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WHAT A RESPONSIBLE MOUNTAINEER IS NOT

Since my early years, I have been admiring people reaching major summits. I live in a province which is a home to 4 of the Top 10 highest ...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

LALIGAN FALLS: The Marvelous 4-Series Cascades

Laligan Falls in Barangay Laligan, Valencia City is another hidden jewel of Bukidnon. Unknown to many, this 4-series waterfalls is an awesome scenery in a forested rocky cliffs of Laligan. This waterfalls cascades a clear cool water from the highlands down to the barangay giving life to the vast rice paddies that support the Valencia’s battle cry as the City of Golden Harvest. 


Friday, October 25, 2013

THE PROS AND CONS OF SOLO TREKKING

"IF YOU WANT TO TRAVEL FAST, TRAVEL ALONE. IF YOU WANT TO TRAVEL FARTHER, TRAVEL TOGETHER" --- N'gambai African Proverb

A selfie shot using a monopod-ed tripod during a solo trek to Mt. Maculot Rockies, Batangas

Some people fear to travel alone. Some love to but are just inopportune. Some, like me, opt to travel/trek alone because of spontaneity and inexplainable fulfillment. Whatever the options, every traveler has his own reasons.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

ROCKCLIMBING AND RAPPELING IN QUEZON, BUKIDNON

Businessmen and investors recognize the town of Quezon, Bukidnon as the home of Bukidnon Sugar Milling Corporation (BUSCO), one of the two sugar mills in the province.

Travelers and passersby cannot turn their eyes away from the marvelous white rocks that wall the grand mountains while tracking the Pulangui Bridge that borders Quezon and Maramag. Below the white rock cliff is the wonderful, refreshing Blue Water Cave.

The white rock cliff

Monday, October 21, 2013

HOW I WANT TO SPEND MY CHRISTMAS BIRTHDAY

It's a great feeling to immerse with the humble people in the mountains. It's my desire to be exposed to the way they live everyday. If given a chance, I would spend months living in their peaceful community, away from everyday's humdrums.  

While exploring the outdoors, I pass by mountain villages and meet people with innocent but curious looks. While conversing with them, I get to know more of their happy and hassle free life. And I understand that their very simple living teaches them the art of contentment that keeps them the happiest people in the world.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

CLIMBING MT. KALATUNGAN: A Quick Guide



THE MOUNTAIN  

 Mt Kalatungan, a.k.a Catatungan, is a volcanic mountain in Bukidnon, Northern Mindanao. PHIVOLCS has no recorded eruptions of this stratovolcano, yet classified potentially active. The mountain range stretches along the areas of Valencia, Maramag, Talakag and Pangantucan. The prominent summits are Kilakiron in Valencia and the twin Kalatungan and Lumpanag summits most accessible in Pangantucan.

Friday, October 11, 2013

MT. PAN DE AZUCAR: A STRAINING BUT SWEET TREK

Mt. Pan de Azucar a.k.a. Mt. Manaphag in Barangay Tambaliza, Pan de Azucar Island in Concepcion, Iloilo is one of the steepest mountains in the Philippines. The humble tower of 606 meters ASL is a much more difficult ascent compared to other small mountains like Matutum, Balatukan and Malindang. It’s interesting features include its cone shape, rocky 90 degree cliffs and the astounding overlooking view of the islands.



At Iloilo airport, 4:00 PM…

I didn’t know where to go and what to do. All I knew was I wanted to trek a mountain. And I’ve heard about Mt. Manaphag. Absent a planned I.T., a solo trekker, however, can be spontaneous with millions of options.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

MONEY FROM GRASS

THIS IS NOT A TREKKING TALE. 
This is a story of the people I usually meet on the trails...

 Here's a published article: SAYAWAN WOMEN REAPS MONEY FROM GRASS  in http://otopphilippines.com. 

"Tikog", a weed of the sedge family naturally thrives in swampy areas. A lot of these weeds can be found in many towns of Bukidnon--- Pangantucan, Talakag and Impasugong to name a few.


