Tag Archives: Trekking

Mt. Pamitinan’s Hidden Gem

Exhilarating! That’s how mountain climbing is. To finish the trail to the peak of the mountain was such an achievement that I felt. Not an achievement that made me rich, rather an achievement that enriched my memory and widened my experience.

Just very close to Manila is an enchanting Mt. Pamitinan in Rodriguez, Rizal. Since we wanted to start the trekking and climbing early, we left Quezon City using a private car past 4AM. It was a smooth travel because there’s not much cars on the road yet. We reached Sitio Wawa or the Barangay where the office for DENR (Department of Environment & Natural Resources) is located around 5:30 AM. Then, we completed the individual registration.

I am not very familiar with the different places where you could get a ride to Rodriguez, Rizal but I am sure there are several ways. I did a little research and found out that one way to get there is by riding a van which signage says Cubao-Rodriguez in Farmers, Cubao near Jolibee. When you reach the terminal in Rizal, ride a tricycle to Wawa Dam. The whole ride will cost you less than one hundred pesos. There are jeepneys passing through Aurora Blvd. which can also be an option but I wouldn’t recommend if you want to reach the destination close to the desired time.

After registration, we made sure that we brought with us some protection from the sun’s heat, we had enough water and some snacks before heading to the start off point. We also bought a rubber hand gloves as it was recommended to us by the lady at the sari-sari store. It was to protect our hands and for secured grip to the stones or anything. We had to pass a hanging bridge over a river. The trekking started just about 6 AM.

I enjoyed the trails. I felt light maybe because I have not eaten well before leaving the house. It wasn’t a difficult path compared to those I have heard from other mountain climbers. What made it very challenging was, the rain! It rained and the mud was sticky and pulling us down. My shoes were getting heavy and heavier every time I step. There’s a tendency to slide or just totally knock you down on the ground.

When the rain stopped, the sun shone. Under the scorching heat of the sun, we traversed the steep trails. The rock formations are noticeably perfected through times. The edges are sharp and uneven. We had to be slow and very careful in climbing the rocks because they’re just spiky. Anyone can be wounded.

We reached the top and we experience a sea of clouds. It’s too beautiful. It’s cold. It’s like you’re near God or heaven! It was my first time so, I took my time to appreciate it, very much! Can you believe I saw some grandmoms at the summit too? They’re amazing and fun loving people in an excellent way.

I cannot provide the exact time it would take to climb the mountain because we had a few challenges along the way with some companions but considering all is fine; it would be approximately take 2-3 hours. On our way back we decided to get some refreshment from the sweaty, sticky hiking in a falls near Mt. Pamitinan. I noticed that there were locals enjoying the scenery and the free flowing water from the falls. Most of them brought some sumptuous lunch along with the family. It was enjoyable indeed. It wouldn’t cost much for them to have picnic by the falls. The view is stunning, the air is fresh and clean and the water is very inviting.

 

Discovering Majestic Mount Mayon

Albay province is the beautiful, rich and green piece of island I live in the Philippine archipelago. I always thought that I have already seen so much that I need not go any farther to know more of the place I live in. Alas, my mind was just confined to the places I was familiar with.

The usual view of the majestic Mayon when I go out of the house or going to the farm near us is nothing but ordinary for me. It’s like a routine, nothing really special!

Years ago, when the adventurous part of me was awakened and I started to wander around places. It struck me to know that I never cared discovering my place a lot of people dreamt of seeing. I have seen a lot of foreigners come and go whose reactions seeing Mount Mayon up close appeared overacting for me. That’s how unappreciative I was. Funny and ungrateful me, I know! (Hahaha)

Let me give you some brief and substantial tour on how to get closer to the perfect cone Mount Mayon in the province of Albay. To add up, Mayon volcano is one of the active volcanoes in the Bicol region.  It definitely will be helpful that before going for a hike to see Mayon, we have a confirmation that it is safe to go. Nothing to lose if we secure safety first.

Traveling from Manila, there are two options of reaching Mount Mayon. Traveling by air is through Cebu Pacific & Philippine Airlines or traveling by bus through Alps, DLTB, Cagsawa Travel and Tours, Victory Liner and etc. The bus terminals are located in Araneta Cubao, Quezon City.  Travel by plane is approximately 1 hour and by land is about 10-12 hours depending on the time you left Manila and the traffic along the way. Either way, the destination is Legazpi City, Albay.

Once landed or reached Legazpi, it’s time to look for a cozy place to stay. It is advisable to check for hostels or hotels first before leaving Manila so, you don’t have to fret looking for one when you arrive. There are a lot of budget friendly Inns, hostels and hotels around Legazpi.

