Philippines’ Beaches: What’s Not to Love?

The Philippines, being an archipelago, is dotted with innumerable pristine, sparkling beaches. Some white, others black, a few brown, and surprisingly pink too! We have beaches that are as fine as talcum powder to gritty, sandy ones, while others are pebble lined. Majority of these tropical paradise boasts off crystal clear water that comes in azure to turquoise colors. Regardless of the color and texture of beaches’ sand and water, Philippines’ seashores will make one’s “beach escapade” memorable and fun!

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Besides the obvious aesthetics of our beaches, here are other reasons why bumming around the beaches of the Philippines is a must doPhilippines’ beaches have a laid-back vibe, especially the small-town beaches and the off-the beaten ones. They are the ultimate relaxation zones perfect for experiencing serenity and peace of mind. One can go for an afternoon walk along the shoreline or sit down under shady palm trees while reading a book. Or just lie down, let the crashing waves touch your feet and the gentle wind kiss your lips. Totally relaxing and an awesome escape to a stressful life!

Philippines’ beaches have a laid-back vibe, especially the small-town beaches and the off-the beaten ones. They are the ultimate relaxation zones perfect for experiencing serenity and peace of mind. One can go for an afternoon walk along the shoreline or sit down under shady palm trees while reading a book. Or just lie down, let the crashing waves touch your feet and the gentle wind kiss your lips. Totally relaxing and an awesome escape to a stressful life!

Philippines’ beaches are home to various water sports and activities. From surfing, to snorkeling to SCUBA diving, kitesurfing, kayaking, island-hopping and many more. Plus, the marine life is teeming with wonders.  One will never run out of things to do. These activities can keep you fit and make your vacation more fun-filled.

Philippines’ beaches showcase some of the most jaw-dropping sunrise and sunset views. Everything turns into a picturesque, surreal nature art once the sun starts to rise. It is even more dramatic during sundown. Sunset by the beach is one thing I look forward the most.

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Philippines’ beaches are generally cheap. While some of our beaches are becoming more and more commercialized, I want to believe that majority of our beaches are still inexpensive, and some even for free. One could spend some time along the beach without worrying about spending much – paying for entrance fees or buying pricey food because again, the cost isn’t really high.

Philippines’ beaches are home to good and hospitable Filipinos. I want to think that Filipino hospitality is evident in almost all parts of the country – whether at the mountain villages, to seaside towns, and various rural areas. Most Filipinos are willing to lend a helping hand in whatever ways they could. Some families would invite you their homes, some would even cook the freshest sea catch of the day for their visitors to have a sumptuous meal.

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They say “life is a beach”. Whether you have a beach bod, dad bod or whatever kind of body figure you have, the beach is one welcoming place for you to experience life, to live life.

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

Why Travel?

On October 15, 2008 – I made my very first blog about why I got hooked with travelling. It was a Taglish write-up. And today, to celebrate the 1st year anniversary of my travel blog here in wordpress, I am sharing several paragraphs of that writing about why I travel. Going over my reasons then, it seems to me that they are still the answers to why I continue to travel. Read along 🙂

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I like to travel because of the following reasons:

Una sa lahat, exciting bumyahe. Some people term it as stepping out of their comfort zone. Iyong iba naman, naniniwala na its a way of pushing boundaries and exploring; but it all boils down to the same thing — to take a trip is EXCITING! EXHILIRATING! ELECTRIFYING! (isipin niyo na lahat ng naguumpisa sa letter E). Hindi ba at nakakaexcite na you get to see new things, experience new sensation, o kaya eh makatikim ng pagkain na bago sa panlasa mo. Isipin mo, kapag naglalakbay ka — every step you take is something you’ve never taken before, especially on places less traveled. Sometimes, you don’t even know what to expect. And that, makes it more exciting…

Ikalawa, travelling (especially kung mag-isa ka) is something ENLIGHTENING. Kung bumibiyahe ka, mag-isa man o may kasama eh paniguradong marami kang malalaman tungkol sa sarili mo (at pati na rin sa mga kasama mo). Ika nga ng isang quote — “The best way to know somebody is to travel with them”. Totoo ito. Naniniwala ako dito. To travel is to learn about your limits, your strengths, your weakness and even discover things you have never imagined that you can actually do. WE LEARN ABOUT WHAT WE CAN BE, BUT HAVEN’T BEEN THUS FAR. We learn about emotional stress one can deal with, what we dare, what we don’t. Ngayon, mas masasabi ko na mas naging flexible ako sa maraming bagay…. Narealize ko na mabubuhay ako kahit walang mga luho… na marami akong kayang gawin na mga bagay-bagay na once I would not dare do or thought I can do.

