Echoed Murmurs from Wanderlust

Mount Manalmon: One day Affair
Sitio Madlum San Miguel, Bulacan, February 6, 2011 

The trek to Mt. Manalmon is not that gruesome. Nevertheless, the view on top is one of the most breathtaking I've seen, comparable to the postcard view of other mountains in Cordillera. The surge of fresh air is welcoming and the serenity of the place is one to be envied. Honestly, I wasn't expecting that kind of beauty that awaited me there. The place is so underrated, and certainly it deserves a distinction for something...
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The Epic Waves, Fabled Town
Baler, Aurora

Although I have had my first near death experience amidst the whopping waves and treacherous depths of this fabled town, Baler would always melt my heart with memories.
Ermita Hill. Sabang Beach. Bay's Inn. Hanging Bridge. Museo De Baler. Quezon Memorial Plaza. Bahia De Baler...

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Sojourn in the Rain
Calatagan Batangas, August 29, 2011

Many people visit Calatagan for its beaches (although majority of it are exclusive for stockholders), but aside from this reason, the place also played a historical role as an active trading port even before the Spanish conquest. There were several artefacts and relics (like ancient jars) excavated in some grave sites during the historical Calatagan Excavation in 1950s.


Northern Delights
Sagada, Mountain Province, April 14, 2011

Though the ravines are covered with lush and towering pine trees, one could not mistake its perilous depth. One wrong move and the bus would tumult down its precarious abyss. Not only once or twice have I thought that we would make it to the headlines the next day: Another car road accident in Benguet.


The Rustic Charm
Sagada, Mt. Province, April 16, 2011

Minutes past 4:30 am, I opened my eyes but my body seemed frozen... paralyzed to numbness. I was awoken by the subtle sounds of my roommates struggling to rouse from bed. Suddenly I remembered what we went through yesterday and I shut my eyes with the memory... Spelunking is not my brand of coffee after all.
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Wild Flowers of the North
Marlboro Mountain, Sagada, Mt. Province, 
April 2011
Up in the Northern Philippines lies a small rustic town called Sagada. Since one would have to endure almost 12 hours of land trip, amidst deep ravinesand narrow winding road, just to get here, this place have been secluded for years. Time seemed to have frozen in this small rustic town showered with colorful traditions (e.g. mummified cave burials) and spectacular natural wonders.

Mt. Isarog: Survival Trail
Patag-Patag Trail, Camarines Sur, April 8-9, 2008
I probably would not forget my experiences with Mt. Isarog, not in another lifetime or so. Amidst its formidable height, crawling vegetation, vertical slopes, and battalion of blood sucking leeches, I found myself humbled by its sheer beauty and innocence…
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Reawakening in a Sleepy town
Liliw, Laguna, October 16, 2011

Liliw is famed as the region’s footwear capital. From the sprawling shoe shops and tiangge, you’d probably find here the cheapest bargained footwear in the country. Nestled in the rural countryside of Laguna, Liliw is one side trip you shouldn’t miss.

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Nagsasa Cove: Time in a Bottle
Zambales, November 6-7, 2010 
I was not surprised to see pine-like trees (Agoho trees) amassing in the beach. I have extensively read about them and that’s the very reason why the place is quite unique.The greyish white volcanic sand that paints the shorelines and the dramatic mountains of prairies, all but add to the thespian atmosphere. You’d imagine yourself lost in an exotic island somewhere way above the equator.The seclusion also gave me comfort.
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Calaguas: The Road Ahead
Halabang Baybay, Vinzons, Camarines Norte, January 29, 2011

Calaguas will always melt my heart with memories: Turquoise water, Mad waves, Powdery grains of sand, Rugged rocks... And like every story and every trip, everything starts from something.With Calaguas, it started with that longing to find ourselves in some exotic paradise that most people would only dream about.


Calaguas: Battling the Waves
Vinzons, Camarines Norte, 
January 29, 2011

One never really realized how big the waves are until they are literally at the mercy of capsizing. I gripped my life-vest as wave after wave hammered our boat. Humungous waves, the likes I’ve never seen before. It rained hard that day. The horizon eventually vanished. Thick fog soon blocked the little rays of sun left laminating our path. I realized if one doesn’t die of drowning here, one surely would of heart attack. 


The Night that Breaks The Dawn
Pagbilao, Quezon, May 22-23, 2011

A journey to the mountain and sea done in tribute to [a lost and terribly missed] friend…

I gazed at the other tent from afar. Should I feel at ease now? I looked at our flimsy tent cover and a hundred images flashed my mind. But nothing beats a tired body. Slowly, I laid my exhausted body to the hard cold ground. Heavy rains continued pouring. I did not know when I finally succumbed to sleep.


