Nagpatong Rock Formation and Tungtong Falls of Tanay, Rizal, Philippines

Finally! After being cancelled for several times due to bad weather and certain circumstances, this trip has finally happened. And indeed, it was considered a ‘right timing’. It was neither hot nor raining on the day of our hike.

I already lost count of all the mountains I have conquered, but this one is surely memorable. Just like in Mt. Daraitan, we have experienced not just trekking but also several kinds of outdoor activity such as: cliff diving, rappelling, etc. And that made this adventure a memorable one.

 

 

We registered at Brgy. Cayumbay and started the trail at around 7:30AM. And because we were already in rainy season here in the Philippines, as expected, the trail was muddy and that made it a bit harder for us to climb.

 

It took us almost 2 hours to reach Nagpatong Rock Formation, because we had to stay and wait for our turn to go to the top/summit at a kubo, just like the other group of hikers. Refreshment are available there. We took this chance to rest for a while and eat our packed lunches although it was only around 9AM.

 

And after several minutes of waiting, we resumed climbing all the way to the top of Nagpatong Rock Formation. And then, charaaaaaann…

Nagpatong Rock Formation

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But before seeing that wonderful scenery at the top, here were the obstacles we had to go through:

 

(Yes, it was a little bit difficult. You will need extra courage, and of course, you have to listen to your tour guide’s instruction carefully.)

We stayed at the top for more than an hour because there were no group next in line yet. We took that opportunity and took lots of photo for souvenirs. 😀 Our tour guide, Kuya Pio, was the one who served as our photographer because he already knew the perfect spot and angle for each shot.

We went down at around 11AM and reached the jump off  point at around 1PM.

Here’s another beautiful spot along the trail, (it’s up to you to discover the others :p):

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We went back to Brgy. Cayumbay to start the trail going to Tungtong Falls at around 1:30PM. And it only took us an hour to reach the falls.

 

Here, you can do cliff jumping with the help of a rope, held by an authorized guide, wrap around your waist or a life vest, provided by your tour guide.

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We stayed there for only an hour. But the highlight of Tungtong Falls could only be experienced when you do a shortcut back to Barangay Registration area.

It is where we experienced two sets of rappelling and it wasn’t that easy but with the right amount of courage and strength and prayer, you too can do it.

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But first, we stayed there for more than 30 minutes to take lots of picture, of course. 😀

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It took us almost two hours to reach Brgy. Cayumbay again because of the time we spent taking pictures at the falls you see above. And it was all worth it. Challenging and satisfying at the same time.

To further understand what we went through with this adventure, click the following link where you can watch our video footage at Nagpataong Rock Formation and Tungtong Falls.

Meanwhile, here are additional tips if you are planning a trip at this place:

Itinerary:
3:00AM – Tejero
7:00AM – Cuyambay Jump Off Registration / Gear up
7:30AM – Start of Trek
9:30AM – Lunch
10:00AM – Nagpatong Rock Formation
11:00AM – Trek back to Jump Off
1:30PM – Trail to Tungtong Falls
2:30PM – Tungtong Falls
3:30PM – Back to Brgy. Cayumbay with picture taking
5:30PM – Clean / Freshen up
6:30PM – Back to Tejero (Dinner along the way)
10:00PM – Tejero

Budget breakdown:
350 – Van Transpo (3500/10)
100 – Registration fee
100 – Tour guide
50 – Tour Guide Tip

600 – Total / each
Note: Kubo near Nagpatong Rock Formation costs P50.

Also, bring a pair of gloves. It will help you a lot with the climb. I also encourage you to look for Kuya Pio and ask for him to be your tour guide. You will enjoy your adventure (and pictures) more with him. 😀 Use waze to navigate your way to Nagpatong Rock Formation located at Brgy. Cayumbay, Tanay, Rizal. When you pass by Masungi Georeserve, you are already near the barangay.

And here’s a bonus picture to encourage you to go there 😀 :

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Reminiscing Independence Day at Aguinaldo Shrine

This post will tackle a different kind of adventure. The one that many of us find boring but pretty much informative. But actually, I will not go into details or write historical facts or whatsoever you think connected to it. Instead, what you’ll read hopefully makes you appreciate, if not love, your country more.

Three days from now, Philippines will celebrate its Independence Day — the day when our country was declared truly independent and free from the leadership of other country. So, my boyfriend and I decided to celebrate it ahead of time. 😂 We went to the place where the Philippine Flag was first waved, held by President Emilio Aguinaldo, to the public. A symbolism of our country’s independence.

Yes, I was talking about Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, which also served as the mansion of the President during his time.

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This was actually just the second time I’ve been inside the mansion. The first time was during a field trip back in elementary / gradeschool. I was kinda feeling guilty about it since I live in a town of Cavite and is just a ride away from it. I know that was quite an ignore but I think that’s just it. We often take for granted the best that we have. Be it human or things; we, most of the time take it for granted simply because we have it. And I am guilty of it.

I was once again reminded that I should be proud of my province when my boyfriend excitedly told me that we should visit Aguinaldo Shrine because he hasn’t been there and he was curious of the history it holds inside. And so we went.

