Category: Outdoor Activities

Visit the Highland Paradise in the Heart of Mindanao: BUKIDNON

credits to the owner

Some people maybe afraid of visiting the Province of Bukidnon specially if it’s their first time because of the bad reputation they heard from the news. However, the people of Bukidnon is naturally peace loving, hard working and very warm despite its cool weather.

The province lovely mountains high, fertile soil makes ideal  tourist  destination for those who wants to enjoy scenic views and rest a while from the busy crowded cities. Bukidnon is known as the highland paradise in the heart of Mindanao because of its  rich culture, booming agricultural economy, healthy poultry and livestock, green lushing forest and panoramic views.

The province is perfect for nature lovers because it surrounded with mountain ranges  that host several watersheds and homeland of the indigenous people and endangered species such as Philippine Eagle. Mt. Kitanglad is the second highest peak in the country next to Mt. Apo. Definitely, the province is typhoon free, has cool refreshing climate and moist throughout  the year.

It is located at the center of Mindanao, Southern part of the Philippines, it’s a shoreless province bounded by the Cagayan De Oro on the North, North Cotabato and Davao City on the South, Agusan del Sur and Davao del Norte on the East, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur on the West.

How to get here:

Laguindingan International Airport in Laguindingan Misamis Oriental is the nearest  airport and the port of Cagayan de Oro is the closest seaport. Since it is a landlocked province, bus and van for hire are the most convenient  way to reach the province. About  104 kilometers from Cagayan de Oro City, almost one and a half to two hours ride you can reach Malaybalay City, the capital of the province.

                       Baguio in Mindanao: Dahilayan Forest Park

 

Mindanao’s Favorite Extreme Playground
Brgy. Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich

 

If somebody is not into trekking and mountain climbing, Dahilayan Adventure Park in Brgy. Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich is the perfect place  to bond with your family and friends.It’s one hour ride from the City of Cagayan De Oro.

It was tagged as Mindanao’s favorite extreme playground.

The activities depends on your guts and intensity of the rides. Aside from its famous 840M Asia’s Longest Zipline, you can have skyjump. ropes course , flying lizard, atv rides and a lots of packed activities everyone can enjoy. The youngster will surely enjoy the challenges. You can choose package or pay  any activity of your choice. However, older ones can simply enjoy cardio opportunities like walking around the park and feel the cool air and enjoy scenic views while children can have the playground. There’s a cafe that will cater your thirst and hunger or you can packed your own food for practical reasons.

You can stay overnight in their hotel with wifi in the lobby, rooms and function rooms. Hotel rooms ranges from Php  3,500 – 5000.

The mountain filled with pine trees, cool breeze and fun-filled activities together with your loved ones are truly a treat to behold.

Kaamulan Festival

 

credits to the owner Tribal folks during the Street dancing  competition

Just like shooting three birds in one stone, the best way to visit and experience adventure in Bukidnon is during the Kaamulan Festival in Malaybalay City. It is an annual celebration and only authentic  ethnic festival in the country.

Book your vacation in the second half of February to March 10, which latter date marks the anniversary of the creation of Bukidnon as province.

Kaamulan is a gathering of tribes people for a purpose. It can mean a datuship ritual, a wedding ceremony, a thanksgiving festival during harvest time, a peace pact, or all of these put together.

You can witness unique indigenous culture of Bukidnon. The tribal folks representing these seven hill tribes of Bukidnon gather in unity with the local dwellers in town, wearing their woven costumes, with trinkets, anklets, earrings, necklaces, leglets, headdresses and amulets. They dance together, chant, perform ancient rituals, and compete in indigenous sports.

Street dancing competition and ethnic ground presentation are among the highlights of the said event. Furthermore, there are Garden Show, Food Fest, Bazaars and Agri-Fair to showcase the province products and establishments. Tourist can try the province’s delicacies like pineapple based pastries, binaki (a kakanin or local snack made of corn and milk) and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from different places in the province.

Motocross, off-road competition, concerts, basketball tournaments and several others are also line up into the festivity.

Each activity is a meaningful ceremony that reflects the richness and diversity of the Bukidnon culture.

Eiffel Kubo

credits to the owner

Eiffel Kubo is  a fusion of French and Filipino culture. It is a place to stay whenever you are in Malaybalay City. The ambiance is relaxing that add to the repertoire menu of Filipino-French cuisine.

Try their lechon sa sinigang, humba with a touch of French cooking, chicken pops and fillet. The crepe is refreshing and yummy with a complimentary drink of fermented ginger with calamansi (local lemon). Their soufflé is definitely a must try too.

The place is very attractive and clean. The rooms were affordable since they don’t have  air-con because the weather in Malaybalay is a bit cool.

