Climbing Mt. Babag For A Sunday’s Trek

In preparation for this week’s activity in Alto Peak at MFPI’s All Women Climb, last Sunday, May 17,  despite the Mister’s subtle protest, Liz & I decided to pursue our plan to condition ourselves. I initially wanted to be on a full gear mode bringing in the stuffs that I’m supposed to bring at Alto but decided I would be better off without it. Good thing, I change my mind because I have spared myself from the pressure of keeping up with the rest of the guys. 😀

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Liz & I are still determined even if it’s just the 2 of us but still very happy to have these guys with us yesterday. From L – R: Liz, Portia (Liz’s LDI friend), Me, The Mister and Kuya Ali.

My first time in Babag was a little battered because I was carrying some foods for the outreach hosted by another local mountaineering group in Cebu, this time despite joining a group who will be having an outreach again in the same place, we were just free loaders. Thankful to Sir Jorge and Sir Jing for letting us trek with them. Without Liz’s resourcefulness, we would have added to Kuya Ali’s heartaches in Mt. Babag by being lost the 2nd time. Haha!

What’s A Day Trek in Babag Feels Like

Ohhh it was super fun…I felt energized and so full from eating A LOT! Haha! The Mister kept on mentioning how I ate a lot. It was therefore trek eating for me. But gluttony aside, trekking to Babag is easy when you have less things on your back. Unlike the first time, at about an hour from Napo Basketball court, we reached the manggahan where most trekkers stop for lunch, to the Mister’s utmost surprised. He even commented how easy it was which hurts me a little ’cause I was really having a hard time last trek.

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Lunch stop after an hour of walking from Napo Basketball Court.

Because it was too early for lunch, we decided to just chill. We took a siesta from 11:00 – 12:00 PM. The Mister and I climbed and slept in the 2nd floor of the mango tree, Liz & Portia in the ground and Kuya Ali settled in the 1st floor.

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Liz is dozing off to her dreamland!
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The Mister & I cozying up atop a Mango tree.
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Portia balancing up sleep!

We had lunched then left the Mango tree stop at 1:00 PM, leaving our new found friends behind to finish their outreach planning. I saw them arranging the school supplies before leaving. We were on our own after. But before we left, Sir Jorge told us that the path towards the flowers were closed but there is a new path. We just had to follow that & make sure we are on an uphill climb.

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The sign posted in the closed path.

And it was indeed closed so we went ahead to the exposed path. Then a local kid passed by, when asked, she said we were on track. And up we went. We had some minor confusions on which path to take but we eventually been leaded to correct path. Yay! After an hour of walking up hill, we reached RCPI towers. And I thought that was it. Ohhh boy, I haven’t been warned. It took us almost 3 hours to finally reached the last leg of our adventure, Temple of Leah. But this time, we were walking on a cemented road. We actually had a choice to hail a habal-habal but decided walking is better. 🙂

In summary, here’s our itinerary:

07:00 Assemby at Guadalupe Church
08:45 Ride a habal-habal to Napo basketball court (10/person)
09:00 ETD to Manuel’s Manggahan
10:00 ETA Manuel’s Manggahan, lunch and chill
13:00 Resume trek to RCPI Towers
14:00 ETA RCPI Towers
17:00 ETA Temple of Leah

Comparing this trek to my last trek, the loads will certainly make a difference. Last time it took us 2 hours to arrive at Manuel’s.

Highlights of the Trek:

  1. Because we only brought water & packed lunch, our pacing were stable despite the almost 80% uphill trail.
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2. The tree platforms at Manuel’s is just so cool. Makes me want to pursue my dream of building my own but where? Haha! And of course, the buko & mango were very tasty. The Mister was complaining because we spent Php 95 for I consumed 2 bukos and a mango. Hahaha! Buko is at Php 25 each and the mango is at Php 10.
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3. Despite the seeming light trekking, my body aches after, which means, the conditioning was successful.
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4. And I was finally able to visit Temple of Leah. Yahooo!
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Itinerary Spin-Offs

Because it was my first time to complete a trek to Babag, I just realized that there are more trek itineraries that you could do to make it more fun & adventurous.

  1. Day trek entrance in Babag, then proceed to Sirao peak, down to Budlaan as exit.
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View of the Chalet camp from the road.
  1. Overnight camp at Chalet via Babag, exit at Mt. View.
  2. Overnight camp at Sirao via Babag, exit at Budlaan.

Well, that’s what I could think of for now. I’ll add more soon. Happy to have find a new funtrek route for my fun club. But certainly not as fun as what we had in Sirao last time.

*All pictures courtesy of Kuya Ali.

Climbing Canlaon in 3 Days & 2 Nights Via Mapot-Mananawin Trail

It was our 2nd attempt to conquer Canlaon in the same trail. Started at Mapot, exit at Mananawin. The first was almost 3 years ago in September 2012. Climbing a mountain and not being able to reached its peak is sort of an unaccomplished feat for a mountaineer but is sorely understood. Regretful and sad but who could battle Mother Nature when it’s angry.

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2012. Leaving the shoulder without reaching the peak due to bad weather.

3 years ago, with a heavy heart & a much heavier body because we’re wet and cold, we left Canlaon’s shoulder in a haze. The winds were strong. It was drizzling. The fog covered everything. It was pitch whiteness everywhere. Neither of us knew then that we were walking down a very steep slope, a fact just confirmed since it was a clear day when we left Canlaon this year, a stark contrast from 3 years back.

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2015. Going down on a clear day!

Note that our first climb was in September, a rainy season & this year was in February. It might really be best to climb Canlaon in Summer since it’s less likely to rain.

Compared to the first, this climb was a breeze. Somehow it’s not as battering. Must be because I have aged & accumulated trekking experiences over the years? Lol Kidding aside, I was really in high spirits all throughout. Could be attributed to having a camera as well, haha. Last time we have none since I lost it in Taal. Being unable to capture what I see is most heartbreaking. Whenever a trek has been decided, I always make it a point to research about it. And I always end up reading those with many pictures & an overly detailed story of the climb (found none for Alto Peak yet, waaaaa! makes me anxious!). Being true to my motto “Give what you want to receive”, I make it an extra effort to give everything I’ve got as well. 😀

Note this is the summary post of the climb, Day 1 is done, Day 2 and Day 3 is still in progress.

