Spontaneity Brought Us To Baguio

*This is a late post, but I am posting it anyway!

It was still summer, May 23-24, 2012 to be exact. The planning took place on the 22nd, Tuesday when we ended our 4X11 shift. Me and my colleagues at work joked about going out of town. The weather was humid so we decided to go to Baguio. It was one of the most spontaneous travels I’ve ever done so far.No plans at all. We don’t know where to stay but all of us are familiar of this place. My last visit was way back 2009 though.

We, first, started looking for a place to stay in Baguio.
(Research)
Good thing, internet is here and one click away you get the information you need. We decided to get a transient room since it’s much cheaper compare that of a hotel.

We gave ourselves time to rest that morning and pack our things and decided to leave Manila at midnight of the 23rd. The travel time was roughly six hours. I normally don’t sleep while I’m on the road. It was 6 o’clock in the morning when we arrived at the terminal in Baguio. Then tried the “Strawberry Taho”.

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Sunrise, Baguio style

PINIKPIKAN GOT ME CURIOUS!

We decided to spend the morning in the at Camp John Hay to witness the sunrise. Then went to the public market to have our breakfast. It was really random because we don’t know where to eat. We made an agreement to try out foods that we normally don’t eat in Manila. So, we ate in a some sort of an eatery inside the public market. They serve, veggies and other exotic delicacies. We didn’t go extreme though. We stayed at what-we-know kind of foods. The foods were fresh. Especially the vegetables.

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Got me curious what kind of food is this “Pinikpikan” like.

After the breakfast, we headed to a nearby McDonalds to get our dose of coffee. (We broke our roles)

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We had a very odd set of breakfast. After the rice and veggies that we ate at the public market, we also had highland legumes “Mani” in Filipino, together with coffee.

After our breakfast we headed to Mine’s View. Took some pictures then went to Botanical Garden and of course took some more pictures.

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With my two other co-backpackers, Dennis and Edith.

It was around 11 o’clock in the morning when we decided to find a transient place so we can freshen up and unload our backpacks before lunch time. We stumble upon a convention center, I think it was the World Trade Center in Baguio. There’s an event held in that place, so as part of our spontaneous travel (a no-itinerary travel), we went inside and checked the food convention as we saw it from the posters outside the building. It was an exhibit of different equipments, food carts, and anything that has something to do with food business. We didn’t stay long as we can’t really find anything to eat.

Outside the building a tour guide offered us a place to stay. The place was near the famous Fifty’s Diner. We settled our bills and rested for a while then freshen up before we had our lunch.

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I forgot the name of the restaurant but the ambiance was great! And the food too! (Pose as if you are in a commercial)

After our lunch we went to The Strawberry Farm.

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Some of the fruits they sell

We bought some goods like Baguio’s famous broom “walis tambo”, of course, strawberry, my favorite ube jam from Good Shepherd and wild berries.

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This caught my attention. A shelf of wines. Naturally mixed!

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We then decided to go back to the city. We had our dinner at Good Taste. I love the food here! When you visit Baguio and if you’re looking for a place to dine but on a tight budget, I personally recommend this place. No need to order for extra rice.

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Look how big their servings.

One of my favorite place is Baguio. My first time to visit this place, I fell inlove and wanted to live there. Same feelings I had during my second time visiting the place. It’s like my second home!

CHASING SUNSET IN BUROT BEACH

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The Cost Of Spontaneity
A sudden change of plan could be disheartening to most people but to me. As it is much more exciting and challenges me to be more spontaneous.

Good News, Bad News
Our trip to Burot beach in Calatagan, Batangas was an unplanned trip. The original plan was a climb to Mount Batulao last weekend. But due to conflict of schedules, the climb was cancelled. We were informed the day before the trip. This is not new to me as I get a lot of these. That’s why even before the trip, I make a research for another possible place to go to, intended not as plan b but for the next trip. I didn’t feel bad upon hearing the news over Facebook. As soon as I learned about it, I informed my workmates about my plan of going to Burot beach. Take note: I was the one who organized the trip.

