MALAYSIA | Gunung Datuk

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Let’s drink and be merry, tomorrow we trek!

This the exact phrase an actor in the Everest movie had said. And it is exactly what we did. We were watching the Everest movie with a few bottles of beer on the table while waiting for our ride to Malacca. A friend of mine had hired a van to take us to the jump-off point of our climb. It was a grueling 4 hours of sitting and a lot of sleeping attempts, but to no success. I don’t know if it is because I’m sitting in a van or I’m just too excited.

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PULAU UBIN | Singapore’s Off the Beaten Path

Singapore Merlion

Singapore is known as one of the best places to travel with family, and just this year, Lonely Planet has ranked Singapore as the world’s number one country to travel to next year. Why not? Singapore is like traveling the world without leaving the island. When I move here, I was thinking of Singapore only as a major shopping destination for shopaholics. A stopover for travelers to explore its neighboring countries—Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the list goes on. It never crossed my mind that Singapore has a lot to offer for adventure seeker who is in constant search for that off the beaten path. All you need to do is explore.

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Summer is definitely more fun with NIVEA SUN! My top summer wonder is Malalison Island

5 Reasons 
Malalison Island should be part of the 7 Summer Wonders in the Philippines

Situated in Culasi Channel off the western coast of Culasi, Antique. It is easy to see why Malalison Island is also known as the ‘Gem of Culasi Channel’. While Boracay has been the main attraction in the part of western visayas, the Malalison island retained its mysterious appeal, and left unexplored by tourists. With an area of 50 hectares, Malalison have a lot to offer to tourists and adventure travel seekers alike.

1. Adventure | For someone who seeks adventure, you can hike up to the highest hill or peak of Malalison Island for less than an hour. You can even cross your way to Nablag Islet, which is just adjacent to Malalison Cove. Not an extreme adventure but nevertheless, it still an adventure. 🙂

2. Culture | Try a native dish. They said, that the way to know the culture of a place is through their food. One of Malalison’s native dish is grilled fresh pugita/octopus. I can guarantee you, all sea food in this area are fresh.

3. Nature | Malalison has the best diving spot for divers who admire the nature underwater. Exploring the world under you is also one of the best way to appreciate nature. With Malalison’s crystal clear water, I’m pretty sure you’ll clearly see the different species living down there.

4. Sand | Malalison Island has fine white sand that can be compared to that of Boracay’s. This island have a magnificent sandbar that can be enjoyed by everyone, and also the best location for  a romantic date.

5. Sun | Summer wouldn’t be perfect without the heat of the sun. And here in Malalison Island, sun is everywhere.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your Nivea Sun block, head down to Malalison Island and enjoy your summer with the world’s no.1 sun care brand. 🙂

Join the on-going Nivea Philippines 7 Summer Wonders contest on FB and get a chance to win NIVEA Sun gift packs, Charina Sarte swimwear, SONY products or a trip for 2 to the Ultimate Summer Wonder! Just clickhttp://www.facebook.com/NIVEAPhilippines/app_180716052039522 to join and vote now!

Mt. Madja-as | Holy Week Climb

Deciding to join a Holy Week Climb in Mt. Madja-as was easy. Climbing the mountain is another story.

 With an elevation of 2,177 meters above sea level, Mt. Madja-as makes the tallest mountain in Panay, and the second tallest mountain in Visayas following Mt. Canlaon. Located in Culasi, Antique, this mountain is quoted by some as the most challenging climbs in the Visayan islands.
I was so excited the moment I purchased my ticket bound for Iloilo. I never been to this place, but I heard a lot of great things about it. I text Kuya Jahbert regarding what to expect on Mt. Madja-as. Since he had been there last December 2011, he’s the best guy to ask questions about this majestic mountain. A second later, (Hardcore, and a lot of leech) a reply from him got me thinking, and doubt if I can make it to the summit. On the second thought, I already bought my ticket. There’s no turning back. Next thing I knew, I was packing my bag for the the climb.

