Romblon, PH

It’s a pretty lazy Sunday. So I opted to go through my Facebook photos and saw this Romblon album. It brought back memories of my stolen hard drive where all of my 2005 to 2013 HD travel photos were stored. Twas one of the most heartbreaking things that happened to me.

So I am reposting here the photos from my Hambil Island, Romblon in June of 2013. The photos were just downloaded from my FB so quality may not be very good.

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San Jose is a fifth-class municipality in the province of Romblon, Philippines. It is more commonly known as Carabao Island, or Hambil Island, and is located the southern tip of Tablas Island. It is in close proximity to the world-renowned Boracay Island, separated by a narrow body of water called Hambil Channel.

In June of 2013, during a trip to Boracay, I came to see what this Romblon paradise has to offer. I stayed 2 days and 1 night in this island and I must say that it is a more serene counterpart of its neighbor, and understated in terms of its natural beauty.

Once you are in the island, you can hire a habal-habal/ motorcycle for about P300-P500 per day. You can go visit notable spots like Lanas Beach (where sunset is amazing), be brave and do cliff diving at Kuding-Kuding and Angas Cliff (with a P100 entrance fee) or just stay at Hambil Beach which can rival Boracay’s white sand beaches (plus a spectacular sunrise view). You could also rent a boat that could bring you around the island and check some hidden caves and coves.  The over-all ambiance of Hambil is pretty laid-back… Really a great way to commune with nature.

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How to Reach Hambil:

From Caticlan Port: One may charter a tricycle to take you to Tabon Baybay, it is where you can find the port of boats going to Hambil (San Jose). A passenger boat leaves for Poblacion or Lanas, daily between 8AM to 9AM. So make sure you don not miss it. The travel time is around 1 hour (depending on the waves (which by the way can be really scary. The fare is P80-P100 per passenger. The trip back to Caticlan is between 5AM to 6AM. It is pretty early so you have to be early as well so you won’t be left behind.

Another option is from Boracay. In here, one may charter a boat good for 10 people for aboutP3,000 to P4,000 round trip day tour. Make sure to practice your acting and haggling skill. The travel time is about 45 minutes to an hour. Again depending on the sea condition. The boat will either dock at Brgy Lanas or at the Port of Said in Brgy Poblacion on the eastern side where Hambil beach is.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Mount Marami (Cavite)

I love being in the mountains and climbing.  For me, being in the mountains draws in a sense of liberty and relaxation. It just feels at home.

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Mount Marami, or Mataas na Gulod Boulders, is a dormant volcano in the province of Cavite, Philippines. It rises to an elevation of 405 m (1,329 ft) above mean sea level. The rock pillars, which are the main features of this hiking destination, was once called as Nagbuo by the locals. Later on, the mountain was called Marami (English for many or plenty) pertaining to the multiple rock-strewn peaks.

Information from Pinoy Mountaineer:
Jump-off points: Sitio Bangkaan, Brgy. Talipusngo, Maragondon, Cavite or Brgy.Ramirez, Magallanes, Cavite
LLA: 405 MASL (1,328 feet)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 2-3 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Rocky outcrops, scenic views of Cavite including bird’s eye view of Pico de Loro or Mount Palay-Palay, Tarak Ridge of Bataan o a clear day, and Mount Batulao and Mount Talamitan of Batangas.

The trail going to the summit of Mount Marami is not that technical. However, it is not that easy either because of the long trail ahead. The trek can take around 3 to 6 hours from the jump-off to the summit (depending on the pacing and the many stop-and-rest one would do along the way).

PHP500.00 Guide fee (Good for 5 person)
PHP20.00 Registration fee

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

Mount Binikayan (Rizal)

It all started with climbing a mountain that eventually led to another making me unstoppable. I owe my knack for adventure from scaling mountains. And I am so glad that I am finally back doing it since I haven’t been active for the last 2 years (2015 and 2016).

My trilogy climb during the 1st week of 2017 reminded me of how much I have missed (and why I will always be fascinated by) climbing mountains. It is the counterparts between climbing and living that enthralls me. It is such a great opportunity to unravel and to appreciate my strengths and limits. A recent trek to one of Rizal’s climbing destinations proved to be an amazing way of assessing these metiers and borders of mine.

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My frustration of not being able to join the invitation of a good friend (KOTheExplorer) to saunter Mount Binikayan (also Mount Binicayan) — a mountain famous for its incredible rock formations and a sea of clouds, ultimately prompted me to go see it (even if it meant doing it on my own). Luckily, two university-mates joined me as we join a group I contacted on Facebook.

