Trail Love

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Trail Running became a trend nowadays.  With a combination of running and hiking over trails, trail running is more challenging and more exciting. In trail running, you would enjoy peace and quiet of the trails. Aside from the difficult courses you’ll have to go through running on trails, it requires you mental and physical power to start and finish a trail run race.

Are you an aspiring trail runner? Or just curious how trail running is played on trails? Here’s a guide on how you can start and hit the trail head. Trail Love: A Beginners’ Guide on Finishing Your First Trail Run

 

11 Reasons Why you Should Include Philippines in Your 2017 Travel Bucket List

With over 7,100 islands the Philippines is made of, aside from its tropical climate every tourist is dying to have, you can never go wrong exploring each majestic site this small but tourism-rich country could offer.

Philippines is known to have one of the best beaches if not in the whole world but in Asia. Have you heard of Boracay Island? I bet you did already. What about Palawan? Rice Terraces? There’s too much to that though. Being dubbed as one of the favorite summer destination, visiting the Philippines is always worthwhile.  But why do I endorse this island too much? Aside of course because it is my motherland, the Philippines is worth to be in your bucket list in 2017. And here are the reasons why.

  1. Go island hopping. Well, with at least a hundred of its thousand islands. Too many islands to explore. But seriously, explore as much island as you can when you travel to the Philippines. First on the list is the Boracay Island, it was once awarded as the 2012 best island in the world  from The International Magazine and top the list for best destination in 2012 and 2016. The island is known to its white sugary  and powdery sand and a postcard-sized tropical paradise. Next to Boracay is Palawan, an island province consists of stunning islands such as El Nido, Puerto Princesa and Coron Island to name a few. Bohol, another small island that is worth to explore. Experience river cruise at Loboc, go scuba diving in Panglao and try diving the 25-feet tall Mag-aso falls, and many more to do. Cebu is another perfect island to visit. Dive with the whale sharks at Oslob, Cebu.  Yes you heard me right; I really meant whale sharks, but the friendly versions. These are just few. Explore other islands and experience more fun. Ilocos Norte Hotels

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    Sunset in Pagudpud Beach
  1. Go feed yourself. Indulge with the foods. Filipinos are recognized to be great cooks and well, we love to eat. And like most Asian countries, the staple food of the Philippines is rice. The cooking style and the food are origins of mix cuisines such of that of Malay, Indian, Spanish, Chinese and American. While The Philippine islands are home to various ethnic groups resulting in varied regional cuisines, there are specific specialties from each region. A good example is the pinakbet and bagnet in the Ilocos Region, sisig in Pampanga, chicken inasal in Bacolod, lechon in Cebu and of course the famous adobo which is always present in every Filipino household. Don’t forget to try balut an exotic Filipino food every tourist must try. These are just little palatable gastronomy in the Philippines. You will discover and learn to love more of our foods. Diet is never an option.
  1. Go shopping. The Philippine shopping lifestyle is no doubt one of the common norms for every Filipino. From the thrift to the extravagant shoppers, we’ve got something for everyone. Haggling at street market stalls are all over the country. It is so much cheaper to travel and enjoy around Philippines. 
  1. Go extreme. The Philippines is an island full of adventures. If you’re looking for an adrenalin rush, well this is the right place to be. Get wet and wild with white water rafting in Cagayan De Oro. Get into mountaineering. It’s no secret that the Philippines is also rich in hills and mountains that you and your friends can climb any time of the year. Appreciate majestic view from summit to summit of our beautiful mountains like Mt. Ulap, Mt. Pico de Loro, Mt. Batulao, Mt. Pinatubo, Mt. Pulag and many more. There are just too much to mention. Try canyoneering or canyoning in Kawasan Falls in Cebu. How about surfing in Baler, La Union and Pagudpud? Don’t forget to visit our own sand dunes in LaPaz to try sand boarding and 4×4 ride – for those who are hydrophobic. That is definitely an adventure.

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    Campers at Mt. Ulap
  1. Go celebrate fiestas. Fiestas or festivals in foreign language are very much celebrated in the Philippines. From small towns, to provinces, to every region of the country, fiesta is renowned. It is a part and bundle of Filipino culture. Celebrate with the locals’ different festivals like the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila, the Ati-Atihan in Kalibo Aklan, Sinulog Festival in Cebu, Dinagyang in Iloilo, Panagbenga or Flower Fest in Baguio, the Moriones Festival in the Island of Marinduque, Pahiyas in Lucban, Laguna and so on and so forth. Too many to mention! 
  1. Go appreciate history. The Philippines history is a very interesting topic to learn. Be amazed of our story by learning historical facts and visiting historical places. Include in your itinerary the historical Cebu – the oldest city and it is where the first Spanish settlement took place. It is also considered as the Fount of Christianity in the Far-East. If you are looking for a well-preserved Spanish colonial and Asian architecture, visit Vigan, on the West Coast of Luzon Island. Be mesmerized with rustic mansions, cobblestone streets, baroque-style cathedrals, horse-drawn carriages and the culture itself. The Corregidor Island located at the entrance of Manila Bay is another site where it could bring you to the past. Now a historical monument, among its attractions is the Pacific War Memorial with its dome ceiling and marble altar, the 830-foot-long Malinta Tunnel, and the Filipino Heroes Memorial.  The island also has forest trails, a jungle survival camp, bird watching opportunities, scenic boat rides, and even a beach. 

