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Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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It’s More Fun in the Philippines

Quick and dirty tips to staying dry… on the trail

Most people like things wet but definitely not during a hike in the mountains. From slippery trails to soggy socks, getting wet might just not be one’s idea of fun. And while keeping up-to-date with the weather forecast has proven advantageous, nature has its own playful tricks.

But before we admit defeat and put on our sulky faces, there are actually many ways to face the cold spells coolly. It just requires a little extra precaution. As they say, staying dry is easier than drying out.

1. Before ticking off you gear list, take care of its carrier — that is you and your backpack. Take time to do research (bahala’g masuko si Cynthia Villar) on how to protect yourself and your backpack from rain cheaply and quickly.

Make sure you have your rain cover. If you do not have waterproof jackets and pants, you can always opt for the cheaper rain poncho.

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Team Buwad!

2. Pack all your necessary gears into trash bags/dry bags — especially your gadgets. Sort your things into zip locks to keep them dry and organized.

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noob essentials 

3. Proper layering. Layered clothes allow you to easily respond to adverse and changing weather conditions. Also, they regulate your body temperature better.

Choose high-quality, wind-resistant and waterproof outfits. These should be breathable and comfortable. Wear long sleeves (drifit, wool or fleece) beneath your outer layer. You can also put on leggings or workout tights under your pants because they don’t restrict movement and are far more comfortable.

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(c) Zen Mountain Gear

4. Don’t go crazy-rich-hiker on me. No need to spend a lot on your clothes. Ukay-ukay (surplus or thrift shop) is always ready to the rescue. Aside from saving your money, you also get to help lessen capitalism’s impact with these hand-me-downs. 😁

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Who says men don’t go to ukay-ukay?

5. Protect your extremities with warmers. For someone who has cold intolerance like me, you have to be sure to protect your hands, feet, ears, neck and head by wearing gloves, thermal socks, neck scarf and bonnet.

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Keep them warm!

6. Estimate how waterproof, breathable, light and comfortable your shoes are. Even the most expensive trekking shoes won’t keep your feet completely dry while you hike in extended rain — you are going to be soaked one way or another. Bring extra sandals just in case.

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Get comfy!

7. Lean on poles. No matter how strong the grip of your shoes are, you will need a trekking pole. It is an added support on the ground and allows for more traction. With it, you can check the stability of wet or muddy trail before making your step.

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Indeed very help-POLE!

8. Sleep on warm surface. Invest on insulation foam or sleeping pad. Wrap yourself like a lumpia (shanghai roll) with those sleeping bags. You can also bring emergency blankets if it gets too cold.

Also, make use of the famous adage: no man is an island. Use your body heat to your advantage. Share it with your friends or more than friends.

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SMS founder spotted!

9. Always hike with your amego, amega and most importantly, your omega! After a long hike — wet or dry — you’re gonna need it. Trust me. 😂

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(c) CJ Estrada

10. Last but definitely not the least, have a good time. Keeping a positive attitude can make things bearable. Hike it forward. Own the wind and rain.

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(c) P30 ni Chiarra 😉

The state weather bureau has recently declared the onset of the northeast monsoon or “amihan” season here in the Philippines. This entry is a personal list I made for my friends and I. Before the year comes to a close, we decided to do one last major climb. And what better way to cap the year than to climb the country’s highest?

 

Mt. Pinatubo: A 42km Golden Adventure

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Sunrise ❤

“Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?”

The classic story of the phoenix is that of resilience and hope. For centuries, this mythical bird became a symbolic reminder of people who has risen from the ashes. Those who bounced back up after their world came crashing down. Those who built themselves after falling apart.

Most of us talk about the phoenix but rarely of the flame. Just as how in life we see more of the outcome and less of the process. That is why this entry is not just about standing above the crater of Mt. Pinatubo. It is about zooming in to the beauty of the disaster we found during our 42-kilometer hike. Continue reading “Mt. Pinatubo: A 42km Golden Adventure”

Hindang: What a sleepy town in Leyte has to offer

We are all familiar with its irregular crevices, multiple galleries, entrances, exits and shafts. Its fossil passages are adorned with various stalactites and stalagmites. It’s dark and it’s cold. It’s eerie with its chambers full of secrets awaiting to be unraveled — or not.

Yes, you got it right. I’m referring to the morphology of caves.

Personally, I have not gone to many caves in the country. My up-close encounter would only include Hito-og Cave in Matalom, Hinangdanan Cave in Bohol, Titip Cave in Cebu, and Bontoc Caves in Hindang. The latter, I would say, is the most interesting by far.

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Tell me what stories rest within you.

Continue reading “Hindang: What a sleepy town in Leyte has to offer”

Negros Oriental Backpacking: Twin Lakes

A month before our Mt. Talinis climb, I went to Negros Oriental to celebrate a special day. I was supposed to feel a year older — a year wiser — but coming into this strange place awakened the childlike excitement in me.

Where to go? What to do?

I do not have a good sense of direction and James did not have a strict itinerary. In the end, we only relied our sense of wonder and wander. But guess what? It was all that we needed.

Giddy feet!

Continue reading “Negros Oriental Backpacking: Twin Lakes”

Oh la lango: A Pedaled Story in Olango Island

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.”

