The Leechy Trek to Tinagong Dagat in Mt. Mandalagan, Negros Occidental Day 2/2


The morning in Tinagong Dagat was cold but dry. When we slept last night, there was a canopy of stars but I half expected the rain still. Thanks God, the ground was only wet from the morning dew. Yay!!!

Look how happy I was with these lights. 🙂

Dry Morning in Tinagong Dagat

We plan to wake up at 5 AM but the cold morning was just too nice to be wasted. At 6 AM, the camp was finally awake. The early risers were already preparing breakfast so we took our time cam-whoring and cleaning up our tents. It was our last cooking schedule so there were a lot to cook. As soon as I was free doing my personal stuffs, I volunteered to cook the eggs – scrambled ala Kring.

Photo ops with the breakfast squad.
Cooking and breaking up camp in progress…

I never cook at home but when trekking, I cook if given the chance. Haha! But I try not to. I like to wash the dishes more. 😀

Breakfast Time

It took us about 2 hours to get ready for breakfast. The sun had already shone brightly on our part of the camp so we moved to the shady area. After, eating and cleaning up, we continued breaking up the camp and was ready to go by around 9.

Bye Bye Tinagong Dagat

After the photo ops, we left the camp at 9:30 AM after prayer with no warm up still. Descent is my favorite part of the trek but I wasn’t prepared with the almost 30 minutes uphill trek at the start. I was out of breath when we reached the top but the guide’s assurance that the next parts will be down hills restored my energy.

Tribu Iskwatters & Friends
And the husband is back to his jumping spree!

Down to the Dam

There were hard parts in going down that it’s hard to imagine if we trekked it uphill. I was especially fascinated in the dam part of the descent. Following the dam canal was both fun and dangerous. When the guide told us that it’s gonna be an hour way following the dam, I was excited.

When we stopped at the river at the start of the dam, the husband borrowed a powerbank to continue his GPS to record the trail. Instead of waiting, I went ahead thinking there would be a space where I could wait for him. Unfortunately, beyond the river was the canal trail. There wasn’t any space for waiting. As I was concentrating on my steps balancing over the canal, I kept thinking of the husband. It would have been awesome if he was with me. I regretted why I went ahead.

Hello Civ!!!

As I was about to cross a dead creek, I heard the husband calling my name. Relief washed over me. Yes, I’m brave and all but I’m braver when I’m with Migo. It was a sweet reunion and my energy was replenished. I suddenly had the energy to take pictures again. 🙂

Found my lucky charmer back. 😀 Adik lang. Low energy dayon if di magsunod ug lakaw. Hahaha

We continued the trek after a quick stop at a low lying dam canal where I wet my hair. After around 30-45 minutes, we were out of the forest at 1:30 PM. Yay! Civilization at last!!!

The Wait, the Ruins and Home Sweet Home

While waiting for our ride, we had snacks. To freshen up, I plan to just change clothes but one of our trekmates mentioned that we could actually take a bath at a nearby house for free. Yay! I wasted no time and got ready for the bath as I feel really icky for trekking on my period. T_T

Feeling fresh and free!!!

Everyone got busy chilling on the wait. 2 of our trekmates went to check Campuestohan. If not for my period, I would have gone swimming with them too. Maybe next time.

At around 3 PM, our ride arrived. But before leaving, we walked to the entrance of Campuestohan to have our souvenir pic.

Talaba for Late Lunch

I have been craving Talaba for the longest time but the husband wouldn’t drive me to Liloan. There wasn’t any fresh talaba restaurant in Cebu that I know of too. Sad, sad story but thankfully, we were able to visit Mercy’s Talabahan before proceeding to our side trip – The Ruins. A bowlful of Talaba is only Php 50 to my amazement. I really had my fill and even wanted to add but the husband forbade me as he thought I had more than enough. Huhu!

The Ruins

Our last stop was the Ruins so we were once again carrying our  big packs as we checked it out. Good thing, it wasn’t that big and despite the number of people, we were still able to find a place to chill. There wasn’t really much to do at The Ruins but there are tons of places to take pictures. The views are very instagrammable.

This guy’s so in love with me gurl!!! ❤
DIY photo ops around the ruins!

The Ride Back Home

At 7 PM, we left the Ruins and rode a trike to Ceres Terminal where we waited for our ride back to Cebu at 9 PM. The bus was via Tabuelan. As the bus left the terminal, there was happiness in my heart. It was another awesome experience for the books. Just thankful for Tribu Iskwatters for the company. Looking forward to more treks with them.

And…I don’t mind going back to Tinagong Dagat as we missed the Solfatara. 😀 Besides, we’ve trekked the other 2 mountains in Negros twice so it’s only fair to climb Mt. Mandalagan again. Right?

Thank you so much for your time. I hope you had fun reading as much as I enjoyed writing. I might have missed some details but I’m leaving it out for you to discover. 🙂




Reasons Why You Should Re-Trek


Just last weekend, the Negros trilogy was finally complete when we experienced the leech-infested forest ascent to Tinagong Dagat. There are 3 popular mountains in Negros Island: Canlaon, Cuernos De Negros or Talinis and Mandalagan or Tinagong Dagat that are trekking must climbs.

While writing the adventure in Mt. Mandalagan, I realized that 2 of the mountains were trekked twice. Talinis in 2012 and then last Feb. Canlaon was last 2015 and then 2012. If it was just me, I wouldn’t want to go back. Once is enough and there’s still a lot of mountains to go so I’d want every major climbs to be different. But after 2 double takes, I realized that trekking a mountain twice is not all that bad.

Reasons Why You Should Re-Trek

  1. Every trekking experience is different. No trek is ever the same. 
    (2012) We missed Lake Yagumyum on our re-trek since we start at a different trail. It was raining when we started but the re-trek in 2017 was very humid.
    Entry point: Brgy. Bediao, Dauin | Exit point: Brgy. Apolong, Valencia City

    (2017) After lunch at Nug-as Rancho. We weren’t able to pass here in 2012.
    Entry point: Brgy. Malongcay Dacu, Dauin | Exit point: Brgy. Apolong, Valencia City
  2. You have the avenue to connect to more trekking friends. 
    (2012) Team BRB with only 3 girls.

