Animal Encounters At Baluarte Zoo, Vigan

IMG_5288
It was our last day in Ilocandia and we are to explore Vigan City today. I wasn’t very enthusiastic about visiting a zoo, but Teloyskie had a grand time inspecting all the animals that we saw here.

IMG_5295

IMG_5299

Baluarte Zoo in Vigan is own by the famed politician, Chavit Singson. There is no fee for visitors here and they are open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. You can find a wide selection birds, deer, camels, ponies, snakes and other rare animals. There are animal shows that visitors can enjoy watching, these are very entertaining and kids like our tot are pretty much amazed.

IMG_5311

IMG_5320

Although the sun is blazing, we tried to walk around and cover much of the park as we could. We went to find the tigers and tried really hard to get a picture with him but when I went out to get something from the van, I was surprised that there we tigers in cages near the gate of the park!

IMG_5321

IMG_5326

Much to Teloy’s delight, ostriches and some sheep where roaming around the park like it was the most natural thing in the world. He also loved reading the signboards around the cages specially those about the reptiles. Among the places and activities we’ve visited in Ilocos, this is one of the best for him.

IMG_5314

IMG_5290

And so I learned to really consider his ideas when I’m working on our travel itinerary. While he’s not the kind that throws tantrums when he’s bored or when he doesn’t like something, his lack of interest in some “grown up things” can really scrape on what could be an amazing travel experience.

Albay in A Day: ‘Coz there’s More than Just Mayon



When one is set to visit the lovely province of Albay in the Bicol Region, it seems that the foremost sight-seeing, must-see or must-do on their list is to to see the world famous Mt. Mayon. Who wouldn’t want to see that perfect cone shape beauty well-known for it’s destructive grace?  But what if she’s too shy to let you have a peek during your visit?

As one who grew up under Magayon’s magnificent nose, I’ve seen how playful she can be at times. But don’t worry, the less you are keen to see her, the less shy she will be. So while you play pretend that you are not “that” interested in her, what other things can you do or see around Albay?

February 1st, we took off with some Couchsurfer friends to explore Albay’s hidden gems. The experience is both a revelation of new spots and also kind of reconnected us with the places we’ve been to years before. We hopped on a rented van (Php 2500) which could have accommodated 15 but we were only 9 (with two kids) and started our tour at 0900H.

Cagsawa Ruins, Daraga

Been here so many times since my childhood but you can never have the same view twice! Cagsawa Ruins is one of the best places to see how destructive Mt Mayon can be. The kids here will gladly tell you about the historic eruption in 1819 that brought Cagsawa in ruins. There are also plenty of shops in Cagsawa that offer souvenirs and ornamental plants at very affordable prices. Alternatively, you may also try out the ATV ride offered here.

DCIM100GOPROG0240976.
Photo Credits: Bong and Gino

 

Hoyop Hoyopan Cave, Camalig Albay

According to the guide/storyteller (Php 300/group of 6), Hoyop hoyopan Cave was discovered in 1950’s but it was only in 1970’s during Marcos regime that it was opened. The cave was home to our ancestors, “cavemen” as he claim. The cave actually has three floors or major chambers and only the middle chamber is open to the public. It was cool and breezy like there is wind blowing in at all times and this is also how it got it’s name “Hoyop” means blow.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1030.
Photo Credits: Bong and Gino

 

 

Kawa – Kawa Nature Park, Ligao City

A hill with a “caldera” of sorts for a crater. “Kawa” is a local term for a wok which is what the hill looks like from afar. It was developed and turned into a destination for pilgrims wanting to do a “Station of the Cross” during Holy Week. It also became famous because of the sunflowers that grow abundantly around it during summer months.

DCIM100GOPROG0401177.
Photo Credits: Bong and Gino

 

DCIM100GOPROG0431213.
Photo Credits: Bong and Gino

 

Tip: Try out Bergs Ice Cream while you climb. It is the best dirty ice cream I’ve tasted in my life and having it as company while you struggle with the steep climb will make it a more enjoyable experience. If you are visiting close to meal time, there is a restaurant where you can place your orders before your trip to the cavalry err hill so that they will be ready once you come down.