Shit Happens (Opsss…)
I have to justify myself in this part: My original plan was to bring my things to the office the night before the trip so we can go directly from there. I am out of the office by 10AM. But shit happens!(excuse me for that term) My laundry was still unpicked at the shop so after my work, I head to the shop to pick them up. Very UNFORTUNATELY, my laundry was not ready yet. I have work the following day. I informed my colleagues right away. I told them that I will be going back home after work to pack my things. I made it to the meeting place at 12:20PM. I was late for 20 minutes.

Our bus left the terminal in Pasay at around 1:30PM. I know the importance of time and I know how it feels to wait.

“Sunset” A Bad LSS!
It was past five o’clock and we were still on the road. A few kilometers away from Calatagan. My colleague was so furious with the situation. She could not bear it anymore. I can only imagine how she wanted to get out of that bus and fly if she could to get to the seashore to witness the beauty of that sunset. We were stuck in traffic as a part of a bridge is under construction and only one lane is open for all the vehicles who passes through that place. It took us another hour and a half to get to the jump off to the beach. Along the way, she would keep ranting about me not able to get to the meeting place early. She would remind me about the sunset from time to time. It was dark when we get to the beach. We set up our tent and the “sunset” topic was still brought up. It was echoing to my head already like a last song syndrome (LSS). My other colleagues would also try to bring it up but nothing annoys me more than her that makes it more sound like I am the one to blame for not seeing the “sunset”. I heard it over our dinner, until they finished their drinks, until before I fell asleep. I was irritated!

Calm Sea
Early morning, I was awaken by the giggle and chitchat of the girls who woke up early. The moment I opened my eyes, I saw that the weather is good. The sun is not yet out though. I hurried and change my shorts inside our tent, went out and made a splash. I didn’t even brush my teeth or drink a water or take a bite of our breakfast. The water was so calm that no sound of waves one can hear. The water was clear and I swear, it was the most perfect water I’ve ever witnessed. Well, except for the seaweeds and sea urchins. The sand is fine and white, the trees are all over and the whole sea shore is well-kept. It has been years since I saw a calm sea like that. It could’ve been back in my beloved island—Jintotolo island.

The Sunken Sandbar
We all had our breakfast at around 8AM. Took pictures–swim–a little chitchat–then dip into the water–then eat a little–then swim, until two boatmen approached us and offered to bring us to a “white sand bar”. We grabbed the offer as we all wanted to see it. It was about a three to five minutes of boat ride. It was high tide then so the sandbar was already submerged. So we just enjoyed swimming around the shallow part in the middle of the sea. We stayed for about 20 to 30 minutes under the scorching heat of the sun along with the other group. Thanks to Kath’s sunblock (*with SPF 50) for keeping our skin from sunburn but not with our skin colors. LOL

Blame It On The Weatherman
About lunch time when we took a bath (there’s no shower in the beach) and get ourselves ready. And oh, the “sunset” thing was all over the whole time. (It didn’t end there. I even read it on her status and comments on Facebook a few days after. She even gave a name “Sunset” to my iPad. How’s that?!) I was so casual the whole time because it would be so unmanly to fight back but deep inside I’m already pissed off! I only managed to answer back with “please drop it” but still smiling as I don’t want to ruin my trip. They decided to stay to catch the sunset. I have to go back to Manila as I have work schedule at 7PM that day. I never protested of me going home solo. I asked the other group if I could go with them. Transportation (coming & going) to that place is not as easy as getting a taxi in Makati. That trip was so memorable to me. It made me think of doing backpacking solo again. I won’t enjoy if someone around make “parinig” and make it sound like “it’s all your fault” kind of joke. Even if it’s a joke. I never complaint about anything the whole time and never did I posted on Facebook or Twitter that I was annoyed about the situation. I already apologized the moment I arrived in our meeting place. It could be bearable if the joke lasted for a couple of hours. But hearing it the whole time, it makes you think of going back home and wished that you never joined the trip. It was a bitter-sweet trip for me. Because I was able to get to a place as peaceful as Burot beach but losing a friend whom I considered a backpacker like me whom I could count on whenever I have a trip.

