February 26, 2012

what's in my bag: casual day hike

i went to columbia store last november to buy a jacket and got a "dispatch" magazine as one of the freebies for being a loyal customer. in the magazine, there was a section where some people were interviewed about   the things in their backpack. i thought it would be fun to have one for myself in this blog. these are the stuff i brought during our batulao dayhike: 

my definition of casual day hike: 
- location is accessible to road and nearest towns with atm machines
- walk-in-the-park-ish type of hike good for newbies
- decent telco signal

my bag: 20L

stuff in my bag:
see would parquet flooring for the division of the quadrants. left to right, top to bottom

first quadrant: clothing and toiletries

1. dry sac
2. extra clothes (inside the drysac)
3. waterproof jacket (the black one)
4. toiletries kit (in the sack)
5. quick dry micro towel (the orange cloth on top of the sack)

second quadrant: first aid kit and must haves

1. 42x42 in sarong
- the mini swiss knife of south east asia. it can be used as a bandage, towel, place mat, whatever...
2. first aid kit with emergency money (cash and atm)
- should always be there. someone asked me before what is the reasonable amount for emergency money and told him that your e-money should be equal to the budget of the trip or at least equal to the transportation cost
3. headlamp 
- even if it's a day trip, you should have it
4. swiss knife
5. sunglasses
6. sunblock
- must be waterproof and sweat proof
7. umbrella

third quadrant: food and hydration

1. 3L water bladder
- because canisters won't balance out the bag easily
2. crackers; energy bars
3. lunch container (should be for lunch food... it's still empty yet)
4. spork
5. plastic container with zip lock

third quadrant: communication and identification

1. id's, hmo cards. atm card (on top of the notebook)
- i have two atm's. one is for bcp and should be in the e-kit and the other one is for spending for emergency reasons. so overall, for finances, i got 3 back ups. hmo is for obvious reasons. what is preferred is to also have a dog tag with your name, ice contacts, allergies and bloodtype.
2. pen and notebook
- because a writer has to write
3. chargers
4. mobile phones
- should always be for 2 different telco companies because sometimes, one network has weak signals in other areas. some of my friends have 3.

stuff which are not included

1. dslr 
- olympus is bad with indoor and lowlight photos pffftttt
2. sandals
- should be a back up of the shoe in case shit happens. i live in south east asia so snow is not my problem

February 24, 2012

mt batulao dayhike: all girl's climb


mt batulao is another one of them less-than-a-thousand-pesos climb outside manila. although the cost for the climb may be cheap, i still encourage bringing extra cash in case shit happens.

37.50 = cab to mrt pasay
212.00 = manila - nasugbu - manila bus @ 106.00 per way
60.00 = main road - jump off - main road tricycle ride @ 30.00 per way
20.00 = environmental fee
15.00 = mobile phone charging fee at transient house
20.00 = wash-up fee at transient house
253.00 = food at viewsite restaurant
10.00 = jeep ride from viewsite restaurant to olivares

runkeeper's gps tracking of our hike. "runkeeper" is a free application designed for iphone for sports enthusiasts. the green pin shows our jump off while the grey ones show our pauses for breaks.
as usual, this is the ideal itinerary for mt batulao which we did not follow. i set the meeting place to mcdonalds gil puyat, which is the new branch located at lrt buendia station, to pick up jen and aisa but the main assembly is at mrt pasay mcdonald's where the buses heading to nasugbu are parked.

0500 assemble at mcdonald's mrt pasay; breakfast
0600 etd for evercrest, nasugbu (tagaytay/calatagan bus)
0800 eta evercrest; last minute prep
0830 ride tricycle to elementary school (or you can walk your way which would take you an hour)
0815 eta elementary school; start trek to new trail
1015 eta summit; camwhoring sessions
1030 start descent to camp site
1100 eta campsite; lunch
1200 start descent
1400 eta elementary school; ride tricycle to main road
1415 eta main road; freshen up at nearby transient houses
1515 etd for tagaytay
1615 eta tagaytay; socials
1900 etd for manila
2100 eta manila


the most direct route to mt batulao is by riding a bus going to tagaytay/calatagan. these buses are stationed at mrt pasay. 


we had fun during the last climb at maculot so we decided to have another climb. i thought this wouldn't push through because of the bad weather conditions the day before but a miracle happened on saturday so i gave it a go. it was nice to have jen back in action. she was diagnosed with sinus trachycardia or fast heart beat which is the opposite of what i have which is sinus bradycardia. both heart conditions are common among athletes with more precaution on the former. she said that the doctor had her stop taking caffeinated food and drinks to stabilize her heart. 

