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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.

Where expectation meets reality

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Mt. Talinis peeps!

What started in Alto Peak was followed by the Tres Marias climb. And now, we found ourselves reunited for another adventure. Hiking with me are familiar faces — Shiela, Jovy, Chiarra, Kevin, James, An Jurvel, Shandy, Shiekina, Ate Sherlyn, Hardi, Renson, Phil, Sir La Yell — with the addition of Maurice, Idas (Laag Sparkles) and CJ Estrada. Our destination? Mt. Talinis.

Towering at 1,903 meters above sea level, Mt. Talinis, also known as Cuernos de Negros (Horns of Negros), is the second highest mountain in Negros Island after Mt. Kanlaon. This complex volcano located in the province of Negros Oriental was given a 6/9 difficulty level.

Among its many routes, we followed the Apolong-Apolong trail, which is the second longest course going to the peak. From blogs and firsthand experiences, we set our expectation that the climb will be challenging. And indeed it was.

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Hello, gorgeous ❤

We were blessed with a sunny day and it was quarter to 8:00 am when we started the hike. Since most of us are climbing Mt. Talinis for the first time, there was extra excitement among the group. The tall trees and rich biodiversity are nature’s natural cooling system, making it bearable for us to walk through the unlimited steep ascend.

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Into the deep.
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Happy faces. 🙂

We trekked towards the ranger’s station (the first water source) where we met our first setback. Shiekina, due to her excitement at the sight of the water (or was it the bebeboys), sprained her ankle. Gladly, we have two PTs, An Jurvel and Shandy, to the rescue.

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The lead group proceeded with the hike, leaving Shiekina, An Jurvel and Shandy, to wait for the sweeper group so Shik can rest for a while.

We reached Rancho (the last water source before Lake Nailig), an established campsite by the Cuernos De Negros Mountaineers, where we had our lunch. But since the team decided on a same-day summit, our pacing was slightly brisk with less rest in between. We passed by Kaipuhan Sulfur River then continued to the monkey trail. Unlike Alto Peak, there were no ropes to hold on to and you only have to trust the roots to help you up.

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It was past 1:00 pm when we got a glimpse of Lake Nailig and just when we got too close to our camping ground, James injured his knee. It was a mix of excitement and anxiety. Excitement for a guaranteed “clearing” at the summit and anxiety for our injured friends and those left behind.

Shiela, the #antigravitywarrior, was one of the first to arrive

Nacolon Peak

From Lake Nailig, the peak is accessible by a 30 to 40-minute trek through a forested trail. At the top waits a panoramic view of Negros Oriental’s natural forests. No wonder why it is dubbed as the province’s “last frontier.” All of us were in awe at the sight of the lake from above.

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Happy faces because it’s a CLEARING! 😀
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i left my heart down there…

It was almost sundown when the rest of our friends headed to the summit. As we descended back to the campsite, we passed by Shiekina and James — sprained ankle and injured knee — lagging behind the second group. Despite the threat of the rolling dusk and their injuries, these two braved the trials of the trails.

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Team injured, Shik and James.
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Happy faces despite having no clearing for the second group

The night and its terror
Night time and the two groups started cooking our meals. However, five of us have not gone down from the summit. Later on, Hardi and Renson arrived with faint headlamp. The two said that they lost track of Phil, James, and Shik. It was already dark and most of us started to worry. After what seemed like a lifetime, James came rushing into the campsite telling us to send people to assist Shik who met an accident. Our head guide, Sir Chris, along with Shandy, went and look for the two. With that mishap, plus the strong gust of wind, our socials during the night turned into a slumber party. We were too tired to stay up and decided to conclude the day.

Lake Nailig

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Lake Nailig greeted us with a dramatic backdrop. The morning was cold and we were surrounded by thick fog. Personally, I regret that I did not give this Crater Lake a second look the day before when it was clear.

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A cup of coffee on a cold morning is ❤

But despite our “bondpaper” background, the group was still in high spirit enjoying the breakfast (except for the lost tuna patty) and selfies!

