Mis-Adventure in Cagayan Province

After being sick for two weeks and not able to join Bim on our Panay Trip, I’m finally feeling better and ready to go back to work. Unfortunately, when I was asking for my “fit to work” clearance from our Company Doctor, she told me wait for another two days. I can just to go work on December 1 (Tuesday) since Nov 30 (Monday) is a holiday. It’s another four days for me  not doing anything at home. Two weeks is already enough so I don’t need this extra four days, boredom is already killing me.

So I browsed the internet, facebook and look for any tours that I can join. Good thing, there’s a trip going to Cagayan Province via Lakbay Backpackers. It’s a Baguio travel agency so it means free ride from Baguio to our destination. Almost all the trips that I joined, meet up place is in Manila so I had to travel down from Baguio to Manila.

I always wanted to visit Cagayan to see Callao Cave and the famous Palaui Island (home for survivor US). Before the trip, the travel agency (May) texted me if we still wanted to proceed with the trip since it’s been raining in Cagayan which means big waves so it’s very hard to go island hopping. She told me that we are divided into three groups: group of friends from Manila, lovebirds from Baguio and solo girl from Baguio (that’s me). I told her that my decision will be based on the big group, if they cancel, then I’ll have to cancel also. Good thing, they decided to push with the trip. 🙂

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The itinerary makes me so excited since it’s a three day full of activity – island hopping, trek to lighthouse, beach bumming and church visits. But unfortunately, the itinerary was not followed. Instead of 8hours drive from Manila to Cagayan, it took us 15 hours (arrived 3pm at Sta Ana Cagayan). I think the problem is that we only have one (1) driver, so we need to take lots of breaks/rest… safety first right.

It was raining so it’s not advisable to go to Palaui. Our Day 1 was used for travel and rest at Jotay’s resort. Good thing, they have swimming pool so I just did an underwater pictorial with Chamy and Harold (lovebirds from Baguio). We also went to see their market and bought some goodies for our island hopping  tomorrow.

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won’t let our first day go to waste 🙂

After breakfast, it is now time to go island hopping. I’ve visited different islands – in and out of our country, but the boat ride to Palaui is the most scariest ride that I’ve ever did.

I’m glad that we made it alive! Thanks to our expert boatmen. 🙂

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definitely, the scariest boat ride experience

It took us an hour to reach our first destination: Anguib Beach. It has fine sands and blue water. As always, took lots of pictures and enjoyed the beach.

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vitamin SEA 🙂

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the beautiful Anguib Beach

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the gang…

Another one hour boat ride to our next destination: Palaui Island where we trek to Cape Engano Lighthouse.

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Palaui is ❤

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survivors..PH

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after an hour trek…finally reached the lighthouse

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feels like home ❤

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mandatory jump shot

Chamy and I wanted to see the hidden falls but the other big group doesn’t want to, so we moved to our next stop: Crododile Island.

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can you spot the crocs? 🙂

After island hopping, it’s time to eat our late lunch at Nangaramoan Beach. We were surprised that we will be sleeping in one small room with no private toilet at Mar-pe’s Lodging and Cottages (Phone#09174767041). It’s not acceptable for a group of 10 people to sleep in a small room. So we decided to pay an added fee so we can have our private room. I think I added Php 600 pesos since it’s only the three (3) of us in our room – Chamy and her bf Harold; and me. Our coordinator Tosz and driver Roger slept inside the van only.

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enjoying Nangaramoan Beach 🙂

It was agreed that we will leave the beach early so we can complete our remaining itinerary, but the big group was late so we left an hour late against our original plan.

We ate our breakfast first at Dodie’s Panciteria. This was featured by Rated K already for their famous pansit batil patung.

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Then off to Callao Cave – yippee! This famous cave was featured on the movie of John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo “The Mistress” wedding scene. Our guide told us that you can use this as venue for weddings. You just need to decorate it and pay Php 20 entrance fee for each guest. I was also surprised that this is not the only attraction on this cave. It has seven chambers but you can only go up to the 5th chamber. Here you will see different rock formations.

