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Trilogy Hike for Thirty Second Birthday

Jay (my ever so handsome husband) turned thirty two last February 27. To celebrate it, we decided to do something we both love – hiking! We had our first hike as a couple last January 2018 in Rodriguez, Rizal. We climbed Mount Haponan Banoi and Mount Pamitinan. These are the famed part of the Rodriguez Rizal Trilogy (Version 1). The third mountain is Mount Binicayan but we were not able to complete the trilogy as we were too tired already.

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Me and the hubby at the summit of Mount Pamitinan.

But the husband really wanted to do a trilogy hike. I wasn’t so sure if I can do it so I simply kept quiet, not making any promises to him.

Joining us in this hike are some of our closest friends at work – Hazel and Karen Grace. They were both first time hikers. And both extremely excited to experience the joy of mountain hiking.

Mount Parawagan, Lagyo and Susong Dalaga are located in Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal and is the newly opened trail in the Pamitinan Landscape. These mountains form the Version 2 of  the Trilogy Hike (version 1 being Mount Pamitinan, Haponan Banoi and Binicayan).

Upon arrival in Wawa, we registered at the DENR Office and paid necessary fees. We registered for twin hike, targeting to finish Mount Parawagan and Lagyo.

Parking Fee – Php 30.00

Environmental Fee – Php 50.00/person

After registration, we proceeded to the Barangay Hall to sign at the monitoring form and meet our guide. We chose our guide from the previous hike, Kuya Noriel. I already texted him few days before the hike to make sure that he’s available. Getting a tour guide is mandatory, and I totally agree that you should get one. First, for safety reasons. Second and most important, for totally amazing photographs!

Before the start of the trek, we offered a short prayer then started the almost thirty minutes walk on a cemented road that would lead us to the Junction between Mount Parawagan and Mount Lagyo.

Upon arrival at the Junction, Jay asked Kuya Noriel if it’s possible that we can do a trilogy hike. Kuya Noriel responded that we could, given that Parawagan is a relatively easy climb and Susong Dalaga and Lagyo are just adjacent.

From the Junction, the upward trek to the summit of Mount Parawagan started. We were unable to take any photo, as we were enjoying the talks and chit chat while trekking up. Plus the beauty of the moon while dawn is breaking is way too beautiful that our cameras cannot bring justice to it.

An hour and a half later, we reached the summit of Parawagan and it was simply stunning. The sky was transitioning from darkness to the first light of dawn and the moon was still way up high.

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Couple shot at the summit of Mount Parawagan

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My two amazingly strong girlfriends

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The Amazing Four at the Summit of Mount Parawagan

After around fifteen minutes in basking at the wondrous scenery unfolding before our eyes and taking deep, relaxing breathes because of the uphill climb, we started our descent.

Even the descent view is relaxing and comforting. It truly eased the stress that we acquired the past few weeks.

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My husband took this photo while we were descending Mount Parawagan. Simply stunning.

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We had a quick snack of boiled egg, banana and “suman” at a sari sari store at the Junction before we started our ascent to Mount Lagyo. Contrary to Parawagan which is mostly steady uphill smooth land climb, Lagyo is peppered with plenty of rock formations and tall grass which makes it exhausting and challenging, especially for my girlfriends who were first time hikers. Good thing Kuya Noriel provided us with walking aides (wooden sticks, cheren!)

 

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Photographs above were taken in one of the rest areas in Lagyo. We had to take a break to give way to descending trekkers, and for photo opportunity of course! Some of the rocks in Lagyo are comparable to those in Pamitinan and Haponan Banoi. Sharp curves and hard corals.

After the pictorial session, we continue our ascend. After almost an hour, we reached the summit of Mount Lagyo and was welcomed by its majestic rock formation.

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Couple shot at the summit of Mount Lagyo. Because the couple who climbs together, gets pagod together.

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The Amazing Four on the second mountain we conquered in one day.

We started our descend and was getting excited for the last part of the trek. But the excitement was paired with exhaustion due to the extreme heat of the sun and our muscles shouting for relief from the torture we are giving it. And we were totally surprised by the challenged that the descent presented us.

 

But, we survived! 🙂 the second mountain, that is! After the rocky descent from Lagyo, we started traversing to Mount Susong Dalaga. And yes, it is aptly the named as the mountain looks like twin maiden peaks. But the traverse was challenging due to the scorching heat and the tall cogon grass. Plus, as we were unprepared to do a trilogy, we were starting to feel tired. As Karen Grace aptly blurted out, “Pagod na pagod na ako!”

But since there’s no other way to go but up, upwards we go.

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Up, up, up until we reach the top.

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Keep going..

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Just keep going!

After another thirty minutes of challenging ascent, we finally reached the top of Mount Susong Dalaga, and in effect, completing our first ever trilogy hike as a couple, accompanied by the most supporting friends!