Mayon Rest House / Mayon Science Center and Planetarium, Tabaco City

Many years ago, Mayon Rest House is a hotel seated four kilometers beneath Mt Mayon’s summit. A major eruption called for it’s closing for several years until the area was left to deteriorate. During our high school years and sometimes after college, I was able to visit Mayon Rest House and reveled in the wonderful view it offered.

IMG_4784

 

This year however, sightseeing at this are was moved indoors because of the rain. The Mayon Science Center and Planetarium has been revived and provided lots of additional information for visitors. The kids we have with us enjoyed looking at the huge photos of the heavenly elements. Teloyskie learned a lot from the posters and photos of different types of volcanoes. Additionally, a film showing inside a small amphitheater showed interesting facts and stories about the beautiful volcano called Mayon.

IMG_4789

Vera Falls, Malinao, Albay

We were to set to visit two different falls during this road trip but because it was fast getting dark, we decided to make our last stop at Vera Falls. I’ve written about Vera Falls before and you can read about it here. Upon exiting the road that leads to Mayon Rest House, we traversed Sabluyon Roads towards Malinao, the municipality were Vera Falls is located. When we reached our destination, we all could hear the loud roar of the water. It is more forceful than when we visited last summer- prolly because it just rained hard right before we get there. Teloyskie played around with Choco while our companions took their time taking pictures. And just before the clock strikes 5, we unanimously called it a day and headed back to Legazpi for our dinner.
IMG_4809

Travel Essentials on Our Christmas Wishlist!

Me and Teloy are not hard to please. We love surprises and we love gifts, but of course there are yearnings for days on the road and the feeling of excitement of being in a new place. This is probably why most of the gifts we wish for this year are travel related.

A Smaller Backpack
Most of our trips these days are limited to weekends and a few days during school breaks. My trusty ol’ TNF Borealis has been with me for eight years, for more or less 30 Philippine provinces, around six mountains including Mt. Kinabalu, the highest in Southeast Asia. I feel that it’s a little too big for our small trips recently since Teloyskie have also started packing and carrying his own things. A smaller backpack like the 22-liter Spider for mommy and a bit bigger pack for Teloyskie are travel necessities that makes it on top of our wish list this year.
A Lightweight (Fleece) Jacket
I’ve been thinking about taking Teloyskie up north to experience the cold weather in Baguio City this holiday break, well if the budget permits. When I checked my closet, I realize that I don’t have a jacket for such kind of weather. I have two waterproof jackets, a light hoodie jacket and a cardigan, all of which may leave me freezing me ass off at a sudden drop of the temperature.
Packable Pants for Boys
Here in our province, you will rarely find travel gears or apparels. I have to look online to find durable hiking and travel apparel for kids. We are always on the lookout for affordable packable trek pants for Teloyskie so this item gets a spot on our wish list.

rei convertible pants for boys
A (Backpacking) Tent
I took Teloy on a beach camping for his first backpacking trip and he never forgot the experience. These days, he would talk about camping and sleeping on a tent and he would frequently reminisce about his experience. So as early as now, I’m planning to rough it out next summer and maybe take him for some more camping trips if get a tent of our own!

 

Luggage/Backpack Tags
I have a Bag Tag that looks like it has seen better days. Teloyskie’s tags on the other hand doesn’t have that durable strap and most of them tags got lost because those strap snapped and got broken. It’s just about time to get something more reliable and updated. 

 

PowerBank
I recently gifted Teloyskie with his very own cellular phone so Daddy can contact him anytime they’re missing each other. His phone also became his game console especially during long trips. So a powerbank is an essential need for our travels. We got our Xiaomi Powerbank which packs a whooping 10400 mAh from his godfather yey!

The Rough Ride to the Paradise called Caramoan

We have all heard about raves about the hidden paradise of Caramoan Islands in Camarines Sur. We also heard about the hassle associated with travelling to this place, but of really, some of the loveliest places are indeed hidden well away from bustling metros and are accessible only via the hardest routes to dissuade the curious onlookers.

After several months of laying-low, my boys had become even more restless at the onset of summer. Little did they know, I’ve been secretly planning a trip to these islands for several weeks already. I disclosed my plans to them 2 days before our scheduled trip. Baba was adamant and was very much concerned with our budget. Still we pushed through despite Baba’s worries and unyeilding self.

