Tuesday, May 26, 2009

PICO DE LORO CLIMBS







I had two climbs in Pico de Loro so far, of which the first was dated June 12-14, 1998 and the second one was March 2-3, 2002. It is located in Brgy. Papaya, Nasugbu, Batangas. It was so called Pico de Loro since its peak resembles to beak of a parrot and it has two peaks of which one is a massive stone which can only be climbed through harness.


The first time we climbed this mountain was with the EMBO Mountain Climbers and few acquaintance friends. It was the time when we were waiting for the next climb that Noemi Amador, who used to be my companion in all of my outings and major trips, tried to visit for the first time Majayjay Falls in Sta. Cruz, Laguna dated May 16 and 17, 1998. We met friends there in the person of: (1) Alexander “Alex” P. Vilar of Asian Spirit Airlines; (2) Ma. Rozanah “Chen-chen” G. Irisary and (3) Emmanuel Provido “Nuel” A. de Castro II of Wesarv Systems International; and (4) Oscar “Onching” F. Azarcon. The four invited us to join their mountaineering club called EMBO which stands for Exploration of Man Beyond ‘Orizon. Alex, Nuel and Onching were founding club members. We also met there some friends like Leonardo “Toti” M. Villamor of Toyota Motors Paranaque, Diego G. Castillo and Arnel M. Evangelista

After a few get together and constant phone calls, our EMBO friends invited us to join their June 12-14, 1998 Pico de Loro Centennial Climb situated in Nasugbu, Batangas. This time, we invited Aldwin de Guia and Mon Crisol to join us including Noemi Amador and Jenny Ferrer. We were all sixteen participants of the climb namely: (1) Nuel de Castro; (2) Alexander Vilar; (3) Onching Azarcon; (4) Michael “Mhike” B. Fernandez – another EMBO Mountaineering Club founding member; (5) Chenchen Irisary; (6) Evelyn F. Varias and all the rest including myself were guest climbers, namely: (7) Jesus “Jojo” F. Borja Jr. of KLT Fruits, Inc.; (8)Emee P. Durban of UCPB Herrera Branch; (9) Mark Stephen “Mark” P. Endonilla; (10) Raymund Crisol of Allied Bank Edsa Extension Branch; (11) Aldwin de Guia; (12) Bernadette “Badette” C. de Jesus of Nesic Philippines, Inc.; (13) Noemi Amador; (14) Jenny Ferrer; (15) Diego Castillo; and (16) I.

It was not purely a mountaineering activity since we also experienced rock climbing using harness to reach the other peak of the big massive rock formation of Pico de Loro. After descending the mountain, we went to Kutad Cove where we had night swimming and socials in a bonfire. We pitched our tents along the beach line. The following day, June 14, we almost spent our day in the beach together with the famous actor, Aga Mulach who’s enjoying jetski. He had with him his relatives boarding a private yatch.


The second time around, I was supposedly joining a qualifing test for the March 26-31, 2002 Mt. Halcon Major Climb and so I joined the March 2-3, 2002 Pico de Loro Climb in Nasugbu, Batangas. I thought then it would be less exciting for the second time but as the climb progressed, it turned out to be more challenging since unlike before this one was only a day climb. It helped us gain more stamina, endurance and strength as seasoned (?) and professional (?) mountain climbers. Together with me were my fellow PNB Mountaineering Club members, namely: Erwin C. dela Cruz (Expidition Leader); Christian Tagle (Lead Man) and his father, Arthur; Eduard “Jun” V. Mangyao, Jr.; Ricky Eslao; Connie Vasquez; Enrique “Ike” S. Abad; Jing Gumba; Menchu Segovia; and Antonio Alcaraz. Jun Mangyao served as my inspiration in the whole duration of the climb. Our entry point was in Sitio Hamilo, Brgy. Papaya boarding a jeepney from Nasugbu town proper. We started from the jump-off point at 11:00 A.M. of the first day and was at the peak at 2:38 P.M. We were back in the jump-off point at almost 5:00 P.M.

We boarded a jeepney to Brgy. Papaya proper and hired a motorboat to cross to Kutad Island in Hacienda Look owned by Henry Sy and Associates through a 20-minute motorboat ride from Brgy. Papaya port. We had our overnight along the beach of Kutad. Our socials was quite memorable in the sense that both Jun Mangyao and I were identified with each other during the body shots game. That game really gave me a sort of emotional satisfaction and hoped then it would not end. And at the same time, the game gave us an opportunity to know each other and became closer. It was on that night that Ricky and Connie confirmed their intimate relationship. I slept earlier at 12:00 midnight while the rest at 2:00 dawn. For the second time, I shared with the tent of Ike Abad together with Anton Alcaraz. The following day, we started our activity in cooking our breakfast and had swimming. It was such a very refreshing morning filled with so much fun and thrills. The sun was as playful as the group as it was not too hot to our tanning skin. Finally, our excitement diminished as our service motor boat arrived to cross us to Brgy. Papaya proper at almost 11:00 A.M. After our late lunch in Nasugbu, we boarded an airconditioned BLTB bus at 4:30 P.M. and arrived in Manila at 6:40 P.M.

MOUNT UGO CLIMB
















I had two climbs in Mount Ugo dated June 4-6, 1999 and November 1-4, 2006 both under PNB Mountaineering Club. Like the Mt. Napulawan Climb, Mt. Ugo offers a very refreshing and cold climate and this is located in Itogon, Benguet which was my second major climb. The first climb of the mountain marked the 9th anniversary of PNB Mountaineering Club. Mt. Ugo’s peak of 7,400 feet, is considered the highest of the Cordillera Mountain Ranges which covers partly of Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet, Mountain Province.

We had our chartered airconditioned bus which fetched us all in PNB Financial Center at almost 11:00 P.M. We were consist of 42 participants broken down into 33 regular members, 7 initiates and 2 guests. The members were: (1) Jose Enrique “Ike” S. Abad of PNB IT Group; (2) Johanna “Hannah” C. Acuna of Allied Bank – Head Office; (3) Rodante “Dante” D. Adajar of PNB PAIRD; (4) Sandy A. Alhambra of PNB Trust Division; (5) Noemi O. Amador of Allied Bank – Head Office; (6) Laudimer “Omel” G. Arandia of Blue Chips Management Corporation; (7) Maricris “Chris” B. Ballon of Allied Bank – Divisoria Branch; (8) Juanito “Jhun” C. Banela of CIBI; (9) Brenda B. Bernabe of Aztec Philippines Corporation.; (10) Policarpo Gregorio Osmundo “Ding” N. Capunitan; (11) Elmer C. Daus of PNB Office of SVP Ma. Cristina G. Munoz; (12) Ma. Salome “Sally” A. de la Cruz of Peoples Insurance; (13) Noel “Wewel” N. Dollentas of PNB Economics & Research Division; (14) Mary Jane “Jing” V. Gumba of Bank of Commerce – Head Office; (15) Norita “Norie” R. Jacala of PNB Cable Division; (16) Janet T. Lazarte of PNB GSD Accounting; (17) Manuel “Manny” I. Llesol of PNB Personnel Human Resource Policies and Planning Division; (18) Edmundo “Edu” C. Llondres of PNB SAAD; (19) Fidel O. Mendoza of PNB GSD; (20) Alvin J. Pascual of PNB Office of SVP Leopoldo A. Manuel; (21) Severo “Roy” Y. Pison IV of PNB Economics & Research Division; (22) Joseph “Jinky” G. Quiray of Peoples Insurance; (23) Sandra S. Reyes of PNB Trust Division; (24) Fortunato “Bong” C. Rosales of Pardee Computer; (25) Elino “Jun” Q. Sorquia, Jr. ; (26) Antonio “Tony” P. Sundiang of Tradecom Asia Pacific Gorporation and former PNB SVP of Trust Division; (27) Belinda Fatima C. Tan of Peoples Insurance; (28) Alan A. Valenzuela of Peoples Insurance; (29) Victor C. Victorino of CIBI; (30) Rolando “Rolly” O. Villanueva – PNB MC President and expidition leader; (31) Alberto “Abet” M. Zapanta, Jr. of PNB Reengineering Division; and (32) I.

On the otherhand, our initiates were: (1) Genevic “Gene” B. Baria of Angelus Medical Center; (2) Alona C. Beliganio of Belkin Management Consultancy Phils., Inc.; (3) Raymund “Mon” S. Crisol of Allied Bank – Aguirre Branch; (4) Erwin C. de la Cruz of Angelus; (5) Pompei Lopez; (6) Ma. Jeannie T. Mendoza of Allied Bank – Monumento Branch; (7) Norberto “Abat” Miranda, Jr.; and (8) Renato “Ren” S. Solinap of PNB International Eximbills Processing Division. There were two guest climbers, namely: (1) Ma. Concepcion of PNB Personnel Human Resource Policies & Planning Division, and (2) Ma. Consuelo “Connie” T. Vasquez of Alsons Cement Corporation. I considered this as my worst climb since there was a typhoon which started in the late afternoon of Day One until we reached the jump-off point.

The second climb Mount Ugo dated November 1-4, 2006 was perfect since we were lucky to have a good weather. It was my only major climb for the year 2006 after my 11-month Qatar Work Tavel. 12 of the 13 pictures here were all from the second climb. The climb is consisting of 19 participants with six inductees and three guests. The jump-off point was in Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya where we boarded a bus from Manila and we descended to Brgy. Tinongdan of Itogon, Benguet. Mount Ugo is the highest peak in a chain of mountain ranges with an elevation of 2,150 meters above sea level or 7,052 feet. It is located in the boundaries of the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet. Its name was derived from the Ibaloi word “Ugoan” which means “to cut the neck of throat”. It was discovered as one of the most favorite mountains to scale by the mountaineers when there was a tragic PAL plane crash in 1987 just few meters below its peak. Some professional mountaineers then volunteered to accompany the bereaved families of the plane crash victims with the assistance of the local guides in visiting the site for memorial activities. As such, its cool climate, unique scenery and flora had enticed some other mountaineers to experience scaling the mountain. PNB MC being a close ally to PALMC thru our very dear friend, Mr. Romy Antonio had shared scaling this majestic mountain as early as 1996 and by then became one of the most favorite peaks for induction climbs.