Foggy Moments on the way to Shoulder Camp (Night 2)

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View of the foggy peak from Makakawiwili Peak! It took as a while before we were provided this view.

It was all excitement when we reached Makawiwili Peak. From the blogs that I’ve read, that part has some cool views of the great Canlaon which is unfortunately unseen on our previous attempt. This time, we were very happy to have been given a slight clearing. I thought that was enough. But human as we are, I wanted MORE!

Like the first, I could only see an outline of the great Canlaon. It was still very foggy when we arrive in the shoulder camp. When I slept that night, I prayed that we would have a clearing* the day after. I was in for a little heartbreak but not for very long.

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Sunrise at the Shoulder Camp

It was the same whiteness in the morning of our 3rd day. Good thing that in spite of that, the sunrise is just as beautiful, painting the view in its orangey glow, like a ball of fire in a sea of clouds. In my mind, oh well, at least I saw the mighty sun this time and had a peek of the peak at Makawiwili. It’s already a better experience than the first.

When everyone woke up, they talked about how the waters broke into their tents and all. I was just listening and feeling very lucky ’cause Liz & I were spared. Then a thought came, it wasn’t luck, my prayer was answered in a different way, it said. I shrugged, oh well. There is always a 3rd time. But after the commotion die down, they told us to get ready for the summit. I was hesitant. Are we really safe in that fog?

The Climb to the Peak

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There were lots of like this but I can only watched them since I’m too tired to get the camera from the then-boyfie-now-husband Migo. Trivia: this was our last climb as Migo & Miga!

30 minutes ascent, the guide told me when asked about how much time it would take to reach the peak. The path was laden with loose rocks in an about 30 degree angle. Since it is still foggy, I could only make out a few of what was in my surrounding. But of course who would miss the cairns (pile of rocks). When we reached the top, the prayed clearing* is still unheard. But we were patient & maybe, also hoping that the gods would answer our silent prayer…clearing please.

The Peak

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Group picture while waiting for the fog to go away wearing our team shirt specially made for Canlaon. Our 2nd shirt! Yay! The first is a blue version worn at Mt. Apo!

While waiting for the fog to clear, we busied ourselves. I had a slight inkling that it was maybe just it. But the other part of me was hoping & continued praying. Please. Please. Pleaseeeeeeee. I couldn’t remember the exact time or for how long did we wait. All I remember is the happiness when the great Canlaon finally showed itself. It was amazing and euphoric.

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Soon to be Mr & Mrs. Julio enjoying their last climb as Migo & Miga with the very shy Canlaon on the background.

Because of our delight and fear that the mighty Canlaon would shy away again, we just each took our time to do things on our own. We totally forgot to have a group picture. LOL

Back to the Camp

After a slight taste of clearing, the fogs were back. We walked down in the same pitch whiteness. Breakfast was ready when we arrived. All thanks to our very nice porter & guide. Weeeeeee! While we are busy eating…my fervent prayers were answered. Lo and behold! The fogs left and I could see everything CLEARLY. Finally a 360 degree view of Canlaon’s beauty. It was such a wow moment.

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Finally a group picture on a clear day at Canlaon! 
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Margaja Valley!
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Jump for joy!!!

And then it was time to go. Unlike last time, we didn’t left with a heavy heart. We left with a smile on our face and a gratefulness in our hearts. Finally, we have conquered Canlaon. Yayyyyyyyyyyyy!

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Spot the difference! 2012 vs 2015

*clearing – term used to describe that instant where we could see & marvel the beauty of Canlaon, in short, the fog would disappear. 

Canlaon Series:
Summary -> You are here.
Canlaon Trek Day 1 of 3 – Sudlon Falls & Base Camp
Canlaon Trek Day 2 of 3 – Makawiwili Peak & Shoulder Camp
Canlaon Trek Day 3 of 3 – Slide Away from Canlaon

Sirao Peak Funtrek With Office Ladies

It’s more fun…trekking with more friends indeed. 🙂 The weather was perfect for a climb, and everyone honored the agreed assembly time before 9 AM. For the first time, the boyfie and I arrived in Gaisano Talamban 15 minutes before 9. Haha!
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Having fun playing 7Ate9 – card game in mathematics. 😛
 While waiting for the others to be done with breakfast, some played card games. By 9:45, we had our group picture, prayed for a good weather and a no injury climb, then walk to Sunny Hills for a motorbike ride to the jump off in Baogo.
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Group pic before leaving the assembly area.
 At 10, we were ready to trek but not before we had the “family” portraits per group. Since we were many, I decided to divide the groups into 3 manageable groups w/ OICs in each group. The head group headed by the trail lead, the boyfie Migo. Middle group by me, the self-proclaimed photographer of the event. The tail group headed by Liz and swept by Angel.
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 Our phase was relaxed but since it’s been six months since our last visit, the boyfie and I didn’t know that some of the trail’s difficuty got worse. Good thing, no one was injured while trying their best to trek on 3 major challenging parts where we need extra care in crossing.
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On the trails before the arduous parts. 😀

