Mt. Kinabalu Day 2 | The Summit and the via Ferrata

This is the continuation of the first part. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you to click on this link first.:)

They say that every summit in the world is just walking distance to every person who sets his heart to it. Months before climbing Mt. Kinabalu, I was all just set for reaching its summit that I considered the via ferrata as just a bonus if I would be able to make it to its cut off time. I mean, climbing Mt. Kinabalu at its height of 4095+MASL and is considered to be the highest in South East Asia is already a feat itself. My original plan honestly was to avail just the regular route (without the via ferrata) but since I was told by Sir Tristan that there were no more slots for it and only the Via Ferrata was available, I had no other choice but to just say yes to it and accept the challenge accompanied by it. After all, not everyone has the opportunity to experience it.

Preparing to Assault

Preparing to Assault

Call time for the summit assault was set at 2AM so we all had to wake up by 01:30AM to allow us to prepare and take a light breakfast. I was glad that I didn’t have a hard time sleeping in Pendant Hut so waking up wasn’t that difficult as well. They provided us with cozy sleeping bags enough to make us feel comfortable despite the cold weather. I had a total of 4-hours of continuous sleep that refreshed me. I wasn’t feeling any light headedness anymore upon waking up. Probably because my body was already able to acclimatize overnight. Thank God!๐Ÿ™‚

10152562_752426148125370_6893263446075866456_nI had 3-layers of jacket with me during assault: 2 fleece and 1 waterproof since I was told that the summit could shoot down to a negative degree centigrade. I was also wearing a thermal baselayer to make sure that I’m protected since I’m a naturally lamigin person. But nah,ย  I actually overestimated the coldness that time. I forgot to consider that the assault is going to be physical and going through a series of stair climbs would really make us sweat. That’s why after a few kilometers of climb, I had to remove 2 of its layers and put them at my backpack. I was left then with my thermal baselayer and my waterproof jacket.

From Pendant Hut to the summit, it would take you another distance of 2.72km and an altitude gain of almost a thousand meters in height. It started with a harmless stair climb made of woods that quickly became steep stones. My headlamp would turn off every after few minutes of using it and got busted eventually in the middle of the climb. Good thing the moon was really bright and full during that it served as my light all the way up. My mountain guide who was behind me was also lighting my way with his small held flashlight.

Last 1.6 km!

Last 1.6 km!

We passed through the 700m “Danger Zone” wherein we had to rely on ropes that would help us scale up from the slabs of granite rocks in front of us. I remember myself stopping at every moment I’m feeling tired. I felt my backpack getting heavier as I’m feeling my legs getting weaker. Every step required me to breathe deeper than the usual. My mountain guide offered to carry my ~5kg backpack from the Sayat Sayat Checkpoint to the summit for 40RM. Good thing I was able to bargain his service for just 30RM! Whew! All just to make it to my goal of reaching the summit before 6AM.

Going past the Sayat Sayat checkpoint, wherein one has to register, we were faced with a long stretch of open-faced mountain. I felt the air thinning during this point. It was colder as well as the wind gushes penetrating at every crack of my face. But the view of the summit just kept me going as I utter my prayer, “Lord, give me strength. I can do this through You!” while silently singing Kari Jobe’s song Steady my Heart

Finally, the Kikay Mountaineer at the summit of Mt. Kinabalu

Finally, the Kikay Mountaineer at the summit of Mt. Kinabalu

My view from the summit

My view from the summit

At exactly 05:45AM, I was able to reach the summit! Yeheyy! Goal achieved! It was just in time for the sunrise! The sun was about to peek out the moment I reached the summit. I felt that God just set everything in time to make this climb oh-so-sweeter. Aahh! I can’t fathom His greatness by just looking at His wonderful deeds. The sky looks so low at this point as if I can reach it when I jump. I wish my camera could capture exactly as to how my eyes see the beauty and entirety of things every time God unveils something beautiful in front of me.

At the famouse Kinabalu Landmark

At the famous Kinabalu Landmark

with Anna, my trail buddy

with Anna, my trail buddy

There were a lot of climbers lining up to take their photo on the famous Kinabalu marker. I saw my teammates who were able to arrive there earlier.We stayed there for just a few minutes and had to go down to the Sayat Sayat Checkpoint where our via Ferrata descend starts. We had to be there before 07:30AM else we won’t be able to join them which has to start by 8AM. I was with Anna, my MMS new found friend, on our way down and we would take turns for each other’s photos.

My face of happiness upon reaching the Sayat Sayat Checkpoint

My face of happiness upon reaching the Sayat Sayat Checkpoint

The descend from the summit to the Sayat Sayat Checkpoint was a lot easier that we had almost an hour of slack time to take a lot of photos all the way down. Upon reaching the Sayat Sayat Checkpoint, we had to meet our Via ferrata guides who will accompany us during the Via ferrata descend. The via ferrata route is a ย protected mountain pathway consisting of a series of rungs, rails, cables and bridges embracing the rock face. It allows access to the scenic sections of the mountains that are typically available only to rock climbers and mountaineers. I already told on my previous post on how we were trained to use the ferrata.

Prepping up for the via ferrata

Prepping up for the via ferrata

Yay!

Yay!

Via ferrata in action

Via ferrata in action

There are actually 2 via ferrata routes to choose from the packages offered by Mountain Torq. First is the Walk the Torque- the simpler and shorter version wherein you can finish in approximately 2-3hrs and the Low’s Peak Circuit- the more challenging one since it is actually 3times the distance of the Walk the Torque. One of my teammates, Sir Ping, tried the Low’s Peak Circuit while the rest of us took the Walk the Torque.

10390126_10202167204965667_5144863164369712204_n10386832_10202167224806163_4936406265292838157_n10409780_10202167194725411_1637582440947211930_nIf you’re only after getting a taste of the Via Ferrata, I would suggest for you to just try the Walk the Torque. We enjoyed the first hour of this activity but doing it in the next succeeding hours was already tiring. The Walk the Torque experience is already exhaustive, what more for the Low’s Peak Circuit which usually takes an average of 5-6hours. To add on, the route is sun-facing so expect that the scorching heat could also zap the energy out of you.

The ferrata first group at the monkey bridge

The ferrata first group at the monkey bridge

At the monkey bridge

At the monkey bridge

Just some few tips if you have plans of doing the via ferrata in the future: bring gloves that would give you a good grip; a light windbreaker would be of help to cover you from the sun and from the sudden cold breeze; use trek shoes that also got a good grip; bring at least 1 liter of water, since I had mine carried by a porter, I was really very thirsty when we finished it.

