Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

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35th | Middle Earth

September 4, 2019

Photo set | Northern Island, New Zealand

I stopped celebrating my birthdays when I turned 20 for silly reasons most people wouldn’t really understand. Not that interesting so don’t be curious.

Every year, on my birthday, I leave and go on an adventure and for the last leg of this quarter life crisis, I went to Middle Earth. 12 days full of missed flights, stairs, bottles of wine, herds of cow, flocks of sheep, steak, steep trails, fish and chips, broken luggage, sorting baggage, magnificent views and loads of fun!

Flew Qantas. Flight from Manila was delayed so I missed my connecting flight and was stranded in Sydney airport for a few hours. Booked the next available flight to Auckland. Fortunately, my Wellington flight got moved to a later schedule so I did not miss it. Good thing there was also free booze on board, good enough compensation to the exhausting sprint I had to make to my connection only to arrive to a closed gate.

After 13 hours of flying…

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Arrived in Wellington, finally, to homemade burgers and local beer at my cousin’s house. Yes, my cousin and her husband make their own bread and patties!

Northern Island winter road trip

The places we went to on our 10-day road trip from Wellington to Auckland.

Wellington

My cousin and her husband cooking me up a feast at their new home and what a coincidence that a friend of mine from way back also lives in the same suburb as them! She saw my Instagram stories arriving in Wellington and messaged me. Chance meet up of course and she also brought me 3 bottles of wine haha!

Cape Palliser

Road to Cape Palliser, such picturesque views outside my window!

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We passed by some wild seals too! Stopped by the side of the road and took some pictures of these cuties. Careful enough not to get too close as some curious pups were growling at me haha.

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250 steep steps up to Cape Palliser lighthouse despite the really strong winds and without exercise since February…

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…knee-breaking climb to this amazing view!

Mount Victoria lookout

360-degree scenic views of Wellington. Always chasing sunsets.

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Te Papa Museum

Did not finish exploring and will need to go back!

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Weta Cave

When you love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, you just have to visit this place. Home of the talented people behind these amazing conceptual designs and visual effects.

Martinborough – Poppies

Passed through this town going to Castlepoint. The town features over 20 wineries, most within cycling and walking distance of the village square.

We stopped here for late lunch and some wine tasting. I am not a wine person but this place is definitely a must go to. Wine and food, superb.

Castlepoint

This small beach-side town on the Wairarapa coast is just beautiful.

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Instagram husband

Dessert Road

Road crossing to Ruapehu district. Landscape of the Northern Island is so diverse. Majority of the road trip, all I see is lush green forests and cattle and sheep ranches. Then we come to this. Both sides covered with low scrublands and snow capped Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe as backgrounds.

Mount Ruapehu

It was snowing when we arrived and first snow fall experience for these kids in the 7 years they’ve been living in New Zealand haha! Pretty winter wonderland.

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Chateau Tongariro Hotel

Parked our car by the hotel. We took a bus up to Mount Ruapehu as the road was very slippery and we did not bring chains.

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Happy, wind-burnt and freezing faces!

Taupo

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Huka Falls

The Huka falls—largest falls in the Waikato river. The flow rate from the water drop of the falls could fill up 8 olympic size pools in roughly a minute. Amazeballs.

Wairakei Terraces

Relaxed in the silica enriched thermal pools as we were dead tired from all the walking and hiking. There is also a walk where you get to experience a recreated Maori settlement, said to have settled some 1,000 years ago, drawn by the thermal activity and the abundance of food. They believed that the hot pools contained healing powers and therapeutic benefits. Amazingly, the houses are so small and considering that most Moari are largely built people.

Rotorua

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu (Māori for sacred waters) is an active geothermal area by the Taupo volcanic zone, some 27 kilometers south of Rotorua.

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Lady Knox Geyser

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Champagne pool

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Devil’s Bath

Whakarewarewa Forest – The Redwoods

Magnificent stands of towering native and exotic trees in this beautiful forest.

Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake)

Lake Tikitapu is also known as “Blue Lake” because of its gorgeous sapphire waters.

Rotorua Museum

This magnificent structure used to be an elegant spa retreat called the Bath House in 1908 and was later on converted into a museum and art gallery. Sadly, this beauty closed in 2016 for seismic strengthening and remains closed til now.

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August 6th, BIRTHDAY!

Matamata – Hobbiton

Where else to celebrate the last leg of my quarter life crisis but at the lush pastures of the Shire in Middle Earth?

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Waitomo Glowworm Caves

I swear we went. They just did not allow us to take photos. According to our Maori guide, the glowworms are sensitive to light and sound which is why they prohibited use of cellphones and cameras and also, said gadgets are expensive and they do not want to be spelunking the caves just to retrieve these.