The six-hour rough ride to Caramoan from our home base in Daraga, Albay did not do much to appease Baba’s attitude. We took the van plying the Daraga – Naga (vv) and alighted at Anayan, Pili. There we waited for the Naga – Sabang jeepney that will take us directly to Sabang port. I noticed Baba’s hesitations start to vanish. We are enjoying the wonderful vista offered by Mt Isarog as our jeepney traversed the road to Partido area onwards to San Jose.

Arriving at the port, we hurriedly got inside a canteen (forgot the name) located just beside the passenger’s waiting area. We ordered some brekkie and took our time with it seeing the long queue of passengers waiting to board the boat. After breakfast, we went down to check the boat schedule and alas – the next boat is already full and we have to wait for the following one which they don’t know what time will arrive. We should have our names listed on the manifesto soon as we arrived, but our tummies directed us to the delicious smell coming from the canteen first!

Luckily two boats arrived instead of one and we were accommodated soon enough. Many “bangkero” will tell you to reserve seats by taking your bags to boat and you have to pay them P20 or P50, but we declined them. Also, since there is no “port,” bangkeros have made a “make-shift” port and asks P10 for each passenger. The boat ride took about two hours, traversing along the coast of Presentacion, Camarines Sur.  We arrived at Guijalo port at around 1pm and took a tricyle to sentro. I asked the driver to take us to Villa Juliana for our accommodations.

After resting a bit, we went out to look for a place to eat and found ourselves at a small native restaurant along the highway for our late lunch. We went back to our inn and slept a bit. It was already four in the afternoon when we decided to check out Paniman Beach.

Paniman Beach is the pick up point for island hopping activities in Caramoan. It is well away from the town proper Tawog so we took a motorcycle to get there. The beach is lined with resorts and restaurants as well as souvenir shops. The water is very calm and the beach itself has fine brown sand. It was very soothing to sit and watch my boys play at this beach. We walked to explore the resorts at the far end and back. I think a lot of foreigners have already settled here and have opened their own resorts too.

I wondered how marvelous the sunrise would be in this beach. I faces some enchanting limestone karsts. Baba though still irritable from the lengthy trip, gave me unsolicited advise and said that if I only discussed this trip with him, we could have prepared a better itinerary. And maybe we could have booked our first night in Paniman and watched the sunrise from there too!

5 Local Summer Hot Spots For the Adventure Seekers

Summer vacation is just a few weeks away and while some people have started planning early on, others are still undecided where to go. Here are some of our favorites  that you can consider and why we are suggesting them.

1. Baler

People flock to Baler for the clean surf break in Sabang Beach and the thrill of surfing at Cemento Beach and Charlie’s Point. Considered to be the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines, you can find all sorts of accommodation lining up Sabang Beach. Beyond surfing, Baler is rich in culture, history and natural wonders.

2. Bicol

Of course, I love my own region. Bicol is composed of six provinces and each one
offers a different kind of thrill for the adventure seekers. Explore the lovely islands and crystal blue waters of Calaguas in Camarines Norte, Caramoan in Camarines Sur and Tikling in Sorsogon. Adrenaline junkies can try out wake boarding in CamSur Watersports Complex, surf in Bagasbas Beach in Cam Norte or try out the ATV ride to Mayon Lava Front. Bicol is also popular for its culinary expo featuring hot and spicy dishes. Do try out the Chili Ice Cream!

3. Boracay

Many people complain about Boracay being too crowded especially during the summer months, but still you really can’t say no to this beautiful island paradise. I am much awed by its powdery white sands and crystal blue temperate waters. When in Boracay, you’ll find all the adventure you want and need. Head to Bulabog Beach for some hot water sports such as kite boarding and jet skiing. You can also try parasailing and other group activities such as banana boat ride. And for us, nothing beats the sunset view in Boracay.

4. Palawan

Why not Palawan? I’ve visited Palawan twice at the height of summer and love it both times. Coron is located on the northern Calamian group of islands. Island hopping and snorkeling in Coron gives you the best views of tall limestone karsts and the colorful marine life under the waters. On the other hand, flying to Puerto Princesa gives you the option to explore the country’s greenest city or head to other hot destinations such as El Nido or to Sabang beach which is the jump off point to the Underground River.