So this was our actual itinerary for our Mount Binikayan

03:30 AM – Meet up at Jollibee, Cubao (near Araneta Gateway)
04:00 AM – Expected time of departure via van
04:45 AM – Expected time of arrival at registration site in Brgy San Rafael, Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal
05:30 AM – Start of trek (which I find pretty late as we may no longer see the sunrise and the sea of clouds – which what eventually happened)

The climb was pretty easy at first until we reach the parts where one has to scramble over several rocks. I find these parts of the trail to be really nice though. The adrenaline rush is just heart-thumping. And of course, as we get higher, the view becomes more stunning.

06:10 AM – we reached the first viewpoint where there are sharp rock-strewn crests of Mt Binikayan. At this point, I was still hoping I would see that famed sea of clouds my IG friends saw a week earlier. I was quite disheartened when only a “stream” of it came floating to my eyes, and when I have realized it was a tad cloudy that Mr. Sun won’t show up. As we continued the trek, we had to pass through more rock formations (please be careful as they are really sharp and could literally puncture your clothes and integument). We had a lot of stops because we don’t want to miss the chance to capture every moment and every breath-taking scenery.

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We were almost near the summit when the sun started to peep through the clouds. We had more photos taken at the ridges where we had to do our own version of some death-defying poses. Do not do these if you are faint-hearted. After exercising much of our zygomaticus muscle through that seemingly endless photo-ops, we made our way to the main summit of Binikayan.

07:00 AM – Reached the Mt. Binikayan Summit. Because of the number of people who went on to climb that day, it wasn’t surprising that there was actually a queue to the summit. Our group decided not to wait for our turn to go up the summit. My friends and I, together with 4 new found friends, decided to descend earlier so we can spend some time at the Wawa Gorge. Good thing our cool guide permitted us.

07:30 AM – Start of descending. Going down was surprisingly more challenging with some of my companions getting down and (quite) dirty. I, on the other hand, enjoyed every bit of it. There were moments where I caught myself smiling. It has dawned on me that I really missed doing this activity. It brought some previous climbing memories. And that I became more eager to climb more mountains whenever I can during the weekends. As we each approach the jump off area, a lot of thoughts were racing – happy and insight-filled. I was so excited to put them into words, ironically, it is only now that I got the chance to finally share them.

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8:15 AM – Reached the jump-off, logged out, and had breakfast.
08:45 AM – Went for a quick visit to Wawa Dam and took several photos.
10:00 AM – Expected time of departure from Wawa. Took a tricycle to Montalban center.
10:45 AM – Expected time of departure from Montalban center via van to Cubao
11:45 AM – Expected time of arrival in Cubao Araneta Center

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It was a half-day trip that was filled with moments and realizations. The sense of disappointment of not having seen the sea of clouds turned into a satisfying feeling one only gets to experience when climbing mountains. Climbing is not really about the Instagram-worthy posts one would achieve atop. It’s about standing on the peak feeling empowered and unparalleled imparting a sense of achievement. Climbing is about people, about friendships, and sharing various moments. Climbing teaches us to enjoy the small luxuries in life. This is why I climb and why I love it. So, go climb a mountain and you, yourself will finally understand why the mountains are calling.

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By the way, you can also check out my friend Olivier’s awesome write up about this mountain HERE.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

Lalayag/Nalayag Monolith (Batangas)

It was yet another stressful week at work… Feeling the need for a weekly de-stressing activity, I found myself looking for a weekend event I could join in. There were a handful of choices actually – from beach getaways to out-of-town day tours to mountain climbing sprees. I just came from a weekend climb last time and I felt it wasn’t enough and so I opted to join another climb with random people.

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A newly opened mountain along the coast of Lobo, Batangas called Lalayag Monolith or Nalayag Peak — is making a buzz and is slowly luring a number of hiking enthusiasts. Since I like off-beaten destinations, I chose to do this climb with an Instagram friend. A day before the event, I tried to look for some articles about Lalayag but I didn’t find any except for a Facebook event page and a Youtube video. It wasn’t surprising since it just opened its doors to outdoor lovers late last year.

So I promised myself to make a write-up about it after yesterday’s climb. Here it goes. I hope this would help my friends who have been asking about this mountain since I posted a photo on my Instagram.

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Lalayag (or Nalayag) Monolith is actually a rock formation with three peaks. It is part of a mountain in Lobo town of Batangas called Mount Masalukot. (FYI: Lalayag came from the Filipino word “layag” meaning sail, like that of a boat because it looks like one; while Masalukot comes from the local term “salakot” a kind of hat).

