Experiencing Puning Hot Springs

I remembered back in college when my Dad asked me to join their company initiated trek at Sitio Target, Sapangbato, Angeles City. I remembered that there were only a few bloggers that time, meaning information was limited about hikeable and trekkable hills (God, I am really old!). Still, with limited information, my dad, his coworkers, and my 18-year-old self continued to explore Sitio Target.

I remembered bringing my blue China-made iPod Shuffle full of Celtic Music, OST of Narnia and Lord of the Rings and loads of Enya and Kitaro. I was hoping for a meditative hike this time, unlike the one I had in Arayat where the trail was steep and slippery. And with Sitio Target’s charm, my goal to have a reflective hike was achieved. Sitio Target is not really a mountain. It is actually the ancestral domain of Aetas in Sapangbato which is also near the Pampanga side of Mount Pinatubo. My favorite thing about this place were the small canyon-like structures where water from the spring flows. Walking inside them felt refreshing maybe because this kind of nature was something new to me, or it felt like I was in a legendary film where elves and fairies exist. Forgive my hyperboles but this was how I remembered it back in 2008 where there were no such things as Facebook status update and HD Cameras are for rich kids. Continue reading “Experiencing Puning Hot Springs”

Mayo Uno (and how it changed me)

Disclaimer: This was written last May 1, 2016 after reminiscing my first ever Labor Day rally in 2015. 

We were in our 3rd-year high school when our Social Studies professor, Sir Joel, required us to read the daily news. Every other day, he would call a random person to report whatever he or she has read. We loved that class, but we hated reading current events as much as we hated reporting in front. Come on! We were just bunch of teenagers with juvenile love problems and acne breakouts. Who would care about Erap or Gloria that time if you were a tween? Sir Joel was the one who told us that Andres Bonifacio should be our first President and how Emilio Aguinaldo was a traitor. That professor was not afraid to teach us the other side of our history, but most of us, including me, never really cared.  My social studies professor was branded as an activist in the campus. In fact, our school was known for having progressive professors. I still graduated thinking that Aguinaldo was a hero.

I was never a fan of political activists. I never gave myself a chance to study about what they were shouting on the streets.  I grew up in a very secured apolitical community maybe because we were living a relatively comfortable life. People would always tell me, “these activists cannot just keep quiet” or “these people are always negative”, or “these people are getting paid by their leaders to participate in pickets”. I even got the “these activists are actually getting support from the communist Chinese Government”. These people were the intellectuals which I looked up to. I grew up thinking that a rally or any other organized-revolutionary activities were not the solutions to the pressing issues of our country. Many would tell me that we cannot blame everything to the Government. Continue reading “Mayo Uno (and how it changed me)”

Mount Tagapo Hike

I love easy and short hikes. I do not like those long tiring climbs. Give me a 1 out of 5 difficulty level and I am in.

I have my reasons. First, I do not like carrying big bags when climbing. I am not like my dad who is a regular hiker who hordes a lot of hiking gears, bags and shoes. I am his opposite when it comes to climbing. One small bag is enough to fit an extra shirt, a liter of water, my asthma inhaler, an energy bar and a small pack of sour gummy worms. Second, I am a lazy hiker. Long hikes bore me. I love summits but sometimes I find the trail very usual. Third, I consider myself a city guy and not a nature guy. Don’t get me wrong. I love nature and I love appreciating every bit of it, but I still prefer the urban jungle. Ironically, I can meditate and reflect in the hustle and bustle of the city and finds it difficult to stay still and quiet in front of a calm river or a mountain. This was the same reason why I loved noise while studying back in college and while getting ready for a good night sleep.

Last week, my friends and I had the opportunity to climb a level 1 mountain in Binangonan, Rizal. The mountain was called Mount Tagapo or commonly known as the “Susong Dalaga” (Maiden’s Breast) because of its shape. Continue reading “Mount Tagapo Hike”

Monday Recommendations – February 27, 2017

Yesterday, I was on my way to church, riding a Jeepney. I had to travel alone because my parents were in Manila to visit my mom’s uncle in the hospital. I sat near the entrance of the jeepney in front of the teenage guy wearing a white shirt and a red cap. Halfway our church, an older guy carrying a bunch of balloons rode the jeepney. He asked the teenage guy to move a bit and sat in front of me. I got pissed because the balloons were all over my face and blocked the entrance of the jeepney. I was actually in a bad mood that morning because my Sunday pants were all in the laundry. I had no choice but to wear the maroon pants which I only used during our office’s 80s themed party. And I had to commute wearing them. My mood changed when I saw the teenage guy looking at the balloons. He was reading what’s written on them and amazed by the red and blue balloons blocking the entrance. He’s fascinated as if it was his first time to see the balloons.

Continue reading “Monday Recommendations – February 27, 2017”

Minimalism and Drama Queens

Minimalism in my own definition is putting stuff away which do not add value to us. I have written a post about it and I have cited examples of what I did with my stuff, my wardrobe, and my digital space. Some were radical. Some were things I did to simplify.

As my journey to minimalism continues, I realized that the minimalist lifestyle is more than giving away stuff, scanning papers to have more space and deleting useless phone applications. Minimalism also includes managing our emotions, thoughts, and energy towards the people around us. Like letting go of useless stuff, minimalism also allows us to let go of relationships which do not add value and quality to our lives. If we need to be intentional with our material consumption and our inner lives, we should all as well be intentional with our relationships. Continue reading “Minimalism and Drama Queens”

Three Reasons Why You Need to visit the National Museum of the Philippines

I must go to a museum when I travel. Fellow travelers often tell me that museums are boring. Well, there are boring museums like the National Museum of Myanmar in Yangon but that one was already justified because Myanmar’s real museum is outside their actual museum. There are those extreme museums like the one in Hiroshima and Hanoi which I find depressing because of their war and post-war feels. But one of my favorite museums which balanced the boring-depressing adjective was our very own National Museum located in Ermita, Manila.

Here are the 3 reasons why I love this museum:

  1. It is free! My first visit was during the Museum month in 2015 when the entrance fee was free of charge. Last July 1, 2016, the Philippine Government permanently waived the entrance fee to the Museum from its original fee of Php 50 for students and Php 150 for adults. So there’s no reason for a young Filipino in and near Manila to not visit this museum.

Continue reading “Three Reasons Why You Need to visit the National Museum of the Philippines”

What 1111 means to me

Disclaimer: This post was originally written last year (2016) a week after November 11, 2016.

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I spent a 4-day weekend in Baguio City, Philippines to celebrate my Dad’s 50th birthday. Baguio City is the family’s refuge and my mom’s favorite city; the 6-hour bus ride is worth it because of the good weather, fresh air, serene views and a melting pot of people from different parts of the country. The crowd was never a problem. Though my dad’s 50th is still on November 12, he requested the whole family, which means me and my mom, to hike Mount Ulap, a mountain in Benguet with 1 out of 5 difficulty level the day before his birthday. This is a perfect opportunity for me to travel, to bond with my parents and to make November 11 or 11.11 memorable to me, as it is also memorable to those who believe in Numerology.

Continue reading “What 1111 means to me”