Tag Archives: travel

Mt. Ulap

February 7, 2015

This was our first dayhike for the year (Yes, Benguet day trips are possible!). We left Manila at around 12:00 MN of Sunday, and got back in a little over 24 hours.

The Mt. Ulap Eco-Trail was launched just in October of last year. The jump-off point is in the baranggay hall of Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet, which is just a 45-minute jeepney ride (P50 fare) from the terminal in Petron Harrison Road, Baguio City. We spent seven long hours to complete the Ampucao-Sta. Fe Traverse, and got to visit the Ambanao Paoay Peak, Gungal Rock, and the summit of Mt. Ulap. Registration fee is at P100 per person.

It was very cold. News reports say that the temperature dropped to 11.5 degrees Celsius in Baguio City. Fortunately for us, we got to experience Mt. Ulap (which means “cloud” in Filipino) in its literal form as we incidentally climbed on a cloudy day. However, we didn’t get to see some parts of the picturesque view as they were covered with again, clouds. At least there’s a reason for us to go back.

P.S. Thank you to our new friends, who shared the tour guide with us (P400 per group of 10), and gave us free lunch!

Ampucao-Sta. Fe Ridge

Janna Nikko




Nikko Janna


Nikko Janna Mountain



Ambungao Paoay

First Peak





Janna Nikko



Nikko Janna

Nikko Janna


Gungal Rock


Nikko's Miss Universe

Mt Ulap

Mt. Ulap


Sta. Fe

We Survived Mt. Ulap

Mt. Ulap Summit


National Museum: Angono Petroglyphs

January 16, 2016

The Angono Petroglyphs is the oldest known artwork in the Philippines, dating back to 3,000 B.C.. It was discovered by National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco in 1965, and was declared by the National Museum of the Philippines as a National Cultural Treasure in 1973.

When we went to the site early last year, we didn’t get to see the actual petroglyphs as the area was under renovation. It was last month when we finally got to see the engravings of human and animal figures.












Marinduque: Boac & Gaspar Island


December 28, 2015

During our week-long holiday vacation in Quezon, we thought of visiting the heart-shaped island-province of Marinduque, which is three hours away from Lucena City by boat. We got to the Dalahican port at around 8:00 am, and waited for the next ferry bound for Marinduque.

We reached the Balasacan port of Marinduque at around 1:00 pm and rode a jeepney to get to its capital, Boac, have lunch at the Kusina sa Plaza, and visit the Boac Cathedral and Pugutan site.

We then proceeded to the town of Gasan, and chartered a boat, which took us to Gaspar Island.

The Gaspar Island is part of the Tres Reyes group of islands, which are named after the three kinds (Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar). We were pressed for time, so we only got to visit Gaspar, which is the most beautiful among the three, according to the very helpful baranggay officials (Kagawad Dodong and the Brgy. Captain) we met at the jump-off point in Brgy. Pinggan.

After a few hours exploring the island, we went to the Cawit port, which is just a few minutes away from Gasan. We waited for hours for the Roro boat, which ferried us back to Lucena City.

Town Plaza

Kusina sa Plaza


Boac Cathedral

Boac Cathedral

Boac Cathedral


Gaspar Island

Gaspar Island

View of Marinduque from Gaspar

Rock Formations


Gaspar Island


Bantakay Falls

December 26, 2015

The Bantakay Falls, which still forms part of the Quezon National Forest Park, is just magnificent. Our one-hour trek through the cemented trail, and under the rain was truly worth it.

If you need a place to stay in Lucena City, click on the following link for our suggestions: Hotels/Bed and Breakfast/Inns














Dambana ng Kagitingan, Mt. Samat & Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

December 20, 2015

We had only the afternoon to explore the historical province of Bataan, having left Manila at around noon. We headed to the Dambana ng Kagitingan, a memorial shrine dedicated to the brave Filipino and American soldiers, who fought during World War II. We were surprised to see the 92-metre high cross, which also has a viewing gallery inside.

Thereafter, we went to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, a heritage park, which showcases mansions from the Spanish era, which were dismantled and subsequently reassembled.

Dambana ng Kagitingan

Dambana ng Kagitingan

Dambana ng Kagitingan

View from Top

View Deck

View from Mt. Samat

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Dinner at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Aparri, Iguig, Penablanca, Cagayan

November 20, 2015

This was the last leg of our 6-Day North Luzon Backpacking Adventure.

From Santa Ana, we had to get to Tuguegarao City to catch a bus going to Manila. But we decided to ride one of the night-sleeper buses so we could explore more of Cagayan Valley in one day.

In the morning, we hopped on one of the UV Express vans and went to the sleepy town of Aparri, which was two hours away from Santa Ana. We just checked out the Aparri Delta, where the Cagayan River meets the sea, the Aparri Park, a church, and had Pancit Cabagan in a local panciteria.

Then we were off to Iguig, which was another two hours from Aparri, to  check out the Calvary Hills, where life-size statues depicting the stations of the cross lie.

After spending less than an hour in Iguig, we then proceeded to Penablanca, to explore the Callao Caves. We chartered a tricycle (P1,000) because we were pressed for time already.

The beautiful Callao Caves had religious formations, and even had an altar inside. They hold Holy Masses there regularly.