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Where’s the tuna patty? lol
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Ganito pala sa Massachusetts!
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Shandy and An posing with PRIDE ❤
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Team Buwad 😀

It was past 10:00 am when we decided to trace back our trail. Another day of experiencing the straggle and struggle of Apolong trail — only this time, it’s the opposite. Yesterday’s unlimited ascent is today’s unlimited descent. And from arid forest path, we are faced with muddy track. *insert heavy breathing*

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Success!

It started drizzling when we reached Kaipuhan Sulfur River but this did not stop us from enjoying its one-of-a-kind view. The sulfur vents, the dead trees, the bleached rocks — it was like being transported into a barren realm.

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Kaipuhan and its melodrama.
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Living among the dead.

As time passed, the drizzle turned into a heavy rain and we hurried our way back to the jump off. Hiking in the rain comes with extra threats: the trail is dark and slippery with a chance of landslide and getting sick. Gladly, we all reached the jump-off safe and sound. How was the experience? UNLIMITED. Unlimited ascent, unlimited descent, unlimited HAHA! Mt. Talinis is one of the places where your expectation meets reality. Definitely a place worth coming back to. 🙂

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Rain or shine, all was fine 🙂

Also, check out CJ’s VLog in two parts: The Revenge & The Stormy Descent


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If you ever go and do it for the Gram, take your trash with you — every piece, every gram.

Laro tayo ng lokohan

Laro tayo ng lokohan
Bilang inaraw-araw mo na rin lang
Ang magpaloko sa ex mong makupal
Siguro naman ngayon,
Alam mo nang laruin ‘to

Pag sinabi kong kasalanan nila—
Ng mga NPA at komunista
At mga adik na kasing-liit ng daga
Maniwala ka

Wag kang magtiwala sa mga balita
Sa ingay ng mga aktibista
Na pilit ginigising
Ang iyong kamalayan
Manalig ka

Manatili kang nanampalataya
Sa sarili mong diyos na mapang-mura
Syang nakapanig na sa masa
At panig pa sa Tsina—
Siya lang ang tama

Silang mga butil ang ipinunla
Na ngayo’y umaani ng bala
Ay hindi marunong sumunod sa batas
At nagtatago lamang sa anino ng dahas

Silang mga isang kahig at isang tuka
Na ngayo’y sa kalsada nakabulagta
Ay hindi na dapat paramihin
Nang matigil na ang mga krimen

Laro tayo ng lokohan
Bilang inaraw-araw mo na rin lang
Ang magpaloko sa ex mong makupal
Siguro naman ngayon,
Alam mo nang laruin ‘to

Babalik-balikan ko
Ang mga linya
At mga pangako
Uulit-ulitin ko
Ang mga bula
Nang magtunog totoo

At kagaya ng laro niyo ng ex mo,
Kung sino man ang maloko dito ay talo.


Happy #NationalPoetryWritingMonth. Don’t be fooled, Pilipinas!

Trolled trolls

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how many mouths must be starved
or epitaphs must be carved
for these blinded trolls to see
past this fractured democracy
this populist and his isms
his ideology of acquiescence
make cage ‘round free birds
and voices unheard—

trolls you’re trolled,
can’t you see?
MS

 

 


In response to dVerse’s Quadrille hosted by Frank who challenges to put some TROLL with our poems today.

Here’s a short lament for the current state of the Philippines. Sigh.

Head over here to join the prompt!

dverse

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”

You know they lie

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You know they lie
When headline reads, ‘Cops say he fought back’
You know it’s an execution—
a purge, a shortcut
To what you call a ‘better world’
In between sips of coffee
You convince yourself
of the new normal
of the new ‘right’

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In response to dVerse’s Quadrille #74 hosted by Mish who challenges us to take the word “sip” beyond the obvious.

This one is inspired by a news article I read this morning. The Philippine government is still waging war on drugs. While this started with the right cause, it has veered into an unstoppable purge. And with the poor justice system in the country, the war has taken a toll on the poor. This one is for the dead who were summary executed and for living who shrug sympathy and justice away. These 44 words are not enough to save the country from further downfall, it needs the Filipino people to wake up and stand up against impunity.

Head over here to join the prompt!

dverse

Binabaje Hills: Fleeing To Nature For A Sweet Escape

If you could ask for one thing at a certain point in your life, what would it be?

On the last remaining days of 2017, I asked for an escape. But the thing about escaping is you never really can. What you get, instead, is a temporary break from life’s shackles and you just have to make the most of it.