We leave Cebu around 6PM, and arrived in Iloilo port around 8AM the next day. It was a long trip, but the good thing about it, is I got to meet a couple of climber on the boat. The bad thing about it, I forgot their names. I’m really bad at names. 😦 Well anyway, upon arrival, we decided to buy a ticket going back to Cebu, just to avoid getting stranded.
Since we haven’t had our breakfast that morning, we decided to eat in a carenderia just outside Iloilo port. Afterwards, we hired a taxi going to Iloilo V-hire Terminal. As far as I know, Iloilo has a separate terminal for their buses.
We were warmly welcomed by Mr. Sumanting from Tourism Office when we arrived in Culasi. A good-natured and hospitable that he is, he invited us into his office to sign some papers, and let us relax for a little. A 4-hour ride can be exhausting sometimes.
Since we arrived in Culasi at lunch time, we decided to have our lunch. This dish is the specialty of Culasi, which you can see in every eatery in the area. Can you guess what’s on this dish? 🙂 Fine then, the main ingredient of this dish is SHARK! Yeah, that’s right. The taste? Taste like tuna. This cost P25 per serving.

Have I told you that we forgot to buy a butane in Iloilo? The moment we jump inside the v-hire, we told our driver to pass by a Mall in San Jose so we could buy a butane. The problem is, our driver take a different route. When we checked my print-out map, we’re way too far from the mall. When we communicate with Mr. Sumanting, he mention someone selling a butane in Culasi. But when we get there, we realize that the butane he’s talking about is different from the butane we’re commonly using. We take the risk and sacrifice a little of our time to ask someone to buy a butane in San Jose, which is a 2-hour drive from Culasi. We pretty much don’t have a choice. We couldn’t push through with the climb without the butane. How the hell are we going to cook our food without the butane? We waited until 8PM, which means we’re already 1 day delay of our itinerary.

We arrived at our jump-off point in Brgy. Alojipan around 9PM. By then, we all decided to push through and night trekked our way to the forest line. We were thinking of chasing our itinerary. We break camp early the next day,  around 5am, and start trekking towards Camp 1. There were few open trails, but since we started trekking early, we were able to avoid the heat of the sun.

leech on my backpack

Leech is very abundant in Mt. Madja-as. So if your planning to conquer this majestic mountain, I suggest you wear a leggings, an arm guard/warmer and a pair of gloves. Thinking back, even wearing all these things   didn’t spare me with the leeches. A couple of leech find their way to my nape.  So disgusting. I really hate it, even though they look cool with their rasta colors.

flowers in Camp 2

After pitching up our tents in camp 1, we tried to summit Mt. Madja-as. We left all our belongings in the camp, and just bring with us our lunch and a handful of trail food. We believe we can do it. We’ll be able to go back at the camp before midnight. But the trail going to Camp 2 was telling us that pushing to the summit is impossible. We pass through a knife edge ridge, that with just wrong move, you’ll gonna be saying goodbye to the world.  There’s no trees which you can hold on to for balance. I was about to back-out by then, but most of my friends are so persistent in getting to the summit. So I tried to catch up with them, asking one of my friend to hold my hand as I cross the ridge. We arrived at camp 2 around 3PM. Our guide told us that it’ll take another 2-3hours to summit Mt. Madja-as. If we push through, we could arrived at the peak around 5PM or 6PM the most. Thinking back of the trail we went through, it’ll impossible to be back in camp 1 before midnight. It will also be very dangerous on our part to cross the knife-edge ridge at night. Right there and then, we decided to backtrack our way to camp 1 and call it a day.

Going back to camp 1 was difficult. We were blown by strong winds when we pass through the knife-edge ridge. Thank God we are all safe and was back in camp 1 around 6PM. We hit the sack early, so we could rest our worn out body.

We started to backtrack our way to Brgy. Alojipan the next day. Since we arrived early in Alojipan, we all went to the river to enjoy the clear cold water. A few minutes later, we find our way back to Culasi to catch a boat to Malalison Island.

Here’s a video from our climb. Enjoy!

