Mt. Ulap Eco Trail-My First Outdoor Adventure

I was never an outdoor adventure lover. Sure I am a marathoner, but the road was enough for my feet to conquer. I must admit, I was a less-adventurer.  Last March 19, 2016 was different. My friends who have climbed mountains and tried hiking before attempted – for the nth time inviting me to join them and have a day hike at Mt. Ulap (also known as the care bears mountain for hikers). And yes, they succeeded.  I was actually convinced, finally. And I must say I didn’t regret it.

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Gungal Rock- most popular site at Mt. Ulap

 

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This way to Mt. Ulap

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Camp site

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Grassland slope of Ambunao Paoay

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Stone balancing at Mt. Ulap

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At the camp site

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Over-looking

 

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It was supposed to be an easy climb. Not for a first-timer like me. Pity. It was a struggle for me. I almost ran out of breath reaching every summit. The traverse is another struggle story for me. I slid like five times. But I managed to get myself up and laugh about every breakdown. To sum it up, it was a lot of fun. It is another achievement for me- be able to conquer Mt. Ulap.

Throughout our journey, I can’t help but take pictures of every angle. The view is breathtaking. It was truly amazing how God have created all these. He was truly a genius. With this hike, I learned how to appreciate God’s creation more. And I am certain I would definitely do this again.

 

Mt. Ulap Day Hike budget:

Transportation:

Bus: Manila-Baguio – PHP455/head  (Victory Liner)

Jeepney going to Ampucao, Itogon – PHP31/head

Day Hike:

Registration Fee: PHP100/head

Guide: PHP400 for a group of 10 people

Note: I suggest that you hire a guide. One perk of having a guide is they will contact a jeepney that will take you back to Baguio City proper. Fare is PHP50/head.

Madongan Dam: A New Favorite Summer Getaway In The North

This past few weeks, photos have been circulating over social media about a newly discovered summer attraction with its cascading waterfalls and crystal clear waters – the Madongan Dam.

Initially, the Madongan Dam in San Marcelino, Dingras, Ilocos Norte was just out of curiosity of the locals. In just a span of a week, the local dam (which is also called Papa Dam) is now a tourist attraction and a new favorite for a weekend getaway.

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Cascading waterfalls of Madongan Dam

 

Madongan Dam, a new favorite spot

 

Visitors at Madongan Dam

 

Crystal Clear Water

If you are looking for a cheap but a relaxing and fun weekend escape this summer, visit this eye-catching spot located in the northeast part of Ilocos Norte.

Top Summer Destinations in the Philippines

It’s officially summer in the Philippines. Summer here means more fun and more sun. Philippines is known to its famous beaches in the world. You heard of Boracay, right? We have more of that. Beach, beach and more beach! If you speak of summer, the Philippines defines that word. So if you’re planning for a summer getaway, here a some perfect summer destinations to visit.

1. Boracay Island – Boracay Island maybe overrated but it is no denying that this beautiful island is one of the best summer destinations in Asia. A tourist’s favorite because of its stunning beaches, fine white sand and so much fun.

  

2. Palawan – With Boracay in the south, Palawan is a beautiful gem in the north. Famous places include El Nido where you can see the Marine Reserve Park and the Puerto Princesa where UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Subterranean River Park and Tubbatha Reef Marine Park are located. 

The Undergound River at Puerto Princesa by Mike Gonzalez

3. Cebu – Do you want to experience whale shark diving? Well it’s true. Watch local fishermen in Sumilon Island feed these lovely creatures by hand. And if you want a real up-close encounter with these friendly giants, try scuba diving with whale sharks. How is that for an extreme summer experience? Whale Sharks Watching

    

Get up-close encounter with the friendly whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu
  

4. Ilocos Norte – If you’ve visited Boracay a couple of times already, have a taste of the Boracay of the north- Pagudpud. Ilocandia’s pride Pagudpud is a fourth class municipality and a coastal resort town located in the north-most part of the Ilocos Region. Afraid of heights? Conquer your fear with Asia’s longest over water zipline at Hannah’s and have an unforgettable summer ever.Hannah’s Zipline in Pagudpud

 

Saud Beach in Pagudpud by John Ryan Cordova
 

5. Camarines Norte – Ah the Calaguas Island. A newly-discovered paradise in the Bicol Region. Though local tour operators are still gearing up towards a better local eco-tourism in the island not that bad to visit the island while it’s fresh.

Calaguas Island
 
6. Laguna – I’ve been talking about beaches in this post. I know, I know I am a bit bias. Next on my list is not about the beach and sandbar. The province of Laguna may not have those huge seas but they are still rich in water natures. Waterfalls, hot springs and lakes are all over the province of Laguna. Check out the local travel sites of Cavinti, Pagsanjan, Los Banos and Liliw to name a few. There’s a lot more Laguna can offer.

