“Why do you have to go back here? The trail is exhausting!”, a participant exclaimed while we were hiking from the Saddle to Batad proper learning that it would be my fifth time to come here. While I laughed it out as I carefully navigated through a rocky downhill part of the trail, I was thinking at the back of my mind that there are places really worth going back to. Places you have to work hard for and feel rewarded once you reach it. Batad is still one of those magnificent places and I never get tired looking at.
I thought I have seen most of the churches in Ilocos Norte but every time I go back here, more keeps adding to the list. After seeing the magnificent Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Burgos, we head down back in south again to the municipality of Sarrat, the birthplace of the late president Ferdinand Marcos. Alongside the Pasdan River, which was overran by native cottages on the side stands the exquisite Sta Monica Parish Church, the largest church in the whole of Ilocos Region.
Just hearing about a valley with 18 waterfalls, 10 hanging bridges, intersected by a flow of crystal clear waters from a river already gave me a sense of fascination about the place. Adams, at the northern edge of Ilocos Norte, mid forehead of Northern Luzon, is one of the destinations I was really looking forward to during the Lakbay Norte 2 tour. No somber weather could stop us from coming as we prepared ourselves for the rain by waterproofing out gears and donning raincoats. From Kapuluan Vista Resort, we took a 15minute coach ride to Panchan Junction, just past a bridge where the Bolo (Bolu) River flows and a dump truck was waiting for us to take us to Adams.
The air is thinner at 1500 meters above sea level that made me breath harder than normal. After that steep 45 degrees trail that went on for more than 10 minutes, I was gasping. But the fresh mountain air and embracing cold was enough to invigorate my body and continue to run the trail. A half cup of water quenched my drying throat and moved on. Then on a sharp turn, the view of mountains in all its gradient glory revealed itself on a narrow mountainside trail. It was stupendous. That’s why I love trail running. That is why I joined Columbia Eco Trail 2011 at Camp John Hay Baguio.
I kept hearing “UR” over and over on a conversation one night on my first trip to Puerto Princesa with other bloggers. I kept nodding my head to agree and then have to ask “What’s UR again?” I was thinking “Usual Route” but it turns out to be the popular term for the “Underground River” there. Oh hell with the names whether it’s St Paul’s Cave or St Paul’s Subterranean River, we’re going there now and it sure isn’t hell from the views I’ve seen on a boat from Sabang to the entrance of this famed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Having been to other parts of Palawan like, Coron, El Nido and Taytay, I was looking forward to finally visiting Puerto Princesa because it’s one of the major cities in Palawan and probably the most urbanized among them all. This Hagedorn governed city is the 2nd largest city in the country and also known as one of the greenest and cleanest. Driving through from the airport and making a few stops before reaching the resort, I thought it’s one of those places I could actually live in for a while. Wide roads, well organized city layout and medium sized high rises. I actually like it.
I kept telling people that there is more to Bohol than the usual Chocolate Hills, Tarsiers and Panglao. I had a chance to go back to Bohol several times this year and coincidentally, most of the activities I had there is to sample exciting adventure activities on different spots. Bohol is turning out to be one exciting adventure hub along with the popular attractions the island is known for. Here’s a nice itinerary for a Three Day Adventure in Bohol.