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    Kalesa –

    a horse-driven carriage used in the Philippines

     

  1. Go embrace the Filipino Culture. The Filipino culture is our way of life we Filipinos preserve. From the first settlement of Melanesians, to the engaging of trading with China, India, Palau, Malay, USA and other countries introduced by the Austronesia, to  the colonization of Hispanic influence marked a heavy impact on Philippine culture. Being colonized by the Spanish, the Philippines is one of two predominantly Roman Catholic nations in Asia-Pacific, the other being East Timor. The Filipino arts cover a variety of forms of entertainment.  Folk art and ethnographic art consist of classic and modern features that flourished as a result of European and Indigenous influences. Our education has been influenced by Western and Eastern ideology and philosophy. Filipinos are also competitive in all forms of sports. Arnis, a form of martial arts is our national sport. 

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    The Saint Augustine Church in Paoay – A UNESCO World Heritage Site
  1. Go surfing. Unknown to many, the Philippines have a long list of great surfing spots. It has become a culture to water adventure-aficionados. Though we do not have those giant waves like in Hawaii, our waves from small to large sizes are promising for beginners to novice surfers.
  1. Go underwater. Did I mention the Philippines has over 7,100 islands? Well, let me say it again – over 7,100 islands. That is why there are too much to do with our salt water surrounded in our land. Aside from having world-renown beaches, we are also known for diversity of our marine life. The Philippines is Asia’s Dive Capital. We are blessed with world’s most beautiful natural harbors. Discover underneath our tranquil waters. 
  1. Go discover the wildlife. The Philippines include significant number of endemic plants and animal species. We are a tropical country with Tropical rainforest climate. The influence of tropical climate serves a vital role to our plants and animals. Almost one fourth of the country is covered with forests. The Philippines is also rich in endangered species like the Philippine eagle, mouse deer, tarsier, whale shark, marine turtles, the Subic fruit bats and the cockatoo who are now on the list of endangered species in the Philippines because of its extinction. Thus, the authorities are doing their best to make sure that wild life in the Philippines is still well preserved. 
  1. Go meet the locals. The hospitality of the Filipinos is incomparable in the world. Filipinos are known to be kind and friendly people. We are known for always smiling and happy, and we also love to sing and dance for whenever there is an occasion to celebrate.
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Here’s a smile from your local girl 🙂

Why is there no reason not to travel to the Philippines? Read again from the top.

First Time in Singapore

Singapore is one of the top places I wanted to visit. Singapore is undeniably one of the most visited countries by tourists. Because of its handful touristy spots such as the Universal Studios Singapore, Marina Bay Sands, Merlion Park and many more to mentions. Singapore could be a top tourist destination but I must admit, one of the most expensive places to go for Philippine passport holders and budget travellers like me.

My three-day trip to Singapore composed of mostly site-seeing their most popular landmarks. My first day was a whole day at the Universal Studios Singapore (USS). Boy, I must say a day in USS is quite not enough though. Me, together with my three travel buddies arrived at the place just before the gates opened – because we wanted to maximize our time inside the studio. Once entered, I felt like a child full of enthusiasm. The humid climate didn’t stop us from exploring the whole place. We were all sweaty but didn’t mind. Who cares? We are having lots of fun. Purchase your tickets online and enjoy promos offered exclusively for online purchasers. Book Tickets Online

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Me at the Universal Studios Singapore Entrance Archway
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The Universal Studios Store
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Ancient Egypt

After a whole day fun at USS, we dropped-by the Orchard Road – known to be Asia’s most famous shopping street.

On our second day, we returned to Sentosa Island and look around some more attractions minus the USS. For a cost of SGD4, you’ll be given an admission to enter the island. Once you’re in the island, you’ll be able to see different attractions and activities with corresponding fees. Our list includes the Skyline Luge Sentosa which is SGD16 per person. It was one of my favorite activities done in Singapore. You get to ride the luge, which is a self-driving car system in which riders control the speed by pushing a pair of handlebars back and forth. The luge ride goes downhill and when you reach the end of the hill, you are going to ride next the Skyride which uses chairlifts bringing riders and luge carts back to the starting point. Sorry no photos have been taken during our Skyride and luge ride. I really enjoyed the luge ride. Me and my friends raced our way to the end point. The Skyride gives you a magnificent view of the whole Sentosa Island. I have a fear of heights but I forgot I had one when I was on top overlooking the island. We got to see other attractions in Sentosa Island, and took a lot of photos. For a complete list of activities and attractions with admission passes, check out their official site. List of Sentosa Attractions

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At the Port Side

 

After our trip to Sentosa Island, we headed to Clarke Quay and had a bottle of beer for chillin’ before going back to our hotel.

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Sunset view at Clarke Quay

On our third day and probably our last day in Singapore, Marina Bay is in our itinerary. There are also a lot of famous attractions in Marina Bay, Singapore. We went to Gardens by the Bay, get to see the Singapore Flyer, took photos of the Marina Bay Sands and took more photos at the Merlion Park. Inside the Gardens by the Bay, we bought tickets to get inside the Flower Dome where a various of species of spectacular flowers and plants were displayed in big room with a temperature of 23-25 degrees Celsius which is according to Guinness World Records has the largest glass greenhouse. Gardens by the Bay

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Gardens by the Bay with the Marina Bay Sands in the background

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Flower Dome

 

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Merlion

It was a long-day-walk but was all worth it. After our day tour at Marina Bay and before heading our way back to our hotel, we were taken to dinner by our Singaporean friend at a local restaurant where we got to try out the famous chicken rice of Singapore.

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The Financial Center on the Background

Three days is not actually enough if you want to go around Singapore. If you plan to visit all the attractions the Lion City can offer, I strongly suggest you plan for an itinerary for atleast a week. Definitely I would love to go back to Singapore. Despite the remarkable attractions, Singapore is the cleanest city (by far) I have visited with a well-disciplined citizens. Not to mention their food were great.

  • PS: I used GoPro Hero 4 and iPhone 5c in taking photos.

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.

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!