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. 😀

May 7-10: Nagsasa Cove Weekend

For beach campers and nature trippers, Anawangin Cove in Pundaquit Zambales has become the place to hole in. It has a pristine white beach and crystal clear blue waters. But aside from Anawanin, Nagsasa Cove, which is only 45mins to 1 hour away from the shores of Pundaquit is also fast becoming a destination for those who wants to have quieter nights with the stars and nature. Like Anawangin, Nagsasa has no mobile phone signals, no electricity nor amenities. The place is home to occassional Aetas who can take you around waterfalls and the mountains beyond. At night, the skies are filled with stars and it is more fun to sleep on the sand or in a hammock than inside the tent.

The beauty of nature here in Nagsasa also lures photography enthusiasts because of the scenic views of sea, mountains and lakes. I was lucky to have been invited by a friend who wants to celebrate his birthday in this amazing place.

To reach Nagsasa, you can drive to Pundaquit in San Antonio Zambales and find a boatman there.

Boat fares range from 300-400 per person. You can camp with Mang Ador in the left side of the cove and he charges 100 per person per night’s stay. Local guides are available from 400 up if you are interested to trek and explore the mountains and the forest beyond.

What to bring on a beach camping?

Beach camping should not be any different from hiking or trekking up a mountain. Here are somethings you should bring on your beach camp:

  • tent
  • water
  • sleeping gears (sleeping bag, malong)
  • head lamp
  • hammock
  • cook set
  • butane lamp or led lights
  • mess kits (spoon, fork, plate?)
  • swiss knife
  • sunblock
  • rope for a clothes line
  • swim suits
  • light clothing
  • zip lock bags or a dry bags (to keep your things dry)
  • insect lotion
  • garbage bags
  • food
  • first aid kits

The more you explore and go on beach camps the easier it will be for you to decide on the things to bring and what you will need.

Wall Climbing at Camp Sandugo, 5th floor Market Market Taguig

pic: 2.bp

April 20, 2010

Today is the day of my orientation for my new job in the Fort. I thought i was a group orientation, but there was only me and the trainor, Mr. Andrew. It went well, and i think i was able to express my thoughts effectively and he made me understand everything that I’m supposed to learn about the company and the job.
We finished at 4:45, then i contacted my friend who is just in the area to give me ride to Boni for Gian’s bday party. Said he’ll be available around 5:30 or 6, so i decided to explore the nearby mall: Market Market. I went up the 5th Floor to check out camp sandugo, here, two guy from my rowing team are wall climbing instructors. I didnt have any plans to climb coz i was wearing casual clothes from the orientation but they were sooooo persistent and almost forced the harness on me. They lent me a pair of rock shoes and then i was ready. Climbed the 2nd wall and made it easily to the top and this is my first climb ever! 🙂 It was exciting and left me feeling good and tired at the same time.
I forgot that my last meal was lunch time and climbing left me really really hungry. Another issue i got with my climbing is my sweaty palms. When i tried climbing the 4th wall, i felt my hand slipping as i grip the rocks. This was really difficult despite the chalk that i used to counter the sweat.
The instructors were really accommodating, maybe because they are from my rowing team but for you who want to try something new, wall climbing is an exhilarating activity that will surely get your adrenaline pumped up.
The prices are:
P50 for each climb and
P140 for unlimited climbs
You may visit them from 10am t0 9pm at
5th floor Market! Market!
Bonifacio Global City

Three Layer Hiking Clothing For Cold Weather

For those who are new to hiking and mountaineering, it is very easy to overlook the two simple fact of hiking clothing to keep them warm. Primarily, clothing that you use for hiking is designed to keep the cold out but retain the heat from the main source of heat which is yourself. Secondly, you have to realize that wearing hiking clothing for warmth means that you are not trying to be warm as possible. These clothing are only for you to reach a thermal balance, which is a state wherein your body’s production of heat comes close to the heat that you lose. This way you stay within your comfort zone whether you are active, active and sweating or just resting or immobile but still sweating.