Check out my other adventures in Antique:
Culasi, Antique | Mt. Madja-as Climb Video
Culasi, Antique | Exploring Malalison Island
Mt. Madja-as | Climb Itinerary

Mt. Canlaon for the 3rd Time

End of April, we went to Negros to climb the highest peak in the Visayas, Mt. Canlaon.
 Mt. Canlaon is famous among climbers in the Philippines because of its amazing view.  It was my 3rd time to visit this magnificent mountain. Usually I don’t go back to mountains I’ve already visit. But this mountain has its exception. I’ve been to different mountains here in the Philippines. So far, the view from Mt. Canlaon is far way more different from the others. I know there are mountains giving out nice sea of clouds view, but I never been to that. So much for the introductions. Lets proceed to tale telling. 🙂
It was Friday morning when we all met up in Toledo to grab the first trip to San Carlos City. Luckily we get the chance to ride the first fast craft, which only travels for 45mins. Compared to Lite Shipping that travels 2 hours, I guess were lucky enough to ride the fast craft.
Upon arriving in San Carlos City, we went directly to Gaisano (Grocery Store) to have our last buy. Then proceed to San Carlos Bus terminal to catch a ride to Canlaon City, the place where the famous Mt. Canlaon is located. We had our lunch upon arriving in Canlaon City, then meet with our guide.
After talking to our guide and agree on the itinerary, we happily jump to our rented multicab that will bring us to the foot of Mt. Canlaon. Believe me, it was one hell of  a ride! I can feel my spirit jumping out of my body. 🙂
We arrivcd in Brgy. Maput safely. Lucky for us, no accident happen during the trip. We hike towards Sudlon Falls located at the foot of the mountain.
We spend half an hour in Sudlon Fall diving in its cold water. It was like swimming in a tub full of ice. My fingers got numb because of the chilly water.
After half an hour taking a dip in that freezing water, we started to hike to our 1st Camp, the forest line. It was an easy hike, made more easier with the nice view we saw upon our back. Less than 2 hours later, we arrived in our 1st camp. We excitedly pitch our tents and prepare our dinner. Then spend the rest of the night drinking spirits. I mean not the whole night. Of course we also need to sleep. We need energy for the next day’s hike.
After having our breakfast, we happily jump to our feet, grab our bags and start our hike to the next camp, Mt. Canlaon’s shoulder. But of course we need to stop by in Mt. Makawiwili, the mountain peak that stands  opposite to Mt. Canlaon. There you could see the entire view of Mt. Canlaon and Margaja Valley. If your not prepared for the climb, the long strenuous hike plus the cold wind that touches your skin will kill you. You’ll be lucky though if you happen to climb there with good weather. But if you climb with the weather like we had, well, you’ll still survive but expect it to be so cold.
As much to our dismay, we did not have the chance to see the full view of Mt. Canlaon from the Makawiwili peak. Because we had a bad weather, Mt. Canlaon was wrap with fogs and hide its beautiful view from us. We had no other choice but to continue our hike to the shoulder of Mt. Canlaon, where our 2nd camp would be.
While pitching our tents in our 2nd campsite, the view of the crater/ Mt. Canlaon cleared. I guess our prayers were answered huh! 🙂 It was so beautiful. Unfortunately that view didn’t last long. It was covered again by big fogs. It was like that until sundown.

The next day, a hot noodles with rice warms our hungry tummy. It was the best breakfast I had with the cold wind surrounding us.

It was really a cold morning. Still not much of a luck for us, a lot of fogs are scattered around us blocking our view of the crater.

With all the fogs that are covering our view, I decided to just stay at the campsite and let them climb up to the crater without me. At the back of my mind, I was thinking that it will only just be a waste of time if I go with them with no guaranteed that I can see a clear view. But unlike me, my friends were very optimistic about all of this. They still went up to the crater hoping to see its beauty. I can’t blame them, it was there first time to visit the place. I guess their prayers were answered though, they really did saw a beautiful view up there.

I started packing my things while they were in the crater. When the time they got back, I’m already done packing. They happy told me how the fogs cleared when they arrived in the crater. I was happy hearing them told me all of that. I’ve seen better view compared to the one they saw, but you can see in their faces how happy they are seeing what they saw. I’m happy for them! 🙂

With the cold wind surrounding us and a limited water, it will be impossible for us to cook a real meal. So we just all decided to pack up and head down. We’ll just cook our lunch on the first water source we’ll reach.

A group picture before heading down.

We reached the first water source from our campsite and cooked all our remaining foods. We had our lunch after all the foods were cooked and resume our trek afterwards.

We celebrated our successful climb the second we arrived in Canlaon City Bus Terminal. We look for a store and buy a couple of beers. Really, I never been that thirsty for beer my whole life. 🙂 We had our ‘tagay’ session while waiting for the bus.

