Mystical Kabayan Trek ~ 9 |19-20|2015

I’m a fan of all the hikes of Ate Ibang and Ate Ruby – they are my Indochina buddies  who loves to hike beautiful mountains here and abroad. I always check their albums and so amazed on all their photos. While browsing, I saw an event hosted by Yabag Mountaineering group (liked by Ate Ibang) and  decided to join. I always wanted to do the Mystical Kabayan Tour based from the photos I saw from my Ate’s. I also like the itinerary posted but Yabag is known as a group not following their itinerary. Is that a good or bad thing? Well, I need to join to find out.

So I invited my travel sissy “Bim” and my colleague Lee. But when the event is near, Lee cancelled so it’s me and Bim who went to this trek. Tour fee is Php 3500 which includes transportation (Bus Manila to Baguio 2 way and 2 days rented Monster Jeepney – Baguio to Kabayan), Entrance Fees & Environmental Fees, Guides for the Lake tour and hike and 2 camp meals (Dinner and breakfast).  You can even rent tent from them just like what we did (paid Php 750 for 3 person tent). And since I’m from Baguio, the tour fee that I paid is less the Manila Baguio transportation which is Php 2600. I just wait and meet them at Victory Liner Terminal PNR Baguio.

We met new faces on this trek, Migs – owner of Yabag Mountaineering group, Cris – loves to do solo travel (we plan to do a trip together soon), Ate Lulu – trekker who will be hiking Mt Everest with Ate Ibang, and Jonalyn – a broken hearted soul who wants to mend her heart thru hiking…plus a lot more.

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The beautiful Lake Tabeyo

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” the Gang”

Before starting the trek, we ate breakfast at Good Taste. But since Bim and I are so “pasaway”, we went to Jollibee, eat breakfast and bought pack lunch.

The original itinerary says that we will be hiking Mt Timbac  (3rd highest in Luzon, 9th in the Philippines) but due to the recent typhoon Ineng which caused lots of landslides, the area is closed.

We visit Kabayan National Museum where we see a fire mummy. It’s so amazing how they do the mummification process.

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at Kabayan Museum

The mummification began shortly after a person died where he would digest a very salty drink. After his death, his corpse was washed and set over a fire in a seated position, thus drying the fluids. Smoke from tobacco was blown into the mouth  to dry the body’s inside and internal organs.  Eventually, herbs were rubbed into the body. Mummified bodies are then placed in a coffin made of pinewood and laid to rest in rock shelters, natural caves or man made burial niches. The practice of that mummification ended when Spaniards colonized the Philippines in the 16th century.

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Kabayan Fire Mummy

Then we proceed to Tinonchial Burial Cave where see more fire mummies.

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off to Tinochol Burial Cave

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more fire mummies

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amazing Fire Mummies Burial Caves

We arrived at Lake Tabeyo at around 12 noon where we had our lunch. We just let the  Yabag boys to  set up the camps & tents. They are really organized and very fast in setting up the camps. We had few hours to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The weather is not too hot or too cold. This is a fun base camp since we have toilets and stores where we can buy coke. Yes, Bim and I are addicted to coke. I think we were able to drink two 1.5L coke for this tour.

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nice set up Sir Migs

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the great Mt. Tabayoc

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our home for two days

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kids playing…they have the coziest playground

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lovin’ the view

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beautiful Lake Tabeyo

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off to our trek

We arrived  early since Mt Timbac is closed, it was agreed that we  will start the hike to the three (3) lakes. We were accompanied by our lady guides since the Yabag boys will stay and prepare our dinner. We just bring our trail food (snacks), waterproof jacket, hats and cameras. It’s a monkey trail so I need to bring light items only. We were also reminded to minimize noise while we explore the lakes. I guess they know how noisy I am. My friends in Baguio also told me to always call my name – “Uwi na Roan” since the place is enchanted. This is for me to avoid from getting lost.

We rode the monster jeep and bring us to the foot of Lake Ambulalacao. It was really nice to know the folklores behind the three lakes. According to our guide, some fishermen saw shooting stars going up and down from this lake so it was named Lake Ambulalacao. Sadly, we are not able to see the whole beauty of this lake since it was covered by fog.