MOUNT TARAK CLIMB







After a long absence in mountaineering activities since November 29, 1999 or 2 years, 2 months and 24 days to be exact, I rejoined again PNB Mountaineering Club’s climb with so much enthusiasm and excitement. The said climb was in the 3,700 feet Mt. Tarak in Mariveles, Bataan dated February 23 and 24, 2002. I felt then, it was my first time to climb a mountain. We were consist of twelve participants, namely: Fellow Philnabankers: Arthur S. Tagle and 14-year old son, Christian Dominique (also an inducted member); Ricky N. Eslao; Enrique “Ike” S. Abad; and Tony M. Alcaraz; former Philnabanker Jenny Ferrer; Erwin C. dela Cruz of Angelus Medical Center as the Expedition Leader; Eduard “Jun” V. Mangyao, Jr. of USAID as Lead Man; Jing V. Gumba of Bank of Commerce; Menchu B. Segovia; Connie Vasquez and I. I considered this climb as one the finest since it gave us an excellent weather condition, ideal group size, perfect and scenic campsite; good camaraderie as all the participants were seasoned regular members who has been together in previous climbs and the logistics were fairly good.

We first boarded Mt. Samat Ferry Express in CCP Bay Terminal at 8:30 A.M. of the first day (Feb. 23) and arrived in the Port of Capinpin, Orion, Bataan at 9:32 A.M. From the port, we boarded a chartered jeepney at 9:55 A.M. and arrived in Alas-asin Barangay Hall of Mariveles at 10:51 A.M. We started our trek at 11:00 A.M. and we reached the Gate Point of the mountain at almost 12:00 noon where we had our lunch. Gate Point is a grassy clearing with two big shady trees grown apart and the point where trekking cardiac assault starts. We resumed trekking again at 12:35 noon heading for Papaya River and stayed there for a rest for more than 30 minutes. An almost two hours cardiac assaults followed and reached the scenic campsite where we pitched our tents at 4:45 P.M. Hours followed were fun-filled even after our dinner and had socials until 11:00 P.M. This evening affair personally marked a spectacular night for me. We endlessly sang songs, talked and laughed as my companions drank bottles of gin diluted with pomelo. The moon then was right above us; full and simply huge.

The following day (Feb. 24) at 7:10 A.M. was our summit assault for 30 minutes and was back in our campsite after an hour. Early morning at the campsite has a soothing cool wind that inspired us to cook our breakfast and for our packed lunch. The magnificent morning scenery offered us an irresistible invitation to have some pictorials. We started descending the beautiful mountain at 8:50 A.M. and took our lunch in the Gate Point where we stayed there for almost two hours and had siesta time until 1:30 P.M. The group left me at 4:00 P.M. in Alas-asin Barangay Hall for Port of Capinpin while I proceed to Bataan Export Processing Zone in Mariveles alone.

MOUNT PULAG CLIMB







My fourth major climb under PNB Mountaineering Club was Mt. Pulag on November 27 to 29, 1999. Mt. Pulag is the third highest mountain in the Philippines which is being dubbed as the “roof of Luzon” is 2,930 meters or 9,610 feet. The first two highest mountains are in Mindanao wihich are both inactive volcanoes with Mount Apo in Davao as the highest mountain at 2,954 meters or 9,692 feet and followed by Mount Dulang-Dulang at 2,938 meters or 9,637 feet located in Kitanglad Mountain Range. Mount Pulag is not in itself a volcano. This majestic mountain has been part of the folklore of the various mountain tribes for generations. It’s believed to be the home of forest spirits who protect the tribes and assure bountiful harvests. For me, climbing this mountain is a feast for my senses. The slopes are covered with pine trees and grassy meadows. The soft tuffs of grass that cover the trail cushion every step to the summit. The air was crisp and gentle blows over the mountain as we ascended towards the summit that gave us a very refreshing atmosphere and the spectacular summit panorama. The mist was all around me and for one moment then, I knew what it felt like to walk in the clouds. Although, our climb was gradual, the altitude, distance and cold weather as well as occassional downpour made our trek slightly difficult. Thus, we made rhythmical squelching sounds.
The said climb has 54 participants which consist of 43 members, 2 initiates and 9 guests. The members were: (1) Rolly Villanueva – expidition leader; (2) Jose Enrique “Ike” S. Abad of PNB IT Group; (3) Ricardo “Ricky” N. Eslao of PNB IT Group; (4) Norberto “Abat” Miranda Jr.; (5) Antonio “Tony” M. Alcaraz of PNB IT Group; (6) Sandy A. Alhambra of PNB Trust Division; (7) Elmer C. Daus of PNB Office of SVP Ma. Cristina G. Munoz; (8) Romeo “Jun” B. Galang, Jr. of PNB IT Group; (9) Janet I. Lazarte of PNB GSD Accounting; (10) Manuel “Manny” I. Llesol of PNB PAIRD; (11) Edmundo “Edu” C. Llondres of PNB SAAD; (12) Norman G. Mosuela of PNB IT Group; (13) Jessica “Je” M. Parina of PNB Corporate Affairs Office; (14) Severo “Roy” Y. Pison IV of PNB Economics & Research Division; (15) Sandra S. Reyes of PNB Trust Division; (16) Benito “Benet” L. Sakdalan of PNB Corporate Affairs Office; (17) Marigrace “Grace” E. Serafica of PNB ATM Division; (18) Alberto “Abet” M. Zapanta of PNB Reengineering Division; (19) Johanna “Hannah” C. Acuna of Allied Bank –Head Office; (20) Ma. Noemi O. Amador-Capunitan of Allied Bank – Head Office; (21) Maricris “Chris” B. Ballon of Allied Bank Divisoria Branch; (22) Raymund “Mon” S. Crisol of Allied Bank – Aguirre Branch; (23) Ma. Jeannie I Mendoza of Allied Bank – Monumento Branch; (24) Juanito “Jun” C. Banela of CIBI’ (25) Victor C. Victorino of CIBI; (26) Laudimer “Omel” Arandia of Peoples Insurance; (27) Alona C. Beliganio of Belkin Management Consultancy Philippines, Inc.; (28) Alan A. Valenzuela of Peoples Insurance; (29) Genevic “Gene” B. Baria of Angelus; (30) Erwin C. de la Cruz of Angelus; (31) Nenita “Nenet” A. Caringal of SM Lazo Medical Center; (32) Omega “Megs” P. Olano of SM Lazo Medical Center; (33) Joselito “Lito” D. Perinion of SM Lazo Medical Center; (34) Andrew M. Bay of CITEM; (35) Jose Martin F. Duyala of CITEM; (36) Brenda B. Bernabe of Aztec Philippines Corporation; (37) Mary Jane “Jing” V. Gumba of the Bank of Commerce – Head Office; (38) Fortunato “Bong” C. Rosales of Pardee Computer; (39) Ma. Menchu B. Segovia; (40) Elino “Jun” Q. Sorquia; (41) Ma. Consuelo “Connie” I. Vasquez of Alsons Cement Corporation; (42) Wilma S. Mosuela of PNB IT Group; and (43) myself.

There were only 2 initiates, namely: (1) Arthur “Art” S. Tagle of PNB IT Group and (2) Marco Rei Antonio “Marco” W. del Mundo of CITEM. The 9 guests were: (1) Marilyn M. Santiago of PNB IBS Group and an Ayala Mountaineer and (2) his boyfriend, John “Totit” R. Jaromahum; (3) Katerina “Kat-kat” S. Claraval of CITEM; (4) Mark Victor V. Sales of CITEM; (5) Arnold B. Enciso of CIBI; (6) Phillip M. Diaz of Allied Bank – Head Office; (7) James L. Bulanon – brother of Menchu B. Segovia; (8) Glenn Carlos A. de Guzman – my guest; and (9) Renee “Dee” R. Molina of Allied Bank – Head Office.

Baguio City was a part of this trip as our chartered bus was only up to this place. We boarded three jeepneys from Ambangeg in a 10-kilometer steep track for almost four hours going to Babadak Rangers Station in which we travelled through a very rough and muddy road which lasted for more than six hours or from 5:20 to 11:55 A.M. The trek from the jumpoff point started at almost 1:00 P.M. despite the heavy downpour, freezing temperature and strong winds. The following day of November 28 was very rewarding as we had ample time to photograph the beautiful scenery within the vicinity of The Plateau and Myra’s Peak and socials followed until 3:00 P.M. We had our summit assault at almost 4:00 P.M. and induction of initiates followed. Back in our campsite at around 5:30 P.M., the view was fantastic --- the sky looked like God’s palette, as He was about to finish painting the day into night.

We had a disastrous night because a heavy downpour coupled with very strong winds leveled down some of our tents but not ours in the group of Roy Pison and Jun Galang. Some were soaked in water as the whole camp was flooded. The following day, as we descended to Babadak Rangers Station for Baguio City, I felt an incredible sense of nostalgia as I was completely leaving the majestic mountain.

MOUNT PINATUBO CLIMB











The May 4-5, 2002 Mt. Pinatubo Climb was my last climb with PNB Mountaineering Club before leaving for my Uganda volunteering placement but one of the most memorable mountain scaling I ever had. It was absolutely a wonderful experience due to the magnificent sceneries from start to finish where there was no boring and dull moment for my feasting eyes salivating in awesome appreciation. I was actually hesitant to join then since a lot of those who visited this mountain told us how they suffered their climb due to the extremely hot sun that almost lead them to retreat and surrender. But our climb offered such a perfect weather where the sun was playful enough to give us a not-so-hot trekking sessions for us to enjoy an endless picture taking. There were a lot of rampaging creeks that offer such cool waters every time we soak our bodies Except for the creeks, everything seemed to be dry but gentle blows of cool breeze give us a refreshing feeling. I could say that Mt. Pinatubo is perfect for photography enthusiasts both amateurs and professionals.

