Apo in 4 Days & 3 Nights Via Kapatagan – Kidapawan Trail


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It was everything but a blissful memory, that exceeds far beyond expectation. Apo Climb was my 4th but the greatest of them all. The fears and doubts that loomed over months before has truly become my biggest support. If not for those doubts, Apo would have quickly become a Pulag experience.

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Knowing that a few less adventurous acquaintances have survived Apo didn’t change my plans a bit. Climbing my country’s highest peak would not be easy so I have to be fully prepared physically, mentally and emotionally. To aid the physical preparation, despite liking dancing, starting to join Zumba sessions was never easy. It took a lot of push and rewards to get me going. Glad they did. 🙂

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Our group leader has always mentioned about being self-sufficient but it didn’t get to me until the actual implementation. Cooking was never a problem on the previous climbs, but the decision to separate the group into teams of 3 took an emotional blow. This was the boyfie and I’s 4th climb but we never really bothered ourselves with cooking until then. I was actually hoping to be paired with one of the pro’s (someone who know how to use the burner). Oh well! I was forced to be that pro, and letting my team down is a no-no. And what help me through that? It was that new year’s resolution to not mind what other people think too much. I should only be responsible with myself and those that rely on me. Never force yourself on people. Do what you can and just wait for people to offer. Never ask and rely on anyone for anything to avoid heartbreak. It’s a rude resolution, but so far it gave me nothing but strength.

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Lastly to prepare me mentally, I need to know the nature of the trail. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything that suits my overly detailed specification so I just armed myself with what I knew so far – to conquer a mountain is not easy. Always expect the worst. Never let your guard down.

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And…so much for the over-introduction and prologue…come with me as I try to relive the journey towards and away from Philippines’ highest peak, Mt. Apo on the next posts! 🙂

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Apo Series:
Prologue -> You are here.
Apo Day 1: Overnight At Tinikaran Camp
Apo Day 2: Sunrise and Sunset in 2 Different Peaks
Apo Day 3: Lake Venado’s Grandeur
Apo Day 4: Playing with Kidapawan River

Tallulah Gorge


The next weekend after our supposed last week in Georgia, our friends took my room mate and me to Tallulah Gorge. It was an hour and a half drive from were we stayed. The plan was to have lunch and enjoy the scenery. We did what was planned but with an additional surprise…endured a rigorous downward stairs unto the river. It was an easy trek if my body was still in the climbing shape. Since it was not, I had to catch my breath every 15 minutes or less. A necessary sacrifice to see the beauty of the river up close and a worthy one of course.

The river viewed from the top.
The river viewed from the top.
Trippers: Bart, Clay, Me, Beth, Janice
Trippers: Bart, Clay, Me, Beth, Janice
View inside Tallulah Point.
View inside Tallulah Point.
Overlooking. Group picture.
Overlooking. Group picture.
Cool car!
Cool car!
Lunch!
Lunch!
Nature shots!
Nature shots!
Picture stop!
Picture stop!
Hot dog...err, I mean owner.
Hot dog…err, I mean owner.
The river and me.
The river and me.
Group picture!
Group picture!
On the way down!
On the way down!
Down. Down. Dowwwnnn!
Down. Down. Dowwwnnn!
Bridge over troubled waters. :D
Bridge over troubled waters. 😀
Bridge and the troubled girl :P
Bridge and the troubled girl 😛
Bridge and friends!
Bridge and friends!
Finally...reached our destination!
Finally…reached our destination!
The mandatory view pose!
The mandatory view pose!
Pink socks!
Pink socks!
Remind me not to be to cocky on the stairs next time. o_O
Remind me not to be too cocky on the stairs next time. o_O
Chill in the wilderness!
Chill in the wilderness!

Despite the battered feet in Tallulah, we decided to maximize our time by going to Helen. If there’s one thing I love about summer in the US, it would be the long day time. You can do more with the daylight. Pictures will be in next post. Hurrah! One post done. Cheers to more post on my US travel escapades!

Chasing The Sun In The Playground Of The Gods


I was there..above the clouds hugging myself in anticipation of a new day…as the sun rises in the summit of Mt. Pulag. Smiling as the sun kissed my shivering skin. And ohhhh….this is what I came here for. I was glad. It was worth all the pains. Towering at 2,922 meters above sea level, Mount Pulag is the Philippines’ 3rd highest mountain. It is Luzon’s highest peak. The borders between the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya meet at the mountain’s peak.