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Remember that I love you all the time. And I wouldn’t mind climbing dozen more mountains with you.

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My first trilogy hike won’t be this fun if not for the people I journeyed it with.

If you thought the ordeal is over because the summit was already reached, hold your horses, because the descent was equally challenging and daunting. We have to descent with only tall cogon grass and our walking stick to aide us. Hah! Eaazzzzzyyyyy!

Upon reaching the flat lands, we decided to take the “habal habal” back to the Barangay Hall because our tiny feet cannot walk any farther.

Upon arrival at the Barangay Hall, we submitted our names to the Tour Guide Assocation representative for the preparation of certificate. While waiting for it, we decide to shower at one of the stalls that offer shower. It costs Php 25.00.

Afterwards, we claimed our certificate, expressed our thanks to Kuya Noriel and headed off to the city, to eat unlimited Samgyupsal!

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Proud trilogy hikers with our very able guide, Kuya Noriel.

Here is the summary of expenses for our Trilogy Hike:

Environmental Fee – Php 50.00 per person

Parking Fee – Php 30.00 per vehicle

Tour Guide Fee – Php 2400.00 (Php 800.00 per mountain)

Certificate – Php 40.00 per person

Shower Room Fee – Php 25.00 per person

Habal habal Fee – Php 150.00

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Plenty of Reasons Why I love You

The Book of Matthew wonderfully stated,where your heart is, there your treasures will be. 

You and I had been married for nine wonderful months already. We are almost old but we are everything but old when it comes to relationship and parenting. This week, I am reflecting on how God is moving in our life as a couple and as parents to our Babaching.

As I look back on our time together as sweetheart and later as parents, I can’t help but feel in awe, blessed and thankful for God’s work in our life.

You are far from perfect as a husband as a father. But, I am learning to love every bit of you, including our differences. For I know that it’s part of the man I love.

To my ex-boyfriend, best friend and constant critic, number one fan and supporter, the man who sees the beautiful in me despite the fact that I just went through twelve hours of labor and delivery, even if my hair is a mess from Babaching’s constant pulling, to the man who believes that I can do things that I don’t even think I could, here are some of the reasons why I thank God for bringing me to you:

1. You push me to be better everyday. There are plenty of times when I said I’ve reached my maximum. That I’ve reached the end. But you will only smile and say “Hindi pa. More pa love. Kaya mo yan.”

2. You don’t hesitate to point out I’m wrong when I am. For this, I am overly grateful. There are times when I am so adamant for things to happen according to my standard. And if my standards fail, I ended up feeling frustrated. In which, you would say “Hindi kasi nakikinig. Next time, listen. You are not always right, you know. ”

3. You have a generous and giving heart. You may accept this fact or not. But you are. The way you share your blessings to me, to our family and to the people we know is a testament to that. You wouldn’t hesitate giving a helping hand when you know it is necessary.

4. You are honest. That sometimes it hurt. But that makes me love you and respect you more. When my “mothering” Babaching seems over-acting, you would not hesitate pointing it out.

5. You taught me to let go. You helped me realized that I should not always be in control. That there are things/people/circumstances better left alone and unsaid.

This list could go on and on, love. But my main point is that I love you. Every night, as we pray, I never fail to thank God for bringing me to you, for giving me an amazing partner and I will continue to praise Him because of you.

My wallet is almost empty, my bank account is almost zero but my heart is full of love from you and for you.

Love Your Marriage

Meet the most loving husband one can have.

Meet the most loving husband one can have.

“For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow”

Nine months since the day I got married. For the short time that we are together, Jay had opened my eyes to a lot of things. Ours is not a perfect marriage nor ideal. But it is a happy, blessed union of two different individuals sharing the same dreams, values and aspirations in life. 

There had been instances when our temper and emotion got the upper hand. Several times, I felt like I was on the edge of just packing my bags, grab our baby and go. And I know, even if he didn’t say it, that there were times when Jay was at his end of the rope too.

But we always end up praying. Praying and remembering our vows to stay together through thick and thin, in the promise that God has given us. That His love for us will endure our human weaknesses. 

I have learned that for marriage to work, you simply don’t just love your family, your husband, your children. You should also love your marriage. You always remember your vows and why you decided to get married. Loving your marriage includes putting enough time for you and your partner to grow together and individually, giving quality time to your children and remembering that no matter how rich you are, your greatest wealth is having your partner and your children.

Our small and happy family

Loving your marriage means that you will not allow yourself to sin, to indulge in callings of the flesh and allure of gambling.

Loving your marriage means honouring your vows, remembering it and living it.

Changing Paradigms

I look at the twinkling Christmas lights while I was stuck in the heavy traffic of the Metro. As a little girl, I used to be so amazed by the splendor of those lights. More than once, I wished of living in a house full of twinkling lights and giant Christmas trees, laden with gifts and sweets.

