January 8, 2017

Just Keep on Walking (Mt. Tangisan Dayhike)

I opened my eyes, and I was still on a tricycle bound to Mt. Tangisan. I was about to close my eyes again when I noticed the beautiful surroundings - the sky so blue, clouds white and puffy, breeze cold and refreshing. "Good morning indeed!"

At the jumpoff

Mt. Tangisan is one of the mountains that make up San Jose Circuit, a 17-18km loop mountain trail in Tarlac. Loop trail means your entry point is same as your exit point, but the trail you follow is different - unlike in backtrail wherein you just trace back your way. Since the group wanted a chill climb, we only trekked Mt. Tangisan.

Mt. Tangisan, Tarlac

Mt Tangisan trail is exposed, and is a mix of loose soil, tall cogon grasses, and cow dung. Nonetheless, the views of rice paddies and nearby provinces are spectacular - Mt Arayat can be seen towering the horizon from a distance.

Obstructed View (hehe) from Mt Tangisan Summit

The trek to the summit took us about 2 hrs with moderate stops for rest and picture taking. Overall (on a not-so-sunny-but-no-rain day), Mt. Tangisan climb is a pretty straightforward climb - just keep on walking and you'll reach the summit - no crawling, spelunking, rolling, rock climbing, river crossing, mud sliding, etc. Just keep on walking.


Mt. Tangisan Summit

Getting There and Expenses

- P204 - Bus from Five Star Cubao to Siesta (Bus bound to Dagupan but not via TPLEX)
- P600 / 2 pax - Roundtrip tricycle ride from Siesta to Jumpoff and vice versa
- P350 / 6 pax - Guide fee for 1 mountain dayhike

Tips 

- Beware of cogon grasses and amor seco. Wear sleeves or pants if you can so you avoid itching.
- No need for river crossing (contrary to most blogs) anymore because they erected a bridge already
- No washroom in jumpoff because the water pipelines haven't been setup - bring wet wipes if you want freshen up after the climb
- The road to the jumpoff is rough so better charter a jeepney rather than tricycle from Siesta to jumpoff.

December 11, 2016

Quarterlife & Travel Notes for Hongkong & Macau

Brown skinned, curly haired, small girl with a big backpack and bulky sandals - that's me! And with very pretty eyes too no? ^_^  hey this is my blog! and it's my late birthday post, haha!

High rise buildings, huge designer brand billboards, bright lights, stylish people with fair skin and chinky eyes! (-_-)  that's my first close up look of Hongkong. One look, and it seems right for me to feel different and out of place, but there is none of that anymore.

Like the flow of water, uninterrupted, I walk a path that is mine alone. I am not an outsider nor a visitor. These roads, at this exact moment, are present only for me. I am expected :)

Photo is actually in Macau (bec I cant find HK street photo from my album)

A. Accommodation

I read a lot of negative reviews about Chungking Mansion being dodgy and "unsafe" so I was concerned. But upon reaching the place,  it wasn't scary at all. People were bothered of the Indian men hustling around the neighborhood - I actually found them rather lively and amusing - a place for people watching! Perhaps I am used to such places as it resembled Manila - where people hustle like that daily. You just smile and say no firmly to them if you aren't interested and they will move on to their next sale - you can even ask them for directions as they get around and are mostly street smart. If any, what bothered me about Chungking Mansion is their shower heaters - it is damn hard to set.

But if you'd like to do a bit of staycation, do not stay here coz it would feel suffocating. Only stay here if you know that it's just a place to sleep, and if you're okay to say "oh well I don't care, will just sleep and go have fun outside later"

Tip: Bring universal adapter just in case the hostel has no adapter - HK sockets are for round plugs and not the flat ones we have in PH.

 B. Getting Around

Since I was on a DIY trip, I bought an Octopus card [150 HKD + 100 HKD reload], which is a reloadable card that you can use to pay in trains, buses, and even convenience stores. I also bought  a local sim card to subscribe to internet [80 HKD / 5days]

With an Octopus card and internet connection, almost all places in Hongkong is easy to reach - even for first time visitors who do not speak the language. You can buy both Octopus card and local simcard in the airport and have the staff subscribe you to unlimited internet - although most places have free and reliable wifi anyway.