Tikog ready for weaving.
 These plants in the mountains may be pest to some but a blessing to our native brethren. With God-given weaving instinct, they utilize tikog to make native mats, bags, place mats and other decoratives for their own use and for commercial purposes. Yes, they reap money from this grass.

Monday, September 16, 2013

GIVE LAKE SEBU: A Trip Beyond the Usual

Two weeks after the hearty GIVE Bukidnon, the main GIVEr, Heiz of the Journeying Pinay, seemed to have more to give. A well coordinated giving was set in Lake Sebu, the summer capital of Southern Mindanao. This place offers a complete treat to tourists who want to relax and unload the stress away. A highland municipality of South Cotabato, Lake Sebu can brag for its cool weather, lifegiving lakes, 7 series water falls, interesting rivers and springs, scenic landscapes, outdoor adventures and interesting T'boli culture.

Honestly, I’ve been to Lake Sebu so many times. At first I did it solo, and later convinced other visitors, friends and big groups that could even make a community. I did camping alone outside a full-packed lodge, screaming at the country’s most awesome zipline, joining a strange group in a boat tour, trekking to 7series waterfalls, visiting a T’boli cultural house, witnessing cultural presentations, get dressed in full T’boli costume and eating different menus of tilapia.

So what makes this trip unusual?

UNUSUAL and memorable due to the fact that I (Trekero) and my buddies Heiz (Journeying Pinay) and Glen (Escape Manila) did not just visit the place to satisfy ourselves with its offerings. We did it to engrave genuine smiles to the faces of the welcoming T’boli community with our simple gifts. And this is what I want to brag this time.

It was 3:30 am when Glen and I departed Davao. At 9:00 am, we finally arrived at the Lake Sebu’s School of Living Tradition. A very long trip, indeed. 

ARRIVAL

The weather was so fair when we arrived at Lake Sebu. Heiz and Maria Todi, the manager of School of Living Tradition awaited for us. It was so overwhelming being welcomed by the smiling kids.
The school of Living Tradition situated right beside the highway.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

GIVE BUKIDNON: Traveling and Giving

The GIVE Project is an initiative by Heiz Ramos, the Journeying Pinay. GIVE stands for Give Intensely, Victoriously, Enthusiastically. Because of her love for the tribe, she wants to impart something to them especially the kids. This lady believes that there's more to travel than by simply seeing places and bragging about them afterwards. She wants to do something that would somehow leave a simple happiness to the community she visited. That's the most meaningful travel, indeed.   

After the successful GIVE Ifugao, she happened to visit the green province of Bukidnon. She then decided to make the province the next venue for the project. After almost a year of conceptualization, GIVE Bukidnon was finally realized. The event would have been conducted earlier, but it was me who couldn't identify the venue. I wonder what took me so long. After all, we ended at my very hometown. Heiz (Journeying Pinay), Lai (Pinay Travelista), Bon (Contour Blog) and I (Trekero) visited the scenic barangay Pigtauranan--- the home of Lake Napalit.

Her initiative leaves me speechless, so I'm just gonna tell you the whole story through pictures...


Upon entering the barangay, the GIVErs Lai, Heiz and Bon excitedly posed before the lake.

Friday, August 30, 2013

THE MOUNTAINEER'S PRAYER: A Poem by Anita Atina

The Mountaineer’s Prayer
by Anita Atina


O honourable mountain
Allow me to walk to your peak
There are you, timeless, elegant
Framing the sun, the moon and the stars 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A HEART FOR THE MOUNTAINS: A TALE OF A FIRST TIME CLIMBER

“His heart is weak to conquer the heights, but strong enough to care for the mountains”.

A very lazy Saturday. Gloomy. The sun selfishly hid itself. The heavy clouds dropped a gentle drizzle. And I was so disappointed. I should be somewhere soaked in a 13-tiered waterfalls. I was so regretful of the weather that never cooperated with my getaway plan.

