ACTUALLY climb a mountain. But one day, I decided get out of my comfort zone and tried it. My friend Zeti (whom I met because of surfing), asked me if I want to join her at Mt. Gulugod-Baboy. I thought about it a hundred times, but then again, I said “How would I know?” And so, I took a leap of faith.

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New found friends a.k.a, “Tropang Hugot Bundok”

 

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On April 11, 2015, me and the other 12 participants (I was the only first-timer in the group), climbed Mt. GB in Anilao, Mabini Batangas. We started around 10am and a few minutes later, I almost passed out. The trail is ascending and the temperature is just too high for a novice like me. I sat along the trail and told Paolo (the strongest in the group and our sweeper), that I will just wait for them because I can’t do it anymore. He said “No you can do it. Drink lots of water. I’m going to wait for you”. I told him that I can no longer continue and make it to the summit and I don’t want to be the cause of the delay.

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During one of our “take 5” insert music, When my legs don’t walk like they used to before – Leg Sheeran lol

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Meet Paolo

I was really feeling hopeless but he didn’t give up on me. I felt his persistence in convincing me that I can finish it and make it to the top. He even offered to be my porter and bring my stuff and hoping that it might help me (Aarte pa ba ako? Choosy pa te? Lol). Honestly, he was a big help. I was able to recover and regain my energy. After an hour and half, we finally made it to the top. Lo and behold! The view was unbelievable! I wanted to scream and cry, not just because  I made it but because of God’s beautiful creation! I was in awe and the feeling is so surreal! That was the first time in my life I saw such amazing view like that. I was speechless for a few minutes. I didn’t even get a chance to take a lot of photos because I am enjoying what I am seeing.

 

 

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Thank you for organizing this hike, ZETI!!

Mt. Gulugod-Baboy (pig’s spine) is ideal for a first time hiker (upon writing this, I already climbed 5 mountains and I can say that Mt. GB was the easiest among others). It may not be popular, but it does showcase a 360-degree view of Batangas province.

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My new-found friends busy taking photos

GB Tree

After we had our group photos, we decided to start descending and have our lunch at Philpan dive resort.

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PHILPAN DIVE RESORT

Anilao is known as one o the best diving spot in the country. Well, as much as we want to try it, we can’t afford it and we don’t have much time. Instead of diving we did swimming and snorkeling. We’ve waited til sunset before we head home. Indeed, it was an amazing weekend and not bad for another first in my life.

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Jump Shot!

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WOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Jump off point: Philpan Dive Resort

Days Required/Hours to summit: Half day/1-2 hours

Specs: Minor Climb — Difficulty 2/9

Trail Class: 1-3

How to get there:

We took a private van going there but I’m going to give you details on how to commute.

  1. Take a bus from Cubao or Buendia going to Batangas Port and tell the driver to drop you off at Batangas City Grand Terminal. There’s only one terminal there so you will never get lost. It will take 2 hours travel time.
  2. From the terminal, ride a jeepney and tell the driver that you are going to Mt. Gulugod-Baboy and he will drop you off at the tricycle terminal in Anilao.
  3. Ride the tricycle going to Philpan Dive Resort.

Budget: 500-600pesos

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“It is not the mountain that we conquer but OURSELVES” – Edmund Hillary