They say the third time is a charm. For Camiguin, my third visit on this island province found me on one of the summits of Mt Hibok-hibok. A mountain I used to just marvel from afar when I roamed around Camiguin from my last two visits. Whether from white island or driving on the coastal road, I’ve always imagined how it’s like to climb this stratovolcano that helped shaped the landscape of this island. Standing at 1,332 meters above sea level, Mt Hibok-hibok is one of the 24 active volcanoes in the country.
Trekking in Nepal is the dream of every trekker, indeed, Nepal never disappoints its visitors. It is possible in every season as it offers a unique landscape, geography, climate, and is blessed with a diverse range of flora and fauna.
Tanay is becoming a hiking haven near Manila with several climbing destinations in close proximity with each other. One destination which has fascinated me for a time is the unique looking limestone platform of Nagpatong Rock at Barangay Cuyambay. When I got an invite for a day climb, I quickly jumped-in. Not only to satisfy my curiosity of the place but to support a cause. I joined United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and their ambassador Atom Araullo in climbing Nagpatong rock to spread awareness on their campaign “2 Billion Kilometers to Safety”.
The Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal got immensely popular for its well-managed and exhilarating Discovery Trail. Nature lovers reveled in the natural rock garden playground where they traversed through forest trail, find their balance on giant hammocks and savor the scenic rocky peaks while learning more about the surroundings. But this trail is only a part of the huge 2,000 hectare Masungi Karst Conservation Area. Just recently, the Masungi Georeserve Legacy Trail was opened as a separate offering. The new trail highlights the project’s conservation efforts, immersion and insight into the challenges they continue to face.
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.
You could tell if a destination is gaining ground in terms of tourism when their infrastructure starts improving. During my recent visit to Tawi-tawi, I was able to climb Bud Bongao again. I certainly noticed a new building, paved stairways and other pleasing developments. It was eight years ago when I last climbed Bud Bongao. A time when there still a heavy stigma hovering over the province. But now that stigma is slowly lifting. People are learning that Bongao, Tawi-tawi is relatively safe which resulted to a three-fold increase in tourism arrivals just this year, 2017. At the forefront of the province’s tourism project is the Bud Bongao Eco-Tourism Park. A 342-meter high sacred mountain with an imposing presence at the center of the island.
I could feel the heaviness and strain in my body already. I’ve been hiking almost daily around Batanes for the past week. My stamina is dipping. Trudging early morning on the grassy slopes of Mt Riposed in the dark, I told myself I have reached my quota for challenging tramps such as this. I deserve a pat for having finally visited Rapang Cliffs the day before. While I want to explore more, Itbayat can really drill a hole on your wallet if you’re travelling alone. While I welcome my guide, Jojo’s suggestions on other places to visit. I had limited budget. So why not end my Itbayat sojourn at the island’s highest point.