jen, despite of staying in manila for almost three years, has not yet adapted to manila so i had to guide her with commuting. i have set mrt pasay as our meeting place but since she has not yet been there, i told her i'd pick her up at mcdonald's gil puyat. since most of us will be there, i have made an immediate decision to change the meeting place. i told everyone that assembly is at 06:00 since this will be an easy climb and i wanted to sleep more at night. at 06:00, i received an sms from jen that she and aisa were already there. i arrived at 06:30 but did not see them so i called and found out that they were at mcdonal's pedro gil! it has been a common mistake for strangers in manila to interchange gil puyat at pedro gil streets because of the word "gil". i gave them the instructions on how to get to my place including the landmarks and we finally met 15 minutes later. 

it was joey's turn to show up. at the same time jen and aisa arrived, i received a message from her that's she's already in taft avenue so i am confident that she'll show up soon. minutes have passed but there's still no sign of her so we shot her messages and called her but she is out of reach. i was having bad thoughts that she might have been mugged so i told jen that we'll wait until 08:00. if she won't show up, we'll just cancel the climb and look for her. later, i was able to call her and was surprised that she was also at mcdonald's pedro gil! i gave her the same instructions i gave to jen. as soon as she arrived, we took a cab to mrt pasay to where the buses going to tagaytay are stationed. at 08:00, we left for nasugbu.

we arrived at evercrest at exactly 10:00. we had at last minute preparations at the nearest transient house and took a tricycle ride to the elementary school to cut the time short. we started walking at 10:28. during this climb, i tested the iphone application i have downloaded which is "runkeeper". it was the application that ram used when we climbed maculot previously so i decided to get myself one. the bad thing about this test was i wasn't able to fully charge my phone the night before and was listening to music along the way so i'm expecting a poor battery performance during the climb. while everyone was thinking that siri has no use for the pinoy, i have made good use of her during the entire climb by dictating the climb pacing, the distance and the calories we have burnt along the way. 

as we were hiking, kids were offering their hiking services but we refused. however, there's this one kid who keeps trying to lead us the way. being the very shrewd person that i am, i told him that we don't have enough money to pay him so he left us after the first refreshment stop. i noticed later on that jen was  lagging behind. i was a bit scared knowing that she had a heart finding so i offered to sweep the team instead so i could check on her. i requested aisa if they can take turns on carrying her backpack which she gladly accepted. we arrived the campsite at exactly 12:00 and it was at that time when i found out that jen was carrying 3 liters of water! she said that it's been quite long since she climbed so she brought a lot of water in case she dehydrates easily. aside from the 3 liters she brought, she also had 1 liter of softdrink!

we continued hiking at 12:30. just 5 minutes before the summit at the new satellite mini store, jen suddenly decides to quit. a pointed to her where the summit was said that there's no point in quitting when she has already reached the summit before. so we took a long break so she could gather her strength. at 13:45, we reached mt batulao's summit and are being toasted at the heat of the sun. thank god for umbrellas! aisa was happy because it is her first climb so she asked me and jen to take many pictures of her at the summit. now there goes another climbing buddy :)

we start our descent a few minutes later because we want a sunset at tagaytay. we arrived at the main road at 16:00, freshened ourselves up at the transient house then road the bus to tagaytay. because of the traffic, we weren't able to have a tagaytay sunset. on the way, the bus crew played an anne curtis and luis manzano film entitled "who's that girl?" which i find really entertaining despite the rub-it-in-your-face product endorsements. we weren't able to finish the film because our food is more important. joey brought us to "viewpoint restaurant" where they have their family dinner often. the serving crew was awesome for being able to serve our bulalo and fried tawilis in a zap. we ended our hearty meal with a bottle of beer each to celebrate valentine's day.

that day was really meant for us to climb on a very fine weather. as we reached manila, we were welcomed by heavy rains. as i was walking in the rain on my way home, all i could feel was gratefulness for letting fate and time permit us to have this wonderful climb amidst the series of unfortunate events.