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after 184 steps, we reached the entrance to the Callao Cave

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say a little prayer for you 🙂

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rock formations 🙂

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lion’s head ❤

There’s so much more to do within Callao Cave like boating to falls. But due to time constraint, after spelunking, we went to visit the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat.

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During lunch time, Tosz found out that we already pass the other church. We had to go back to Sta Ana again to see it. But the team decided that we will just travel back to Manila since it’s gonna be another 13-15hours. It’s sad that I won’t be able to see the other churches but at least I was able to see one. It’s enough for me for this trip.

They need to drop the Manila peep first before going back to Baguio. So that means, I might be late for my work. Chamy and I decided to take a bus going to Baguio. We arrived in Tarlac at 3am and arrived in Baguio 6am. After power nap, I’m ready for work.

What do you think about this blog? Leave me a comment or email at roanguerrero@yahoo.com. Thank you! 🙂

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My Tinipak River Trek

While browsing Facebook, I saw a post of Vagabond Pinas offering a trek to Tinipak River with side trip at Pillilia Windmills. Bim and I saw the windmills but never had a chance to see it up close during our Rizal … Continue reading

Antipolo’s Mystical Cave

If you will visit Antipolo Rizal, make sure not to miss the Mystical Cave of Inday Nelly.

You can reach the cave  by hiring a tricycle, make sure to let him wait for you. It’s hard to wait for a tricycle since this is not the usual path of public tricycle and jeepneys.

It was named Mystical Cave due to many religious and holy images inside the cave. It is also believed that the water drips inside the cave can heal people. It has 7 chambers but you can only visit until the 3rd chamber. Every Lenten Season or Holy week, many people visits this cave and put up some tents inside the cave. This place was also used by film makers for movies like Enkantadia, Pedro Penduko, Spirit Warriors, Dyesebel, Marina and Asian Treasures. Entrance Fee is Php 50.

During our visit last Oct 3, there’s no other visitor but us (Bim and I) due to the recent typhoon. We’re lucky since it’s not raining that time and the sun is out. We were greeted by our little guide. She told us to go up and see the Mystical Cross first before going inside the cave. She said that the view on top will show the whole Antipolo and nearby province.

The trail to the mystical Cross is a hard one for me since my shoes is not for hiking. Due to the typhoon, it’s a very muddy and rocky trail. I almost gave up and ask Bim to continue on his own. He went up and told me that we are almost at the top. So I decided to move on, take off my shoes and walk barefoot. I’m glad that Bim never give up and pushed me to complete the hike. We finally reached the cross and greeted by this magnificent view. It’s true that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

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After taking a lot of pictures, we went down to see what’s inside the Cave. But before that, I need to clean my muddy feet. This time, I’m wearing my hiking sandals now. Take a short rest and ready to explore the cave.

And we’re ready!

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the wishing well, it’s too deep.

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inside the mystical cave

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the closet

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trying to drink the holy water

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spot the heart

We enjoyed our tour inside the cave, so many holy images. There’s a heart shape image where you can tell what your heart desires.  We really enjoyed our tour inside the cave. It took us more than 2 hours to complete the hike and tour – and we’re off to our next destination Pinto Art Museum.

October 03, 2015

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.