5. Sagada

Sagada is a town you will surely fall in love with.  The weather is cool and you are provided with scenic landscapes and mountain views around you. Adventure seekers will not be disappointed with this charming town up north. The Cave Connection will deplete all your energy in a pumping 4-hour cave exploration adventure. Your hiking and trekking activities will also be rewarded with magnificent and powerful waterfalls such as the Bomod-ok and Pongas.

Mt. Kinabalu: Scrambling Through the Darkness

Something woke me, yet I snuggled deeper into Baba’s embrace feeling the chill of dawn. I felt sore and achy all over and I tried to claim back my slumber until realization hit me — oh no, I haven’t rested enough and today will be another excruciatingly long day once again.

Baba stirred awake and we both scrambled to get dressed the warmest possible way we can. Ilya and Irina commented that they feel like they are back in Siberia with this cold, yet they looked like they are wearing only light clothing compared to us having two to three layers on.

Laban Rata is all awake at 230AM. We tried to stuff ourselves with food in preparation for the difficult assault that awaits us, but being unused to eating heavy brekkie, I only managed a toast and some coffee to Baba’s displeasure.

It was pitch dark outside but the lighted trails have started to twinkle with hikers wearing their headlamps. We followed the line going up, it was all stairs and rocks and very cold wind that welcomes you. It was so darn cold, my fingers are starting to tingle. I felt my nose start to drip several meters after leaving the warmth of Laban Rata. My legs, still sore from yesterday’s 7-hour walk seem to complain with shots of pain at every step. I didn’t dare voice it out, Baba would surely drag me back to the lodge with just a single word.

I that worried my calves would burst anytime soon. Baba was always asking me if I can, and giving up would rely on me – the realization of this would be my call. I am stubborn and I would die before I give up. Not even the dark cavern of nothingness at the edge of  what we walked on scared me. I held on to the rope and we continued to walk up, stopping more and more to rest.

Slowly, dawn began to break, and lighted the way to the peak. We sat on the rolling plateau of rocks to admire the magnificent panorama that is laid before our eyes. I held my breath and hold on to Baba’s hands. My hands felt numb and Baba placed them in his armpits to warm them. I noticed Baba’s purplish hue and started to worry.

All the time, he was thinking of me and the struggle I have to overcome this. He scolded me for being mule-headed and for not bringing that wool scarf to warm my neck and offered his even if it leaves him freezing his ears out! Of course I am mule-headed and I did not take it. All the while, he kept his eye on our guide to ask for water when I request for a time out.  And all the while, it was him who’s not feeling well and is on the verge of loosing it!

We almost decided not to continue to Low’s Peak and just sate ourselves with the view. But after reassuring ourselves that we can do it, we started our way up once more. Despite the pain, I smiled inwardly, we are both stubborn I guess. When it comes to our goals we’d never back down. We climbed slowly until we can see the tip, with each step closer to the peak, we seem to gain more strength.

Finally, we are at 4,095 meters above sea level – the highest point we’ve been in our lives with our feet still firmly at the ground. It felt freezingly cold and the bunch of Japanese are taking too long with their photo shoot. Ilya and Irina made it to the top minutes ahead of us descended quickly back to the plateau. Them Japanese offered to take our picture and we were grateful! After a couple of shots, we hurriedly climbed down and sat on a more manageable spot.

Once again we stared in awe at the expanse of land as far as our eyes can see. We have made it. We may be both mule-headed, but this time it is for a good cause. Baba and I will give our all when it comes to us, our dreams and our relationship. On the hike the day before, Baba asked me to remind him that he have something to tell me when we reached the top. When I asked him then, he simply said, “I love you so much…”

High places do calm me, I offered a silent prayer of thanks to our Creator. I felt his presence strongly while on top of the mountain, I felt him listening intently to us, to what our hearts are truly saying. I’ve had many challenges in my life, I always survived alone and came out of it stronger.

