Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mt. Maculot Traverse (MacTrav): Rockies, Summit, Grotto

In May 2013, my friend Teng and I decided to hike Mt. Maculot.  The two of us met at the barangay hall near the jump-off as she came from Nasugbu, and I from Manila. We signed up at the registration and paid something (I forgot how much) and rode a tricycle going to the start of the trail.  Our trike driver referred a guide, a young boy of maybe 12 years old as our guide and we started our trek.  Note that this was before the mandatory guide fee of P400/5 for Rockies and P1,000 for a traverse.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Staycation: Oakwood Premier, Joy Nostalg Center Manila

Last December, I bought from a friend a voucher for an overnight stay at a one-bedroom deluxe at Oakwood Premier in Pasig. It was expiring by the end of the month, and there were no other takers so I was able to buy it for a ridiculously low price of P2,500, with buffet breakfast for 2! The published rates for local residents are P9,000+++. But you can buy for Agoda from P6901++, room only. So, it was steal! 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Conquering Mountains: Pico de Loro

Last November 3, we were finally able to push through with our supposedly last mountain for the year, Pico De Loro in Batangas, and I tell you, this is one beautiful mountain! And climbing that monolith was a defining moment for me.  With focus and determination, I was able to overcome my fear and do it! And what a reward it was to be stand on top of that rock and say, "I did it"!

How to go there:
My friend Ehms and I left met at 4am in Pasay Rotanda, at the bus station behind McDonalds.  Then we rode a van going to Nasugbu where we met our friend Teng, her husband and 2 officemates and our two guides from the Nasugbu Mountaineers(P250 per pax). Fare was P180.  We traveled via our friends' van to the jump-off point in the DENR and started our hike at around 9am.  It was an 'easy' hike but I don't know who make the classifications but for me, it was not easy.  But it was fun! Herbert, our guide, gives us time to catch our breath and we took out time taking pictures!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Staycation: Contemporary Hotel

Staycation at Contemporary Hotel
A vacation need not be expensive! When your requirements are just a pool, wifi, air conditioned room and a good bed, then a staycation may just be the right thing for you.

During last year's holy week, I booked a room at the Contemporary Hotel in Quezon City. We got a room with 3 beds but without breakfast, and I paid only P1,450 for an overnight stay. I booked the room online via Agoda, and I was able to get the cheapest rate possible!

Travel Quotes Friday : Destination

Panglao Island, Bohol

El Nido Island Hopping: Tour B

After a rain-filled Tour A the day before, we were now ready for another island hopping day.  We were supposed to do the Tour C, but since it was raining heavily the night before, the Coast Guard did not allow them to go in open sea where most of the islands in Tour C are located.  So we were just happy that the tour was not cancelled, and Tour B it was.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mt.Marami: A Mountain of Many, Many Things!

Mt. Marami, located in Marigondon in Cavite is very aptly named. We left the jump-off at 930 am and was back again at 8pm!  Maraming-marami kaming experience indeed!  It was NAC's last climb for the year, and it proved very  memorable.  We went through several hills and three rivers under the glare of the sun and we asked ourselves several times why we were doing it again!  Of course, we found our answers once we were on top of the world! Mt. Talamitam is higher than Mt. Marami but there was no straight trail and we had to go through  long and arduous route.  We each had more than 5 liters of water and we almost ran out because it was so hot! Good thing our group was really there to have fun despite the difficult trail.

El Nido Island Hopping: Tour A

So, it was raining very hard the night before but by 9am, we were ready to go island hopping! Our boatman and his crew, and our tour guide Marvin , together with 4 other people on the tour make up our group. 

First stop of the island hopping tour was the Big Lagoon.  Well, it was actually not a 'stop' because the boat didn't stop, hahaha but just circled around the lagoon and gave us a lot time of to take pictures! The place was beautiful and set us in a very good mood since the rain stopped for a while.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

El Nido on A Budget: 4 Days and 3 Nights Expenses

 In July last year, my husband and I went to a trip to El Nido.  We were supposed to be in a group of 6, but only the two of us decided to go ahead.  So, how much did we spend for this trip? 

I think before I continue with my posts on our very recent El Nido trip, I should give you a list of how much we actually spent on this trip, so below is the list.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Anilao, Batangas Side Trip

After our trek at Mt. Gulugod Baboy, we just had to take a dip at the beach to cool down! We paid less than P50 at Philpan Dive Resort for the use of the shower facilities and for place to stow our bags.  
We did not rent a cottage anymore (P150) as we were only going to stay for a while. So we swam a little and the water was so clear and cold despite the afternoon heat. Notice that we did not remove our arm protectors. Anyway, we stayed for an hour and then we had to leave the beautiful beach, but promised to come back again! A day well-spent with nature!