I will not show everything we saw and captured inside the historical mansion because I don’t want to spoil your visit there just in case you have decided to.

Below are the glimpse of what will you find on the first floor:

 

 

 

The mansion’s second floor is where you can find the rooms and the antiques:

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Another thing you might love about this place is that it’s perfect for a discreet  photoshoot. And we grabbed that opportunity, of course:

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Only the first and the second floor are open for viewing. But they are already filled with historical facts and trivia that I’m sure you’ll be glad to know and hopefully would make you proud also if you’re a Filipino.

Before I end this blog, let me share one of the things I learned during our visit:

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Aguinaldo’s tomb can be found at the mansion’s backyard.

 

P.s. There’s no entrance fee but I highly recommend to drop any amount of money on their donation box.

P.p.s. Aguinaldo Shrine becomes tourist attraction especially during “Ber Months” due to its amazing dancing lights.

Vacation from Vacations

For quite some time now, I don’t feel the urge to go out and enjoy the nature nor travel outside my parameter. The very reason why this page was not posting new blogs for weeks. For quite some time, I’ve been on a home-work-home-work route and guess what, it doesn’t feel bad at all.

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Maybe that’s it. We need vacations from vacations. We need to rest from what we also considered as “rest”.

We sometimes need to gather energy from the sources around us rather than going for a farther pursuit of it. And that I think is essential, especially if the weather is as hot as the summer here in the Philippines. The weather will just drain and wither you away if you try to play with the mountains. Consider me weak, but with this kind of seasons, I’d rather be at home with my books and some good music on the background. I’d rather be writing stuffs and take lots of selfie. Yes, lots of selfie (but I’ll be sharing just 3 of them). Just me and my parameter.

But don’t worry I’ll be posting more of my adventures after a few weeks or so. I am not giving up my travel-adventure-lifestyle. I’m just resting from it. And I repeat, that is also essential. We need to give ourselves a time to miss vacations and adventures once in a while, don’t we? Besides, home-work route is quite an adventure sometimes. Thank God I have an adventure-filled life. I believe we all do. Some are just too busy to realize, forgetting to break free from their own parameter. But instead of lecturing you to enjoy life, I’ll be wishing for a great day for you instead, then the rest will surely follow! 😀

Mt. Gulugod Baboy with Anilao, Batangas Beach Sidetrip

If you are looking for a mountain for beginners, then Mt. Gulugod Baboy is the right choice for you. As in right and perfect choice. You will reach the summit in less than 5 minutes. No kidding. But that was because we started the trek in a different jump-off, where vehicles are allowed to climb the mountain. So, if you are planning to trek this mountain, try using the jump-off near Philpan Dive resort, yet still, this mountain is perfect for first timers.

Here are the views at the summit:

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Meanwhile, here are the photos we’ve taken at the beach just near (walking distance) Anilao port: IMG_3195

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There you go, I hope you’ve been inspired to also take your early summer get-away with the pictures above. Shalom!

By the way, here’s an avp of our get-away: Mt. Gulugod Baboy with Anilao Beach Sidetriip

And here’s our budget breakdown for this trip:
Van Transpo – 370 (4000/11 pax + Parking fee)
Registration – 40
Anilao Beach – 80
Cottage – 45 (500/11 pax)

Total – 535

 

Things to bring:
Water
Swimming clothes
Sandals
Extra clothes
Trash bag
Plastic bag (for wet clothes)
Energy bar (like chocolates)
Trail snacks
Packed lunch (optional, since nasa baba na tayo ng lunch, may bilihan na)
Snacks at the beach (sharing tayo a :D)
Toiletries
First aid kit (Alcohol, cotton, band aid)

 

Itinerary: (Expectation)
2:30 AM – Tejero
5:00 AM – Jump Off / Gear up
5:30 AM – Start of trek
8:30 AM – Summit
8:30 AM to 10:00 AM – Photo op / rest
10:00 AM – start of trek going down
12:00 NN – bottom
12:00 NN to 1:00 PM – lunch
1:00 PM to 1:30 PM- going to the beach
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM – free time at the beach
5:00 PM to 5:30 PM – wrap up/pack up
5:30 PM – board the van
8:00 PM – Tejero

Itinerary: (Reality)
2:30 AM – Tejero
6:30 AM – Jump Off / Gear up / Registration
7:00 AM – Start of trek
7:05 AM – Summit 1
7:15 AM – Summit 2
8:00 AM – start of trek going down
8;10 AM – bottom
8:30 – Anilao Port
9:00 – beach
11:00 AM – lunch
1:30 PM to 2:00 PM – wrap up/pack up
2:00 PM – board the van
5:00 PM – Tejero

3 in 1 Adventure at Mt. Daraitan

 

If you are the kind of person who loves adventure and relaxation at the same time, then Mt. Daraitan is the perfect place for your get-away. Experience Tinipak Cave, Tinipak River and the summit all in one place. 😀

Two weeks ago, I and my travel buddies (together with their friends), made it to the top of Mt. Daraitan. I was surprised by how we managed to reach the summit for only 3 hours. I was actually surprised by how fast was I during the climb. Maybe because we started it around 2:30AM and there’s nothing much to take pictures of when it’s that dark.