The Challenging Parts

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On the way to the river. The first hard part where the group take turns in trekking with extra care. Pic 6 shows Te Noela and Biboy supporting Xyna across the slippery slope.
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After the first challenging part, comes a more challenging part. Another slope with an even slippery trail that ends in an orchard. While waiting for the others to cross, pic 6 shows the triumphant trekkers who just had their share of crawls. 😀
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Another challenging trail after the orchard! This is on the way to the river!
Lunch stop at the clearing after crossing the river
We reached the falls at 11:30 but since some opt not to see it, it has been decided to have lunch at “The Manggahan”. We were there at 12:15. We had lunch, some rested while others played. The group were divided while playing. The tail group coached by Van2x and Arsenio played Super Circles. Head and middle group coached by Analyn played 7Ate9 and Spot It. And then, the boyfie, keeping track of the time told me to announced it was time to go at 1:15. They suggested to have it at 1:30. By that time, some opt to rest for 15 minutes while those who were to energetic opt to play “The Resistance” where Nadia became the ultimate “Spy”. Haha!
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Photo break in the orchard after braving the challenging part 2.
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Lunch break at “The Manggahan”!
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Crossing the river!
We finally left at 2:00 PM and was at “The Store” 15 minutes after enjoying the extra kick of cold soft drinks.
At 2:45, we were ready to conquer the mostly uphill trails. We had 4 major rest or picture breaks before starting the summit ascent; in the mango tree with the nice city view, the bamboo, at the plum tree then at and the grassy place just before starting the cogon laden pathways.
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Other challenging tasks!
 During our visit in June, the cogons were high and green, yesterday it was brownish with specks of black ash indicating it has been burnt. No information was gathered why it became so but me thinks it’s because of the hot weather? Hmmm!

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Group pic at Sirao Peak. Ladies. Gentlemen. Group pic at the clearing before Ayala heights. Waiting for the ride to JY!

Then finally, at 4 PM, we reached Sirao Peak as planned, indicated in our itinerary. Wew! That was some trek. And it wouldn’t have been that great if the trekkers, both seasoned and first timers, weren’t that great as well. It was everything I optimistically think it would be – a funtrek!

We stayed in the peak for almost an hour, taking in the views, enjoying the air and mostly cam whoring! And then it was time to say bye-bye. Some suggested we’d wait for the other trekkers in our company before leaving but the sun was threatening to set already. So we opt to leave according to plan but as we were about to, we saw some office mates arriving. We had a quick picture then catch up with the others who went ahead. By 5:15, we saw the clearing. Another group picture and merry making then off we resume walking in the road to Ayala Heights with an extra excitement for the buko and sweet corn in a nearby store.

And then…heartache at 6:00 PM. No more buko and sweet corn. Huhu! When asked, the vendor told me that on non-Sundays, they usually don’t cook corns 30 minutes before 6 anymore. Huwaaaaaaah! Imagine the disappointed look on my face. When the disappointment settled down, I realized I have another problem. How do I get us out of there? We were 23. We need 11 motorbikes and I don’t see any jeepney around. Hmmm! And then I thought of walking down to the nearby house in the road. When I pass by the house just before reaching my target, a lady asked me where I’m off to. I told her my problem. And…viola! She offered her 2 rides. I am so blessed and lucky indeed.

I wish I took a picture of us in the ride but it was in the boyfie’s pocket already. Haha! For a motorbike price of Php50/person, we hailed 2 multicabs. 11 in the other cab, and 12 in our cab. Me thinks it’s more comfortable than the motorbike since I was able to talk to them on the long ride to JY square. Special thanks to Ate Tessie for the offer. Hoping to have that ride again when we come back next time. 😀 Unfortunately, I opt not to get the contact. LOL

And then it was time to go home and rest. The others who were famished went to dinner at AA’s – our last stop for the day that started in Jollibee in Gaisano Talamban.
I still have more thoughts but keeping it in as a beautiful reminder for our next funtrek to be scheduled. Hopefully, most will still enjoy nature as much as I enjoyed it. There is no greater happiness than to be able to share something that you love to your friends. 🙂

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Group pics at stops. The store. Manggahan. Plum Tree.
Special thanks to the following people for being a real backbone on this event. In no particular order after #4:
1. July – Migo, the boyfie, who despite being a pessimistic nagger still supports me in a somewhat scary undertaking. Haha! I have always been a girl who believes that everything will turn out the way I planned it and the goodness of people. Still he insists, things could happen so he have me prepare that waiver. LOL Anyways, that was good too. 🙂
2. Liz-zy – For everything. 😛
3. Maria – For everything and coming despite the celebrity-hectic schedules as well. Haha!
4. Angel – For being one of the optimistic supporter and going with us despite her group’s event as well. 😀
5-7. Analyn, Charina (& Ricco) – these gengs who have always been with me since Ganisiya days. 🙂
8-9. Nadia (& Randy) – the ultra active couple who expresses their support no matter what. LOL
10-13. Camia, Fredelyn, Kathleen, Nikka
14-16. Te Noela, Xy-na (& Biboy)
17-20. Power couples Ebeb (& Charlie), Newly weds Meriam (& Way2)
21-22. Vanessa (& Arsenio)
16 ladies (2 non-NCR), 6 lads (2 NCRs)

Special Note: There’s an NCR organization “Women In NCR” or WIN but this event is not organized through it. Haha! I just find it unsettling even if we are still NCR Women but unfortunately only some of us are WINs so…I hope you get the message.

This is an event brought about by a love for trekking and just sharing it with others. 🙂 Freelance but picky since we trek with FUN only. Hahaha! If you want a more competitive and contest-like trekking, this is not for you. 😛

An Unexpected Body Pains From Kawasan Traverse

Unlike my previous Osmeña camp, that Saturday night was cold but no rains. It was so cold, I opt to miss the socials. While the boyfie played the “killer game” with the group, I watched “East of Eden”. Halfway through the movie, the boyfie went back to tell me he will teach them “The Resistance”. When he left, I dozed off. Despite the howling winds, I slept soundly. At 5:00 AM when the alarm sounded, I was already in high spirits. Because it was still cold, I chose to use Pong’s burner instead of waking up Liz. Turns out, she was just waiting for me as well. Haha! Liz and I prepared breakfast while the boyfie is still in dreamland.

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Our breakfast is rice topped with yummy Adobo pre-cooked by Liz. And of course, coffee for the cold morning.

While the others are preparing to go, we went to the summit again with our packs. By 0830, we started our trek to Kawasan.

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Break Camp. Liz posed while the others are still busy packing. Keith carried the group trash to the designated trash area.
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Other trekkers on the way to Kawasan! View from the summit.

Keith and the boyfie have trekked to Kawasan but it didn’t saved us from getting lost still. Good thing, there were locals who eventually lead us to the right path.