This was our itinerary:
01:00 am – meet-up at Kia Theater in Cubao (near Gateway) – pretty early, I know…
02:00 am – expected time of departure to Lobo, Batangas
04:30 am – expected time of arrival in Lobo Municipality
* Here, one has to register at the Police Station and have a group photo (yes, they require visitors to have a group photo); in case you need to buy anything,  there is a 711 store near the plaza. Then off we go to Sitio Balibago (which is the jump off of the climb).

05:30 am – expected time of arrival at Sitio Balibago (where one registers again) and guides are obtained. There are several stores in here so you can actually buy some trail food.
06:00 am – Start of Trek (There is a water source along the way, ask the guide about it). It’s pretty easy if you ask me, and the only thing that could possibly make the walk a bit challenging is when the sun is already up as this part of the trek is quite exposed (so better start your climb early).

07:00 am – One reaches a part of the trail called “Bukuhan” (as the area abounds with coconut). This signals the start of the more challenging part of the trail as there is an obvious assault. Ropes are strategically placed in most segments of the ascent towards the rock formations. Be careful as in some parts, the soil is a bit loose.


08:00 am – Arrival at the base of the monolith. As I have mentioned earlier, there are three peaks of varying height.

*The monolith may be reminiscent of Pico de Loro’s monolith (although I believe Pico’s have a larger space atop). The highest of these 3 rock peaks can accommodate approximately 10 people or less, the 2nd one with 2 to 3 persons, while the smallest peak can only accommodate 1. In order to reach the 1st peak, one has to ascend via series of stairs made of wood and ropes. It could be really, really scary if you aren’t used to this kind of adventure. The 2nd peak also requires a bit rappelling and a lot of courage. The way to the top is made a bit scarier by the strong wind. So be extra, extra, extra cautious.

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Once you reach the top, all that weary, frightening feeling will subside (or maybe not) as you will be greeted by a super awesome 360 degrees view. Verdant mountains at one side, and the azure Batangas beachscape on another side. You look up and you see how infinite the azure sky could be, and if you look down (now don’t over-do that), you’ll see how high you are and you might get giddy. Hahaha. As a person who likes the adrenaline feeling high places bring about, it was an amazing ephemeral experience. I would have loved to do my signature jump shot BUT that is a no-no for one’s safety.

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Since the peaks can only accommodate a specific number of people, you can have merienda/ lunch at the monolith’s base while waiting fpr your group’s turn . There is actually a good spot also for taking photos with the view of the sea as your backdrop aside from the main peaks.

After conquering Lalayag’s Peak, one has the option of traversing to Mount Masalukot’s Peak. But since our group’s plan was to have a side trip at the Malabrigo Lighthouse and a beach resort, we didn’t do this. Moreover, the photo-ops and the queue to the peak took a bit of our time since we were the 3rd group to arrive at the monolith area. We spent roughly 3 to 4 hours here.

12: 00 noon Lunch time/ Siesta
01:00 pm – start of descent (again be extra careful as the way going down can be as challenging as the way up. It can be knee-trembling if you haven’t climbed for quite some time. Be mindful also of the several beehives along the way making sure not to disturb them or else, not even cetirizine may save you. Harhar.


02:30 pm – expected time of arrival at the jump-off (Sitio Balibago). Several households offer food for lunch, merienda and you can even take a bath or do your wash up.
04:00 – Side trip to Malabrigo Beach & Lighthouse for a short dip or even sunset viewing. (Sunset at this side of Batangas is really stunning!
06:00 – Expected time of departure from Lobo town proper
08:00 – had dinner along the way (we had ours in Calamba)
09:30 – Home sweet home!

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Expenses:
Since I joined an organized trip, the cost of which is Php 1, 000.00 that included transportation (we rode a van group for 16 people), environmental fee, guide fee, entrance to resort and our dinner. Actually, it isn’t bad at all. (At least I get to skip the hassle of commuting and hopping from one transportation vehicle to another). Big thanks to Sir Jefrey Hila (09951456488) for accommodating me and my friend Dee to join your group. If you want him to organize a Lalayag trip for you and your friends, just send him a message (or you can check him out on his Facebook HERE.