  
 7. Aurora – Baler the provincial capital of Aurora province is rich in historical stories. It is host to a spectacular geographic formations and situated ion a vast plain at the south end of Baler Bay, a contiguous segment of the Philippine Sea.Baler is said to be the birthplace for surfing in the Philippines.Baler provides small to large size waves best for beginners and novice surfing. List of surf spots in Baler   

A local surfer sporting his surfinfg skills with Baler’s wave
   

8. Cagayan de Oro – From north let’s go down far southern part of the country. Another extreme activity to do during summer is water rafting. White water rafting could be Cagayan de Oro’s most popular tourist’s getaway. Waters splashing and slamming against boulders will remind you of nature’s powerful effect on life. If you want real adventure and at the same time commune with nature, include Cagayan de Oro on your list.White Water Rafting Package

White Water Rafting in Cagayan de Oro

Well, these are just few destinations you can add-on to your bucketlist to experience adventure, fun and nature-loving summer in the Philippines. Being a tropical country and summer is the most favorite season, now is the best time to experience Philippines!

 

What’s in Your Luggage?

Are you a budget traveler? A backpacker? Traveling with luxury? What are the things you always keep inside your backpack or luggage?

As a budget traveler, I always prefer to travel lite. So I make sure I bring the best and most important stuff I can use throughout my trip. Packing your stuff is quite a job, really. You pack all the things you need and make sure you don’t forget anything. That is why making a travel checklist is very essential. And before generating your checklist, you have to be acquainted with your planned destination. What am I saying? Packing your stuff when you are traveling in a humid country is different from packing when traveling to a cold country. Check the current weather of your destination so you know what to bring or not to bring during your trip. Also, this could help you avoid getting exceeded on your allowed baggage load returning home. Sure you’ll get to have lots of those souvenirs from your trip back home. In this post, I’m sharing my own list.

  1. Travel Documents – This include your passport, air ticket or e-ticket, boarding pass, invitation letter, etc. These are your A-tickets to all of your trips especially when you’re going out of your mother country. Double check your destination because some countries require VISA when entering their land. Don’t forget to bring your Personal ID’s. If I may suggest put all your travel documents in one envelope or pocket organizer so you can keep all these in one place and for your own convenience.
  2. Reservations, Itineraries & Contact Infos – Before you leave for your trip, it is vital to write down and bring along with you important contact information of services you may need. To maximize your travel, have your itinerary on-hand, always.
  3. Money – Of course you will need to eat during your trips. And don’t forget to visit the local markets to buy some goodies to take home.
  4. Technology – This includes your phone, cameras, chargers, power banks and other useful tools you may need during your trip.
  5. Lightweight Clothing – As I have mentioned, this depends on the weather/climate of the place you’re visiting. As much as possible, pack basic, lightweight clothes. and if you’re traveling to a place with a cold climate, you may want to bring one or two sweater or jacket. Pack an extra swimsuit just in case you may want to dive into a pool or beach.
  6. Toiletry Bag – What’s in it? The basics. Toothbrush, deodorant, sunscreen, moisturizer, facial wipes, lip balm, personal feminine hygiene products (for females of course), hairbrush/comb, lotion and if you’re particular to your hair products, bring your own shampoo and conditioner. But these are available at your hotel for sure.
  7. Day Bag – This can be used in a variety of ways and help you stay comfortable and prepared. This is where I put my sunnies, purse, cellphone, lip balm, face powder and hanky.
  8. Footwear – I only bring a pair of flip-flops and a pair of comfortable shoes – sneakers or a comfy flat.

Necessities for each traveler may vary, but these are the basics that are always in my luggage. What’s inside your bag?

Sometime in Saigon

I am posting this again. I wrote this in my old blog and since I am moving all my travel stories on this new blog I just created a week ago, I thought of re-posting my Ho Chi Minh City trip with friends last December 2015.

After almost three months of planning a trip with my friends, finally came December before the holiday comes and before we ran out of budget (lol) our Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) trip came at last.
We had a four-day visit to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, a city in Southern Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh is known to be the largest city in Vietnam. The city is undeniably attractive most especially to tourists because of its historical story and tourist spots that marked the battle of the Vietnam War.

On our first day in Ho Chi Minh, we visited the famous Cu Chi Tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong’s base of operations for the Tết Offensive in 1968. The tunnels were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous North Vietnamese fighters. The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped to counter the growing American military effort. Pretty much info we had from our tourist guide named Tin.

On our second day, we get to get a short visit to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and were able to see briefly the Royal Palace.

Our third day in Ho Chi Minh is our city tour. Oh, we visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame, built during the French revolution. I was mesmerized with its architectural features and can’t help but took a couple of photos. Then we went shopping around the city. Truly they got best and cheap buys in there, and for days we got to experience being a millionaire (lol).

Despite the annoying motorcycle mob in the city, it was a great staycation. We were given the opportunity to learn more about Vietnam and its people. Got to embraced their culture and not to mention their great history- I was fascinated by their story.

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At The Royal Palace
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Trying to fit in the tunnel at Cu Chi Tunnels
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Cathedral of Notre Dame

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Street foods at Ho Chi Minh City
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Thai food