The owners, William and Angelie, are very accommodating as well as their staff. They are located at Claro M. Recto St. Malaybalay City.

 

Eat.Love.Adventure.Pray

credits to the owner

We are all pilgrims in this world. One of the perfect place to visit when you are nearby Malaybalay, Bukidnon is the Monastery of Transfiguration of Jesus in Barangay San Jose.

The place is beautiful as it with great architectural design perfect for photos opps.

If you want a peaceful place to hangout, the church is very solemn and perfect place to pray and meditate. They offer daily masses. They also have religious items, souvenirs and its own products for sale. They are known for its Monk’s Blend Premium Coffee, Monk’s Blend peanut butter, roasted peanut, peanut brittle and Monk’s Blend tablea.

It’s an open place for all. The monastery is run by Benedictine monks. You cannot go inside with if you are wearing sleeveless and shorts .

 

 

Bakasyonista- Borawan Island Paradise

Borawan- Heaven on Earth

Warm sun, breathtaking view, the sound of the waves calms my troubled soul.

This is exactly what I need. Away from the crowd, a simple getaway to forget about the stressful city life even just for a day.

5 to 6 hours drive from Manila, Philippines to Quezon Province, a shy island that boasts its beauty upon exploring it. Borawan Island, Padre Burgos, Quezon Province.

I’ve read some blogs about the island and learned that the name was derived from Boracay (known for the white sand) and Palawan (famous from its rock formation), both are located in the Philippines. Isn’t it amazing to be able to visit one place that both offers almost the same?

So anyway, I came here with my friends on Jan 15,2018, a good time to visit since it’s not really crowded yet. Had an overnight stay in a rented open cottage that costs Php 1,250.00 . Slept in a comfy tent good for 3-4 person which costs Php 200.00. Kuya Ron and some of his friends assisted us throughout our island hopping which includes 2 islands and a Sandbar. Overnight entrance fee for Borawan Island is Php 220.00/each. Sand bar costs Php 600.00 good for 6 person. Dampalitan Island day tour entrance fee is Php 80.00 each and boat rental is Php 1,500.00.

I enjoyed the stay although I didn’t have much photos to share due to my lack of knowledge that there’s no electricity and no power bank to charge my device. Let alone, my first time to try and visit a remote island. I’ve got no idea what to bring.

But nonetheless, the entire stay was great! Friendly and helpful community, affordable accommodation, delicious foods fresh from salt water, no electricity, but lots of water and peaceful mind, what else can u wish for?

If only I could stay here forever, wish I could. I promised to bring myself here again sometime next year. Next time I’ll bring action cam, extra batteries, power bank, and a fully charged device so I could snap the beauty of this place.

I’ll see u again Borawan. When I return, I’ll make sure to be ready. Until next time.

Your admirer,

Girlie W.

A day in Mt. Maarat

A day in Mt. Maarat with my siblings and their family

Mt. Maarat is located in San Mateo, Rizal within the west border of Quezon City and south borders of Antipolo and Marikina City while on the northern side is the province of Rizal and Pasig City, Manila and Bulacan Province are in the east border.

 

To conquer this mountain, you have to go for a steep uphill ride with approximately 5-kilometer distance from the foot of the mountain which makes an extreme challenge for bikers in neighboring cities such as Metro Manila, Marikina, and Rizal.

Trekking all the way to the summit of Mt. Maarat is a very challenging task, especially for heavy build person like me but it’s a great opportunity to test your endurance. However, it’s a rewarding experience as you glimpse the breathtaking panoramic view of Metro Manila while being surrounded by lush green trees and fresh mountain breeze.

While enjoying the overlooking panoramic view from the top of the mountain, nature embraces you with the sound of silence and a perfect opportunity recuperates your body and mind from stress.

Although we took a ride with private car from the foot of the mountain so that trekking the summit will be less effort to us as we consider the safety of our kids who come along with us. This one of a kind endurance challenge is one of the most memorable experience for us.


 

Why you should see the Edge of the World in Saudi Arabia

Over the last 7 years in the Kingdom, I have been to the Edge of the World three times. What keeps me coming back? You haven’t been to Riyadh if you haven’t visited the Edge of the World as they say.

Literally at the edge

Ever since we discovered it in 2016, I and my husband promised to go there annually as part of our winter escapades. As most people know, Saudi Arabia has one of the hottest climates in the world ranging from 36 to 45C during the summer, so most of our adventures happen during the winter months that usually starts on the month of November through the early weeks of March.