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yes, we’re here

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Foggy Lake Ambulalacao

Before reaching the next lake, you will see a lot of beautiful picturesque view.

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monkey trails

Next stop is Lake Letep Ngepos. The trail is muddy, you need to follow the guide’s trail since you might fall on the quicksand. It was believed that there was a young man who dive into it’s waters while holding a lit torch looking for treasures and the torch  didn’t die as he dived.

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Lake Letep Ngepos

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Lake Letep Ngepos

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The last lake is Lake Incolos where I didn’t see any body of water. Our guide explained that we are actually on top of the lake. This explains why it felt like I’m sinking and my shoes are wet. We are also not allowed to do the jumpshot hehe!  Our guide told us that a crocodile lived on this lake but was killed by a fisherman. The lake was covered by the crocodiles blood turning this lake like this now — covered with grasses and thin layer of land. After hearing her story, I’m imagining  that a giant crocodile will appear and will try to eat us… alhough it will not succeed since we are the fastest sweepers haha!

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Lake Incolos

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We continued our trek to Junior Pulag.  No wonder it’s the junior Mt Pulag since it has the same grassy terrain and peak. We stayed for a few minutes to take some rest, share stories and laughs before we head back to campsite.

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Dinner time. Time to drink some booze and learn more things about our new found friends.

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ready to eat and sleep

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Woke up early to see the beautiful view of Lake Tabeyo.

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mornings like this…yes, please

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Our guide teach us also on how to do carrot picking and proper way of cleaning carrots. Jonalyn and Bim have carrots for pasalubong already.

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carrot picking

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time to go home

Side trip to Opdas Cave where we see hundreds of skulls and bones. May they all rest in peace.

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Wash up at a swimming pool. Sorry but I don’t know the name. Most of them took a swim while the three of us – Bim, Jonalyn and I sing our hearts out at the videoke. They all looked fresh after the swim while we look so sweaty..yikes! Don’t worry, I let Bim and Jonalyn  shower at my apartment. We did a quick tour at Oh My Gulay and had dinner at 50’s Diner. Met the Ulupong Mountaineers at Victory Liner while waiting for their bus ride to Manila. Happy to see Ate Ruby again 🙂

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Day 2: Negros Oriental Eco Tour

My second day eco tour leads me to Sibulan, Negros Oriental to see the famous Twin Lakes – Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao.

start of the long and winding road to the twin lakes

start of the long and winding road to the twin lakes

It was almost an hour motorcycle ride from Dumaguete to SIbulan…why? I always asked my guide to stop, enjoy the view and take pictures. Addicted right?  The road to the twin lakes is a steep and winding path, good thing, I’m used to the zigzag road of Baguio.

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say cheese!

say cheese!

can't help but to stop and take photos

can’t help but to stop and take photos

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cool ride :-)

cool ride 🙂

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exploring Negros on this

exploring Negros on this

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stop and pose!

stop and pose!

Finally, we reached the Visitors station where you need to register and pay the entrance fee. At the back of the station you’ll see another lake. Another photo op session for me 🙂

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Lake Balinsasayao is a protected habitat for birds, a noisy ride is not allowed. So we had to leave the motorcycle and walked 1km to reach the lakes. A few bikers passed us by…you know me, i’m sooo slow…. I’m not in a hurry since I always find time to enjoy the view.

Finally, we’re here! There’s a typhoon so they have few visitors only. Activities include swimming, fishing, boating, trekking and kayaking. There is a clean restroom and a small canteen selling beverages and light snacks. So if you forgot to bring some food, no worries! 🙂

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cmon..let's bike

cmon..let’s bike

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You need to ride a boat to go Lake Danao.

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off to Lake Danao

off to Lake Danao

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Oh, the twin lakes all for me!

Lake Balinsasayao:

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Lake Danao:

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beautiful Lake Danao

beautiful Lake Danao

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It was truly a relaxing experience for me. I can sleep here! 🙂

comfier than my bed...lol

comfier than my bed…lol

This ends my Eco Tour.

