I was amused when I saw this dog from Rock Inn, the place where we were staying, running in front of our jeep as we rode up the dirt road towards the Kiltepan Viewpoint. He was panting heavily with his tongue ridiculously hanging from his wide open mouth when we got there but I thought it was really nice to have a dog as a personal escort. It was already bright when reached the viewpoint and I saw the dog continue on to the cliff-side of the peak where a few people were already waiting for the sunrise. He soon sandwiched himself in between a couple as they waited for the sun to reveal itself behind the mountains.
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.
Who says you can’t enjoy the cool climate of Baguio on a weekend? Victory Liner is definitely victorious in capturing the route to Baguio that there are buses rolling off every hour for 24 hours. But we were not just there to enjoy the cooler weather as I along with friends Oggie and Erick are joining the Columbia Eco Trail Run at Camp John Hay. It’s good thing we bought tickets earlier to get our preferred seats since the Victory Liner station at Malibay Pasay is still packed with passengers heading out of Manila.
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 never thought I would be excited to look for some cat poop in the middle of a forest. Here I am on a narrow trail in a dense forest of Mt Malarayat, Batangas, carefully watching each step mindful if there are any animal droppings in path. Not to avoid them this time but to take a closer look. Yes it’s poop! But it’s not an ordinary poop since each set of these cat droppings is worth some serious money. I found a small pile still stuck together. The stuck up beans isn’t as offensive as I thought it would look nor does it smell like ordinary cat droppings. So this is how a Civet Cat poop is like. So this is where the world’s most expensive coffee came from.
If you have lived to witness the explosion of Mt Pinatubo in June 1991, I’m sure you wouldn’t forget the devastating effect it had on a global scale. Almost 2 decades since then, from what seem to be start of creation on this land, it has evolved into another nature masterwork but now with an added human touch to its surroundings. It’s so fitting to name this this mountain “Pinatubo” which also means, “To make grow” and sure it grew after the years, and here are my observations from each visit within those 2 decades.
We had to pull ourselves from the cool comforts of our bedroom that afternoon. But we all agreed we’d be going to Victoria Peak, Hong Kong’s tallest mountain, for sundown. So off to the streets we went with map in hand to find our way to the peak. As always, one of the first few things to learn when in a new place is their mode of transportation, and now’s a good time to learn how Hong Kong’s transport system works.