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These last two pictures courtesy of Mugi!

Twenty-Eight Not-So-Interesting Facts About Me!

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This was taken at University of Macau during our ten days mission trip to Macau. My first out of the country trip.

 

Almost a month from now, I will be celebrating my birthday and you should be able to guess how old I will be.

Here are some facts about me, you might wanna know:

1. I am a weirdo (I admit! And I think, it is obvious) one example, I don’t celebrate my birthday!
2. A self-proclaimed backpacker but has not done a lot of backpacking yet.
3. I am part of a Guinness Book of World Record set last September 2004. (Largest Human Rainbow)
4. My favorite dish is Sinigang na Bangus. (Mahilig sa sabaw)
5. I was caught for Jaywalking in Alabang but I was able to keep my record clean as I was able to escape from the traffic enforcer. (June 24, 2006)
6. My favorite subject back in elementary and high school was history.
7. When in grade school I prefer to listen or watch the news than watching cartoons!
8. I’ve been a silent rusher (The Morning Rush listener) since 2001 (93.9 days).
9. My dream job is to be a disc jockey(FM Radio) or a journalist. *I auditioned for Student DJ in 97.1 WLS FM back when they’re still playing cool music.
10. No one in my family knows that I tried drinking after my biatch girlfriend broke up with me! (but I already stopped drinking)
11. Some of my close friends call me “anti-social” but I tell them that I am more of an “anti-sosyal” kind of person.
12. My ideal age for marriage is 28. (Alam na!)
13. I don’t believe in ghost, zodiac sign, luck and other stupid ideas.
14. Two of my all-time favorite movies are Gladiator and 500 Days Of Summer. The latter tells my love story. Almost everything!
15. I love going to the beach. When I travel, I take pictures of the scenery and seldom take picture of myself. I only do it when I’m with my friends.
16. I hate rain! I love outdoor activities and seldom stays at home. Ā My favorite numbers are 8 and 38.
17. I love sweets! My favorite ice cream flavor is “Coffee Crumble”. I love banana split blizzard of Dairy Queen too!
18. The initials of my greatest love is J.P.A. šŸ™‚ No name dropping (Baka lumaki pa lalo ang ulo nya.) –So high school.
19. I believe that most politicians in our country are corrupt!
20. The first time I get to watch a porn movie was in college. Late bloomer.
21. I hate cigarettes and its fume! Can I say SUPER HATE?! (I tried it way back in college but never liked it)
22. When in grade school, I represented my school in a quiz bee competition in our district (for History subject) and ended up only at rank 4. I’m also part of the varsity team (track and field).
23. When scolded by someone olderā€“ be it a family memberĀ or someone superior, like my boss (especially when I’m guilty), I just keep quiet and don’t answer back. Even if they were asking questions already or even if they’re not mad anymore.
24. When I was a kid, I used to believe that I have super powers.
25. I was never admitted to a hospital my entire life.
26. My longest relationship was with my first girlfriend. It lasted for more than 5 years. My shortest was about 2 weeks.
27. I hate mainstream! Anything popular is overrated! That’s my take.
28. I understand a little spanish. I speak English, Filipino and our dialect, Ilonggo.

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UNEXPECTED RECOGNITION

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Very timely, as I reached my one year in the company, I received these recognitions. It feels good and fulfilling when you are being recognized at what you’re doing. But I could have been much more happier if I get not just recognition but also a reward. Cash reward that is!

I wasn’t expecting for it since there are so many other employees who are consistently hitting their metrics. Good thing attendance is not a big factor, as I get to the office early inconsistently!

Bad news though, I won’t get an appraisal for renewing my contract as the others do! So, no celebration will happen.

