Wandering Soul Scamper
Lala-o Beach Siquijor
Siquijor Top Destinations

Siquijor Top DestinationsSiquijor is the smallest province in the Visayas region. It is dubbed as the island of fire or Isla del Fuego. Ancient folklore has tagged this place as full of sorcery, witchcraft, magic, love potions, voodoo dolls, etc. The stigma lives for centuries wherein it came to the point that when people knew someone who came from the province, they will evade that person and do not make any bad comments else you will know what will happen next. 😀

With all these tales flying around, it gives the turning point of the tourism industry of the province to either progress or gives reasons for the travelers and adventure seekers to hesitate in coming to this beautiful paradise.

No matter how scary the tales are, the natural and pristine beauty of this island has enthused the prying minds of people who have guts to drop all this nonsense and experience the magical opulence the Island of Fire has to offer.

I have been to Siquijor twice and based on what I have experienced and witnessed, the following are my Siquijor Top Destinations list.

1. Salagdoong Beach, Maria Siquijor

Salagdoong beach is one of Siquijor Top Destinations that every beachgoer and adventure lovers shouldn’t miss. The beach is in Olang, Maria, Siquijor Philippines which is approximately 30 kilometers away from Siquijor Port. This beach is located inside a government run resort but it is still open to the public.

The beach is very clean and well maintained that made it ideal for swimming. Salagdoong Beach is famous for its cliff jumping and kayaking activities. The most captivating feature of the beach is its emerald crystal clear waters that will change its shade to Atlantis-blue as you go deeper.

Salagdoong Beach

(Read More: Salagdoong Beach Siquijor: Perfect Spot for Cliff Jumping)

2. Salagdoong Man-Made Forest, Maria Siquijor

Be mesmerized by the thick lush green yet primitive forest as you enter the road going to Salagdoong Beach. The tree branches are like knotted arms that rose ever upwards like hoary fortresses that stood proudly screeching high up forming canopies or an arch of fairytale-green above your heads for you to pass by like royals marching under the arching pavements in the helm of their kingdom.

The orchestra of the bird songs can be heard the further you go to this mystical and spellbinding foliage.

Salagdoong Man Made Forest

(Read More: Salagdoong Beach Siquijor: Perfect Spot for Cliff Jumping)

3. San Isidro Labrador Church and Convent, Lazi, Siquijor

The San Isidro Labrador Parish Church of Iglesia Parroquial de San Isidro Labrador, commonly known as Lazi Church, is a Roman Catholic church in the municipality of Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines. Lazi Church is the oldest among churches in Siquijor Island.

The U-shaped bahay na bato convent is one of the largest convents built during the Spanish colonial era.  The first floor is stonewalled while wood panels can be found on the second floor. Partitions of the convent were removed but the original structure was maintained. It is said that the convent houses the Siquijor Heritage Museum which has the collections of important church relics and paraphernalia. Currently, the Convent is under repair.

Lazi Church

4. Cambugahay Falls, Lazi, Siquijor

Cambugahay Falls in Lazi Siquijor is one of the many precious waterfalls in the island with an enthralling scenery and serene atmosphere. Tourists usually flock to this waterfall when visiting Siquijor due to its magnificent tiers with crisp and clean waters. Even the locals still enjoy spending their time in this mystical attraction.

The falls does not have a significant and spectacular drop compared to other falls that I’ve been to but it is wide which gives a different charm like a spell casted on you from a lovely witch and immediately get hooked with it. Indeed Cambugahay Falls deserves a spot in Siquijor Top Destinations list.

Cambugahay Falls

(Read more: Cambugahay Falls Siquijor: The Enchanting Waterfalls)

5. Fish Spa @ Century Old Balite Tree Campalanas, Siquijor

Be amazed by the century old Balite tree with a fish spa at its roots. The tree is said to be 400 years old or more. The Balite tree or banyan has those creepy vines reaching all the way down to its base.

Balite Tree Siquijor

What made this Balite tree unique to others is the cold spring at its roots which the locals had made it an instant foot spa by putting small fishes in the pooled water from the spring. The water on its roots may be one of the factors that explain about its longevity.