That said, I can say that the whole via ferrata experience was ALL WORTH IT!!! I have no regrets of taking it and even spending more for it allowed me a better view of the world below. The adrenaline rush was one of a kind, it was one of those that you will remember and cherish in your lifetime. It was breathtaking! Both literally and figuratively! Haha!

Upon reaching Pendant Hut, we had a heavy breakfast then prepared for the descend. All of us took the the Timpohon trail, which is a standard descend trail for all the climbers. It was easier this time and we finished the whole 6km for just 3hours! Almost twice the speed of our ascend! At around 3PM, we were all back in the Timphon gate. Yeyy!

The Timpohon group!

The Timpohon group!

Whew! Thank you for taking the time to read this loong story! I hope that you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing about it. This climb just made me realize that indeed, Nothing is Impossible! And that God is a lot more BIGGER than what we think are our biggest fears! I hope this article encouraged you my dear reader to climb your dream mountain, and have that best “hooray!” of your life at the loudest and highest pitch on a higher ground. Just climb,ย  knowing that someday, the things that you will regret are those that you think you didn’t do when you were able to.๐Ÿ™‚

Mt. Kinabalu Day 1| The Timpohon Trail

I have been climbing for more than a year ever since I started my training with MMS just last year and had 16 summits as of this counting. Whenever I would reach the top and look down on the earth below, the euphoria of happiness lingers knowing that I made it through a rough trail. The harder the hike, the sweeter the summit indeed! Mountains like life always have its delightful way of surprising us, of challenging us, of giving us an opportunity to take the biggest risks in our entire life – and making them all worth it and us to believe in the impossibilities!

THE PREPARATION

The moment I said yes to join the Mt. Kinabalu climb October last year, I justย  know for myself that I have to rigorously prepare for it. I’ve heard and read stories about it, both the good and the bad. Given that it’s supposed to happen April of this year, technically I was given just 6 months to prepare –ย physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even financially! Whew!

I started doing my own training routines like running during the weekends that I am free. I would eat healthy muscle-building foods and had more servings than the usual as I planned to achieve a certain weight gain. So if you’ve noticed that I gained some weight, it was intentional! Haha! I would join in the climbs that my schedule permitted – both the major and minor since I believe that the best training for a climb is another climb. Yes, the consecutive climbs that I had prior were actually just for this one. Physically, I just know I needed a stronger quadriceps for the series of stair climb that’s gonna happen, a lasting body endurance, and a migraine-free head due to the risks of altitude sickness. For which if you’ve read my previous post about our Pulag climb- I just know that I have a high probability of failing to reach the summit knowing that Mt. Kinabalu is 1,173 MASL way higher than that of Pulag! Can you just imagine that?

The moment I realized that I’m part of those 10% of the population that gets Altitude Sickness, I just know that Mt. Kinabaluย  is going to be a challenge. Many times have I thought to back out due to my physical condition, but 2Corinthians12:9 reminded me of God’s promise My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. This became my weapon to strengthen me mentally and spiritually. My family and friends were also in full support for this endeavor of mine offering words of encouragement, cheers, and prayers – they all meant a lot.

THE CLIMB

It wasย  a 7-dayย  (April16-22) trip to Kota Kinabalu Sabah, Malaysia but only the 3rd and the 4th day were allotted for the climb. The rest are just tour around the city and in the major tourist attractions of Kota Kinabalu. The climb happened last April 18-19 composed of 9 mountaineers organized and led by Sir Mark Tristan Santos.

Given my condition and as prescribed by the doctor, I have to ascend slowly to lessen the impact of the altitude sickness. I also had to take the prescribed drug for this, the Acetazolamide, which needs to be taken 24 hours before the climb and every 12 hours once started. 3 of us decided to take the Timpohon trail while the rest of them took the longer and more difficult route, the Mesilau trail.

Our ID!

Our ID!

When we reached the Kinabalu Park, we registered via the Mountain Torq, a travel agency that arranges climbs for Mt. Kinabalu. We signed all the required documents andย  waited for our mountain guide. Rose, Sir Ping, and I took the shorter route, which I definitely didn’t regret of taking.

The starting point!

The starting point!

8AM, off we entered the Pondok Timpohon gate, the very first gate of our loooong and steep climb. I began by following Rose and Sir Ping but since they are naturally faster than me, I lagged behind them which gave me opportunity to take photos and climb at my desired pace.ย  There were markers at every 0.5kmย  reached along with the altitude level measured in meters.

Markers along the trail

Markers along the trail

Feeling dizzy already

Feeling dizzy already

As per my research, altitude sickness can happen to anyone regardless of physical strength, training, age, or gender. It would be difficult to anticipate that you have one unless you have climbed at an altitude higher than 2400 meters. In my case, my prior Mt. Pulag climb (2922 MASL) served as an acid test and made me really prepare for this one. I’ve read blogs on how to prevent it or at least lessen the impact of it. I had myself checked by a doctor to see if I am still fit and the medications that I should take given that I was diagnosed with Acute Mountain Sickness.

During the climb, I was very wary of myself and really made sure that I am ascending at a rate of 1kph. Using my watch and the markers, I was able to measure it. Rate = Distance/Time. A 1 kph rate allows me to reach my target time of arrival as well for us to make it to the Assault and Ferrata Orientation at Pendant Hut which was at 3PM. It even already gave me a slack time so I can rest a bit.

The Altitude Sickness indeed still hit me upon reaching the 3.0 km marker which is already at 2455MASL. But the impact wasn’t that much compared to my Pulag climb. I threw up after I passed the 4.0km. Good thing, I was with my very nice mountain guide when this happened. He would tell me to rest for 15minutes at every kilometer. There was even a point in time that I think I had a quick nap in the middle of the trail and one random climber had to wake me up by giving me an acupressure in my right hand. Haha!

Photo c/o Sir Tristan when he passed by me

Photo c/o Sir Tristan when he passed by me

1 more kilometer!

1 more kilometer!

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Getting Stronger!

The Sayat Sayat Trees

The Sayat Sayat Trees after the Layang Layang junction

As the saying goes, difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. Prior the climb, I’ve been warned of the never ending stair climbs that were made through piled rocks. It was indeed difficult and could take your breath away – both literally and figuratively. The whole trail was beautiful and drastically changes from time to time like a movie scene. From a green mossy forest to a beautiful Zen garden-ish ambiance as if someone crafted it out in the middle of nowhere!

Pendant Hut Finally!

Pendant Hut Finally!

The Timpohon Teamwith our guide plus Anna the photobomber ;)

The Timpohon Team with our guide plus Anna the photobomber๐Ÿ˜‰

I saw the Mesilau Team coming (Anna, Lea, and Carlo) while I was resting at the 5.0km Pondok so I already went with them on their way up. We reached the Pendant Hut at 02:20PM. This is where we will be staying overnight and where we will have the orientation for the next day’s assault and via ferrata descend.