Grabbed some pictures from Google Images (maybe back when it was still allowed to take photos, I dunno).

cathedral

This stunning view is the Cathedral Cavern known for it’s awesome acoustics. Our guide even asked one from the group to sing. It’s been witness to many concerts and weddings too. Photo: Google Images

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We descended the cave and rode a boat in total cold blackness to see the glowworms. This picture is the closest I could find that best resembles what we saw. It was so cool! Like a trillion stars lining the ceiling of the grotto. Photo: Google Images

The only photos we were able to take — exit of the cave and the entrance to the souvenir shop.

What an awesome day! Ate truffle burgers and truffle fries for dinner, lazed at our Airbnb by the lake and downed 2 bottles of wine. Happy birthday to me!

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35th

Coromandel

Cathedral Cove

These familiar scene out of Narnia. Shorter way by boat, Longer way by hike. We took the latter. Even found a few blooms of Sakura. View was worth it.

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Hot Water Beach

An underground river of hot water flows from the interior of the earth to surface in the Pacific Ocean at this beach, thus it’s name. Visitors can dig large holes and soak in the thermal water.

Hamilton

Disney on Ice

Because we are never too old.

Auckland

Last stop for this trip. Met up with friends who are based here and was so happy they celebrated my birthday with Korean food and ramen!

SEA Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium

Killed time and went to the aquarium while waiting for our Korean dinner.

8 Colors of Korean Bbq Buffet Restaurant

Thank you for indulging my Korean obsession!

Sky Tower

It was really nice that the guy by the escalator going up the tower told us to check the skies first before deciding to pay more than $20 and just be disappointed. It was raining nonstop and was really cloudy. We did not go up. We went shopping instead lol.

Last day (huhuhu)

Breakfast at Kreem

Went shopping at Dress Smart and had dinner at Ramen Takara because it’s my last night and everybody knows how much I love ramen hahaha.

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Homebound

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Early morning flight to Sydney, had to leave some things as I was over-baggage (my quinoa and honey), arrived on time in Sydney but they closed one runway and had to stay inside the plane for an hour because no available tube to park. Sprinted (again) to transit and to my gate only to find that my flight was delayed. Seriously Qantas you need to sort your schedules and stop with the tight connections. My feet hurt from running around the airport.

Arrived around 10pm in Manila, stayed at my best friend’s place, was so exhausted fell asleep the moment I went to bed and was snoring. Went to church the next day (thank you LORD for my awesome vacation), had lunch at Soru (always) and flew home to Bacolod in the afternoon.

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And I feel like I’m still hungover.

Thank you to Krissy and Alvin for my room (haha) and for going on this trip with me, Micmic for seeing me in Wellington and bringing vino, Aubrey for meeting me in Auckland, Ching and Patrick for letting us stay at your ginormous place and Ilaine and Bambi for coming out for ramen and dessert. 12 days is tooooo short! I wish I was on vacation 24/7.

Photos from:

Krissy & Alvin of Knotting Wong Photography

My DJI Osmo Action camera (yes I switched from GoPro)

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Bye friend!

xx

DMV

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Playground of the gods | #PulagingHappy

March 22, 2016

I’m still having a weekend hangover! So since the power is out here at the office, might as well put my mobile data into good use.

Last year, me and my friends were supposed to hike Mt. Pulag on my birthday but unluckily, it stormed. So when my best friend called me up last month if I’m up to climb this March, I did not have second thoughts and booked my flight even if it would just be the two of us with a group of people we wouldn’t know. I told her we could always make friends.

Flew in Manila March 17, flight was super delayed. Met up with Jobelle, grabbed dinner, some Jack Ds and packed.

Day 1 | March 18, 2016

Off we go! Met up with the rest of the Jeron group at Victory Pasay at 9pm. Left for Baguio at 10pm.

This was a really fun group! So glad to have met these crazies! Some wine action and lots of peeing going on.

Day 2 | March 19, 2016

Arrived Baguio past 5am I think. It kinda took long with the bus ride. From Baguio, we were headed to Baban Homestay in Benguet. And while on the road, we were graced to witness an amazing sunrise. The scene along the way was awesome too.

We had a couple of side trips on our way. First stop was the Ambuklao Dam.

Next stop was the Daclan sulfur springs.

Then headed to DENR for registration and orientation.

We were served some Pinikpikan for lunch, a local Cordillera delicacy. It’s beaten chicken, burnt and cooked. Yum! After lunch, while waiting for the previous group to check out at the homestay, we started drinking (haha).

We stayed at Baban’s Homestay because it’s no longer allowed to camp up the mountains. I’m blaming it on the many irresponsible climbers who leave their trash behind destroying the natural ecosystem. But anyway, it was convenient for us, we were able to sleep on a bed and have a hot bath. Though it would have been a totally different experience if we were camping under a billion stars.

Claiming this spot. This was the bench under the magical tree, the only place that has signal. Now resume drinking.

Scene at the homestay. Explored for a bit the plantation of really fat cabbages.

The place already has an awesome view in itself and so many pretty flowers all around.