Balite Tree Fish Spa

6. Lala-o Beach

Lala-o Beach is a pristine beach in San Juan. A totally free beach. The waters are crystal clear wherein you can’t resist on swimming all day and night. The sand is fine and it’s really a nice place to watch the sunset too.

When you look around, you will admire the feng shui perfection of the beach. The coconut trees are lined in serried rows that some dip their heads in obedience to the sea. They have an Eden-green beauty that cannot be rivaled when traveling to the far side of the world.

Lala-o Beach Siquijor

Underneath them, is the opera of the sea waves like a rippling blanket washing over the fine sand and with the wave music as a great welcome. It was soothing and I was glad to get away from the hurly-burly and stresses of life.

However,  to savor the sea’s indefinable beauty we should let its vastness seep into our minds. With pulsing heart, we will carry fragments of it home as a memory.

Lala-o Beach Siquijor

7. Snorkeling and Kayaking at Maite Sanctuary

Aside from Tulapos Sanctuary, there is a newly established fish sanctuary in Maite, San Juan Siquijor. You can have snorkeling and kayaking activities in the area. The fish and corals are not that spectacular but it’s pretty descent.

Coral reefs is one of the most amazing things created by nature. Experience this magnificent underwater scapes as it is always more beautiful under than what you have seen on the surface.

8. Capilay Spring Park, San Juan, Siquijor

Feel cold after a day coastal tour in the Island of fire? Capilay Spring Park might be the answer to that. You can cool down in Capilay Spring Park with its ice cold water from the spring.

Capilay Spring Park

Capilay Spring is located in the heart of San Juan town. The park has a pool with 3 chambers. The upper one is where the spring is located, the middle pool for swimming and the third chamber where laundry should be done (laundry pool).

Capilay Spring Park

9. Sunset Viewing at Palm Village

Sunset viewing along Lala-o beach is astonishingly breathtaking. Anywhere near San Juan is a very good place to watch the spectacular sunset. Sunset viewing is the time that you will get the last few glances of light that are cast down in a holy line of laser fire and it is over. The night is here and the sky looks like a black, velvet ceiling sprinkled with dream dust – stars. As you sit and ponder your own mortality, you will then ask yourself with the timeless question of all mankind, ” what are you going to eat for dinner?” 🙂

10. Chillaxing at Bell View Kuzzina Bar

Bell view Kuzzina Bar is a good alternative for chill moments or having meals. The restaurant is serving mostly American and western menu meals. They also have wines and other alcoholic drinks for those who prefer to chillax with a bottle of alcohol.

Bell view is located just near the Church and Bell Tower in Siquijor, Siquijor where the bell Tower is clearly visible hence the name of the restaurant.

11. Lugnason Falls

This falls is less frequented. This is supposedly on our itinerary but due to some reasons we skipped this one and just proceeded with snorkeling and kayaking activities. But I heard good reviews about this waterfall and would love to visit this on my next visit to this Island of Fire.

12. Siquijor Church and Bell Tower

Right after arriving at Siquijor port, going to Siquijor, Siquijor will lead you to San Juan Church and the infamous Bell Tower. This is the first spot that most tourist will take a quick stop to have some photographs taken as souvenirs.

If time permits, the following spots listed below are really worth the time to pay a quick visit. If you are going to visit them all, I suggest you will do an island coastal tour for two days. These beautiful destinations below can wait on my next visit to Siquijor.

  • Kagusuan Beach
  • Paliton Beach
  • Guiwanon Spring Park
  • Tulapos Marine Sanctuary
  • Mount Bandilaan Nature Park

How to get there:

There are three main entry points going to Siquijor:

  1. Manila to Siquijor
  2. Cebu to Siquijor
  3. Dumaguete to Siquijor

(Complete guide soon…)

Transportation Tips:

Going around Siquijor can be quite expensive per trip. If you don’t know the place or don’t have your own vehicle with you, I highly recommend that you will get an island coastal tour package when visiting Siquijor as the spots are far from each other.