From the Timpohon gate to Laban Rata, it covers a total distance of 6km (Mesilau is at 8km), and a gain of 1400 meters in height, I completed everything at roughly 6 hours (8:15AM-2:20PM). Which was actually my desired pace, 1km/hour.

Assault and Ferrata Orientation

Assault and Ferrata Orientation

Getting ready for the Ferrata training

Getting ready for the Ferrata training

How to do the Ferrata

How to do the Ferrata

The orientation started at 03:30PM, so we had ample time to take a hot comforting shower after that long tiring trek. It was so refreshing and made me feel better. I wasn’t feeling dizzy anymore this time but the cold temperature crept in. Notice that we were all wearing our jackets still even though we’re already inside. That’s because we’re actually staying above the clouds- look at the below picture showing the view outside our window!

The view outside or window at Pendant Hut

The view outside our window at Pendant Hut

The orientation lasted for around 1 hour which was composed of a lecture of the expectations during the next day’s assault, the itinerary, and a comprehensive training of how to do the via ferrata. Almost all of us were first timers that’s why everyone was so participative. We also had to sign waivers for this activity.

At the Laban Rata Restaurant

At the Laban Rata Restaurant

Buffet Dinner at Laban Rata

Buffet Dinner at Laban Rata

Dinner was served as early as 6PM since we have to sleep early for the 2AM call time for the summit assault. It was a buffet dinner that we can eat everything we want. But since I threw up hours prior, my stomach cannot handle a large amount of food. But I made sure that I ate enough.

The view outside the Laban Rata restaurant

The view outside the Laban Rata restaurant

After dinner, we had some photo ops outside the Laban Rata restaurant. It was a perfect sunset scene that was covered by cumulus clouds. We then went back to Pendant Hut to prepare for the things needed during assault and to sleep and gain energy. As early as 9PM, I was able to sleep probably due to tiredness already. Whew! This is it!

*My next blog entry covers the assault and the via ferrata descend๐Ÿ™‚

Mt. Pulag | The Sea of Clouds Amidst the Altitude Sickness

The sunrise at the palm of my hand

The sunrise at the palm of my hand

Mountain climbing per se is an activity that has to be done by people with unceasing tenacity. Adhering to the fact that it entails moving out of your comfort zone alongside your goal of reaching the summit. From the vantage of the lofty summits, I can dream of a lot of things- more of the future. The perspectives that I gain from summits after summits are insurmountable enough reasons to tell those people on why I think differently at my young age. Truly, the euphoria gained through mountaineering is just difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t camped at a 2,922MASL elevation, or to someone who hasn’t experienced standing above the clouds.

At the Ranger Station

At the Ranger Station

The Pulag Gang

The Pulag Gang

A lot of people were already asking for my Mt. Kinabalu climb. But prior that, I cannot miss to write about our Mt. Pulag climb which came in before my Mt. Kinabalu climb and how it became so significant. It was an accolade of a one-of-a-kind experience of ups and downs, literally and figuratively yes. With its title, you probably already have an idea of how my second Pulag climb experience went.

I was able to experience Mt. Pulag already the first time I climbed it November last year via the Akiki Trail. But climbing it this time with my closest set of friends who are climbing it for the first time made me really giddy that the moment they told me that they wanted to join the MMS 20th Anniversary Open Climb, I had no choice but to go with them. Haha! Lucky, Nitu, Rizza, Joan, and Lidie joined with us. They also invited friends whom I just met that time: Ceng, Doris, Ralph, and Wap. Most of them were first time climbers. That’s why days before the climb, I would send them message on what they should bring and how they could prepare for the climb.

Breakfast at the Pinkan Jo

Breakfast at the Pinkan Jo

We followed the itinerary set by MMS. It was Friday night, 10PM, when we gathered in Victory Liner Cubao to board a bus heading to Baguio. Upon arrival, we waited for the jeepney that brought us to the DENR office, then to the Ranger Station where the jumpoff point is. We had our usual breakfast stop over at the Pinkan Jo Snackhaus.

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The Ambangeg trail or the so called “Executive Trail” has long been familiar to me since we descended via this route during our Pulag climb last year. But ascending through it gave me a different feeling. Still, its fame of having a picturesque view alongside the long and winding road fenced with pine trees was still there. Via the Ambangeg trail, you have to start at a high altitude already unlike in the Akiki trail wherein you really have to start at a much lower elevation.

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Since we are a big group, we had to form mini-groups during trekking. I had Lucky, Nitu, Rizza, Ralph, and Wap climbed with me at the last group. From the Ranger Station, you have to walk a total of 8km to reach the Saddle campsite. I took photos of them while ascending though the terrain. You can feel the cold air already while ascending but nevertheless, the weather was favorable.

Getting miserable

Getting miserable

So here comes the twist of the story. At the middle of the trek, I felt some lightheadedness and had to vomit. So there, I got bitten by the so-called altitude sickness*. I threw up and released all the food I took during breakfast and lunch. I started to lose my appetite that every time I would try eating my trail food, I felt like vomiting. With zero calories to burn, it made me weaker and slower to ascend. I tried to take in trail foods and even the Gatorade that I have, but none of them worked. I would threw up at every moment I took them. The condition accompanied me all throughout my trail to the campsite. I just couldn’t thank God enough for my bestfriend Lucky who never left me all the way up. She would assist me and check if I’m okay. We even had to swap our bags because mine was heavier and my body was getting weaker already. We were also with Wap who was having momentary cramps that time. So technically, Lucky had to attend at her 2 patients that time. Haha!

*If you’re not yet familiar with what altitude sickness is, let me google it for you- here’s the link. And if you also experienced it during your Pulag climb, chill! You are not alone!๐Ÿ˜‰

With my bestfriend, Lucky

With my bestfriend, Lucky

It was a really humbling experience for me. Imagine an experienced mountaineer who has been consistently climbing, taking the Mt. Pulag via the Ambangeg trail, which has been deemed as one of those easy climbs and can be taken by first timers, getting miserable on climbing it. Haha! Whew! It was really demoralizing already (I guess) at some point knowing that I’m supposed to be taking care of my guests. But it turned out that they’re the ones who took care of me! They were even faster and stronger than I am!