Surviving Mt. Pinatubo

I was on my 4th grade  when Mt. Pinatubo erupted on June 1991. School was off early due to ashfall. Weather is not good at that time due to incoming typhoon. So the heavy rains brought sands. It’s raining sands, literally! My Dad and my Kuya  (older brother) had to go up the roof to remove the sands despite the heavy rains with lightning. We’ve seen some houses collapsed due to the heavy sands on the roof. So to avoid it, they had to remove the sands on the roof. Plus the earthquake that we felt every minute. Yes, every minute you can feel the ground shaking. It’s so scary especially that I still have a baby brother at that time. Days become nights! Can’t tell if it’s day already or still night! The skies were covered by dark smokes! Survival becomes tough! No water, electricity and food. We had to walk a thousand miles just to get relief goods. But I’m so thankful that my family survived this disaster! And after more than 20 years, I’m here to see the crater of Mt. Pinatubo who once killed hundreds of people and left billions of crops & properties covered in Lahar (volcanic mudflows). Some places until now are still covered with Lahar.

Mt. Pinatubo crater lake has become a top tourist spot in the Philippines. I’ve seen the worst but it’s time to see the beauty of it.

Before you can actually see the majestic crater lake, you need to ride a 4×4 truck for almost an hour then trek for another 1.5 hours. You can actually swim at the crater!

Make sure to stop and register at PDC Spa Town. Or you'll be stuck like us...

Make sure to stop and register at PDC Spa Town. Or you’ll be stuck like us…

start of our 4x4 ride

start of our 4×4 ride

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stucked!!!!

stucked!!!!

stucked but I'm still happy

stucked but I’m still happy

getting ready to pull us out

getting ready to pull us out

while waiting for our ride

while waiting for our ride

pull it! :-)

pull it! 🙂

ok! hop on!!! ready to roll again :-)

ok! hop on!!! ready to roll again 🙂

Time to walk 🙂

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ah finally...almost near the crater

ah finally…almost near the crater

the magnificent crater lake <3 :-)

the magnificent crater lake

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After a long walk, need to freshen up…how? swimming at the crater!!!

quick rest before swimming to the crater lake

quick rest before swimming to the crater lake

at the Mt. Pinatubo crater lake

at the Mt. Pinatubo crater lake

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time to swim... water is warm :-)

time to swim… water is warm 🙂

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crazy girls...with Marj

crazy girls…with Marj

with my girls

with my girls

Who run the world? Girls!!!

Who run the world? Girls!!!

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After a refreshing swim, it’s time to go home!

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missed the hot volcano sand spa and mud pool.. we arrived past 5pm so it's closed already :-(

missed the hot volcano sand spa and mud pool.. we arrived past 5pm so it’s closed already 😦

dinner after as long trek

dinner after as long trek

Truly, Mt. Pinatubo is a nature’s way telling us that there’s beauty after destruction. But please, don’t explode again!

Memories from May 2012 Trip 🙂

DIY: Mt. Pulag Trek via Ambangeg Trail

Finally, after almost seven (7) years living in Baguio City, I was able to climb Mount Pulag, the third highest (used to be second 😦 ) mountain in the Philippines, next to Mount Apo and Mount Dulang Dulang last February 22 to 23 (Sunday to Monday). We didn’t hike during weekend since lots of climbers are visiting Mt. Pulag during Saturday and Sunday. Around 700 hikers climb the mountain during that weekend..so it’s very crowded at the peak.

Mt. Pulag is Luzon’s highest peak at 2,922 meters above sea level. The border between the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya meet at the mountain’s peak. Highlights of the climb includes the montane forests and the grassland summit with its “sea of clouds” phenomenon. There are four major trails up the summit: the Ambangeg, Akiki, and Tawangan trails from Benguet  and the Ambaguio trail from Nueva Vizcaya. These trails are managed by the Mount Pulag National Park, under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  Be sure to make reservations for your hike at DENR. They will no longer allow hike with no reservation due to the increase of hikers going to Mt. Pulag.  We took the Ambangeg trail, the easy trail and a two day trek only. Perfect for beginners! I had no muscle pain after the trek and was able to heels at work — so far, my Mt. Pico de Loro trek is still the hardest. But this climb is special, as this became a one day trek (8rs up and down the summit).