I will definitely go back to Negros — there’s still a lot of places to explore. See you soon! 🙂 ❤

Day 1: Negros Oriental Eco Tour :-)

Despite the storm and me being alone on this trip, it didn’t stop me explore Negros Oriental.

I contacted several tour agency in Dumaguete but most of the tour package are beyond my budget. Good thing, I stumbled on the page of WPG Philcan Tours (http://philtraveltours.com). Their tour package is in USD but I still tried to contact them. To my surprise, Gord (owner) replied to me and he was very accommodating and willing to help me out on this trip with affordable budget. If you have plan to visit Negros Oriental, you can contact him via email – gord@traveltours.com or call him at 09154881914.

My guide – Kuya Jong2 pick me at the Gazeebo Pension House. We will be going to Dauin for snorkeling and Casaroro Falls via tricycle.

with Manong Tricycle driver

with Manong Tricycle driver

Unfortunately, due to the typhoon which brought big waves made it so impossible or difficult for me to go snorkeling. I’m a bit disappointed since I’m not able to see the fishes. 😦

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overlooking Apo Island

overlooking Apo Island

no swimming! :-(

no swimming! 😦

After a few photo op, I told him that we can just go to Casaroro Falls. It will be difficult to go there via tricycle so we decided that I’ll just ride on his motorcycle. It’s not a big deal for me since I used to ride motorcycle with my brothers in Subic.

There are so many beautiful sights along the way so I can’t resist but to take some photos. I usually have more than 1000 photos on any of my trips. Am I addicted to photos? 🙂

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At last, we’re here! There’s a stairs going down to Casaroro Falls. But to may dismay, I still can’t see the magnificent falls at the end of the stairs. You need to take the difficult (for me) trail and trek for another 20-30 minutes to see the falls. I didn’t push to do the trek since my guide is not familiar on the trail. So I was disappointed again….

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Seeing that I’m so disappointed, my guide told me that he’ll bring me to a better falls for free. So we went to see “MALABO FALLS” at Valencia. It is popularly known as Pulang Bato Falls due to the red color of its rocks. Locals say it is the presence of iron minerals that made the rocks turn red.

we're here!

we’re here!

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Pulang Bato Falls

Pulang Bato Falls

I actually enjoyed my visit here since I had the chance to swim. Just a short walk from the entrance is the man-made stone-lined swimming lagoon that is fed by small ‘falls’ cascading down the walls surrounding the lagoon.

spot the mini me :-)

spot the mini me 🙂

Then if you go down, you’ll see the picnic area and another waterfalls where you can jump and dive.

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swimming time

swimming time

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And then the main waterfalls.

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The way to Malabo Falls let’s you pass the highway where you can see some steam vents spewing out hot sulfuric smoke.

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Then off to Tierra Alta Residential Resort. It felt like I was in Greece. I love their Greek inspired clubhouse & pavilion, lighthouse and lagoon type infinity swimming pool. I could live here! 🙂

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It was a bad start but ended nicely.

When in Dumaguete

This should have been my Ultimate Beach Bumming Experience with Travel Factor (TF) – going to Dumaguete Apo Island and Siquijor. But since they had a small number of participants, they had to cancel this trip. Unfortunately, I already booked … Continue reading

Why I Travel Alone?

The usual questions asked by my family, friends and boss when I travel are where I’m heading and who is with me? It’s easy to explain the place I’m about to visit and they get excited too. But once they heard that I’m travelling solo, they will have a questioning face and would ask why? So why do I travel alone? Here are the top three (3) reasons:

1. You get to know yourself more.

I travel alone to challenge and test myself on how strong and brave I am now. I was once this super dependent girl that can’t even go out to nearby  provinces or city here in the Philippines without my Mom or any friend to accompany. I’m so afraid to get lost and ask questions or directions from any stranger. But now, I really don’t care getting lost – I see it now as an opportunity to learn. What’s to do and not to do next time?

Travelling solo also gives you freedom. You can do all the things you want. No one will question you why you’re staying in a budget or luxurious hotel? Why you woke up late? Why you’re going on this place than this other place? No drama since you only think about yourself. You can do all your activities at your own pace. No need to rush.