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Ikatlo, EXPERIENCE. Bukod sa masayang isipin na may bago kang lugar na mapupuntahan o bagong taong makikilala — doing all that new stuff is something extremely educational. Experiential learning sabi nga sa Pschology. The places, the people, the things you do are not those things that one will be forgetting soon. Hindi gaya ng mga inaral mo sa exam na pagkatapos ng pagsusulit, kinakalimutan na. Ung mga naeexperience sa mga ganitong lakad, usually stays forever or would leave a certain mark to you. An experience may change the way we think about things – again from people to culture to places. In some cases, some will even change our own life. It usually brings things into perspective.

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The fourth reason is something very different for all of us who like to travel. It is because, the third reason is considered to be something VERY PERSONAL. May kanya kanya tayong espesyal na dahilan kung bakit gustong gusto nating maglakbay. Yung iba, they love how simple life is on the road, iyong iba naman eh dahil sa gusto nilang matuto ng iba’t ibang bagay tungkol sa isang lugar (ie history, culture)… Others do it to capture their stolen youth, or to make up for some precious time… For some, it is a must because if they don’t travel, they wouldn’t feel satisfied or complete. Yung iba siguro, its a form of escape, a form of searching for something missing…  Well, I share most of these reasons most of the time. But if there is one thing I have come to realize after several years of traveling around my beautiful Philippines eh heto iyon. I like travelling because i wish that others traveled more. Totoo iyan. Proud ako na panay ang hikayat ko sa mga kakilala ko na sumama sa akin… I feel extremely happy everytime I get the chance to share my experiences and stories. It feels good pag may nakoconvince ako to travel and see places — malayo man o malapit.

Lastly, traveling is LIVING. Lahat tayo gusto natin yung pakiramdam na WE ARE FREE, that WE ARE ALIVE. We want to live life to its fullest. My travels made me realize that communities are boundaries. Boundaries, somehow, have invisible walls. I want to break these walls, I want to break these boundaries. Sabi ko nga sa 4th reason ko, I like the idea that everyone gets to travel. Bukod sa masaya ung pakiramdam na may nahikayat ka, it feels even better to see them appreciate also the things that captured your heart. Most importantly, they to are able to break boundaries.  Gusto ko ‘to dahil naniniwala ako na mas magkakaintindihan tayo kung nakita mo rin ant naranasan mo rin ang mga nakita ko at naranasan ko.

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Ikaw, ano mga dahilan mo? Bakit gusto mong naglalakbay? Kung hindi ka mahilig, bakit hindi mo subukan? You will never know, it might unlock something new in you.

I don’t know what the future holds for me. But one thing is certain, I will continue going to places. Kahit saan pa yan. Meron o walang pera. Marami pa akong gustong mapuntahan. Marami pa akong gustong malaman. At sana, sa susunod, kasama ko pa rin kayo… kasama ko na kayo…

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. take it easy ebriwan.

Yay! Happy 1st anniversary to my travel blog, No Juan is an Island!!!

 

 

May Bisyo Ako: Isang Pag-Amin

May Bisyo Ako…

“ May bisyo ako, ngayon ko lang napagtanto.

May bisyo ako, pano ba nagumpisa eto?

May bisyo ako, nakaka-adik eto.

May bisyo ako, may mga kontra dito.

May bisyo ako, ewan ko lang kung gusto nyo.

May bisyo ako – pero hindi alak, yosi o bato.

May bisyo ako, bisyong mahal ko.

May bisyo ako, at eto ang nilalaman ng blog ko.”

Dicasalarin Cove, baler, Aurora.
Dicasalarin Cove, baler, Aurora.

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/dicasalarin-cove-aurora-ph/

Ang mundo ay isang libro, at ang mga taong hindi marunong maglakbay – isang pahina lang ang kanilang nabasa…” – iyan ang nakaukit na sipi sa utak ko.

Alas-kwatro ng hapon. SM Megamall.