On the other hand, it is with pride to include Mt. Pinatubo in my mountaineering profile of activities since it is so famous throughout the world. As per record, the most destructive volcano in the Philippines is Mount Mayon of Albay with 46 eruptions. However, most of the foreigners knew it more than any other mountains in the Philippines with its very devastating eruption way back June 15, 1991 has completely invaded the international media mileage, after 450 years of peaceful slumber blowing off a 300 meter cap. A lot of stories and media footages were published. I learned that its volcanic eruption shot 35 kilometers into the sky, showering an area of 200 square kilometers with millions of tons of ash and rock and creating a crater jewel-blue lake 2.5 kilometers wide. Consequently, its force of explosion blew off its summit reducing its height from 1,700 to 1,400 meters (5,577 to 4,593 feet. Its legend tells us that Mt. Pinatubo is home to Apo Malyarik, “The Great Provider”and the spirits of the ancestors of some 30,000 nomadic Aeta Negritos found in the higher elevation settlements in Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales Provinces. Mount Pinatubo is 90 kilometers or 55 miles north-west of the capital city of Manila.

Our group was actually manageable in the sense that we were only a total of eight persons, namely: (1) Jenny Ferrer, (2) Enrique “Ïke”Abad, (3) Eduard “Jun“ Mangyao and (4) Johanssen “Jojo” B. Capsa of USAID Manila Office, (5) Mary Jeanne Bejar Santiago of CITEM, (6) Eileen V. De Gala of PNB Balayan Branch, (7) Renee “Dee” Molina of Allied Bank – Head Office, and (8) me. We left Manila boarding an airconditioned Philippine Rabbit bus on the eve of May 3, 2002 at 9:00 P.M. It was Ike who actually organized the climb since he was in that place and he has a lot of relatives who assisted him to make our climb a successful one. We arrived in Ike’s residence in Brgy. Sto. Rosario, Capas, Tarlac at almost 1:00 dawn of May 4 and had our bedrest along Lake Tambo which is just 30-minute drive away from the jump-off point.

We had an amazing morning as we woke up and had our breakfast along the tranquil Tambo Lake. We started our trek at around 8:00 A.M. The trail that we followed was the former Crow Valley Gunnery Range along the O’Donnell streambed in which we used the entry point in Brgy. Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac. It is actually a flat, long valley that leads right up to the crater. We had regrouping in the campsite located in the foolhill before a 20-minute assault to the crater at 1:00 P.M. It was really therapeutic to see the volcano’s lake crater which I can summed up as an enchanting reward for a fearless explorer like me. Though swimming in the crater is prohibited, our group disregarded the guideline and enjoyed the very cool waters of the lake instead. The following day, May 5, was purely a downhill trekking which started at almost 8:00 A.M. and was in the jump-off point at almost 12:00 noon. We had an hour drive boarding a 4 x 4 all-weather all-terrain truck owned and drove by Charlie M. De Jesus who is the husband of Ike’s sister-in-law back to Sta. Juliana where a lunch was served for us. Another hour of drive going back to Ike’s residence in Capas. We left in Capas at 5:00 P.M. and was home at almost 8:00 P.M.

MOUNT NYARANGARA CLIMB







I had two climbs in Mount Nyakarangara. I was with Stephen and Enock the first time I climbed the mountain dated August 25, 2002 and with Grant Gilbertson (British VSO Volunteer), Patricia Tivadar (Romanian Medical Doctor) and Behram Daruwalla (Indian National) The first time I climbed was exciting since it was my first to climb in a foreign country. This mountain is actually located between the borders of Buhweju and Sheema counties of Bushenyi District. I was with the company of two Ugandans, namely: Stephen Kataraiha (WRAF Rural Trust’s client) and Enock Bagyenda (WRAF Rural Trust staff). It was indeed a fun climb because the terrain was relatively easy and gradual. The trail was generally grown with low bushes, ordinary grasses and a few Eucalyptus trees. The weather that time was pretty cool and soothing winds refreshed us from time to time. Its peak offered such a great scenery overlooking the nearby villages and counties. I was also able to see in full picture and dimension some mountains situated far and near this mountain. There was only one similarity I noticed in these mountains --- they did not have thick forests but rather grown by bushes, ordinary grasses and a number of Eucalyptus trees. Some parts halfway to the peak of this mountain was burned down in preparation for the rainy season where tea is usually grown and cultivated. I never experienced any degree of difficulty in the whole duration of the climb compared to my fun and day climbs in the Philippines that most mountains’ terrains are quite difficult to climb. The location of this mountain is about 15 kilometers away from my VSO Uganda placement in Nyakashaka. Our group also trekked down the Obururuma Rapids in Nyakyiraguju River located in Karyanga Village of Igara county and still a part of Bushenyi District.

MOUNT NATIB CLIMB




My fifth climb under PNB Mountaineering Club dated September 26 and 27, 1998 made a difference in Mount Natib in Orani, Bataan for it was the first time that I experienced a freezing night inside our tent and I considered it more memorable than Mount Batulao. Abet Zapanta, a senior member then, was my climb buddy. He was very supportive and awesomely inspiring companion. He was always there to help me when I needed him the most especially that the trail and terrain towards the peak was so difficult because the very stiff rocky slopes of the mountain were very slippery and some parts of it were so densely forested area. Mount Natib is located in the heart of Bataan Natural Park of 23,700 hectares or 58,500 acres in the midst of lowland dipterocarp rainforest. Its peak has an elevation of 1,253 meters or 4,111 feet. We were twelve then consisting of six members, five initiates and a guest. The members were: (1) Noel N. Dollentas – Expidition Leader; (2) Alberto “Abet” M. Zapanta – sweeper; (3) Norita “Norie” R. Jacala; (4) Romeo “Jun” B. Galang; (5) Sandy A. Alhambra and (6) Sandra S. Reyes. The initiates were: (1) Noemi Amador, (2) Juanito “Jun” R. Banela and Victor C. Victorino of Credit Investigation Bureau, Inc. (CIBI); (4) Roy Pison; and (5) I; and Henry “Joel” A. Dimacali, Abet’s friend, as guest climber. This time, we had a travel variation since we boarded M/V Stella Mariz Ferry Boat of Grand Seaway Ferries, Inc. from CCP Complex Port Terminal going to Lamao in Bataan and boarded a jeepney to Orani, Bataan up to the jump-off point. On our way back to Manila, we went to Balanga, Bataan in Brenda Bernabe’s house where a sumptuous lunch was served and back again to the Port of Lamao.

MOUNT NAPULAWAN CLIMB




It was indeed a very memorable climb not only because of its side trips but because it was my first major climb in which I was inducted a regular member of PNB Mountaineering Club. The said climb was in Mount Napulawan in Hapao-Hungduan which is a part of Mountain Province dated November 28 to December 2, 1998. Climbing to the breathtaking summit of this mountain was really an endless trekking as we passed through several mountains. Notably, these mountains were all exciting and dramatic and immediately overawe myself as an onlooker. But I was prepared for this by all that I’ve known from the accounts given by the club’s members who already climbed this mountain. And I was keyed up to respond to that kind of beauty.

I was inducted along with 12 others as the club’s Batch 14 on its summit called Camp Dunuan at 7:45 in the morning on November 30, 1998 by Policarpo Gregorio Osmundo N. “Ding” Capunitan assisted by Rolly Villanueva. It was freezing then and all of us male initiates wore only short pants and our upper body was bare. The night before induction was extremely freezing and there was light rains. When I rested in my tent together with Roy Pison and Jun Galang, I wore two thermal jackets, with two t-shirts inside, two socks, hand gloves, muffler and bonnet and I could not sleep well because I kept on chilling. We were all thirty-two with thirteen members, thirteen inductees, two guests and four guides. The members were: (1) Rolly Villanueva – expidition leader; (2) Jun Galang – lead man; (3) Manny Llesol – sweeper; (4) Ding Capunitan; (5) Sandy Alhambra; (6) Sandra Reyes; (7) Chika Vite; (8) Norie Jacala; (9) Elmer Daus; (10) Tony Sundiang; (11) Fidel O. Mendoza; (12) Noel Dollentas; and (13) Abet Zapanta. The inductees were: (1) Noemi Amador; (2) Roy Pison; (3) Chris Ballon; (4) Jenny Ferrer; (5) Marie Jane V. Gumba; (6) Benjie Autencio; (7) Jun Banela; (8) Victor Victorino; (9) Jesie Sayas; (10) Neil Raymundo; (11) Janet Lazarte; (12) Henry Salazar; and (13) I. Lito Capuz and Judith Palero were the guests. Our group of inductees was Batch 14 and we were simply the best batch ever that PNB Mountaineering Club has produced.