It also boost my self esteem and confidence. How? By asking other people to take my outfit of the day (OOTD) photo without feeling awkward. I can still do my signature shot and crazy poses with a stranger. I love to collect  memories by capturing it in photos. And of course, I should be on those photos. I had to do this since I don’t usually bring tripod or monopod. I have this angle to look really nice in pictures 🙂 so I don’t really look good in selfies.

My Siliman University OOTD photo :-)

My Siliman University OOTD photo 🙂

2. You meet new and amazing people.

You get to meet people who have the same love for travel which can be your new friend. And if you’re lucky, they can be your perfect travel buddy. When I joined Travel Factor group tour, I instantly had a travel buddies for overseas trips. My first trip with them was Indochina last 2014 (Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand), then China 2015 and next year 2016, we’re heading to Sri Lanka. This also gave me an idea to create my own blog or travel diary since Shiela and Melvin (TF travel buddies)  are bloggers. We are always updated with each other since we have a viber group — we get updates on seat sales, places to visit and planning for our new adventure. You will learn new travel ideas since they can share their past experiences.

Indochina TF Peeps - Grand Palace Thailand

Indochina TF Peeps – Grand Palace Thailand

Great Wall of China - March 2015

Great Wall of China – March 2015

Another special trip I had was the Tambaron Mindoro Beach Bumming experience where I met my new travel buddy from Manila – Bim. We both love taking pictures, explore new places and do exciting adventures. He’s really nice and easy to go with. I also learned many things about life from Tita Margie. She’s so nice, down to earth mom despite the fact that she’s rich. She let her kids experience a simple life.

with Bim and Tita Margie in Tambaron Island, Mindoro

with Bim and Tita Margie in Tambaron Island, Mindoro

Plus it’s easier to ask vacation leave now since it’s not your office barkada that you’re travelling with.

3. Get to know the place more.

When you travel alone, you read a lot of reviews about the place you’re about to visit. Your safety is still your number priority. You check how safe it is to go there. Any emergency numbers to keep. How people react to tourist? are they friendly and hospitable? what’s the weather forecast? You become well prepared on any untoward incident that might happen. You also become a keen observer and alert at all times.

You also learn other tourist spots that you can visit other than the famous destinations written in almost all tourist sites. In any places, I still believe that they are hidden gems waiting to be discovered. A special place that only the locals know.

Malabo Waterfalls, Negros Oriental.

Malabo Waterfalls, Negros Oriental.

Lake Danao - all for me. No other tourist :-)

Lake Danao – all for me. No other tourist 🙂

So there you go! Hope this will make you start and enjoy your solo travels! 🙂

Camera Lucida: Enchanted

Sagada Hanging Coffins

These are just some of the hanging coffins that I saw during my visit at Sagada. This is an ancient funeral norm of hanging coffins from mountain cliffs which is still being practiced by some minority groups. The purpose of suspending the casket from the mountain rocks is to bring the deceased closer to heaven. Coffins were made from carved and hollowed-out wood. They are ‘hung’ in place through the use of projecting beams.

Sagada Hanging Coffins

Day 19: Double and Rotation

Thanks for this assignment. Now I know how to rotate my photos. I just edit my day 18 assignment. 🙂

Double Flowers: Trumpets — does it smell good? You can see these around Baguio City.

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…and then

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Stand Tall, my dear! 🙂 Sagada Philippines ❤

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..and then it become twin branches

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I need some lights, make it two please…

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and then sidewalk lights

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Day 17: Glass, Squared

Whenever I ride an airplane, I always ask for a window seat. Why? To see the breathtaking views from above.

Perfect for our photo101 assignment. 🙂

waiting for our plane to take off

waiting for our plane to take off

View: Manila to Boracay

my view on my way to boracay

my view on my way to boracay

to boracay :-)

to boracay 🙂

sunset <3 to manila now

sunset ❤ to manila now

manila sunset

manila sunset

View: Manila to Palawan

excited! off to Palawan

excited! off to Palawan

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