Sunrise in Pulag is just too pretty! Isn’t it?

Love the brown grasses!!!

Pulag is a pretty mountain. The views are unique. But what struck me most are the grass covered mountains. All brown as far as the eyes can see! It was also my first time to see a bamboo plant smaller than me. 😀 What happens in Pulag is so beautiful that I decided to keep it in memory. I will only share my favorite pics of the climb. Enjoy! 🙂







A Novice’s Journey to A 6K Feet Mountain


At about 6, 243 ft above sea level, conquering Mount Cuernos de Negros (Talinis Peak) was no easy feat for a neophyte mountaineer.  But what push me to pursue such a venture? The reasons were forgotten…what remains is a sweet triumph of being able to endure an almost 18 hours walk in the rain, the one day extension at the mountains and more hardships that (maybe) every mountaineer has to experience.

Mt Talinis

It was supposed 2 be just a 2 days and 1 night adventure. But in the mountains, time is always an enemy. On the way down at 4 hours away from the end of the trail, the sun was preparing to set, forcing us on a night trek. It was our first major climb and most were not prepared of the dangers of night trekking so when the guide suggest we set up camp, we agreed. The issues and concerns came after.

How do we survive another night? The foods were running out. What would we ate for dinner and breakfast the next day? Our families expects us to be home on a Sunday night, wouldn’t they panic if we’re not home as scheduled? More and more issues came…and then resolved. 

From that setback, we’ve learned how important it is to always have an extra. In the mountains, often assumed that the worst will happen. It is not being pessimistic. It is just a way to survive.

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At the unexpected extension camp. Oh yeah, we were still in high spirits despite the setback. Be a PESSIMIST…but don’t let it control everything…a little OPTIMISM is always healthy!

This climb was an initiation to the mountaineering world. It was a first major climb so I didn’t know what to expect.  Didn’t want to be caught of guard so here are things I did to prepare myself. It might be worth a read if you are interested to be part of this world. 🙂

  1. READ what you are going into. There’s a whole world of information in WWW. You can’t just jumped into the water without knowing how deep it is right? Well, maybe you can if you know how to swim. But even so, knowing how to swim wouldn’t save you from the sharks that lurk in the water. Haha!

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  1. PREPARE. If you read things about mountaineering, there are suggestion on what to do to prepare. Follow it. Be physically and mentally prepared. Schedule jogging sessions. Enroll in the gym. Do the yoga. Do everything that will make your body fit for the strenuous activity.exercise

  2. ANTICIPATE. Get excited. Get into the mood. Being excited at something radiates a good aura in you. The more you think that doing a climb is FUN, it will really be FUN. Think of the things you will see when you reached the top. Think of the views of the trail. Think of how nice it is to be with friends.

And aside from the 3 above…no matter what happens on the trail, accept it as part of the adventure. Also, don’t bring TOO MUCH stuffs. Bring only the once that you will need. No more lipsticks for me…and powder…and mirror. Haha! Even seemingly weightless things may weigh more than you think when you are going uphill.

So now…let me tell you the story with the collages I have of the climb…

Start of the climb
Start of the climb
Up...up and away!
Up…up and away!
Cramp stop. One of our friend got cramps.
Cramp stop. One of our friend got cramps.
The victim!
The victim!
View stop...and cramp stop laters.
View stop…and cramp stop laters.
Water source. Wish I didn't bring too much water.
Water source. Wish I didn’t bring too much water.
Lunch stop @ Lake Yagumyum.
Lunch stop @ Lake Yagumyum.
On the way to the camp site at Lake Nailig..
On the way to the camp site at Lake Nailig..
Porn stop?! See the de-formed tree...
Porn stop?! See the de-formed tree…
Another stop!
Another stop!
Just before the 80 degree descent...
Just before the 80 degree descent…
The 80 degree trail...SCARY!
The 80 degree trail…SCARY!
Setting up our first night camp!
Setting up our first night camp!
The yummy dinner! WOW!
The yummy dinner! WOW!
Climbmates and tentmates!
Climbmates and tentmates!
Breaking up camp to prepare for the summit.
Breaking up camp to prepare for the summit.
The SUMMIT.
The SUMMIT.
Bye bye Lake Nailig. We didn't have the chance to have our group picture taken at the summit because it was too small.
Bye bye Lake Nailig. We didn’t have the chance to have our group picture taken at the summit because it was too small.
River before the leech infested trail...
River before the leech infested trail…
The sulfuric river! Smelled AWFUL.
The sulfuric river! Smelled AWFUL.
The ranch. Our extended campsite.
The ranch. Our extended campsite.
The reward for extending one night...haha! A dip at the  twin falls. Not bad!
The reward for extending one night…haha! A dip at the twin falls. Not bad!
The day after! Getting ready for the real "leech" attack.
The day after! Getting ready for the real “leech” attack.
Taking a bath on the trail down...
Taking a bath on the trail down…
The CONQUERORS!
The CONQUERORS!