Functionality and Versatility of Hiking Clothing

Your hiking clothing should be versatile so that you can easily achieve the heat balance that your body needs in accordance with the ever changing weather conditions. You should be able to make adjustments by taking off some layers when it gets too hot or be able to wear more when it’s cold. In many cases, doing this can be inconvenient and impractical so it is essential that your clothing can handle the different weather situations that you go through. Not to mention the fact that being on the move or keeping still can also affect the temperature.

When you are immobile, they should be able to keep the air dry and insulate you thus warming you. When you are on the go, your clothing should be able to pass through to keep you cool by allowing the vapor of the sweat to pass through. Hiking clothing should not be absorbent of the moisture so that it will not be damp when you sweat heavily. This will not be able to keep you warm because it will no longer hold dry air to insulate your body, at the same time, the body will continuously draw heat from your body to turn sweat into vapor. This causes an after-exercise chill which can last up to 2 hours when one is wearing absorptive material while non-absorptive materials only causes negligible chill.

Three Layers of Hiking Clothing

To avoid chill and ensure comfort outdoors, the three-layer hiking clothing system became famous as each layer has a unique function to help you cope with the changing conditions.

1. The first layer of hiking clothing is all about moisture management, or the next-to-skin layer. This layer keeps cool in the summer and warms you in the winter by keeping you dry. These are usually made from polypropylene or other synthetic fabrics. These are fabrics which wicks away the moisture quickly to the outer surface for it to evaporate.

2. The Second Layer is known as the insulating layer and traps air to insulate and keep you warm. This is usually made from natural fibers or fleece which are reliable in keeping you warm. Natural fibers however are more efficient in warmth-weight ratio but they have to be kept dry so that it will retain its warmth. Fleece dries faster and has a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than wool. This fabric is a favorite among backpackers because they’re breathable, lightweight and can insulate even when wet.

3. The Third Layer should act as a windbreaker and a rain jacket at the same time. These are usually made from Gore-Tex material for breathability. This 3rd layer of hiking clothing should be properly ventilated for avoid condensing perspiration inside your shell.

Mt. Pulag, Benguet – Luzon’s Highest Peak: My First Major Climb

i never considered myself as a mountaineer, but being surrounded with the lot of them, i was influenced to try it out. my last climb was last 2004 in Albay. Back then it was only a day climb to camp1 of mt. mayon. That was all the climbing experience i had so i was really hesitant to join the mt. pulag climb.

Mt. Pulag (or Pulog) is considered as the 2nd highest peak in the Philippines, next to Mt. Apo. It is said to be one of the most beautiful national parks in the Cordillera. Pulag is different from other rain forest mountains because of it’s open area (Pulag is a local term for Bald). Mt. Pulag turns brown during dry seasons and light green or rich dark green during rainy season. Locals believed this mountain to be a playground of the gods.

How to get there:
Going to Pulag usually starts with a trip from Manila to Baguio. It is advisable to have an overnight trip for you to have some rest. Take 10pm-12am departure from Manila.
Victory Liner (Cubao or Pasay)
Genesis (D. Jose)
Philippine Rabbit (D. Jose)

Then you can arrange your transportation by hiring one of the jeepneys along Caltex Station or Session Road. You may also opt to take the Bus going to Kabayan Benguet.

Established Trails:
Ambangeg (the trail we took)
Akiki or the Killer Trail

You will have to register at the DENR before proceeding to any of the trail jump-offs. You will have to pay registration fees (P275) and environmental fees.

At the ranger station or the jump-off,you will be assigned a guide (P100 per person per guide) and you have the option to hire a porter (P250 one way) to carry your things.

Ambangeg trail leads to camping ground 2 and 3. The guides will help you get water from the water source.

Summit assault usually starts at 4 am for you to get the best view of the sunrise and the sea of clouds.

The best months to climb Mt. Pulag is during the cold months of November to February. Some of the things you should not forget to bring are: fleece jacket, waterproof jacket, mittens, socks, leggings. Dome type-tents are not advisable in here unless you have a tarp to cover it to avoid getting wet inside.