Fringe MLA: Spoken Word

To put it simply, “Fringe Manila” is a festival that celebrates culture and the arts. Its aim is “to showcase fresh, daring, and groundbreaking material highlighting the unique point of view of emerging and established artists from the Philippines and internationally, across all genres including, but not limited to, theater, poetry, music, dance and the visual arts” (source). It is also the first time this festival is happening in the country although it was incorporated with the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 10, 2013. “Spoken word,” on the other hand, is poetry that is intended to be performed in front … Continue reading Fringe MLA: Spoken Word

Sagada 2.0

For my 25th birthday, I decided to head back to one of the few places I totally fell in love with. I first visited Sagada in 2012, and I have wanted to visit it again since then. Thankfully, I was finally able to do so partly due to the Pope’s 5-day visit in the Philippines which was declared a special holiday – a very long weekend! It was on Thursday night (January 15) when we headed out to Sagada via Banaue to hopefully catch a glimpse of its famed rice terraces (once featured in the Philippine 1,000 peso bill). Unfortunately, when we … Continue reading Sagada 2.0

Achievement (yet to be) Unlocked: Trail Running

I have not written anything since my account of my most recent major hike, The Talomo-Apo Megatraverse. Since then, I have scaled two more mountains: Mt. Palay-Palay in Cavite and Mt. Balagbag in Rizal. Both were minor hikes and both were mountains I have been to before. So, upon returning, I made sure to add a little more fun. Simply put, I ran. Although I cannot yet call myself a trail runner, it is not a new concept to me. I sometimes run when I am on a hike and I am not carrying much. This is especially true when tackling … Continue reading Achievement (yet to be) Unlocked: Trail Running

The Talomo-Apo Megatraverse

“Megatraverse.” When you put it that way it sounds like this grand endeavor only those in the ranks of great kings and fearless warriors would ever accomplish. It is not. But is is a worthy adventure, nonetheless. The Talomo-Apo traverse – or “megatraverse,” as some would call it – takes hikers brave enough to take on its trails across two great mountains in the south: Mt. Talomo, which stands at a great height of 2,674 MASL (meters above sea level), and Mt. Apo, chief among all Philippines mountains at 2,954 MASL. I, being both brave and a wee bit crazy, took the challenge. … Continue reading The Talomo-Apo Megatraverse

There and Back Again

Just this February, I was able to hike up Mt. Apo, the Philippines’ tallest mountain. It was an unforgettable experience and one of the best I’ve had in relation to mountaineering. (You can read about the hike here.) For a month, I’ve been tuning up myself for yet another go at climbing Mt. Apo. This time, it is going to be a whole lot tougher – I will be doing a Talomo-Apo traverse. This particular hike is often dubbed a “megatraverse” and I am about to find out why. … I just realized that this is my first post in … Continue reading There and Back Again

People ask, I “answer”

In this post, I will try to answer some “queries” that land people on my blog. These queries are search terms people type in good old Google or other web search engines which direct them to my blog. Most of the search terms are related to Philippine mountains – why am I not surprised? Mostly, these terms are highly sensible ones. Some are funny while a few are hilarious. A few terms, however, are absurd – they don’t make sense at all. This is why I was convinced I should write this post. Here are some “queries” and my “answers.” … Continue reading People ask, I “answer”

Greatest Hits… So Far (Part 2)

I had to get me some sleep so I wasn’t able to finish my list in one post. 😛 Let’s spring into action, shall we? Here are my five favorite hikes so far:   5. Mt. Ugo Traverse Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet LLA: 16.31916°N, 120.80166°E, 2130 MASL Days required / hours to summit: 2-3 days, 9-10 hrs Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 5/9, Trail Class 1-3 I did a traverse hike of Mt. Ugo on one good foot. Yes. One good foot. I had a sprain a good 4 kilometers away from the summit. That last stretch of the hike going … Continue reading Greatest Hits… So Far (Part 2)

Greatest Hits… So Far

We are already halfway through 2014. I started writing this post in January. It was supposed to list ten of my favorite hikes from the previous year. A lot of things happened since then and sadly, I never got to really finish my post. The Daily Post’s writing challenge this week asks us to “shake the dust off something” and this post (its draft) that I have ignored for so long immediately popped into my head. And since I’ve already hiked several times this year, I’m now making this a list of ten of my favorite hikes so far – … Continue reading Greatest Hits… So Far

Three months traveling the Philippines – Budget, Costs and Tips.