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Team Daraitan 2/3-4/2018

Below are the pictures they captured while we were resting for a while:

 

 

And before giving tips and sharing the details regarding our climb, here’s a back story for you to better visualized our adventure.

We scheduled our trip on weekend, and as usual, the place was so crowded (because it’s weekend). As in sooooo crowded. Your group must fall in line in order to have a picture on the amazing spot.

My sister even made a meme with our experience at the top:
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This adventure was actually overnight, because we were after the sea of clouds. We were so eager to witness that awesome wonder of God, but, we were surrounded by sea of people instead. But that’s okay, at least, they’ll witness another masterpiece of God.  And although, we didn’t see what we were after of, it is still an amazing journey when you have reached the top plus the other activity we had, like caving tour and swimming both in the river and in the cave. It was so refreshing.  Nakakawala ng pagod (please use google translate if you’re not a Filipino :P).

Here’s what the Tinipak Cave looks like inside:
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Be very careful if you’re planning to experience this activity; the stones and man-made ladder are very slippery.

I forgot to mention that our adventure in Mt. Daraitan was overnight. Acually, we made an itinerary but ended up revising it right after our tour guide said that the camp site is just beside the Tinipak River… just at the bottom of the mountain.

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If you are planning for an overnight trek, you don’t have to bring a lot of things (like thermos, etc.) because those are available at the camp site. But if you’re like us who are making sure that our tour will be a budget friendly for all joiners, think wisely of what to bring and what’s not to.

Our first-day-activity includes, swimming at the river and cave tour.

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And during 2:30AM, we started the trek and left our tent and those not so important things at the camp. Here are some of the photos of the view/scenery at the top of Mt. Daraitan.

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There you go, I hope you have visualized your own adventure here in this place. But I suggest, don’t just visualized, experience it yourself. 😀 And aside from leave no trace policy, I must remind you that you should pray before the climb. Well in our case, even while we start the trip, we are praying and asking God for our safety. And that is very important.

Here’s some tips that I know you’ve been wanting to know 😛

Things to bring:
– water (good for two days, pero may mabibilhan din naman dun)
– extra clothes
– sandals (meron kasing River: Tinapak River)
– swimming clothes (yung gusto maligo sa river)
– Tents (overnight)
– Trail snacks (bread, etc.)
– energy bar (chocolates, candies, etc)
– trash bag
– tissue/wet wipes
– firs aid kit
– jacket

Expenses: (this is for 11 pax)
Transpo – 510 (5500/11 + parking fee)
Registration – 100 (Environmental, cultural, tourism)
Tour guide (overnight) – 228 (1250+1250 / 11, overnight tour guide rate)
Camping/Tent site fee – 45

Itinerary:
(Day 1)
6AM – Tejero
11AM – Lunch (along the way)
12:30NN – registration / gear up
12:50NN – start of trek
2:30PM – camp site
2:30 to 3:00 PM – tent building
3:00-4:30 PM – Tinipak Cave
4:30PM to 5:30 PM – Tinipak River
6:00 7:00 – Dinner
(Day 2)
2:00AM – breakfastand prep
2:30AM – start of trek
5:30AM – Summit
7:30AM – trek going down
9:30AM – campsite
10:00 to 11:00 AM – free time (swim again)
11:30AM – Lunch
12:30PM – pack up
1:30 PM – board the car
5:00PM – Tejero

Here are bonus photos from our overnight trek captured by our friend Ryan Rey:
(meanwhile, here’s the link of our adventure footage at Mt. Daraitan: https://vimeo.com/255362711)
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The Famous Black Nazarene of Quiapo, Manila

I don’t know if I will be judged by these devoted Catholics with what I am going to write below, still, I will share my thoughts. And, if you are not ready to hear something that might hurt you, stop reading now.

I used to lived in Quiapo for a period of time, or for 2 short periods of time rather. One, during childhood; two, during teenage years. But this was the first time I’ve seen the famous Black Nazarene this close (thanks to a very close friend who helped us find a spot in order to have a better view for shooting).

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And just like everyone else, who have seen this event up close and personal, I too have felt the urge to cry. You will later understand why as you go on reading.

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Looking at these people, and how devoted they were to the Black Nazarene, made me realized two (2) things:

(1) There are still a lot of people who don’t understand the Word of God. There are still so many people who don’t know if they will go to heaven and meet Jesus when they die. Yes, they maybe have touched the Black Nazarene, which they say represents Jesus, but do they have a real relationship with Jesus? A relationship that the real Jesus longs to have with us not with His representation. Yes, I admire their devotion and commitment and how I wish many Christians (including me) will acquire that somehow, but the question is, do they have that kind of devotion and faith with the real Jesus? And the truth is, He is actually the One reaching for us not the other way around. Come to think of it, if God is a prayer away, why would you desperately do these things in order to be healed, to be forgiven of sins, to be heard or to have an answer prayer? We don’t have to do things the hard way because Jesus made it easy already. I wonder, if I ask each of them “would you go to heaven when you die?”, how many would say “Yes, because I have a relationship with Jesus. I accepted Him as God and as my personal Savior and that He died for my sins”. It is stated in John 3:16, read your Bible.