    (2017) Team NCR Trekkers with 5 girls already! Hurray! More women trekkers please. By this time, the 2 girls I was with in 2012 is now busy with motherhood. Wondering how many of these women will be with us if there’s a re-trek years from now? Hehe
  3. You will be be able to check whether age has made you better in trekking or not.
    (2017) At Rancho camp but this time, it is part of the itinerary. In 2012, we were forced to camp here.

    (2012) Enjoying the Twin Lake after the emergency camp.
  4. Chance to experience a different trail and/or different weather conditions.
    (2012) A foggy Canlaon slopes. We weren’t able to summit due to heavy rains.

    (2015) A super clear view of Canlaon – super blessed after all the fogginess on our 1st trek.
  5. Trekking is not about how many peaks you’ve been to. It is about the experiences that you have accumulated in the journey.
    (2012) We walk away from the peak on the same path in 2015 but it still feels like I’ve been trekking on it for the first time.

    (2015) Now a pink rain cover for me. 🙂 Haha!
  6. The 2nd trek can be less strenuous because you now have a rough estimate of the distances. 
    (2012) Rainy Canlaon!!!

    (2015) Answered prayers!!!
  7. The more major treks you have regardless of the location are training ground for a bigger goal – say Guiting-Guiting or Mantalingajan or maybe, Everest. The more you do long distance and multi-day trek, the more you are equipped for more difficult trails.

That’s our 7 reasons why we re-trek. How about you? Do you want to re-trek? What are your reasons for re-trekking or not? Let us know of your re-trekking experience too in the comment below. 🙂

The Leechy Trek to Tinagong Dagat in Mt. Mandalagan, Negros Occidental Day 0/2


So What Do You Think is The Story of How I Ended My Hiatus?

LEECH, no pre-climbs and the threat of menstrual cramps were 3 of my major concerns in trekking Mt. Mandalagan. Yet despite the reservations, my will is bigger than my fears. We already missed Mandalagan in 2013 because I was on a company trip in USA and the then-boyfie-now-husband didn’t want to go without the annoying me. Sweet! So without further ado when the opportunity presents itself, I shared it to the husband. Since I received Christ, being a good and submissive wife has become a goal. Nowadays, unlike before, instead of deciding on my own right away, I consult my husband (aka Migo) first.

Migo has been wanting to resume trekking for a while but I have been too busy with other things. Our company trekking club went to Tres Marias on the Freedom long weekend but he understood that I needed to rest and recuperate now that the events at work has come to an end. He had fully supported my June hiatus, the social media sabbatical and my desire to pursue Jesus in his own ways.

So when he expressed the desire to join the trek to Mandalagan, I agreed despite my fears. Thanks to a good friend for sharing the info and to another friend who responded positively to our interest.

So the story of how I ended up going to Mandalagan despite my hiatus is a love story. People trek mountains for different reasons. As for me, it has always been love. My love for adventure and my love to my oh so awesome husband who empowers me to face my fears – this time, LEECHES in Mandalagan.

Will get to them leeches later but first…let me take you back to…

Day 0 Friday

The plan was to meet at North Bus Terminal at 3:30PM so we took a leave to prepare. We plan to pack earlier but as usual, we ended up cramming and even forgot to charge our powerbanks which makes the husband very uncomfortable.

Since the bus leaves at 6PM, we decided to leave the house at 4PM to charge some more. But that too wasn’t enough. It led to the husband’s comical search for power outlets every place we went. This has been our mishap last trek too. I hope this wouldn’t happen again. Must add in the list.

Somebody is happy upon seeing the charging station at North Bus Terminal.

We were the last ones to arrive at 5PM. We didn’t really know who we are going with but when I saw 3 other familiar faces, I felt at peace. I don’t really mind trekking with strangers but there’s comfort in familiarity. Unlike before, I didn’t went into full mode chatterbox, which happens rather often lately. Nowadays, I find it more appealing to just wait for people to talk to me than do the reaching out first. I still love connecting to new people but now with reservations. I don’t want to come off as a show-off and a braggart which was mostly tied to friendly and extroverted people. 😦 But the change was not really about how people will see me, I have been over that already, it’s because of my desire to learn how to listen more than talking. Jesus values listening more than talking so I’m trying my best to learn the art of observing and listening first before opening my mouth. It was only when the bus left that I asked for the names of those that I met for the first time.

The trip to Toledo City took more than 2.5 hours. Migo dozed off while I spent my time writing on my personal blog. I expected it to be posted before the signal went off at Naga but the words just kept on coming. Thankfully, it was done just before the bus stopped at Toledo port.

After receiving our ticket and terminal fee, we were told to be at the ferry by 9PM. Since it was already 8:45, we all agreed to buy takeout at Mcdo. We were at the ferry by 9PM uncomfortably munching on our takeouts and somewhat regretting why we didn’t buy burger instead. The seat numbers weren’t followed so we ended up taking the bench next to the trash can and too close together. Pfft!

Hello San Carlos City

The ferry ride took almost 2 hours. Because I didn’t want to drain my phone, I decided to sleep but the seat was very uncomfortable so I only managed to dozed a little. We arrived in San Carlos City at 11:15 PM. 15 minutes after, we went back to the bus and it departed to Bacolod City.

Bacolod City First Timers

This was our 3rd trek in Negros Island. When we trekked in Mt. Canlaon, we arrived in San Carlos City and then Canlaon City. For Mt. Talinis, we arrived in Dumaguete City.

Day 1 Saturday

I was quite surprised with Bacolod especially the big and airport feels Ceres Bus Terminal. We arrived at the old Terminal at 2AM. We waited for our other companions and then rode a tryke to Ceres Bus Terminal where we catch a short rest before the terminal operation resumes at 5AM.