Tips:

- Check online for mobile apps that can help you get around - for example in HK, there is MTR app, or OpenRice for restos, or Google Translate, etc.
- Buses are numbered so just ask which bus goes to your stop or near it. Bus to and from airport/TST is A21

C. Itinerary

1. Lion Rock Peak [Free]

This is not the lion rock formation, but it looks like a lion head to me, dont you think so?

I followed this blog: http://thisgirlabroad.com/lion-rock-hike/ for directions from MTR to jumpoff, and then I just asked around for the way back from Lion Rock. The trail is a mix of concrete or paved stairway, hence it can be strenuous for the knees.


The view throughout the trail is spectacular, it paints you a picture of a highly urbanized city in the center of the mountains.

Lion Rock Peak

The whole trek from MTR and back took me around 4 hours. Along the way, I bumped into several nice people - One man walked with me to the correct jump off because I apparently passed by it and missed it. A girl gave me a candy on the way up. A couple passed by me and cheered me on - they said "Fighting!" Awwiee how cute no <3 Hahaha! A family who overheard me asking for direction drew a map for me. An old lady actually chased me to tell me I was going the wrong way. She honestly scared me at first because she seemed really mad, and I couldn't figure why as we were only talking in sign language. Eventually, my heart felt really warm because of these people's concern for a stranger like I am.

What a happy day indeed :)

2. Tian Tan Buddha / Po Lin Monastery / Ngong Ping Village [Free]

The 360 cable car to Ngong Ping was on scheduled maintenance that day so I took Bus 23 to Ngong Ping instead. Tian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, and Ngong Ping Village are all in one vicinity. Tian Tan Buddha is a giant Buddha statue that sits atop a mountain in Ngong Ping. It was created by the monks of Po Lin monastery in 1990. It is my favorite place in HK/Macau!

Tian Tan Buddha from a distance

The moment I saw the Buddha, I became still. I was so mesmerized by its beauty that I fell silent the whole time. I did not dare move or talk because I might end up distracting myself. It was such a spiritual moment - as if my soul was smiling. I was calm, yet I could feel tremendous happiness for no reason. My heart was really happy. I am really happy.

Ngong Ping Village - closing already
Po Lin Monastery

3. Symphony of  Lights every 8pm as seen from Victoria Harbour [Free]

Symphony of Lights is a 13 minute lights and sound show making use of laser beams with the high rise buildings and the sky as its canvass. The city's skyscraper is really impressive!

After Symphony of Lights - HK Skyscraper

Tip: Get there early so you get a good spot to take photos.

4. Temple Street Night Market [Free]

This night market felt stuffy for me. The place sure is vibrant, with lots of street food and merchandise, but it felt expensive for a street market. IDK it was probably me converting everything to PHP in my head.

Tip: If there are no prices in the restaurant's menu (especially for the spicy chili crab), you may have leeway to haggle. But the taste of the crab wasn't even that special and it costed my friend and I almost 300HKD just for crab and rice.

5. Around Tsim Sha Tsui [Mostly Free]

There are lots of places you can visit around TST: Avenue of Stars, Kowloon Park, Science Museum, Art Museum, History Museum, and different malls, boutiques, and even convenience stores. I absolutely enjoyed HK Museum of History and Science Museum - very interactive and interestingly laid out!

Tip: All museums are free entrance on Wednesdays.

Mural at Avenue of Stars

6. Around Central and Hongkong Island [Free]

A friend wouldn't have it that I don't get to ride a tram during my visit so she took us to Hongkong Island and Central (the city's Business district) to ride a tram (ding ding!). It is like a hybrid of double decker bus and train. It's fascinating! Tram is slow and quite old, and the windows are open so it is a relaxing ride for me.


She also brought us to hole-in-wall restaurants with definitely tastier food than the ones I tried prior. These restos do not have translation though so she had to do all the ordering for us - thanks, Fanny! Yoda best!