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This was my favorite part of the trail. It was like a setting from a horror movie. A house in a secluded area. You will not see it in the pic but the hill at the back of the house is towering and imposing. SUPER SCARY! I will not trek here at night. Awoooooo!

We got lost countless of times but the worst was our first,  just before reaching Bugtong Basketball Court. The wrong path was very slippery and dangerous. We were walking on a steep slope. When it finally ended, we had to climb up a hill side. Because I climb up first, I managed to take a video of the others as they go up the hill. It was quite an adventure, one worthy of a major applause.

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Views just before leaving the camp site.
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Views after the house seen in the summit. I will surely ask the name of the place next time. 😛 You can still see the summit from here.
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The creepy part. Awoooooo!

The trail varies from roads, farmlands, forests and grasses. When we reached Candiis Barangay Hall, my feet is already sore. Good thing we were walking on a road already. 30 minutes after, we stopped at a waiting shed. Keith informed us that a water source was nearby. Turns out it’s still 10 minutes away from the shed. Haha! That was 1 hour passed lunch time already but nobody mentioned that their stomach is grumbling. Wew!

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Candiis Brgy Hall, the shed and water source!

Another 30 minutes of walking on the road and finally we reached Sanlagan Brgy Hall. From here, the group was divided. The others went on the short trail while we continued on the somewhat hard core trail. Another “lost” moment again. We missed the exit for the road to Kawasan, we instead follow a road that, as the locals said, will lead us to Matutinao. Still in Badian but we’ll miss the Kawasan source. I don’t know how much time we spent on that because everybody was in haste. I was a little worried as well.

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The “lost” look. Just before climbing to the right path. 😛
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We are betting on the dirtiest! So who won?!
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The view after we were lost. Was finally able to got a hold of the camera again. 😀
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This was rather dangerous. The boyfie kept telling me to concentrate but I can’t. I just had to take a picture. The path was on a rocky slope.
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And because I keep taking pictures, the others were very far ahead already. Haha!
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The boyfie is descending slowly. Good thing he didn’t see me run. 😛
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We were happy to be on this road…finally!

To sum everything up, the traverse to Kawasan was quite an adventure. I was tired but not too tired thus I was surprised of the muscle pains in my lower body. It was unexpected. Everything was aching. From my waist, butt, legs and torsos. But it could be because I haven’t been climbing as much since our Apo last year as well. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
If asked if that trail was for beginner’s? Nope. I don’t think so. But I’m quite excited to come back. I think I just found a new “Sirao”. I’d love to memorize this trail. Everything about it is just exciting especially that it ends in a cool, cool swimming in Kawasan. Just my cup of tea! Yay! Hopefully, I wouldn’t be as battered next time. 🙂

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Osmeña Peak Will Never Be The Same

Without the lost moments, it was still a long walk to Kawasan Falls and not an easy venture even for a somewhat seasoned trekker, much more to beginners. My heart goes out to the girls who had to endure that trail for their first adventure. 🙁 Now I am more fired up to bring them to Sirao Peak. The beauty of the trail is comparable but surely not that arduous of a journey. Still, it’s up to them to erase the bad memory and try once again. 🙂

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View of the camp from the rocky mountain.

Last last weekend’s adventure in Naupa pales in comparison with last weekend’s trek, January 30-February 1, 2015 in Osmeña Peak. It took us 6.5 hours to reached Kawasan Falls. We were lost, slipped, crawled and missed a meal yet despite that, everybody was still smiling and in high spirits. My estimate is that out of 17, there were only 7 who has prior trekking experience. Salute to them first timers!!! The boyfie and I started our hobby in Osmeña as well but without a traverse to Kawasan. I wonder if it made a difference if my first trek was a hard core. What you think?

Day 01 Camping At Osmeña Peak

7:00 Meetup At 7/11 Near USJR Main
8:30 At Mantalongon Minibus Terminal
– Travel time
12:00 Mantalongon Market Arrival
– Lunch, buy supplies
13:00 Start Trek
14:30 ETA Osmeña Peak Camp

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Keith talks, we listen! 🙂
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Warming up!!!
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The drivers begged for a picture. LOL

The first day was easy and comfortable. Meetup was at 7/11 beside USJR Main. From there we walk to the gas station where the minibus bound to Mantalongon is parked. This was my 3rd(the boyfie says it’s 4th but I don’t have posts to remember so…) climb but I never knew there was a minibus that would take us to the market directly. It was convenience and savings at Php100, and definitely better than the motorbike.

3.5 hours has elapsed and was spent sleeping on the ride. It was exactly 12 when we reach the market. Just in time for lunch. Keith instructed us to find lunch and meet back in front of Erma’s store after 45 minutes. By 1, we were in our way.

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Happy that Charm’s boyfie took a picture of us. 😀
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Oh well, the only decent group picture I have. You see, I tend to be crowd shy. Hahaha!

Because we were somewhat a large group, it was divided. Keith and 5 others went ahead while the boyfie, Liz and I went with the big group. The sun was rather cooperative. It was sunny but not too hot. Just my favorite weather. I can skip, take a picture and pose. 😛

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The boyfie looking grumpier! Haha
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A little catching up our breath stop!
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Wew! It’s maybe not the same bamboo bench from 2012 right?
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Photo bombed by the dog. LOL
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One of the changes. Cooler BRIDGE!
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It was OK to walk faster since they can see us even if we are way ahead.
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This is where I saw the log book…must be the log book house? 😀
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Just me…being me!
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Another one of the beautiful change. I couldn’t even get close to this rock before.

Despite the boyfie’s nagging for taking too much pictures when I’ve been there countless of times, I still took more pictures. LOL For me, no trek is the same even when you are in the same place.

There was some changes since I’ve been there. The way up was already paved and cleaned. The log book was new as well. We listed our names but no fees were collected. A friend tells that there was a Php10 entrance last time they were there. But maybe it was waived on that day because of the fiesta? Hmmm! Not sure. LOL

The sun was still up and shining after we set up camp so for the first time, I was able to go to the rocky mountain opposite the peak. The views were definitely cooler on that part. 🙂

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The rocky mountain in my back!
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And of course, no good view without a Migo and Miga pic. Thanks Lizzy!
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My adventurer Migo! So handsome!!!
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But of course, Lizzy and me had to take a selfie…er doufie. 😛
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Shadow of the peak. It doesn’t look that “peaky” on the rocky mountain.

