Nature-ral High

Nature-ral High
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail

December 4, 2012

Balagbag Falls


  After the failed attempt to go to Balagbag falls last month, its inevitable that we will try to go back. Its a good thing the Nov30 holiday fell on a Friday, this was the perfect time to hit the road again. 

  We left early morning to avoid the traffic, since were passing by Rizal and Laguna. We arrived in Real,Quezon after around 4-5 hours of driving, dropping by Real fish port to buy freshly catch fish for our lunch. The jump-off to the falls is around 2-3Km from the main road. The road is rocky but is situated along the beautiful Real Coastline and with the view of the Pacific ocean. Another 10 minute walk is needed to reach the falls. 

   To describe the place, the water comes down from the mountain. Its a two level cascading water fall, the first one is around 60-70 feet, the second one around 20-30 feet. There is abundance of trees on both sides of the falls that makes the view more mesmerizing.  The water is not that clear but is clean and cold. The first level though the higher of the two, has a very shallow pond. This is because the water is spread wide on the rock before it hits the bottom. The second level is where everyone swims, but only the middle part is deep. So if you want to do a jump from the top of the second level, make sure you fall on this portion, else injury will be everywhere. This is actually what makes this jump scary..... but yet fulfilling. 

   Its actually possible to camp near the jump-off since its beside the ocean and covered with coconut trees. There is a natural breakwater along the shore made of of pile of large stone pebbles. When the waves hit this area you can hear the sound of water and rocks rolling back and port. Very relaxing. Though we were tempted  to camp in this area, we just checked-in in a resort. Its my first time to go to Real and we could explore better if we are in a better lodging. 

Real Fish Port

An Eel and a Stingray (isn't this illegal)
The coastline to the falls

Our lunch

"Inner Peace..."

"Inner Peace"  II

Cliff Jump (whew!)


   The place is situated between mountains and ocean,  reminds me of my hometown when I was still small. Very slow pace lifestyle. Minimal vehicles on the road. Children playing as if the world is they playground. We were even able to make a room reservation without a down payment and there is no definite time for checkout! When you drive at night, its just like you own the road. We tried checking the city proper and life is still simple, locals own the establishments and the tricycle driver are courteous.

   Going back home we decided to go a different way. Its the Laguna-Batangas route. Its nice actually to be able to see the whole other side of Laguna lake. 


So Relaxing

September 8, 2012

Return to Mt. Ugo - A Traverse

  This climb is a long overdue entry to my blog. This was also a climb that had been cancelled several times and was almost cancelled permanently. But nevertheless last February, a team of 12 climbers consisting of PALMC members, friends and guides climb Mt. Ugo via the traverse trail.

  Mt. Ugo is considered one of the best mountains in the northern mountain ranges. The mountain is situated in between two municipalites, Itogon Benquet and Kayapa, Nueva Viscaya. Before, to complete the traverse, three days should be alloted. But recently, with proper planning and training it can be done in two (this is what we did). 
  Climbers normally leave in the evening in Manila and then start the trek very early the next day. The start of the trek is very steep but you wont notice much of this due the abundance of pine trees. After around 2 hours of trek you will reach Brgy. Ansipsip, the start of the flat hike. The flat trek continous  for several hours. Carve on the mountain side, this place is what I call 'deja vu" roads because it seems everything is repeating, as if you are already lost.It will become steep again on the final assault to the summit that also doubles as the campsite. We reached the summit after around 9-10 hours of hiking. I guess whats mesmerizing about this mountain is the plentyness of pine trees and the view along the trail where you can see rolling green mountains from afar, plus of course the weather is very cool - as with any northern mountains.  
  We had a good night at the summit. The weather was perfect during our climb. The sky was very clear and we were even able to stargaze for a while. 

Resting at Brgy. Ansipsip

Deja Vu Roads

Deja Vu Roads

Amazing lights


Sea of Clouds?


The descent was almost the same as the previous day, steep descent. There was a trail part where we saw Baguio from a distance. There are still a lot of pine trees, the trail was also rolling. We passed by a community, rice fields (sort of rice terraces) and a long foot bridge. After this we were picked-up by our rented jeep all the way to baguio. 

  Did'nt we know that one of our colleague own a house at baguio. We stayed here for the night (after sipping several beers) then leave the next day back to Manila.

If you look closely, Baguio can be seen on the left

A bridge too far

My climb 5 years ago and the current.  The former was just a  traditional

     This climb was specially dedicated/organized to Barry Smith, who after his two years stint in the Philippines went back to his native country. Barry hope you had a good time with us, because we surely did. Till our next climb!

July 26, 2012

Mt. Irid

   Saturday July 21, 10:00am. I should be doing a dayhike today. But due to severe moonsoon rains here in Manila, (raining for 3 days now) we had to cancel our plans. But as they say, a person always find something to do, so here I am writing a long overdue blog on my hike to Mt. Irid. 
   I am not really fan of 'birthday climbs', I believe that celebrations should be left in the city were the hust and bust of our daily lives resides. Mountains are for places were you want to relax, be with nature. Where we can forget our day to day grinds for a while..... But when a friend invited me, its an invitation I can't refuse. Another plus was  friend (whos is climbing hiatus) was also going.

   Mt. Irid is located in the boundaries of Rizal province. We traveled going to Sta. Inez,Rizal  on a rented jeep very early morning, this includes passing by several rivers and bumpy roads. I think the travel time up  to the jump-off takes around 2 hours (from Cubao). From the jump-off its a flat trek up to the base of the mountain.
 If I counted correctly, we passed by seven rivers. The rivers was not that high though that I managed not to get my feet wet. I recall we made a turn on the 6th river crossing to get to a waterfall. To my surprise the water fall was very pristine. We took a dip before continuing our hike. 
   We reach the mountain basecamp almost mid afternoon. The celebrant cooked the planned birthday feast. We had our sumptous dinner a few drinks then went to bed. 
   The next day was the summit assault. We just brought our assault bag and some rations. As expected the trail and the mountain itself is very pristine. Proof was the trail, can be hardly seen and if your not that experienced, a hiker can easily get lost. There are lots of rocks that look like walls where trees had grown. There were also part that trails ends, and you need to find the connecting part. A hiker sometimes needs to enter cracks on the walls/rocks. The summit was sort of  diffrent. It has large clearing with large chunks of stones. Other mountains can be seen in the area, since I think Mt. Irid is already located on the boundary of the Sierra Madre Mountain range. 
   I really enjoyed this climb, met some long lost (into hiking) friends. Though it rained when we went down, and had a bit of flash flooding (considering there were seven river crossings). My first birthday climb turned out okay. 

The Trail

River Crossing

Mt. Irid

Kinabuan Falls
Leech (take note its not Limatik)

Birthday Feast! (photo c/o MikeB)

Tukdan Banoi view from BaseCamp, and Yes its climbable

A bird on the way to the summit

Giant Pitcher Plants


Mountains in the surrounding
Height in MASL c/o Ritchie 


P.S. Barry, This is my last  backlog entry. I plan to create the Ugu climb next. :D