The standard rate for the chartered tricycle, for example, is P1,000/day but it can go up to P1,500 depending on your itinerary and your haggling skills. The tricycle driver will bring you to destinations of your choice. Most common destinations are Cambugahay Falls, Kagusuan Beach, Century Old Balete Tree, Salagdoong Beach, Lazi Church and Convent, Larena Watch Tower, View Deck, Capilay Spring Park, Guiwanon Spring Park, etc.

Fees:

Balete Tree Environmental Fee – P5
Parking Fee – P20

Salagdoong Beach Resort – P25
Parking Fee – P35

Maite Sanctuary

Entrance: P50
Snorkel : P50
Kayak rental : P50

Itinerary:

Day 1:

12:30AM – Meet up (Cebu South Bus Terminal)
0:00 AM – ETD (onboard bus to liloan port)
04:05AM- ETA (lilo-an port)
05:00 AM- ETD (ferry to sibulan wharf)
06:00 AM – Early Morning stroll at Dumaguete Boulevard
07:00 AM – ETD (roro to Siquijor (montenegro))
08:30 AM –  ETA Siquijor port
09:00 AM – Breakfast at Bellview Kuzzina
10:30 AM – ETD to Salagdoong Beach
11:30 AM – ETA Salagdoong beach
02:20 PM – ETD Cambugahay Falls
03:25 PM – ETA Cambugahay Falls (135 steps down to the falls)
04: 20 PM- ETD Balite Tree fish spa
05:00 PM – ETD (to San Juan / Palm Village / Lala-o Beach) passing through the view Deck
Sunset viewing, night swimming, etc

Day 2:

06:00 AM – Early Stroll at the beach front / Breakfast
08:00 AM – ETA to Lugnason Falls (Cancelled)
09:00 AM – Snorkeling and Kayaking at Maite Sanctuary
11:30 AM – Capilay Spring Park
12:00 NN – Check out
12:30 PM – Lunch (@Angie’s Residence)
03:00 PM – ETD (ferry to Dumaguete)
04: 30 PM – ETA (Dumaguete Port)
05:30 PM – Dinner at Sans Rival Bistro
06:30 PM – ETD (ferry from Sibulan to Lilo-an Port)
07:00 – ETD (bus to Cebu City)

Total Expenses: 2,200 / pax

Bus Fare – P185 x2
Ferry fare (Lilo-an port to Sibulan) – P62 x2
Easy Ride (Sibulan to Dumaguete) – P20 x2
Roro Fare (Duma – Siquijor) – P130 + P15 (Termina fee) x2

Accommodation:

Palm Village – P2,500 (good for 6-10 pax)

Island Tour = FREE (Thanks to Angie)

BackPacking , Beaches and Resorts , Travel , Visayas
Siquijor Top Destinations

Siquijor Top DestinationsSiquijor is the smallest province in the Visayas region. It is dubbed as the island of fire or Isla del Fuego. Ancient folklore has tagged this place as full of sorcery, witchcraft, magic, love potions, voodoo dolls, etc. The stigma lives for centuries wherein it came to the point that when people knew someone who came from the province, they will evade that person and do not make any bad comments else you will know what will happen next. 😀

With all these tales flying around, it gives the turning point of the tourism industry of the province to either progress or gives reasons for the travelers and adventure seekers to hesitate in coming to this beautiful paradise.

No matter how scary the tales are, the natural and pristine beauty of this island has enthused the prying minds of people who have guts to drop all this nonsense and experience the magical opulence the Island of Fire has to offer.

I have been to Siquijor twice and based on what I have experienced and witnessed, the following are my Siquijor Top Destinations list.

1. Salagdoong Beach, Maria Siquijor

Salagdoong beach is one of Siquijor Top Destinations that every beachgoer and adventure lovers shouldn’t miss. The beach is in Olang, Maria, Siquijor Philippines which is approximately 30 kilometers away from Siquijor Port. This beach is located inside a government run resort but it is still open to the public.

The beach is very clean and well maintained that made it ideal for swimming. Salagdoong Beach is famous for its cliff jumping and kayaking activities. The most captivating feature of the beach is its emerald crystal clear waters that will change its shade to Atlantis-blue as you go deeper.