“Isa akong galang guro.” Iyan ang bigla kong nasambit sa isang kaibigang matagal ko ng hindi nakikita, nito lamang nakaraang Martes ng nasa Maynila ako. Kakagaling ko lang mula sa byahe ko sa Coron, Palawan. Bago ako umuwi ng Baguio, naisipan ko munang mag-Megamall – para kumaen at tumingin ng pwedeng mabili. Nasa Goldilocks ako nun, malapit ko ng maubos ang binili kong Lumpiang Hubad ng may biglang nagsalita:

“Wow, long time no see… Kumusta ka na?”

Iginala ko ang paningin ko para hanapin kung saan galing yung boses na sumambit ng mga katagang iyon. Napatitig lang ako sa isang lalaking magara ang suot at mejo may kasosyalan ang dating. Actually, I did not recognize him, he looks familiar pero parang nagrerewind pa ang utak ko kung saang bang bahagi ng buhay ko nakilala itong taong kasalukuyang papalapit sa akin. Inabot niya ang kanan nyang kamay para makipaghand-shake sabay sambit ng pangalan ko at tila tuwang tuwa na nakita ako…

Cagbatan Island, Coron, Palawan.
Cagbatan Island, Coron, Palawan.

“Lester… Mark Lester Romulo…”

Bago pa niya mabuo ang medyo kahabaan kong pangalan, bigla ko ng naalala kung sino ang kaharap at kakamayan ko… Isa siya sa mga kaklase ko nung nasa high-school at ngayon, isa ng bigtime na empleyado (hindi nya dinisclose ang position nya pero isa daw sya sa mga Upper ups) sa isang malaking company sa Manila.

So ayun, since I was about to finish what I was eating at paalis na rin sana ako, he asked kung pwede kaming magkuwentuhan… (Akalain nyong may taong interesadong alamin kung ano na ang mga pagbabago sa buhay ko??) Since gabi pa yung kinuha kong byahe pabalik ng Baguio at ilang oras pa ang hihintayin ko bago mag-out mula sa trabaho yung kapatid ko, eh napagpasyahan kong paunlakan ang kanyang imbitasyon na magkwentuhan kami at magkape (kahit na hindi naman talaga ako nagkakape).

Nagsasa Cove, San Antonio, Zambales
Nagsasa Cove, San Antonio, Zambales 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/nagsasa-cove/

Bago kami nagpunta sa isang coffeeshop, dumaan muna kami sa Parking Area para ihatid yung mga pinamili nya dahil hinihintay daw ito ng kanyang pinsan. Tinanong pa niya ako kung saan ko daw gustong magkape – syempre pa, since hindi naman talaga ako mahilig sa kape (nasabi ko na ata eto sa itaas na paragraph), sinabi ko na lang na kahit saan. As I have expected, sa isang kilalang coffeeshop na kinalolokohan ng maraming Pinoy kami nagtuloy… Alam nyo na iyun, di ko na babanggitin dito dahil hindi ko nais ipromote yung kapehan na’yun dahil masyadong mahal…

Aslom Island, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro.
Aslom Island, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro. 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/beauty-of-bulalacao-oriental-mindoro-ph/

Nagumpisa ang kwentuhan sa tanungan kung saan na si ganito – si ganyan, pinagkwentuhan ang ilan sa mga kaklase namin noon. Andami nyang kwento, noon ko lang narealize na madaldal din pala siya. Hindi kasi sya ganun nung high-school kami. Isa kasi siya sa mga taong napapanis ang laway sa classroom dahil di mo to kakakitaan na dumadaldal. Nagumpisa na rin syang magkwento tungkol sa sarili nya – mula nung college sya hanggang sa kanyang mga experiences sa pakikipagsapalaran sa trabaho at ang mabilis na pag-unlad sa kanyang buhay. From being a plain company worker to a big boss in a large firm in Manila; from someone who rents a cheap apartment into becoming an elite condo-dweller; ipinagmalaki din nya na X00,000.00 ang sweldo nya kada-buwan, at syempre pa, ang bagong bago nyang tsekot na kanina lang ay nakita kong nakaparke. (Medyo nayabangan ako sa kanya nung una pero napagtanto ko na okay lang kasi talaga namang may maipagyayabang sya, kahit na unti-unti na akong nanliliit at na-iinggit sa mga oras na iyon).  Gusto ko din kasi iyong mga na-achieve nya. Magandang tirahan, malaking sweldo, magarang kotse, magarang buhay. Pero wala pa ako ng mga iyon.