After we descended from the mountain which was the eve of November 30, we stayed overnight in Hungduan Municipal Hall. In same venue, a cultural show was prepared by the folks of Hungduan for us hosted by the lady vice mayor. The show was an age-old Ifugao ritual entitled “Mumbaki” in which medicine priests offer animals like pigs and chickens to their gods for good harvest and good health. Dinner was served out of the animals offered in the ritual. The following day, December 1, we had a side trip to Banaue and Sagada. This was the second time I have been in this place since April 17-19, 1998 together with some PNB Makati Avenue officemates. In Banaue, we visited its Museum and Terrace View Deck. We also visited the Bontoc Museum and proceed to Sagada where we stayed in two separate groups in Country Inn and Restaurant and Masferre’s Lodging House. We visited the following: (1) Sagada Weaving, (2) Hanging Coffins, (3) Sagada Parish Church, (4) Sagada Cemetery, and (5) Echo Valley. I joined dinner with the group but slept early and did not join the evening socials because I was mad with Rolly Villanueva and besides I was sad because my favorite buddy, Abet Zapanta did not join the Sagada side trip together with Henry Salazar, confidante Neil Raymundo and Judith Palero.
The following day, December 2, I decided not to join the Sumaguing Caving and persuaded Jenny Ferrer and Janet Lazarte to join me instead in roaming around the place. Our group left Sagada and proceed to Baguio City and had a memorable evening socials in Fondue Café and Folk House. That same night, we pushed for Manila and reached home at almost 5:00 in the morning of December 3 but I managed to report to work just a little bit late because I washed first my dirty clothes in the climb.

MOUNT MANABO CLIMB




In celebration for the birthday (March 8) of our fellow member in PNB Mountaineering Club, Marie Jane V. Gumba, one of my favorites, she organized the Mt. Manabo Fun Climb in Lipa, Batangas dated March 9-10, 2002. Our group of 23 participants was divided into two as to the day (first batch) and night (second batch) trekkers. I was with the first batch which left Pasay City through three separate service cars at 1:00 P.M. I hitched with Ding and Noemi’s Capunitan’s white Nissan pick-up together with Dee Molina of Allied Bank, Jenny Ferrer of Yuchengco Group of Companies and Janet Lazarte of PNB. In separate cars were: Jun Banela and Arnold Enciso of CIBI and Philnabankers: Manny Llesol, Roy Pison, Ike Abad, Anton Alcaraz and Ricky Eslao. We met in Fiesta Mall in Lipa City of Batangas at 3:20 P.M. and started our uphill trek at 4:12 P.M. where we reached the peak at 5:33 P.M. and settled there for an overnight stay in a very breathtaking and scenic campsite. Founding member of PAL Romy Antonio and sweetheart Philnabanker Je Parina arrived at almost 6:30 P.M. who initiated the socials with a drinking spree.

We already finished our dinner and was starting our socials when the night trekkers of eight arrived at almost 9:00 P.M. The ever vibrant and charming birthday celebrant, Jing Gumba paraded to our campsite equipped with food and liquors for her birthday celebration. She was chanting with excitement though she felt tired then. She was accompanied by our equally excited members, namely: Jun Lee of Colorite Photo Center of Olongapo City, Menchu Segovia of Frameworks establishment of Malolos in Bulacan, Melanie “Lani” P. Santos of BPI Savings Bank formerly from Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), Connie Vasquez of Jianshe Motorcycle Industries Philippines Corporation, Elmar Portento of Raco-Haven Automation Phils., Inc. , Alona C. Beliganio of Soundtechs Hearing Care Professionals and Jose Martin F. Duyala of Center for International Trade Exposition & Mission (CITEM). Socials continued until 2:00 dawn of March 10.

The peak was cold and we needed to have thick wears in the form of jackets and sweat shirts. The cold temperature was comparable to that of Mt. Natib in Orani, Bataan and Mt. Cristobal in Dolores, Quezon. To wake up early in the morning was really rewarding since the enchanting scenery was just as fascinating as it was. Our cameras were endlessly grinding in order to capture the best shot possible. A few of us remained in their tents to experience an extended soundly sleep. We had our breakcamp on the morning of March 10 at 7:30 A.M. while a few descended at 8:00 A.M. Our group consisting of Jing, Connie, Jenny, Ike, Dee, Anton, Janet, Martin, Mechu and Ricky was left and had our breakfast. We started the downhill trekking at almost 9:00 A.M. and was at the jump-off point at passed 10:00 A.M. We arrived in Manila at 1:00 P.M.

MOUNT MAKILING – PEAK 2 CLIMB

As per record, I had already two climbs in this mountain, all of which are day climb dated July 25, 1998 and May 29, 1999. It is located in Los Banos, Laguna with an altitude of 1,144 meters or 3,753 feet. It has 25 loveseats before finally reaching the peak. It is inhabited by tiger-color “Limatik”, a family of blood sucking leech.

July 25, 1998 was my first climb in PNB Mountaineering Club as an Initiate and the third in my mountain climbing portfolio. It happened when a PNB Mountaineer member and officemate, Pablito “Apple” Ongleo and Philnabank Director Rolando “Rolly” Villanueva and one of the directors of Philippine National Bank Mountaineering Club (PNB MC), convinced me to join the said club. I finally filed for membership on July 20, 1998. I attended the Club’s Basic Mountaineering Course on October 17, 1998. I was an Initiate then in this club and was required to complete some minor and major climbs to qualify as a regular member. We were nine then consisting of four regular members and five initiates. The regular members were: (1)Elmer C. Daus -Expidition Leader (EL), (2) Agnes “Chika” F. Vite – Sweeper of PNB Institute of Banking; (3) Romeo “Jun” B. Galang of PNB IT Group; (4) Sandy A. Alhambra and the initiates were: (1) Noemi Amador; (2) Jenny Ferrer; (3) Janet T. Lazarte of PNB GSD-Accounting; (4) Roy Pison, (5)Jaime “Bogs” Estanilla Jr. of PNB Special and Global Accounts Department and (6) I.

Another workout and minor climb was on May 29, 1999 which was a day-hike climb. We joined with 10 initiates and 5 members of PNB Mountaineering Club. With me was my favorite Jenny Ferrer and we were not able to join the group in the assembly area. With this, we were left and we took a separate trip going to UP Los Banos. Unfortunately, Jenny and I were not able to meet them in the jump-off point and so we had a separate assault towards the peak. When we were about to reach the peak, we met the group but we decided to go on with the assault. They agreed that, they will just wait for us in the jump-off point.

MOUNT MACULOT CLIMB




I was able to climb Mount Maculot twice dated October 11, 1998 and February 7, 1999 located in Cuenca, Batangas with a breathtaking scenery of Taal Volcano and the majestic Taal Lake. Mount Maculot are good for fun and workout climbs.

The first time under PNB Mountaineering Climb was an Initiate wherein we were all fifteen with six members, 8 initiates and a guest. The members were: (1) Chika Vite – Expidition Leader; (2) Abet Zapanta – sweeper; (3) Jun Galang; (4) Manny Llesol; (5) Sandra Reyes; and (6) Sandy Alhambra. The initiates were: (1) Neil James G. Raymundo – Abet’s friend; (2) Jesiebel “Jesie” V. Sayas of CIBI; (3) Jun Banela; (4) Victor Victorino; (5) Roy Pison; (6) Noemi Amador; (7) Maricris Ballon; and (8) I. For the second time, Joel Dimacali was our guest climber. It was my first meeting with Neil James and I find him a nice guy. He was such a witty conversationalist.

Our batch really missed mountain scaling. With this, we suggested to a few PNB Mountaineers who were close to us to organize climbs in preparation to major climbs. On February 7, 1999, eight of us, namely: (1) Jenny Ferrer, (2) Abet Zapanta, (3) Neil Raymundo, (4) Chika Vite, (5) Lito Capuz, (6) Sandy Alhambra, (7) Manny Llesol, and (8) I decided to scale Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas for just a day hike. This was the second time that I have been there and my objective for that time was to minimize the time in the assault and descending to the jump-off point because at least I already defined the trail and the required effort I need to successfully complete the climb in a minimum period of time. The climb, on the other hand, was very inspiring because the participants were all close to me. They were the few chosen ones for me. My favorites Abet and Neil were with me to attend the 5:00-6:00 P.M. mass in San Isidro Labrador Parish Church in Taft Avenue, Pasay City because it was Sunday.

MOUNT KYANGYENYI CLIMB


The October 19, 2002 Mt. Kyangyenyi Climb. This is the highest mountain of Bushenyi District located in Kyangyenyi sub-county, Sheema county in my VSO Uganda Placement. Our entry point or better known as the jump-off point was the Rweibaare Village just four kilometers of Kakindo Trading Center. It was Ugandan Nelson Twebaze who drove me from my Nyakashaka residence to the jump-off point of 45 minutes who served to be my guide. Such drive has given me an opportunity to see such an amazing sceneries of rolling hills and valleys and the locals where we passed by has given me such a warm welcome being a “muzunggo” (foreigner) along our way in the Nyakitoko Parish, Ryamasa Village, Muzira Parish, Kakindo Trading Center and Rweibaare Village. In fact, some locals voluntarily accompanied us to the summit and back to the jump-off point. It was headed by a teenager named Lawrence Sajja together with some kids, namely: Turyahabwe Julius, Ahimbisibwe Innocent, Kansiime Richard, Twinamasiko Isaac, Ndebesa Didas and some other unidentified kids. Honestly, I really suffered with this climb for it has such an almost endless cardiac assaults and there was no gradual trekking up to its summit. I never had any physical or body conditioning like jogging and exercises before the climb. But the trail was well-defined and like Mt. Nyakarangara, it was generally grown with bushes, ordinary grazing grasses and Eucalyptus trees. The summit was absolutely amazing and beautiful and the cold breeze was just soothingly therapeutic. I treated the local volunteer guides with lunch when we were in the summit. In the jump-off point, in Lawrence’s house, Nelson and I were invited for refreshments and ample rest and a crowd of locals came just to see me. Obviously, they were greatly amazed by my presence most especially when I spoke their Runyankole language.