February 23, 2012


just got my iphone 4s last sunday and have been downloading and testing aps. i know some of you are surprised right now as i was admiring xperia active but the store from where i have been eyeing the phone pulled out all their xperia stocks as sony and ericson have split up but leaving the mobile phone business with sony. since i badly need a phone to replace my jurassic and soon-to-die sony ericsson w810i, i had no other choice but to get a 4x more expensive apple phone. well, i have other choices but as far as need is concerned, i have drilled down my options to iphone or xperia. i have took into consideration buying a samsung s2 but the oled green side effect turns me off.

now going back to aps, i was able to download a lot of stuff essential to my lifestyle such as "runkeeper" which helps me track all my sports activities including swimming... yes swimming! i have to buy a lifeproof case for it. i have tested runkeeper during my my batulao trip last sunday. siri was good but the battery life goes below satisfaction if i will be going for a hike for more than a day so i have to buy a portable charger with double a's as source of energy. later i discovered "the north face trailhead" which is a better gps program than the runkeeper as the map shows satellite pictures. i am supposed to test it last sunday but my climb didn't push through.

also i downloaded columbia applications such as cheat sheets to knot tying and the backpacking checklist which gave me an idea what other stuff i need to bring other than the things i usually do. with the checklist, i was able to help myself bring only the essential ones.

aside fron mountaineering aps, have also downloaded a virtual dive log for scuba diving which will be very helpful when i go back to diving some time mid of this year. and of course.. games to keep me pre-occupied instead of smothering boredom. i have been downloading games which some of my officemates have recommended like "temple run" and "taptap" but i am longing for strategy games similar to statcraft. during my search, what i got was a starcraft pictionary. boo. but i downloaded it still. after long hours of searching, voila! doodle wars. the game may be the simplest thing of all with graphics that a preschooler will have as a masterpiece but it brings me back the feeling of staying indoors and forgeting the outside world again. and because i have heard the calling, i didn't download the full version. hehehe. talk about will-power. hehehehe. nonetheless, prevention is better than cure.

in spite of how the game defined awesome, the best app i have downloaded so far is "blogger" from which i am writing this entry now instead of being pissed off at makati night rush hour. this app will definitely become handy during my travels.

February 13, 2012

tagaytay weekend

"you're rendering overtime again?!"

was, my childhood friend, bianca's lines in a phone call two weekends ago after i dumped her proposal for an out of town dinner. i have lost a lot of time ever since i tendered my resignation in an IT company in exchange for a career in HR, which i told my boss was in line with my course in college. the reason for resignation was "boredom". back then, i thought that was the best decision. hr is a different world compared to IT where i spent half of my working years. in IT, work is finished with the set deadlines. i only get to render over time if i have to catch up calls with partners based overseas to know updates.  afterwards, i go out of office to either at home or somewhere else without worrying about the next weekdays' workload on weekends (weekends were mine back then).

things changed ever since i started working for a petroleum company as a human resources advisor. every month i spend a minimum of 2 hours of overtime work and a maximum of 6 hours on meeting deadlines. since overtime work won't suffice, i go to office on weekends on a full shift. and so just i won't skip my outdoor training, i go to office and back to home riding my bike, which i discovered was more convenient as commuting would take me an hour and a half compared to cycling which only took me 45 minutes including pit stops for hydration (but i choose not to do this everyday so i won't drain myself).

bianca knows all this so she's bailing me out of work. yesterday, we met at starbucks. she happily told me that everything in the the trip was on her. as usual, we had a lengthy conversation about work and life over coffee before mark and mari picked us up at greenbelt. jonah told us that he'll meet us at tagaytay because he is still in office training and will pick up his girlfriend first once he's out. bianca paid for gas, for our lunch, for our dinner, basically for everything. i thought it was just myself. she said she just wants to see us because it's been long since we had this kind of trip... with me as the hardest person to persuade to go.

everyone gave me the task of looking for a place to hang out near the view deck because i'm the only one who gets to travel tagaytay more often than they do. i went there either for a bike ride or as a sidetrip to eat after a trail run at batulao in nasugbu. from home, tagaytay is a one hour and a half bike ride with longer minutes spent on pedaling uphill. what i bring with me to ride to the place is my rugged mountain bike which is far more slower than a racer. had i used a racer, i could get there in less than an hour, perhaps just 45 minutes. but i don't have one yet so i am saving for it *grin*. as we were feeling the cold temperature, i knew we're already near. later, i asked everyone where they want to eat. at that time i was craving for mediterranean with strong garlic sauce so i recommended the hole in the wall greek tavern along the highway. mark wanted filipino food but jokingly told us he wanted mcdonald's. "then we should not have been traveling this far if you only wanted mcdonald's!" bianca crowed sleepy and hungry. after 30 minutes of irreconcilable differences, she picked an american diner. 3 hours later, we moved to starbucks to warm ourselves with coffee. jonah then came with his girlfriend karlynn, who i just met for the first the very time since it's been long when i last hanged out with them.

as you may have figured out by now, most of the people i was with last saturday were all my childhood friends who i played, studied and grew up with. it was also my first time to go out of town with friends... real friends instead of traveling buddies who come and go out of my life depending on the frequency of the trips i organize. these are the kind of moments i treasure that i often miss because of busying myself too much with work and other stuff i pre-occupy myself with. i guess i should have more of this aside from my outdoor trips.

