philippine mountain

7

There’s something about the Cordilleras, that landlocked region in central Luzon, that I find so inviting.

Perhaps it’s the magnificent rice terraces located across the region. I think it would be a treat to see it in shades of green or gold. Although the color it gives even without crops planted is still a beauty to behold. Or maybe it’s the warmth of the people who tell proud stories of their ancestors, cultures and customs to curious visitors. I also think it’s the cold weather coupled with the great view of the mountains that can be enjoyed by anyone all-year-round.

Well, those are the reasons that came to mind. Enough to make me decide to go back there soon as I’m able.

November 2016, Cordillera, PH

2

Paradise Lost, Paradise Found

You don’t always need a fancy camera to get a good shot. Sometimes the adventure speaks enough for itself.

By far the most featured photographic spot in the Coron Islands, this is the view from our climb to a Peak before descending to Kayangan Lake, or the “Blue Lagoon”

Jenea Medina Photography

Flickr | 500px 

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Clouds parting, sunrise, and morning fog at Candongao Peak, Cebu, Philippines

washingtonpost.com
Poverty, despair breed new generation of Philippine rebels
The rebellion “will not disappear because of the fundamental needs of the people. The problems have persisted, and that’s the platform of the rebellion.”

SIERRA MADRE MOUNTAINS, Philippines — In the late-night hours and amid the chirp of crickets, Katryn welcomed a huddle of exhausted Filipino journalists in cheerful spirits like she was home. “Coffee?” she asked with a comforting smile.

Comrade Katryn is her nom de guerre, however, and for her, home is a rebel encampment concealed in the rain-soaked wilderness of the Philippines’ Sierra Madre Mountains. The 24-year-old walked away from her family two years ago to join one of the world’s longest-raging Marxist rebellions.

Mostly in their 20s and 30s, a few dozen New People’s Army guerrillas lugged M16 rifles and grenade launchers on a plateau where red hammer-and-sickle flags adorned a makeshift hall. Most wore mud-stained boots while cooking over wood fires or guarding the peripheries of the encampment, just 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the nearest army camp.

They’re part of a new generation of Maoist fighters who reflect the resiliency and constraints of an insurgency that has dragged on for nearly half a century through six Philippine presidencies while Cold War-era communist insurgencies across much of the world have faded into memory. They are driven by some of the same things as their predecessors, including crushing poverty, despair, government misrule and the abysmal inequality that has long plagued Philippine society.

“The New People’s Army has no other recruiter but the state itself,” a young rebel, Comrade May, told The Associated Press.

3rd mountain climb, Mt. Pico de Loro (2015)

spot me. finally got to reach the summit and climb the monolith of Mt. Pico de Loro! something to cross off my bucket list. more adventures to come!

Pulag me like you... lag lag lag me like you doooo go go go todo na ‘tooooOOOoo!

Sabi nila kapag mangangarap ka, sagarin mo na! I todo mo! Itututok mo! Ipasok mo! At boy walang daplis! WHAAAAT! At dahil sa playlist ko na andrew e, naisip ko na akyatin ang ikatlong mataas na bundok sa bansa….

Kung ineexpect niyong napicturan ko ang bundok pwes nagkakamali kayo kasi hindi talaga at ang expectation masakit pero balik tayo sa picture kaya di ko nakuha eh dahil sa sige-sa-mantya edition ito ng Mt. Pulag! 

Para sa mga geographically challenged friends natin (like me!) ang pulag ay matatagpuan sa kalagitnaan ng tatlong probinsya. Pero dahil geographically challenged din ako so di ko masasabi sa inyo kung ano yung tatlong yon ano ba lahat na lang spoonfeeding gusto talaga isinusubo ang lahat sa inyo? AYYYYYY!

So papunta sa matambok na bundok (yes rhyme) ay mula Baguio na pwedeng iwheels papunta sa tuktok ANO LABAN WHAAAAAT! Madalas mga organized tours ang pagpunta doon, pwede ka ding mag DIY kasi diba sino pa ba ang tutulong sa sarili mo kundi ang sarili mo din!

Ang una niyong sign na nasa tamang direksyon na kayo ng buhay ay madadaanan niyo ang very wet na Ambuklao Dam!