Then comes sunset. It was so cold that I opt to miss it but glad I change my mind. From the peak, I was able to capture some sunset views and the entire camp. There were 8 groups on that night.

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So many campers! Wew!
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Campers on the other side for a total of 8 groups. Wowww!
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Waiting for the sun to set…
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Heart2x c/o Lizzy!
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This is life.
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Did you see Migo jump?
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Coz we can’t let a moment pass without a picture of us together 🙂

I was really planning on a single post but then it’s almost time for game night so Day 2 on the next post. See you. Let’s end this post with a somewhat prenup posts c/o of Lizzy.

migo&miga

Why I’ve Been On A Hiatus?

My last adventure post was exactly 2 months ago today – the last of the Apo series. After that was a new adventure that I didn’t get to finish. Haha! Oh well, it’s maybe meant for another time…another down time perhaps ’cause right now, I’m on yet another adventure. A different one! Something that I’ve been dreaming my whole life. Because of that I’ll once again go on a hiatus…for a long while. I’m hoping that you’ll still be here when I return. But before that let me take you to the 2 places I’ve visited and enjoyed last month Sirao Peak and Siquijor.

Trek to Sirao Peak
14 June 2014 

This was the boyfie and I’s 4th trek to Sirao but a first without our mountaineering friends, and the weekend before the 6th Anniversary. The trek was part of the whole week anniversary celebration featuring our activities over the years. We started in a movie date at our apartment, then trekking to Cebu City’s closest and most accessible mountain – Mt. Kan-irag.

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And Sirao will never be the same again. 🙂 The activity was supposedly my idea, I didn’t know the boyfie was cooking his own as well.

Trip to Siquijor
20-22 June 2014 

Siquijor has been on our travel list for a long while that got bumped too many times. Then one day, the boyfie said he’s planning the trip. Boy, you should have seen the look I had when he told me. That was before Sirao Peak, as I was thinking about it now, Siquijor must have been his decoy. I was too excited to finally be able to visit Siquijor that I didn’t notice his clues. I actually thought of not pursuing Sirao since a friend invited us to what I think a much more fun adventure in Osmena Peak. The boyfie lashed out for changing my mind. Glad I stayed put. Haha! I wonder what happened if Sirao didn’t happen. Hmmm!

Siquijor (Tagalog pronunciation: [sikiˈhor]CebuanoLalawigan sa SiquijorTagalogLalawigan ng Siquijor) is an island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayasregion. Its capital is the municipality also named Siquijor. To the northwest of Siquijor are Cebu and Negros, to the northeast is Bohol and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is the island of Mindanao.

Siquijor is the third smallest province in the country, in terms of population as well as land area (after Camiguin and Batanes). For a time it was part of Negros Oriental.

During the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines, the Spaniards called the island as Island of Fire (SpanishIsla del Fuego). Siquijor is commonly associated with mystic traditions that the island’s growing tourism industry capitalizes on.

I knew beforehand that Siquijor is small but I only felt it when we actually motorbiked almost half of the island.

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Migo and Miga’s 6th Anniversary Day 0 (20 June 2014)

Itinerary:
0900 South Bus Terminal
0930 Dmgte bound via Aircon Ceres Bus (Fare:205/pax)
1330 Bato Arrival
– Snacks: Bingka
1345 Bato Departure via RORO (Fare:70/pax)
1430 Tampi, San Jose, Negros Or. Arrival
1500 Dumaguete Port Arrival
1515 Tricycle to downtown for lunch
– Lunch @ Foodnet
– Snacks
1600 Siquijor Bound via GL Shipping Lines (Fare:140/pax, TF:15/pax)
1715 Siquijor Arrival
– Rent motorbike (350/day) c/o Aipee Dongon 0927 263 3983
– 3 liters Gasoline (150)
18:15 ETA Lorna’s
19:00 BBQ Dinner (135)

We arrived in Siquijor via Cebu-Dumaguete-Siquijor route. For comfort, we opted to ride the Ceres bus from South Bus Terminal bound to Dumaguete then took a ferry to Siquijor. The boyfie already booked a place in San Juan, Lorna’s End Of The World. I actually laugh when he said the name of the place, thinking it was another one of his jokes.

When the ferry arrived at Siquijor port, I get the same aura when entering Bantayan Island. The port was almost the same. A crowd of tricycle drivers greeted us just when I caught a glimpsed of the church. I was pretending to have a closer look just so they won’t insist. We didn’t have a ride to San Juan but I didn’t want us to hop with anyone and then regret for paying too much. I saw a somewhat trustworthy looking guy. Later I would know that his name is “Aipee Dongon (0927 263 3983)”. He showed us a cardboard with tricycle rates. We were surprised that a trip to San Juan cost Php 250. He must have seen our faces so he offered an alternative. Renting a motorbike would only cost Php350/day, I was all in for the cost but waited for the boyfie to react. We owned a motorbike at home but it’s been a while since his last drive. I saw him nod with reluctance. When I asked him again, his answer was already with confidence. Wew! It was my turn to shy away.

“Safe ra gyud kaayo mag-drive diri sa Siquijor, Mam.” Kuya Aipee said then did a quick run through of the roads and states of the entire province. I was sold.

He had the boyfie tried his motorbike and when it was all good, he asked us to wait to get a new bike. The boyfie tried the new bike as well but in the end, Kuya Aipee lets us take his own motorbike saying it was new compared to the other one. Thanks, Kuya Aipee. 🙂

Renting the motorbike was probably the best decision, we learned later. Siquijor’s spots were really just within the road plus there were signs and everything to lead you from place to place. We were more mobile and free because we had our own ride.

The boyfie with the motorbike at Lorna’s entrance.