Twenty plus years later, here I am. Still amazed by the splendor of the lights but no longer wishing to live in a house filled of twinkling lights and christmas trees and gifts and sweets. All I wanted is to be at home, with my folks and my dear sister. Typhoon Haiyan had hit our town, and few days before Christmas, electricity is yet to be restored. In lieu of twinkling Christmas lights and all the grandeur of this Season, our home is lit by one electric bulb, powered by a generator. No tall Christmas trees or gifts, either, as most of our finances went into the immediate restoration of our house.

But I don’t care. I don’t need those fancy stuff, all I need is to see and feel that my family is safe and well. No amount of grandness can compensate for them. Perhaps, with ageing comes the shedding of a girl’s rose-colored perspective of life into something more realistic. A little bit harsh and tough but still wonderful.

Skirts, Stilettos and Prejudice

I love wearing dresses, skirts, shorts and blouses. Sometimes it’s frilly, or lace or flower.

I hate dealing with people who think that they can judge my character because of my clothes. Honestly, wearing my lace dress doesn’t give anyone the right to assume that I am helpless. And oh, just because my skirt’s hemline is above my knees doesn’t give anyone the right to assume that I want to be raped. Or that I am flirting. Or that I want to be “hit” on. 

I am a free individual. Beyond my capacity to wear dresses and skirts, I also have a brain that I use 90% of the time and serves me better than the rest of my body. Not that I am complaining with my body parts. It’s the fact that people sometimes got stuck on the body parts and failed to recognize my other, much better part – my skills and my intelligence.

I hate the fact that when I go to work, people would more often praise my clothes than my output. It sucks that even these government employees, expected to perform everything with gender sensitivity has the unfortunate skill of saying the most gender insensitive statement.

Honestly, if I have to endure one more sexist comment on my skirt, I’ll be putting these stilettos into good use. Carpe diem!  

 

Too Young to Go

Three years ago, I lost a friend.

His death -like all death- was painful. In some ways, it was unexpected. He was just in his twenties. Fresh out of college and more than ready to face the world. He is a big guy, and I always like the fact that when we hang out, I can hide behind his back and our other friends can’t guess where I am. He was a jolly man and he was a happy crazy friend. Everybody in our batch loved him, there’s no denying that.

We had a somehow special bond since he’s my big sister’s boyfriend. I’ve watched them begun as friends then somewhere along that time, fall in love with each other. From a distance, I witnessed how their love grew and how they held hands to survive the rocky parts of their relationship. I respected him – as a person, as a friend, as a part of the family. 

And then one day, I woke up with text messages from almost all my friends and the multitude of Facebook status asking to pray for him. Since I’m already here in the city, I have very vague idea of what happened. I tried calling my big sister but she failed to answer the phone.

And then the confirmation happened. I received one text from big sister. “He’s gone.” And I felt raw pain hit me on my chest. Questions of why, how and the denial came. But the Facebook posts wishing him eternal rest and happiness is like salt being rubbed on fresh wound.

He was too young to go. He was full of life. He’s like Jack Frost, always fun, happy and bubbly. When we lost him, we didn’t just lost a friend – we lost a brother, a part of us. 

It took me three years before I can write about his death. At times, I wonder why did God took him so early. I bet I’ll never know the answer. 

But in his demise, he taught me one more valuable lesson – learning to live again after a part of you is lost.

Ex, Thank You

Dear Ex(es)

This is not a satirical or sarcastic letter. This is an honest-to-goodness thank you letter for you . It can either be I was the one who broke your heart or you broke mine. Often, it was both.

Thank you for telling me all my shortcomings during our relationship. It had helped me realize on what areas, especially on attitude and communication I need to improve.I know that when the next relationship happens, I can express myself more clearly and explicitly. I now also know when to throw a tantrum and when not to.

Thank you for pointing out that my career had taken over my life. I now know that I need to put my priorities in order. And you helped me realize that time is the greatest gift I can give. 

Thank you for making me realize that I deserve someone better. For years, I had been bitter and resented the fact that you cheated on me. Lately though, I realized that it happened for the best, according to God’s perfect plan. If you hadn’t cheated on me, I wouldn’t have realized that I have bigger and better potential as an individual.

Lastly, thank you for letting me go and setting me free. Believe me, that one year and a half had ended badly, but it has its light moments. But I’d rather keep it where it rightfully belongs – in the past,as a memory.

So, thank you for the love, the fights, the disagreements, the memories and most of all thank you for the lessons that you and our relationship had taught me. It had made me better, stronger and a bit more tougher. It had encouraged me to know myself more and to pursue bigger things in life.

Gracias, amigo. May you also find your happiness.

Farewell,

Me

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