Boracay island, Malay, Aklan.
Boracay island, Malay, Aklan. 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/boracay-aklan-philippines/

Akala ko hindi na siya matatapos sa kanyang talumpati tungkol sa sarili niya ng bigla siyang magtanong. “Ikaw naman Lester, kuwento ka naman… Anong bago bukod sa medyo pagkadagdag mo ng konting laman?” Pangiti nitong sabi.

Halos pagpawisan ako sa kinauupuan ko. Hindi dahil sa mainit yung kapeng iniinom ko, kundi dahil sa nakakatakot nyang tanong. Isang lagok ko pa sa mapait na kape tsaka taas-noo kong sinabi na “ako ay isang galang guro” —  isang accidental educator (kung tawagin ng ilang propesyonal) sa isang unibersidad sa Baguio na nahuhumaling sa paglalakbay.

Skycyce Adventure, Eden Nature Park, Toril, Davao City.
Skycyce Adventure, Eden Nature Park, Toril, Davao City. 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/skycycling-101-davao-city-ph/

Mukha syang puzzled at parang napapailing sa narinig nya mula sa akin. Naisip nya siguro na ang weird ko naman. Iyon kasi yung mababasa mo sa noo nya. Kaya ayun, ako naman ang nag-umpisang magkwento.

Isa ako sa mga Pilipinong nagtatrabaho sa isa sa mga private academic institutions na lumalagare ng ikabubuhay 6 days in a week at sinuswelduhan ng sakto lamang para sa pansariling gastos. No car, no condo unit o apartment man lang. May mga savings din naman ako, but then, most of the time, napupunta ito sa one and only na bisyo ko – ang gumala o maglakbay sa mas magandang salita. Nakahiligan kong pumunta kung saan saan. Ibinahagi ko sa kanya ang pagbisita ko sa iba’t ibang lugar dito sa Pilipinas. Buong galak kong kinwento ang mga bundok na naakyat ko at yung mga di malilimutang moments sa mga lugar na ito. Dahil sa pambihirang talent ko sa paggagala, nararating ko ang mga nakakamanghang lugar na dati rati eh sa mga libro ko lang nakikita o kaya sa mga Travelogue magazines ko langnasisilayan.

Calaguas Island, Vinzons, Camarines Norte
Calaguas Island, Vinzons, Camarines Norte

Mas naging madaldal din ako sa pagkwento ko, naibahagi ko sa kanya kung paano ako nagumpisang mawili sa ganitong klaseng bisyo at kung ano iyong mga dahilan kung bakit ninanais kong pagkagastusan ang ganitong bagay. Sinabi ko sa kanya na masaya sa pakiramdam kung may bagong kakilala, o angmakakita ng magandang tanawin, ang malaman ang kultura ng iba at syempre pa – yung exhilarating feeling na hindi mo alam kung ano ang susunod na mangyayari… Wika ko nga, travelling has been a great teacher… Andami kong natutunan sa paglalakbay ko… Para bang nagbabasa ka ng isang libro na punong puno ng kwento…

Maniwaya Island, Sta. Cruz, Marinduque
Maniwaya Island, Sta. Cruz, Marinduque 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/marinduque-the-heart-of-the-philippines/

At times, napapansin ko na napapakagat na lang siya ng labi at napapakunot ng noo. Pakiwari ko nga O.A na ako sa paningin nya. I was not so certain if naintindihan ba nya o naabsorb pa ba nya mga sinasabi ko tungkol sa sarili ko; o baka napipilitan na lang siyang makinig para lang hindi ako mapahiya.

Paglaon, nabanggit din nya na gusto nya rin daw magtravel kung saan-saan. Gusto niya daw makita ang mga vinta ng Zamboanga o kaya eh makatungtung ng ruruk ng isang bundok gaya ng mga nakwento ko na sa kanya. Muli nyang ipinagmalaki na marami siyang pwedeng gastusin na pera pero dahil nga sa mataas nyang posisyon sa company kung saan sya nagtatrabaho, eh wala daw siyang oras para sa sarili nya at sa ganitong klaseng bisyo.