The first time we went there was during a winter in 2016 with my husband’s staff. It’s around 2-hour drive from the center of Riyadh where it’s a must to drive a 4×4 car because of the rough, sometimes winding, sometimes gravelly road lined with trees and old riverbeds. That’s option number one until we recently discovered that there is another route. Instead of the one full of gravel where you have to drive real fast and decrease pressure from your tires before leaving the city, we went to the other route where there were no gravels, lots of coal, and you’ll be driving along cliffs or what they proudly call “the edges”. Too many of them, I’d scream my heart out if I am afraid of heights, but thanks to our driver who has been there hundreds of times, the adventure went on smoothly.

The escarpment

 

On road trips like this, make sure your cars especially the engine and tires are in good condition. Prepare your food (but there is also enough space to grill if you plan to), bring mats, garbage bags (Let’s leave only footprints and memories.), lots of water, chips, cameras, a drone (if you have one because you’ll get great shots here), a good pair of sunnies coupled with rubber shoes and lots of courage to hike up and along the “edges” (I am not kidding here.) If America has their Grand Canyon, then, we too have our version in Saudi and we proudly call it the Edge of the World.

When you reach the Edge, you will not see the famous double cliffs you commonly see in your friends’ Facebook or Instagram. This is the first view when you get out of the car. Enticing? No. Such a disappointment right? “I got out of the city of Riyadh to see this hill?”, you might say.

You will realize that before you get to see the majestic view, you’ll need to hike at least three hills (the second one refers to the picture above), walk down a steep cliff (which is behind that hill) and climb back again (see picture below) to be able to “sit” at the Edge-which I never did because my knees were shaking the whole time. If you love selfies, it’ll take you at least 45 minutes to move from each hill, millennials see to it that they can take a picture of every view that includes lying down on the ground.

Climbing the Edge

So why do we keep coming back? Why do we risk our lives driving on cliffs, climbing it, taking risky pictures, bracing the cold winds or the invigorating heat of the sun? Why despite all these, we keep coming back?

Peace of Mind

From the stresses we get for working on 8 or 12-hour shift, we experience the following:

  1. Peace of mind. Imagine yourself sitting at the Edge (or just being there),  a place so serene, so quiet you can hear the crows, stones falling from the cliff with your every step, the cold wind blowing in your face and the heat of the sun to keep you warm…nothing compares. You got away (for a while at least) from countless patient calls, from the nagging relative, from the doctor who came to see your patient after your 100th call, from the nurse manager who only sees your mistakes from the patient who doesn’t want to take his insulin injection. You got way from all these even just for a day.
  2. Adventure. Need I say more? They say that once in your lifetime you have to the things that scare you. This should be added to your bucket list.
  3. Nature. A different kind of nature, that, maybe you haven’t seen in the Philippines. Nature where there is more brown than green. Old riverbeds, where stones are colored black, orange and red, where plants have more thorns than leaves and where camels of different colors walk close to you.
  4. Friendship. We’ve been to the Edge of the World with three different groups and each group truly amazing, each experience is different from one another and every time, a friendship blooms. We got to know more people, we talked to people we only know by faces, we got to eat with them and tell stories with them. We discovered more of each other. Outside of work, there are these people who just wanted to enjoy life, people who are loud once to get to know them, people who treat you special behind your back, heartbroken people who still enjoy what life has to offer, people who are in love with nature and people who love taking pictures.

Here’s a sneak peak of what you’ll see. The camel loves the camera. 🙂 Don’t chase the birds though, you might end up falling.

This is a live plant. Really.

At the Edge of the World, I met two people outside of the group–both came alone, sat there for a while then drove back home. There must be something special at the Edge of the World. What are your WHY’s? WHY do you keep coming back? Let me know in the comments.

Special thanks to my husband for the lovely photos. 🙂

MT. DARAITAN FOR A DAY (Traverse to Tinipak River)

MT. DARAITAN FOR A DAY (Traverse to Tinipak River)

When I’m thinking about unwinding, traveling with friends, or just wanting to escape the hassle of the city life. Rizal province is definitely one of the destination that would pop out in my mind. Why? For the obvious reason – aside from the fact that this place is just around the corner, Rizal province offers a variety of locations where you can devour what the nature has to offer, from resorts, parks, to its mountains, rivers, falls, caves, name it! This wonderful province will never fail to excite you with her majestic views!

So, when my friends and I decided to go hiking for a thrilling getaway, it is here where we found the perfect mountain for us.

Mt. Daraitan.

Located in Tanay, Rizal and General Nakar, Quezon, Mt. Daraitan is classified as a minor climb, with a difficulty categorized as 4 out of 9. But for first time climbers, don’t let the number deceive you. You better be prepared for an exhausting journey. But don’t worry, once you reach the summit, the stunning view of the Sierra Madre mountains and the Daraitan River meandering down below will surely pay you off.

THE JOURNEY

We started our journey at around 4 am and reached the jump off at around 8:30 am. We haven’t even reach our destination yet but we’re already in awe of the view the road along was giving us.