Originally posted on ESCapology:
Recently people have been asking me about the costs of my three months journey across the Philippines. A little poll on my Facebook Page also showed that there seems to be quite an interest in this topic. And because I never went much into detail in terms of budget and numbers, I would like to give you all a rough overview about what I spent and how I calculated beforehand. First of all it needs to be mentioned that this is very personal and might change a lot depending on how you like to travel individually and what… Continue reading Three months traveling the Philippines – Budget, Costs and Tips.

“Thank you!”

It’s the 1st of July and my blog’s 3 months now! And to commemorate three months of blogging, I am taking a look back on 3 of my favorite posts. First, there’s FAQ, in which I try to answer the perpetual question every mountaineer must have been asked at one point: “Why climb mountains?” Next is a post dedicated to Gabo: What Gabriel Marcia Marquez Taught Me. Here, I discuss some of the author’s well-loved works and what I learned from each. Finally, 30 before 30, which is a work in progress. It is a list of 30 things I wish to … Continue reading “Thank you!”

Our Hunter-Gatherer Training in Pictures

Last June 21-22, we had a 24-hour hunter-gatherer training in JEST (Jungle Environment Survival Training) Camp. Some trekking “between” trees was involved. We drank water from inside vines and bamboo; we also cooked inside bamboos. We made stuff out of bamboo, this was delicate work – as delicate as this feather from a peacock and these mushrooms. White smoke rising up. White rice – yum! These white mushrooms are not edible, tho. Finally, our shining moment. And what we got: a certificate and a shiny JEST Camp survivors’ pin. 😉     In response to the following photo challenges: The … Continue reading Our Hunter-Gatherer Training in Pictures

In Retrospect: Banaue, Sagada, and Baguio

Sagada should be in every traveler’s bucket list. It is a mountain town worthy of anyone’s time. The beauty of nature that surrounds it; its people, culture, and food; and all that it has to offer to adventurers and tourists alike are all reasons to take that long trip to the Cordilleras and experience Sagada. This is a retrospective look at our Sagada trip in the sumer of 2012. We took the Banaue-Sagada route so that we can also see the famed rice terraces of Banaue. The rice terraces are amazing. It’s beautiful to look at and it’s very refreshing … Continue reading In Retrospect: Banaue, Sagada, and Baguio

Ballin’ Baller

There’s always room for more adventure! Two fun-filled days, that’s what we got from our recent Baler trip. We hiked up a mountain, we bathed in a river, we camped beside a pool, we got drunk, we surfed, we rappelled down a waterfall, and we went inside a 600-year-old tree. Not convinced yet? Maybe some pictures will do the trick. 😉 Mt. Udok *** Surfing at Sabang Beach *** Rappelling at Diguisit Falls *** The 600-year-old Balete Tree *** Baler is a second-class municipality in the province of Aurora, Philippines. It is the provincial capital of Aurora. It is located … Continue reading Ballin’ Baller

Taking on the Trails and Riding the Rapids

I’ve been away from my blog for almost a week now. Let me fill you in on what’s been going on… I was down south for 5 straight days. We were supposed to climb the second and fourth highest mountains in the Philippines: Mt. Dulang-Dulang and Mt. Kitanglad. However, on the night of our flight, we were told that any attempt to climb Mt. Dulang-Dulang would not push through because there was an ongoing tribal war in the area. Yes. A tribal war. Imagine my dismay when I found out about the news. So, what we did was climb Mt. Kitanglad. We did … Continue reading Taking on the Trails and Riding the Rapids

Surviving Mt. Pulag’s Akiki Trail

  This was originally posted a few months back as a note on my Facebook account. Back then, I still wasn’t convinced I could start and maintain a blog. I’m putting this here because it is where it should be. Here is a link to my original post. Twenty One The Akiki trail is definitely one of the best trails I’ve seen in my 10 months of mountaineering. (I can’t believe it’s only been ten months!) It boasts of beautiful pine and mossy forests, vast grasslands, sufficient water sources, and good campsites. There is even the Eddet river which is really, really beautiful. There are tons … Continue reading Surviving Mt. Pulag’s Akiki Trail

Another Dream Come True

I am in the airport waiting to board a plane that would take me to Cagayan de Oro. Once there, we would climb Mts. Dulang-Dulang and Kitanglad. Mt. Dulang-Dulang, at 9,649 feet, is the Philippines’ second tallest mountain, while Mt. Kitanglad’s height of 9,511 feet puts it at 4th place. These two mountains are part of the Kitanglad Mountain Range that crowns the province of Bukidnon in the island of Mindanao. n 2009, Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park was declared as an ASEAN Heritage Park. I am really excited! Especially because of this: “Mt. Dulang-Dulang, chief among the high mountains (of) the Kitanglad mountain range, possesses a … Continue reading Another Dream Come True

Mission Accomplished!

