Archive for November 2009

I am updating my bucket list – I went mountain climbing with my colleagues last weekend and conquered Mt. Pico De Loro (in Ternate, Cavite)! It is considered the highest point within the boundary of Cavite and Batangas with a 360 degree view at its summit.

We have been planning this climb (me and my colleagues) for the umpteenth time but it always gets canceled at the last minute because of the typhoon. First time that we were supposed to go for it, Ondoy was already rearing it’s ugly eye in Manila. The second time, Pepeng came and the third time (during the Holy Week), there was also a tropical storm (which was barely felt in Central Luzon). But at that time, I fell down the stairs and was badly hurt so I couldn’t go… so it got canceled again.

And then last Thursday, I was asked (again!) if I’m available to go ‘coz it looked like the weather is showing some mercy. And so, I canceled my PNR fieldtrip with Kuya Rod and confirmed that I’m going with the climb.

I am a novice climber (I don’t even hike!) and I have no idea what to wear and what to bring. Good thing, our guide was pretty apt and provided us with all the details. And since I don’t have anything at all that has a ‘for mountain climbing’ tag on it, I had to invest in a few things like my trekking shoes and my bag (don’t ask!), whichI’m glad I did, especially with the shoes because I honestly think it saved my life! The rest of the things like tent and sleeping bags, our guide was very kind enough to provide.

We were only seven in the group – me, another girl officemate, my two graphic design guys, Kuya Jun and two guides – Henry and Dre (new found friends) =) Since it was a very close-knit group, we kind’a had a bonding moment up there in the mountains.


We left Manila a little past 5am and arrived in Ternate at about 7:30. From the Saulog terminal, we had to take a tryke that would take us to the jump-off point along the Ternate Highway going to Caylabne Bay Resort – a point which they call ‘magnetic hill’ because of the magnetic force that seems to pull vehicles up even if they are in neutral mode. After fixing our stuff (we had to share some load) and a quick prayer, we started the one hour-trek to the ‘Kubo’ – also a refilling station for water and the last chance to take no.1 and no.2 because it also has a (close to) decent bathroom. We also ate our packed lunch (although it was far from lunch as it was only 9:30am). Less than an hour later, we were back on the trail, walking through muddy paths, tree roots, and rough stones. And after numerous take 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s (rest!), we finally reached the camp site a little past 1pm. I was soaking wet… with sweat! I only had barely (probably) 10 kilos to carry and yet, it felt like I was carrying the mountain itself. Our guides probably had more than 25 kilos and they breezed through the trail like hunters.


The guys found a perfect spot right by the cliff, with an amazing view of the summit and the tower. We almost even had an unfriendly encounter with these hikers who honestly reeked of lack of breathing and courtesy (they tried to take one of the spots for our tent without even coughing an excuse! Haay… but our guide said majority of the climbers are really nice and friendly and so that was an odd case. While the boys were pitching the tents, us girls took the time to freshen up for early dinner. What ensued was endless laughing and food trip, picture taking, and discussion about almost anything senseless… hehe. =)

It was probably 19 degrees at the campsite… it was so cold that my head started hurting before dinner. I changed into my jogging pants, put on a warmer, a bonnet and a scarf. We basked on the cold while oggling the magnificent view that was right in front of us. IWith shaking knees and a heartbeat as fast as a drumroll, I perched myself atop a rock that is at the edge of the cliff for a perfect Kodak moment. Too bad, the picture was a little dark.