February 10, 2012

he whose ass was kissed...

be inspired! sir gerry as featured by outdoor blogger, adonis lloren, in his page, lagataw. know more about ass kissing by reading the interview through the link below.

February 06, 2012

i'm your greatest fan ^___^

up to date, the best act of fandom i have experienced is a picture from someone eating a raw goat's heart. the moment i saw his tag on my facebook timeline (thank god i have set tags to myself alone), i asked him what he was doing in the photo because i thought he was holding a skinned frog or something. then he said "it's goat's heart". i don't take it offensive. the people i grew up and studied with can tell you my laboratory stunts every dissection class and the university wasn't an exemption when i played with iodine to create purple clouds that hovered over us in the room. that's how notorious i was back then (speaking as if i'm a good person now and it is the truth).

i met this guy during my eleven-day mindanao escapade. he was one of the participants in the mt apo climb i joined. he introduced himself to everyone as a missionary of a theosophical society and we had a lengthy discussion about religion and spirituality. fast forward, we were stranded for 5 hours at agco as we thought that the thunder clouds passing by were minor rain clouds of the typical southern weather (sunny mornings and rainy afternoons). while he admired me for encouraging the rest of the participants in climbing the rockies and the 90-degree ascent to summit (which after my next climb i discovered that there's an easier but longer back trail), i would not have posted this entry if not for him saving our lives in the raging waters of agco when he used himself as a breakwater. 

now i'm wondering... what if i send him and every public icon i am a fan of a picture of myself licking severed bull testicles, eating pig's heart raw, or sipping pus instead of sending them drawings or motivational messages? will i be locked up in jail because of fandom? i'd like to give it a try...

February 05, 2012

she-wolf adventures and "human" photography of 2011

in an online psychology forum i was a member of, someone made a conjecture that most "thinking" people, systems builders to be exact, fancy photos with less "humans" (using her term). being one of the system builders as tagged by the jungian typology test i do admit that i am weak with portraits and anything with humans in it. primarily because i lack interpersonal skills which are needed in capturing human emotions at the right time. then came 2010, when i met benj dee, who surprisingly is a neighbor (that's how oblivious i am of my very own community and how bad my people skills are) and a hiking buddy of mine, advised me to add "humans" in my photos to scale pictures and to add mood to my album. and so 2011 was an experiment of opening up myself to the world of human emotions. here's how i tell my 2011 pictures through taking pictures of "humans".


it's really awesome to see the bands you grew up listening to coming over to the country and playing live. i got myself, my sister and her special friend (back then) silver tickets to the deftones gig as a christmas and new year's gift. i could have given myself gold ones but i know how much my sister wanted to watch the show so i got them. the farthest my lens could zoon in is up to 150mm. with olympus' four thirds technology, it even looks farther. but it's ok still. my sister had 200mm on her canon and got crisp photos of chino moreno and the entire band. at that time, it made me think of saving up for a good telephoto lens but i go to gigs less. instead, i'll just save up on good seats.


i was given passes to photograph the ceremonies at san sebastian college. during the event, there were human beat boxes and people doing stunts such as breaking coconuts with a back fist, throat spear-bending (as seen in the photo below) and other super human stuff. the stunt men and... women were practitioners of hung fut kung fu. it was said that during the communist occupation, some chinese kung fu masters fled to the philippines. one of these masters was ho tien po, the master of masters, and was deemed the undefeated of canton. during his stay in manila, he was able to pass his knowledge to a filipino before he died and this knowledge was said to be the best kept secrets of kung fu. when the emcee narrated their story, it reminded me of my dad looking for a chinese martial arts school way back is time only to be denied because he is not chinese. had he found this group, he could have mastered chinese arts instead of japanese. i wasn't able to finish the entire show because i was on night shift at that time and have to leave for work but i was able to witness the stunning fireworks display.


if there's one mountain i'd like to visit every year, it's the infamous mt guiting guiting. this time, we attempted a day hike but was stunned by the clearing at the summit so we decided to stay. my buddies, who have stayed up late for drinks was able to witness a "moon rise" because it was a full moon at that time.