Two lists serve as the main reason why I started this blog. The first one is a list of thirty things I wish to do or accomplish before I turn thirty. The other, which is actually a sub-list of the first, lists ten of my goals as a starting mountaineer. Though I am far from completing either list, I have already crossed of some items. These are some things that I have already accomplished: I went river rafting. I saw penguins up close. I took my mother on a hike. I climbed the Philippines’ tallest mountain. I do hope to … Continue reading Mission Accomplished!

Surviving Mt. Makiling or My First Failed Summit Attempt (not!)

Here’s something I wrote back when I first climbed Mt. Makiling:   I may not have reached the summit, but I survived the mountain. 😉 No, I was not able to reach Mt. Makiling’s summit. But I can’t say that I did not survive it. We were very close to summiting (we were near the 29th station and the UPLB trail only has 30 stations) when it started getting very cloudy. Another thing is that we were the last group there at the top since we started very late and all the groups who climbed ahead of us had already … Continue reading Surviving Mt. Makiling or My First Failed Summit Attempt (not!)

X-Men: Days of Future Past Movie Review

“We need you to hope again.” That’s what the older Charles Xavier said in one of the trailers and that’s exactly what I did. I had high hopes for X-Men: Days of Future Past partly because the director of the first two X-films, Bryan Singer, was back at the helm of direction, and because I am such a big X-Men fan. I have been an X-Men fan since I was a little boy. Reading comic books or watching cartoon series, I have always been fascinated with the homo sapiens superior. Just yesterday, I watched the latest installment to the X-Men film franchise … Continue reading X-Men: Days of Future Past Movie Review

Share Your World

The lovely Cee Neuner of Cee’s Photography has had this thing going on for quite some time now but this is my first time to actually write something about it. Here goes…   If you could go back and visit any time period, what time would you travel to and why? → It would be amazing to be able to see dinosaurs! If you could have three wishes granted for you alone, what would they be?  This is a time for you to dream and have fun.  → First, I’d like to have my own successful business so that I can have … Continue reading Share Your World

In Retrospect: My Non-Meeting with Mitch Albom

I love reading books. I especially love reading books by my favorite authors. Mitch Albom is one of them. That is why when I first found out he was coming to the Philippines to have a book signing event, I knew I couldn’t miss it. Last February 22, I skipped a chance to climb another mountain just to have at least one book signed by Mitch Albom. Two things about me: I love books and I love the mountains. So trust me when I say it was a difficult choice. It’s not everyday that you get a chance to meet … Continue reading In Retrospect: My Non-Meeting with Mitch Albom

Mt. Ugo Traverse (National Mountain Cleanup Day)

All this happened, more or less. And so it goes… Ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones. Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. And so on to infinity…   The text/quotes used in this post are all from Kurt Vonnegut’s novel “Slaughterhouse-Five.” For more photos: Mt. Ugo Traverse + Cleanup Photos For the video documentary of the hike: Mt. Ugo National Mountain Cleanup Day Continue reading Mt. Ugo Traverse (National Mountain Cleanup Day)

The Day My Mother Climbed a Mountain

After climbing my first mountain, I promised myself two things: that I will continue to hike for as long as I can and that I will take as many people as I can outdoors. Of course, I want to be able to share the experience with my closest friends. More importantly, I want to be able to take my family hiking; most especially, my mother. For my 2013 year-end climb, I decided I would take my mom with me. I chose a climb that would not require too much physical strain because I didn’t want to exhaust her. Also, I wanted … Continue reading The Day My Mother Climbed a Mountain

In Retrospect: Being a First-time Mountaineer

It was February last year when I had my first taste of mountaineering. Before then, climbing a mountain was only something I had always wanted to do but not actually try, let alone carry out. Let’s just say that there are a lot of things that should have kept me from climbing mountains. (There are doctors for example. :P) However, when I found out that most of my friends from work were joining a climb, I really wanted in. (Not one to be left behind, ain’t I?) I trained for days to get ready for my first attempt at mountain climbing. It … Continue reading In Retrospect: Being a First-time Mountaineer

At Last, an Adventure!