To The Jump-Off in Patag, Silay City

The bus terminal was awake at 5AM. After washing our face and enduring the cold at the airconditioned comfort room, we were ready for the next stop: Silay City. We arrived in Poblacion, Silay at 6AM after 30 minutes of travel from Bacolod City. We settled and had breakfast at #HugotSizzlers.

Patag is still an hour away from Poblacion. To save the fare, instead of hiring a private vehicle, we utilized the commuter jeepney instead. We only pay for Php45 for the trip but we had to wait 45 minutes for the jeepney to be filled.

The Hospital, Patag (Jump-Off)

The jeepney left at 8:15. By 9:15, we were at the hospital where we got our guides. We haggled to only have 1 guide as 2 of our companions were from Negros and they are quite familiar with the trail. Unfortunately, the tourism insisted that we should have 2.

Compared to other guide fees which was mostly Php500/day, Tinagong Dagat guide fee was Php750/day. We were already uneasy by the guide fees more so when they asked us to pay for the entrance fee, we were baffled why we had to pay when we only went their to get guides but they insist that we should pay. T_T

We thought that was our only “pay” trouble. We thought wrong. Stay tuned on the next post as we finally start our trek and leave the Hospital but before ending this post, let me tell you a story about the hospital.

About the Hospital. Back in 2013, I remembered one of our hiking friends told us that the hospital was kind of haunted. I was especially excited to see it. To my surprise, the hospital was now turned into rooms for the guests who want to swim at the pool beside it. Hehe! No more ghost feels for me. Lol

An Overnight Trek to Tinagong Dagat in Mt. Mandalagan via Patag – Campuestohan Traverse


See below the ITINERARY AND EXPENSES, story to follow.

ITINERARY AND EXPENSES

Day 0
Permit/Fax: Php300

The Adventurers before leaving the camp.

Roll Call (from Left):
Harold, Pete, Kathy, Alfred, Rhea, Kring, July, RJ, Jill, Van, Carl, Andoy, Shie, Guide 1, Guide 2, Gil

17:00 North Bus Terminal
– Be early to secure a seat.
17:50 Departure to Toledo
– Fare/Pax: Php375 via Ceres (w/ CR)
20:30 Toledo City
20:45 Get off the bus
– Told to be back at 9PM so we just bought take out at Mcdo.
21:00 At the Ferry
21:30 Departure to San Carlos City
– Ticket and terminal fee was provided by the Ceres conductor before leaving the bus. Things were left at the bus too.
23:15 Arrival in San Carlos City
23:30 At the bus, departure to Bacolod

Day 1

02:00 Bacolod Old Terminal
02:45 To Ceres Northbound Terminal
– Fare/Pax: Php30 via tryke
03:00 At Terminal
– Sleep until 5:00 AM (Preps)
05:30 To Silay
– Fare/Pax: Php16 via Ceres Bus
06:00 Poblacion Silay City
– Breakfast @ #Hugot Sizzlers
– Wait for Alfred. Permit was forgotten.
– CR breaks
– Buy lunch pack at Mercado.
07:30 At jeep to Patag (Commute)
– Fare/Pax: Php45 via passenger jeepney
– Waiting for other passengers
08:15 Jeep Departure
09:15 Hospital – Tourism
– Guide Fee: Php750/day
– Guide Fee/Pax: Php250
– Entrance: Php10
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Platform
16:30 Tinagong Dagat
18:00 Dinner Preps
20:00 Dinner
20:30 Socials
22:00 Lights Off

Day 2

05:00 Wake up call
06:00 Breakfast Preps, Break Camp
08:30 Breakfast
09:30 Left Tinagong Dagat
13:00 Campuestohan
– Food Share/Pax: Php87
15:00 ETD to Bacolod
16:00 ETA in Mercy’s Talabahan, Bacolod
16:30 ETD to Ruins
– Fare/Pax: Php150
17:00 The Ruins
– Entrance/Pax: Php100
19:00 ETD to Ceres Terminal
– Fare/Pax: Php25 via Tryke
– Dinner
– Fare/Pax: Php410 from Bacolod to North Bus via Escalante – Tabuelan
21:00 ETD to Ferry
23:30 ETA Ferry Port
– Fare/Pax: Php130
00:00 ETD to Tabuelan Port
03:00 ETD to North Bus Terminal
05:30 Home Sweet Home

EXPENSES
Permit/Fax: Php300 paid 1 to 2 weeks before the trek
Fare/Pax: Php375 from North Bus to Bacolod City via Ceres (w/ CR)
Fare/Pax: Php30 from Bacolod Bus Stop to Ceres Terminal via tryke
Fare/Pax: Php16 from Ceres Terminal to Silay City via Ceres Bus
Fare/Pax: Php45 from Silay City to jump-off in Patag
Guide Fee/Pax: Php250 paid at Hospital
Entrance Hospital: Php10 paid at Hospital
Food Share/Pax: Php87 group food sharing (Day 1 Dinner, Day 2 Breakfast, Lunch)
Fare/Pax: Php150 from Campuestohan to The Ruins
Entrance/Pax: Php100 The Ruins
Fare/Pax: Php25 via Tryke from The Ruins to Ceres Terminal
Fare/Pax: Php410 from Bacolod to North Bus via Escalante – Tabuelan
Fare/Pax: Php130 Ferry from Escalante to Tabuelan
TREK TOTAL: Php1928

Additionals:
Day 0 Dinner Php100
Day 1 Breakfast Php50
Day 1 Pack Lunch Php50
Day 2 Snacks Php100
Day 2 Late Lunch Php150
Day 2 Dinner Php50
ADDITIONALS TOTAL: Php500

GRAND TOTAL: Php2500 (total estimated max budget. Just bring Php3000)

GUIDE DETAILS (Guide is provided by Tourism office on the day in Hospital, Patag, Silay City)
Note: 1 guide per 10 pax, in excess mandatory add 1 guide
– Guide Fee: Php750/day/pax