Then here’s my brother, wondering why I didn’t resort to sleeping the whole day and get rested from a weeklong stressful job. I told him I only get rested when I’m moving from place to place. Anticipating a flashflood, he suggested me to rather climb Mt. Musuan and he would go with me. I was really puzzled, never expecting him to think of climbing because he has a weak heart, physically… Weaker than my weak, enlarged heart. His diminished vision also impairs his balance.

Friday, July 5, 2013

LAGUINDINGAN AIRPORT: A SIMPLE GUIDE

If you’re flying via Laguindingan Airport, it will take you 45 minutes getting there from CDO. 



Laguindingan Airport caters domestic flights, yet it is truly world class far too different from Lumbia Airport. It has modernized structures, wide runways, organized parking lots, nice hallways and corridors.

However, if you’re a first flight taker who is used to rest your sleepy head in the city a night before, meanwhile, lessen your confidence to catch your flight because of the distance and the mode of transportation… Unless you are willing to spend P450.00 for a metered taxi or P600.00 for a non-metered one.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

MY MOST LIKED TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHS

Photography should always go with travels. If you couldn't keep pictures of your travels, it seems like you haven't traveled at all. The way pictures are shot matters a lot. Great shot are the ones worth keeping.

As a traveler, I sometimes get an opportunity to go with travel buddies whom I consider great photographers. There are elements that make good pictures like composition and exposure. And the subject (hehehe).

I proudly give credits to my friends who shot most of my favorite pictures. Here are my top most liked travel photos (in no particular order):



Thursday, May 30, 2013

TREADING BUKIDNON'S TOURISM HIGHWAY

Bukidnon is full of tourist destinations, from the country's highest mountains, grand rivers, majestic waterfalls, long caves, unique living cultures and a lot more...

In fact, the highway itself is an exceptional treat to every passerby.

Join me in treading my province's tourism highway.... 


From CDO heading south…


In Manolo Fortich:

*Reload with the bestsellers of Pinutos sa Kanto, San Miguel

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TOP AND BOTTOM

Top or bottom?

Which do you prefer?  

Seriously, I prefer both. 

Literally, when I visit a waterfall, I delight on the experience of being on top of it to perform a death defying stunt. But to view the falls in its astounding glory, I have to get to its base.

Here are some of the falls which I invaded at both top and bottom.


 1.  Tausuvan Falls, North Cotabato

Before starting an ascent to Mt. Apo, our group camped in this scenic spot in Magpet, North Cotabato, one of the jump-offs to the majestic peak. 



HOW TO GET THERE:

From Kidapawan City, you can hire a chartered vehicle to Brgy. Magpet. It's better to travel with a group to lessen individual expenses. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

MY MOST REMARKABLE TREKKING MOMENTS

Each of my travels is noteworthy, whether it is a weeklong vacation or a dayhike. There are really moments I really enjoy like watching the sunset and conquering a summit. There are also some which I consider most remarkable that I even want to do again.

Here's my top 20 trekking moments:

Top 20. Witnessing a Hot Air Balloon Festival in Pampanga.

Friday, April 19, 2013

MY TOP TREKKING MISADVENTURES

I've been to many places around the Philippines, honestly. I can brag for having summited its top 5 highest peaks, been to its majestic waterfalls, visited its famous lakes, done spelunking on its dangerous caves, basked on its white beaches, gone to its uncategorized wonders and a lot more. And many I did all alone...

Many of my treks, however, are unplanned. And I have been frustrated so many times--- like having failed to visit Calauit Wildlife Sanctuary because I haven't caught the right schedule of the boat from Coron, aborted climb to Mt. Lumot due to storm and many more...

INDEED, NOT EVERY VENTURE ENDS IN CLIMAX...
 
Some misfortunes are even life-threatening. I am, somehow, grateful that my mishaps can still be counted by my fingers.

Here are my top trekking misadventures:


TOP 7. Feasted on by leeches in Mt. Makiling. A solo trek where I was not indeed alone. These creeping vampires accompanied me to the peak, causing my BP to soar and my heart to palpitate even more.