Yet this mountain manifest a lot more challenges in my life that I need to overcome. Scrambling through the darkness, I hear his voice above the shrill of the wind, I felt his hands securing me on dangerous ledges thus, I am even more grateful now that I have Baba with me to face all of it. And starting today, I am sure would never go through these challenges alone.

*** a lot of thank yous to Ilya and Irina for some of the best photos at the peak! 🙂

Dozen of Adventures for 2012: A Year Ender

It’s a stormy night and I’m stuck in my oldies’ home an unpopular island belonging to the province of Masbate until the public storm signal is lifted. It’s not that I don’t like it here, but there seems to be a lot of stuff back in Manila that’s worrying and stressing me out. So to get my mind of it, allow me some nostalgia and take a look at how our 2012 progressed though we haven’t fully met the targets set at the start of the year.
This year, I was able to explore more and travel and spend more time with Teloyskie and Baba. I also had first time experiences which highlighted my dozen of adventures for the year.
My Teloyskie, My No. 1
As resolved early this year, I spent more time with Teloyskie. Still the sweetest, most thoughtful and handsomest boy for mommy, he makes going around Manila more fun and carefree. Blame it on the easy and quirky imagination of a child. But his childlike wisdom do makes sense and sometimes sets everything right for a confused and worried mom.
Viaje Ticao: Braving the Stormiest Seas for Teloyskie’s Graduation

After eight years, I came back to where I discovered my love for travelling. Both my parents are from the island of Ticao, Masbate and as early as my college years I can travel there on my own. This time though, the seas scared me witless as a “subasco” pounded the lancha while were in the middle of Ticao Pass. But a medal on Teloyskie’s kindergarten graduation day made the trip all worthwhile.



Teloyskie’s Circles: Quezon City Memorial Circle
Mom and Teloyskie’s short vacay to Manila and an unforgettable park adventure in Quezon City Memorial Circle. Teloyskie could not stop talking about “the park” for months!

Albay Parks and Wildlife: Boy’s Day Out
Baba’s entry to Teloyskie’s life was smooth and easy with only a short skirmish that led to shooting on their first meeting. Teloyskie then embraced the fact that Tito Choy will be around for a long long time. 
Teloyskie’s Marine Life Encounter
Something that Teloyskie had been waiting to experience. A first for Mom, me and Teloyskie J

Romancing the Roads
A series of small trips while Baba was on a 4-month hiatus from his role as “bagong bayani.” Back in 2010, his interest was piqued by the adventures I made for myself, and the shyly requested to join me which I gamely agreed to. So small things led to another and after a stormy 2011 story for us, we’re back on track romancing the roads to togetherness (choooz!!)
Baler: Surf and Magic
As early as March, Ate Ana and Mela asked me about surfing in Baler. I’ve never been there so I was pretty much excited about joining them. This is also the first trip Baba and I had together and a part of the “24 Dates” I prepared while he waits for his repatriation and we both were looking forward to completing.


Our Super Sagada Stories

Before we met, Baba talked about going to Sagada when comes home for a vacation in July 2011. It was our first time to spend time together and no major trips was realized. After months of emotional rollercoaster ride, our Sagada sojourn pushed through making way for even more challenges and discoveries about each other’s personalities and traits that endeared us to each other even more.








B for Baguio: A Sweet Escape to the City of Pines

One spontaneous trip that swallowed a chunk from our dwindling budget yet another great chance to get to know more of each other. Explored the City of Pines and tasted its delightful treats! Also realized Baba’s travel pattern – he gets sick (fever and flu) every after a trip is concluded.
Boracay Bonding: Coming to Terms with Real Road Hazards
He says this is not his favorite trip – because of my freak accident on the ATV. But who can ever resist the sultry beauty of Boracay sunset? 

All in A Day’s Work!
Last 2011, work related trips gave me my first taste of Mindanao and a classy resort casino in Pampanga. For this year, I got to explore new places that I never really thought I’d able to set foot.
Hundred Islands
My first out of town/team-building/lakwatsa with my office family. Thanks to Boss Z for making this trip possible.

