Monday, November 16, 2015

Mt. Maculot | Changes and Updates 2015

It's been a while since I last hiked this "infamous" mountain, it was December of 2013. Back then, guides weren't mandatory, and yeah, the summit was not bald as it is right now. So much has changed in past 1 year and 11 months.


Sunday - November 15, 2015

I've managed to hike Mt. Maculot several times before, from doing the easy day hike to Rockies to doing a traverse from Grotto. Check out my blogs in the following links:
Mt. Maculot Traverse: Grotto to Summit to Rockies 1.
Mt. Maculot Traverse: Grotto to Summit to Rockies 2.
Mt. Maculot Rockies via Old Trail
Mt. Maculot Rockies via New Trail.

But now that I'm back after almost 2 years not hiking Mt. Maculot, I've noticed changes in the mountain.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tech solutions for the modern mountain climber

Although I think one of the greatest things about going mountain climbing is feeling free and far away from the trappings of modern life, there can definitely more than a few occasions when a little technology can come to the modern mountain climber's aid.

Whether it be the latest mapping app, an online gaming tool, or even a fun camera gadget, it seems that there's a limitless supply of tech that can help supplement a mountain climber's exploits.

Navigation tools

Obviously it's incredibly important for anybody going up into the mountains to know how to navigate with just the bare essentials of a map and a compass. But there is an increasing range of tech solutions that have helped me find the most magnificent vistas too.

I've found that one of the hardest things to overcome in this regard is the lack of mobile signal in remote locations. Although many of the world's most famous mapping apps such as Google Maps have recently released an offline mode, they aren't best suited to mountaineering.

This is where apps such as Motion X step in to use GPS technology to provide an incredible amount of accurate information regardless of what kind of terrain you are climbing.

Tech for downtime

Of course, mountaineering isn't always about being out on the go. It's also essential to gather a little time to recuperate. If you're lucky enough to find yourself in a mountain cabin with an internet connection, then the Lucky Nugget Casino site can provide hours of entertainment playing slots games with a range of attractive bonuses that can all be accessed from a mobile device so that it should liven up even the most intense snowstorm.

And I've found that it's always good to have lots of entertainment options whilst I'm waiting for my legs to recover from the last hike, which is why the Sandisk Connect Wireless Stick is perfect as it can hold hundreds of movies and TV shows. And more importantly, it can be accessed via Wi-Fi so that anyone can enjoy their chosen media from a mobile device, rather than carrying a bulky laptop up and down a mountain.

Documenting your adventures

I'm sure I'm not alone loving to share my mountaineering exploits with friends and family when I get back home. And whilst there has been a plethora of gadgets that can take photos and video via a body-mounted camera, few are as instantly usable as the likes of the TomTom Bandit that can provide pixel-perfect footage that I've even managed to edit on my mobile.

And finally, I'm always hyper-conscious of making sure that all of my tech is fully charged up. So rather than carrying round an endless supply of power adaptors, I've streamlined the whole operation with the likes of the Power Mod All-in-one Travel Charger that has the bonus feature of being 75% faster than most chargers – and therefore gives me much more time for the mountains!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mt. Sicapoo | Catching the Penguin of Ilocos Norte

I haven't really fully recovered from the jam-packed Ilocos trip we just had one week ago, and yet, here I am again, aboard a bus bound for Ilocos Norte. (Kung may spare time kayo, please do check out my blog about our Ilocos trip in this link). But I won't be visiting any touristy beach nor an aged heritage building, for in this episode of my life, I will be on a mission to reach the highest peak in Ilocos Region.


Day 1 - January 31, 2014
Gasgas River to Balbalitok Campsite

It was still very dark, and everyone seemed still sleeping when we arrived in Laoag City. Masyado pang tahimik. We were to meet with our hired jeepney somewhere there but we can't get through his phone. Tulog pa ata si kuya. So for the meantime, we had breakfast and bought our packed lunch as well in a well-known fast food chain, bilang siya lang naman ang bukas sa mga oras na iyon.

By 6 o'clock, our jeepney service finally arrived. We're all set and excited. Solsona here we come.  

Welcome to Solsona. Who would've thought that this humble town in the outskirts of Ilocos Norte is the gateway to Mt. Sicapoo, the highest in the whole of Ilocos Region. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ilocos Sur | An Accidental Fiesta in Vigan and A Big Big Church in Sta. Maria

On the last leg of our Ilocos Adventure, the two of us found ourselves in the old districts of Vigan. Not only did we see the aged houses of Calle Crisologo, but we also witnessed, accidentally, a fun and colorful local fiesta. Swerte! Aside from that, we also passed by a huge church in the nearby town of Sta Maria.

This post is the 4th and last part of my Ilocos Blog Series. For the Pagudpud leg of the trip check this link, for Burgos-Bangui leg of the trip click this link, and lastly, for the Laoag-Paoay-Batac part of the trip follow this link.


Day 3 - January 22, 2014

After three days of going through and around the well known places and not very well known places in Ilocos Norte, we finally came to Vigan City, the capital of Ilocos Sur. Sa wakas, we entered the southern leg of our Ilocos backpacking trip.

It was past 6 in the evening when we got in the central plaza. There were so many people, loud sounds were being played, and colorful lights illuminate almost every aged structure around the place. It appears that something was going on, and we're totally clueless about it.

City Hall of Vigan

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ilocos Norte | Old Stuffs from Laoag, Paoay and Batac

During the first two days of our Ilocos trip, we indulged ourselves mostly to nature's wonders. But this time, as we reach the third day of our trip, our country's great and dark past shall be rekindled. Not only natural gems do Ilocos Norte keep within its boundaries, but also rich history that survived the test of time. 