LESSON: Apply repellents. Do not fear the leeches to calm your chest. Bear in mind that leeches are good for blood detoxifying (but bad for heart attack). Wahahaha!   

Saturday, March 23, 2013

FLOAT, RIDE, FLY AND BE SEEN ON TV

Be seen on TV? 
Me? 
Are you serious? 
Shooting tomorrow?

Wow, that must be my greatest outdoor adventure!


A giant network features Bukidnon. It's no less than GMA 7. An image of a peaceful Mindanao, Bukidnon boasts of its Kaamulan Festival, rich agriculture, booming industries, grandiose summits and awesome sceneries. Yet, there’s so much to explore in Bukidnon. With its raging rivers, mighty terrains and grand mountains, Bukidnon is full of exciting adventures.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

TINAGO FALLS: HIDDEN BUT KNOWN TO ALL

Tinago Falls is one of the main tourist destinations in Iligan City. It plunges around 73meters from a rocky cliff. The cascades drop at the wide basin-like pool. Its blue refreshing water is perfect for swimming.
 

Tinago Falls, seen on travel shows, net and pictures has long captivated my heart. The realization of a long time dream spurted when I first met Lai of pinaytravelista.com, a blogger from Iligan City who happened to visit Bukidnon for Kaamulan Festival.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

PANOON FALLS: A SHORT BUT ARDUOUS TREK

Atugan Falls
Panoon Falls in Impasugong, Bukidnon is not really famous compared to Atugan Canyon and Atugan Bridge. Panoon creek and and irrigation dam from Brgy. La Fortuna are the tributaries of Panoon Falls. It powers a 2 megawatts mini-hydro plant tapped by Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative. From Malaybalay, one can see the signage of Atugan Falls at the intersection of the old and new highways in Capitan Bayong. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

BLUE WATER CAVE AND MUSUAN PEAK: BUKIDNON'S WEEKEND GETAWAYS

BLUE WATERS or Blue Water Cave in Quezon, Bukidnon is an underground river passing through a cave. Its naturally clear bluish water drains to Pulangui River, a tributary to Rio Grande de Mindanao. A white rock cliff proudly walls above Blue Waters. The wall is a good site for Rock Wall Climbing operated by the local government of Quezon.
Blue Waters

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

KAAMULAN FESTIVAL 2013: FACES AND COLORS

A child performer from Don Carlos
The third week of February starts to excite me with the thought of Kaamulan Festival. KAAMULAN is the gathering of the seven hill tribes in the province of Bukidnon namely Bukidnon, Higaunon, Manobo, Matigsalug, Talaandig, Tiguahanon and Umayamnon. The country's most genuine and authentic ethnic festival culminates on the second week of March. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

THE JOY OF BEING ON TOP

How does it feel to be on top? I love mountains, their vegetation, their landscapes, their forms, their slopes and their heights. Climbing a mountain for me is not just tiring myself for a long hike. It is escaping away from everyday's humdrums. It is panting fresh air. It is communing with nature and appreciating its Creator. And for somebody like me who is extremely in love with heights, it's truly a different feeling being on top.

So how does it really feel to be on top? . . . Well, it simply makes your knees shake.

Monday, January 28, 2013

MY MOST ECSTATIC ENCOUNTERS IN 2012

2012 is my most trekked year so far. The past year has been filled with new explorations, new discoveries, new acquaintances and new fulfillments. As I reminisce my numerous treks and trips, all of them are truly worth sharing. I can't just simply identify which among them is/are the best, so I'm giving you my 20 most ecstatic encounters (in chronological order).