2 Days in Bangkok, Thailand (Day 10-11/11)


We arrived in Bangkok at 5 AM via 4 transport transfers from Vang Vieng, Laos. The journey started with a VIP van to Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge where we processed the exit from Laos. As soon as we got off the van, we were ushered by a staff from Soutchai Travel. He gave us instructions on what to do and gave us a sticker. Before getting on the connecting bus, he told us that the sticker will be our identification of the Soutchai staff at the Thailand side. The bus to Nong Khai was quick. When we got off, a staff approached and ushered us at an office near a 7/11. We were given our tickets and instructed to wait for the bus at 8 PM. Since it was still 7PM, we had enough time to eat and bought a Thailand sim. We all thought that we would be riding the same sleeper bus all the way to Bangkok but we changed sleeper bus at Nakhon Ratchasima. At 5 AM, we arrived in Mo Chit Terminal 2 in Bangkok, Thailand. We only paid once for all the rides. The ticket was bought in Vang Vieng via Soutchai travel for 270K LAK, around 1600 PHP.

Taxi to Mahannop
Because it’s very early, there was no other transport in sight but taxis. Unfortunately, the driver doesn’t understand English. When we showed him the AirBNB receipt for the address, he proceeded to call our host to our suprise. But even after talking to Danielle, it took him a while to find the place. From that experience, we decided it is our best interest not to take taxi in Bangkok unless necessary. We will have more control if we take public transports.

Early Check-in Not Possible
When we arrived, our room was not yet available but we were able to deposit our big backpacks so we decided to start our tour early. Started it with breakfast in Bangkok.

Street Food Noodles
Our rule was if we were really hungry, we would not be adventurous and eat in the streets. But when I saw the yummy looking noodles at an alley stall, the rule was forgotten. Good thing the noodles were really good. We just used sign language to communicate.

What we did in Bangkok
Like the previous countries, I didn’t really OC on the itinerary. So I was quite surprised that our place where walking distance with the tourist spots. The blessings and luck were so abundant in this trip. Everything was perfectly laid out. Just thankful. 🙂

Armed with google maps and the husband’s awesome grasp of directions, we went around checking the places in the “Rattanokosin Cultural Route” then did a walking tour to Wat Phra Kaew.


Wat Phra Kaew and The Grand Palace
And like Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace, we didn’t had an idea that the place was huge. We had fun taking pictures and listening to it’s history via the audio tour. Unfortunately, the audio tour is limited to 2 hours only so we weren’t able to listen to them wholeheartedly in between photo shoots.

Around 1 PM, our host texted that our room was ready but we were still busy exploring. By 4 PM, we had enough. Who wouldn’t? Most tourists will have stayed there for around an hour but we stayed for 5 hours. Just wow! When we left Migo mentioned that a guard commented that he was wondering what we were doing inside since he saw us in the morning until the afternoon. Most tourists stayed only for an hour. LOL


The Rest of Day 1
When we left the grand palace, we were very exhausted so we decided to not walk all the way back. We took the tuktuk and paid 100 BAHT. After checking in, we took a bath and decided that we had enough wander for the day. We slept then went out to dine with a friend. The night ended with us playing board games at a board game cafe just like what we did in Hong Kong.

Bangkok Day 2
We woke up late. By this time, we felt we needed the extra sleep. After checking out and left our bag, we went to visit “Wat Pho” and had lunch inside. But it was evident that we had enough fun since most of our time were spent eating. The husband seeing me exhausted decided we just need to visit the “musts”. After checking some spots, we decided to call it a day and walk all the way back to the guest house. We lingered for a while to charge our phones. By 6 PM, we were ready to go. We rode a bus to the train station bound to the airport.


Bangkok Pics Here!

3 Days in Vang Vieng, Laos (Day 7-9/11)


The plan was to leave Vientiane at 6 AM but we found a 9:30 AM bus schedule. We welcomed the change since we’ve been waking very early the passing days.

We woke up a little late than usual and had our breakfast at the Karenderia near Singsanti’s. By 9:00 AM, we were already in front of Capitol Residence waiting for pick-up. After 15 minutes of waiting, we were worried why our pick-up didn’t show up. The husband asked me to call the ticketing. They assured us that the pick-up will be there in 10 minutes. Another 10 minutes passed, still nothing. The husband pushed to call again but I hesitated because it might seem too pushy. After a while the tuktuk came and we relaxed a little. We picked up 2 more along the way.

Bottom right pic is Migo standing in front of our accommodation in Vientiane. The rest are pics from our breakfast - the street opposite the karenderia, the karenderia and our food!
Bottom right pic is Migo standing in front of our accommodation in Vientiane. The rest are pics from our breakfast – the street opposite the karenderia, the karenderia and our food!

Bus to Vang Vieng

The travel to Vang Vieng is about 4 hours. When we got to the bus, it was already filled so the husband and I were forced to seat apart. On the way, the husband was sound asleep while I blogged about our day in Vientiane.

Journey to Vang Vieng from Vientiane!
Journey to Vang Vieng from Vientiane! Migo & Miga wearing the new couple shirt bought at Vientiane night market.

Hello Vang Vieng!

When we arrived, most of the tourist left the bus station immediately on board a van while we waited for our host to pick us up. After a while a pick-up arrived. Without asking, we went with the other group. It turned out, that wasn’t our pick-up. Haha! When our host called, we told her we rode on the wrong pick-up. Nouth arrived in a while.

I picked Nouth’s place because it had awesome ambiance. True to the pics, it made me feel like we were on a honeymoon. We’ll talk more about the place we’ve stayed in 6 cities on a separate blog soon. Stay tuned.

Our quaint accommodation with our friendly host, Nouth!
Our quaint accommodation Lao Valhalla with our friendly host, Nouth!

Vang Vieng Day 1

After settling, we slept and explored Vang Vieng. We borrowed a bike and took our first pic of Vang Vieng’s mountains. Then went to the riverside looking for the view on bright side’s pic. We saw bridges but none matches what we saw in the picture. It was about sunset so we decided to just let it go since what we were seeing was just as beautiful.