(2) What are you doing, Christians? Look at these people, have you tried sharing the gospel or the Truth about having a relationship with Jesus to your friends and loved ones? Look at the number of these people, what are you doing? Have you at least tried? I mean, the Truth should not just stay with you, it should be passed on. It is meant to be passed on.

I strongly advice to other Christians to witness this annual event in person, because I believed that Jesus will also reveal things with them. Things that would make them cry.

And while it is still a year before the feast takes place again, here are some of the things I have experienced that might prepare you ahead, if you plan to witness this event personally.

Do not bring your toddler with you, if you have one. Although, you will see many children joining the procession.

 

Plan ahead to where will you park your vehicle. I wonder how hard it is to get through these mob if you suddenly change your parking area. Study the route of the procession before hand.

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AFP, PNP, Barangay Officials, Red Cross and other volunteers are there to maintain peace and order, and supply medical assistance in the place. They will be seen at almost every corner of streets.

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It was a good thing that there were medics on every corner of the streets because there were lots of people who needed medical attention.

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Another thing I admire in this feast is how Filipinos practice their kindness and generosity by providing food and drinks to the exhausted devotees. This practice is called “Caridad”.

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The children from the window above give water in a plastic to the devotees below.

 

We waited on our spot for more than 2 hours, I guess, before we’ve finally witnessed the Black Nazarene. And with that span of time, I managed to observe how the street became crowded as time goes by. And here is the chronological order of the street photos as the mob gets larger. You will also notice how many groups/chapters of devotees from different places in the Philippines have joined the procession, and this happens every year.

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the end tail of the procession

 

If you wish to know more about the Quiapo’s Black Nazarene, feel free to search it on Google 😛 but before that, here’s a footage of the devotees pulling the rope of the ANDAS: sea of people and when they shout otso.  This is a dangerous thing, many people died from the previous procession because of this rope.

Also, a big thanks to this Barangay who allowed us to stay in their place to have a better view of the procession of the Black Nazarene.

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And here’s a bonus photo to (hopefully) enlighten your mood 😀

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P.S. Devotees joining the procession don’t wear anything to protect their feet. It’s part of the devotion. Just in case, you didn’t notice :p

P.P.S. Read the Bible in order to get closer to Jesus. 🙂

 

Mt. Maculot: Groto, Summit and that thing called Rockies

Another amazing proof of God’s fantastic work of art — the nature! 😀

Before the year ends, I was really looking forward to climb another mountain — my 8th mountain, which happened to be Mt. Maculot.

Mt. Maculot is located in Cuenca, Batangas, Philippines, more than 2 hours away from our place — Rosario, Cavite.

Having a schedule of climb in the last quarter of the year might be quite frustrating because: (1) the weather is unpredictable – Ber months in the Philippines were considered rainy season so there’s a high chance of re-scheduled hike; (2) since it’s rainy season, though the actual day of hike is sunny, you will still find yourself on a muddy trail.

But I would still choose this quarter over the first or second, which is summer, because: (1) when we say “summer in the Philippines” it means having a practicum on hell, it means experiencing Hell a bit 😛 ; (2) the 4 mountains I’ve conquered were done during summer and there were lots of hikers, so mountains were so crowded during that season.

Before the schedule, I did a little research about Mt. Maculot, and some bloggers said that  it falls under “for beginners” category but quite difficult, especially the part called…

“Rockies”

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

And so, I was expecting something difficult than the mountains I’ve conquered, which are all “for beginners”. But to tell you honestly, it isn’t hard to climb. The “Rockies” is just like the “Monolith” of Pico De Loro or maybe easier than it, at least for me.

Another thing which made it easier than some of the mountains I’ve experienced is primarily because there are ropes to hold on to on every steep trail you’ll encounter.

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We started the trail at around 9:30AM and used the jump off point located in Brgy. Pinagkaisan. The first part of the trail is actually a place for Visita Iglesia and has Stations of the Cross. Devoted Catholic visits the place to pray until they reach Groto, if they don’t wish to climb Mt. Maculot’s summit anymore.

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Photo by: Paul Michael

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As far as I remember, there are 13 Stations until you reach…

“Groto” – the final station.

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What’s amazing with Mt. Maculot is that they encouraged hikers, along with the tour guides, to pray before they start the trail. And that’s very important, I must say. 🙂

Here are the views  we captured as we climb the top:

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We reached the summit, or rather, I reached the summit at exactly 1:10PM. (I always take a break and takes lots of pictures of amazing spots of each place/mountain I visit, so that was quite a slow pace compared to others. Slowly but surely, it is. :P)

At the summit, be prepared to witness such beauty that only God can make. 😀

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This number was a result of group effort, intending to have a cheaper amount of expenses on this trip. 😀 (Congrats and thank you, guys!)