Please stay with me on my adventures towards conquering as many mountains as I can. Let me know your thoughts on the comments below. 🙂

Talinis Series: PrologueFirst 4 Hours, Next 4 Hours, The Summit, The Leech Saga

Sunset at Sirao Peak


Who would have thought that in the bustling heart of metropolis lies such a beauty? Talking about Sirao Peak or popularly known as Mt. Kan-irag in Cebu City. In less than 4 hours via Sitio Budlaan in Talamban or 1 hour via Ayala Heights in Busay one can enjoy the view that this mountain has to offer. It is one of the mountains in Cebu that is very accessible from the capital which offers an unobstructed view of Mandaue City and Lapu-lapu City on the other side, and the grand mountains of Talamban on the other.

View

As part of the BRB’s preparation to conquer the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines, last weekend the group head to Mt. Kan-irag for its 2nd pre-climb activity.  Due to it’s close proximity to the city, most climbers visit the mountain in one day. BRB had it overnight to practice bringing in packs for more than a day trekking.

The Itinerary

KAN-IRAG FALLS–MT. KAN-IRAG 2-DAY TREK

09:00-10:00am Assembly @ Julies, Sunnyhills
10:00-10:15 – Habal-habal to Jump-off
10:15-12:00 – Trek to Falls (Baogo Trail)
12:00-02:00pm – LUNCH by the falls, Swimming
02:00-05:30 – Trek to Kan-irag Peak
05:30-06:30 – Sunset, Pitch Camp, Luto Dinner
07:00-12:00am Socials, Lights Off

2nd Day

06:00-07:00am – Wake up Call / Breakfast Preparation
07:00-08:00 – Breakfast /
08:00-09:00 – BreakCamp / Cleaning the Campsite
09:00-11:00 – Trek to Ayala Heights
11:00-12:00pm – Habal-habal/jeepney ride to JY Square Mall
Home Sweet Home

Group Achievements

Nobody was injured and got cramps. Reached the camp site an hour earlier than scheduled.

Author’s Journal

It was like a broken record. I kept on saying how different and beautiful the trail to Sirao Peak was. It’s almost a combination of all the trails I’ve been. From the clean path used by locals, to the grassy and almost abandoned perhaps walked only by mountaineers, to the falls, to the rocky terrain that ended in a green meadow with cows and mango trees up to the cogon-like-grass-laden path that leads to the peak…everything was just perfect and put together. It’s like the trail was there to be marveled and enjoyed…like candy treats to a candy addict child. Glad I didn’t cancel the climb as planned because I wasn’t feeling very well. With that climb, I was able to save myself. And perhaps, it save me from taking out “mountaineering” on my hobby list. 🙂

Let me tell you more of the story with the collages of my favorite pics of the climb. Enjoy!

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Group pictures before descent…
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Group pics at different times. From Up, Down. 1 At the assembly area in Jollibee, Gaisano Talamban. 2 Lunch stop at Kabang Falls. 3 Playing before retiring for the night. 4 Hello sun! 5 Official pic for the climb.
07 jump-shots
Jump shots mania!
06 sunrise-shots
Hello golden sun!
05 sunset-shots
A first…sunset pictures!
04 shadow-shots
Shadow pics just before sunset…
03 more-views
Trail views…
02 trail-stops-2
2nd series of stops.
01 trail-stops
Stops…picture stop. getting lost stop. lunch stop. rest stop. stop stop.
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And of course…our partners in crime – our backpack!!!

Moments at Taal


While the others were preparing, I busied myself capturing Aroma Apartelle. When everyone was ready, I texted Kuya Anthony. The plan was to eat at a Karenderya first before going to the lake. But Kuya suggested why don’t we just ate there. Thinking we could save time if we do, I agreed.