Tricycle-selfie going to Brgy. Daraitan.

 

Road to forever – este – to Daraitan. Expect the muddy, bumpy road to teach you the basic of dancing. And yesss! That’s fog you’re seeing here 🙂

 

The bridge. Asked the tricycle driver to stop over here for some photo op. The water is crytal clear. The view is just… WOW! (I wasn’t sure if this is the bridge where some says tricycle drivers would drop you off to take another trike that would take you to the Barangay Hall because in our case, the trike we rode from Sampaloc took us directly to the barangay hall.)

 

SEA OF CLOUDS! We weren’t even on the summit yet! (Well, we didn’t witness the sea of clouds in the summit though :D)

 

And yessssss!!! SUMMIT! Feel the heat. Feel your victory! Here, I am standing over the peak of one of the limestone rock formation covering the summit.

 

Daraitan River meanders through Sierra Madre mountain ranges.

 

GETTING THERE:

  • From EDSA-Shaw Crossing, take a jeepney to Tanay, Rizal (1.5 – 2hrs) Ask the driver to drop you off at Tanay Public Market then head to the jeepney terminal.
  • Take a jeepney going to Sampaloc, Tanay (30 – 45mins.)
  • Take a tricycle going to Brgy. Daraitan  (30 – 45mins.) – You’ll arrive at Daraitan River. (In our case, the trike took us straight to the Barangay Hall.)
  • Cross the bridge to the other side of the river then take a tricycle going to Daraitan Barangay Hall (5mins.)
  • You arrived at your destination! Now begins the adventure 🙂 Good luck and have fun!

 

OTHER INFO:

  •  Registration fee is 20.00php, to be paid in the Barangay Hall.
  • Tour Guide is mandatory and is assigned in the Barangay Hall upon   registration. 500.00php for 5pax.
  • Doing day hike and traversing to Tinipak River should not cost you more than 700php (under normal circumstances).

 

TIPS and REMINDERS:

  • I highly suggest you take the side trip to Tinipak River! The water running along limestone formation will surely leave you in awe and is very much worth the little distress the road will cause you.
  • There is a cave near the river which you can also tour. There is a river running inside and it has a natural pool where you can swim. Don’t forget to rent a headlamp in the Barangay Hall, all worth it for only 30.00php!
  • Don’t forget to have a sumptuous breakfast. You’ll be needing a lot of energy!
  • Bring enough water.
  • Better if you pack your lunch. You can also opt to buy food on the way. There’s no store along the trek to the summit.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and trekking shoes. The trail could be muddy and slippery so please ditch your sandals for your own good.
  • Comfort rooms are available around the village and they charge about not more than 20php depending on your business.
  • Weekend trip could be very crowded so better to schedule your trip on weekdays.
  • Bring clothes that you will need if you’re planning to take the side trip to Tinipak River. The river is so tempting you would want to take the pleasure of dipping yourself in the water.
  • There are camping sites in the area but with corresponding fees.
  • You can do Mt. Daraitan and Tinipak River in one day, depending on your pace.
  • MY PERSONAL APPEAL TO EVERY ONE: Please leave the place as you find it. LEAVE NO TRACE. Not only in consideration to the next visitors, but also to help conserve and maintain the beauty of the nature.

 

We started the trek at around 9am and reached the summit a little past 11, that was just about 2 hours since we were hurrying because we decided we want to traverse to Tinipak River.

We had our lunch at the summit and after satisfying ourselves with the view (honestly, you can never get enough of the view), took enough photos, we hurriedly came down to meet the magic of Tinipak River.

 

Road to Tinipak river. Still full of energy. Thanks to mother nature. And yea, that was Mt. Daraitan over there 🙂

 

Don’t miss the natural spring where you can drink and refill, it’s absolutely free!

 

Still afar, we were able to have a peek of this sight.. the RIVER! I wanna jump like right now!

 

The Cave. Don’t forget to drop by 🙂
POOL. Yes! Pool in the CAVE!! For crying out loud! (This was my first time, sorry :D) (In reality, it was super dark in there. As in SUPER DARK -of course that’s a cave.)

 

Cold and crystal clear water. All the exhaustion swiftly went away..

 

Mt. Daraitan was a tough climb. It was not an easy trekking where you would just walk your way up. Here, the trail was steep and you’ll literally have to lift your body up most of the steps of the way. It was so exhausting that some would wanna back out.

But if you’re tough enough to finish what you’ve started, you’ll be rewarded with all the beauty the nature has to offer up above the summit. And once you’ve tasted the caressing of the water of the Tinipak River. You’ll forget how you’ve been weary all the way.

So there you go! I hope you find this blog helpful.

Thank you very much for reading!

See you on my next post! 🙂

 

x o x o

-phajini