Racuh A Payaman, Mahatao, Batanes
Racuh A Payaman, Mahatao, Batanes 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/breathtaking-batanes-sabtang-island-philippines/

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/breathtaking-batanes-basco-philippines/

Biglang nawala lahat ng panliliit at pagkainggit na naramdaman ko. Naisip ko na lang sa sarili ko – marami nga siyang pera, hindi naman niya nakukuhang maenjoy yung sinasabi nyang desire to travel kung saan saan.

Sabi pa nya – noon daw, nung naguumpisa pa lang siyang magtrabaho, naisip na nyang maglakbay. Eh ang kaso, wala daw siyang pera. Pero ngayon namang marami na siyang pera, wala naman daw siyang oras.  Pagkarinig ko pa lang sa mga sinabi nya, sobrang nalungkot ako para sa kanya.

Mount Apo, Davao - North Cotabato Border
Mount Apo, Davao – North Cotabato Border 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/mount-apo-king-of-philippine-peaks/

Nagflashback tuloy sa utak ko yung nabasa kong article sa isang magazine about a man who have been dreaming to travel before he dies. Actually, nasa bucket list ng taong ito na makita ang pag-labas ng araw sa Mount Pulag at ang paglubog ng araw sa mala-paraisong dagat ng Palawan. This man was so pre-occupied with his work, and most of the time, ended up doing more work kaya hindi niya magawa-gawa yung matagal nya ng nais gawin – ang maglakbay. He would usually reason out that “money is more important than anything else”.  Hindi nya narealize na hindi sa lahat ng pagkakataon eh aayon sa kanya ang panahon. Kaya ayun, namatay siya na di man lang nakakamit yung matagal nya ng ninanais.

Ika nga ng isa sa mga nakasama ko sa climb — “I think if you love doing something, you’ll find the time and place for it…”

My 1st Mount Pulag climb, and the main reason why my wanderlust spirit was ignited.
My 1st Mount Pulag climb, and the main reason why my wanderlust spirit was ignited.

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/mount-pulag/

Most of the time, there are a lot of things that we like postponing because we don’t have much time for these things. And it is sad to note na madalas, itong mga bagay na lagi nating ipinagpapaliban ay iyong mga bagay na mahalaga sa atin. Things that we instantly trade for bigger opportunities that involves more money. Most of the time nga, pera ang nagiging basis natin to gauge success. More money, the more successful a person is.

But I beg to disagree… hindi kasi ganun ang pananaw ko sa buhay.  Hindi ako naniniwala na pera ang batayan ng tagumpay. If that’s the case, then, masaya sana lahat ng mga mayayamang tao dahil sila yung may maraming pera. Pero hindi eh. They may have all the riches in this world, but they don’t have the time to enjoy it –they don’t know how to enjoy their lives.

Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao
Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/batad-rice-terraces/

Bago ko tapusin itong medyo napahabang blog na ito, bakit di nyo pagisipan tong mga iiwan kong tanong?

Bakit ka ba nag-iipon ng pera? Para saan ba ang mga iniipon mong pera sa bangko?

Well I am not saying that saving our money is bad. Pero para saan ba at nag-iipon tayo? Future. Oo naman. Para sa future. Pero sana, wag din nating kalimutan yung present – yung mga gusto mong gawin ngayon na tingin mo eh makakapagpasaya sayo. Baka naman, uugod-ugod ka na eh yung pangarap mong magbunjee jumping eh nabaon na sa limot dahil nga hindi mo na kaya kahit na marami ka pang pera…

With friends at Salagdoong Beach, Maria, Siquijor
With friends at Salagdoong Beach, Maria, Siquijor 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/salagdoong-beach-siquijor-philippines/

Sa mahigit 2 oras na nakaupo ako sa bangkang patungong Banana Island, napagtanto ko na every person isn’t given the chance to do the things I am capable of doing. So, kung may pwede kang gawin na sa tingin mo eh makakapagpasaya sayo, aba! Don’t wait too long.. Do what makes you happy. Travel. Explore the World. Tandaan – Lahat ng tao, gustong maging masaya, eh ano pa ba ang silbi ng buhay kung hindi mo rin lang ito ma-achieve.

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https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/bud-bongao/

And as I always, always say — Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust’… take it easy ebri’juan’…

Lester out —

Originally written on February 11, 2009 (22:35). Baguio City.