If you think reaching the summit is the highlight of Mt. Maculot’s climb, then I’ll prove you wrong. 😛

After quite some time of rest and picture taking (and waiting for me :l), we went down to “The Rockies”, yes, the one I mentioned above. But before that, we ate lunch, not at the summit, but somewhere near the Rockies — maybe 5-10 mins. away from it. There is also a store located at that area which offers Pancit Canton Instant Noodles; yes, they will cook it for you.

And at 2:30PM we headed to the Rockies and what a wonderful masterpiece is the view above it (rhyming?!):

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Photo by: Paul Michael

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Photo by: Paul Michael

(Some of the photos here at the Rockies were captured by our tour guide. :D, even I let him used my cam because he already know the perfect angle for the shot at each spot. 😀 )

We stayed at the top of Rockies maybe more than an hour or almost 2 hours… I lost track of time.

The next thing I remember was we were on our way down the mountain few minutes before 5:00PM. By the way, we did a traverse, or else, we wont be able to experience that Rockies and the beauty surrounding it.

I spent almost an hour going down from that spot (where we ate our lunch) to the exit point, which is Brgy. Siete. The trail going down is pure going down :D. The very reason why you can reach the bottom in less than an hour. I reached the exit point at maybe 5:55PM.

We paid our (2) tour guides P100 each, which made them a total of P1,600.

And here’s the budget breakdown for this trip (16 pax):
138 – van transpo papunta
10 – registration fee (Brgy. Pinagkaisahan jump-off)
100 – tour guide fee
138 – van transpo pabalik

P386 Total (each)
Note: We rented a van for our transportation.

Itinerary:
(Expectation)
5:00AM – Tejero, Cavite
5:20AM – Shopwise Imus (Another pick-up point)
7:00AM – registration / gear up
7:30AM – start of trek
11:30AM – summit
12:45PM – descend time
4:00PM – bottom
4:00PM to 4:30PM – cleaning time
4:30PM – Back to Tejero
7:00PM – Tejero

(Reality)
5:00AM – Tejero, Cavite
5:50AM – Shopwise Imus (another pick-up point)
8:50AM – Registration / gear up / orientation
9:20AM – start of trek
1:10PM – summit (my version)
2:30PM – Rockies
4:45PM – Trail on the way to bottom
5:55PM – Exit point
and the rest is history…

Things to bring:
water (lots of water ;p)
extra clothes
packed lunch
trail snacks (bread, etc.)
energy bar (like chocolates or something sweet)

There you go… 😀 And here’s the video footage of our adventure at Mt. Maculot: vimeo.com/245492631

While here’s a bonus picture of something to look forward at the top of Rockies:

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photo by: Allysa Salud

Expectation VS. Reality: Carabao Island (Maragondon, Cavite) When Summer’s Over

The first time I heard about Carabao Island, the one located in Maragondon, Cavite, was when it was featured in a news and lifestyle magazine TV program (Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho), summer of this year. I was actually amazed by these hidden beauties that can also be found in our Province. Who would have thought that white sand beaches, cliff diving and haven islands can be experienced somewhere in Cavite. That made me feel so proud (I should be; I’m a legit Cavitenya). I mean, make way Palawan, Bicol and other provinces down and up the Philippine map, Cavite has something better to offer. 😛

But since I’m not into island hopping, I never really made a concrete plan to go there. Until, my brother, eagerly pushed us to make a schedule and itinerary for a day tour in Carabao Island. So, we did. But sadly, he couldn’t go with us because of his work. 😦

Okaaaay, enough with the background story. 😛

We left Rosario, Cavite around 4:00AM and headed our way to Kaybiang Tunnel to pick-

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Photo credit: Maynhard Crizaldo (Kaybiang Tunnel @5:20AM)

up the mother of our contact person that will lead the way for us from there to reach the port/shore going to Carabao Island.

Comment down or message me to get the contact number of our guide. I highly recommend you our guide. HIGHLY. 😀

Around 5:40AM, we were ready to board the boat.

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Photo by: Mel Asarez

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Photo by: Mel Asarez

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Photo by: Mel Asarez

The boats of the locals can only accommodate 7 backpackers each. Boat rentals ranges from P1500 to P2000. In our case, our contact gave us a discount and allowed us to rent their boat for P1500. We were a total of 8 pax, including a 5-year old child, so maybe that was why we were still considered as 7.

