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.
As soon as we reached the dirt road, I knew I was in trouble. I was on my way to Lake Holon in South Cotabato driving a rented motorcycle along with fellow travel blogger Louie of A Nomad’s Perspectives. While the view was nothing short of spectacular, the terrain seemed to be a few levels above my motorcycling skills. Apparently, my concept of rough roads in Manila is very different from rough roads in Mindanao.
For the longest time, the Antique Rice Terraces remained undiscovered. Locals were aware of its existence, but never really gave it a second thought. For them, it was just a field in their backyard that they tilled to get rice for their everyday needs.
Osmeña Peak is the highest point in the island of Cebu, a province in the Philippines. Standing 1,013 meters above sea level, this stunning site offers a dramatic view of jagged cliffs with a view of the sea in the distance. Locals often liken the view to Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. But instead of rolling curved mounds, the hills here have sharp protruding peaks. Set amidst the limestone cliffs, the hills resemble a field of gigantic green Hershey’s Kisses. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen during previous hikes.
Mount Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991 is one of the most devastating natural calamities in Philippine History. After 600 years of dormancy, Mt. Pinatubo’s erupted. Said to be the second largest eruption of the 20th century, the effects of the eruption were felt worldwide.
Sometimes, we tend to take places in our backyard for granted. The nearer a destination is from where we live, the less it is on our tourist radar. For instance, Art’s hometown is Binangonan, but for some reason, we’ve both never been to Mt. Tagapo, a mountain that falls under the jurisdiction of the towns of Binangonan and Cardona in Rizal province (though it’s only accessible from the Binangonan side). Mt. Tagapo, referred to by locals as Susong Dalaga, is located in the middle of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines. The first weekend of the year seemed like a good time as any to scale a mountain, so we we decided to finally head there.
On our last day in Batanes, after biking around North and South Batan, motorcycling around, and separate trips to Sabtang Island and Itbayat, Outside Slacker and I met up again in Basco to hike through a forest maze up a mountain. The thickly forested Mt. Iraya has an elevation of 1,009 metres (3,310 ft) above sea level, and is a major landmark of Batanes, the northernmost province of the Philippines.
Standing majestic and proud, Bud Bongao or simply Bud (Bongao Peak), is the major landmark that greets visitors to the island province of Tawi-Tawi, the southernmost province of the country, located in the Autonomous Region on Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
This mountain cliff is considered sacred by locals, who believe that it has a power to heal people of sickness and cleanse them of their sins. Many locals hike up to ask for blessings for good health, to pray in the Muslim shrines along the way, or as a form of thanksgiving. Continue reading
The first rays of the sun break on the horizon and warm orange light slowly seeps through the cold cover of clouds. As the veil of the night sky lifts, a sea of ghostly mist drifts by on the grassy rolling hills of Luzon’s highest peak.
This was how I envisioned my trip to Mt. Pulag, my first trip of the year and first ever ascent up a mountain (the second highest in the country). But that didn’t go exactly as planned.
What I got was bitter cold, rain, fog and mud so thick that it blackened my feet through my shoes and two layers of thick socks. There were times while hiking that I felt like one of zombies in “The Walking Dead,” just mindlessly shambling on, putting one foot in front of the other, wondering when the misery would ever end. Continue reading