We were the last group to reach the campsite. And since Nitu and Rizza went ahead with us, our tent was already set up when we came. The temperature was already very cold. I really wanted to take a nap with my condition. I asked them to start preparing the food while I rest. Told them I wasn’t making an excuse not to help, but I really just cannot. And I just know that these people are the kindest and the best and that they will understand. Hihi! I love you friends!๐Ÿ™‚

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Call time was set at 4amย  for the summit assault. I was feeling hungry since I haven’t eaten anything yet. I tried to take in a small piece of sandwich with me just so I can burn some calories during assault. But nah! I threw up again. So there, with a totally empty stomach, I went on with the assault with my friends. And with my very hopeful self of seeing a beautiful clearing with the sea of clouds and sunrise.

The sea of clouds finally! Wiii!

The sea of clouds finally! Wiii!

Hooray!

Hooray!

Whew! I felt like I climbed it for the very first time again since I missed to see this view during our prior climb here. The sun rays soothes through my nerves renewing my lost energy. The sight itself was refreshing as the sun reflects itself through the sea of clouds surrounding it producing an array of pastel colors. It was an enigma of feelings that could bring yourself to the wonderland for a moment. Aaahhh! Heaven it was! God, You are the greatest painter of all times. You just never fail to amaze me with your wonders.

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After a multitude of photo ops, we went back to the campsite to have our breakfast. I felt that I was already gaining my energy this time. I was already able to take in the food and never had to throw it up. Indeed, I’ve regained my energy back. The descend was much easier this time and I was back at my usual pace already. No more signs of altitude sickness. Thank God!

The descend

The descend

This is what I love about mountains. It expose its best grandeurs only to those who sweat and make an effort for it. They appease your suffering by lavishly rewarding you with great views pleasing to your eye and inner self. Mt. Pulag will always be memorable to me because of this climb. And despite the conditions that I’ve told, I just know that I will definitely climb it again in the future and will never get tired of repeating this climb.

Happy 20th Anniversary MMS!

Happy 20th Anniversary MMS!

Happy 20th Anniversary MMS! And thanks to my friends! You guys know how much I love you!โค

 

Mt. Malipunyo – Malarayat Range Traverse| Seven Summits

What do you do when you’re expecting something but didn’t turn out the way you expected it? Like when you’re expecting to hike just twin peaks (Manabu- Malipunyo) but turned out to be seven pala? Haha! That’s what happened during our Mt.Malipunyo – Malarayat Range Traverse hike we had just a month ago. It was so unexpected that some of us were already joking to back out after our guide told us that it’s gonna be an 11-12-hours of trek on the average. It was organized by the awesome Batch 2011 of MMS for their Anniversary Batch Climb led by Sir Paulo and Ma’am Glazel. And together with the other members of MMS (Aizel, Marri, Mars, Doc Tom) and our guests (Nerie, Bujoi, Philip, Pol), we made it through this climb feeling accomplished and happy despite the almost 12-hours trek. Hence, through our funny talks along the trail, a group called Team Bangis composed of the whole attendees of this climb was formed.

First Peak | Mt. Manabu

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Start of Trek

We started the trek at exactly 7AM through the Mt. Manabu trail which I’m still familiar with since we just hiked it last December (you may click on this link for our Mt. Manabu story). I can still remember the details of it. The used-to-be muddy trail of it was just so much better when we went this time. The weather was very favorable for the whole hike.

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Meet Mang Mario, our guide for the whole climb

We stopped at the Station 2 of Mt. Manabu to meet our very famous guide, Kuya Mario with his bolo. I’ve been seeing his photo in the other blogs I’ve read and I’m supposed to add up to his fame again through this blog entry.๐Ÿ˜‰ There were only 2 available guides for the Malipunyo – Malarayat range and one of them is Kuya Mario. I highly recommend him for aside from the fact that he’s very helpful in guiding us, he would tell us trivias and stories about his past experiences in guiding. He told us that he used to be the guide of the Seven Summiteer Romi Garduce when he went here before to hike. Kuya Mario is also really very funny and witty. Oftentimes, we would ask him to take a group photo of us and he would not click on the camera unless he finishes counting us and we had to be completely 11. Haha!

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The Malarayat Team

Group pic at the summit of Mt. Manabu

Group pic at the summit of Mt. Manabu

I can say that I was with a set of physically strong climbers that we made it to the Manabu peak in just 1 hour and 40 minutes! With very minimal stops, I saw the famous Manabu cross again at its peak. And that was I guess served as just the warm-up of our whole trek. 1 peak down! 6 more peaks to go!๐Ÿ˜€

Mt. Maraduhan and Biak na Bundok

Take five!

Take five!

Amorseko plants

Amorseko plants

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

From the Manabu peak, we went down to the campsite and descended through a forked trail that I’m already not familiar with. It was very dense that wearing warmers and leggings would really be of help. I remember getting a lot of amorseko plants in my whole clothing. I saw a number of the thorny teka-teka plants as well. Kuya Mario also warned us of the Lipa plant that gives you an itchy feeling once it touches your skin.

At Mt. Maraduhan peak

At Mt. Maraduhan peak

An hour after we left the Manabu peak came the Mt. Maraduhan peak. The trail going to this point is already established and the bamboo grasses alongside provide shades for the climbers.

Approaching Biak na Bundok

Approaching Biak na Bundok

Mang Mario's TriHouse

Mang Mario’s TriHouse

It was already 1100 when we reached the Biak na Bundok, just in time for lunch. Kuya Mario told us that during Pres. Marcos time, he ordered to create a highway that could connect Lipa, Batangas to San Pablo, Laguna crossing the Malarayat Range. Thus the reason on why the peak looked like divided into half.

Lunch Inside the TriHouse

Lunch Inside Mang Mario’sย  TriHouse

We stayed inside Kuya Mario’s tri house. I was expecting a house built at the top of a tree actually but there’s none. So I’m presuming it should be a tri-house (because it’s triangle?) and not tree-house. Haha! We had so much fun over lunch. It was my first time to climb with the Batch 2011 of MMS and I realized that they’re amongst the coolest I guess. Most of them were naturally born comediennes especially Marri and Mars. Their funny hirits and tactless comments made the group alive.

Using Aizel's Dual Cam at the summit of Biak na Bundok

Using Aizel’s Dual Cam at the summit of Biak na Bundok

Behind me is the Mt. Susong Dalaga

Behind me is the Mt. Susong Dalaga

One could see the Mt. Susong Dalaga from the summit of Biak na Bundok. On why it’s called Susong Dalaga, I’m leaving the answer all up to you my dear reader.๐Ÿ˜‰ It is however not part of our itinerary and climbing it would give us an additional 1 to 2 more hours of trek. Thus, on why we’re planning to organize a separate hike on it with the same group.

We left the trihouse and went to Mang Mario’s house where he allowed us to rest and get some water. We also met his family there and they were all so hospitable that they even allowed us to stay in the balcony of their house.