1 Aroma Apartelle
Our accommodation: Aroma Apartelle!

I wish I didn’t. The ride to the lake took about 30 minutes downhill. And the food was served about 1 and half hour. Our energy was drained. For the first few minutes, we were smiling and teasing. The next minutes was torture. I remembered how Erwin slumped unto the table. My stomach was screaming food. My heart goes out to Charina, Ricco and Lawrence who haven’t eaten breakfast.

When the food arrived, everyone got busy. After a while, the usual energy of the group was back. We had Bulalo, Pancit and Pork Belly. I don’t know if the food were really good or it was just good because we were so hungry.

The negotiation followed after the meal. We didn’t waste much time and hurriedly proceed to our boat that would take us to Taal. We were 10 so we had 2 boats. Charina, Lawrence and Ricco were with me and Migo. On the other boat were JJ, Mira, Brian, Nie and Erwin.

2 views

I was in awe when we reached our destination. The row of bancas was picturesque. And the horses were amazing. We had to walk a little to reach the main entrance. We were escorted, told about the things we could do and settled for payments. The entrance was PHP 50. The horse ride was quite expensive (PHP 450) so we had a consensus not to ride. They discouraged us about the walk but we were deaf. Aside from the entrance, we had to pay for the guide for PHP 500. We spent PHP 100 each.

The walk was hard at first. Annoying horseback riders followed us, continuously haggling their service. But we remained firm with our decision. We were right. The walk was not that far. They just discouraged us so that we would get their service.

When we arrived at the crater, I feel a sudden surge of victory. We did it! We’ve seen Taal up close. We took some pictures and enjoyed the scenery.

3 group pics
The views on the way!
4 group pics
Family pic w/ the mighty Taal.

Some time later, we decided it’s time to go. Migo and I was the last on the trail. I was busy sliding unto the dusty pavement when Migo asked me about his camera. Told him I don’t have it. So we went back to the crater spot, tried to retrace our steps hoping we would find it. It was all for nothing. Our guide went back to look for it too. Nothing still.

I was so down…tried hard not to cry. The walk suddenly becomes unbearable. Then I saw Migo. He had that distant look but it was not a losing face. I asked him and for the nth time, he got me in awe. I hugged him saying, I would copy his resolve. Besides, we could always buy another one. When I did that, the moment was back.

The lost camera had become a favorite joke. We laughed at it till the remaining days of our 4-day trip. We lost it on the 1st day. On the next days, Migo and I have become a camera leech. Thanks to Ricco and Charina for being very understanding. “Bayad to sa nice weather ang camera, Miga!” Says Migo. I didn’t say anything. Silently wishing it would cover for the whole trip.

We were exhausted after Taal. Slept on the uphill ride. When we reached Olivarez Plaza, we asked Kuya Anthony to just drop us. We decided to have dinner and bought snacks for the next day. The next stop would be Picnic Grove and People’s Park!

The Summit


The summit was breathtaking. You could see the campsite, Lake Nailig and another lake. The guide told us it was Lake Danao. Unlike the other summit I’ve been (Osmeña Peak), Mt. Talinis summit is so cramped. There was no space where we could have our group picture so we just content ourselves in batches.
I’ve never been afraid of heights or anything except snakes…but I let the chance to climb the summit tree pass. Maybe, next time. Besides only a few have tried. I don’t want to appear as if I was braving death by doing so.
We gathered our pack before climbing the summit, ready for pickup after. It was an hour climb…an ultra uphill battle. The ground was wet and slippery. I can’t remember the number of times I stopped to catch my breath. Each time hoping, the steep terrain would stop.But it never did. Climb…climb..and more climb!
When finally the guide announce that we’re almost there, I was exhilarated. Finally!!!
We didn’t stay at the summit long. After some shots, we decided to descend. We had our group shot at the camp site at around 12:30 PM.
And..it was bye-bye Lake Nailig.
Up Next: The Leech Saga
Talinis SeriesPrologueFirst 4 HoursNext 4 HoursThe SummitThe Leech Saga

The Climb: Next 4 Hours To Paradise


After the well-appreciated rest and lunch break, we were back on the trail at 15 minutes to 3 PM. This time, we were in hurried steps considering our almost 3 hours schedule lag. Despite that, the boyfriend and I still managed to document our way.