We had early dinner. Henry, our guide is a really good cook I must say. And I was actually amused by the camping “gadgets” that he had like a portable burner that uses “canned” buthane as I like to call it. Then he has these little pots and frying pan which reminded me of my kitchen set when I was a kid. We had to be resourceful since we don’t have anything but what we brought up there. So, we lived through the wonders of wet wipes and tissues to clean our whatever we were using as plates and utensils. After dinner, the fun part followed – Socials. The first time the guide said this term, I thought we had to go around and greet other campers and to be honest, I wasn’t in the mood for that. Yun pala “socials” simply means getting boozed. The guys brought two long necks of Grand Matador and they made me drink… said it would get rid of my headache and warm me up a little (I was really freezing!) The next thing I know, I was downing the brandy like a pro. It was drizzling and rain suddenly poured down angrily so we had to scamper and fit all seven of us in the guys’ tent which was the biggest among the tents that they brought. Me and Keikostayed in the smallest, while the two guides in the middle-sized tent. It rained for quite a bit so we were trapped there, cramped and wet and just laughing crazily. It was all foggy when we got out and decided to call it a night. We had to get p at 4am to assault the summit before dawn.


Assaulting the summit while it was still dark (and uber foggy!) was extra challenge. We couldn’t see anything except the trail that was lighted up by our flashlights. Our guide said it’s better that we can’t see anything because we wouldn’t want to see what we were trekking on (a steep narrow cliff to be exact!) It was a 15-minute trek that seemed to last hours. Finally, we reached the summit! And there was an odd sign there that had an eye inside a triangle… looked like a cult symbol which the climbers were tring to put down. But wait… this wasn’t the victorious part yet…

Pico De Loro has a tower – a unique rock formation near the summit, which was more difficult to climb because it’s literally vertical and you had to rappel using this flimsy rope to pull yourself up. The steps are so steep and problem with me is my arms are too short so I had a hard time securing my grip on the rocks. As Henry puts it, “If you missed one (grip), we miss you… goodbye!”

Glad both of us girls made it at the top but we didn’t see much because the fog was so thick and the wind so strong that you have to sit down and attach yourself to something solid. The guys afraid that the rope might not be able to hold them chose to stay back. It was an accomplishment! My first climb! My first dangerous tryst and I made it! =)

More pics here.

Great Saturday, thank you Jesus! =)

I woke up earlier than usual (10 am this time because I normally get up around lunch time on Saturdays) and spent some hours doing the usual thing – read books, waited for the tv shows I missed watching, and just lounge around.

I passed up on the opportunity to plant some coffee seeds today (with the tree-planting program from igaro) because 1) it’s kind’a far (Rosario, Cavite ?), and 2) it’s too early (call time is 6am in Ortigas). Maybe next time…

instead, I had some bonding time with pop. We went to the friendly pirated dvd haven (MCS) to hoard some movies. I bought: 500 days of Summers (which I just finished watching… cute), Julie and Julia (or Julia and Julie?), Inglorious Basterds (with Brad Pitt mah mannnn), Funny People, All About Steve, Glee (the series), and Mother (a Korean movie featuring WonBin!) =) Now, I just have to find time to watch the rest of them.

Pop also wanted to canvass for fridge (since ours broke during the Onyong flooding) and a washing machine so we went to Shopwise. Tsk.. we badly need both, especially the former. It’s so darn difficult without the fridge. Three days ago, mom’s freezer which she uses in her ‘sari-sari store’ also gave up.

Pop ate Shawarma for the first time (believe it or not) and it seemed he didn’t like it that much. Then I got ripped off buying an odd-tasting green mango… I ate like a man again today because I can’t help it…i don’t really wanna deprive myself.

Since my ride to dreamland will probably not be coming in the next two hours, I think I’m gonna watch Glee first… =)

Wow. Kudos to me today… rather, this weekend.

I am more vertical than horizontal for the first time in so many months! Literally, I mean. Instead of lounging on my bed and hiding behind my pillows, I was on my feet most of the time, doing some house chores. It’s been so long since I moved like a normal household member and did the littlest of house chores you could imagine. I’ve been a lazy bum for so long… too long that I can’t remember when it all started. All I know is I stopped cleaning or helping clean the house because my mom kept on leaving mess all around with her things and when I confront her about it, we always end up arguing.