The boat ride lasted for almost an hour. And the views/scenery were so breathtaking and worth risking for (risking for your gadgets to get wet) 😛 I was amazed by the 3 most beautiful places/scenery in one sight. In. One. Sight. (Sea, Mountain, Sky)

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We scheduled our tour just days after Typhoon Pablo, so the waves were still dancing a bit wild and splashes of water were all around us, including on our backpacks. So, it is very important to bring a waterproof bag or pouch for your gadgets. I’m very thankful to God that though my backpack was wet, the water didn’t enter and so, my DSLR was safe. Actually, I was really praying hard for it. 😀 But I suggest, secure your equipment/gadgets if you’re planning to go on this trip. 😛

And then, we were approaching Carabao island:

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Photo by: Jham Cadelina (Carabao Island)

Yes, the above photo is the historical Carabao Island. Historical because this place served as a “kuta” of the army (I just don’t know whether Philippine Army or the enemy’s army) here in Cavite. Well, if you want clarifications regarding its historical background, Google is just a type away. 😛

But that wasn’t the island our boat docked at. Because obviously, you cannot dock the boat there. It has no shore. Plus the waves during this season might wreck the boat on its rocky supposedly “docking area”. You have to swim in order to reach that island. And we cannot do that. Some of us don’t have that kind of skills yet and our backpacks aren’t waterproof. So, our guide decided to tour us around the parameter of Carabao Island instead (video footage/clip of a close-up look around Carabao Island can be seen here: Carabao Island Closer Look), and brought us to a nearer amazing island. Yes, the one featured on the TV show I’ve mentioned above.

Our contact person made us sure that the island we’ll be staying at is like a paradise and has white sand. She mentioned that there will be no cottages, so I was quite ready and visualizing the place in my mind. The perfect picture I saw in my mind was a ‘Survivor-like-island’. It turned out I was right.

It turned I was right but with a twist. 😛

We were so disappointed. DISAPPOINTED to the highest level! We were actually planning to stay in the island until 5:00PM but then upon arriving the island we suddenly told the boat man to pick us up at 2:00PM instead.

This was not what I saw on the TV Program. Those yellow things floating on the sea were not included when I visualized the island in my mind.

But as the old saying goes “fist impression never last”, we found ways how to see the island beyond its imperfection, and get along with its natural wonders.

White Sand is for real. 😀

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Cliff Diving, “JUMPING” rather, is possible too. 😀

 

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Photo by: Gelo Sto. Domingo

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Photo by: Maynhard Crizaldo

 

And we found spots where we can still swim and enjoy the blue or green ocean without those floating yellow things. 😀

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Photo by: Maynhard Crizaldo

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Photo by: Maynhard Crizaldo

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Photo by: Maynhard Crizaldo

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Photo by: Maynhard Crizaldo

The waves look calm on the pictures but really they weren’t. Life vest is a must-wear because the waves might bring you somewhere far. And wear slippers/sandals when swimming; you will not be stepping on the sand down there. 😀 But if you’re a masochist, you are free not to heed my advice. 😛

I can say, that for a day we have owned an entire island. So yes, it was a survivor-like-island experience. 😛 Aside from the things we brought, we were left with nothing. 😛

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Photo by: Maynhard Crizaldo

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

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Photo by: Maynhard Crizaldo

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Photo by: Maynhard Crizaldo

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

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Photo by: Mel Asarez

 

And what would you do if you own an entire island for a day (aside from swimming)? 😀

Food Trip it is!

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

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Camp building!

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

 

Sand Castle Making 😛

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Rock Tower Making! 😛

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

 

Or just plain relax 😀

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And if everything else fails, go to sleep. 😛

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

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We were picked up by the boat we rented around 2:30PM and brought us to another island. We were not expecting this one. Angel, our contact person, told us that this island is for those who want to stay overnight. This time, cottages and toilets and stores are available in the place. It is also residential.

The beauty of the views going to that island were much visible. Maybe because it was nearing the golden hour. So, the color and contrast compliment each other. 😀

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Photo by: jham Cadelina

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Photo by: jham Cadelina

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Photo by: jham Cadelina

Here in our second island, we enjoyed swimming by the shore without slippers/sandals and life vest. 😀 We savored and rode on the waves this time, which we couldn’t do on that survivor-like-island. 😛

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Photo by: Angiemael Asarez

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Photo by: Angiemael Asarez

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Photo by: Maynhard Crizaldo

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Photo by: Angiemael Asarez

We managed to have a talk with Angel, our contact person, whom we have rented a boat. And I was surprised to know some funny details regarding the situation of the locals in that place. And I was triggered to throw rotten eggs on the face of Henry Sy.

Angel told us that some of the islands that we have seen during our boat ride were already bought by business men. One of the islands (and it is a beautiful island) is owned by Henry Sy. That was quite okay but to hear that this greedy business man is actually trying to demolish the locals on their island, by offering them to sell their lot, is something inhumane. I mean, back off! You already owned a big business industry out in the city, for freakiiing sake, don’t touch these natural wonders! And don’t you dare snatch away the simple and peaceful life of these locals. Don’t take away their source of income and living. Back off! Just back off, please!

But I guess, if the government can’t or wont (is the perfect term) do anything to stop you, Henry Sy, from your wicked schemes, who would? And who would listen to the rants of the locals? Who would listen to these things I say? It breaks my heart to think that these locals were peacefully living a life in this place and then suddenly someone will try to snatch it away from them. That is so inhumane! But the rich people control the world — that’s a fact. And I don’t know how these locals would fight for their rights. Yet still, my hope is in the Lord. He is just. And justice will be served. Maybe not now, but sooner or later it will be.  Deuteronomy 32:4 says, He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.”

