Change of plans. I love it when my companions are just ready for anything. Meeting hiking buddies Christine and Marky early Friday morning in Cubao, we were supposed to go to another mountain. As fast as the changing wind, we decided to visit another mountain at the vicinity of Daraitan – Mt Mamara. A smaller brother of Mt Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal, Mt Mamara was opened as an alternative to climbers who got cut-off from the maximum 300 pax per day limit of climbers for Mt Daraitan. It may be a minor mountain but the rewards of the climb is equally captivating.
5:25 AM. Our car was parked in front of the Masungi Georeserve gate waiting for them to open. The wind howled and sent chills down to our bones making us seek warmth inside the car. I have long been interested on visiting the Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal but booking a tour was a challenge as slots are often filled. DIY or walk-ins are also not allowed as booking should be done in groups of 6–10. Fortunately, our friend Lea, whom I met in Batanes Asus event called for joiners to complete a group of her friends with her father. We chose the earliest schedule to somehow catch a good light on the trail.
November is a very festive month for the municipality of Angono, the art capital of the country. Aside from the main Higantes Festival which usually happens on the 3rd week of November, there are pockets of activities leading to and after the event. If one plans to experience the Angono Higantes Festival, it’ll be a good idea to stay in town. One place I would recommend is Villa Jhoana Resort, a seven-room elegant pool villa strategically in the heart of Angono.
It used to be that the towering wind turbines of Bangui in Ilocos Norte was the sole site where people can marvel at these slender sentinels watching over the sea. Now, in barangay Halayhayin in Pililia, Rizal, these megastructures were erected on the undulating hills sloping along the scenic Laguna Lake. With only a couple of hours away from Metro Manila, where the country’s leading demand for electricity is at its highest, not only would the Pililia Rizal Wind Farm be able to supply renewable energy in a close proximity, but people like me who marvels such machinery in a beautiful nature backdrop would be ecstatic not to travel more than 500 km just to see them.
While my first few travels revolved around the mountains, I must admit that I haven’t climbed a lot lately. When a good ol balikbayan (back to the country) climb buddy invited for a day-climb for the weekend at Mt Batolusong, I got curious. Where the heck is that mountain? I haven’t heard that before. A quick google search brought out some interesting photos of grasslands and a waterfall in the vicinity. Hey! Why not? It’s only in nearby Tanay and I get to catch up with a fellow alumni from my university. Saturday. 3am. I’m up for the climb.
I didn’t travel that much the month of July this year, but I did take on one of the most interesting magazine feature I’ve done so far. Maybe I was looking for a change than the usual destination stories on beaches, hotels or food but more on the people and personalities. The InFlight Magazine assignment brought me around the different towns around Laguna de Bay to discover the creativity, the richness of the culture and the masters of art. I have written them on the blog yet but it’s something to look forward to. Here’s to give you an idea.