Nagsasa Cove, May 2016

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Forgive the couple shots. Always happy to have some alone time.

Hiking to the hilltop, Nagsasa Cove

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To get the iconic crescent moon aerial shot of Nagsasa Cove, you head to the rightmost part of the beach, pay an Aeta guide P10, and climb the hill that introduces Mt. Nagsasa. It was hard to resist the urge to keep going up and up and up – but I was in a pink maillot and flimsy slippers which were no match for the rocks and occasionally loose red clay.

Here we spent a few moments taking in the 4pm sun and playing with a dog that stayed with us throughout our quick trek.

Please do not be inspired by Ranie’s decision to climb up that tree hanging by the cliff.

Capones Island, Zambales

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05.20.2017

These are our photos from Capones Island, a side trip from our weekend in Zambales.

Breaking up sharing about this getaway into separate posts because I love all our pictures so much and it was so hard to curate! It figures that the smaller the party is, the more photos there are, in our case (or more specifically, in my case. #Blessed to have a patient partner when it comes to posterity lol).

Ranie booked this tour package a few months ago. Php1000 (excluding food) is enough for island hopping and camping in Nagsasa Cove. The last time I was in Zambales was in 2011, with my colleagues from Solar. That trip was significant because it gave me enough thinking time (amidst sea, sand, sky…) to decide to leave my first job.

Now, six years later, am back with Ranie, with no life crossroads (just some major plans!). We just wanted some time together, away from cellphones and laptops.

It rained on the day of our arrival, and the included accommodations in the package left much to be desired. Fortunately, the sprawling, quiet beauty of Nagsasa Cove made up for the gloomy skies + dank tent we had to sleep in + unmentionable toilets. The overcast weather was actually cozy and we had more than enough time to hike, walk, rest, eat, swim, sleep, and take pictures. Lots of pictures.

I love our pictures, because they remind me of how easy it is to be with Ranie, and how much we value and enjoy each other’s company, even if we would have disagreements about whether he should climb a tree hanging by a cliff or I would forget his neck pillow in the van. ❤

More to follow!

Mt. Daguldol and Laiya

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YES to a tandem weekend of hiking and hitting the beach!

On a fine, sunny Saturday, we went to Batangas with the intention of hiking the less popular Mt. Hugom, but the Barangay office informed us that it has apparently been closed to the public indefinitely because someone already owns the property (whut). So we ascended Mt. Daguldol (672 masl) instead. It’s all uphills and forests, and the terrain hardly has “lost in nature” feels because there are many locals (offering shade! and halo halo!) living along the trail. The summit is a rolling hill that has a bit of a view of the blue sea, which gives you enough motivation to get back to the jump off fast enough to enjoy sunset along the beach.

After the hike, we drove for about 10 minutes then pitched our tents at Laiya Coco Grove’s camping site, which we initially found a little expensive at P600/head. But it turned out to be worth it – the CRs were clean, had strong water pressure, and were actually cozy, the dining huts have lights and outlets, and after a day of pretending to be rugged mountaineers we craved our LTEs and chat apps, in-denial workaholics we all were (we all used to debate in college, and I don’t know if that’s a factor). Our dinner spread: Angus beef patties, cognac, roasted chicken, grilled zucchinis, wine. So good.

The next day, we had enough time for a sunrise swim and lunch at Cafeño before heading back home to our moms for Mother’s Day.

Enjoy the video recap below!

All photos by Ranie Catimbang

Lent in Iriga, April 2017

Spent the long break in Camarines Sur with Ranie’s family. It was four restful days of churches, lots of sleeping and reading, and eating Ranie’s mom’s homecooked meals. We also went to Balatan beach, the only one in the Rinconada area of Camsur.

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I’ve been to Iriga several times and it is always a joy to be in the town Ranie grew up in, and to get to know his family a little bit more.

I’ve always admired Mt. Asog from a “wow, that’s a big mountain” perspective, but during this trip I had this great, insatiable urge to climb it (over 1000 masl!) next trip… we will, we will, we will.

It’s gonna be an adventure-filled summer! I’m so excited.

Walking on the ‘Dinosaur Spine:’ Mt. Batulao, Batangas

BATULAO (811 masl) – It’s one of the most popular hike destinations in the Southern Tagalog Region!

And with good reason: the “new trail” is basically a traverse through 12 mini-peaks that offers a scenic, sprawling view of Balayan Bay and even Taal and Mt. Maculot on a clear day. Continue reading “Walking on the ‘Dinosaur Spine:’ Mt. Batulao, Batangas”

Mt. Ulap, February 2017

Mt. Ulap (Ampucao-Sta. Fe Ridge) in Itocon, Benguet offered quite a few firsts for me – cold-weather hiking (in the PH at least), camping at the base of a summit, and at 1856masl, it’s the highest local peak I’ve reached so far.

We traversed this “Mini-Pulag” last weekend, when the temp reached at least 10 degrees Celsius (but felt like a 6), and there was a dense, delicious fog that permeated the trail. (“Forks!” said Justine. I completely missed the Twilight reference). Continue reading “Mt. Ulap, February 2017”

Field notes from Siquijor

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My story for the Gear S3 launch is out! So now I can share more of my personal photos and notes for this blog. 🙂 (You can read my piece on Rappler here)

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Siquijor is a very small province with a very long coastline (200km). Since its LGU formalized its tourism efforts in the late 2000s, it has been attracting tourists not just for its beaches, but also for its diving spots. Though it’s a fishing / agricultural island, 80 percent of its GDP now comes from tourism (resorts, amenities, activities). Continue reading “Field notes from Siquijor”

Postcards from Siquijor

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With my meager travel experience, Siquijor isn’t top of mind when recommending beach or getaway destinations in the Philippines. But thanks to a work trip, I discovered that it deserves more attention, especially for those who are seeking adventure-filled itineraries.

I’m filing an official story this week and here are some of my outtakes (will update this post with excerpts once the article is published). Scrolling through all the photos we took again, for inspiration. Continue reading “Postcards from Siquijor”

Seek and you will find…

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Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor

Funny how in the last few weeks of 2016, a surprise work assignment saved me from work fatigue in general. It wasn’t really a breather (it was work!) but it was still very fun and very much what I needed (water, spelunking, good food, new friends, new lessons, new opportunities). I am thankful.

I will finish the assignment, pack up mine and the team’s deliverables, and then focus on enjoying closing 2016: with a happy photo story about this experience, my sister’s wedding, spending more time with our baby Fourth, Ranie, family, love, provision, belief.

Everything has its own time and season.