Migo tuning the bike for our first stroll!
The riverside view with the power of timer! :D
The riverside view with the power of timer! 😀

 

Life in Vang Vieng, Laos! We were welcome with the rainbow promise. 🙂

When we had our fill, we walked to find a good place to eat. We had dinner then went back to the guest house and stayed at the common area. After a while, other guests arrived. We had the chance to get to know them. Hema and Alex from Spain, then Lara from UK. We bid goodbye around 11:30 PM since we had an early call-time for the half day tour.

Miga’s favorite setup to eat. 🙂

Vang Vieng Day 2
We woke up around 8 AM. Had breakfast and by 9 AM, we were ready for our half-day tour. One other guest who also stayed at Lao Valhalla joined us. On the way to the drop off we exchanged infos. When we arrived on our tour service, 3 more joined.

Our group of 6 composed of 4 nationalities: Chinese, Koreans, Laotian and us. The tour started at a trek to the start of a multi-stop zipline. The 1st stop was around 10-15 minutes walk from the common area where our Laotian guide waited while preparing our lunch.

It took us around an hour to finish all the stops. While enjoying the ride, you get to enjoy the view on the top of each platform too. At the last ride, I was famished.

Lunch were served and after we went tubing into a cave. We laid down on our tube and then pull ourselves into the cave.

The tubing was extreme. I was concerned with pulling myself that I fail to enjoy the view inside. I was afraid of being left out too. The husband said his arms were sore ’cause of the tubing. Luckily, mine didn’t because I pushed to stay close to the only other girl in the group – Yang, the Chinese. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take a photo, besides it’s pitch dark inside the cave. I’m claustrophobic so that was kind of hard for me.

We rested for a while and then went into the last stop of our half day tour – the Elephant Cave. Yang and the 3 Korean guys Yong, Jang & Kim have full day tours. We went back to our cab and traveled back to the start of their 10K kayaking. As they were oriented, I’m feeling grateful that we opt to miss it. When they left with their kayaks, our service drop us back to Namsong Bridge.

While our tour-friends are busy paddling the 10K back to city center, the husband and I went to rent a motorbike for our trek!

Motorbiking and Trekking in Vang Vieng
When we bike to the city center on our first day, our bike act up. As the husband tried fixing, a guy approached us and walked the bike. We were surprised. In my head ran bad thoughts again but as we got nearer, we saw the same bikes. We assumed he must be Nouth’s friend – the owner of the bike. He gave us a new bike and fixed what we used. While at it, we saw his motorcycles for rent too.

On the way to Nouth’s place after our half day tour doing zip line, tubing and caving, we were dropped by the tour service at Namsong Bridge. As we passed by Nouth’s friend’s place, we decided to rent a motorbike. In Vang Vieng, there are no public transportation. To go places, you have to bike or motorbike on your own. Since we planned to trek, we needed a motorbike to go there.

The husband chose the manual motorbikes first but after 2 tries, he opted for the automatic ones which were rented at a higher price. We took the motorbike home and rested for a while before leaving for our next activity of the day – trekking in Vang Vieng (will make a separate post for details).

After the trek, we went back to the city center again and as planned tried massage after dinner. Our very 1st massage since birth. Haha! It was an amazing experience. Can’t wait to try other massage since we just had a Lao traditional massage. We went back to the house past midnight already so we decided to retire.

Vang Vieng Day 3 – Blue Lagoon and Off to Bangkok, Thailand

From my research, I only find a 10AM bus sked but when we bought a ticket on our 1st day, there was a 1:30 PM trip bound to Bangkok already. It added us an extra half day in Vang Vieng and crunched our travel time to night.

We spent the extra hours swimming at Blue Lagoon despite the rain. By 1 pm, we were ready to go. We bid goodbye to Nouth. Yang was scheduled to leave too. Nouth drop us at the end of Namsong bridge. We walked to the other side and waited for our bus pickup.

While waiting, the husband bought lunch and mango shake. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to enjoy it since I toppled the table and dropped the mango shake. I was stunned for a while, thinking he would lashed out at me. But just like always, his patience and tolerance for my carelessness is noteworthy. Thank you Lord for husbands like Migo. 🙂

Then we were off to our journey back to Vientiane then finally to the friendship bridge where an agent of Soutchai Travel assisted us. He bought our terminal fee then instructed us to ride the bus to the other side. When we arrive in the border of Thailand, another agent from Soutchai Travel helped us get our night bus ticket. When we were settled at the bus station, he bade us goodbye. As it was still 7 pm, we had an hour to ourselves since the bus is scheduled to arrive at 8:00 PM. The husband and I didn’t waste our time and bought food and a Thai sim card. The 7/11 staff was very kind enough to set-up our sim. It was much easier than our experience at Laos. 🙂

The story about how we were awed (or naihas) with the night bus to Bangkok is up next. Stay tuned. Hopefully, I can blog this weekend. I’m just so excited to be done with the personal blogging so that I could finally start my non-meish blogging and do a cleanup.  I’m afraid that if I did the non-meish stuffs first, I would forget the personal details. It’s just doesn’t  feel right to forgot my first love.  LOL

13D12N of Adventure – an Instagram and Facebook Recap


Before continuing the story of our Indochina adventure in Vang Vieng, Laos – our longest city stop, let us reminisce the adventure with our everyday updates. Instagram updates were done by the wife (me) and super amazed that the husband voluntarily joined the fun by posting in his Facebook page. Hurray! I have Pokemon Go to thank for since if not for it, the husband surely wouldn’t get a mobile internet and a new phone. Haha!

Here’s the day-to-day activity from our albums & linked to the blogs:

Day 0 – Flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia

Day 1 – Temple Hop in Siem Reap, Cambodia & night bus to Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Day 2 – Historics in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Day 3 – Day bus to HCMC, Vietnam & night life

Day 4 – HCMC, Vietnam & bus back to Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Day 5 – Multi-transport to Vientiane, Laos

Day 6 – Vientiane, Laos

Day 7 – Vang Vieng, Laos
Day 8 – Vang Vieng, Laos
Day 9 – Vang Vieng, Laos & multi-transport to Bangkok, Thailand
Day 10 – Bangkok, Thailand
Day 11 – Bangkok, Thailand & flight to Manila
Day 12 – Manila, Philippines

Will update this post as soon as I’m done writing the remaining activities from Day 7 on wards.