For 2 days, we rented the motorbike for Php600. We arrived at Lorna’s without a hitch. And was very amazed how silent the road to San Juan is. We just saw countable motorbikes and never saw any jeep at all. It seems Kuya Aipee was not saying what he said just so we would rent the bike after all. 😀

At the front of Lorna’s.
Sunset in San Juan, Siquijor!

The sun was about to set when we reached Lorna’s so the first thing we did was cam whoring on San Juan’s sunset with Talinis Peak in the background. We had dinner by the boulevard eating barbecue with the locals. We slept early opting to greet each other a happy anniversary earlier for the planned tour the next day.

Migo and Miga’s 6th Anniversary (21 June 2014)
Motorbiking around Siquijor

Itinerary:
0800 Breakfast @ Lorna’s
0945 Begin Tour
Lazi Balete (10 donation)
1100 Lazi Convent, Museum entrance (20/pax)
1130 Cambuhagay Falls
– Parking (10), Snack (35)
1300 Lunch @ Lazi, Port, Noynoy Eatery
– Snack
1400 Salagdoong (15/pax)
– Motor Parking (10)
1700 Maria Souvenir Shop
1800 End Tour
2000 Anniversary dinner: Bubi’s Restaurant @ Royal Cliff (540)
2130 Game Time: RFTG, Carcassone
2400 Light’s Off

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Migo and Miga’s 6th Anniversary Day 2 (22 June 2014)

Itinerary:
0830 Breakfast @ Lorna’s
0930 Beach Swimming
1100 Bye Bye Lorna’s (1080)
– 2 days stay (300/day)
– 2 breakfast (360)
1130 Capilay (30 gas)
1200 Siquijor Port (Red Cross Donation 4)
1350 ETD Dumaguete via Ocean Jet (210/pax)
– Souvenir 100
– Lunch 105
1445 Dumaguete Port, ride to Ceres Terminal
– Tricycle to Sibulan
1515 Sibulan Port
1530 Cebu bound via Pump Boat (Fare:35/pax, TF:10/pax, TF: 2/pax)
1600 Santander Arrival, tricycle to hiway
1630 Cebu City Bound via Ceres Liner

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We spent a total of Php 5298 for the entire trip so around Php 2600 per person. It was quite cheap compared to our other escapades. 🙂

Contacts and References:
Where we stayed:
Lorna’s End of the World
Owner: Lorna
Contact Number: 0927 381 6377
Lorna’s was a little different from the boyfie’s reference. Then I learned from talking to Ate Lorna that their home caught fire last 2012 that’s why it was different. Ate Lorna was very kind and accommodating. If we’re going back to Siquijor, I would surely still stay there. The room was supposed to cost Php 500 a night but the CR drainage was stuck so Ate Lorna gave it to us for Php 300. Yay! We didn’t mind taking a bath at the common CR at all.

Our Transportation:
Motorbike
Owner: Aipee Dongon
Contact Number: 0927 263 3983
See description’s above!

Around the web:
http://www.thelonerider.com/2010/apr/siquijor/skindiving.shtml
http://www.senyorita.net/2013/03/camp-bandilaan-conquering-siquijors-highest-peak/
http://www.senyorita.net/2012/06/luxury-resort-hopping-in-siquijor/
http://wanderingdylan.com/2013/03/06/how-to-get-to-siquijor/
http://wanderingdylan.com/2011/03/28/places-siquijor-part-1/
http://wanderingdylan.com/2011/04/03/siquijor-places-part-2/
http://www.adventurousfeet.com/2013/12/part1-trip-to-siquijor-day-1-sta-monica.html
http://www.adventurousfeet.com/2014/01/part2-trip-to-siquijor-day-2-things-to.html
http://thetravellingdork.com/archive/siquijor-do-it-yourself-itinerary-travel-guide/

Overall Description of Siquijor:
IT’S A MUST VISIT! 🙂

Have you been to Siquijor or planning to go? Let me know on your comments below. Thanks!

Apo Day 4: Playing with Kidapawan River

 

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The beauty of the smoking lake greeted us the next day. It would have been fun to have played with it longer but the schedule won’t allow it. Compared to the previous climbs, Apo’s last day trail was the most rigorous. Left the camp around 7 AM, an eternal descent followed.

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And just because we were in a haste, I would forget to have our team picture taken? NEVER. It’s a MORTAL SIN to do so. 😀
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Yip. We were way, way behind just because of that TEAM PICTURE above. Haha!

 

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Stops along the way…

 

It was a clear day but the guides kept reminding us how erratic the weather these days. We need to hurry or else be stranded in rain. The thought of crossing 6 rivers pressured me to hasten each stride. And each countable stop, I kept on asking how far do we have to go. Downhills were a friend but that time, I thought otherwise.

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From L-R, T-B: A doufie with the boyfie. Boyfie and our guide, Ronnie. With the century tree. Pong and me.
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Some views of the trail. The ladder looks really scary from above but it actually feels safe.

It was a almost a race. The stops were minimal and short. The group was divided into teams again with the guide leading the pack. Before reaching Mainit Spring, one of our companion got cramps. And just when I’m about to say my words of wisdom, I tripped and slipped on the rock. It was painful. I feared that I too would have cramps. It could have been a first if I did.

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Mainit Spring stop. The guide boasted of a hot and sour water and being “me”, I just had to try and decide for myself. It really was hot but not that sour. I actually love the taste, makes me think of “Pocari sweat”. I drank a lot and got reprimanded by the boyfie saying it might not be good for my acidic tummy knowing it’s sulfuric. 😛
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Finally…the RIVER! This is our 3rd crossing I think. Didn’t have the chance to take a picture with the previous since we are on a rush. Luckily this time, they are having a hard time on the bridge. Haha!
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More river pics!

After 7 hours of walking, we finally reached the last river crossing at around 2 PM. We were famished. The others were already eating when we arrived. Since it was the last stop before the ride, we settled matters with our new friends who have been very helpful throughout the entire journey – our guides.