Eastern Visayas Randomness

Work and Leisure. Glad to be part of the team that flew to Legazpi and rolled to Samar-Leyte for some field work. Grateful to have a considerate team leader who went out of his way to drive us around Tacloban(his hometown), and equally thankful to the warm hospitality of my colleague who made sure that I fully enjoyed my stay in Biliran




Thrills and Frills
Part of my 2012 adventure is getting to know Baba more.
24: Cheap Thrills and Corny Frills

We were not able to complete the “24 Dates” we have set but we gained so much more with each new discovery and experience that we had together. 

Kota Kinabalu: 3 Days for 3 Months
Why Malaysia Baba? Because it’s close and you can fly to me anytime. For his 6-month contract, I get the privilege to visit him for 3 days every 3 months we’re away from each other. This is also my first ever to set foot in a foreign land, one target I’ve set for 2012 that Baba easily made possible. 

All in all, 2012 has been good to us and we wouldn’t change any part of it. Despite unending issues, I’m happy for the positive influences that Baba and I shared each other. We’re looking forward to more adventures for 2013!

A Bit Disappointed Merrell Shoe Fan

If I could live with one pair of shoes for a some time, I’d happily choose Merrell shoes. Yes that’s how I love their shoes specifically their “Aqua Sports and Waterpro Maipo” models. My first pair of Merrell’s were bought in 2007. It was very comfortable and I loved wearing it during our free day in the office. After adjusting my schedules in 2008, I started some travels and outdoor adventures with my friends.

I forget the first time I went out of the city exploring wearing my Merrell’s but the first documented picture was taken in June 2008 – during my early backpacking days with my friends in Sta Cruz and Liliw, Laguna. My best friend also brought her first pair of Merrells to use for the trip too. We both love it really.

In late 2008, I encountered a sale in one major department stores and abruptly bought a Merrell Sienna Ruby Sandals. I was really impressed with my shoes and was confident that this sandals will also be comfortable and durable. In 2009, I had a lot of comings and goings to explore more places in the Philippines. I used my Merrells sandals in exploring Bohol in February 2009. And later in June, I also used it for a trip to Coron, Palawan.

In 2010, I became more into outdoor sports and adventures. Being an active member of a dragon boat rowing team, I got invitations to mountain climb and hike. My first major climb was Mt. Pulag, Benguet in February. My almost 3 year old Merrells took me to the summit and brought me back to Manila safely – no blisters no dead toes.

This was followed by a fun trek in Mt Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas in March 2010. I am really very happy with my trusty old Merrells. It was in July, during our Mt Tarak climb in Bataan that my favorite shoes was tested to redemption. I felt my shoes loosening up a bit, something is just not right. I was worried the soles would give in before we come down, still my trusty ole shoes made it and accompanied me back to Manila. But the soles were really giving out. I didn’t worry though. My shoes had served me only too well during the past 3 and half years.

My friend suggested I take my abused shoes to a shoe repair and have the soles stitched. It worked and I was able to use it for a couple of months (Aug-Dec 2010) until I bought my next pair in Dec 2010. It was a new version of my Merrells aquasports, this time it’s called the Waterpro Maipo.

It looks really good and once again I was happy with it. I haven’t had a lot of mountain climbing since then though, but it was what I used for jogging and light running and a bit of trekking in Biak na Bato National Park in Nov 2011.

biak na bato national park

My Waterpro Maipro was more for city slicking because it was really comfortable and I can move freely with it. Just recently in June 2012, I was able to use it for trekking once again in Sagada. I brought my two Merrells wth me there, the Sandals for exploring the caves and the shoes for trekking to Pongas Falls.

trek to-fro Pongas Falls, Suyo, Sagada 2012

After that, my Merrells are back to their city slicking use. After being thoroughly impressed and confident with the comfort and durability over my shoe brand, imagine me rushing one morning, pulling on my shoe laces to tighten it as I would normally do and experiencing a sudden snap! (mental calculations: uh-oh, what happened? what will I wear now? the chucks, its a long walk to my school. This shoes is not even 2 years yet and it wasn’t as abused as my first!)

I watched the strap slowly beginning to loosen its strands. I hurriedly took a lighter to tamper it. I started sewing them together too while disappointment started to settle in. I don’t want to wear the chucks or the adi running shoes. I hope this hold until November when I can buy a new pair.