“I’m a person of the mountains and the open paddocks and the big empty sky, that’s me, and I knew if I spent too long away from all that I’d die; I don’t know what of, I just knew I’d die.” ― John Marsden, A Killing Frost   Finally, after a 9-week hiatus from hiking, I’ll be back on the trails. I am so thrilled! Tonight, we head on to Nueva Vizcaya and tomorrow, we climb Mt. Ugo! This is, of course, in participation with the first annual National Mountain Cleanup Day. Continue reading At Last, an Adventure!

Those who can, do…

I studied and trained to be a teacher. There is something about teaching that is so noble and so fulfilling. When I first walked into a classroom filled with young minds teeming with potential, I was scared. I was to teach four different classes for our practicum – our last year in college. For one whole year, I would be their teacher. Was I up for this challenge? Was I a good enough teacher or would I just let these students down? Will they really learn something from me? What if I fail? These questions scared me. Sure, I already had … Continue reading Those who can, do…

It’s not about adrenaline

Originally posted on In Pursuit of Exploration:
Matthes Crest I started by climbing trees. Then I got into climbing rocks. There were buildings and towers too. At some point falling out of planes came into the mix, but it was kind of expensive and dug into my climbing time, so I stopped. Between all of the climbing I managed to do a bit of work. There was Bolivia, where I lived with awesome people, dodged the occasional tear gas canister, and tried to avoid the miners with dynamite and the Germans with coke. Then there was the embassy in Europe… Continue reading It’s not about adrenaline


What is the one word or phrase that immediately cheers you up when you hear it? “Buti na lang may climb bukas!” In English, it translates to “it’s a good thing there’s going to be a climb tomorrow.” This is my perfect pick-me-up. Every commune with the mountains is an experience that makes my heart sing and makes me feel most alive. I look forward to hikes that are weeks away. I get more and more excited as the date of a hike gets closer and closer. Whenever I get really stressed, nothing can get me going like the thought of … Continue reading Pick-me-up

What This Young Student Wrote Is Shocking

The task: To write a 5-paragraph essay answering the question, “If you were a singer, what kind of song would you like to sing?” One student’s response:   I want sing a song of destruction, pain, and despair. Because, I don´t want this world. I can´t like this world what god gave to us. Adult always despise children. Most of children don’t like adult, because adult look down us. Always order, order, order! Next, present world is corrupt. Corrupt goverment always amass their money. And fallen juvenile delinquents smoking, drinking liquor, and always fighting with each other. Newses brocasting a bad tidings. And … Continue reading What This Young Student Wrote Is Shocking

In Sixes

A six-word story? A story? In six words? Let’s see… Eyes met. Lips touched. Time froze.   Was that good enough? Let me give it another try…  Holding hands, they faced the world.   This is quite fun. Third one…  Their love, like time, was fleeting.   I’m just getting in the mood. Here’s another one…   She wanted out. He wanted answers.   And another…  She said she loved him. Loved.   So? Yes? No? Okay, this is the last one:  Sadness consumed their last moments together.   I intended for each six-word story to be vague little stories on their … Continue reading In Sixes

The First Annual National Mountain Cleanup Day

On May 10 this year, a common drive will unite mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts all over the Philippines – a drive to clean up the country’s many mountains. Of course, regular cleanup climbs are organized throughout the year. However, starting this year and through the efforts of Mr. Gideon Lasco (of fame) and other like-minded hikers,  the 10th of May will now be dedicated not only to the upkeep of Philippine mountains, but also to promoting the preservation and protection of our forests, camping grounds, and trails. The event, a nationwide activity, will not be spearheaded by Mr. Lasco. He is the primal proponent … Continue reading The First Annual National Mountain Cleanup Day


  On the summit of Mt. Apo, the Philippines’ highest peak “Why do you climb mountains?” I guess it is an age-old question and one that I am often asked as well. People (non-hikers, mostly) almost always seem fascinated by the fact that there are those like me who go to great lengths just to reach a mountaintop. And although I do not need to justify to anyone the choices that I make, the number of times I have been asked this question convinces me that I should at least try to answer it. I could think of a number of reasons why I … Continue reading FAQ