MOUNT IRAYA CLIMB


The October 2, 2003 Mount Iraya Climb. This was a part of my September 25 to October 3, 2003 Batanes Tour. Mount Iraya is a dormant volcano and the highest point of the Batanes group of islands standing at 1,008 meters or 3,307 feet above sea level whose last eruption was recorded in 505 AD. It is located in Batan island and is adjacent to Basco, the capital of Batanes province. The climb was a package arranged for me by Del Millan amounting to P1,200 with Philip Cardona as my guide. Incidentally, five students of Batanes Polytechnique College (BPC) climbed the mountain, namely: Emil Canedo, Rey Cabizon, Jerold Camacho, Reynaldo L. Ballada and Harvey M. Gutierrez and they joined us while we were on our way to the mountain’s shoulder.
I really anticipated that the climb was a difficult one but it turned out to be easier than I expected. Its height and trail was comparable to Mt. Maculot of Batangas. Halfway from its shoulder to the peak were cogon and one has to resort to a four-wheel drive. From the jump-off point after the Basco Airport to the shoulder is rainforest and thus a lot of shades were present because of the abundant trees growing on it. It took me and Philip barely four hours to reach the peak as we stayed in its midpoint waiting for the magnificent open skies to showcase the whole Basco and the airport runway and its neighboring Sabtang and Itbayat islands. But the clouds opened in segments only. The thick clouds were not as cooperative as we expected since it only opened in seconds and then it closed again and so we could not capture the best pictures we wish to have. We took our lunch on its peak and rested there for 30 minutes but we were forced to descend as it was very cold in the summit coupled with strong winds and the clouds never opened completely for us to get the 360 degrees scenery. Descending the mountain took us more than an hour to do so with less difficulty. The students were running down continuously teasing each other. At the jumpoff point, Philip treated us with fresh buco taken from the coconut trees owned by their family.

MOUNT CRISTOBAL CLIMB


Mount Cristobal in Dolores of the province of Quezon was my ninth climb under PNB Mountaineering Club dated November 14 and 15, 1998. The experience I had in this climb has a similitude of Mount Natib but the amount of rainfall in this mountain was comparatively high compared with Natib’s since we were totally trailing a rain forest. In fact, there was a continuous downpour just two kilometers from the jump-off point up to the camp site that we stayed overnight. But the continuous rains had not barred us to ascend to our campsite. Some of the folks we met there and other mountaineers who have gone there already forewarned us that the mountain was really enchanted and they even shared to us horrible stories. But for us, scaling the said mountain was just another exciting experience. We proceed with our socials in the evening which was a rain-free one but it was so cold and was very inviting to have an early bed rest in our warm tents. We were twenty-two then with 8 members, 12 initiates and two guest climbers. The members were: (1) Jun Galang – expidition leader; (2) Chika Vite – sweeper; (3) Ding Capunitan; (4) Elmer Daus; (5) Abet Zapanta; (6) Sandy Alhambra; (7) Rolly Villanueva; and (8) Marrita Gregore. The initiates were: (1) Jun Banela; (2) Jesie Sayas; (3) Susie Tagustos; (4) Victor Victorino; (5) Noemi Amador; (6) Jing Gumba; (7) Neil Raymundo; (8) Roy Pison; (9) Jenny Ferrer; (10) Janet Lazarte; (11) Benjie Autencio; and (12) I. Roderick “Rick” N. Vinluan of CIBI and Judith C. Palero of China Bank were guests.

MOUNT CAMIGUIN DE BABUYANES CLIMB



MOUNT CAMIGUIN DE BABUYANES

Location: Camiguin Island, Cagayan Valley Province, Philippines
Elevation: 712 m (2,336 ft)
Coordinates: 18°50′00″N 121°51′36″E
Total Area: 24.62 Square KM (9.51 square miles)
Blogger Note: Camiguin de Babuyanes is located in the island of Camiguin de Babuyanes which is a part of the province of Cagayan Valley. More information of it can be read in Wikipedia

View Mt Camiguinin a larger map



The October 12, 2003 Mount Camiguin de Babuyan Climb. This was actually a part of my Babuyan Islands Group tour. It is the highest point of Camiguin Island, an extinct volcano with two small lakes near its peak and measures 712 meters or 2,336 feet high. In preparation for the climb, I stayed overnight on October 11, 2003 in the house of the 50-year old Esperanza de la Cruz Acupan together with my handsome teener friend, Francis Dalo, a fourth year high school student then of the Lyceum of Camiguin. Her place is just close to the mountain’s jumpoff point located in Sitio Pagitpit, Brgy. Naguilian, Camiguin.

During the actual date of the climb, our group of six (6), left Esperanza’s house at 8:15 A.M., namely: (1) 48-year old Rogelio delos Santos and (2) 42-year old Dionisio Alejo (both hired guides); (3) Eden Acupan (Esperanza’s daughter); (4) Lina dela Cruz (Esperanza’s sister); (5) Francis Dalo; and (6) I. It was only a minor climb but I really felt the extreme difficulty of pursuing its peak. Our group was only the second climbers after 21 years when two (2) Americans did a research on this volcano wayback 1982. So, an unfriendly and hostile trail was expected by us. Our guides had to make a clearance in this thickly forested mountain all the time and the terrain was bad. We used the four-wheel drive system for us to sustain the stiff sticky terrain. Most of the time, we positioned ourselves in such a way that we are like entering an igloo house just to fit in with the narrow trails because of the thick trees abundantly growing everywhere. On our way to the summit, we passed thru two small lakes in two (2) distant separate locations. We reached the peak at 12:08 Noon.
We cut most of the trees in the peak so that we can capture a rewarding 360 degrees viewpoint overlooking the amazing island of Camiguin with endless rolling hills and sprawling green fields and white sand beaches as well as with the neighboring Pinon Islet and Pamuctan Island. We stayed in the peak from 12:08 Noon to 1:22 P.M. not only to appreciate its awesome scenery but also to have our lunch and siesta time and endless picture taking. In addition, the peak is abundantly grown with a number of expensive and exotic orchids. We descended the mountain at 1:23 P.M. and reached Esperanza’s house at 3:28 P.M. where a buco fruit treat was awaiting us. Francis and I left at 4:50 P.M. and arrived in his ancestral house at 5:40 P.M. in Sitio Baribar, Brgy. Naguilian, Camiguin where we spent overnight. In their

MOUNT BATULAO CLIMB


My fourth climb under PNB Mountaineering Club was in Mount Batulao located in Nasugbu, Batangas dated August 29-30, 1998. The said climb was a fun-filled one because it was an overnight activity compared with the Mt. Makiling day-hike climb. We had enough socialization during night time because a lot of senior members joined us. But comparatively, it was not as enjoyable as the Banahaw de Tayabas and Pico de Loro Climb. The reason might be that some senior members were so arrogant to us and emphasized the member-initiate relationship wherein the members should always be above the initiates who were all vying for permanent membership in the club. Marrita Gregore was the most arrogant senior member of the climb. We were consisting of 20 participants in which 14 were members and six initiates. The climb was divided into two groups in which the first group was in a day trek while the rest of the senior members had a night trek. The members were: (1) Alberto “Abet”M. Zapanta, Jr. - Expidition Leader; (2) Sandy A. Alhambra – Sweeper; (3) Jun Galang; (4) Marrita “Marit” M. Gregore; (5) Sandra S. Reyes; (6) Norita “Norie” R. Jacala; (7) Policarpo Gregorio Osmundo “Ding” N. Capunitan; (8) Brenda B. Bernabe; (9) Noel N. Dollentas; (10) Rolando “Rolly” O. Villanueva; (11) Analiza “Liza” M. Astillero; (12) Manuel “Manny” I. Llesol; (13) Jessica Parina; and (14) Reynold Quiambao. The initiates were: (1) Boggs Estanilla; (2) Janet T. Lazarte; (3) Roy Pison; (4) Jenny Ferrer; (5) Noemi Amador and (6) I.

An added attraction was the panoramic and tranquil Caleruega Chapel which served as the jump-off point of Mount Batalao. A perfect wedding church for perfect couple like my best friend Noemi Ordiales Amador who was tied to Policarpo Gregorio Osmundo “Ding” Nuqui Capunitan in this chapel dated March 12, 2000.

MOUNT BANAHAW CLIMB


Though I decided not to join the March 26-31, 2002 Mt. Halcon Climb, I still joined the March 16-17, 2002 Mt. Banahaw Major Preparatory Climb since for me it was a new mountain to scale and absolutely a new challenging adventure. I arrived at this very crucial decision since I opted to join the Palawan Zafari and Nature Trek with the same schedule which was held during the holy week. Scaling, Mt. Banahaw was such a very worthwhile mountaineering experience though it was such an extremely exhausting activity. We were a group of eleven PNB Mountaineering Club members, namely: Jing Gumba (Expidition Leader), Elmar D. Portento (Sweeper), Edgar E. Tugade of CITEM, Eileen V. De Gala of PNB Balayan Branch, Jenny Ferrer, Arthur R. Tagle, Christian Dominique T. Tagle (Lead Man), Connie Vasquez, Ricardo N. Eslao, Antonio M. Alcaraz and I. We had a chartered Tamaraw FX from Manila to Brgy. Kinabuhayan, Dolores, Quezon and vice versa owned and drove by Gil, an acquaintance in Mt. Manabo where he also served as our driver from its jump-off point in Lipa City to Manila.

Based on the excerpts from the Moneysaver Magazine Volume 4 No. 4 April 1995 page 23 on its article entitled: “Trek to the Mystical Mount. Banahaw”, the following accounts has been recorded as: Mt. Banahaw lies 100 kilometers southeast of Manila and rises 7,380 feet above sea level. It was once an active volcano, its last recorded eruption being in 1721. This eruption caused a lake to form in the volcano crater but in 1743, probably because of another eruption, the crater broke open causing a flood and an avalanche of boulders. Today the crater is called Ilalim. Since 19th century naturalists Edward Marche and the Frenchman Gironiere discovered the mountain’s exotic beauty, Mt. Banahaw has been a national park. All year, rain clouds constantly cover its peak, giving abundant rain and natural waters. Thus it has been called Rain Mountain.