Lights out at 7pm. Wake up call at 12mn.

Day 3 | March 20, 2016

Trek started at 1:30am from the Ranger Station. It would take approximately 4 hours from there to the summit. We took the Ambangeg trail, the easiest trail so they say, easy with challenging parts like the really steep uphill climb to camp 1 and peak 2. But overall, doable. We had an 8 year old with us so no reason at all that you can’t do it. Unless of course you have health problems.

Grabbed these photos from our guides Jeric and Jackie of TrailAd. Only had my camera phone with me and it just wouldn’t do justice to what the naked eye sees. Hello Milky Way.

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And moving on..

Beating sunrise.

Then this.

This amazing sunrise, a play of color and a spectacular view with 8C temperature on a summit 2,922 meters above sea level. Yep, amazing.

And what was more amazing was I got to share this experience with an awesome bunch!

  

Power nap before heading down.

And down we go.

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Just some scenes on the way down.

That’s Don Don, one of our TrailAd guides, and us catching a break through the mossy forest.

  

That’s Ate Imelda on the right. She’s one of the local guides who accompanied us during the hike and she’s 60 years old. Hats off to DENR for providing livelihood to the locals. One of their sources besides farming is acting as tour guides for organized hikes to Mt. Pulag summit.

And fresh buko juice at the bottom.

Hooooooot bath at the homestay then after lunch, took off for Baguio. Surprisingly, we still all had energy to mess around with each other. The games in the van would not put us to sleep.

Passed by the Jangjang hanging bridge along the way, the longest one in the PI running round 43km if I remember correctly.

Arrived in Baguio and sold our tickets for Manila at the bus station so we could rent a van going back instead and chill for a bit. Bought some pasalubongs at the Baguio Market, had some hot choco and dinner at Batirol and ended the night with “Ray Charles” at Baguio Craft Brewery.

Super fun night with the circle of trust! Left for Manila at exactly 10:27pm, passed out after 10 minutes in the van and arrived at BGC round 3am. Thank you Kuya Oliver!

Our itinerary for Mt. Pulag via Ambangeg trail with Jeron Travel and TrailAdventours:

Day1&2: Depart Manila for Pulag (B/L/D)

8pm Registration and meet at Victory Liner Station (Pasay).
9pm ETD Baguio.
3am ETA Baguio.
4am Depart for DENR station via chartered Jeepney.

Side trips:
• Ambuklao Dam
• Hanging bridge
• Sulfur springs

10am Register and attend a short orientation.
12pm Lunch served after orientation.
3pm Arrive at Homestay. Rest and free time for leisure.

Day3: Hiking Expedition (B/L)

1am Start trek to Mt. Pulag summit
2am ETA Camp 1, Rest
330am ETA Camp 2, Rest
530am Mt. Pulag summit for sunrise
730am Start descent from summit
12nn Lunch and wash up
2pm Jeepney ride back to Baguio
5pm ETA Baguio. Free time.
9pm Bus back to Manila

Things to bring:

Fleece Jacket + Down jacket + Outer Shell (must be suited for 0-7 degree temperatures, Mt. Pulag is where you can experience the coldest weather in the country)
• Raingear, Rain jacket/Poncho (VERY IMPORTANT!)
• Trekking Pants/Jogging Pants (Preferably waterproof and warm)
• Thermal top and bottom as a base layer
• Trekking Shoes/Hiking Shoes (Make sure you’ve test-worn them. If using rubber shoes, make sure to bring backup.)
• Gloves and socks
• Beanie/Head gear
• Plastic or Ziplock bags (for water proofing of your clothes, cameras and other items)
• Flashlight/Headlamp (plus, extra batteries)
• Personal whistle
• Personal meds, First Aid Kit, and Sun Protection
• Tissue Paper and baby wipes
• Water bottle (at least 3 liters if you’re sensitive to unfamiliar water; or just a 1-2 liter container, easily refillable with cool, fresh, clean and potable mountain water)
• Personal Trail food (candies, chocolates, cookies, nuts) and extra snacks

Contact:

G/F VM Tower, 727 Roxas Boulevard

Cor. Airport Road Parañaque, Philippines

Phone +63 2 854-1813

Fax Number: +63 2 854-0066

Website: www.jerontravel.com

Twitter: @jerontravel

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jerontravel

Instagram: @jerontravel

Thank you, thank you, thank you Nikki, Jeric, Jackie and Don Don for organizing this trip and thank you, thank you, thank you Jobelle, Tina, Anita, April, Trish, Misty, Sean and Miguel for sharing this super fun experience!

And also, thank you, thank you, thank you awesome God for really good weather, for a safe trek, for a spectacular view, for an amazing sunrise and for awesome new friends.

Til the next adventure!

Photo credits: Jeric Tugaff, Jackie Banzon, Trish Ayson, Jobelle Nepomuceno, Misty Zara, April Peñaranda

xx

DMV

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