Growing up in the province, my childhood friends and I used to enjoy camping sleepovers. On hot summer nights, we’d haul out banigs, folding beds and foam mattresses on the grass and “camp out” in our garden under a makeshift tent sewn together from my old protest streamers. We’d spend the night playing card games and board games like Monopoly, Cluedo and Pictionary and roast marshmallows and hotdogs in a mini-bonfire. Back then, we really felt like we were roughing it out. But there was always the security of parents just inside the house (providing us with real food), a decent bathroom and the option to move indoors if it rained.
When it comes to weekend destinations, Laguna is one of the most accessible provinces near Metro Manila. Most people driving cars usually approach the province from SLEX on the way to urbanized cities like Santa Rosa, Los Banos and Calamba. But from the Manila East Road, you can avoid traffic and traverse easily through the more laid-back towns on the Eastern side of the province.
These days, a lot of city folk want a taste of the laid-back provincial life. When life gets too hectic in the metro, just heading somewhere you can float on a bamboo raft, enjoy simple home-cooked meals and see stunning natural sights can be just what you need to re-energize for the work week ahead. One of the fastest-rising destinations to offer this kind of experience near Manila is Minalungao National Park in Nueva Ecija.
Nowadays, I’m realizing that having an action camera is a must for a lot of the activities I like to do. For the past years, I’ve been hauling a heavy-ass SLR during mountain biking, motorcycling and island-hopping trips. Ninety percent of the time, I end up just using my Smartphone, because it’s just such a hassle to take out the big camera from a bag when both your hands are occupied driving or if you’re in a water-based environment. I was really hoping to experiment more with video features for the blog this year. As luck would have it, Supremo Philippines sent me their latest action camera to test out.
After days of rain and gloomy weather that hampered our activities in the mainland, the sky finally cleared on the last day of our trip. Just in time too, since our destination for the day was the beautiful island of Palaui, just off the coast of Sta. Ana in Cagayan.
The first time I set foot in Palaui was back in 2011. I remember the roller-coaster like waves that propelled our boats towards the island where the ruins of an abandoned lighthouse sat atop a hill. There were a few rumors from locals that the hit reality show Survivor was going to be filmed there. Fast forward six years later, when I found myself one again with the tempestuous waves heading towards the island. Continue reading →
Hello, 2017! It’s been another year of travel and since I haven’t had time to write all of my backposts, a summary year-ender post should do the trick. I had a lot of trips to both new and familiar destinations, participated as a finalist in Wrangler’s True Wanderer competition, and finally got a motorcycle upgrade! Here are some achievements unlocked and noteworthy adventures in 2016:
I bought my scooter five and half years ago, about the same time I started this blog. The red and white Yamaha Mio Fino you see on the blog header is Chocobo, named after the gigantic bird-like creatures in the Final Fantasy video game universe which protagonists use to explore the world. Chocobos provide a faster way of getting from Point A to Point B than going on foot. They give you access to hard to reach areas, and open up new areas to explore.
Skydiving has been at the top of my bucketlist for the longest time. You may ask, why would anyone pay good money to step out of an aircraft door from thousands of feet in the air. The real question is why the hell not?
Be warned, this extreme activity is not for everyone. The build-up leading up to the actual jump can be nerve-wracking. Your mind goes on overdrive as you think of everything that could go wrong. But once you leap out of the plane, you’re overtaken by this overwhelming feeling of bliss. It’s pure zen as you freefall at 200 km/hour through the clouds. Skydiving is both exhilarating and yet so peaceful at the same time. Your whole body and mind just drifts as you plummet to the ground below at terminal velocity. You want the feeling to last forever.
Rizal is an adventurer’s playground often frequented by mountain bikers and motorcycle riders. The Sierra Madre mountain range east of Manila offers numerous off-road trails where you can ride through forests, beside river trails, or visit scenic spots with overlooking views. I’ve written a lot about places to visit in Rizal since it’s my favorite weekend destination near the metro. It’s hard to believe that some of these places exist so near Manila.