On the other hand, our climb started when we left in Connie Vasquez’s residence in Mandaluyong City at 5:00 A.M. consisting of only 8 persons, namely: Jing, Elmar, Edgar, Jenny, Art, Christian, Anton and I. We just picked-up Eileen in San Pablo City, Laguna while Ricky and Connie left Manila at 7:00 A.M. Our group arrived in Brgy. Kinabuhayan, Dolores, Quezon at 7:00 A.M. We started the trek, after negotiating with a local guide and porter, at 8:00 A.M. and arrived in “Tatlong Tangke” or “Batya-batya” after an hour where we had our ample rest. We resumed our trek at 8:40 A.M. and arrived in “Kapatagan” at almost noon time and we decided to have our lunch. The trail even from the start was really consisting of cardiac assaults causing us to get occasional rest. On our way to “Unang Durungawan” which means first Window, my buddy Jenny and I, met a handsome mountaineer from San Miguel Product Packaging Division of Imus, Cavite, in the name of Joseph G. Arevalo.

Our lead pack consisting of Anton, Christian and Elmar arrived in our campsite in “Pangalawang Durungawan” at 2:30 P.M. while Jenny and I, arrived in Unang Durungawan at almost 3:00 P.M. and were contented in taking pictures in its extremely awesome scenery together with Jing and Elmar. We met friends like Roldan “Coy” Cana, Jorge Michael Jana and a photographer/mountaineer Warren Laygo. After that, we courageously did the wall climbing or ruppelling to our campsite in “Pangalawang Durungawan”. We were lucky enough to have experienced such a perfect weather for us to enjoy the peak. The group of Joseph Arevalo, who were all from San Miguel Corporation of Imus, Cavite, has pitched their tents just next to ours. Ricky and Connie arrived in our campsite at almost 8:00 P.M. and we started our socials with so much fun coupled with a usual drinking spree. Our neighboring group slept early leaving our group in the midst of fun and enjoyment exchanging chit-chat nothings and humorous lines. Though, we were still enjoying, we decided to have our rest at almost 11:00 P.M. Jing, Elmar and I shared in one tent.

We had our breakfast preparation at 6:00 A.M. where Jenny and I were tasked to prepare for it for our group since we were divided into two groups. We had our break-up camp after breakfast and had a 30-minute assault to the mountain’s peak called “Ikatlong Durungawan”. I could not help but appreciate this piece of God’s creation endowed with such a perfect beauty. I felt so grateful to God then for giving me that opportunity to witness again His unrivaled work of creation. We stayed there shortly and as went back to our campsite, we started descending the mountain. We were suppose to reach the jump-off point earlier but Connie was unfortunately lost. We had no choice but to wait for her in “Tatlong Tangke”. With this, we reached the jump-off point at almost 4:00 P.M. There was a long drive for us in going back to Manila as we arrived at almost 9:00 P.M. and I was home at almost 11:00 P.M.

MOUNT ARAYAT CLIMB


My eighth climb under PNB Mountaineering Club was in Mount Arayat in Pampanga last November 7-8, 1998. I hate the said climb for one reason that the people who were in charge of the registration in Mount Arayat National Park in Brgy. San Juan Bano delayed us so much, they were the so called: “Opportunists” and with this, I said to myself that I will no longer visit and scale this mountain again with the kind of people manning the registration. On the other hand, the said climb was noted for having a lot a cardiac assaults in which I almost failed to reach the peak. I realized that one should not underestimate the mountains to be scaled. I learned a lesson that one should always condition oneself that climbing is not just an easy undertaking to do even in some minor climbs. We were all seventeen with 6 members, 10 initiates and a guest. The members were: (1) Norie Jacala – expidition leader; (2) Ding Capunitan – sweeper; (3) Jun Galang; (4) Chika Vite; (5) Jessica “Je” M. Parina; and (6) Brenda B. Bernabe. The initiates were: (1) Roy Pison; (2) Jenny Ferrer; (3) Chris Ballon; (4) Jun Banela; (5) Jesie Sayas; (6) Jesusa “Susie” D. Tagustos of CIBI; (7) Neil James Raymundo; (8) Jing Gumba; (9) Noemi Amador; and (10) I. The guest was Paulito “Lito” M. Capuz, Chika’s sweetheart. On the other hand, I never thought Jing Gumba would join another climb as she suffered her first climb very much. She told us, she was challenged by that difficulty and she would like to overcome it only by becoming a seasoned and regular member of PNB Mountaineering Club

BUNDOK NG SUSONG DALAGA CLIMB


For the first time, I had a chance to set foot in Lipa City for my seventh climb under PNB Mountaineering Club which was in Bundok ng Susong Dalaga in Brgy. Talisay, Lipa, Batangas last November 2, 1998 and another workout and day climb. It was not worth remembering as there was no remarkable scenery in this place. We just did this in preparation for our major climbs. We were all fifteen with five members, nine initiates and a guest. The members were: (1) Marrita Gregore – expidition leader; (2) Jun Galang – lead man; (3) Sandy Alhambra – sweeper; (4) Norie Jacala; and (5) Susan E. Angeles of Energy Regulatory Board. The initiates were: (1) Benjamin “Benjie” G. Autencio, Jr.; (2) Roy Pison; (3) Janet Lazarte; (4) Jenny Ferrer; (5) Noemi Amador; (6) Maricris “Chris” Ballon; (7) Jesie Sayas; (8) Marie Jane “Jing” V. Gumba of Bank of Commerce and (9) I. The guest climber a who is a friend of Marrita Gregori was Judith C. Palero of China Bank and a member of U-Trek Mountaineering Club. It was the first climb of Jing Gumba and she suffered so many falls for her chubby frame increased more the degree of pull of gravity, I suppose.

CAMIGUIN DE BABUYANES

Camiguin Bay as taken from the shore of Brgy. Balatubat of Camiguin de Babuyanes Island


This October 3 to November 4, 2003 trip has started when my Batanes Trip ended. As soon as I arrived in Laoag City from a Basco flight, I boarded a bus going to Allacapan town of Cagayan province right after crossing the Golden Gate like bridge of Magapit for five (5) hours bus travel. From there, I boarded a jeepney going to Aparri town for 50 minutes. I did not have itinerary then. I just asked PNB Aparri Branch personnel how to go to Camiguin Island of Babuyan. Since it was already 5:00 P.M., I just bought for food and other necessities which I felt I need in my forthcoming trip. Then, I checked in at Room 407 of St. Patrick Garden Hotel for an overnight. While in my room, I have been texting Joms Acebes, an acquaintance in Uganda for some queries about Camiguin Island including a referral for my accommodation which she advised me to stay with Juanita "Awit" Llopis.

The long stretch of white beach of Naguillian away from Brgy. Balatbat


Babuyan Island Group is consist of five (5) major islands, namely: Babuyan Claro, Fuga, Dalupiri, Camiguin and its capital Calayan. So, when I arrived in Camiguin, I stayed with my host couple Leopoldo “Luding” and Awit Llopis in Brgy. Balatubat. They have four children, namely: Apple, Junjun, Imee and Michael. This is my most major vacation in terms of length of time for one month. Aside from climbing its highest peak of Mt. Camiguin at 712 meters or 2,336 feet above sea level. Since, Awit is closely associated with the parish church, I became close also with the missionary Dominican priest in Camiguin in the name of Fr. Oscar "Auckhs" Enjaynes who served as the Director then of the Lyceum of Camiguin High School. He is the lead guitarist of the Inggo 1587 Band who is composed of four (4) Dominican priests and by then the Director of Lyceum of Camiguin. Being close to them, I was inspired attending the evening Black Rosary and the holy masses. With this, I had the opportunity to know the townfolks in the personal level. I have been close also with the parish priest of Camiguin's St. Vincent Ferrer Parish church in the name of Fr. Ogie C. Quirao, OP.

The picture was taken in Pinon Islet with the backdrop of Camiguin de Babuyanes Island


Together with Fr. Auckhs, Awit Llopis, Jojo Delubio, Joshua, Noring Asaja, Titoy Alejo, Elvis Nanay, Ricky Aguinaldo, Salvador Asaja and Jerry Mendoza, we had a picnic and swimming in Siship Hot Spring in the Mararag Point on October 8, 2003. This is quite a unique hot spring in the sense that it opens in the seashore and its source comes from the neighboring volcano of Mount Camiguin. We stayed long in the beach to take advantage of the presence of the hot sea water. The same group also landed in the beautiful Pinon Islet just opposite Manguilinguitit Point and Magasasuc Bay and cruised toward the opposite side in the scenic Pamuctan Island. My favorite spot in Camiguin is the Naguillian Beach which is a 3-kilometer of serene, white and powdery sand beach. It could rival Boracay of its beauty and the good thing is that, it is an undisturbed beach with no tourists going there except me who always spend then my solitude on its fine white powdery white beach.

With me in the picture is Fr. Oscar "Auckhs" Enjaynes, OP at the center and Awit Llopis in orange shirt


On the other hand, I also stayed in Sitio Morol of Brgy. Minabel in Camiguin in the house of Edelberto Estorba for the period October 18 to 26, 2003. Together with us was Edel's scholar, Norberto "Simpling" Aguinaldo. Simpling is a Grade VI student of Edel. His classmates Zaldy Baloloy and handsome 15-year old Roland Aguillon used to sleep in Edel's house. Morol is an 8-hour trek from Brgy. Balatubat. Fortunately, I visited Morol with the company of the students from Lyceum of Camiguin who are also living there, namely: Rosa Pedronan, Michel Antonio, Raymund Irice, Arnold Antonio and Vergel Antonio. It was on October 25, 2003 that Vergel, Edel and I had an spelunking in Diapon Cave located in Sitio Diapon just near Vergel's house. I also visited the nearby fishing village of scenic Panan. My life in Sitio Morol was quite memorable. I also enjoyed having videoki almost every night in Edel's house and watching movies since Edel has an electric generator. Other than that, my life in Morol was so basic and simple and enjoyed the company of the elementary pupils of Morol Elementary School. In fact, I had spent few of my days teaching dance lessons for the pupils as requested by the teachers of the school. When I returned to Barangay Balatubat, I joined the company of Michel Antonio, Gladys Pedronan, Selma Antonio, Rowena Corpuz, Gina Antonio, Allyn Corpuz, Juvelyn Antonio and Vergel Antonio.