Anyway, I know that you’re looking for budget breakdown, itinerary and so on, so here it goes:

Expenses:
Van – 500 (3,500/7)
Bangka – 215 (1500/7)
Total: P715 each

Itinerary:
4am – Tejero, Cavite (you can eat breakfast at home or buy something at 7/11, may rice meal naman dun)
5:20am – Kaybiang Tunnel (ili-lead tayo ni Angel papunta sa sakayan nila ng bangka)
5:40am – boarding the boat
6:00am to 7:10am – boat ride (ikot-ikot lang, ikot-ikot)
7:10am to 2:30pm – savour the island
2:30pm to 3:00pm – boat ride going to the next island
3:00pm to 4:00pm – swim-swim again dun sa 2nd island
4:00pm to 5:00pm – Banlaw time! Pack-up!
6:00pm to 6:15pm – boat ride back to the port
8pm – Tejero

Things to bring:
Extra clothes
Swimming clothes
Wear sandals/slippers
Toiletries
Water (for the whole day)
Packed Lunch
Snacks
Bread
Waterproof bag/pouch for your gadgets
Plastic bag for wet clothes
Sumblero/shades (for eye protection kung mainit)
Panlatag sa buhangin
Charcoal and Match (if your planning to cook your food at the island)

By the way, those yellow things (lilies) floating on the first island we stayed at were from Manila Bay and it was because of the Typhoon. I mentioned above that we scheduled our trip here just days after Typhoon Pablo. So, if you’re planning to spend a day on this haven island without those yellow things, schedule your trip during summer. 😀

Anyway, if you’d like to watch our adventure vlog in Carabao Island, click this link: Carabao Island (Maragondon, Cavite) When Summer’s Over

P.S. Clean as you go! I repeat, CLEAN AS YOU GO!

Wet and Mildly Wild Adventure at Mt. Marami

They said that if you already conquered Pico De Loro (Mt. Palay-Palay), the next thing on your list should be Mt. Marami, which is also located at Maragondon, Cavite but has another jump-off located at Magallanes, Cavite.

We were actually planning to take the Magallanes jump-off, which can be found at Brgy. Ramirez, but since we were in a hurry to start the trek for us to finish early, we suddenly decided to use Brgy. Talipusngo the moment we saw its signage (which is in Maragondon).

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Unlike Pico De Loro, Batulao, etc., Mt. Marami isn’t that famous though it’s summit is quite lower than Pico De Loro (according to our tour guide). And after the climb, I realized the reason why. ;P

We left Rosario, Cavite at 5:00 in the morning and started the trek at 7:00am. We registered at the Brgy. Hall amounting P20 each.

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Having a tour guide is a must and required by the municipality. Usually, their tour guide can only accommodate 5-6 hikers but in our case we were allowed to have just one though we were 9. At first, I thought that we were lucky to pay for just one tour guide fee, which is P500. But then later on, I decided that we should give Kuya Lester P100 each for a fee. He deserved that amount. And just in case you were planning to climb this mountain, I highly recommend that you request Kuya Lester as your tour guide. You just need to mention his name.

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Kuya Lester

If you are planning to bring your own car, the parking is available at the Barangay Hall but I suggest that you park your car somewhere nearer the start of the trek, which was what we did and it was a good thing that we did. 😀 There’s no parking fee, I just don’t know if they have fee during summer.

I know that summer’s over and there was an on and off rain the last few days before the schedule of our hike but the nature calls 😛 and I miss this kind of adventure and I cannot postpone nor cancel the hike because that sense of adventure might subside. I or we might lose our interest so we (or I insisted them) made it happen. 😀 Besides, the weather was good the day before and during the morning of our hike.

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Yes, a lot of part of the trail was muddy. 😛

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But there’s still some solid ground. ;P

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There are 4 rivers which you need to cross on your way to the summit. I failed to do that research and didn’t include in our ‘things to bring’ a sandals or a slipper. 😛 Actually, I knew that there are rivers to cross but I didn’t expect that there’s a lot and that there’s a big possibility that our feet would sink. 😛

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photo by: Angiemel Asarez

We went on climbing and then rest.. climbing and rest.. climb and rest..

CLIMB!

 

REST!

 

CLIMB!

 

REST!

 

CLIMB!

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

REST!

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And to tell you honestly, it was a freaking looooooong walk before you finally see some good scenery around you.

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And then. you’ll realize that you’ve been climbing for almost 6 hours and you were just nearing the summit. But at least, you’re already near. 😛

Here are the views just a few steps toward the summit:

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And when I am about to reach the summit, it rained.

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That’s me, holding an umbrella. ;P (it was for the protection of my DSLR actually)

So, here are what I’ve got and have seen above:

 

But here are the photos grabbed from my adventure buddies, since they arrived first at the summit and got the chance to see how beautiful the scenery is:

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We also took the chance to have photos at the famous silyang bato. But we were in different angles. 😛

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After eating our packed lunches, taking photos and resting for almost an hour at the summit, we have decided to go down because the rain might become heavy and also we need to reach the bottom of the mountain before the sun goes down. It was already 2:00pm when we started the trail going down the mountain.

