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Showing posts from January, 2013

THE JOY OF BEING ON TOP

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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.

MY MOST ECSTATIC ENCOUNTERS IN 2012

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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.  

BAY-YO VILLAGE: SAGADA EXPERIENCE BONUS EPISODE

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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

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

AMPACAO PEAK: SAGADA EXPERIENCE EPISODE 5

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.     


MY TOP FIVE MOST-ADMIRED ARCHITECTURES

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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

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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.