Descending via the improvised rope

Descending via the improvised rope

The Balete and Mt. Malipunyo’s 3 Peaks

At the Peak 2 of Mt. Malipunyo

At the Balete Peak

We resumed our trek to the Balete Peak and the last 3 peaks of Mt. Malipunyo. It was a long walk indeed under the scorching heat of the sun. We reached the Balete Peak at 1400. Then we went through peaks 2-3-1. I forgot to ask on why the numbers were not in order when we went there.

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At Peak2

View from Peak3

View from Peak3

At the Peak1 of Mt. Malipunyo, the last at last!

At the Peak1 of Mt. Malipunyo, the last at last!

After reaching the Peak1 of Mt. Malipunyo, which was apparently the 7th and last peak of this climb, we then commenced with our descent which roughly took 2hours. We reached the final jumpoff point at 1845 where we also had our long-been-awaited shower. Afterwards, we feasted over the famous Batangas Lomi for dinner at a carinderia in front of the Lipa Bus terminal.

I love this shot, Mang Mario and his jungle bolo with Kumander Marri

My fave shot, Mang Mario and his jungle bolo with Kumander Marri

Words of Wisdom

Life sometimes offers us more peaks to climb, even more than what we expected. But what’s more important is for us to face them with all confidence and strength. Accept the challenge. Celebrate each milestone. And rejoice that you made it through those peaks. I enjoyed this whole climb despite the surprise that it gave us during the start.

Congrats to the Malipunyo – Malarayat Range team and to the MMS Batch 2011 for this successful climb!๐Ÿ˜€

Suggested Itinerary

 0300-0330- Assembly at Jam Bus Terminal (Kamias)
 0330- ETD Lipa, Batangas
 0530- ETA Lipa, Batangas
 0530-0600- Meet up @ Mcdo Lipa/ Quick Breakfast/ Buy Packed lunch
 0600- Tricycle ride to jump off/ Register
 0630- ETA jump off: Brgy. Sulok, Sto. Tomas, Batangas 
 0645- Start Trek to Station 8 
 745- ETA Manabu Peak Sightseeing/photo ops
 0830- Resume trek. Proceed to Biak-na-bundok
 1200- Lunch at water source/Siesta
 1245-Resume Trek going to Malipunyo summit
 1500-ETA Malipunyo Summit/ Rest/ photo ops
 1530- Start Descend
 1700- ETA Brgy. Talisay, Lipa /wash up 
 1900- ETD back to Manila
 2100- ETA Manila

Expenses

132 Bus fare Cubao-Tambo Exit
8 Jeepney ride fee going to Mcdo Lipa (meeting place)
40 Jeepney ride to Jumpoff per pax
110 Guide service per participant (12pax)
15 Ligo fee
46 Jeep fee per pax going to Lipa (from Talisay)
20 Reg fee @ Brgy Hall
40 Lomi Special
132 Lipa to Cubao
Total ~ Php600

Mt Daguldol | Better and Stronger

So there, after a month of waiting, I’m finally blogging about our Mt. Daguldol Climb. Haha!

I was so charged up with this climb not just because of the multiple offers of this mountain that I’ve been hearing, but because I’m climbing with our Batch 2014 trainees for the first time! I reminisced our first minor climb during our time way last year in Mt. Nagpatong and Mt. Buntis and how eager I was towards mountain climbing. The enthusiasm that our trainees showed during this climb was just so fascinating that I really enjoyed sharing my experiences with them. And yes, it has been exactly a year of climbing mountains after mountains for the Kikay Mountaineer! All by God’s grace! Yeyyy!๐Ÿ˜€

We were just 13 in our batch last year and surprisingly for this year, they just doubled our number! Some were not able to join the first minor climb for different reasons but nevertheless, I can say that the whole climb is still awesome and memorable!

DAY1

The group assembled at the RRCG Bus Terminal in Buendia, Pasay bound directly to San Juan Batangas and left at 0600. It was already 0900 when we reached the town of San Juan. This is also where our rented jeepney will meet us and bring us to the jump off point.

Upon arrival, some of the group went to the nearby market to buy foodย  and camping necessities while I stayed in this restaurant and had breakfast. I was actually looking for some fastfood resto like Chowking, Mcdo, Jollibee, or the likes but didn’t find any. The Cafeno caught my attention for its interior. They made use of broken sewing machines as their tabletop and there were paintings and artworks that are hanging all over the walls of the place. The food is pricey though, as expected.๐Ÿ˜€

At the Cafeno

At the Cafeno

It was a long, bumpy, and very dusty jeepney ride before we arrived at Sitio Biga, the jumpoff point. And unlike with the blogs that I’ve previously read wherein mountaineers had to walk along the shoreline prior getting into the jumpoff point, our jeepney already brought us there directly. There were carinderias there selling lutong bahay ulam at a reasonable price.

THE ASCENT

The Yellow Team

Lunch muna with the Yellow Team

After lunch, we then prepared for the estimated 4-hour trek. Prior the climb, we were already advised by some members that Mt. Daguldol is not really that easy for a first time climber since it got lots of assaults although it stands at just 670+ MASL. True enough, it really does. But it got lots of covered stops as well that allow you to rest and take five. The trail passes through a series of forests and woodlands so expect that it’s really shady.

Our take fives!

Our take fives!

Some of the stops even got sari-sari stores that sell halo-halo, buko juice, softdrinks, and some snacks.

I was with these cute couple, Rex and Jeny, whom I also met for the first time. They were so sweet that I enjoyed observing them along the trek while Rex supports Jeny the whole time. And since the climb just happened a day after Valentine’s day, probably they still got those romantic blues and this is supposedly their climb date, my thoughts. Made me again realize that the guy that I should be praying for must be able and willing to climb the mountain with me wholeheartedly. Haha! Chos!๐Ÿ˜€

Rex and Jeny, my new fave couple

Rex and Jeny, my new fave couple

It was indeed a 4-hour trek inclusive of our stops that we were able to reach the Niyugan campsite at around 5PM already. It is huge that got green rolling slopes and very suitable for camping. The view atop is not that spectacular unlike the other mountains I’ve been to but since it’s a coastal mountain, expect that it got that refreshing breeze. It was really windy that when our trainees were preparing for our cookfest activity for that night, the wind was an added challenge.