Davao White Water Rafting (Philippines)

Davao City is definitely living up to its city slogan – “Life is here”. The city ranked as the 9th safest in the entire world is also known to be an adventure and eco-tourism hub. Besides climbing the highest mountain in the Philippines (Mount Apo), Davao also offers some adrenaline pumping water activities like the wild white water rafting.

collageDWWR

Today, this activity is one of the widely popular eco-tourism and outdoor adventures tourists and locals would try when in the City of Durian. The site for this extreme water sport is the 15 kilometer portion of Davao River. The rafting starts from Brgy. Tamugan in Calinan, and then ends at the lowlands.

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The water course features around 30 rapids of varying degrees of difficulty and would require 3 to 4 hours of roughing it out. The spirals, and turns along the river will definitely the adventure junkie in you. To lighten up the rough escapade are the verdant sceneries and some local fauna along the river banks.

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There are 2 groups offering this adventure in Davao. One is the Davao Wild Water Adventure and the other one is called Base Camp. Tour package ranges from Php1,500-2,000 per person. You may contact these operators if you are interested.

DAVAO WILDWATER ADVENTURE , INC

Crocodile Park Compound
Riverfront Corporate City
Diversion Highway, Maa, Davao City

Telephone Number : (+6382) 221 7823 / 286 1055

BASE CAMP

Door 77 Madrazo Fruit Complex, C. Bangoy Street Davao City.

Telephone Numbers: 09323500921, 0908 894 1468, (082) 305 7624

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Here is a sample itinerary you might wanna do. Remember requires an entire day to do this water escapade.

  • 8:00 am – assembly at Crocodile Park or Base Camp (there is an initial orientation done)
  • 9:30 am – departure
  • 10:30 am – arrival at Put-In area, Tamugan (another orientation is conducted)
  • 11:00 am – start of rafting
  • 12:00 nn – lunch (usually part of the package)
  • 3:00 pm – arrival at Take-Out area, Purok 8, Lacson
  • 3:30 pm – departure/back to city proper
  • 4:30 pm – arrival at the city proper

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Things To Consider:

  • Bring a dry bag in the event that you want to bring some things with you (but if you’ll ask me, it is better NOT to bring any stuff except you, yourself).
  • Put on some sunblock especially if the weather is sunny (the time I did this I Davao, it was raining so I really didn’t put on some sun block).
  • Wear proper foot wear like shoes you can wet or slippers with strong straps but never wear flip-flops.
  • Bring with you some dry clothes and leave it at your service van/jeepney. You’ll need these after the activity. On the other hand, do not wear jewelries or even sun glasses for obvious reasons.

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My experience in Davao is my 2nd take on water rafting after I did it first in Cagayan de Oro. I both love the experience. Hoping to do it again in the water of Chico River in Kalinga soon.

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Mount Apo: King of Philippine Peaks

“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.” – Barry Finlay

Mount Apo, dubbed as  the “King of Philippine Peaks”, is the  country’s highest mountain peak with an elevation of 10,311 feet or 3,144 meters above sea level. It is also one of the Philippines’and Southeast Asia’s much sought after climbing destination.

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Apo means “ancestor” or “grandfather” or “elder”. Mount Apo , a sacred land among locals, is a large solfataric (a volcanic area that gives off sulfurous gases and steam), potentially-active stratovolcano (conical volcano built up by many layers (strata) of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash). The date of its most recent eruption is unknown, and none are verified in historical times.

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Mount Apo, looms over the immense stretch of the southern tip of Mindanao island, adjoins over the mountainous edges of Davao City. It provides a picture-perfect view attributed to its diverse landscape ranging from volcanic formations, boulders/rockscapes, and the rich virgin forest lands of Davao City, Davao del Sur and North Cotabato. The peak features a flat area with a 500-meter wide volcanic crater containing a small crater lake. The base of the mountain covers roughly about 72,796 hectares of mountain ranges that extend from Davao City, the provinces of Davao del Sur, Northern Cotabato, Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur, and Misamis Oriental.

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When I accidentally started climbing (wayback 2004), I never pictured myself getting hooked with it. Never did I thought I would consider climbing Mt. Apo. But as I get to see and experience more mountains, the thought of a Mt. Apo climb slowly came into senses. It eventually became a predestined dream to chase. I guess it’s true that every Filipino mountain-enthusiast’s dream is to scale the Philippines’highest. And so in 2008, this vision was put into fruition.