BANAHAW DE TAYABAS CLIMB



This is so far my very first climb which at first, I was hesitant to be a part of mountain climbing, but Maricris B. Ballon of Allied Bank – Edsa Extension Branch, a friend of my officemate, Jennifer T. Ferrer, convinced me to join their Banahaw de Tayabas Climb dated May 1-3, 1998 in the province of Quezon. I thought then that such activity is not really exciting but after the climb, I realized that it was really the cup of tea I would like to have for the rest of my life. In this activity, too, I felt the essence of brotherhood and a lot more about camaraderie because there was close bonding for the whole duration of the climb, helping and assisting each other and sharing all the fun, laughter, inner thoughts, ingenuities, values, peculiarities, point of views and some other things that excite us. My companions then were so friendly and supportive and they were as follows: (1) Jennifer T. Ferrer; (2) Maricris B. Ballon, (3) Raymund “Mon” S. Crisol, and (4) Josie J. Gustilo of Allied Bank; (5) Mel M. Mata and (6) Edwin “Didin” F. Reyes of Dual Technology in Edsa, Pasay; (7) Alfonso Rodrigo “Goy” Y. Quemuel of Amkor/Anam Pilipinas; (8) Glenn Carlos Abitria de Guzman of De La Salle University; and (9) Aldwin A. De Guia of Adamson University

After the climb, we headed for Kamayan sa Palaisdaan in Brgy. Dapdap, Tayabas, Quezon for a sumptuous lunch. This is a famous restaurant in Tayabas with floating and artistically designed nipa huts in the heart of man-made cascading falls and fish ponds and awesomely landscaped environment. While it was still early, we decided to have swimming in Bukal na Buhay Resort. It is a natural cold spring developed into a concrete swimming pool. Finally, since May 3 was Sunday, the group agreed to attend the 5:00 to 6:00 P.M. Holy Mass in the Basilica de San Miguel Archangel Parish in Tayabas town clad in our mountaineering gears and paraphernalia.

CORREGIDOR TRIPS



CORREGIDOR ISLAND

Location: Manila Bay
Coordinates: 14°23′8″N 120°34′23″E
Area - Length: 6.5 km (4.04 mi)
Area - Width: 2.0 km (1.24 mi)
Highest Elevation: 589 ft (179.5 m)
Blogger Note: Corregidor Island has played a significant role for both Spanish and American regime as it served as a part of the naval defense for invaders of the Philippines. It has its strategic location being near the entry point of Manila Bay. It is one of the historical icons most particularly during the World War I where it houses the American and Filipino soldiers against the Japanese forces. Click here for more information

View Corregidor in a larger map




I had already two trips two Corregidor Island which is always a day trip package of which the first was on July 30, 1995 and the second one was on May 3, 1997. The first trip with former PNB Buendia Branch officemates, namely: Noemi P. Restum, Angelita C. Melanio and Lynn Quiacos boarding M/V Tennesse Walker from Manila Hotel’s anchor port at 8:10 A.M and had a cruise in the majestic panorama of the Manila Bay. It was such a very memorable historical tour with almost 80% were foreigners mostly Japanese and Koreans. The cruise was more than two hours but it was not all boring because we had some acquaintances on board like the one we met who was an American citizen by birth but both parents were Filipino in the person of France Salas. And the second was with former PNB Makati Avenue Branch officemates Angie Melanio and her sister, Gigi; Emma Pinto; Dulce Comia; Jenny Ferrer; Lynn Quiacos; Louella Roa with her niece Joanne and Pamela where we boarded Stella Marris Ferry of Grand Seawary Ferries via Lamao, Limay, Bataan and took an ordinary motor boat to cross to the island.

As a backgrounder, the name Corregidor was derived from the Spanish word corregir meaning to correct or check as this island served as a check point for vessels entering Manila Bay during the Spanish and American occupation. It earned the name Guardian of Manila because of its strategic location at the mouth of Manila Bay which was once an island under relentless siege.

Corregidor Island lies from the depths of the aquamarine sea which gently rises like a tranquil emerald haven. The distance from its Topside to Bottomside is approximately three kilometers long. Its width is approximately five kilometers at its widest point. It has an elevation of 628 feet above sea level at Topside, its highest point, and 50 feet above sea level at Bottomside, its lowest point. It has Mariveles, Bataan on its north and the province of Cavite on its south.

This island is now a sacred tribute to the heroes who took part in its dramatic past. It is a veteran’s historic isle of remembrance. An eternal witness to the valiant heroism and chilling horrors of war. Now, only the gentle lapping of waves fill the silence and lush greenery veils victories and devastating defeats march on in the shattered ruins and noble relics.

You will really be poetic enough when you set foot on this Philippine island fortress and witness its beauty and splendor. We arrived on its port at 10:38 A.M. and we were accommodated by the tourist buses and registration followed. The first point we visited was the General Douglas MacArthur Park which has a statue of the General at Lorcha Dock ruins at the Bottomside of the island where he boarded the PT boat on March 11, 1942 for Mindanao and then to Australia where he sent his famous message of “I SHALL RETURN”. Then our tourist guide, brought us to the Corregidor Bird Park where the famous talking “Megastar Bird” was there and anybody can hold it for picture taking purposes.

Thirdly, we proceed to the remains of soldiers’ and officers’ quarters like the Mile-Long Barracks and Middleside Barracks and numerous artillery batteries such as the: Hearn, Crockett, Hamilton, Geary, Ramsay, Stockade, Cushing, Wheeler, Monja, Cheney, Sunset, Hanna, Rock Point, Smith, Grubbs, Way, James and Morrison are found. Fourthly, we visited the Pacific War Memorial Shrine which was completed in 1968 to honor Filipino and American soldiers who participated in World War II. It also houses a modest museum which contains numerous war artifacts, a documentary film projection room and a souvenir shop. The Eternal Flame of Freedom sculpture is within the same complex at Topside.

We had also a chance to experience the delight of the breathtaking view of Manila Bay, the South China Sea and a bird’s eye-view of the island from atop the lighthouse located on Topside, 628 feet above sea level. The original lighthouse was built in 1836 by the Spaniards. A bigger one was erected in 1897 but was destroyed during World War II. Then, we proceed to the Filipino-American Friendship Park which is a 2,000 square meters fully landscaped park, located at Middleside, with 10-foot statues of Filipino and American soldiers depicting their enduring friendship in times of war and in peace.

The next point was the Japanese Garden of Peace Park which is a 2.2 hectares area at Tailside where a 10-foot Jibo-Kannon stone buddha, Shinto Shrine, various Japanese soldier memorial shrines and anti-aircraft (AA) guns relics are erected. This is also a praying area for Japanese War Veterans and their relatives. And the most of all was the Malinta Tunnel experience. This tunnel was completed in 1922 and has a main tunnel at 835 feet long and 24 feet wide with 24 laterals branching out from it. Originally an arsenal and an underground hospital, its unique location beneath the Malinta Hill made it an ideal bomb-proof headquarters for embattled Filipinos and Americans and served as the seat of the Philippine Government under Pres. Manuel L. Quezon. Part of this was experiencing the thrills vividly-staged Light and Sound Show. It was scripted by National Artist and outstanding Filipino film director Lamberto Avellana, a show which reenacts the World War II’s dramatic events.

The last site we visited was the Corregidor Hotel at the Beach Resort Complex which houses a 31-room comfortable accomodations. We left the island through the North Dock Port boarding again the M/V Tennesse Walker at 1:45 P.M. where a sumptuous lunch was served for us. Though, we were still tired, most of us did not take a rest during the Manila Bay cruise as we enjoyed the Karaoke, watching TV and endless pictorials and most of all meeting new friends. We arrived in Manila Hotel at 5:18 P.M.

TAWI-TAWI, BASILAN, SULU AND ZAMBOANGA TRIP




This is a four-province tour dated June 1 – 6, 2002 in the part of Mindanao, Philippines. Personally, I considered this an achievement to visit Tawi-tawi, Jolo and Basilan. It somewhat changed my bad impressions about these places overplayed by the media as high risk and no-go areas. I could vouch that the people of Tawi-tawi in particular are fun and peace-loving people. Christians and Muslims there live in harmony as I witnessed in the parties I was invited to attend with.

I started the trip on June 1, 2002 boarding a Superferry 5 in Pier 4, North Harbor, Manila at 10:00 A.M. and arrived in Zamboanga City on June 2, 2002 at 6:00 P.M. My trip has not been boring at all for my acquaintance friends, Poliver Aglipay Obinque of Zamboanga City and Dudin Raguia Masukat of Cotabato City were with me. I was in Bongao, Tawi-tawi for June 3 and 4, 2002 where I boarded a round trip through the fast craft Weesam Express 5 and I stayed in the branch manager’s residence of PNB Tawi-tawi Branch. The branch’s officers and staff were so hospitable that they were the ones who offered my free accommodation. Their names still ring to my mind as: Sing Ty, Rose Tangkusan, Jess Budlong, Leng Marquez, Quennie Asaali, Edwin de Guzman, Boy Kalbit, Jun Raymonde, Dodong Budlong, Rudy Nhogo and Dodong Pabellaran. My June 5 Jolo trip was arranged by Aileen Inding, the branch accountant of PNB Jolo Branch where I boarded a round trip with Weesam Express 1. It was Poliver Obingue who served as my tour guide and photographer in my June 6 Basilan and Zamboanga City tour. We boarded a round trip in RS Express Ferry in going to Isabela City of Basilan.