Our Tour Guide also suggested we ride a boat along the Pinacanauan River and wait for the colony of bats that fly out of a cave every 5:30 in the afternoon. Our three-minute experience watching the bats was surreal.

When it was already dark, we headed to Tuguegarao City to get to a bus terminal. Buses were fully booked but after having another variant of Pancit Cagayan (Pancit Batil Patong) for dinner, we were able to ride a bus as chance passengers.

12 hours later we were back in Manila.

If you need a place to stay in Tuguegarao City, click on the following link for our suggestions: Hotels/Bed and Breakfast/Inns

Aparri Park

Aparri Church

Aparri Delta

Aparri Marker


Pancit Cabagan

Calvary Hills

Calvary Hills

Calvary Hills

Calvary Hills

Callao Cave

Callao Cave

Church inside Callao Cave

Callao Cave

Callao Cave

Callao Cave

Callao Cave




Palaui Island and Santa Ana, Cagayan

This is still part of our 6-Day North Luzon Backpacking Adventure.

After hopping on a bus in Claveria, Cagayan, we arrived in Santa Ana, Cagayan three hours later. We were greeted by a random tricycle driver, who offered to bring us to the Nangaramoan Beach, which has extraordinary rock formations.

In the morning, we explored the exquisite Palaui Island (Punta Verde, Cape Engano Lighthouse, Falls). Words won’t do justice to the beauty of the island so we’ll just leave you with pictures. In the evening, we were able to take a photo in front of the 642-kilometer marker (away from the Rizal monument), which is the last one up north.

If you need a place to stay in Santa Ana, click on the following link for our suggestions: Hotels/Bed and Breakfast/Inns

Nangaramoan Beach

Nangaramoan Beach


Cape Engano Lighthouse

Palaui Island

Palaui Island

Palaui Island

Palaui Island


Palaui Island

Cape Engano Lighthouse




Palaui Island







Adams, Ilocos Norte

This part was the best part of our trip. We’ve never had any other experience like it before. Read until the end to know why.

We didn’t really know where to go on Day 4 of our trip until the night before. If you would recall, we allotted one whole day for Bangued, Abra but finished early (after just three hours) and was able to do the Vigan trip on Day 1, too. Thus, we had an extra day in Ilocos before heading to the Cagayan Valley.

Upon googling other places of interest in Ilocos Norte, we were intrigued by this little town called Adams.

Adams, Ilocos Norte, is a one-barangay 5th class municipality. It is the sixth smallest town in the Philippines considering population, as it has only 1500 inhabitants.  According to some writers, it was named after the Biblical character Adam, as the place is reminiscent of the Garden of Eden.

Commuting to Adams is very different. There are no buses, jeeps nor tricycles going there, as the area is mountainous, and the narrow road is rough. We got there by riding separate motorcycles, and the ride from the highway to the town proper took around 45 minutes.

When we got to the town proper, we were greeted by policemen, who were very hospitable and helpful. We found out from them that the town boasts of zero crime rate. They advised our motorcycle drivers to tour us around the town and bring us to the jump-off point of the Anuplig Falls, one of Adams’ 18 waterfalls.

After visiting the Lover’s Peak, the view deck, the hanging bridge, we checked out the winery and juicer, which sells fresh export-quality Lemon-Grass, Grapefruit, and Bugnay Juices and Wine. The fruits are of course grown in the rich town.

Then, we trekked for an hour with our guide to get to the 25ft. high, roaring Anuplig Falls. The trek was quite challenging but the view all throughout was magnificent. You could see the peaceful town and hear the birds chirping, and the wind blowing. After cliff diving (which was very scary), and swimming for an hour or so, we went back to the town proper to get our things, which we deposited with the police. Then we rode our motorcycles again to get back to the highway.

The view from Adams would make one believe that indeed there is a God. What made is believe more in God was how he helped us get through weird surprises on our way back to the highway.

During the middle of the trip back to the highway, Nikko’s motorcycle had to stop, as one of the wheels was running flat. Janna, whose motorcycle went first, didn’t know about this, so when she got to the highway, without the sight of Nikko, she got scared that something might have happened to Nikko. After 30 minutes, Nikko and his driver resurfaced at the highway, narrating that they had to borrow a motorcycle from a random town native.

Also, while it was already getting dark, we waited at the shed for a van to get us to the next town to get money from the bank/ATM, as we only had a few hundreds left.  After paying our tour guides/motorcycle driver, we were left with only P80, which we thought was enough for us to get to the next town. However, we found out that we were P20 short, as the fare getting to Claveria, Cagayan Valley, was P50 from where we were. It was just great that there was a good Samaritan, named Mang Ronnie, who overheard our problem and gave us P50. Indeed, God always makes things work.

P.S. When we got to the rural bank in Claveria, the only ATM in town was offline. Without having any money left (as we gave the last P30 we had to the tricycle driver who took us from the highway to the rural bank), and without having any Plan B, we waited for about 30 minutes and prayed hard that the ATM go online. Then, our prayer got answered, and thus had money to get us dinner and to continue the second half of our road trip.

Adams 001

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Adams 003

Adams 004

Adams 005

Adams 006

Adams 007

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