How to get to Anilao:
From Cubao, ride a Batangas bound bus (P165) and alight at the Grand Terminal. Ride a jeepney bound to Mabini(P135). The jeepney terminal is also inside the Grand Terminal. Travel time was less than an hour. Alight at Anilao and rode a tricycle(P40) to Philpan Diver Resort or to any other resort of your choice.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mt. Gulugod-Baboy: A Hot Summer Sojourn

at the summit of Mt. Gulugod-Baboy
Since April 9 was a holiday and our last hike was in February, my friends Ehms and Teng and I decided to take a day hike at Mt. Gulugod Baboy in Anilao, Batangas. We met at Jam Line bus station in Cubao at 4am, and we were at Grand Terminal in Batangas by 7am. Then we rode a jeepney to Mabini, and alighted at Anilao where we took a tricycle to Philpan Dive Resort.  We started the hike at 855am.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Conquered Mt. Pinatubo and More!

Mar 26, 2012
Last Saturday, together with my husband and 13 other friends, I conquered Mt. Pinatubo and more! Our journey to the volcano crater was exciting. We started off with a 2am pick-up in Ortigas, a stop over at McDonald's Panay for food and registration and we were off to Tarlac. We were there at 5am and we had our breakfast. At 6am, we were already on the 4x4 for the 1.5 hour ride to the base camp.
It was a bumpy ride to say the least and I had my eyes closed on the more dangerous (for me!) parts of the ride. But I can feel that my husband would have traded places with our driver in an instant!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Travel Quotes Friday: There is So Much to See!

Sumilon Island, Cebu

Package Tour or DIY?

Pinatubo tour from Tripinas

I am a budget traveller.  There are some comforts that I am willing to forgo just to be able to visit and experience a place.  But there are some things that are non-negotiable, paramount of which is safety. Travelling in a group help you save a lot because there a lot of you to split the cost.  But when you travel in pairs, or as a couple, it is sometimes a lot more cheaper to avail of package tours.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why Travel?

Here are some reasons why you should travel, in no particular order.

  1. It gives you perspective. You learn how other people live. You see the truth with your own eyes. It gives you a measure of reality.
  2. It gives you education. Same as above, you learn. Not just about people, but about economy, geography, finance. You learn to negotiate, haggle.  You learn diplomacy.  You learn acceptance.
  3. Travelling humbles you.  You realize there is nothing special about you. You realize things are not always about you.  You learn to let go of your prejudices.  You learn not to take your self too seriously.
  4. Traveling empowers you.  You learn, and realize what you can and cannot do. You become more adventurous, yet more conscious of others. It makes you less materialistic as you only take what you need. 
  5. Traveling makes you more confident. Yes, you learn to be humble and yet you learn to know your place. 
  6. Travel slows you down and gives you time to think and ponder. It helps you break habits and experience new things.
  7. You learn to deal with unexpected things and you can be surprised at your reaction.
  8. Travel makes you appreciate home and family.
  9. You make new friends and lots of memories.
  10. It makes you more interesting as you have more stories to share.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Taal Volcano: Up Close and Personal

My visit to Taal Volcano was in 2009 when our department had our planning in Tagaytay. As part of our team building, we decided to take a day hike to the volcano.  From our hotel, Summit Ridge Tagaytay, we took a drive to Taal Lake Yacht Club in Sta Maria, Talisay, Batangas (check for driving directions here). It was maybe an hour  (or less) drive away from Tagaytay. We rode a banca at the Yacht Club and proceeded with the hike (P2,500 per boat with 5 pax then but updated rate is now P2,800 for 5 pax).  5 is the maximum seat capacity for the boat.
all geared up for the boat ride

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sample Mt. Pulag Itinerary

Mt. Pulag's sunrise and sea of clouds!
When we hiked Mt. Pulag last May 2014, we went with UP Org and paid P3,500 each. Inclusions were the following: 
  • 2-way Transpo Manila to jump-off point
  • DENR and other Local Fees
  • Guide Fees (except porter) 
  • 3 Meals to be cooked on the campsite (Sat dinner, sun breakfast and sun lunch)
  • Hot drinks on the campsite
  • Tent rentals and camp lamp 

We were happy with UP Org because they do those tours not solely for monetary gain, but out of love of nature and make sure that their group practice LNT. So below was our itinerary during the May 9-12, 2014 Mt. Pulag hike:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Travel Quotes Friday: Travel for Fulfillment!

Calatagan, Batangas

I Survived Mt. Pulag!

This post first appeared here.

May 24, 2014
I started seriously climbing mountains in April last year, a passion that I wanted to pursue since college but didn't have time nor the money.  Now that I have the money, I do not have the time.  And so when I do find the time, I make it a point to make it worth, and boy, it was worth it!  

Mt. Pulag, the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines at 2,922 MASL is every mountaineer's (or wannabe-like me) dream climb.  Since it has been on my bucket list since forever, and when I found both extra money and time, I went ahead and organized one with friends and UP Org.  It was a very memorable climb!  
The photo above shows our travel from Baguio up to the start of the trek.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Itching to Book Plane Tickets!

"If traveling was free, you'd never see me again."

I have read it somewhere and I know this to be true, hahaha.  I currently have tickets for Cebu in December and we have a road trip to Ilocos Norte planned for November, and yet, I am always checking seat sales! 

But look, they are cheap especially without the surcharge! A ticket for 2 to Bacolod in August via Cebu Pacific will only come out to P1,400 so that's only around P700 per pax! Just about the cost of a bus fare to Baguio! 

And yet, I haven't dared to click the buy button. Yet.

This practice of self-restraint is really hard, ha ha ha!