The view at the summit

The view at the summit

One of our annual activities in our organization is the Cookfest wherein our trainees are grouped and they have to prepare a complete set of meal of the cuisine assigned to them. It happens every first minor climb. During our time, I am proud to say that we were the champion here! Wiii!๐Ÿ˜€

Our trainees during cookfest

Our trainees during cookfest

The Judges

The Judges

That night was a feast of Mexican, Indian, Korean, and Japanese cuisines. I felt like we just brought in Shangrila’s Circles at the summit of Mt. Daguldol. All of them cooked really well that I, with the judges, were so emotional that we can’t even decide who should win. It was a tough fight between the four groups but sadly we had to choose just one winner and it was the Indian group.๐Ÿ™‚

DAY2

The sunrise at Mt. Daguldol

The sunrise at Mt. Daguldol

What I love about multi-day hikes is the opportunity for me to wake up at the summit and see the captivating sunrise. I’ve always been after the dramatic peeking of the sun as it mesmerizes me. I love how things around of me were just automatically set aside and how I get myself so focus on it as it reveals its glorious fire.

Selfie with Katorse

Selfie with Katorse

After our countless photo ops, we then had our breakfast then started to prepare for our descend.

Trese at Mt. Daguldol

Trese at Mt. Daguldol

The members and the MMS Batch 2014 trainees

The members and the MMS Batch 2014 trainees

Our descent was at a faster pace as expected. Be extra careful as you go down since there are really steep and slippery slopes along the way. Bring your trek poles, they are really of big help. And make sure that your shoes got a really good traction underneath.

My fully loaded bag

My fully loaded bag

Another thing I’ve noticed during the course of this climb was the load that I was carrying. I realized as I descend that my shoulders were not complaining anymore given that I have a 40L load plus my tent with me. I decided not to share load with my tentmate anymore as I am trying to push myself as well in carrying it. I used to be very careful in carrying loads that are beyond what I can carry as I was diagnosed with mild dexteroscoliosis even before I started with mountaineering. My back and shoulders used to get hurt easily even by just carrying my laptop bag. Whew! A year of climbing mountains has indeed improved my condition. Not only that, because I’ve also outgrew my asthma already. I can’t remember anymore the last time I had one. Proofs that I am indeed a better and stronger version of myself a year ago.๐Ÿ˜€

The descent

The descent

At the jumpoff point, Sitio Biga

At the jumpoff point, Sitio Biga

Our whole descent just took 3 hours that we reached the final jumpoff point at 11AM. Just in time for lunch!We then drenched ourselves in the Laiya Beach alongside afterwards.

At the Laiya Beach

At the Laiya Beach

With Ma'am Donna and Sir Al

With Ma’am Donna and Sir Al

It was another milestone unleashed for me as I consider this hike as my Anniversary Climb. Indeed it is true as how the saying goes that it is not the mountains that we conquer but ourselves. It was in weakness, in fear, and in deep trembling that I came to realize that I am merely just human andย  that I needed someone so powerful to fill in those gaps. And until up to this moment, I will always and forever be grateful to the One who gives me the ultimate strength, God.๐Ÿ™‚

Congratulations Batch 2014 for a very successful First Minor Climb! I look forward to seeing you guys conquer yourselves as well!๐Ÿ˜€

The Kikay Mountaineer at the summit of Mt. Daguldol

The Kikay Mountaineer at the summit of Mt. Daguldol

SUGGESTED ITINERARY

DAY 1

0500 Assembly at 7-11 Buendia near Taft Ave. Pasay City
0600 ETD San Juan Batangas via RRCG
0800 ETA San Juan Batangas, near market place
0830 BREAKFAST, Last call for Palengke
0845 ETD Brgy. Hugom via charter jeep
1000 ETA Brgy. Hugom, REGISTER/arrange for Guides
1030 ETD Jump Off
1100 Start Trek
1300 ETA Mang Lizardoโ€™s House, Late LUNCH
1330 Resume Trek
1530 Lower Campsite
1600 ETA Biliran ng Limatik; Set Camp
1900 Dinner, Socials
2200 Lights Out

DAY 2

0500 Wake Up Call
0530 Prepare Breakfast
0630 Break Camp
0700 Start descent
0900 ETA Mang Lizardoโ€™s House
0915 Resume Trek
0920 Turn right to Naambon Falls
0925 Naambon Falls, Explore
1000 Resume Trek
1100 ETA Hugom Beach
1130 Wash Up
1145 Lunch, Free time
1330 Post Climb
1500 ETD Laiya Beach to Lipa City
1700 ETD Lipa Terminal
1715 ETD Manila
2000 ETA Jam Buendia Terminal

Estimated Expenses

GOING TO DAGULDOL
Fare from Buendia to San Juan 188/person
Jeep Rental 4000
Or take jeep to Laiya 40/person
Then Jeep to Hugom 50/person
Tricycle to Sitio Balkbakan 20/person
To Jump-off, additional350/jeep

GOING TO BACK TO MANILA
Jeep rental to Lipa City 4000/30 person
Bus to Manila125/person

OTHER EXPENSES

Registration Fee 35/person
Guide Fee 350/10 person
Beach Resort 50/person

Mt. Batulao | The Second Time Around

You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountain, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves. -Lito Tejada

True enough with the message of this quote, climbing Mt. Batulao the second time around together with the first timers of this mountain gave me that first timer excitement feeling also. Its scenic views and appealing landscapes I guess would forever be in my memory. That’s why the moment some of my friends initiated an invite to hike during that Holiday (Chinese New Year), I immediately suggested Mt. Batulao. This would be the first time that I would be blogging about this mountain though. I was joined by my colleagues in MMS (Aizel, Eduard, and Marc) and our guests (Pol, Rak, Bob, and Fats). So allow me to walk you through another blissful adventure of the Kikay Mountaineer.

Mt. Batulao has been one of those popularly hiked mountains for its accessibility, rewarding views, and variety of trails. It is recommended for beginners yearning towards experiencing hiking for the first time and at its best. Or simply if you find yourself inkling to escape from the city’s noise and pollution.

We took a bus at the Coastal Mall bound to Nasugbu, Batangas. It was a 2 hour ride to the Evercrest Golf Course. We took the chance to have lunch at one of the carinderias there before we hailed a tricycle to the jump off point.

ImageWe started our trek late at 1100 already so we had to take advantage of the remaining daylight. The trail welcomed us with this clear road which I thoroughly remember the first time I went here was very muddy that we even walked through those higher platforms. The weather during our hike this time was very favorable, not too hot and not even raining as well. The road was clear and desirable for walking. A chorus of kids asked to guide us but since I can still remember the trail by heart, and I also remember clearly that Batulao’s trail is very defined, we decided not to hire guides anymore.

ImageMost of our guests were first time hikers and beginners so we decided to take the New Trail the moment we passed through the fork between the Old and the New Trail. It got markers that numbered the peaks to the summit. It got uphills affording astounding views of the famous Batulao landscapes. There were a lot of mountaineering groups who climbed on that day. The crowd even created traffic in one of the narrow trails there.