Salagdoong Beach

(Read More: Salagdoong Beach Siquijor: Perfect Spot for Cliff Jumping)

2. Salagdoong Man-Made Forest, Maria Siquijor

Be mesmerized by the thick lush green yet primitive forest as you enter the road going to Salagdoong Beach. The tree branches are like knotted arms that rose ever upwards like hoary fortresses that stood proudly screeching high up forming canopies or an arch of fairytale-green above your heads for you to pass by like royals marching under the arching pavements in the helm of their kingdom.

The orchestra of the bird songs can be heard the further you go to this mystical and spellbinding foliage.

Salagdoong Man Made Forest

(Read More: Salagdoong Beach Siquijor: Perfect Spot for Cliff Jumping)

3. San Isidro Labrador Church and Convent, Lazi, Siquijor

The San Isidro Labrador Parish Church of Iglesia Parroquial de San Isidro Labrador, commonly known as Lazi Church, is a Roman Catholic church in the municipality of Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines. Lazi Church is the oldest among churches in Siquijor Island.

The U-shaped bahay na bato convent is one of the largest convents built during the Spanish colonial era.  The first floor is stonewalled while wood panels can be found on the second floor. Partitions of the convent were removed but the original structure was maintained. It is said that the convent houses the Siquijor Heritage Museum which has the collections of important church relics and paraphernalia. Currently, the Convent is under repair.

Lazi Church

4. Cambugahay Falls, Lazi, Siquijor

Cambugahay Falls in Lazi Siquijor is one of the many precious waterfalls in the island with an enthralling scenery and serene atmosphere. Tourists usually flock to this waterfall when visiting Siquijor due to its magnificent tiers with crisp and clean waters. Even the locals still enjoy spending their time in this mystical attraction.

The falls does not have a significant and spectacular drop compared to other falls that I’ve been to but it is wide which gives a different charm like a spell casted on you from a lovely witch and immediately get hooked with it. Indeed Cambugahay Falls deserves a spot in Siquijor Top Destinations list.

Cambugahay Falls

(Read more: Cambugahay Falls Siquijor: The Enchanting Waterfalls)

5. Fish Spa @ Century Old Balite Tree Campalanas, Siquijor

Be amazed by the century old Balite tree with a fish spa at its roots. The tree is said to be 400 years old or more. The Balite tree or banyan has those creepy vines reaching all the way down to its base.

Balite Tree Siquijor

What made this Balite tree unique to others is the cold spring at its roots which the locals had made it an instant foot spa by putting small fishes in the pooled water from the spring. The water on its roots may be one of the factors that explain about its longevity.

Balite Tree Fish Spa

6. Lala-o Beach

Lala-o Beach is a pristine beach in San Juan. A totally free beach. The waters are crystal clear wherein you can’t resist on swimming all day and night. The sand is fine and it’s really a nice place to watch the sunset too.

When you look around, you will admire the feng shui perfection of the beach. The coconut trees are lined in serried rows that some dip their heads in obedience to the sea. They have an Eden-green beauty that cannot be rivaled when traveling to the far side of the world.

Lala-o Beach Siquijor

Underneath them, is the opera of the sea waves like a rippling blanket washing over the fine sand and with the wave music as a great welcome. It was soothing and I was glad to get away from the hurly-burly and stresses of life.

However,  to savor the sea’s indefinable beauty we should let its vastness seep into our minds. With pulsing heart, we will carry fragments of it home as a memory.

Lala-o Beach Siquijor

7. Snorkeling and Kayaking at Maite Sanctuary

Aside from Tulapos Sanctuary, there is a newly established fish sanctuary in Maite, San Juan Siquijor. You can have snorkeling and kayaking activities in the area. The fish and corals are not that spectacular but it’s pretty descent.

Coral reefs is one of the most amazing things created by nature. Experience this magnificent underwater scapes as it is always more beautiful under than what you have seen on the surface.

8. Capilay Spring Park, San Juan, Siquijor

Feel cold after a day coastal tour in the Island of fire? Capilay Spring Park might be the answer to that. You can cool down in Capilay Spring Park with its ice cold water from the spring.