Before the climb, our estimated budget was 450/day/porter but the actual was Php400/day/porter. It was our first climb with porter and we were a bit generous and happy, so every team decided to settle with 500/day/porter. And to make it easier for the boyfie and his friend, we gave Php 700 each for us three to our porter, Ronnie.

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The last river crossing!
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Lunch Time!!!
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Bye Bye Apo! Bye Bye Kidapawan!

And finally it was goodbye, Apo. I was restless on the ride to Davao City. My body was aching but I felt that something was missing. I later realized that the anticipation and excitement of the climb that occupied me since the start of 2014 was making me restless. When it was gone, I felt lost and goal-less. 😛

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From L-R, T-B: The sign before going out of Lake Venado. Century Tree. Mountain View. Almaciga Tree.

And that’s it. Apo has become a history. I kinda feel a bit of inadequacy on this last post. I wanted to write and tell you more but words are not my friend today. 😐 Oh well, next time perhaps.

We don’t have a schedule yet but Dulang2x might be next on the list. Yay! And while waiting for that new adventure, I’ll re-visit and update you with my Pulag and PamTarZam (Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales) travels. Stay with me. 🙂

Apo Series:
Prologue
Apo Day 1: Overnight At Tinikaran Camp
Apo Day 2: Sunrise and Sunset in 2 Different Peaks
Apo Day 3: Lake Venado’s Grandeur
Apo Day 4: Playing with Kidapawan River -> You are here.

Apo Day 3: Lake Venado’s Grandeur

From the start, sunsets and sunrises are not really that appealing. It was maybe because I had other things to marvel about. Everything in the entire journey is already beautiful. What more would I ask for?  And then Pulag. Oh yeah, Pulag again. Who would forget Pulag?! Certainly not me, when most of my outlook on mountaineering were crushed and gone with the wind upon it’s slopes. After this Apo series, I’ll definitely dig into the abyss and relive the biggest adventure that I thought I’d had – Pulag. Now back to Apo.

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Sunrise in Apo’s Davao Peak.

Only 6 of us were able to experience Sunset at Kidapawan peak but Sunrise at Davao peak was different. Although we went in separate batches, only 2 missed the spectacle. Despite the numbing cold of around 8 degrees, we indulged in the beauty that only the top of the mountain has to offer – an unobstructed view of the sun’s majesty. We cam-whored on the lights, the sunrise itself and the daylight. And when every angle and pose were caught, we descended to prepare breakfast. Eating was the only definite activity of the day since on our itinerary, we were supposed to stay on the peak for 2 nights but there were voices of concerns.

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BRB’s 4th Major climb along side Talinis, Canlaon and Pulag in order.

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After breakfast, it was confirmed that the group would no longer stay at the base camp, the last night of the journey will be Lake Venado – estimated to be 4 hours away. The boyfie and I was kinda excited so we finished packing ahead of the others. While waiting we fill our almost battery dead cameras with more stress. It was then that I noticed Kuya Tindero on the sides.

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Break Camp.
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Say hello to Kuya Tindero. Took a picture of him and his goods. I wasn’t very chatty so I just managed to ask him how much the cost of the coke and liquor. Both were Php 200. The price was not a disappointment, just about right knowing how far they’ve come from. 😛

When everyone was done packing, we took our BRB Shirt picture. I was happy we were able to do this. Although I was kinda hoping we’d have the group picture in the peak. Next time I’ll impose. For now, ain’t it grand? Our first picture with the same shirt on a climb. Hooray!!!

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BRB’s first uniformed group picture. 😛

And…it was time to go. I looked up at the peaks again. Smiled, feeling very proud of myself. I did it without a hitch. Thankful, because I have the most supportive and understanding team of all. Excited for the next trail was mostly downhill – my favorite.

 

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Photo Ops stop along the way.
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One of Venado’s Grandeur.

I couldn’t remember how many times I’ve paused, mesmerized by the beauty of the lake a far. Each stride brings me more excitement to gaze upon it’s beauty…no longer in bird’s eye view. It must have been the reason why we reached the lake around 2 hours or less from the estimated. Had I known that a bottle of coke and banana cues were waiting for me when I arrived, it would have been much faster.

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And ohhhh…the sweetest smile of all!!!
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Lake Venado: Setup Camp

And because Lake Venado didn’t disappoint, I hurriedly took my team for a stroll and picture taking.

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Team picture with the grand Apo on the background. And of course…Lake Venado!
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Our last dinner of the journey.

We ended the night eating together with non-canned or pouched goods courtesy of Team Musni. Yay! Camp Venado wasn’t that cold compared to the base camp and to this day, I still wondered why we didn’t play together after dinner. I’m sure it wasn’t because of fatigue. We reached Venado at 2 PM, we’ve been resting the hours after that. Hmmm! I’ll ask them on our next climb. 😀

And as for you…hold on to the last part of the series! I hope to tell a great tale about Kidapawan river. Also, may I ask a favor? Let me know if you want to know more or you’ve been overflowed with too much information alright?!

Apo Series:
Prologue
Apo Day 1: Overnight At Tinikaran Camp
Apo Day 2: Sunrise and Sunset in 2 Different Peaks
Apo Day 3: Lake Venado’s Grandeur -> You are here.
Apo Day 4: Playing with Kidapawan River

Apo Day 2: Sunrise and Sunset in 2 Different Peaks

The beauty of Apo encompasses no other. I realized it on the 2nd day while going through an uphill battle towards a seemingly endless mounds of white rocks popularly known as “The Boulders”. It was just so beautiful, other worldly and simply awesome, makes me think of Essos (Game of Thrones where Dainerys is). Haha! The yellowish patches of sulfur, the smoke on the side and the fog makes it more beautiful but dangerous. The fog sometimes cover the ribbon-ed path, forcing us to stop and wait until it goes away, letting us continue. Hearsays tell of a mountaineer that forced its way despite the fog got lost in the boulders. We were never told to stop but is it not common sense to do so?!

Day 2
0530 Wake up
0630 Breakfast

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A good night’s rest always makes a difference. I woke up inspired and ready to start the day with preparing breakfast only to be stop by the thought that I don’t know how to light the burner. And as if by heaven’s grace, the owner of the burner drops by. Hooray!