Missed you, Fanny!!! 


Got to try boiled isaw (pork intestines - see the orange ones below.) It was surprisingly good - even if it was just boiled! Guess I really am a die hard isaw fan, but grilled and fried are still kings! Mehehe.

Isaw and Roast Duck

Afterwards, we dropped by the observatory wheel, and International Commerce Center - the tallest building in HK. Then we took a ferry back to TST.

Hongkong Observatory Wheel

International Commerce Center (ICC)

7. Macau [Mostly Free, main cost is the ferry ride]

Macau is just a ferry away from Hongkong. Some places of interest are the casinos, Senado Square, St. Paul Ruins, Monte Fortress, and A-Ma Temple. This is for Macau Peninsular. There is also Inner Macau where Macau Tower is.

St. Paul Ruins

Grand Lisboa

Since it was raining during my visit, I enjoyed playing in the casinos more than the sights outdoors. I didn't get how the slot machines worked, but it was fun because somehow we won. Yey!

Tips

- You can buy cheaper ferry tickets in agencies - the one inside the mall (Ming Sing Tours) beside Turbo Jet official ticket store is legit. Got mine at 300 HKD round trip
- Have exact change for buses. Taxis are somewhat cheap too.
- There are free shuttle service to the casinos, but not really back to the airport as you have to sign up for a membership card (at least for Grand Lisboa)

8. Others

If I had more time and if the weather permitted, I would have tried Disneyland, Victoria Peak, Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region, and Maclehose Trail too - oh well #ReasonsToGoBack!

D. General Travel Notes

- It is better to exchange PHP to HKD here in Manila than in HK. And if you are already in HK, better exchange in the city forex stores than in airport.

- Paying with your BPI credit card only has 1.75% charge, and conversion rate is dependent on VISA/Mastercard forex rate on date of purchase. That is cheap! But do not forget to tell the store to charge you in their local currency instead of converting to PHP.

- Water is expensive and is not free in restaurants. One 800 mL water from 7-11 costed me around P200.

- Food cost is a little more than double compared with PH prices. My average Mcdo Meal in HK costed around P300+

- Almost all attractions are free, my expenses are mostly transportation, food, and accommodation.

- For pasalubong or souvenir, imported chocolates and biscuits are cheaper than local delicacies.

- My total spending for 5 days 4 nights is around 13k, no airfare. I could have done 10k if I had not bought dollars in HK airport.

- You can return your MTR card to get back the deposit of 50 HKD and also the remaining value. I have almost 100 HKD left but since I had no time to drop by the MTR counter and return my Octopus card, goodbye 100 dollars T.T

- Look at this map for places of interest for my HK and Macau trip: https://drive.google.com/openid=1wc775X0U3gCc9EQ1oHioe9y9x3Q&usp=sharing

Quarterlife, and I no longer feel restless :)

There is no more differentiation - there is only  peace and the feeling of being at home wherever I go. At last after 25 years, I finally come into terms with myself. I have become comfortable with my own  skin. Congratulations, Arlet! And obviously, it is a happy birthday for me. Thank you, universe!

Cheers!
Arlet

PS

I've been looking for a salted lemon candy like the one in the photo below, but can't find it. Aww.

Thanks to the ate who gave me this candy while on the Lion Rock Trail :)

September 12, 2016

Blue is just as Warm (Mt Ulap Dayhike)

The Climb (Mt Ulap)



I desperately wanted to climb that day, but had nothing planned. Like what any desperate people do, I turn  to the internet. Less than 10 minutes search, and I already found lots of organized climb. Now I'm a fairly capable person - I have reasonable judgment (most of the time), can carry my own weight, and can run fast if need be. So what the heck.

Cravings - whether food, experience, people, place, etc. - I always go for it one way or another. If I don't, the cravings just get so strong that I short circuit. Like a battery, I malfunction and explode - that is I go crazy.

I was nothing near to the short circuit phase, it hasn't happened in 3 years. This time it was just a particularly strong craving for the mountains. As they say,  the mountains are calling, and I must go :)

I contacted the organizer and confirmed my slot for the event less than 5 hrs away.