Morning Interlude
Kwebang Lampas, Pagbilao, Quezon, May 22-23, 2011
A journey to the mountain and sea done in tribute to a [lost and terribly missed] friend…
I looked beside me and saw Angel still sleeping. Perhaps, her last night’s migraine was so intense. I went out of our little abode, the small tent that shelterd us from the heavy rain last night... Somehow, the gentle hues of morning seascape erased my last night’s fears.


Reawakening in a Sleepy Town
Brgy. Tibatib Cavinti, Laguna, October 16, 2011 
The eco-park nestled in the mountainous area of Laguna, started its construction in 2005 and after 2 years was opened to the public. Still, most people do not know of the place or that it's the cheaper route to Pagsanjan Falls...Yes, the falls which most Sibika Books in our elementary years were raving about...


Sweet Summer Sailing
Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon, March 24-25, 2012

Last year when my friends went to Cagbalete Island in Quezon, I was all broke. And since no one was actually willing to "libre" me (hahahah) I have to contend staying at home and wait while my friends upload their pictures... Miserably, I realized the opportunity I've missed.


The Road Ahead
Dasol, Pangasinan, November 7, 2011

Speaking of Tambobong, the road (or the lack of it) going there is literally a pain-in-the-as. Pain in the ass especially if you’re seated at the back of the tricycle where the metal railings are banging every part of your body…

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Moments in the Sun
Tambobong Beach Dasol, Pangasinan, November 7, 2011

It’s been almost a year since I first laid eyes to the rugged town of Dasol, Pangasinan… How can I forget? Undoubtedly, up to now, it’s still one of the best weekend rendezvous I’ve had. Fresh air... quiet beach side… friendly locals… unspoiled delights…

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Unfolding Wonders
Tambobong Beach Dasol, Pangasinan, November 7, 2011

The moment I gazed upon our new-found (secluded) paradise, again I was thinking of the movie Blue Lagoon. Imagine yourself in an island where furious waves and rugged rocks meet, under the blue sky and creamy sand. The scenery made me remember a certain scene in that 1980’s movie about two children shipwrecked in an unknown Pacific island paradise.


Backpacking Days
Northern Philippines, April 5-9, 2012

Volcanic rocks. centuries-old lighthouses. windmills. secret coves. capes and seascapes...Oh my! My wild mornings and breathtaking sunsets will never be the same again... Backpacking North is definitely worth everything.


The Art of Capturing Moments
I've made this pitch for the OnAssignment 2012 Challengesponsored by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Lonely Planet Philippines. Although I did not make it as one of the finalists, I kind of treasured the fact that I've mustered enough courage to even join the contest.


The Road to the Playground of Gods
Mt. Pulag,  Kabayan, Benguet, Feb 24-26, 2012
In the heart of imposing Cordilleras, lies a playground fit for the gods. Defined by its distinctive slopes, dwarf bamboos and sea of clouds, Mt. Pulag in Kabayan, Benguet, dubbed as the country’s third highest peak, stands proud and enigmatic at 2,922 MASL, welcoming trekkers with picture-framed panoramas and one-of-kind mountain experience.


Topload Ride to the Playground of Gods
Mt. Pulag, Kabayan, Benguet, Feb 24-26, 2012

It was my first time to experience top-load riding. If not for my friends, I wouldn’t even have the guts to try it. They say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Whoever said it must have experienced life to the fullest. I couldn’t even begin to describe the fear, thrill, joy, agitation… that rocked my whole body the second the jeep started its upward roll in the zigzagged road. Whatever it was that I felt died in the ear-splitting screams of fear and delight amongst us.

A Postcard - Perfect SideTrip
Ambuklao Dam, Bokod, Benguet, February 2012
Our time here was short since Ambuklao Dam was just a side-trip to our Mt. Pulag trek. But even at such a brief encounter, I still consider this place a must-visit side-trip to the playgrounds of the gods. A good spice to a knock-out adventure. Reluctantly after thirty minutes, we started hitting the uphill road... finally to jump-off of Mt. Pulag.

A Class Exercise on Awareness
Mt. Pulag, Kabayan, Benguet, February 2012

But on one hand, Mt. Pulag isn’t the highest mountain in Luzon for nothing. Its beauty has sugar-coated the dangers lurking beneath its sea of clouds. Like any mountain, Mt. Pulag is a force to be reckoned with, not to be taken lightly yet not to be ignored completely. Such contradictions, ahahaha!


Sailing Away For Now
Romblon, March 27-31, 2013

Arriving late afternoon in the vibrant port of Batangas, I was not surprise to see the crowd of vacationers lining the ticket booths. The sight is almost comforting, reminding me of an old friend I see the same time every year. With great sigh, we entered the holding area and squeezed ourselves past the throng of people.

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