Siyempre naiisip ko na ang naiisip niyo. Akala ko ba bundok?! Bat may bangka? Gago ka ba? Ano ‘to pati ikaw kuya vernon lolokohin mo kami? Sabagay blogger ka tapos uso naman pasahan ng syota dito kaya okay lang na lokohin mo kami what’s new. WHAAAAAAAAT!

Eto kasi yung upper part ng dam, so may lower part at eto yon!

Oh daaaaaaamn. Dam ka ba? Kasi Dam-buhala ka. WHAAAAAT! #JokeToSelf

Okay sa part ng dam hindi ganon kalamig. Tipong yung feeling na binuksan mo yung ref niyo? Ganon lang pero yung hangin masarap ang haplos sa katawan kaya hindi pa baymax levels ang jacketan level. Kita mo koya niyo oh maka-inarte kala mo nasa Korea pero nasa dam lang yan! WHAAAAAT!

Diba pang indie film tipong ofw ako tapos uuwi nako samin tapos may puting bangka at kinidnap ako at kinuha ang organs ko para ibenta sa black market. WHAAAAAAT!

Ang susunod na senyas ng universe na nasa tamang landas ka ay kapag nakita mong nasa Jang Jang ka! Yes, jang jang! Parang bang bang pero walang gang bang este bang bang! Dito sa jang jang, may kainan ganon pwede kayong magkainan with friends pero as friends lang ah? Mahirap na mga tao pa naman ngayon konting kainan lang na fall na agad. WHAAAAAAT!

Pero ang masayang ganap dito sa Jang jang ay ang tulay!

So ayan pwede kang mag-inarte tapos tawirin mo ang tulay pero kadating mo sa kabila mapapa-kwestyon ka bat mo ginawa yun at babalik ka ulit sa kabilang dulo. Pero ibahin niyo ako! Siyempre tumawid ako para alugin ang tulay at madidinig mo ang agony and suffering nila… “TAMA NAAAaaaaAA! AhhhhHHHHhhhhHHHH! STOP ETTTTTTT” hanggang sa murahin ka nila in different languages!

Mula sa tulay, pwedeng magside trip sa sulfur springs kung saan makikita mo ang nagbabaga, bumubuyangyang at medyo masangsang na bukal!

Ang saya saya mapapa-kanta ka ng give me some hot stuff beybehhhhhh this eveniiiiiing! WHAAAAAT. Feeling ko natanggal lahat ng sakit ko sa balat yes very dr. kaufmann tipong kapag nilublob mo yung friend mong mukhang kulugo ay aahon siya bilang isang derek ramsey o kim domingo (Kaso depende ‘to sa tao, sulfur lang ‘to hindi silicon. Di nakakalaki ng dede WHAAAAT).

At after ilang konting minuto ay makakarating ka na din sa rangers camp ng Pulag! Sa rangers camp madaming bahay na pwedeng tulugan doon na around 200-250 lang at least di ka na magdadala ng tent at pwede mo iwanan bag mo para less hassle umakyat. Pero pwede ka ding magtent, may free will ka, ito ay iyong gamitin kasi mapapanis yan, sayang naman.

Nakakatuwa dito ay very healthy ang foods! Carrot ice candy, carrot pancake, vegetable okoy at kung ano ano pa na maaappreciate mo bigla ang carrot ganon at maliliwanagan ka sa buhay. 

Malamig man at matigas sa labas, matamis naman ang katas!

At wag ka, sa rangers camp palang ay medyo malamig na. Kaya kung aakyat ka sa ilang camping sites doon kung saan pwede magtent. Well kaya nga camping site diba ano ha ano di makaintindi?! Sa camping site, may sea of clouds na ganap kung swerte ka!

“Kunan moko yung padeep na mej mysterious at adventchurus”

“Kunan moko yung parang sumisigaw at nagmomove-on pero nakatalikod basta isipin mo pano yon kaya mo yan sikapin mo pilitin mo tibayan mo”

“Kunan ko kayo yung para kayong couple sa talahiban naghaharutan pero demure lang baka isipin nila maharot kayo” 

At habang palubog ang araw ay madadama mo ang lamig. Well pati yung dilim na medyo literal na dilim. Pero mas mararamdaman mo ang lamig. Akala mo manhid ka? Akala mo malamig na ex mo na hindi mo naman talaga ex kasi naglandian lang kayo ng 2 weeks? MALI KAYOOOOOOO! Malamig as in!