I asked a friend to join me, and she agreed right away. We left Manila before 12mn and arrived in Benguet jump-off before the sun rose. Just as we were leaving, the rain fell strongly, and the wind blew harshly. It  was troubling.

Red Trashbag  (Mt Ulap)

The trail was a combination of gradual uphill and downhill soil or grassland. There wasn't a need for rappelling, climbing, or the like.

It was stormy throughout the  hike but I'm thankful that we were still able to witness quick clearings and beautiful sights - even the clouds that brought the rains were majestic to look at. I almost felt stupid wishing for the sun so badly when the clouds and the rain at that time were just as good of a companion. To the soul, it's just as warm as the sun is.

Zero visibility after 50m (Mt Ulap)

Peak 1 - no clearing (Mt Ulap)

Change is coming , mehehe (Mt Ulap)

I continued the trek and became more captivated with the fog engulfing us. It was almost like the start of a good movie (probably a horror one, eeep!) But as morning comes, it started to feel like a feel good movie. Oops that sounded cheesy. What I'm saying is I enjoyed the hike a lot despite the weather. No actually, I enjoyed the hike a lot because of the weather :)

Cloud Nine (Mt Ulap)

Blue is just as warm (Mt Ulap)

Gungal Rock (Mt Ulap)

In the mountains, there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

See you around!
Arlet

PS

1. There is no transportation and expense breakdown for this post, because I joined an organized climb which costed P1300 for for roundtrip van Manila-Benguet-Manila, guide and registration fees, 1 dinner, and bag tag.

2. There's a queue for those who want to take a photo on top of Gungal Rock - A QUEUE in the mountain! Can you believe it?!

3. According to the guide, the mountain is named Mt Ulap because clouds sit atop the summit of the mountain during certain times of the day.

June 12, 2016

Looking For Maria Makiling (Mt. Makiling Traverse)

The day started early. I contacted all the participants to make sure they were awake. I checked my bag to make sure I forgot nothing. I reviewed the itinerary and transportation notes to make sure we stay on track. All set, and ready to go!

Or so I thought.

There were unexpected concerns early on - late participants, cancelled participant, guide fee increased, etc. Good thing that the group I was with were understanding about the whole brouhaha,

so I let it go.

Pack light. Travel light. Do not carry unnecessary baggage - whether for the body, or the mind, and especially for the heart. Let it go :)

The day went on. I asked the guide about the legend Maria Makiling, the spirit guardian of the mountain. He narrated how there were times when visitors would get lost in obscure parts of the mountains, or how a child was in the same place as the rescuers looking for him, but they couldn't see him. It seems that stories on Mariang Makiling nowadays are those of punishment and misfortune caused to visitors who are allegedly disrespecting the forest or whatnot , but let this be a different account. 

I have always fancied Makiling - the ardous trail from Sto. Tomas, Batangas to Los Banos, Laguna, the icky limatik and lipa abundant in the area, the mysteries surrounding the mountain. Even the forest alone excites me!


We started the trek, and I can hear my mind worry - all the what ifs, from my knee pains acting up to my groupmates (let alone my cousin!) getting injured. I was anxious, but I just walked - one step at a time.


As we go deeper into the forest, the quieter my mind gets - it was peaceful. Even when the trek was becoming difficult due to slippery trail, or plain exhaustion, it was still peaceful.

There was always that sense that the forest was helping us. She wanted us to 'succeed' and finish. There is that feeling that she will provide care in whatever form. When the trail was slippery, there were branches and roots to hold on to. When the sun was high and mighty, the shade was ready. When the rain threatened to fall, the wind blew it to the other side of the province. When a teammate got tired, another teammate offered help. Makiling is kind and giving - perhaps all the world is if we lose ourselves a little.


When we reached the summit, there was no clearing. Hence we just took a little rest and continued the descent to Los Banos. After reaching Agila base, we took a few photos and headed down UPLB. The road to Los Banos is mostly cemented and wide, the trees huge, and the place shaded and calm. At some point, we were bantering with each other because it felt like the road was never ending. Good thing we found the last stop before we were all tempted to reverse our shirts as the old superstition goes. Phew!