A Journey to the Top

A journey to the top of the world Philippines… At 9,692 feet, Mt. Apo stands tall above all other Philippine mountains. Along with 11 other hikers, I climbed Mt. Apo last February 11-13. It was a Valentine event of sorts and the mountain was my date. It was glorious. Our Mt. Apo climb… The team: Different landmarks of Mt. Apo: The descent to Lake Venado: The summit: The descent: Related:  Mt. Apo Photo Gallery Of Mountains and Goals Continue reading A Journey to the Top

Taking the Monster Jeep to Mt. Pulag

Going to Mt. Pulag, the highest mountain in Luzon and the third highest in the Philippines, often requires travelers to take what has become known to mountaineers as the “monster jeepney.” These monsters of a vehicle go around the Cordillera region and are aptly named for their engines and tires that can withstand long hours of rough and mostly uphill roads. Having climbed several mountains in the Cordillera, including the aforementioned Mt. Pulag, I have had several experiences riding  a monster jeep. Being inside one, while the vehicle is being maneuvered through the roughest of cliffside roads, is exhilarating but also very difficult. … Continue reading Taking the Monster Jeep to Mt. Pulag

What Gabriel García Márquez Taught Me

I have to admit, I am no expert when it comes to the late Colombian writer and Nobel laureate. I know that many people, especially his loyal readers, affectionately called him “Gabo” as I did. I know that he was a celebrated author with more than a dozen of books published. I also know that his books were able to touch lives and will continue to do so. Gabriel García Márquez, the famous novelist, died of pneumonia just a few days ago. And while he may be gone, his works remain. I have read only three of his books; (a quick search … Continue reading What Gabriel García Márquez Taught Me

Third Eye (A Repost)

Allow me to post here on my blog one of my favorite articles from the now defunct Peyups.Com. The article is written in Filipino, so to those who are non-Filipino speakers, please bear with me. And for those who understand Filipino, enjoy! Third Eye   Sigurado raw na mararamdaman mo kapag may multong malapit sa iyo. Tatayo ang balahibo sa batok mo… Biglang lalamig ang paligid… Iikot ang tiyan mo… Para kang biglang may kasama. May mararamdaman ka sa paligid mo kahit alam mong ikaw lang mag-isa. Bata pa lang ako, matatakutin na ako. Takot ako sa dilim, humihina ako … Continue reading Third Eye (A Repost)

Another Fifty

Here’s another try at a fifty:   Scared and sweating, she felt her way around the dark room. Something was there with her.            She could hear it breathing; she could tell it was not human. Something grabbed her.            Something rough and scaly and wet. She screamed. She opened her eyes. She was only dreaming.             Or was she?   My first fifty: Forgotten The challenge: Writing Challenge – Fifty The host: Vincent Mars Have fun writing! 🙂 Continue reading Another Fifty

In Which the Blog is Nominated for an Award

So the blog has been nominated for a Liebster award. Twice. Shock. Gratefulness. Happiness. Bedazzlement. Bafflement. Rinse and repeat. WHAT EXACTLY IS A LIEBSTER AWARD? Two very sweet ladies, Daria of Contented Imperfection and Karen of Single Woman Travels, nominated my blog for a Liebster Award. (Thanks, you guys!) I am so happy about this. Although I have to be honest, I had no idea what that meant. So, I did some research. The Liebster Award, though I cannot say when, where, or how it started, is given to up and coming bloggers with a relatively small number of followers (yep, sounds like me). It … Continue reading In Which the Blog is Nominated for an Award

Writing Challenge – Fifty

Another blogging challenge! I’m really loving how The Daily Post keeps giving us challenges that are sure to inspire creativity and imagination. This time, I am writing a “fifty.” (My first!) This is my take on a new writing challenge hosted by blogger and awesome storyteller Vincent Mars of Boy with a Hat. His blog is wickedly cool (so is he, I think). To prove my point, you should really check out some of his best works by downloading his free e-book here. I’ve read only 12 of his fifties so far and after I finish this post, I’m going back to reading … Continue reading Writing Challenge – Fifty

Davao Wild Water Adventure

In 2011, some friends and I traveled  around Davao City. On our third day there, we took on the challenge of white water rafting. It was a blast! There were a lot of rapids that made the ride more thrilling and more fun. Also, it was so fun when our boat capsized. I wish we could have flipped over more! White water rafting is something I would definitely love to try again. It’s a one of a kind adventure that leaves you breathless and asking for more. River rafting is actually on my 30 by 30 list, my bucket list of sorts. 🙂 … Continue reading Davao Wild Water Adventure