Author Archives: Katie

July pic(k) of the month

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PSE at 20 by katie_buenaobra

PSE at 20. Twenty years.

For a little over a quarter of that, I have been with the Exchange. Straight out of university, my world at the Exchange is the only sense of professional work I got accustomed to.

To breaking record highs and exponentially increasing trading activity; to making money work and helping the Philippine economy – cheers until the next 20!

An epic dayhike

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Mt. Guiting-Guiting by katie_buenaobra

At 2,058 MASL, the mighty Guiting-Guiting may not be the highest I have summitted but it is by far the longest I have ever traversed in a “day”.

Usually a 2- to 3-day itinerary (on the climb alone), we opted to do a dayhike as a challenge to ourselves and since primarily, as a prolific mountaineer-friend puts it, we are scrimping on (and we simply cannot afford!) vacation leaves. Throw in the long ferry rides to and from Romblon and your trip easily extends to a week.

If interested in a dayhike traverse of Mt. Guiting-Guiting (G2), the only person to coordinate with is Sir Remy Robiso (+63 921 7322462). He may assist you in securing a climb permit and arranging for a tricycle or jeep to pick you up at the port. The guide fee for a G2 climb is Php1,500.00 (regardless of whether you do a one-, two- or three-day trip).

continue wandering here…

Of sandy beaches in a remote resort

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The white expanse of fine sand stretches a good hundreds of meters from the water’s edge. No exaggeration when it comes to the beaches of Cagbalete. At low tide, it stretches too far out that swimming in the clear blue waters of the Pacific will be fruitless. It makes for a lovely lounging spot though.

Still, Cagbalete Island is a great weekend getaway for a quick sun and sand date.

Easily accessible via public commute, buses ply the Mauban route via Lucena or directly from Metro Manila. Our group did the latter going to Mauban since the small buses from Lucena can drop off passengers at the marketplace near the pier. For the trip back to the metro, Manila-bound buses have a terminal right by the entrance to the town proper.

The boat ride to Cagbalete Island lasts between 45 minutes to an hour. The public boats are big enough to ferry around 40 to 50 passengers per way. Two public boats serve each scheduled time:

continue wandering here…

Flat tops

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Masungi Rocks by katie_buenaobra

The Pinagpatong Rocks form part of the Masungi Rock Formations which lie along the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. Located in Barangay Cuyambay in Tanay, Rizal, the rock formations occupy a vast portion of the barangay’s greenery. Easily seen from the main highway, there are two points to reach the rock formations. The more popular of the two is through the Garden Cottages Subdivision wherein at the jumpoff, 600 concrete steps take visitors to the peak of the rock formations.

Saving that route for another weekend, we ventured through the other entry point. After paying the barangay officials a courtesy visit and securing their clearance, we headed via rented motorbikes towards the jumpoff at Sitio Tablon.

continue wandering here…

Above the clouds

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This was where all the madness started. I fell in love with the mountains. And they loved me back.

Mt. Pulag stands at 2,922 MASL and is the highest peak in Luzon. Known for its picturesque cloud formations when atop the summit (dubbed as the “sea of clouds”) and for temperatures dropping to minus 0 degree Celsius, Pulag is by far the most popular hiking destination in the country. It has four (4) known trails: Ambangeg, Akiki, Tawangan and Ambaguio. The first (of four trails) I have already tried, Ambangeg is definitely for the beginners compared to Akiki’s steep portions and Tawangan’s lengthy trek.

Climbing Pulag requires coordination with the local Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ protected area superintendent (PASU). The DENR Pulag National Park can be reached through PASU Mering Albas at +63 919 6315402. After reserving the entry date of your group, secure a chartered jeepney. Jeepney assignments are now arranged through the DENR-CAR. Our group’s preferred jeepney driver though is Mr. Guillermo “Emong” Cayat. Since Kuya Emong is already overseas, he has recommended a colleague, Mr. Israel Haban. His contact number is +63 930 6031150.

continue wandering here…

May pic(k) of the month

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Dawn, sunrise, daybreak: ah Morning.

Here’s a thought to ponder on:

“Sunrise offered a very beautiful spectacle; the water was quite unruffled, but the motion communicated by the tides was so great that, although there was not a breath of air stirring, the sea heaved slowly with a grand and majestic motion.” – George Grey

March pic(k) of the month

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I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known. ~Author Unknown

School may be over, but as they say, graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning. Enjoy the summer while you still can, dear Brother. For when the new chapter comes knocking ’round, you’ll take the world into your hands.

Ashed yet stoked

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Blessed with fair weather, the weekend trip to Mt. Pinatubo and its famous crater lake was yet another open invitation to sunburn and the occasional heat stroke. Intensified by the desert-like terrain covered in volcanic ash, the heat struck harshly as the sun rose to its midday glory.

The Pinatubo experience starts with a 4×4 jeep ride to the jump off point. After a quick stop at the Philippine Air Force checkpoint, the one-hour ride takes tourists and mountaineers alike through wide expanses of open lands left by the deadly “lahar” or pyroclastic flows of the 90s. There are only a few patches of areas covered in grass (and these were sighted at the start of the ride only). Towering land formations line the paths and provide the much needed shade at some points. The 4×4 skillfully maneuvers its way through portions of the O’Donnell River and over big loose rocks spewed by the volcano.

There used to be two jump off points where the actual trek commences: a 15-minute trail and a 2-hour trail. Since the “Pinatubo skyway” was not passable due to the beating it took during last year’s strong typhoons, all treks take the long route (note: per the local guide’s estimate, the skyway may be opened by April 2012 if and when the workers finish; last 2009, during the author’s first trip to Pinatubo, there is a skyway fee of Php500.00 for each 4×4 jeep). The longer trail follows the course of the O’Donnell River all the way to the crater. The trail has no cover and becomes very hot as the day progresses. Ash, sandy soil and even loose rocks complete the picture. Trekkers go through a lot of stream crossings that provide a contrasting relief to the heat of the trail.

continue wandering here…