0730 Tinikaran Break Camp

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After breakfast, we proceeded breaking up camp ahead of the others. But because we’ve been slow packers, they catch up almost immediately. Around 8 AM, we were ready to conquer the said to be the hardest part of all – The Boulders.

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0800 Trek to boulders

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The path were mostly covered with trees, the ground was still moist with dew thus slippery.

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2 hours after, we reached a dried creek – an entrance to the boulders. The group stop by in awe of the smoking mountain.

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1145 Lunch
We continued our journey until our stomach grumbled. Had lunch at a clearing in the middle of the rocks.

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0100 White Sand
After lunch, the guide assured us that we’re halfway thru. Reaching white sand is our salvation from the boulders.

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The view of white sand was picturesque so the group took the time to cam-whored.

Crater Lake

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0230 Apo Base Setup Camp

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I was still in high spirits upon reaching the camp so I wasted no time, have my team setup our tents and prepared an early dinner. It was super cold but the heat of the sun balances it. After we’re done, we prepared to climb the peak.

0400 Kidapawan Peak for sunset

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We weren’t actually able to see the sun set because of the clouds! Anyhoo, it was still a beauty to behold. We waited until the wind was chilly enough and hurried back to the camp. When we reached the camp, I cooked soup and had an early dinner. After preparing to sleep, the group called to play our favorite game – The Resistance. After 3 rounds or so, we called it a night.

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Here are some of my favorite pics and panoramas of Day 2!

A view from the boulder!
A view from the boulder!
A view from the boulder!
A view from the boulder!
A view from the boulder!
A view from the boulder!
Apo's Crater!
Apo’s Crater!
Campsite!
Campsite!
Campsite!
Campsite!
Boyfie's Signature Jump on The Boulder's entrance! See the smoke on the background?!
Boyfie’s Signature Jump on The Boulder’s entrance! See the smoke on the background?!
Up, up to the top!
Up, up to the top!
Run before the fog catch and hides the ribbon-ed path!
Run before the fog catch and hides the ribbon-ed path!
More uphill battle!
More uphill battle!
The view of the entry to White Sand!
The view of the entry to White Sand!
More rocks!
More rocks!
The crater JUMP!
The crater JUMP!
View from the top of the crater!
View from the top of the crater!
Sunset on Kidapawan Peak!
Sunset on Kidapawan Peak!
A View of the camp from the top!
A View of the camp from the top!

Apo Series:
Prologue
Apo Day 1: Overnight At Tinikaran Camp
Apo Day 2: Sunrise and Sunset in 2 Different Peaks -> You are here.
Apo Day 3: Lake Venado’s Grandeur
Apo Day 4: Playing with Kidapawan River

Apo Day 1: Overnight At Tinikaran Camp

Last year’s Pulag via Akiki really changed my over-all disposition towards every climb. Nothing is easy in the mountains. And despite my preparations, I still feel uneasy and inadequate so when the group brought up porters, despite wanting to own all the glory in conquering mountains, I agreed. But right after our team’s grocery, I realized I may not be load less after all. But compared to Pulag’s 15 kg backpack, carrying just my personal things and water (around 6-8 kg) was certainly a relief. And maybe because I’m in top shape with the regular Zumba, I wasn’t that tired throughout the entire trek. For the first time, I wasn’t spent on the first night in a major climb. Hooray!

Overall, I felt that our group has improved. Even the first timers were noteworthy. We were fast, the walks are long and rest stops were short. Having porters for each team has also help not only in carrying foods but also support. In previous climbs, I am always pressured to be faster to catch up but this time because we have our own guide, I took my time.

I didn’t really like the group separation to teams but it turned out best unto our advantage. The boyfie and I has always been slow with packing so it helps that we could cook and eat earlier to pack first before the other team does. 😀 And because of that team-ing, I have acquired a new confidence in cooking. I could finally say that I have become a true mountaineer. Yahoooo!

And so much for my blahs, I know you’d like to see some action…so here’s my amateurish photos, pardon the blurs in an effort to document the details.  Day 1 trail consists mostly of just trees and grass. The real Apo action begins the next day so stay tuned!!!

APO DAY 1 TIMELINE
0730 Flight to Davao
* Reached Davao
* Hello to our guide, Kuya Charlito
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Group picture before boarding
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Musni recite the plans for the day while waiting for our packs at Davao Airport.
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Our ride to Digos City! Meeting our guide Kuya Charlito.

0900 Breakfast stop at BCJ Kambingan

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Because the boyfie and I were still full, we just content ourselves with the free soup, banana and coke.

1100 Sta. Cruz Registration

 

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Unfortunately Kuya Char wasn’t able to print our forms so we had to redo the whole process again in a rush. After sign up, we paid Php 288 each for the entrance fee.

 

1130 Shell break while waiting for the ride to Kapatagan
* Lunch and bought supplies at Kapatagan market
* Ride to Culan – start of trek, meet porters: Ronnie, Jun2, Axel, Loyd and Edel
* Walk an hour to basketball court where we organize the load for porters

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After the registration, the jeepney drop us at a shell station where we wait for our next ride – an open type “de-karga”.
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It was lunch time when we reached Kapatagan. After lunch, we proceeded to buy lacking supplies like rice, water and vegetables.
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And off we go to the jump off where we meet our porters.
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Then the walking begun!
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We settled in here for a while to organize the loads for each porters.

0230 And the journey begins…

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Photo ops along the way…
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Catching our breath stops before an uphill trek!
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And it was night time! The boyfie and I’s first night trek!

0700 Reach the first night camp: Tinikaran

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Unlike other teams whose tent were setup when they arrived, our team postponed rest for setup.
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The owls who chilled some time under our common tarp before retiring for the night.
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Playing with the lights! #OOTN

Apo Series:
Prologue
Apo Day 1: Overnight At Tinikaran Camp -> You are here.
Apo Day 2: Sunrise and Sunset in 2 Different Peaks
Apo Day 3: Lake Venado’s Grandeur
Apo Day 4: Playing with Kidapawan River