But I feel a little guilty because I was supposed to visit my HS bff and her newborn baby but because I’ve got lots to do, I’ve decided to just surprise her one of these days. (I don’t even know where her new house is now!)

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where because you wanted so much to accomplish a lot of things (not necessarily work-related), you find yourself doing two or more of them at the same time but still, you are far from being productive? Weekend after weekend, I find myself waist-down in such predicament. Before weekend comes, I’ve already planned a gazillion of things to do during the weekend – finish some books I’ve started, movie and tv-shows marathoning, play or at least touch my guitar (compose a song if I could!),have my ownMandarin and Korean refresher, finish the Miyazaki movies that my officemate has lent me months ago, paint my darn ceiling and fix my darn walls, mount some additional book shelves, buy a new and much larger closet, set up a working station in my room, blah, blah, blah… it seems endless.

Today, I found myself reading a book while watching tv and checking my work inbox. Then, not too long, I shifted to cleaning my closet and my whole room while downloading some MP3s and movies and posting at Twitter, while watching tv. I am such a taskwhore. I mean, it’s normal to multitask but I think I am leaning towards the extreme, which in some twisted way, I think is good (for me, especially these days!).

Oh well, I gotta shape up (literally and methaporically speaking) =)

What a Friday!

I had a funny notion that it must be my wearing jeans despite our company rule that says ‘No Casual Fridays! (and definitely no jeans) that started my whole Friday boo-boos. I am convinced it was karma on the works.

Boo-Boo No. 1 – I was in a hurry as I was running late this morning (Again!) and I couldn’t find a cab and of all the jeep that I chose to ride, I ended up with the one which needed to stop at a gasoline station for a considerable amount of time and moves like a tortoise.

Boo-Boo No. 2 – I saw the person who I don’t want to see. And I am pretty sure he saw me. And it would be ugly if we had to pretend to acknowledge each others’ presence. That’s how we hate each others’ guts.

Boo-Boo No. 3 – The biggest boo-boo of them all. I banged my head (forehead to be exact as I was looking down) on Jollibee’s glass doors. I walked straight onto a closed glass door with an impact. And since I was wearing earphones with Jesse McCartney shouting in my ears, I screamed louder than usual. I am pretty sure I created a raucous… some of them people laughed loudly to my embarrassment. NAKAKAHIYA!!!

Well, aside from my bruised forehead and battered ego, I am fine. Maybe I’ll just stay away from Jollibee Rufino for a while… =)

You, how was your Friday?

***

I just had to say this: I AM GETTING FAT. I must not be surprised considering the way I devour food like a crazy cast away these days but still… I can feel these nasty bumps, especially in my waist area. I wanna stop eating like an obese middle-aged man. HELP!!!

=)

I’ve been somewhere far recently…Guess where?!? v(^__^)v

I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in photography. Haha! Nice try. I don’t even know how to use a DSLR… I don’t even own one. Haay. I am itching to buy one but the 13-inch macbook pro is still on top of my list. Plus… my funds are still insufficient, to date. Sad, but true.

I really love taking photos and my favorite subject? The sky. I don’t know but it’s probably the calmness that I feel whenever I look at it. I love it when it’s blue with white cotton candy-like fluffy clouds spread out in its enormity. Kind’a like what we see in the coloring books of our childhood.

I love taking landscape photos. Of everything that is vast and green and bathed in sunlight. I like candid shots of people that depict happiness and conquering life as it supposed to be. Now, portrait shots aren’t for me…I take really silly ones. =)

Anyhow, I am trying to build up a collection of the photos that I took (with only my ever-reliable point-and-shoot Canon Powershot camera) during my travels in sxc.hu and it was kind of overwhelming when I received an email asking for my permission (or more like informing me) to use one of my shots of Angkor Wat. Now, it’s here.

Among my many ‘sky photos,’ this one’s my fave!

A cloudy Bantayan Island (summer of 2009)

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