We took the last bus trip to San Carlos City and stayed the whole night in our friends house and get drunk. What could possible be better way to celebrate a successful climb than drinking the whole night until we all got drunk?:)

The next day, we went ukay-ukay shopping. With a heavy hangover and a bad headache, a reward from last nights drunkenness, we manage to find some good stuffs in a very reasonable price. 🙂

We headed back to the house afterwards and pack our bags to go home. We stop by at Gaisano to eat sundae in Jollibee. You can’t blame us, we’re craving for something cold. 🙂 After the stop in Gaisano we went to another ukay-ukay store and buy more good stuffs. Then went to San Carlos Bus Terminal to buy some pasalubong for our family. The next thing we knew, we were almost late for our boat trip to Toledo.

I was happy we had that climb. We had the chance to know each other. 🙂 I really had so much fun, not to mention all the boopers. ^_^ Well, thanks for reading! Till next adventure!

Mt. Manunggal | "Paghandum ni Magsaysay"

Every year, climbers all over Cebu and  from neighboring islands, come together in Mt. Manunggal to celebrate the annual “Paghandum ni Magsaysay”. Mt. Manunggal is located in Balamban, Cebu, having a height of 1,003 meters above sea level. Mt. Manunggal happens to be the  3rd  Philippine President’s final resting place. An annual event is held to commemorate the death of Pres. Ramon Magsaysay and has been a tradition for quite awhile.
I first attended this event way back 2007.
 I still don’t belong to a mountaineering club at that time. Having been invited by a friend to this event encourage me to join a group of mountianeers.
2008 was my second year. At that moment, I’m already a member of USPM (United Southern People Mountaineers).
That year I was able to climb the peak of Mt. Manunggal. It was a great year, having a fine weather and a chance to see the magnificent view from Manunggal’s Peak.
2009 was a wet Manunggal event. It rained the whole night resulting to slippery and muddy ground.
Luckily, it stopped raining the next day giving us a warm sunshine. 🙂
By 2010, we were not able to attend the annual activity. I think I was busy at the time. ^_^
This year, exactly March 19-20, we were able to join the Paghandum ni Magsaysay. Like 2009, Manunggal celebration was also a wet and muddy year, even worst. We jammed with the bands who played in the stage, even it was all muddy and raining. None the less, it was a fun event.
The next day, we head home.
With some sidetrips to a spring pool and a few minute stop at a sweetcorn vendor. Yummy! ^_^

Biliran | The Hidden Paradise of Mt. Tres Marias

Have you ever seen your little paradise? I’ve seen mine. I see  it every time I enter into a forest line or witnessed a great morning with sea of clouds. It’s amazing how God have created all this things and yet only few have appreciate its beauty. Last October, our group decided to conquer Mt. Tres Marias of Biliran Province. This mountain is admired by many for its virgin forest and their waterfalls, which not so much people have the chance to visit. Mt. Tres Marias has its reputation for having a challenging trail for climbers which offers an experience that is hard to forget.
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In order to get to Naval—the center of business in Biliran Province and where we have to start our journey to Mt, Tres Marias, we have to get on board a boat to bring us to Ormoc. We could have taken a boat directly to Naval, but that was Friday. The only available trip directly to Naval is during Tuesdays and Wednesday. We met up with Abbz when we arrive in Ormoc City. We asked her to buy us some butane for the climb. She was  a little late that morning, which cause us to lost our chance to ride the first bus trip to Naval. Our Itinerary for the climb got missed up that day but it never got worst either. We took the V-hire to Naval and met with our guides. They brought us to the mayor’s house for a courtesy call. Afterwards, we headed to Almeria—our jump-off point, after having our last-buys in Naval.
I expected less on our first day, it never occurred to me that we will be having a lot of river trekking. The only thing that keeps repeating in my little head, is what they said about how challenging the trail is. I guess they forgot to tell us about the river trekking part. Yes, it was indeed a challenging trail. It was not as I have imagined. The stones in the rivers where we pass through was so slippery. It even injured one of our friend.  But the good thing about river trekking, is having the chance to see those wonderful waterfalls.
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We travel across 4 waterfalls before hitting our first camp site.  The first falls was the Sampawan falls. Followed by Ulan-Ulan falls, which is the most famous among the 4 waterfalls. Then the Recolletos falls and the Nomads falls, respectively. Nomads falls was actually named after NOMADS group—a mountaineering group in Cebu City under Inter-Mountaineering Society (IMS).
We were lucky enough to set-up our camp before the rain massively drops in our location, but not so much of a luck, for we were out of water in the middle of cooking dinner. But then again, it must have been our luckiest day though. A group give us their extra water. After having a heartfelt dinner in the camp, me and my tent mates chat with other groups before heading the sack.
The next day, we peaked the highest mountain between the three peaks. I guess we run out of luck that day, because we never got the chance to see the view of the neighboring islands of Biliran. The scene from the top was covered by a thick fog  From what I have heard from our guides, the mountain seldom allowed climbers to view its beauty from the peak. We had no choice but to go back to our camp and head to our next campsite.
The second day was a bit difficult for the group. We had a not so friendly trail ahead, an injured mate, and a whole day of rain showers, which make it more crucial on our part. But the most funny thing about this, I try my best not to feel awful about the situation and just enjoy it. Although we never arrived in our second campsite that night, we still have the opportunity of comfort in the emergency camp. Our injured friend told us that she cannot make it for another step. So we just decided to stay the night in the emergency camp.
leaving emergency camp