Here’s the 28 insta pics that summarized our activities everyday since August 20, 2016 (the wife’s 30th birthday) to September 01, 2016 (the husband’s birth day count down at 10. birthday on September 10!)

 

In Facebook:

 

Our trip in numbers:

10 leg of transports,7 accommodations, 6 wandered cities, 4 border crossings, 4 flights, 2 stop-overs

How poor have we become?

Will post soon. 🙂

Osmeña Peak is GREEN Once More!

Less crowded Opeak. Perfect hike weather. No-hassle travel. I think can attribute these serendipitous conditions to 2 things. First, there was a typhoon brewing in Luzon that weekend. And second, there’s currently a moratorium for canyoneering activities, which is a large tourist draw. With these two combined, it might have repelled the usual weekend warriors away. This seems like a Schadenfreude moment, 2 unfortunate events led to my perfect weekend trek situation. hahaha


Last July 30-31, the husband went on an All Men trip to Osmeña Peak. And because of its perfect conditions, he felt like blogging the entire journey. This is his first time to write about an experience and I’m quite amazed at how well he writes. This was a first step but I’m not hoping for anything since he kept on saying blogging is not his thing. Oh well. =)

Last week’s trek trip to Opeak was almost perfect. That was my 7th (or 8th) time there, never missing since 2011, so it’s becoming like a yearly pilgrimage for my trekking “career”.

The campsite was not crowded, with just 7 groups camping (just around 20 tents in total in my guesstimate). At the registration, we were guest no. 170+, which is way down from their weekend norm of 450+ throng of visitors (with as high as 1.5k last summer. — this plus the unforgiving El Nino summer heat; no wonder Opeak looked ravaged on random people’s selfie pics at that time. And this sparked the ‪#‎saveOsmenaPeak‬ posts cropping up on trekkers’ statuses).

We experienced a sudden strong downpour at the early evening that made us scrambled for our tents. My 5 year old tent is showing it’s age, the leaks are getting worse. Good thing it just went by quickly. Had it rained all night, I would have been dozing in a damp sleeping bag. The winds were not roaring, which is the usual up there. But we camped in a somewhat sheltered area, so maybe we were shielded from the full brunt. Torrential rains and howling winds is to be expected up there, so overall, it was just pretty mild.

On the hike to Kawasan, the weather was so fine. The sun only showed up a few minutes in between hours. There was only very slight drizzles, no need to bring out the rain gear. It was mostly cloudy all throughout the trek, the perfect trekking weather. On a typical sunny day, I had to do water refills on the water source, but this time, I wasn’t able to fully consume the 2L water I carried for the trek. Less sweat mean less water loss so no need to constantly hydrate.

We started the traverse trek at 8:27AM and ended at 1:37PM. 5 hours and 10 minutes all-in-all, which is the fastest time in my 5 tries on the Opeak-Kawasan traverse trek (one time, we got lost and spent 7+ hours). Total rest time was just 30-40 minutes. We went the wrong way twice or thrice, but it was only a few meters though. It was my 1st time to be the head guide. The locals are quick to point out the right way, shouting “Diri agi o!”. We only encountered 4 other groups on the traverse, most of us merging at the Chapel/Buko rest area. One group did a reverse traverse, starting from Kawasan and going to Opeak. Another group, a couple, just the 2 of them, overtook us on a slippery trail. They were hike jogging like it was paved road (the girl only wearing Crocs slippers), while we carefully navigated it with our shaky sore knees. I admire their endurance.

After lunch chibog time and swim-relax in the river, we headed home at 4:10PM. I scheduled for us to leave at 3PM+ to avoid the wild scrambling for the bus which is a constant issue on these weekend trips. But I worried all for nothing. The 1st bus we hailed was a Ceres aircon bus, and believe it or not, it was almost empty! This never happened before! At 5PM, it’s always full and standing-only, but no, not this time around. Travelers was so light that day, that the seat beside me was empty until Carcar! Imagine that.

Less crowded Opeak. Perfect hike weather. No-hassle travel. I think can attribute these serendipitous conditions to 2 things. First, there was a typhoon brewing in Luzon that weekend. And second, there’s currently a moratorium for canyoneering activities, which is a large tourist draw. With these two combined, it might have repelled the usual weekend warriors away. This seems like a Schadenfreude moment, 2 unfortunate events led to my perfect weekend trek situation. hahaha

osm
A green Osmeña Peak is <3. Taken on July 30-31, 2016.

Summit to Sea Adventure in Biliran, Eastern Visayas (Day 3) – The Sambawan Paradise

This is the last post of the Tres Marias series but I’m planning to post some realizations and other tips blog soon. Hang in there friends. Hope you had fun reading as much as I had fun writing while re-visiting the lovely memories that we had on this adventure. The husband and I would be on a hiatus this July and August as we will be preparing for our 11-day trip to Southeast Asia come August 20-September 1. We were quite excited as that trip would be our 2nd trip abroad following our Anniversary trip in Hong Kong & Macau last March. Wish us luck friends!!! Till the next post!


The hype of Sambawan wasn’t just a hype, it’s real. It’s the sort of beauty that even a photograph cannot do justice. It’s a paradise that I don’t mind waking up to every single day. The island is peculiarly shaped but since I was rather unadventourous that morning I’ve only visited the main viewpoint. The husband however went to the other end. Ryan, our guide urged us to visit the opposite end. I think  no one went. Next time I really would. Gotta come back and stay for more than a night.

4 of the picture-perfect views of Sambawan! The husband’s view is overlooking to where we camp. Liz’s in orange is facing the other end of the island where I didn’t go. My view is to the sea. The last pic w/ Analyn is the cogon-covered path way to the view point.