I did not see the beautiful, mysterious, and legendary Maria Makiling, but I did see all her qualities in the mountain - like I've been watching her all along. Makiling is definitely one of my favorites :)

General Tips

- There is a mudspring on the way to Los Banos - a good sidetrip if you have enough time.
- Mosquito lotions are good repellent for limatik
- Avoid carrying a full pack as the trail gets narrow after Melkas ridge.
- Wear shoes to have more support and balance especially on the slippery parts.

Expenses

Bus from Buendia to San Felix - P105 
Tryk from San Felix to Sitio Jordan - P70/3

Guide - P800/5pax (P600 is the recommended fee from Sto Tomas jumpoff until Agila base, but the guides were asking for additional. Personally I do not mind giving more, especially when I am satisfied with the service but it is a bit distasteful when the tip has to be demanded. Also I do not want to accidentally make the industry more expensive for others.)

Registration fee - P20
CR Donation - P20
Jeep from Elbi to Crossing - P7
Bus from Crossing to Alabang - P60
Bus from Alabang to Guadalupe - P45

See you around!
Arlet

May 13, 2016

My Brother's First Climb & The End of My Trauma

Since the day I witnessed Ely Fell, I  have not invited a first timer to climb with me again. Hence I was hesitant to invite my brother and sister to a climb (especially my sister!) I was paranoid with the what ifs.  What if they slip and get hurt? What if they get heat stroke? What if they collapse? What if they fall off a cliff! I dreaded all the possibilities/ impossibilities. Even a slight injury would be tough to explain to my mother or my relatives.

But I really want them to experience climbing - because for me climbing has been humbling and really fulfilling. I want people to feel that, and then hopefully love and care for nature more.

I started with my brother since he is relatively more physically fit and active. And my relatives would not nag me soooo much if he gets just a little bit hurt :)


Pre Climb

As there's no more time to make my brother attend a formal BMC, I just briefed him on LNT and other basic mountaineering principles. I gave him the materials I had during my first climb with the Loyola Mountaineers and the notes I had during my BMC in Tanay Adventure Camp. I was glad that he paid full attention. Afterwards I gave him all the articles and write ups about Maynoba Circuit. I told him to read more accounts online and see what he thinks.

We're ready!

Climb Proper (Mt. Cayabu & Mt Maynoba & Its 8 Waterfalls)

View from Mt. Maynoba descent

We warmed up, asked the locals about the details of the climb, and had the pacing and resting sorted out. The trek was supposedly easy - gradual ascent only, but the heat was making it challenging. I brought 2L of ice, but just before lunch the ice was already warm water. Crazy hot as there were no clouds nor air!!! There was even a wild fire on the other side of the mountain :(

We started with Cayabu - there were covered areas at the start, but it becomes an open field as you go nearer to the peak of Mt. Maynoba. From Maynoba, the trail would be full of tall dry grasses- itchy so better wear pants or arm sleeves - I got several cuts on my arms here. The air was so thin too as it cannot get through the bush. I was constantly thinking of passing out due to the heat, humidity, and lack of fluids.


The descent was much easier, as it gets shaded going down. And the promise of the refreshing waterfalls can be very encouraging!


There were 8 waterfalls in total, but we only took a dip in the Maynoba waterfalls, which was the deepest of the eight. We had to swim across the lake to move forward! And it was difficult for us to transport our things without it getting wet. Good thing our guide was very helpful!

1st Falls. Natatagong Paraiso Waterfalls

Post Climb

Overall, the climb was easy, but the heat - not. Make sure to bring fluids/iced water and heat protection. It can also help if you wear trek pants, sleeves, and socks to protect your skin from scratches.