We did a traverse by the way that’s why we experienced crossing a mini ‘bangin’. This was the dangerous part of the climb for me.

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And then, we went down a steep rocky part after that bangin’.

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photo by: Angiemel Asarez

Then the rest on the way down was easy, if and only if you were wearing the right shoes. 🙂 Of course, the trail on the way down was muddy, so the risk of sliding was high. But it could be lessen if, like what I’ve said, you wear the right shoes for mountain climbing.

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We were moving down the mountain faster than how we climbed it. And it was way easier to get down. But, I don’t know if it was due to exhaustion, it was like we were walking forever and not reaching the end or the bottom of this Mt. Marami! In my mind I was thinking, “Why are we still so high? Where’s the end of the mountain? I swear I’m never going back to this mountain!” But of course, I have no choice but walk my way to the bottom.

Kuya Lester, our tour guide, mentioned that they can actually use habal-habal on the lower parts of the mountain when the hikers request and rent for it. But it is only available during summer.

 

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

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Photo by: Angiemel Asarez

 

 

Then at exactly 6:30pm, we or I rather (because I was the last person that reached the bottom), finally ended the never ending walk. 😛

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And then I realized why Mt. Marami was not a blockbuster compared with other mountains near the place. Because it’s Mt. Marami, short for Maraming lakariiiin. An extra challenge, indeedThis was also the first time that I accepted the help of the tour guide with my backpack. 😛

Anyway, just in case you were planning a day-hike at Mt. Marami here are additional tips for your trip:

Itinerary:
5:00am – meet-up at Tejero, Cavite
6:30am – registration / pee time / getting ready / bag check / etc.
7:00am – start of the trek
1:15pm – summit
1:15pm to 2:00pm – lunch / rest at the summit
2:00pm – descending  time
6:30pm – bottom
8:00pm – Tejero

Expenses:
P272 – gas share (sorry I cannot tell you the details on how to get there via public transpositions, because I don’t know how :p)
P20 – Registration fee
P100 – Tour guide fee

Things to bring:
Water (lots of water)
Extra Clothes
Slippers or Sandals
Packed Lunch
Energy bar (chocolates, etc.)
Snacks

There you go, I am not planning to come back here but you should include it on your list. Still, it’s a must try. 😀 If you want to know more about our climb, click this link and watch our adventure: https://vimeo.com/228959030

P.S Please do pray to God for protection and strength. 😀

Up and Down to the top of Mt. Batulao

Hooray, I just conquered the 6th mountain on my bucket list since I started hiking.

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Mt. Batulao (photo by: shella salud)

The mountain is called Mt. Batulao; known for its up and down hills on the way to the top with less trees along the trail . The mountain is located at Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines, and is 2 hours away from our place in Cavite.

Since there are seldom trees along the trail, I highly recommend that you cover yourself from the sun to prevent sunburn. This is what we got for not securing our skin from the sun:

We started the hike at 7:30am and got down from it at 5:30pm. We climbed the mountain almost the whole day because we were fond of taking breaks whenever we feel exhausted.

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The hike was kind of difficult because there are lots of hills to be climbed up and down plus the fact that there are trails that are too steep for us to climb and to get down.

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Before reaching the jump-off, you will need to walk about 2kms to get there. You have the choice to walk or ride a tricycle; in our case, we decided to just walk our way to the jump-off.

Upon reaching the start of the trail, there are vendors of bamboo stick that will eventually help you climb the mountain. The stick only cost P10.

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As we climb the mountain, the scenic views started to amaze us.

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And as we go higher, the trail started to get more difficult.

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But even though you get exhausted along the way, there are stores and vendors that offer refreshments like coconut.

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There are also plenty of dogs in the mountain.

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And after 5 hours of going up and down the hills and paying 5 registration fees due to land ownership, we have reached the summit.

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There are another registration fees upon going down the summit. All in all you’ll spend P130 for the 6 registration fees. That’s quite a big amount compare to other mountains. Usually, there is only one registration fee amounting to P20-P50 for climbing mountains here in the Philippines. But it can also be expensive if they require tour guides. It’s a good thing that this mountain didn’t require us to have one.

We decided to go down the summit using the new trail. I forgot to mention that you have a choice which trail you will be using: the old or the new trail. In our case, we chose to climb the summit via old trail and get down on it via new trail.

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And though we were already descending the mountain, we can’t deny the fact that still the scenery is still breathtaking.

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Although we were exhausted and quite pissed about the numerous registration fees, no amount of money can pay the beauty we have witnessed upon climbing this mountain. And here I am, encouraging the readers to get out there and enjoy the beauty of the world God has created. You will be mesmerized by how creative our God is.

For those who want to see the list of our expenses, here it is:
P150 – van transpo fare from Tejero, Cavite to Mt. Batulao
P130 – registration fees
P150 – van from Mt. Batulao to Tejero, Cavite

Time of arrival: 7:30am
Time of departure: 5:30pm

To see the footage of our journey, click this link: Mt. Batulao Adventure.