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How to get to Mount Apo

Davao is well connected to both Manila and Cebu City, the two busiest international airports in the Philippines, and several local low-cost carrier with new and modern fleet, offer cheap daily flights from both Manila and Cebu starting at less than 2000 pesos (one-way). I flied from Cebu City and paid 2500 pesos (one-way), and back to Cebu City for 1800 pesos only (one-way).

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One can either stay a night in Davao City or go directly to Santa Cruz (45 km southwest of Davao), where a permit and guide/porter for Mount Apo must be arranged. After arriving Davao International Airport, try to avoid the taxi-touts at the entrance/exit who will try to charge 1500 pesos for a ride to Santa Cruz. Walk instead 50 metres from the terminal, where the white or yellow metred-taxis are. Here you can easily negotiate a price of 600-700 pesos. If you are on a really tight budget it will be even cheaper to commute like described below (total 207 pesos):

1. After arriving at Davao International Airport, ride a taxi to Ecoland Transport Terminal (travel time 20 minutes – 150 pesos)

2. At Ecoland Terminal, look for south-bound buses such as yellow bus, weena bus, ACFB or Metro Shuttle and ask the driver or the conductor that you will be dropped off at Santa Cruz Terminal (travel time 45 minutes to 1 hour – 43 pesos).

3. At Santa Cruz Terminal, take a motorcycle or tricycle taxi to the municipal hall, Tourism Office (travel time 5 minutes – 14 pesos)
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To get from Santa Cruz to the trailhead in Baroreng you can hire a jeep for 800 pesos or commute. The latter would be cheaper, 3 persons would cost 400+ pesos, but the time-frame would be more uncertain. While a jeep will take 1-1.5 hours to the trailhead in Baruring, commuting will take at least 2-3 hours depending on availability/departure of share-taxis, motorcycle taxis etc. First you need a bus from Santa Cruz to Digos, then a shared van/taxi from Digos to Kapatagan, and finally a motorcycle-taxi from Kapatagan to Baruring. (Excerpts from summitpost.org)

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Some Things to Consider:

You need a permit for this mountain, and guide/porter is mandatory. At the Tourism Office in Santa Cruz ask for Julius Paner. You better contact him in advance, at least a couple of days before you arrive Davao.
His mobile: 09208567991 (replace the leading zero with +63 if you are calling outside of the Philippines)
His e-mail: trekjulpanz@hotmail.com

The fees are:
500 pesos in registration/trekking fee
500 pesos in exit-fee (only if exit-point differ from entry-point)
500 pesos per day for a guide (mandatory)
300 pesos per day for a porter (mandatory)

Other requirements (which to me is really too much and the things that I personally did not like prior to the climb) include a letter of intent, an application form, 1×1 picture, medical certificate, waiver, briefing, certificate of briefing, etc. The papers go through the following offices: OCEEM, the city mayor, and the CTO.

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Sample Itinerary:

Day 1
03:00 AM Registration
03:30 AM ETD Davao to Kapatagan. Breakfast along the way.
08:00 AM ETA Kapatagan. Jump off point. Start trek
05:00 PM ETA Camp Godi-Godi. Set Camp
06:00 PM Prepare Dinner
07:00 PM Dinner. Lights out.
Day 2
07:00 AM Start Assault to Peak. Pass by boulders.
12:00 PM Boulders. Picture Taking. Lunch. Dead lake.
03:00 PM ETA Summit of Davao peak.
04:30 PM ETA Camp site. Set up camp. Dinner.
Day 3
04:30 AM Start Summit Assault for the Sunrise. Explore.
08:00 AM Breakfast. Break camp and start descent.
05:00 PM ETA Jump off point Kapatagan. Clean up.
06:00 PM ETD for Davao City
10:00 PM ETA in Davao City

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Things To Bring:

A good pair of trekking shoes

Sun and Rain Protection (Sun Block, rain coat, shades, cap etc.)

Water: # of days x 2 Liters

Trail food (snacks)

Clothes for the whole hike

Toiletries

Sleeping Bag/Blanket

Tent

Utensils

Headlamp / Flashlight

Raincoat / Umbrella

Trekking Pole

Slippers

Personal Medications

Map
Map

True enough Mount Apo is a significant climb, especially  for individuals who are in search for adrenaline – inducing experiences . Its vista truly offers an adventure of a lifetime.

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