1. MT. KITANGLAD CLIMB. A solo climb was really a great year-starter. My 7th climb to the country's top 4 highest peak was like a first time. Though I was treading through the same trail, the experience was totally different from my other climbs. This is my only unguided 2-day climb. I got to meet other hikers, though. This 2-day strenuous climb tested my stomach without rice intake. I only thrived for burger buns, eggs, canned goods and a lettuce clove.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

BAY-YO VILLAGE: SAGADA EXPERIENCE BONUS EPISODE


Bay-yo is the last barangay of Bontoc in Mountain Province and Ifugao boundary. The village stuns every passer-by since its regal location amazingly blends with the grand rices terraces.

HANGING COFFINS/ECHO VALLEY: SAGADA EXPERIENCE EPISODE 6

  
The morning of our last day was spent hiking to the Echo Valley. 

AMPACAO PEAK: SAGADA EXPERIENCE EPISODE 5

Ampacao Peak humbly rises 1,889 meters ASL, yet the highest point in Sagada. It gives a panoramic view of the town. It is a good site for bird and sunset watching. 


After a short bonding with Lake Danum, my now-departing guide, Cris gave me his sketched map of the trail. He said I could summit it in 2 hours. I was challenged to break the expected time. All alone, I started trekking at 3:50 pm hoping to catch the sunset at the summit. 

LAKE DANUM: SAGADA EXPERIENCE EPISODE 4

 
A visit to lake Danum was an unexpected deed. The lake has no enormous width to boast for. But its grandiose charm will bring you beyond expectation. 


It was past 3 pm when we're done with the Sumaguing and Lumiang caves. 

SUMAGUING and LUMIANG CAVES: SAGADA EXPERIENCE EPISODE 3

 
Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves are explored by tourists in an adventure called the Cave Connection. These caves are of cultural significance to the Kankanaey tribe of Sagada. They make these caves burial sites, thus, considered sacred.

PONGAS FALLS: SAGADA EXPERIENCE EPISODE 2


Being an unplanned backpacker, Pongas Falls never came into my mind. Soliciting ideas where to go in the tourist-destination-packed Sagada, Journeying Pinay suggested this one. 

PANAG-APOY RITUAL: SAGADA EXPERIENCE EPISODE 1




 
A long trip, indeed! In this long holiday, it took us around 8 hours to reach Sagada from Baguio. After checking in at Ganduyan Inn, we hurried to the public cemetery to witness the firesetting ritual. The view of fire and smoke magnetized our feet to reach the site in no time.

SAGADA EXPERIENCE: A WORTHFUL SAGA

THE SAGA BEGINS...

A famous tourist destination in Northern Luzon, Sagada is dreamed of by city escapees, nature trippers, adventurous travelers and everyone else. The mountain town of Mountain Province really has a lot to offer- well sculpted mountains, fantastic falls, rattling caves, marvelous lakes, astounding culture and more.     


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

MY TOP FIVE MOST-ADMIRED ARCHITECTURES

Aside from mountains, falls, lakes, caves and seascapes, I am also appreciative of architectures in the country. My years of traveling finally let me decide to rate the architectures I’ve visited to. I just don’t see their beauty but also their uniqueness, historical value and cultural relevance. Here’s the list of the TOP 5 structures that stunned me.

But, hey, before moving on to my 5 top favorite structures, here’s a bonus:


Bonus: THE RUINS, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL

The Ruins in Talisay City is the remains of the mansion built by Don Mariano Lacson for his first wife, Maria Braga.


Tagged as the Taj Mahal of the Philippines, the Ruins is now a tourist destination. Others question of the possibility of reviving the structure but I see it better this way. People are more interested of visiting the ruins rather than the complete one.  The entrance fee to The Ruins, however, is overpriced.

Talisay City can be reached by jeepney from Bacolod. Tricycle and trisikad can bring you to The Ruins

MT. ARAYAT: THE LONE MOUNTAIN

From the highways of Pampanga, one can hardly resist the tempting splendor of Mt. Arayat. The 1,026 meter high mountain is known to be an extinct volcano. It has no eruption record.

Another unguided solo climb. Due to rebel infestation, I decided not to push through my planned Mt. Arayat trek but a day-stay in Luzon is a sheer waste without doing any adventure.