This is the third part of my Ilocos travel series. Follow the wonders of Pagudpud in this link, and the marvels of Bangui and Burgos in this link


Day 2 - January 21, 2014

After seeing and experiencing so much of Bangui and Burgos (you better check out my blog about our trip in those places, see this link), we decided to travel south to Laoag, the province's capital city. I've been to this place maybe a couple of times already, in fact my grandma (mother's side) is from this side of the planet, but honestly, I still haven't seen or toured around the place.

Unlike the bustling Metro Manila, Laoag is still pretty much a laid back city. Not a hint of a hectic life can be observed from the locals. The atmosphere was friendly, and most people would smile, especially to us who obviously look like outsiders. There was no language barrier as well since the people here speak Tagalog fluently.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ilocos Norte | Gems of Burgos and Bangui

After our Pagudpud trippings, we headed south for some more adventures. A day with a waterfall, a rock formation, an old lighthouse and some wind turbines... and of course with her. hehe. Day 2 of our 4-day Ilocos tipid trip coming right up.

For the first part of our trip, kindly check out this link: Pagudpud All Day.


Day 2 - January 21, 2014

We began day 2 of our Ilocos Trip with a morning hayahay walk at Saud beach. It was our last chance to savor the white sand beach of Pagudpud since we're scheduled to leave the place that morning. Buti na lang, ok na ok ang weather nung umagang yun.

Good morning Pagudpud!

Faro de Cabo Bojeador

Faro de Cabo Bojeador, or Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, is the light station built during the Spanish times in the province of Ilocos Norte, specifically on a hill in the town of Burgos. Its purpose is to guide vessels faring through the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) from Babuyan Channel to the busy ports of Luzon's western seaboard, which includes the ports of Manila and Subic.

The light house of Burgos has an octagonal tower that is 20 meters (66 ft) tall and attached to a brick single-story keeper's house. Its construction was overseen by engineers Magin Pers y Pers (the same guy who worked on several lighthouses in Luzon) and Guillermo Brockman until it was completed in 1892. Since then, the light station has been fully operational for years until it was reduced to a dilapidated state over time. It was only in 2003 that the old structure was refurbished for continuous maritime service and for tourism as well.

Ongoing construction of Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. Photo source.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tanap-Avis Falls | The Unpopular Waterfall of Ilocos Norte

This waterfall adventure is part of my 2014 Ilocos Birthday Trip. I just decided to create a separate post for this because it deserves one. Click in this link to read our Ilocos Birthday Adventure. Gems of Burgos and Bangui.


Tuesday - January 21, 2014

Being the nearest and most accessible of them all, we opted Tanap-Avis Falls from a handful of waterfalls being featured in Burgos town's tourism brochure. I never heard nor saw this destination from any sources so I was only basing my prejudices of this waterfall from the brief description and a nice image found in the brochure.

yup, we were the only ones visiting the place

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ilocos Norte | Pagudpud All Day

The Original Plan. I was hoping that on my 22nd birthday, I will be celebrating it in the province of Batanes, together with the cows, and the hills, and the rock houses, and the Ivatans with their vacul. It's a dream destination so I see no reason  not to be so excited. At first, everything just went smoothly—I already got a round trip ticket, an approved full week vacation leave, a well tailored itinerary, and a bunch travel buddies. Naghihintay na lang kami ng travel date namin. But two weeks prior to our trip, I received an email from the airline company saying that our flight is cancelled. F*ck.

The Plan B. Still recuperating from the cancelled Batanes trip, I turned my eyes to Mt. Guiting Guiting (G2) in Romblon. I told myself, G2 would be the perfect substitute. So I fixed everything. At first, everything went smoothly—I had contacted guides and porter in Romblon, supplies were bought already, and our little team is all geared up and ready. Naghihintay na lang kami ng travel date namin. However again, on the week of our hike, a typhoon entered the vicinity. Consequently, all ferry trips got cancelled. F*ck.

Plan C. On the 19th of January 2014, as I mourn for the doomed travel plans, my girlfriend suggested an Ilocos backpacking trip instead, just for the two of us. Although it's unplanned, it felt like I was destined to travel to Ilocos with Dawn on my birthday, so I readily agreed. Tatanggi pa ba ako? That very night, we left Manila to begin our spontaneous 4-day journey in the Ilocandia. Woohoo, para sa b-day trip ko 'to!

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Beach that is Puerto Galera

Puerto Galera is one of those super famous beaches we know in the country. As a matter of fact, it is one of the only two beaches I knew (the other one being Boracay) when I was still an innocent child. How pitiful, akala ko dati Boracay at Puerto Galera lang ang beach sa Pilipinas, I was so clueless that we got so much more, even better beaches to choose from.

Despite being tagged as an overrated beach by many blogs and write ups online, I actually still want to feel and experience Puerto Galera. And this interest to visit this beach is heightened by the presence of Mt. Malasimbo, the highest and prominent peak in the area. Para sa mga ngayon lang nagawi sa blog ko, there's an intimacy going on between me and the Philippine mountains, so don't be surprised if I would express my fondness to mountains all of a sudden.

For some reason, it was only January of last year (2014) that I finally decided to see the beach for myself in the hope of climbing Mt. Malasimbo as well. A mountain-beach combo trip has always sounded a very good plan to me.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mt. Purgatory | An Endless Moss and Pine Trail 2

It is not difficult to fall in love with Mt. Purgatory range, especially that it will let you experience what a Cordillera mountain has to offer. The balance between intense mossy trails, and paths lined with tall pine trees makes it one of the best hiking destinations in the Cordilleras, let alone its trails, which are mostly very manageable. No wonder, there was no second thoughts when I got invited to hike again the Purgatory range. I was too excited, almost one year, I came back to do the exact same thing—a Mangisi Traverse, aka Purgatory Mountain Range traverse via the six peaks.   


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