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To those who would want to do a “do-it-yourself” trip, you can follow our sample itinerary and these instructions. So if you will commute, and would come from the Greater Manila Area, make your way to Buendia-Taft in Manila. Take a Batangas Pier-bound bus then ask the conductor to drop you off at the Grand Terminal. From the Terminal, hop into a jeepney that plies Batangas City – Balagtas Route. Inform the driver to drop you off the Lobo Terminal. Finally, at Lobo Jeepney Terminal, ride a jeep bound for Lobo. Once in Lobo proper, make your way to the police station for registration. You have to contact their tourism office to arrange transportation going to Sitio Balibago (the jump-off site).

You may contact the following personnel for your guidance.
Mr. Rolly Magtibay or his wife, Marissa Magtibay (responsible for guide designation) – 0919-975-6465
Sorayan “Ayan” de Mesa (for transportation arrangement) – 0995-496-0103

Fees:
Environmental Fee – Php20.00
Barangay Fee – Php20.00 (paid at Sitio Balibago)
Guide Fee – Php550.00/ 5 pax

It was a great day to commune with nature again. It was an experience made even better by meeting new people with whom you get to share your stories and passion. Special shout out to my friend Dee for coming with me. So don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

Maynuba Circuit (Rizal, PH)

It definitely wasn’t a walk in the park. With a knee-trembling uphill climb at the early part of the climb along a trail that is newly made, the early morning sweltering temperature plus sharp grasses and larger –than-the-usual ants along the way – I’d say it was pretty much of a challenge. It wasn’t just one mountain peak that day but two, plus 8 waterfalls to trek. Nonetheless, the view of the verdant landscape was more than enough to revitalize our dwindling supply of ATP and spirit. Moreover, it was the unrivaled feeling of meeting new people, sharing stories and laughter with friends and the memories built during these moments matter more.

That’s how I describe our Maynoba Circuit climb. This happened almost 3 months ago. I have been too busy with work that I had to postpone most of my write-ups. I don’t want to make this long either. I just want to come up with a short but meaningful post of my 1st climb this year. You see, I have been absent from the hiking scene lately. But as they say, we should always find a way to satiate our yearning for the things we love.
Maynoba – Cayabu Twin Hike is a relatively new hiking destination in Rizal Province. According to our guide, we were only the 3rd or 4th group to scale the mountain using the new trail. What makes the peak duo more adventure filled is the fact that the area also boasts off 8 waterfalls.

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Mt. Maynoba + Mt. Cayabu + 8 waterfalls
Brgy. Cayabu, Tanay, Rizal
Jump off point: Mar-ning’s Farm and Resort, Brgy. Cayabu, Tanay, Rizal

Here is a sample itinerary:

Actual Itinerary:

0300 – Departure from Araneta, Cubao
0430 – Arrival at Mar-ning’s Farm and Resort
0500 – Start Hiking
0530 – Arrival at Bohoan
0630 – Arrival at Kakawate Ridge / Rest / Photo-ops (we spent a long time here)
0800 – Commence final climb to Mt. Maynoba Summit
0815 – Arrival at Mt. Maynoba Summit (with the flag)/ Photo-ops
0900 – Left Maynoba Summit for Mt. Cayabu
0930 – Arrival at Mt. Cayabu and Boulders
1015 – Departure from the Boulders
1100 – Arrival at the Kawayanan Water Source

1115 to 1430 – Visited the 6 waterfalls (plus some of us took a dip, we no longer visited the last 2 as most of us were already tired)
The waterfalls of Maynuba Circuit are:
• Natatagong Paraiso Falls
• Maykatmon Falls
• Ayngas Falls
• May Gugulong na Bato Falls
• Maynoba Falls
• Lantay na Bato Falls
• May Bangka Falls
• Magpantay Falls

1530 – Arrival at Mar-ning’s where we had late lunch
1630 – Departure from Mar-ning’s to QC
1830 – Back in Quezon City
Registration Fee. There is a registration fee of Php20.00 per person to be paid at Mar-ning’s.

Guides. Local guides are mandatory and the usual guide fee is Php500.00 for a day hike, which is good for five (5) persons. Overnight guide fee is Php1, 250.00.
How to Get There:

Private Transportation (We used Sir Jolo’s Van for this trip)

From Cubao (Araneta), take Aurora Blvd. East Bound and continue straight to Marcos Highway. You will pass by Sta. Lucia Grand Mall, Masinag, and Cogeo. After Cogeo, you will enter the Upper Marikina Basin Protected Landscape and pass by the zigzag road.

You will also pass by Palo Alto and Garden Cottages. Then, a few meters from Kilometer Post 51, take note of the Welcome Arch to Barangay San Andres which is on the other side of the left side of the road (or if you have been to Mount Batolusong, it is actually the same road). Locals call it as Batangasan or Batangas.

