The beach and the sea may be my playground but I always felt more at home in the mountains. The nippy air, being among trees and soothing greens is a balm to the senses. Upon learning that in my return to Antique, just barely after a month from my last visit, I would have a chance to visit one of the highlands in Panay Island. On the first night of our Antique Heritage tour, we’ll be located at 869 meters above sea level at Aningalan, San Remegios, south of Antique bordering close to Iloilo. It’s where clouds roll along hills, dramatic rock formations jutting out the cascading landscape and a glassy lake are found.
CNN listed the bikeways at Sun Moon Lake as one of the “10 Cycling Routes in the world that will take your breath away”. I get to find out for myself if this isn’t just a hype. During our luxury stay at Fleur de Chine, I made sure to wake up early and maximize my morning by the lake. We have a biking activity in the morning but there were still hours to spare for quick morning stroll. After seeing the star studded sky, placid lake and mountain gradients from my room balcony I was just too eager to get close to the lake.
The landlocked county of Nantou in central Taiwan has 41 mountains, including the country’s highest, Mt Yu (or Yushan) at 3,952 meters. At the heart of the county, (and even the country) is the largest, natural lake in Taiwan, the Sun Moon Lake. Located approximately at elevation of 748 meters above sea level, the area is a popular weekend destination from Taichung due to its serene environment, picturesque lake and cool surroundings.
With all the events and heavy eating on my early week stay in California, USA, I wanted to burn off some calories. I asked my sister if there were any trails I could run in the neighborhood. Discovery Lake in San Marcos came easily to her mind. She had ran there with here friends there. It is also a short 15–20 minutes drive from Vista. So my sisters and I decided to go there one morning for some run, walk or stroll.
The imposing Mt Mayon, from any angle in Albay looks picturesque but there are places that’s more conducive for gawking at its glory. Still in Camalig near the Natural Carpets Industries (NCI) workshop is Sumlang Lake. This 14-hectare lake used to be a carpet of lilies until the village residents decided to clean it up three years ago and uncovered its placid beauty. They saw the potential of its unobstructed view of Mt Mayon as the backdrop for this scenic lake. To this date, it is a rising destination in Albay, enjoying 300–500 visits on weekends.
Our caving and rappelling adventure along the Pulangi River may have ended but the day for the Travel Mindanao team in Valencia Bukidnon continues. Sated from hunger, we were off to another exploration in Valencia. This time, we were headed to Baranggay Guinoyoran, famed for its crater lake named as the legendary Lake Apo. At the helm again to guide us in her hometown is Wandershugah. We rode a bus bound for Valencia and alighted at an intersection in Kisanday, Maramag where we hired a couple of heavy duty habal-habal (motorbikes) to Lake Apo, an awardee for the cleanest inland body of water in Mindanao.
Sometimes it’s disheartening to see a place change. There are times when places are best not seen again as not to ruin the initial perception of a place. Like love at first sight, when emotions run high and the amazing sense of bewilderment how something could captivate your being without understanding. Sometimes it’s beyond words, like how the placidness of a lake can calms one’s inner being. How a wisp of mist gently dances above the water can hypnotise. How the light plays with your vision. Such is the morning at Lake Seloton when I first experienced the place. However, things have slightly changed on my recent visit.