Day 3
We agreed to wake up at 4 AM but when my alarm sounded, it was still too dark. I noticed that I was sweating so I opened our tent to welcome the morning breeze. After I did so, the cold air put me back to sleep. I woke up just in time for the orangey glow of sunrise. I then called on the others so that we could go together.

The camp site early in the morning.
Early morning views.

To my surprise, the view point is just very near. Ryan told me it was a short trek but I didn’t think it was that short. Haha! There was even a stairs on the way up.

Pictures on the way to the view point.

And of course, Sambawan didn’t disappoint. From the view point, you could see the entire island shaped like a C. The husband said it is a snake shaped island so instead of Sambawan, it would have been better if it was called the Snake Island. But of course, I disagree. An island named after a beast I loathe wouldn’t be a must for me. Haha! I would think that it’s named such because snakes are abundant in them. Lol

I went back ahead of the husband as he wanted to explore the other end of the island. I wanted too as well but I worried that if I stayed too long, we wouldn’t be able to achieved leaving the island as planned.

The husband’s attempt to pose! This is so rareeeeee before but nowadays, it just amazed me how he makes an effort to pose for pictures now. 🙂 He has changed indeed. And I love that change. 🙂
Pictures of the husband’s buddies in exploring the other end of the islands.

When I went back, we started cooking breakfast. Since we had tons of foods left, we had a feast. We had dilis, spam, corned beef and eggs. While we were cooking, the others were breaking up the camp. Over our cooking busyness, we played a game of “Kuan”. Gamz who went in late didn’t get the joke right away. She had the most “Kuan” counts. As for me who’s normally talkative and talk fast had to tone down my speech. I didn’t want to have any “Kuan” count. Haha!

Breakfast time!!!

After breakfast, we gathered up our things and arranged it to the boat. We left just in time. On the way, as promised Ryan took us to 2 spots. The first was a cave. We just caught a glimpsed of it though so everyone wasn’t that hyped. The 2nd was Dalutan Resort. We paid an extra Php20 for entrance but it’s worth it. Some had the time to swim and the others just enjoyed a brief time’s up from the unforgiving heat of our open boat.

Photo ops before we left the island of dreams!
Our partner of adventure – our open boat and some views along the way!

We were supposed to have lunch back at the harbor but as we were not famished yet, we decided to just went to the terminal directly. We declined Ryan’s offer to change at his house. Since all of us wouldn’t fit in at a single van, Liz, Pong, the husband and me rode together at the next van. We were in Ormoc by 4 PM. After a sumptuous meal of lechon, we waited for our ride back to Cebu. =) At 8 PM, we were home. It was time to say goodbye to the new faces who have been our companions for the last 3 days. All we have were pics and a life time of memories that would be cherished forever. 🙂

This is the last post of the Tres Marias series but I’m planning to post some realizations and other tips blog soon. Hang in there friends. Hope you had fun reading as much as I had fun writing while re-visiting the lovely memories that we had on this adventure. The husband and I would be on a hiatus this July and August as we will be preparing for our 11-day trip to Southeast Asia come August 20-September 1. We were quite excited as that trip would be our 2nd trip abroad following our Anniversary trip in Hong Kong & Macau last March. Wish us luck friends!!! Till the next post!

Tres Marias Series:
Day 1
Day 2 – Part 1
Day 2 – Part 2
Day 3

Thank you for reading and I’d love to hear from you. Comment away!!!

Summit to Sea Adventure in Biliran, Eastern Visayas (Day 2) – Part 2 – Descent and Ulan-Ulan Falls


We left the camp in a hurry at 12 PM. 2 hours late for our target. As I was walking away focusing on catching up with the others, I hear Tin shrieked. She was bitten by bees. I asked if she was good, she answered that it was just minor. John who walked behind her was luckily spared. Not long after, I caught up with Liz and Gamz. John & Tin who were behind me said July was behind them so I decided to stop. On a trek, I am most comfortable walking ahead of the husband.

Going down was slippery. I was extra careful but then it happened. For the first time, I lost balance and slipped. The husband was quick to notice and instead of supportive like usual, he was mocking me. Liz joined in. It went on for a while. I tried to fight back but they won’t budge.

Group picture! I was still in good spirits by then. Bottom left picture was taken after I slipped.

Things happened so fast that the next thing I remembered was hitting the husband with my trekking pole. I was as surprised as he was for what I did. I was sorry but I felt he deserved my ire. I then went ahead to get away from him determined to keep my angst alive. Then everything started to turn bad in my eyes. I lost the energy to capture moments or lend people my high spirits.

When we stopped at the last water source, there was a commotion. It was only then that I noticed Charina’s face. Her eyes was swollen. As the others went ahead, the husband offered her antihistamine. Charina, like Tin, was also bitten by bees and she got an allergic reaction to it. I wanted to go ahead but I had to make sure she’s OK. I didn’t want to talk to the husband but that time I had no choice.

Charina stop!

After Charina & Ricco went ahead, I continued my indifference to the husband which was now repentant. When the group stopped at our lunch area, I decided to flee from the husband. I didn’t feel like resting too. The trail starting from the lunch stop started to get harsh. It was a different feeling trekking at the head. I had the chance to take pictures in the front.

The action at the head of the group.

Nomad Falls
When we passed Nomad Falls, Almera asked if we could drop by. I was hesitant but Ryan (the guide) assured that we still have time. Because we were in a hurry the day before I have totally missed seeing the falls. It would have been a pity if we missed it a 2nd time.

As I was readying to go, I didn’t noticed the husband keeping up with me. When we arrived near the falls, Gamz and Almera had their picture taken. After taking their picture, the husband said he would take my picture. I hesitated. He’s really persistent. I wanted to stay mad and ignore him but who could stay mad at someone so kind and understanding? He should have gone mad after I hit him with the pole but instead of being angry at me being angry, he understood my immaturity.

After Nomad Falls, I was back to my normal self. I wanted to hug & say sorry but I was still mad for his mocking. I didn’t want to forget about it just because he was regretful. While we bathe at Nomad Falls, the others went ahead.