I was actually based in Zamboanga City where I stayed in a backpacker’s inn My trips to the islands of Tawi-tawi, Basilan and Sulu were on three separate occasions where I have to go back to Zamboanga City before I can pursue another island trip. While in Bongao of Tawi-tawi, I enjoyed the company of PNB Tawi-tawi Branch where I stayed in branch manager’s house. I scaled Bongao’s Peak, the highest point of Bongao Island which is next to the biggest island of Tawi-tawi where its capital municipality Panglima Sugala is located. I met there some friends from the Philippine Marine Group and enjoyed the beaches from the outskirts of the Bongao’s town. I was able to attend festive and big parties in every night of my 3-day stay. The Jolo (Sulu) and Isabela City (Basilan) tours were only day trips where I was hosted by each PNB Branch located in those respective places. I was absolutely amazed with golden doomed Grand Mosque in Jolo.

I spent few of my evenings in Zamboanga City together with Poliver Obinque who also joined me in Basilan trip. The only good memories I have in Zamboanga City was when Poliver brought me to the Pasonanca park and had a good swim there. Then we visited the cathedral and had branch signage picture taking of PNB Tetuan and Climaco branches. Then, we normally hop from one restaurant to another to feast on their cheap seafoods. No, I did not have any bar hopping since I do not drink wines and liquors.




BATANES TOUR



BATANES

Location: Batan and Sabtang Islands, Province of Batanes, Philippines
Provincial Capital: Basco
Capital Municipality Class: 5th Class
Coordinates: 20°35′30″N 121°53′46″E
Total Area: 219.01 km2 (84.56 sq mi)
Blogger's Note: This province island group comprises of ten islands that are located in the Luzon Strait between the islands of Luzon and Taiwan, namely: Yami, North Island, Maduvis, Siayan, Itbayat, Dinen, Batan, Dequey, Ivojos and Sabtang. It is the northernmost part of the Philippines and is also the smallest province, both in terms of population and land area. The island group is located about 162 km north of Luzon and about 190 kilometers south of Taiwan, separated from the Babuyan Islands of Cagayan Province, Luzon, by the Balintang Channel and from Taiwan by the Bashi Channel. Click this link for more information.
and choice of accommodation and where to go

View


An aerial view of Basco Town, Batanes


This trip dated September 25 to October 3, 2003 just covered the two of the ten islands of Batanes Islands group, namely: Batan and Sabtang. Batanes, the Philippines’ smallest province, consist of tiny islands that form the northernmost frontier of the country. Its center is situated at longitude 121 degrees 53 minutes east and at latitude 22 degrees 20 minutes north. This location, which is near the upper boundary of the Tropic of Cancer, gives it a semi-temperate climate through most of the year. It is nearer Taiwan (190 kms north) than Aparri, Cagayan (280 kms south), the nearest town of Mainland Luzon. It is 860 kms. North of Manila. Its proximity to Taiwan is a source of diplomatic irritant ---- Taiwanese fishing boats regularly intrude into its territorial waters and fishing grounds.

Naidi Hill offers cool refreshing afternoon walk with Basco lighthouse and the Pre-War Telecom buildings in the backdrop


Naidi Hill which offers a 360 degrees scenery of that aquamarine blue seascape of Basco is really good for meditating and soul searching. It is as well therapeutic as you inhale the fresh air all around you. I was fortunate enough that in my week-long stay in Batanes, there was no rain and so afternoon walk in this part of the town was so rewarding.

An aerial view of Basco lighthouse and the Pre-War Telecom buildings


Part of the Marlboro country with scenic coastline and Mount Iraya in the backdrop


A scenery from an abandoned US Weather station on a hilltop which offers a 360-degree view of Batan Island, the South China Sea, Mt. Iraya, Basco Proper, boulder lined cliffs and the Pacific Ocean


The islands are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean in the east, the China Sea on the west and the Balintang and Bashi Channels on the south and north, respectively. The Pacific Ocean drains into the China Sea and vice versa in these channels creating powerful and treacherous underwater currents. This, combined with its distance from the mainland, strong winds that blow throughout most of the year and frequent typhoons, have kept the islands in a relative state of isolation, a situation that is both a boon and bane to the province’s economy. The ten (10) islands of Batanes from north to south are as follows:

1. Yami Island – the northernmost island of the Philippines, a neighbor of Lanyu island of Taiwan (also called Orchid Island and earlier Botel Tobago)
2. North Island
3. Mavudis Island, literally “low-lying island”
4. Siayan Island, literally “separation island” as in paysyayan
5. Itbayat Island, the largest in the Group
6. Dinen Island, the “tatus coconut crab” habitat
7. Vatan (Batan) Island, the second largest island
8. Dequey Island, literally “Small Island” to Dampier the “Good Island” because of the great number of goats in his visit in 1687 and westernmost island.
9. Ivojos Island – cattle and goats raised, unique for its reefs extending almost to the middle of the channel separating it from Sabtang.
10. Sabtang Island – third largest in size and southernmost island.

I started the tour boarding Autobus Transport from Manila on September 25, 2003 to Laoag City for an 11.67-hour bus travel and stayed there for an overnight at Room 310 of Hotel del Norte in Fonacier Street. The following day, September 26, 2003, I boarded Asian Spirit flight No. 6K124 seated at 5D for a 50-minute air travel from Laoag City to Basco, the capital of Batanes located in Batan Island. I did not have any reservation for accommodation and I just sought the assistance of PNB Basco Branch. It was them who referred me to stay in Shanedel Inn and Cafe owned by Shane and Del Millan located in No. 0669 National Road corner Abad Street, Brgy. Kaychanarianan, Basco. Del was a former employee of PNB Basco Branch. It was Del who arranged for my package tours. The whole tour only covered two of the ten islands of Batanes which is Batan and Sabtang.

Part of the Mavatoy Cliff Rock formation along the Ivana Highway


Batan alone is a bunch of beautiful sceneries. One of the best thing that I did in Batanes was when I climbed Mt. Iraya which is the highest point of Batanes Islands Group at 1,517 meters or 4,976 feet above see level. Some places I visited were: (1) Brgy. Chanarian of Basco; (2) Paderes Winding Road of Basco; (3) Viewdeck of Basco; (4) Fisherman’s Village in Sitio Jura, Diura, Mananoy Bay of Mahatao; (5) Racuj-a Payaman (Communal Pasture land) which is the Marlboro county of Batanes located in Mahatao. It is overlooking Mt. Mataran which is an extinct volcano standing 495 meters at its summit, Mr. Iraya and Mananoy Bay; (6) End-of-the-world Point or called Imnajbu of Brgy. Imnajbu, Uyugan; (7) Alapad Rock Gate Formation between Brgy. Imnajbu and Itbud, Uyugan; (8) Ghost town of Songsong in Brgy. Itbud, Uyugan abandoned by its residents after the tidal wave in the 1950’s; (9) Vatang Rock Cliff Formation, National Highway of Ivana; (10) Mavatoy Rock Cliff formation, National highway of Ivana; (11) 18 century house in Ivana; (12) San Carlos Borromeo Church and Convent in Mahatao; (13) Francisco Cariaso’s Green 18th Century house in Mahatao; (14) Pre-war telecom buildings and Lighthouse in Naidi Hills; (15) Basco Valugan Rock Bay – the cradle of myriads of smooth stones of different sizes and colors; (16) Radar Tukon – an abandoned US Weather station on a hilltop which offers a 360-degree view of Batan Island, the South China Sea, Mount Iraya, Basco Proper, boulder lined cliffs and the Pacific Ocean; (17) Tamolong Bridge with a backdrop of Batanes Resort and its imposing hillsides; (18) Basco Welcome Tablet overlooking Mt. Iraya, Kanyuyan Beach and seaport, Baluarte Bay, Naidi Hills and Basco town proper; and (19) Sto. Domingo De Guzman Cathedral in Basco.

Valugan Rock Bay – the cradle of myriads of smooth stones of different sizes and colors


The Fisherman’s Village in Sitio Jura, Diura, Mananoy Bay of Mahatao in the capital Island of Batan


The century-old Ivana Church where the Radiwan Port going to Sabtang is located boarding falowa


On the other hand, I visited the beautiful island of Sabtang on September 29, 2003. Going to Sabtang Island from Batan Island is only a 30-minute falowa (boat) ride from Radiwan Port in Ivana. Ivana is a 45-minute jeepney ride from Basco town proper. Sabtang island was only a day trip and I contracted the minitruck of Ricardo "Carding" Hornedo to have a tour around the island. He was referred to me by his auntie, Mrs. Aurora V. Hornedo - a teacher from Sabtang Elementary School after giving homage to Saint Vincent, the Patron Saint of Sabtang housed in San Vicente Parish Church in Sabtang Central. Indeed, the island has an undisturbed and unspoiled ecological attractions guaranteed to satisfy even the most sophisticated travelers and nature lovers. It has a number of fish sanctuaries in Chavayan. It has also intermittent white sand beaches like Lokoy Beach in Brgy. Savidug and along Chavayan coastline. The steep mountain of Mount Genbalungot in Chavayan is a view to behold. There are also deep canyons in Chavayan with small level areas sporadically found along the coastline. I also visited the Idjang in Savidug --- a columnar megalith structure of andesite type and a castle-like configuration with defied codification.

The entry point of Barangay Savidug in Sabtang Island with Mount Genbalungot and its nearby hills in the backdrop in Sabtang Island


A typical century-old stone house in Sabtang Island where it is being preserved for tourism purposes


Lokoy Beach in Sabtang Island


Lokoy Beach with its picturesque surrounding hills


Chavayan coastline in Sabtang Island


Another shot in the windy Chavayan coastline