Then we had our first major stop after an hour of continuous walking, climbing and crawling. It was definitely a leap to our previous 30-minute pace. I fondly remembered that place as the “porn site”. It actually took me a while to realize what they were smiling about. Haha! See the hole in my picture above, we had to go through that to reach the porn site.
The guide give us about 5 minutes to rest then we continued. The path this time is covered with roots. It was too risky that the boyfriend didn’t have the chance to take a picture. After 15 minutes the path ended with a beautiful tree and a scenery. Well, time for photo shoot again! 😀
The 80-degree descent came after. We were told to give each other a meter distance because the path was so steep. Kuyacoy offered to take our picture. Yay!
Kuyacoy kept the camera for the rest of the trail so the boyfriend (and I) wasn’t able to take a picture along the way. After about one and a half hour, we reached Lake Nailig at around 6 PM.
The lake was so magnificent. It took all my pains away. Upon reaching the camp grounds, I then picked a place for our tent. The others wasted no time too. Work while the sun is still up!
Dinner was served at 8 PM, as always courtesy of the BRB guys. Because I can’t cook, I volunteered to do the dish washing with Banky and the boyfriend as supports. They fetch water from the lake. I was too late to realize that the lake is mostly rain water so it’s unlike ordinary water. I was puzzled why despite my efforts to scrub the utensils with detergent, they’re still slippery.
After dinner, some had fun dancing to Momo’s music. I was too tired to join. Then, the rain came. That was my last record. I don’t know what happens to the others after.
Up Next:
The Summit
Talinis SeriesPrologueFirst 4 HoursNext 4 HoursThe SummitThe Leech Saga

The Climb: First 4 Hours


Our host was already at the port waiting, when we arrived at Dumaguete around 2 AM. We were told to rest until 5:30 AM. I didn’t get rest though. I was so excited I dragged the time.  When the alarm sounds, I quickly gather my clothes and took a bath. As I was putting on my face powder, thunder and rain came. I was hoping not to hear from them.

Oh well, this is it. Rain or shine, we must proceed.

While waiting…pictures2x!
While waiting for the others to get ready, I proceeded to my favorite activity – picture taking! Haha! And because I was so amazed at how my getup turn-out, I pissed the boyfriend with my annoying getup pictures again. 😀
Minimal skin exposure! =D
Then the Jeepney arrived. We had breakfast at “Connies Silog Meals”. I’m glad they served foods other than “-silog”. I had “nilat-ang baka”.
Breakfast at Connie’s!
Then we’re good to go. We reached Dauin, the starting point at around 8:45 AM. It was raining. After some preparations and a prayer, we started the long journey towards our lunch stop – Lake Yagumyum. It was expected that we would reach there in 4 hours. We started our journey at around 9:00 AM.
Let the hunger games begin!
I expected a long walk not a long climb. Exhaustion weeps over me after 10 minutes of braving the muddy uphill battle. But seeing everyone struggling to move despite the heavy breathing, I kept my pace. Another 10 minutes…then another 10…and we had our first stop.
First stop!
The boyfriend had an aberration!
I can’t remember how many times I stopped to catch my breath. Each time, I asked myself how on earth did I get there. What was I thinking?! And if only I could go back…I amused myself by taking pictures. I make it a point to take a picture every time we stop. I want to remember the place, the time, the number of stops we had and everything about the journey. It may be annoying to most, but it’s only in pictures that I cannot forget.
2nd Stop!
Banky is still alive, awake, enthusiastic!
Just after our 2nd major stop (see picture above), Banky had muscle cramps so we had to stop at a rock on the edge of a ravine.
Waiting for Banky Stop!
I got bored waiting so I went back some meters away from the ravine just so I could take Banky’s souvenir pose. 😛
Kaya mo yan, Banky!!!
When Banky was able to stand, we were back on track. Adrian (the guide) opt to carry Banky’s back-up so as not to strain his injured foot. I offered to carry our cloth tent. After almost 20 minutes, we reach an amazing point – the ridge (I mispronounced it as rej). We took pictures and admire the view. Banky’s foot got crampy again.
Simply…WOW!
After the ridge, we had some minor stops. Found a water source and had our water bottles refilled. Then finally, we reached Lake Yagumyum! Lunch at last. =)
Nature Spring Water!
The boyfriend was super hungry that when I asked him to take a picture, he nagged. 😦 I wasn’t able to take a picture of our lunch. Anyways, at this point in time, food is so much better than pictures so  I oblige. I just had my fill of memories after my stomach is filled.
Fooooooooddddddd!
Up Next…
The Climb: Next 4 Hours To Paradise
Talinis SeriesPrologueFirst 4 HoursNext 4 HoursThe SummitThe Leech Saga
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