it's very rare to get a good clearing at the summit especially if it's off-season. we went there february and was doubting of the weather. our guide, sir remy, was asking what my prayers are because every time he climbs with me it has always been with good weather that no matter how bad it was raining the previous day, there's always a clearing the next day. i just told him i believe that things will be fine no matter how bad the situation is. on the way to sibuyan was full of laughter coming from participants and the fun was consistent in the end so i took advantage of taking "human photos"

that darn porn shot


scott weiland is indeed one of the hottest men in rock. i'll whoop your asses if you don't agree. as i previously promised myself, i was able to save up tickets for a good seat -- a good stalkerish place perfect enough for my boso 150mm lens to peek into his hot body. i begged and kneeled at my manager to allow me to go on half day leave in spite of the peak season for us tax season and she was swayed by my endless swoon. since my sister won't be able to join due to work constraints, she offered that i borrow her camera and her ultra pamboboso 200mm lens. since i am canon illiterate, i refused the offer and went off with my oly instead. the bad thing that happened was i brought the wrong lens... wide angle 42mm. sad. nonetheless, mini scott was still hot and his voice serenades me still.

a desperate attempt to catch the pure transcendental hotness that is scott weiland at the led display.

it was not my intention to join the race. someone sent a message to the game master and was surprised to see my facebook tagged with a race number. in the long run, i enjoyed the game as i traveled to places i have never been to, met new friends (and rivals), and tested my limits as a mountaineer. in the end, i won 6th place overall, 2nd in women's and became one of the 32 peaks in 7 days awardees (clue: halsema).

breakfast at the kitanglad bunker

pulag summit

the avatar, peter john "johnmurs" muring

mijan pizarro


mt kinabalu was my first international climb and is my 2011 year-ender. we did a mesilau-timpohon traverse and feratta package (i won't add photos of ferrata in action since it was our guide who took the photos). what i will never forget in sabah is the great food and the ambiance that is manila-like but only cleaner.

sir ricky - one of the people who i didn't know was my neighbor until he told me where he lives. we met at our mindanao 321 pre-climb meeting by the way. 

Cancer Kissed My Ass: Takot Ka Ba Sa Maligno O Sa Ah-ASS

for obvious reasons, my blog, aside from posting jackshit, serves to promote any charitable climb so if you have anything to promote, just shoot me a message and i'll post it.

now back to topic, the first cancer kissed my ass was a success and we were able to get a generous amount for sir gerry's chosen cancer patient's expenses for lab procedures (i will post who this cancer patient is soon) but it isn't enough to cover everything. so we're setting up another climb this coming february 11-12, 2012 at the infamous mt cristobal for another round of ass kisses and this time, with the support of dahong palay mountaineers. if you are interested, just go to the cancer kissed my ass page and give us the gift of like.

although sir gerry gathered a handful of fans in the first climb, there were also critics. we have received feedback regarding sir gerry's pants-down stunt, which bottom line is respect. instead of throwing them to trash, we addressed them point by point and from the improvements we gathered from their ideas, we thank these critics for helping our project become bulletproof. herein below are the rules sir gerry imposed on himself in his pants-down climbs:

  • if the location is a sacred place
  • if majority of the participants disapproves
  • if the an elder participant (ages 40 and up) disapproves in spite of the majority
  • if a woman in the participants disapproves in spite of the majority's affirmative decision
  • if the locals disapprove in spite of the majority's affirmative decision
  • if the guides disapprove in spite of the majority's affirmative decision


having said this, we need more feedback from you to help us fight cancer. you may shoot me a message in the comments box below or comment on the ckma page.

notes on filipino terms:

the advert's punch line is a question: "are you afraid of malicious earth-bound dwellers or snakes?" mt cristobal is famous (or infamous) for stories about ghost and earth elemental stories that most mountaineers are afraid to climb the mountain. to help you understand the punch line (which i desperately hope you will), here are translations of some of the terms.
  1. maligno - in english means "malicious" and is being used to name all evil and malicious earth elementals who have the capacity to harm dwellers if they are offended i.e. elves, dwarves, faeries, centaurs, etc. these creatures are also common in filipino folk stories which the elders and some individuals, who have the so-called "3rd eyes", believe exist
  2. ahas - snake. 
  3. dahong palay - small harmless green snakes named after the "rice leaves".
  4. takot - depending on accentuation, it could mean scare or the act of being scared.