Oh, my brother? He found it easy so he's a bit smug about the experience - nakakainis. Nonetheless I was just happy to climb again, and thankful that nothing bad happened. Ely's fall traumatized me to invite first-timers to climb with me ever since. Glad to have ended that mentality and move on :)

Getting There & Expenses

Ride a jeep or fx from Gateway Cubao to Cogeo (P35.) Then ride a jeep from Cogeo Market to Batangasan. Then ride a tricycle from Batangasan to the jumpoff (P150/ Max of 4 pax per tricyle.) Guide for the group (1:5) normally costs P500 for dayhike. Registration is  P20 per head.

Trivia (Citation Needed)

Cayabu means Kay Abu (Abu's). Abu was the guy who discovered Mt Cayabu.
Maynoba is the local term for the part of the river which separates (?)

#HeyClimbWithMe. You just might find it beautiful up there. And if you do not, at least you will look forward to going back.

See you around!
Arlet



March 14, 2016

Has Travel Made me Jaded? (Bohol)

I am no longer scared of the world,

No longer in a hurry to see everything, no longer intimidated by the unknown, but I am afraid I may have become desensitized too.


When I stepped out of the plane from Manila to Bohol, I had absolutely no plans - no itinerary, no room reservations, no relatives or friends to visit, and no company to consult with. I was alone in a relatively foreign place.

I wanted to prepare better for the trip, but I was swamped with everything. And so I carried on, and believed that I will find everything that I wanted and needed.

Bohol Day Tour (Around 600 php)

I met Lex, a fellow solo traveler in Bohol. Just like me, he had no plans, and hadn't eaten breakfast yet too. We walked together looking for a place to eat. Then we bumped into Ricky, a tricycle driver who offered to be our guide in Bohol. Having no plans ourselves, we gladly took the offer.

Bohol Python and Wildlife Sanctuary (Around 20 php)

It's a place with animals in captivity. I don't feel comfortable in such places. It feels restricting and downright sad... Imagine if you have to live in a small quarter all your life... I might die in such condition.

Loboc Floating Restaurant (Around 450 php)

Cruise along Loboc River while enjoying Filipino buffet, live music, and performances. Food is decent. Scenery is beautiful and relaxing. Performances are lively and cheery.

Loboc River
Local children performing a folk song and dance

Tarsier Conservation Area (Around 50 php)

Tarsiers are sensitive creatures - they will commit suicide if they get stressed. Because of this, visitors should observe silence and non flash photography. Tarsiers look like delicate tiny aliens :)

Tarsier

Man-made Forest

Just did a quick stop over here for picture taking. Read that the mahogany trees are foreign to the soil. Hence the animals and insects in the area do not recognize the place as home, and so does not propagate here - explains why there are no birds in this forest.

Man Made Forest, Bohol

ShipHaus (Around 20 php)

House/museum shaped and decorated like a ship

Chocolate Hills Viewing Deck (Around 50 php)

There is concrete stairs leading to the viewing deck. The shape of the hills are not so identical anymore because of the previous earthquakes, but it is still a sight to behold. Normally I would conjure stories on how this landscape came to be- a romanticized version of how it looked like and how it made me feel. But such did not came to me. Don't get me wrong though, the hills were beautiful. It's just that my mind stopped already at that conclusion - no more sentimental emotions, etc.



Island Tour (Around 2800 php per boat)

Lex and I strolled by the beach and found boatmen looking for joiners for their Island Tour - of course we joined. Hehe people without plans are really easy to tag along and convince.

Pamilacan Island

If there is anything that amazed me most in this trip, it would be seeing dolphins in the wild. Imagine a couple of boats of tourists roaming around the sea, and praying for dolphins. Everyone was alert and in the lookout for dolphins. I was terribly sleepy when suddenly a group of dolphins sprung up near our boat. LUUCCKKY!!! Every boat rushed towards the dolphins to get a better view, and they just jumped and jumped and jumped majestically in and out of the waters.

You can see the smile and wonder from everyone. It was absolutely lovely - my heart thumped :)

Balicasag Island

Already satisfied and happy from the dolphin sighting, we proceeded to Balicasag Island for snorkeling. There was a cliff part underwater which made me scared and curious to swim closer at.