We woke up early the next day. We need to beat our itinerary and have to be outside the forest after lunch. Most of us didn’t eat breakfast and started to hike.

Fortunately, having to consider our situation, we were almost outside the forest at noon. We decided to have our Brunch (Breakfast-Lunch combined) at the next river we crossed. It was the best brunch I ever had. Water was abundant in our surrounding. Some decided to dip their worn out body in the cold water. As for me, I had my period that time, I just enjoyed myself watching them. hehehe.. I thought were hitting the road at 2pm but I guess we’re to slow. We were out in the forest at 4pm, and lucky enough to ride a bus back to Naval.

We had dinner in the market and spend the night at one of our guide’s crib. We had our socials in the house and talked everything we experience from the climb. I consider this climb as one of my most unforgettable one. I mean, all my climbs are, but this one is just exceptional. ^_^ The whole climb was 70% river trekking, and it was my first time to see a waterfalls that much in one climb. All four falls was so magnificent. The forest was even great. You can really tell that it was  a virgin forest.  I really wish I can go back there and peaked the 3 mountains. I know it will be difficult, but its worth the try. Going back there is much like going to a little paradise.

Bonbon | River Trekking and Caving

It’s been a long time since I last set foot in Bon2x. This place is usually where we spent our overnight if we wanted to get out of the City.Only a few people know about this place besides the locals around the area.
Isn’t this place perfect for a getaway?
We met up with the group at JY Square Mall. About 30mins after, we head our way to the jeepney stop to take a ride to Bonbon.
We take a jeepney ride towards our destination. The coolest thing happens during this ride? A  fortune teller was riding with us. We didn’t ask her any questions. She just handed us information regarding our future. Kinda creepy though. She even told me my husband in the future will die ahead of me. It got me thinking for a while.
We trek towards the outpost where we will spend the day. I enjoy the trek even though the heat of the sun  keeps kissing my skin. I’m excited knowing I’m going to dip my body in the cold water when I get there.
We dip in the water before heading to the cave.It was so refreshing having to dip your burnout body in the water.
I did not go inside the cave. I just leave it to the first timers. I went in last year and by the time I get out, I swear I’m never going to go inside again. Going inside once was enough. The cave was nice, but going in again was never part of my plan that day. So, I just waited for them outside. I enjoyed watching their faces coming out of the cave’s entrance, smiles are all over their dirty face. I think they really enjoyed the trip inside and had so much fun crawling in the mud.
Around 3PM we started to trek towards the BIG FALLS. It wasn’t that tiring though, considering that we hike almost an hour to reach the hidden beauty of the waterfalls.

The view towards the falls is  just amazing. It will take away your exhaustion.

 It was raining when we got to this beautiful waterfall. But this does not stop me from taking out my camera and capture this amazing view.

We parade back to the bungalow around 4:30PM. As for me and Caitlin, we run our way back to the small hut. Yes.. trail running back to the bungalow. Next thing I knew, I’m catching my breath. And what else is a better way to end the day? Having a post climb meeting before going home. I really had so much fun with these guys.

More photos here and here.