Truth is I didn’t intend to write about this trip. I haven’t even shared much about it in social media. It was, of course, one of the sweetest escape I’ve ever had but I wanted the feelings and memories to cling close to me as much as possible. My friends, however, think I’m greedy. *eyes roll*

So here goes a little sneak peak.

***

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On normal days, I could just use a long walk or poetry or books or music or coffee. But what happens when your outside world is just as chaotic as the world inside? Where do you go? As for me, I chose to slip away from the busy streets and head into the land of hills that I like to call my second home— Bohol.

I got the idea of this out-of-the-blue escapade from Marc of @theweekdaytraveler, who recently came from a solo trip in Bohol. When he posted the photo of the Binabaje Hills, I knew right then that I had to flee.

Continue reading “Binabaje Hills: Fleeing To Nature For A Sweet Escape”

Losing Poetry in the Hush

I often have a tendency to look at life from a poetic point of view. From sunrays piercing through canopies to a solitary mug in a coffee shop. I look at things, people, and moments— and poetry just comes easy at times.

Waterfalls, in particular, tend to draw my not-so cheery muse in. Maybe it’s the downpour but, nevertheless, these cascading beauties never fail to sweep me off my feet in the literal and figurative sense.

Working oceans away from home, I always look forward to my planned vacations. This time, I begged (yes, begged) my sister and cousins to take me to Karap-agan Falls. Thankfully, they gave in. Just two municipalities from my hometown, Hilongos, I went on a roadtrip with the gang.

Slowly making its way into the limelight is Matalom’s very own hidden paradise, the Karap-agan Falls. Locally known as Mahayahay Falls is the two-tiered waterfall tucked in the fringes of baranggay Caridad Norte.

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Just gorgeous ❤

Continue reading “Losing Poetry in the Hush”

Breathe, Then Move Along

On some days you will find yourself on the edge of a cliff. Your hands will be holding on to nothing but the rough and sharp boulders that will only leave you with callouses and wounds. Your knees will tremble at the thought of falling. Of failing. And that every single cell in your body will be in a crazy delirium.

On these days, I want you to take a deep breath. To feel the warmth of the sun. To let the wind tease your hair. Listen to the silence and hear the beat of your heart. It’s probably beating too fast but it will slow down if you give it a little time. Breathe.

And then move along. If you must walk or run or crawl on fours, do it. You will be scared. You will be scarred. But isn’t that how we grow? Let the callouses be your pride and the wounds be your drive. Be the trembling mess standing bravely at the edge of life.

‘Neath the gloomy sky
Leaves sway to the wind’s rhythm—
Blow your fears away
MS


Waking up on the right side of the bed, here’s a little haibun to kiss away our Monday blues. Have a great week everyone! 😀

Bakit Kailangan Laging May Mang-Iiwan at May Iiwanan?

A poetic duet with a friend, a traveller, an all-time hugotero, an instant love guro, and team bang’s one and only IDOL wanderer. Here’s an early Tagalog hugot about leaving and being left behind…


Idolwanderer:

Sa ngalan ng pag ibig may dalawa kang pagpipilian. Ang mang-iwan o ang iwanan.

Ngunit sino ba talaga ang laging nang-iiwan? Kaming mga lalaki o kayong mga kababaihan?

Maria:

Sino nga ba ang nang-iwan at sino ang iniwan? Sa larong ito, sino ba ang may kasalanan?

Ako ba na walang ginawa kundi ibigay ang lahat. O ikaw na ang tingin sa akin ay hindi pa sapat?

Idolwanderer:

Ha! laro? Anong laro? Para sayo laro lang pala ang akala koy totoo?

Ang sakit isipin at kay hirap tanggapin. Ngayo’y alam ko na, na para sayo ako’y laruan lang at di pala dapat mahalin

Maria:

May totoo nga ba sa lahat ng iyong ipinakita. Kung napakadali mong nagbitiw at naglahong parang bula.

Ang lahat ng pangako mo ay pinanghawakan ko. Ngunit sa isang saglit, lahat pala ay mapapako. Continue reading “Bakit Kailangan Laging May Mang-Iiwan at May Iiwanan?”

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