Follow the road that will lead you to Brgy. San Andres. The road is a mix of concrete to rough. After Brgy. San Andres comes Brgy. Sto. Niño. Once you see forking in the road, take the left side (the one that goes up). A few more meters and you will reach Brgy. Cayabu. Go past the Cayabu Elementary School and the Cayabu Barangay Hall until you reach Mar-ning’s Farm and Resort – jump off of the climb.

Public Transportation
From Cubao, ride an FX (or a jeepney) to Cogeo Gate 2 Antipolo (Php 35). Once in Cogeo, locate the jeepney terminal and ride a jeepney going to Sampaloc/Tanay. Inform the driver to drop you off at Batangasan/Batangas. (1 hour travel time). Several tricycle and habal-habal can take you to Mar-ning’s Farm and Resort in Barangay Cayabu. (30 minutes travel time). You can ask the habal-habal/tricycle driver to fetch you in the afternoon at Mar-ning’s and will bring you back to Batangasan. Wait for a jeepney bound for Cogeo Gate 2. It is said that jeepneys usually pass by Batangas until 7pm. Once in Cogeo, ride your way to Cubao via FX or jeepney.

Thank you to Team Nae Nae for this awesome adventure!!

Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri”juan”.

Corong-Corong Beach (Palawan, PH)

Come watch with me the shaft of fire that glows
In yonder West: the fair, frail palaces,
The fading Alps and archipelagoes,
And great cloud-continents of sunset-seas.

Thomas Bailey Aldrich

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Whenever I travel, I always take note where I could possibly watch the sundown. You see, I have developed this sense of connection with the setting sun. To me, it is one of the most beautiful and magical things in this world.

During an El Nido visit, my friends and I decided to chase the sunset at the quiet and not so touristy Corong-Corong Beach after beach bumming around Nacpan – Calitang Beach (read write up here at https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/the-twin-beach-of-el-nido-nacpan-calitang/).

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Corong-Corong Beach is located in Brgy. Corong-Corong, (hence the name), a fishing village 2 kilometers south from El Nido town center. Just like the twin beaches of Nacpan- and Calitang, this beach is also laidback yet appealing in vibe. And dissimilar to the beaches at the town’s center, the shore is not obstructed by boats hence a more picturesque view can be seen.

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From the main street, my friends and I walked about a hundred meters until we reached the beach proper.  The golden brown sand stretches long and is fringed with towering coconut trees. The area is dotted with several accommodations and is not congested with bars and restaurants. Obviously, it is a much quieter place that would surely make a more relaxing stay.

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While waiting for the sunset at this side of Palawan, my friends went on to swim and try the clear, shallow waters of Corong-Corong while I took photos of the place. A few more minutes and the sun started to mesmerize us with its golden rays as it says goodbye. As in every sunset I have witnessed, the settling down of the sun always evoke a sense of respite and that it is a beauty to behold.

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Accommodation along Corong-Corong:

RESORT/INN Estimated Price range/Night Contact Number
All Seasons Beach Resort Php 2000-4000 +63917 541 9804

+63919 452 4266

Arbor Beach Cottage Php 700-1000 +63999 385 2566

+63949 390 3163

El Nido Overlooking Php 3500 +63916 631 7078
Greenviews Resort and Restaurant Php 1000-2700 +63921 586 1442
Island Front Cottages Php 1500-3500 +63999 994 1309

+63918 967 6829

Las Cabanas Beach Resort Php 4500 +63917 887 8808
Lugadia Beach Cottages Php 700-1000 +63907 476 5922

+63919 572 6372

Orange Pearl Beach Resort Php 1500-3500 +63906 215 2549

+63930 720 8633

Sheryl May Inn Php 1000-1500 +63930 720 3091

+63916 574 5444

Stunning Vistas Beach Resort Php 1700-3500  +63999 566 0888

+63921 751 5783

Talindak Beach front Cottages Php 1500 +36 909 492 5944

+63 918 679 7643

Telesfora Beach Cottage Php 1000-1500 +63917 731 8034

+63919 697 7378

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How to get to Corong-Corong Beach

From Manila, ride a plane to Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan or a direct (more expensive) flight to El Nido proper. From Puerto Prinsesa airport, there are vans that directly go to El Nido. The travel time would be around 5 hours. Alternative is to ride a bus but will take longer hours of land travel. Once in El Nido town center, ride a tricycle going to Corong-Corong Beach.

You might want to check out http://www.letspalawan.com/  for more…

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.