I think I will still buy another Merrells but not this kind anymore. The straps are vulnerable and looking at the others, they might soon snap too, I’m also looking at buying those five finger shoes instead. 😀

Pongas Falls: One Mighty Sight and Uncaptured Moments

If you haven’t yet read our first taste of Sagada Adventure read about it here 🙂

After a hectic afternoon exploring the caves of Sumaging and Lumiang Cave connection, we were already doubting our capacity to trek to the falls the next day. We wanted to see Bomod-ok or the Big Falls but it was closed due to some event with the tribes. SAGGAS suggested Pongas Falls instead. It is one of the newest discoveries by the Association and they guarantee us another amazing experience of Sagada.

Our second day started with a hearty breakfast at the Yogurt House. Baba had Tapa meal and I choose the Hiker’s Breakfast which I can hardly finish!

Then we headed to SAGGAS office to check our scheduled trek to Pongas Falls. We opted for a jeepney ride to Suyo (southern part of Sagada) which is the jump off point of the trek. The guide fee for this site is P600 and a vehicle can be rented for P600 for convenience, but we did not think about our ride back to town and simply hopped on the top load of the jeepney bound for Suyo.

Trek starts at Suyo and we passed by the Sitio’s rice terraces where harvest time is happening. Our sourly guide said the trek will be about 1-1.5 kilometers across the rice fiels and will take on a rocky and slippery route.

first sight of waterfalls

Pongas Falls was indeed a magnificent sight to behold. It was a challenging and fun trek with an amazing reward. There were other traveler when we reached the site with whom we had friendly and funny exchanges. One thing we all agree on is that this site should never be missed by anyone visiting Sagada.

Our Sagada Adventures are soo sulit. We crave the thrill and the challenges of both the caves and the trek to Pongas Falls. I think surviving all these challenges together bonds us even stronger. We hiked back to Suyo mainroad and waited for something that will take us back to Sagada. Our guide was a little cranky because me and Baba were already considering just walking back (5km :D)

We waited and considered other options such as renting motorbikes, fortunately, Sagada MPS pick-up was in Suyo that time and allowed us to hitch hike. Me and Baba settled at the back and once again savored the sight of nature. Our guide was comfortably settled inside and had our camera with him so we didn’t have any pictures. Still we can’t help smiling at our fortune and the best memories we’d forever treasure in our minds.

Baguio Budget Escape 2: What Eats and Where To’s?

We surely had a blast on our Baguio Budget Escape Day 1, and the weekend was far from over. We woke up early the next day and prepared for our host – my housemate and Baguio resident Lalai with her son Kabay will take us to The Manor for a buffet breakfast which Baba and I promised in exchange for the free ride up and down the City of Pines.

The Manor, Camp John Hay, Baguio City

Lalai and her family took me to The Manor the last time I was stuck in Baguio so I was pretty excited to have another round of delicious breakfast meals in a beautiful location.

Breakfast Buffet Rates at The Manor are:

Adult : Php 550
Kids : Php 275

please make me an omelette with everything on it!
winner waffle with maple syrup and blueberry jam

Kabai with his fruit plate

Lai’s plate

We took turns at getting some time off and exploring the grounds of the hotel before we had our part 2 of the brekkie. We would love to spend an over night here on Baba’s next vacation.

the Manor

we love it here!

After a hearty breakfast, Lalai took us to Good Shepherd Covent in Mines View Park to buy a couple of Pasalubong favorites – the famous Ube Jam. There was a long line of customers so Baba and I decided to take pictures while we waited for Lalai to complete her purchases.

Good Shepherd Convent, Baguio City

From here, we passed by the Botanical Garden and the Mansion but we did not go down, instead Lalai dropped us off at our Inn to rest while the rain poured over the city. This trip was completely unplanned so Baba and I don’t have anything in mind to go to.

After our siesta, we then decided to take merienda-cum-early dinner and go to the Lourdes Grotto. I was still raining on and off so we just took a cab though we had some idea on how to go there already.

the Veniz Cafe

counted the steps up the Lourdes grotto

Despite our lack of planning, we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the City of Pines. We’ve both been here before but have not really explored the city, and now it felt really good getting lost and finding the right way together. We do plan to re-visit Baguio next year and maybe we’d be able take Teloy along with us then.