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.

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.

Sagada’s Cave Connection: Tough Adventures for Tough Love

Highlight of our Sagada Trip – Cave Exploration

Sagada was my no. 1 destination for a solo trip experiment last year. I’ve been planning for it for so long before as a form of escape and sojourn to heal my heartache. But “force majure” in the form of Typhoon Mina stop my ascent to this Shangri-la Town last year, and so I’ve embraced the thought that I may never travel solo to Sagada. 

cable bus tours travels daily and leaves manila at 830pm at it’s QC Terminal
Stopover somewhere in Banaue

The cause of “heartache” back then, now became my partner and soon, the planned trip to Sagada was once again played out and realized. The 12 hours travel via Cable Bus Tours from Manila to Bontoc plus the 45mins. jeepney ride from Bontoc to Sagada was well rewarded with enchanting mountainous sights and cool air.

our breakfast at Bontoc before proceeding to Sagada

We arrived early and settled ourselves at Residential Lodge (09196728744) and find the office of Saggas (http://sagadagenuineguides.blogspot.com/) a few steps away. We made arrangement for the Cave connection right after lunch. Then we proceeded to Salt and Pepper Diner for our first taste of Sagada’s cooking. I ordered for Sinarabasab which is actually half-cooked grilled pork – much like kilawin with a lot of ginger and my partner wanted some fresh veggies and settled for a bowl of delicious ChopSuey. 

Sagada Adventure 1: Cave Connection

30 minutes after lunch, we met with Kevin Luna, our guide for the Cave Connection Tour. We’d be exploring 2 caves – the Lumiyang and Sumaging Cave and they say this takes about 4-6 hours – tough but we survived and enjoyed this the most. 

Our guide gave us suggestions on how we can save and we settled for walking to the first cave opening – Lumiyang cave. We also stopped by burial sites and explained the beliefs and traditions that Sagada have for the dead. Lumiyang Cave had us doing serious stunts and many times, the group ahead us stalled us because of many of them wanted to give up. 

hanging coffins among pine trees in limestone krasts in the background
coffins in the cave – this is what welcomes you at the mouth of Lumiyang cave
Kevin, our guide preparing our light
the descent to one of the Philippines deepest cave system

According to our guide, it is best to limit to taking pictures while exploring Lumiyang cave. This cave is slippery and dangerous to a point. You need to be attentive and careful at all times.  

After the toughest cave adventure in Lumiyang, we were rewarded with wonderful rock formations and easier ascent to Sumiyang Cave exit.

A truly rewarding experience

super duper cold water – to borrow chyng’s words: giniginaw lungs ko!

jumpshot daw 😀
cave art

The Sumaging-Lumiyang Cave connection was truly a challenge that pushed us to do the unthinkable and reach beyond our limits. We were happy to have Kevin as our guide, he was funny and patient with us and took wonderful photos throughout the tour. I think he enjoyed having us around as well. 

 We walked back to town and realize that the clouds have come down. We were really craving for a hot shower and luckily, we had a hot tub and hot water in our room. We were  wet and cold and the aches are starting to make their presence known. I remembered Titit’s advise to bring Omega pain killer or Effecascent Oil for this purpose, but we don’t have any. Luckily, the store in front of Residential are selling these two, I think many travelers has been buying these pain relievers as well.

exiting the caves after 4 hours. nope di po kami pagod.

the sight that met us as we walked back to town
chicken something for me
spicy beef curry for him

We rewarded ourselves with a hearty dinner at the Yogurt House after the hot bath and massage.  Slept thinking what’s in store for us the next day. Hope all the body aches vanish in the morning.