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We are a small group of hikers (8 hikers – Efren & wife Joy, Mac2 & wife Maribel, Jeff & girlfriend Maryfe, Mernie and me) from Baguio. They are my colleagues at Moog with their partners. We hired a jeepney to get us from Baguio City to Mt. Pulag Ranger station (cost is PHP 8,000 or $177). We left the meet up place (Caltex Station near Victory Liner Station) at 6:10am and arrived at DENR at 9:00am for our orientation. It took us two hours as we had to eat breakfast and sidetrip at Ambuklao Dam. 🙂

Breakfast at Pinkan Jo Eatery

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Side Trip – Ambuklao Dam

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Orientation at DENR (need to pay PHP100/pax or $2/pax). We thought we are the first to arrive but there are three (3) groups doing their orientation already. So we had to wait for our turn. You can also reserve your souvenir shirts already and get it after the trek. I bought a shirt, a refrigerator magnet and got myself my Mt Pulag Certificate.

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There are three camping site at Mt. Pulag (Camp 1, 2 and 3). But since it’s been raining a few days before, Camp 2 is closed since it’s muddy. It was only closed last Friday. Camp 1 can only accomodate 4 to 7 tents so the first group got the spot already. And then, Camp 3 it’s for the hikers who will be taking the Akiki Trail. So we have no choice but to camp at the Ranger Station. You can actually choose if you want to do homestay or put your tents (camping fee is PHP50/pax or $1/pax).

Camp 1

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Camp 2

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Overlooking – Camp 3

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We arrived at the Ranger Station at 11:10am. You need to pay PHP80/pax for the environmental fee and guide fee PHP120/pax. We will start our hike to Mt. Pulag Summit at 1:00am (Monday morning). It’s still a long day for us so we had our afternoon nap  so we have energy for the very early morning trek.

Thanks to Jeff and Maryfe, they bought and cooked our dinner. It was so cold so make sure you bring thick clothes (sweater, thermal shirt & pants, gloves, bonnet). I had to wear 4 layers of clothes and still catch a cold. We slept at 9:30pm but woke up at 11:00pm since I can’t breathe due to colds. Good thing, I bought my medicines.

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We started our trek at 2:00am. We had to leave Mac and his wife since he is not feeling well. It’s ok since this is not their first time to visit Pulag.

When we started the trek, I had to stop and remove some of my sweaters since it felt so warm. I also continue to sneeze as the temperature changes (hot — cold then hot). After almost 30 mins, we arrive at Camp 1. Get some short rest and starts walking again, arrived at Camp 2 at 4:00am. Sorry, no photos during this trek as it’s too dark. We had our headlights and flashlights on to be our eyes.

After 3 hours of walking and sneezing (I have colds huhu!), we finally arrived at the summit (5:00am) and waited for the sunrise. It’s too cold so had to wear all my sweater and gloves again.

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Sadly, I didn’t see any sea of clouds. Good thing, we have this time elapsed video from one of the hikers — Bong Bajo “Prelude of Dreams”. Enjoy! 🙂

After staying at the summit for almost two hours, it’s time to go down and enjoy the beautiful sites.

Can’t resist not to stop and take lots of photos.

Grass Land

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Mossy Forest/ Pine Forest

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Arrived at Ranger Station at 11:00am.

Side trip at Daclan Sulfuric Spring.

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Back in Baguio at 5:00pm. 🙂

Trail: Baguio – Ambuklao – DENR – Ranger Station – Camp 1 – Camp 2 – Mt. Pulag Summit

Hike to Mt. Sto Tomas (now as Sitio La Presa)

Sitio La Presa is one of the famous tourist spot now in Baguio City. Thanks to Forevermore– our local TV series which was shoot in this area. The amount of tourist have increased tremendously due to this series. It’s good … Continue reading

Dayhike at Pico De Loro

It’s another long weekend for me last July so I booked myself and my colleague Mernie for a day hike   to Mt. Pico de Loro via Travel Factor. It says that this is good for beginners (like me) and expert … Continue reading