Be ready to hike before the sun rises. Wear something comfortable for a long walk or trekking. Protect yourself from the scorching sun. From Legazpi, to reach Bonga (the place you start the hike) you can ride a jeepney or rent a tricycle. Best option is renting a tricycle. It would only cost about P100 and it is less hassle. While a jeepney ride would cost about P15 per pax, it will not get you to the destination on time because the drivers normally would wait for the seats to be filled in. The trek will start at the dike which is the border between Brgy. Bonga and Mabinit. A Barangay (brgy.) is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward.

It would take approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach Mount Mayon Black Lava Zipline Adventure stop. There are ATVs for rent as well. I haven’t tried it though but I think it would also be so much fun to ride on and explore a few more places around. I preferred hiking and a little running to reach the top. At the peak of the black lava which already turned to stones, there is a helipad. This was meant for those who did not want to go through hiking or riding ATVs or those who will only do surveys of Mayon’s activity. At the top, the view of the city below is breathtaking and stunning. It pretty much compensates all the sweats to reach the top.

Mount Mayon is just amazing from afar and up close!

Foods and places you must try when you’re in Legazpi.

  • Chili Ice Cream at Colonial Grill in Pacific Mall
  • Albay Park & Wildlife
  • Lignon Hill Nature Park in Legazpi
  • Cagsawa Ruins
  • Authentic Bicol Express (Food)

 

Trek to Taal Volcano Crater

I have been to Tagaytay for few times already but has only seen Taal volcano from afar. I always thought that the volcano showing on the background of my pictures taken from the Picnic grove was really the volcano’s crater. Surprisingly, it’s not! The one visible from the grove was an inactive volcano. Taal volcano is the 2nd most active volcano in the Philippines and is located in Talisay and San Nicolas Batangas.

If you are traveling from Manila using public transportation, the fastest way to reach Tagaytay is by riding a van which terminal is located at Starmall in Shaw Boulevard. The vans normally park just in front of Chowking food chain. It can take 1 to 2 hours travel time, depending on how light or severe the traffic is. On a Saturday, we left Manila at 7:15 AM and reached Tagaytay before 9:00 AM. The fare for the van ride per passenger was P180 and we got off at Olivarez. Riding a bus is cheaper but takes longer to reach Tagaytay.

We had a stop at a restaurant in front of the Picnic grove to eat our lunch. We ordered Beef bulalo as it is the most famous specialty in Tagaytay. We also added a plate of mixed sea foods. The price for each order was P450, good for 3 persons. Not bad.

We rode a tricycle from Picnic grove to Talisay Batangas for P60 per head. It took us about 30 minutes to reach the lake side where we had to register and pay for P1500 for the boat. The boat is considerably big and can accommodate 7 to 8 passengers. The lake appeared so calm but we still had to put our life vests on. No one among us know how to swim. Also, we never expected that the boat ride will be filled with screaming and fun! It was splashy and nobody was ready to get wet with the lake water. Good thing, the boat driver offered us a plastic cover to keep us dry.

Once you get off the boat, the boat driver will guide you to the registration booth/house. Entrance fee is P100 per head. Trekking could take 45 minutes or less but still depending on how fast or slow you walk. It is always exciting and fun! A piece of advise, be ready with anything that will shield you from the heat of the sun and an extra shirt. Riding a horse could take up to 25 minutes each way. If you choose to ride a horse, you’ll pay P500. There is also a guide fee of P500 whether you are just travelling alone or with a group. Hiring a guide is mandatory. Once you reached the summit, there are Nipa houses that can be used for resting and a store that sells fresh young coconut (Buko) juice for P100 each. You can freshen up a bit just right before you go up the platform where you will have the full view of the Taal Volcano crater. It’s a breathtaking view!

On our way back to Tagaytay, we rode a tricycle and requested the driver to drop us off at the Pink sisters’ church. It is a famous church where the nuns are wearing pink habits and white veils. The church is surrounded with pine trees and the ambiance promotes serenity. If you are a Catholic Christian, you can enter the church to pray or even write your petition. Some says, prayers from first time visitors do come true, but of course it comes with faith.

You may also have side trips to Picnic grove where you can try zip line. Also, Palace in the Sky is just a few kilometers away from picnic grove. The view from the Palace is just stunningly beautiful as you will have a view of Tagaytay City from it. There are shops where you can buy some souvenirs for friends and family. Along the way, there are fruits & vegetables’ stalls and restaurants where you can stop over to buy or eat their best sellers.