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The girls at Peak 1! 9 to go!๐Ÿ™‚

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The Kikay Mountaineer at Peak 6

Our ascent continued along with our swift pace. We would celebrate every time we reach peaks by taking photos with its markers. They were like mini milestones and seeing each one of them unleashed one by one gave us that feeling that we’re up for the next level. Whew! Exciting!๐Ÿ˜€

The famous scenic trail of Mt. Batulao

The famous scenic trail of Mt. Batulao

Mt. Batulao will always be one of my favorite mountains. I would never get used to climbing it over and over again. And if I would be bringing up a friend who wants to try hiking for the first time, this mountain would always be at the top of my options. The green vivid open trails would allow one to see the wholeness of Tagaytay and Nasugbu

Team Batulao!

Team Batulao!

For just 2 hours and a half of ascent, we finally reached the summit. It’s surprisingly less than our estimate of 3 hours given that we had first timers with us. Good job team! We took the chance to take photos in here.๐Ÿ™‚

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The Kikay Mountaineer at the summit!

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Group Shot!

We stayed in the summit for roughly just 30 minutes then started with our descent. For my pursuit of variety and to feed up my curiosity as well on what the Old Trail offers, they agreed with me take it on our way down. True enough it brought us a lot of trail surprises which were no regrets. I could say that this is more challenging and longer than the New Trail though. We had to carefully go down through the boulders of rocks. There was also a part wherein we had to rappel our way down since it was very steep. Do not worry once you reach this part for I guess (based on my estimates) the rope is strong enough to handle the heaviest of a human weight.๐Ÿ˜‰

Rappelling our way down

Eduard rappelling his way down

Same thing with the New Trail, the Old trail got lots of “Ministops” that sells buko juice, halo-halo, softdrinks, and snacks. And indeed for some reason, they taste differently in the mountains. They’ve got added flavors leaving you asking for more!๐Ÿ˜€

Take five!

Take five!

Our descent was roughly just around 2 hours that we made it to the final jumpoff point before 1700H and to the highway by 1730H where we washed ourselves up. There were rented shower rooms in there that allow you to take a bath for Php20 per pail. Don’t forget to bring your jackets for the weather is already cold by night time.

Feasting over the Bulalo of The Grill

Feasting over the Bulalo of The Grill

We’ve planned to have our postclimb feast at Tagaytay and try one of those bulalohan restaurants in there. And since it was a Holiday on that day, almost all of the restaurants there were full and congested that we would jump in from one to another. We decided then to dine in The Grill amidst its long waiting time. The wait was all worth it anyway because their bulalo was indeed very special. Not sure if our extreme hunger contributed to that but it was the best bulaloย that I’ve ever tasted indeed so far. Haha!

Thank you so much Batulao team! I enjoyed and am very pleased with this hike! Till next time!๐Ÿ™‚

Budget for Transpo:

Bus from Coastal to Nasugbu (roundtrip) – Php210

Tricycle (roundtrip) – Php60

Registration (Php20 for each trail) – Php40

Jeep to Tagaytay – Php 20

TOTAL: Php330*

*exclusive of food

I Left My Heart in Anilao | Birthday Dive

“From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea, Creation’s revealing Your majesty”.

I remember these lines from the famous worship song of Chris Tomlin’s Indescribable. It has been one of my favorite songs and one of those that I would play in my playlist over and over. And if I were to create a music video of how I celebrated my birthday last January11, that would most probably be its background song.

I’ve added scuba diving in my bucketlist of to-do’s this year 2014 (along with surfing and whitewater rafting) but didn’t I realize that I’m gonna do it on my birthday. Woah! I didn’t know where that lakas ng loob was coming from that when I saw Doc Mai and Nadia organizing a Scuba Diving activity on that day, I just immediately said yes to it. I scrapped my original itinerary of having a Birthday Climb in Taal Volcano. Since I’ve been into mountain climbing, why not try something new this time? Why not explore the wonders of the underwater?

Add up the perkiness of my craziest and funniest set of friends who went with me (Lucky, Lorie, Jerimae, and Marvie), I do really had a blast! My friends have long been known that my love language is quality time. That more than receiving tangible gifts, I do really appreciate and love it the more whenever people go the extra mile just to spend time with me. Awww…

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The gang: Jerimae, Me, Marvie, Lucky, Lorie

DAY1 | Birthday Celebration at the Sea’s Spring Resort

Along with my co-MMS members Doc Mai and Ms. Nadia, we took a bus ride to Anilao, Batangas via JAM Liner Kamias. We boarded the Batangas City Pier bound bus at already 2PM. It was a long travel that we arrived at the Batangas City Proper at 5PM and waited for Ma’am Che who also went with us. We then took a Mabini-bound jeepney where the shuttle van that we rented will take us directly to the resort.

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Meeting Kiki and Patrick

It was already 7PM when we arrived at the Sea’s Spring Resort. They have a huge lobby that got a free Wi-Fi. We met Doc Mai’s Belgian Couple friends Kiki and Patrick. We were so surprised and very much amused by their warm greeting on us! It was as if we’ve met them for a long time already! They’ve got so much energy!

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Our room!

We took a dormitory Korean type room that can house 10pax, 5 on each side, just enough for the 9 of us. It was clean and spacious. The comfort/shower rooms are located outside and are for sharing with the other rooms. We were expecting for toiletries (shampoo, soap, conditioner, toothpaste) but we didn’t get any. Good thing Doc Mai has enough so we asked some from her since we missed to bring them. Towels are for rent for P50 each! So make sure to bring your own if you don’t want to pay.๐Ÿ™‚

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Birthday dinner!

The resort got a big dining hall and they do serve great set of Korean and Filipino food. They also got huge servings and every meal is ideal for sharing. We had bulalo, crispy pata, and pinakbet that night, all are win! But my most favorite is their pinakbet.๐Ÿ™‚ It was pricy yes, but we were blessed by the generosity of our Belgian friends, Kiki and Patrick. So we had them for free!!! Wiiii!๐Ÿ˜€ We had so much fun and laughter over dinner. Kiki was very funny despite her inability to understand English, good thing Patrick was there to translate everything for us. They’ve been such good friends of Doc Mai after they became her patient in her clinic. They’ve been married for 40 years already and they do travel a lot. I learned that Patrick dives because Kiki loves diving. Isn’t that the sweetest? Learning to love the things that your love loves doing, such a selfless act!๐Ÿ™‚ Doc Mai also brought a cake for me but sadly, they left it in the bus. Haha! It was probably meant for somebody else. But still, I loved her more for that!๐Ÿ˜€

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At the Hot Spring

After dinner, we took a plunge at their Natural Hot Spring Pools. The water is maintained at 39-41 degrees Celsius, soothing and relieving! Perfect for that cold Batangas weather. The water is alternately drained daily as per the maintenance personnel there so we’re pretty sure that it’s clean.

