Atburan Rockies is a very raw and unknown site with caverns and towering limestone rock formations hidden in the mountainous region of General Nakar, Quezon. Aside from locals who call it “Kulungang Bato,” the site has only been explored by a handful of outdoor enthusiasts and mountaineers from the UP Outdoor Recreation Group (ORG). In fact, when I was researching about the place, I couldn’t find any existing write-up or background information about the area.
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Whenever people ask me what the best destination I’ve been to in the Philippines is, it’s easy for me to say Batanes. In terms of raw landscapes, the northernmost province of the Philippines is really a dream destination. Though I love a lot of places I’ve been to around the country, Batanes is really special. It offers a unique blend of breathtaking scenery, natural attractions and well-preserved culture. Plus the locals here are just the most hospitable and kind people I’ve ever met. Everyone and everything here just feels so pure and good.
Tarak Ridge. The name alone (a combination of the words “tarik” which means steep and “tabak” or hunting knife) should have given me a clue of what to expect. Standing 1,130 meters above sea level, this mountain in Mariveles, Bataan offers a scenic view of Bataan, Corregidor and neighboring islands. On clear days, you can see Manila Bay all the way up to Cavite. But to enjoy the stunning view, you first have to go through a moderately challenging hike through dense grasslands and steep trails that involves clambering over roots and holding on to branches for support.
We got to the summit of Mt. Daraitan right after sunrise, that magical golden hour when early morning daylight bathes the landscape in a soft glow. The rays cast a hazy orange hue on one side of the jagged limestone rock formations. As I clambered to the top of one rock facing the East, I got a silhouette view of mountain peaks in the distance. The view of the snaking river below was obscured by a sea of clouds blanketing the rest of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.
The province of Isabela in the Cagayan Valley is usually overlooked as a tourist destination. While it’s second largest province of the Philippines and the largest in Luzon in terms of land area, not many tourists would go out of their way to spend a vacation here.
The island province of Bohol is one of the most popular and tourist-friendly destinations in the Philippines. This small island is packed with beautiful white beaches, stunning landscape filled with exotic animals and different fun adventures and activities. I’ve been to Bohol several times for family vacations, work and personal trips. As a solo traveler, I enjoyed motorcycling around Bohol to visit the various sites last year.
If you’ve ever played an RPG, you know that sometimes you just have to go back to a place you’ve already visited because you missed something very important. Maybe your skill level wasn’t enough yet to handle the obstacles or maybe the time just wasn’t right to visit a certain destination. Or maybe you just like the place so much that you want to visit it again. That’s the case for me with Daraitan, the scenic village nestled in the Sierra Madre mountain ranges between Tanay, Rizal and General Nakar, Quezon.
I encounter a lot of rough roads when I travel around in different provinces. Over the years, I’ve had a few spills while driving a motorcycle. In Sagada, I fell off an embankment when my tires skidded on loose gravel on a slippery wooden bridge. When we rode from Coron to Calauit Safari Park, we encountered dirt roads that got progressively worse as we drove on. While driving from Koronadal to Lake Holon in South Cotabato, I got stuck in a rut and the bike fell on me while I was trying to drive uphill a trail normally reserved for hikers.
Masungi Georeserve, a conservation area and karst rock garden hidden in the rainforests of Rizal, aims to protect the natural landscape through sustainable and responsible tourism. Since they opened to the public about a year ago, they’ve become a much sought-after weekend destination for those based in the metro. The Discovery Trail has visitors passing through caves, rope courses, hanging bridges, relaxing on a giant hammock and getting stunning views from a spiderweb-like viewdeck.