No man could better say this than Ernest Hemingway, one of 20th century’s literary giants. At a young age, we were taught to ride a bike, to pedal away without a care in the world, to bask under the heat of the sun, and to come home with skins glistening with sweat. But as the years pass, our priorities change. We no longer have the luxury of time to relive simple childhood joys. Life, in its most pragmatic way, has pushed us to channel our energy in surviving. But are we living?

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Island Vibe ❤

Continue reading “Oh la lango: A Pedaled Story in Olango Island”

Mt. Talinis: Where expectation meets reality

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Do you prefer hiking with a specific group of people or do you like seeing new faces? At its core, mountain climbing is not just about reaching the top. Most often, what matters most are the experiences and memories we shared along the trail. And admit it, when you look at those instagrammable photos, your mind travels back to the conversations, big or small. Those candid laughter, comfortable jokes and banters, little slips, unguarded expressions, and many more.

This is why WHO you go in the mountains with counts. Friends or strangers, each has its pros and cons that can make or break the success of any climb.

If this was two years ago, I would avoid any chance of meeting new faces. But the mountains had taught me the beauty of building connections… in nature and in people. So now I don’t mind — at least not much. Continue reading “Mt. Talinis: Where expectation meets reality”

LIGID trail: Licos to Lanigid

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At the foot of Licos Peak

Not long ago, Team Buwad (James, An Jurvel, Shandy and I) headed north to visit some of its waterfalls. This time, James took us to what he called the LIGID trail, a moniker for the hike starting from Licos Peak in Danao, traversing to Mulao River in Compostela, and exiting in Lanigid Hill in Liloan. Along with us are Shiela and Bryan.

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Today’s guide

Continue reading “LIGID trail: Licos to Lanigid”

TRES MARIAS: Finding Beauty in the Blur

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Admit it or not, fear still creeps in your spine whenever you are faced with uncertainty. It is terrifying inasmuch as it is exciting. It takes your breath away for a second or two; it makes your heart skip a beat faster. Think of the last time you proudly called yourself brave — the day you stood up against your boss, the day you told your parents you’re gay, the day you told yourself ‘enough’ or the day you welcomed love. Whatever it is, you didn’t really know will happen next. But you did it anyway.

As for me, my recent hike with friends was nothing short of uncertainty… and yes, of fear and excitement.

Prelude

After climbing Ormoc’s Alto Peak last May, we talked, with eager and hopeful hearts, about how we’d target climbing Biliran’s Tres Marias next. The thought dragged on but there was no definite plan or word from anyone to carry it out. It was not until a month before the event that we decided to make it happen. With a short time to prepare physically, mentally and financially, the our organizer Shiela looked for heads to join the fun. Of course, the casts and crews of Alto Peak were present, with the exception of some and addition of others. By November 23, fifteen fun-loving folks headed to Pier 3, all geared for another major climb.

None of us knows what awaits in Tres Marias. We’ve read blog posts, seen pictures, and heard stories but uncertainty still sits at the back of our minds. The first jolt came when we are still in Cebu. Unfortunately, for safety purposes, Cebu Port Authority no longer allows carrying of butane canisters. So, we are faced with a dilemma on whether we can find one in the province or we’ll have to go back to the age of campfires to cook our food. The second jolt came a little later. Most hikers would opt to reach Biliran via Ormoc but we decided to take the ship that sails straight to Naval. What we thought an 11-hour travel time became 13 and a half, kissing our fixed itinerary goodbye.

However, in the midst of the uncertainty, dawn breaks with a gorgeous sunrise. With it came a promise of a beautiful day ahead. And so we forgot our little mishaps.

Sunrise ❤

Continue reading “TRES MARIAS: Finding Beauty in the Blur”

Sugod sa Sogod

Lately, memes about Titos and Titas of Facebook have been making rounds in social media. In essence, this is a millennial term used to describe “old schools” who have embraced the domestic lifestyle and content themselves with nostalgia and throwback posts. It’s funny though that most of those who claim to be “titos and titas” nowadays are millennials (born between 1980 and 2000). A generation known for its vibrancy and zeal, what happened to us?

The easiest explanation is aging in the digital age. We tend to be drained by too much loud and crowd. In the height of social media, we crave for genuine connection — with a person, with nature, with ourselves. And until we find these, we’d rather stay in the comforts of our homes.

But just because we age doesn’t mean we have to settle into the doldrums of ordinary. As what Anne of Windy Poplars once said, “There is so much in the world for us all if we only have the eyes to see it, the heart to love it, and the hand to gather it to ourselves.”

Starting off with this…

Away from the colors and grandeur of Sinulog, my friends and I (Team Buwad as we fondly call ourselves) went out of town for a weekend escape. Travelling 60 km northward from Cebu City is the municipality of Sogod. It is said that the town gained its name from the Cebuano term “sinugdanan” which means “beginning.” For its geographical and historical reasons, Sogod is where the stretch of white sand and the conversion to Christianity going north began.

As for us, it’s the beginning of a new adventure.

Bagatayam Falls
Getting to Bagatayam Falls is very easy. Just a few hundred meters from Sogod poblacion, we passed by the Bagatayam Bridge in Brgy. Bagatayam. Here’s a sneak-peak of the waterfalls from the bridge.

Continue reading “Sugod sa Sogod”

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