To Be In Itbayat, Or Not To Be In Itbayat?

That should have been the question.

The question I should have so seriously asked myself the other day before this fools side trip to the northernmost inhabited island of the Philippines.

Would have I answered, “No”—probably not. (Peer pressure!)

Day2 – Afterthoughts
Itbayat, Batanes

It was way of maximizing our limited vacation so it’s a 3-island bargain per se. And Itbayat is clearly on the itinerary. The only thing not clear, initially, was that Itbayat is 4-hours away by boat (or by falowa) from Basco. And that part never sink in on me until we set sail and left the island of Batan for the very first time.

The journey to Itbayat started with a “maybe”. Maybe we will or maybe we won’t. It depends… as William of Batanes Mountaineers would say. It depends on an “if”. If the waves are calm then it’s a go. But that’s just an understatement because in reality it becomes, “if the waves are tolerable…”

And that means an Ivatan’s tolerance to the sea. Are you an Ivatan? So go figure.

With the day’s forecast nearing the low end of what’s tolerable: would you still go to Itbayat? Or not?

Yes, it’s a foolish game but our dilemma’s already made up!

So here we go! This is it!

Get your barf bags ready in a jiffy cause most assuredly you’re gonna fill those even before Itransa touch port in Chinapoliran…

A brief note about Chinapoliran

This isn’t China of course. Which makes Chinapoliran a very unusual Continue reading

My Daraitan On Film

THIS is my Daraitan escapades on film.

Two summers had passed after hearing about it the first time. How excited I was then but the logistics never came to be until this day and with another group.

My only 2nd attempt at river camping. The first was in Majayjay where our tents were caught by the rising river due to an outpour of heavy rain. Have the same concern as well in Daraitan as one of the reason we camped on high grounds.

On a bright summer sky, you’ll enjoy Daraitan’s striking contrast of white glittering limestone rocks with the greeneries of the hill valley above. But just beware walking on bare foot on a mid-noon as these rocks can be as hot as … Continue reading

Icy Cold Tapiya Falls

The Tapiya falls is located in Batad town which is 1 ½-2 hours away by jeep from Banaue.

Banaue is a 9-10 hours trip by bus from Manila. Add a 1 hour trek from the saddle to Batad town. And another short 1 hour trek along Batad’s famous rice terraces and down to some steeply angled and narrow stairs and you’re there—just imagine you are now in Tapiya!

Tapiya was raging the first time we met. So big, so wild and roaring… it was deafening to say the least and overwhelming.

There’s probably much rain on the other side of the mountain fueling Tapiya’s rage then.

And this roar and rage produces volumetric mist that forced me to keep my D90 inside my 4 Million. It was totally not safe for any electronic equipment. Well, the D90 can handle it but because of the mist moist builds up on the lens front glass that it became useless. Without an automatic wiper that would wipe my lens squeaky clean, shooting isn’t advisable.

So today seem a more pleasant day… sunny and humid. A nice time to take a plunge into the river and just short 1 hour trek would do.

No aching legs or knee this time. But there’s just a little bit of shake in the leg, though tolerable I must admit.

Here’s the gang enjoying solitary group fun with Tapiya until… Click to continue

The Rest Of My Dingalan Stuff

The last of my film stuff from my Dingalan trip.

Dingalan is a town in the Province of Aurora. Aurora is on the eastern side of Luzon facing the Pacific ocean. And the waves here are generally strong even on a calm day.

It’s a quiet remote town well suited for a weekend vacation devoid of any amenities you normally have in the metro. And it’s cheap for a group as you share common expenses like accommodation, food and transpo.

We visited 3 sites here: Abungan falls, the beach for some basic seascapes, and a big reef cluster that produces death-defying surge of waves.

No Sunrise

The photographer above with the tripod is Allan Apungan, amusing himself on this Continue reading

A Dayhike At Pico de Loro

This was my 2nd time hiking Pico de Loro.

The first time was way back when I was part of the Blue Mountaineers. I’m not really sure if I was part of the club or I was part of the climb. I am not even sure if it was the Blue Mountaineers as the group was just starting out with help from outside clubs.

Our B.M.C. was held at Majayjay falls which ended tragically wet as the river rose up to our tents after a big outburst of rain. The last time I joined them was in Gulugod Baboy with a UP Mountaineer as our guide who took us along the coast to offer us great vistas. But on the way down we ended up dizzyingly lost and circling a trail hidden by the tall and sharp mountain grasses.

Imagine, 3 hours climbing down Gulugod?

That was the last. And Pico de Loro was my 2nd climb with the group. And that was my 1st with Pico.

Yup, it’s way back when.

Now I’m climbing Pico again.

Sparkling Pico Summit with a cup of wine, or was it champagne? And this’ just my first Pico summit. Yey!

… to reach the summit.

As I never did get to the summit the last time. I was 30 feet away from the summit and I chickened out Continue reading

Fun Weekend At Bora… wan!

My first time joining a Fun adventure or Fun tours. This was courtesy of Yabag Mc care off Miguel Mapalad (aka Migs), who have been diligently recruiting me to their Nagsasa trek. But I was disqualified in joining that climb due to my lack of available time on weekdays to attend the pre-climb meeting.

They maintain a “no pre-climb, no climb” policy on their major hiking trips as most mountaineering org do.

Beach Camping at Borawan. The group setting up tents on the beach. The beach was so crammed as there were still two more groups, albeit smaller, staying overnight at the other side. So I just stayed in one of the nipa hut for convenience.

But thankfully, this very harsh policy is now being waived on fun climb like these – Yabag’s initial Bora offering.

Ok, I’ll quit the disguise! It’s actually Continue reading

Street Drunk in Hong Kong’s Night Bazaar

I’m quite excited! My first colored post on film…

So who’s with us, tonight?

Oh well, here we go again… but due to the success of last night’s session, we’re in full force tonight, all, except for Tereh.

The other night it was just Gene and me as nobody wanted to checkout Hong-Kong’s nightlife. So we two did. But nope we didn’t find any bar within Nathan Road.

Our last resort then would have been to buy some beer at 7-11 and bring it to our hotel.

Street Bazaar

Luckily we found these night bazaar Continue reading