Hello Nomad Falls! Almera was quick to check the falls as soon as we stop!
The stop right before Nomad Falls!
Hello Nomad Falls! And yes, I swam! 🙂

Recoletos and Ulan2 Falls
We reunited with everyone at Ulan2 Falls. Since we were the last, we decided to stop by at Recoletos for picture. Ulan2 Falls was just below Recoletos. I was already OK with the husband but still uneasy with Liz. What she did may seem normal but I have always hated it when people mocked me. Sometimes I fight back but most of the time, its just plain annoying. I understood that people are normally tactless and don’t care much about other people’s sentiments but I don’t want to have myself subjected to that kind of toxic feeling. Like whenever someone calls me fat, it hurts because I don’t understand why they have to rub it in my face. I’m not even that fat. I have a healthy weight. I exercise and I love my curves. Magnifying the insecurity of others is not my game and I expect people to do the same. Sadly most of the time, people are just harsh. And if they are harsh, I need to be harsher.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

I believe what happened was an attack and I don’t enjoy it. People should stop noticing the bad in others. They should focus on themselves instead. I’m not perfect but I’m working hard to improve myself. I don’t criticize people. I don’t speak ill about them but if I did, I’m sure that was just mere retaliation.

Because I wasn’t myself in Ulan2, I tried to stay away from everyone. It was a good decision because after a while they were joking around. Making people look stupid while laughing about it as a group is not my cup of tea. I seek to empower not belittle.

Recoletos and Ulan2x Falls! I don’t have much pictures since I’m still not feeling good.

Back to the Harbor
We were told to be back at the jump-off at 4PM. While walking, I had the chance to confront the husband about what happened. After clearing everything with him, I decided that was enough. That I had to let go of whatever that was I’m keeping. Besides Liz was just an accessory.

Our rides were waiting when we arrived at the jump-off. But instead of riding in 2s, we had to do it in 3s. Pong rode with us. After 5 minutes in transit, the roof of the motorcycle was squeaking. Because our bags were heavy, the roof threatened to give in. Pong and the husband had to use their hands as support. The driver decided to stopped. Pong carried his bag while the husband’s bag was put at the front. As we continue our ride, the roof was squeaking still with only my bag but not so much anymore.

Bye bye Uan2x!

Off to Sambawan
While waiting for our ride to Sambawan, we decided to just have our dinner at the harbor instead. It drizzled while we were eating but instead of transferring, we took out our umbrellas and continued eating. Haha! After a while our ride arrived.

Dinner at the harbor!

It was an open boat with no roof. Everyone was just as surprised as I was. Someone asked Ryan (the guide) if that was our boat and thought that he was joking when he said that it was. People had hesitations whether the 18 of us would fit. I had too but as always, I didn’t let my fear influence everyone. Besides, it was already late to get another boat. I trusted Ryan’s word.

Our ride to Sambawan! It looks scary right?

Fighting Fear with Gaming
After eating, we decided to go. As I waved goodbye to Cha and Ricco, I uttered a silent prayer to keep both of us safe. The weather was not so good and from what I heard, the waves in Sambawan could become merciless at times. When the boat finally moved, Almera reminded us to pray. I forgot if it was me or Analyn who led the prayer. After the prayer, we played games. There were a lot of suggestions but we ended playing “3-6-9”. A lot of games followed after. It was thanks to the games we were a bit distracted.

The ride took almost 2 hours. It felt so long. I think it was my first time to ride a boat at night. It was scary. The dark night and the big waves were recipes of disaster for me. I felt like I was in some kind of shark or horror movie. When the waves got a little too much, I decided to stop playing and focus on the surroundings. I prayed too. And just like always, when I’m afraid, I tend to think of the worst. Then I saw some light at a distance. Relief washed over me when someone announced that we were almost there.

Hello Sambawan
The fear of the ride must have taken a toll. I was both super hungry and super sleepy. After pitching our tent, I wanted to curl up and sleep right away but everyone seems to be in high spirits. The husband suggested that maybe the sea will take my stress away.

Thanks God I listened to the husband. The sea was indeed rejuvenating. The others who didn’t swim prepared soup and noodles. It was enough to regain back my energy. After eating, the husband suggested we played “Thumbs Up”. It was a stupid game and I sucked big time. Haha! When I lost, that was my cue to exit. My entire body was screaming in pain too. Sundays after a long trek is just the worst for me. I, of course, wasn’t able to sleep right away. They were noisy and I didn’t want to miss out on anything too. Haha!

The countable pictures I had. Last pic was taken at 12:30 AM. They must have slept around 1 or 1:30AM.

Oh well! Writing part 2 was not what I thought. It’s supposed to be cheesy and more dramatic. LOL Anyway, I must have been just excited to finally finish this part so that I could show just how beautiful Sambawan is. 🙂 Next!!! And no more drama and pole beating this time. LOLssss! Day 3 is just pure awesomeness. We even went on a surprise detour to 2 spots. Weeeeee! And sorry for being a little bit emotional. Now you know how I hate mocking. You mustn’t push my button next time. Huhu! I was actually sad I didn’t have more pics on the 2nd part. I have a hard time remembering too. 😦 I was also regretful because of my bad mood, I didn’t have time to cam-whore at Ulan2x Falls. Hayst!

Tres Marias Series:

Day 1

Day 2 – Part 1

Day 2 – Part 2

Day 3

Seeing Beauty Beyond

“Beauty is the illumination of your soul.”- John O’Donohue

Musings of a Nobody

Because when no one is listening the only thing to do is just keep talking.

Times with Kai

Adventures with little feet

The Misis Blogs

Sharing with you my journey as Misis B. 😊

Kalinga Ni Nanay

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. Psalm 24:1

Life with Psoriasis

A Day in the Life of a NEW Psor Warrior

alaine adventures

on minimalism, motherhood, and the stories in between

great life ahead:-)

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." - Proverbs 13:12 NCV

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