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At the Billiards Hall

The resort also got a Billiards Hall where we stayed after to kill time. It’s free andย  is open for 24 hours.

Marc, also one of my friends in MMS, made it that night despite the glitches that happened to him and his car (long story) just so he could join our scuba diving the next day.๐Ÿ™‚

DAY2 | Diving at Halo Dive Resort

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On our way to the Halo Dive Resort

We had a breakfast buffet in the morning and is inclusive of our accommodation fee. The food was great and we made sure that we had enough to strengthen us for our diving activity on that day. We were fetched by Sir Aris, our Dive Master, from the Sea’s Spring Resort and drove us to the Halo Dive Resort where our introductory diving training would take place.

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At the Halo Dive Resort lobby

We filled up a diving record form and signed a waiver form as well upon arrival.

Sir Aris Santos, our Dive Master

Sir Aris Santos, our Dive Master

Sir Aris Santos, our Dive Master, has long been diving. He is a Mechanical Engineer by profession and used to have a diving school in Tomas Morato. He used to be a colleague of Ms. Nadia in their previous company. He explained to us in details via lecture everything that we need to know about diving: the gears, equipment, hand signals, and expectations once we’re in the sea. He’s approachable and encouraged us to ask questions if things are unclear.

Diving Girls!

Diving Girls!

The sexiest that we can get so far. Haha!

The sexiest that we can get so far. Haha!

After the lecture came our pool training. Sir Aris together with Sir Hayde taught us how to breathe underwater using the regulator. If you’ve tried snorkeling before and already know how to breathe through your mouth, it’s gonna be easier for you this time. He also taught us on how to put back our regulator in our mouth in cases that we lose a hold of it, how to clear our face mask once it gets misty, and what to do if something’s not going well. We communicated via the hand signals that they also taught us. They’re pretty much easy to memorize, you just have to pay attention. I also had to make sure that the water won’t get in inside the face mask since I was wearing a graded contact lens. As some of you don’t know, I’m actually nearsighted and things get blurry whenever my contact lenses are out. Without them, I don’t think I’d be able to appreciate the view underwater and would defeat the purpose of my diving so I had to wear them on. Nevertheless, I had to choose a face mask that really fits my face so as not to let the water get in.

Pool Training

Pool Training

Hand Signals under the water

Hand signals under the water

After our poolย  training, we were then off to the sea! Yayy! We hired a boat (part of the package) that brought us to the middle of the deep Anilao Ocean. It was a 20-minute boat ride I guess, I barely noticed cos’ we were all so giddy already. We were mostly first timers except for Ms. Nadia, Doc Mai, and Lucky.

We're so eggzzzoooiittteedd!

We’re so eggzzzoooiittteedd!

Off to the sea!!!

Off to the sea!!! This is it!

We were grouped into three: Lucky, Jerimae, and I were the first; Marc, Ms. Nadia, and Ms. Che went the second; Doc Mai and Lorie went last. Sir Aris showed us how to do the flip-over to get into the water. I’m actually not that confident in the water especially if I can’t reach the floor anymore. Nevertheless, I can do threading, floating, and some basic swimming stint enough for me to survive the water. Haha!๐Ÿ˜€

The flip-over!

The flip-over!

Since they assured us that we will still float once we flipped over, I didn’t feel any kaba anymore during that moment. There was no resistance at all that’s why the roll was smooth and perfect. It indeed made us float afterwards enough for Sir Aris to direct to us the next steps. The next thing I knew was that I’m already submerged in the water.

Woaaahh!

Woaaahh!

First group!

First group!

That's meeee!

That’s meeee!

If there’s one thing that you have to master once you’re into scuba diving, I guess it should be the equalization. Once you go deeper, the pressure underneath increases. It’s different when you’re up the mountain wherein the pressure is at its low.ย  I had difficulty in equalizing at first so I had to go back to the surface and learn it the way I’m comfortable with. The blowing through the ears method didn’t work for me so I tried another method which was yawning then swallowing. This time, I got it better so I went back diving under the water and was more comfortable this time. I just learned later on that I had to blow it harder to have that squeeshing sound.

Done diving!

Done diving!

Happy Birthday to meeeee!

Happy Birthday to meeeee!

The view underneath is indeed breathtaking! It was as if I was flying through an open space and I can touch every fish that goes in front of me. There were corals of different kinds, clams of different colors, and sea creatures that were so unique to me. Although I’ve done snorkeling before, wherein you can only see through the surface of the water, scuba diving is indeed a lot more fun and exciting. Words are not enough to describe the things that I saw in there and the awesome feeling that I got from it. Its beauty is beyond measure! Whew! Extreme happiness indeed!๐Ÿ˜€

Success!

The diving team!

Feasting over Buffet Lunch!

Feasting over Buffet Lunch!

To celebrate our very successful diving activity, we feasted over a buffet lunch, which was actually inclusive of the diving fee that we paid. I felt really hungry that I actually had a lot for lunch. Haha!๐Ÿ˜€

Yeeeyyyyy

We say no goodbye to Halo, we say ‘Till we see you again!๐Ÿ˜€

After lunch, we went back to Sea’s Spring Resort and took advantage of the remaining time. We tried the two big slides there, the natural Bamboo Sauna, and the Hot Spring again!

Natural Sauna!

Natural Sauna!

Heart to heart with Lorie <3

Heart to heart with Lorieโค

We tried the slides!

We tried the slides!

Hot Spring!

Hot Spring!

Thank You Sea's Spring Resort!

Thank You Sea’s Spring Resort!

It was the best birthday celebration ever and most memorable so far! I would want to thank everyone who went with me- Lucky, Marvie, Lorie, Jerimae, Doc Mai, Ms. Nadia, Ms. Che, and Marc! Thank you so much and I love you all! Your presence guys are highly appreciated!๐Ÿ™‚

My Birthday Cake! Thank you girls! :)

My Birthday Cake! Thank you girls!๐Ÿ™‚

And much more gratitude to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for being so faithful to me for the whole 26 years of my life. Indeed, Your creations never cease to amaze me from the highest of heights to the depths of the sea. I just couldn’t ask for more!๐Ÿ™‚

**If you are also interested to try this introductory diving in Halo Dive Resort, feel free to reach out! We paid roughly Php3000 inclusive of the training fee, rental for gears, equipment, wet suit, boat, and buffet lunch!๐Ÿ™‚