“Ang lahat ng bagaaaAAAy ay magkaugnAAAAaaaAAAy”

“QuEEn inUh ka bq8t dEe Mu acQueax kRushH unPayRr”

At may eksenang pagbobonfire na di ako sure kung pwede ba ‘to I mean isn’t his like uhhh a hazard to our mother nature pero baka bugbugin nila ako kapag umalma ako diba sabihin nila bat di na lang ako naging Jollibee tutal bida bida ako sabay tulak at gugulong ako mula pulag tas ang dulo ng gulong ay pampanga na. ANLALAAAAAAA! (Pero pinatay naman nila agad hehe)

At dahil ang mountain weather ay unpredictable, biglang umulan ng malala kaya hindi nako nakapiktyur kasi putik is real! Madali lang ang climb sa pulag lalo na kung sanay kang umakyat ng bundok na ala Batulao o Balagbag. Aksyuwalee mas madali pa ‘to sa Mt. Ulap! Kaso mas challenjing dahil sa putik at lamig. Mula rangers camp ay tutungo sa camp 1 na kalma lang ang lamig. Hindi ka pa magsusuot ng malala tipong ok na ang dalawang patong na pang ilalim at dalawang layer din na pantaas kaso mataba ako at isipin niyo yon oha nagkasilbi din itong paghihirap ko. WHAAAAAAT!

Mula camp 1 ay tutungo na sa camp 2 at madadama mo na ang pagakyat at pagbabago ng kapaligiran tipong from medyo forest with flowers ay magiging mossy forest na very virgin na virgin sa kaguluhan ng mundo! Dito medyo lalamig na kaya magpatong ka na ng isa pa!

Mula camp 2 to summit ay pinakamaganda kasi feeling mo ikaw si Alice sa wizard of oz at may yellow rock road na susundan na kung di maulan ay magndang kuhanan kaso ANUNA more more mantya! After ng konting tumbling mararating mo na ang tuktoooook…

Tulad ng sabi ng karamihan, swertehan talaga ang sea of clouds at sadly itong sige sa mantya edition ay puro fog ang hatid tipong damang dama mo na basang basa ka sa ulan at walang masisilungan at walang malalapitan. WHAAAAAAT! Pero siguro kung clear lang, napakaganda ng view. Pero walang tatalo sa i lo-view. WHAAAAAAT!

At dahil jan babalikan kita ulit Pulag! Babalikan kita at dudurugin! WHAAAAAT! Dahil nga sa buhay dapat di tayo sumusuko. Parang inuman lang, susuka oo! Pero susuko? Hindi. Laban laaaaaaaang!

Hanggang sa susunod na adventuuuuure! 

10

Banaao: Feb. 11 - 12

Our host organized another outing for us. It was a mix of a trek and a cultural experience. We first hiked up a mountain in the middle of a valley; much easier and simpler climb than the previous week. For lunch, we went to the near by lake where some locals prepared a boodle fight. A traditional feats for special occasions where rice, fish, and a broth are laid out on banana leaves and you must eat you fill! And silverware is not used, only your hands!

That night, we were invited to attend a bonfire and traditional dance that usually only happens on weddings and holidays. The local kids had a pop song and dance for us, the high schoolers tried out their traditional Igorot dance, and some local elders showed used their best moves. Afterwards, we were invited to try out the dances and instruments. It turned into a show for the locals. As soon as we started moving, a huge outburst of laughing and giggling ensued and continued until the dance was over!

The next day, we climbed up some of a mountain to a tall waterfall before heading black to the farm.

4

Mt. Kalugong Eco Park. (La Trinidad, Benguet, PH)

When in Baguio, make sure to visit Mt. Kalugong Eco Park, a taxi can get you there within 20-30 minutes, if traffic conditions are favorable. It’s an easy hike, you’ll reach the Eco Park from the highway within 30 minutes. Some taxi drivers might drop you off near the park entrance so you’ll save time walking on a steep road. 

What you’ll get? A magnificent view of the whole La Trinidad and Baguio City, awesome rock formations that you can climb, uncrowded place and cool breeze. And if you’re lucky enough, you might witness sea of clouds and awesome sunrise.

Tip: If you’re planning on going there to catch the sunrise and you see the gate locked, text or call the number posted on the signage near the entrance. Also, DON’T LITTER.