Pico De Loro: The Tale Of A Hardcore Hiker, The Kids, And The Beak

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I received a short notice from my colleagues at work before the remarkable first-time-climb to Pico de Loro in Ternate, Cavite last Saturday. I wasn’t expecting for it as I am more of a beach person than of a hiker. At first it wasn’t really an invite. They were asking if they could borrow my tent again. That give me a hint that they are up for another adventure. As the word “tent” for me is synonymous to “adventure”. I work on weekends so I told them that I could lend them my tent which followed by a question, “Where are you going?”. They told me that they are going to Pico de Loro in Cavite. I have heard of the place and that give me excitement. I haven’t tried climbing yet and I want to give it a try! So I asked them if I could join them.

First Time In Many Things

Next thing I know I was packing my things again. Trying to fit in all the things that I think I could use for trekking. I am bringing my backpackĀ to the officeĀ as I have work that night. The trip is on the day after. I have no plans of telling my boss that I will be absent the following day. I still have doubts if I would join the hikingĀ because I normally don’t absent from my work. It’s gonna be my first time to be absent since I got hired last year. I previously filed a leave but they did not allow me because I wasn’t able toĀ find a reliever who would fill in for me. So the rebellious side of me wanted to take revengeĀ to my bosses as they couldn’t grant my request. I have been so kind to them when they requested for me to be in the office 3 or 4 hours earlier than my shift during the weekends and even came to work with only an hour of sleep and rendered more 13hours but could not return a little favor I’m asking them (I’ll stop ranting here).

We left the office at 8A.M. and met up with the others in Baclaran. We took a bus going to Ternate and got off at the terminal. I was still wearing jeans, long sleeves and my casual shoes I wore the night before at the office. I have no idea what to wear as this is my first ever climb. I wasn’t able to do my homework(research) about it because of the short notice.

Greetings!

We took a tricycle going to the DENR office before we started to trek. I had the chance to change my upper clothing before the climb but I was still wearing the same pants until we reached the camp site. Everyone in the group was ready with all the right gears and had packed just enough for the climb. I had “overpacked” if that’s the right term. I was struggling as we get to the first base camp and it was much harder as we get closer to the camp where we stayed overnight. Along the way, we met other hikers. Some are on their way home and others are on their way up to the mountain. Hikers have very unique attitude towards the other hikers. I find them very polite as they greet all the people they meet on their way and say things like “take care” or they would tell encouraging words such as “you can do it” or “you’re almost there”. We got a lot of these on our way to the top. We joked about it. To use this attitude when we get back to Manila, to greet everyone we bump along the busy streets of the metro. I just can’t imagine how crazy the idea was.

As we get closer to the camp site, the back and muscle pains were unbearable! We would take about 10-15 minutes of walk then rest. For a newbie on this climbing stuff, I had the terrible time coping up with the group but I wasn’t the worst. One of the girls had the hard time. She’s always the last person to get to the place where most of us would take a short breather.

Conquering The “Buwis-buhay” Beak!

We stayed on the camp overnight and climbed the summit the following day. Early morning of the following day, we got ourselves ready to climb the highest peak. It was hard as the way to the summit was very steep. The fog was covering the summit and the grass were wet that causes the ground to be slippery. The beak or the other summit is not visible that made our colleagues back out as we planned to climbed it. We waited for almost an hour until the sun came out. As the sun shine through the thick cloud that was covering the beak, we got courage to conquer it. At first it was just me and two other guys who had the courage to climb the beak. As soon as I reached the beak, the girls was so envious while witnessing how I conquer the summit of the beak. I was the first one to reach the “buwis-buhay” beak.

The Kid Who’d Climbed 7 Mountains

Going back down to the camp site we happen to meet three kids and their parents. Yes, Kids! One was about 6 years old (a girl & she’s the youngest), then a 7-year old boy and their older brother (I assume) who is 8 years old. I asked the 8-year old boy a few questions and I learned that he already climbed 7 mountains and that he started climbing at the age of three. I felt ashamed as this was my first ever climb. But the kid inspired me! So me and my friends are planning to get high with the mountains and not with anything illegal.