Somehow I am uncontrollably drawn and amazed by things that scare me. It is not so much as being mad, but a yearning for more, a desire for growth. It is almost as addicting as it can be debilitating. I am struck.

Virgin Island

Very picturesque sandbar, but not much to do - just walk around, take photos, and breathe.


Maribojoc Evening Firefly Tour (Around 2000 php)

Did this tour with Kayakasia Outfitter. Because I was alone, I was given a local kid as my partner in kayaking - in case I was unable to navigate the kayak in pure darkness of the night - which did happen, haha! The kid was eager to show me around and impress me which was very sweet. We got to the farther parts of the river ahead of everyone so we had more time to be quiet and just appreciate the place. The stillness of the surrounding was liberating - I almost wished I could be left there alone for the night - just so I can breathe.

With the others approaching, we moved on to see the mangroves which was lighted by fireflies - hundreds if not thousands of them! I wanted to feel more when I saw the trees seemingly in fire because of the glowing insects, but nothing. It was "fine."

This was it.

Some parts of the world has become normal to me. It no longer scares me, or no longer excites me like before. But was it really travel or experience that made me jaded? Or was it my ego?

Throw away enlightenment when you have it. I may, in some way, have become jaded, but I am hopeful.

Arlet

PS

Budget a bit more when in Panglao, because commodities are at dollar rate - probably because most tourists are foreigners. Also planned to go to Hinagdanan Cave and Danao Adventure Park, but ran out of time so putting it on my imaginary itinerary next time.

February 8, 2016

The Guide, The Hermit, and The Hard Boiled Egg (Tarak Ridge, Bataan)

"Those who are frequent hikers can be at the tail end. Those who are beginners should stay with the guide in front," announced our organizer for the climb.



Lots of people packed the sweep group, including my friend Kath. Without hesitation, I apologized to Kath as I cannot stay with her at the tail end and decided to stick with the guide or at least the mid group.

It was a big crowd - crowds intimidate me greatly. Suddenly I was overly worried of my knee pains, and that I might end up inconveniencing the whole group. Last time I had this liability worry was during my Purgatory climb. I remember self talking myself during that climb that I should be careful of every step to avoid unnecessary accident, or fatigue. I guess the main difference was that it was a small group so I was more at peace.

"But I'm here now," I psyched myself . I should just try. Welcome back to hiking, Arlet.


The organizers gave us hard boiled egg, banana, and sweets. I was famished so I ate it all before the climb. In fairness, I didn't  get  hungry until noon so next time I'll just bring egg and banana as my snacks :P I was confused whether I can just throw the egg  shells beside the trail since it is organic and all, but I wasn't sure so I held onto it. After a quick google search, I found that egg shells do not decompose unless the soil is very acidic and the shells finely ground, so maybe best not to litter them?

Anywaaayy...

We started trekking.

Cogon Grassland

First part was dried cogon grassland, then the forested woodland which after the papaya river will mostly be assault. Climbing onto branches and roots  would be helpful at this point.

Resting after one of the assault series :D

Papaya River: The Chill before the Climb

After papaya river, It was difficult to stick with the guide, I was almost chasing her! Her one step was three steps for me. I couldn't focus on observing the mountain, my focus was on her. The guide wanted to finish  as quickly as possible because we were only doing a dayhike. Hence I couldn't blame her for such pace.

We reached the campsite just in time for lunch. It was mostly an open field, but there are areas covered with trees. We ate lunch and headed for the summit.

Campsite area

The trail to the peak was steep and paved with loose soil  and rocks. The kind that worries me the most when descending. Good thing, I had help from a friend. Otherwise would have taken me forever to go down. There was another side of the summit which I did not check out anymore because the crowd - again- was getting bigger. And INTJs like me get stressed in such environment so I decided to hike down already. I think I'd like to go back to Tarak, but for an overnight hike next time :)

Famous tree at the summit of Tarak

After this climb, I figured I need to work on my social skills once again. I'm returning to my old hermit ways. But before so, I need  to have my left knee check.

Hakuna Matata.

Cheers!
Arlet