Capilay Spring Park

Capilay Spring is located in the heart of San Juan town. The park has a pool with 3 chambers. The upper one is where the spring is located, the middle pool for swimming and the third chamber where laundry should be done (laundry pool).

Capilay Spring Park

9. Sunset Viewing at Palm Village

Sunset viewing along Lala-o beach is astonishingly breathtaking. Anywhere near San Juan is a very good place to watch the spectacular sunset. Sunset viewing is the time that you will get the last few glances of light that are cast down in a holy line of laser fire and it is over. The night is here and the sky looks like a black, velvet ceiling sprinkled with dream dust – stars. As you sit and ponder your own mortality, you will then ask yourself with the timeless question of all mankind, ” what are you going to eat for dinner?” 🙂

10. Chillaxing at Bell View Kuzzina Bar

Bell view Kuzzina Bar is a good alternative for chill moments or having meals. The restaurant is serving mostly American and western menu meals. They also have wines and other alcoholic drinks for those who prefer to chillax with a bottle of alcohol.

Bell view is located just near the Church and Bell Tower in Siquijor, Siquijor where the bell Tower is clearly visible hence the name of the restaurant.

11. Lugnason Falls

This falls is less frequented. This is supposedly on our itinerary but due to some reasons we skipped this one and just proceeded with snorkeling and kayaking activities. But I heard good reviews about this waterfall and would love to visit this on my next visit to this Island of Fire.

12. Siquijor Church and Bell Tower

Right after arriving at Siquijor port, going to Siquijor, Siquijor will lead you to San Juan Church and the infamous Bell Tower. This is the first spot that most tourist will take a quick stop to have some photographs taken as souvenirs.

If time permits, the following spots listed below are really worth the time to pay a quick visit. If you are going to visit them all, I suggest you will do an island coastal tour for two days. These beautiful destinations below can wait on my next visit to Siquijor.

  • Kagusuan Beach
  • Paliton Beach
  • Guiwanon Spring Park
  • Tulapos Marine Sanctuary
  • Mount Bandilaan Nature Park

How to get there:

There are three main entry points going to Siquijor:

  1. Manila to Siquijor
  2. Cebu to Siquijor
  3. Dumaguete to Siquijor

(Complete guide soon…)

Transportation Tips:

Going around Siquijor can be quite expensive per trip. If you don’t know the place or don’t have your own vehicle with you, I highly recommend that you will get an island coastal tour package when visiting Siquijor as the spots are far from each other.

The standard rate for the chartered tricycle, for example, is P1,000/day but it can go up to P1,500 depending on your itinerary and your haggling skills. The tricycle driver will bring you to destinations of your choice. Most common destinations are Cambugahay Falls, Kagusuan Beach, Century Old Balete Tree, Salagdoong Beach, Lazi Church and Convent, Larena Watch Tower, View Deck, Capilay Spring Park, Guiwanon Spring Park, etc.

Fees:

Balete Tree Environmental Fee – P5
Parking Fee – P20

Salagdoong Beach Resort – P25
Parking Fee – P35

Maite Sanctuary

Entrance: P50
Snorkel : P50
Kayak rental : P50

Itinerary:

Day 1:

12:30AM – Meet up (Cebu South Bus Terminal)
0:00 AM – ETD (onboard bus to liloan port)
04:05AM- ETA (lilo-an port)
05:00 AM- ETD (ferry to sibulan wharf)
06:00 AM – Early Morning stroll at Dumaguete Boulevard
07:00 AM – ETD (roro to Siquijor (montenegro))
08:30 AM –  ETA Siquijor port
09:00 AM – Breakfast at Bellview Kuzzina
10:30 AM – ETD to Salagdoong Beach
11:30 AM – ETA Salagdoong beach
02:20 PM – ETD Cambugahay Falls
03:25 PM – ETA Cambugahay Falls (135 steps down to the falls)
04: 20 PM- ETD Balite Tree fish spa
05:00 PM – ETD (to San Juan / Palm Village / Lala-o Beach) passing through the view Deck
Sunset viewing, night swimming, etc

Day 2:

06:00 AM – Early Stroll at the beach front / Breakfast
08:00 AM – ETA to Lugnason Falls (Cancelled)
09:00 AM – Snorkeling and Kayaking at Maite Sanctuary
11:30 AM – Capilay Spring Park
12:00 NN – Check out
12:30 PM – Lunch (@Angie’s Residence)
03:00 PM – ETD (ferry to Dumaguete)
04: 30 PM – ETA (Dumaguete Port)
05:30 PM – Dinner at Sans Rival Bistro
06:30 PM – ETD (ferry from Sibulan to Lilo-an Port)
07:00 – ETD (bus to Cebu City)

Total Expenses: 2,200 / pax

Bus Fare – P185 x2
Ferry fare (Lilo-an port to Sibulan) – P62 x2
Easy Ride (Sibulan to Dumaguete) – P20 x2
Roro Fare (Duma – Siquijor) – P130 + P15 (Termina fee) x2

Accommodation:

Palm Village – P2,500 (good for 6-10 pax)

Island Tour = FREE (Thanks to Angie)

Mount Labalasan (Osmeña Peak): Cebu’s Highest Point

Osmeña Peak

After our Mount Takliad trek and camping, we continued our jaunt for another fun-filled camp to Cebu’s highest mountain – the Mount Labalasan or commonly known as Osmeña Peak. It was my nth time visit to Osmeña Peak. Despite of the fact that I visited Osmeña Peak multiple times already, I would never grow tired or lost my interest to go back in this wonderful place. Because in trekking, I really do believe that no matter how many times you have been into the same mountain, you will never get to have the same experience and will never trek the same trail twice. The trail will always change and the experience will always be unique.

Osmeña Peak
Wandering Soul Scamper @ Osmeña Peak

I would be like a broken record if I will keep on describing Osmeña Peak every time I write about it after my trek. So I won’t. Instead I will just jump directly what happened during this journey. But you may want to read my previous experience during my first visit to Osmeña Peak here.

Osmeña Peak
View of the camp site from Osmeña Peak

The trip was a continuation to our Argao Multi-peak trekking plan that focuses on Mount Takliad and Mount Lantoy. Part of being a traveler is being able to adapt easily to changes on the plans due to uncontrollable influences like hostile weather conditions and the likes. Our Multi-Peak and caving adventure plans were cut short so we decided to proceed for another adventure – Trek to Osmeña Peak and traverse to Kawasan Falls to satisfy our adventure hungry and wandering souls. We were eight in the group and half of us decided to proceed and half of the group went home right after Mount Takliad Trek.

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The Squad

The four of us hired a tricycle from Argao to Dalaguete since the two towns were just few kilometers apart and we hired motorcycle taxis from Poblacion Dalaguete to Mantalongon Public Market. We had our lunch at the public market and started our trek right after. We chose to trek from Mantalongon Public Market to the foot of Osmeña Peak as it was more enjoyable and had more fun on the trek while conversing with each other rather than just riding a motorbike throughout. It took us about an hour trek with minimal stops in between.

Osmeña Peak
F4 @ Osmeña Peak?

The weather was excellent. The afternoon sun was not that fierce and the skies had some clouds giving us protection while we followed the open trail going to Osmeña Peak. We can’t even feel the exhaustion of the trek as we were constantly conversing and making the most out of it with some funny and diverse topics and silly jokes.

After an hour, we arrived at the tourism office and paid 30 pesos each as entrance fee. They will also collect 50 pesos camping fee per tent for the overnight campers, but will do the collection in the morning as Osmeña Peak sometimes will be subjected to strong and growling winds that in some cases, few of the camper’s tent won’t even survive the night. If such unfortunate circumstances do happen then no fees will be collected for the camping fee.

Osmeña Peak
Tourism Office

We chose a strategic location for our camp and settled a bit after pitching our tents before enjoying the beauty of Osmeña Peak. The weather was perfect, no fog and has a very stunning sea of clouds formation on the background when the sun was about to set. The clouds added an ethereal hint to the majestic scene at the summit of Osmeña Peak! Picture perfect isn’t it? We took several photos and went back to our camp after the setting of the sun!

Osmeña Peak
Groufie @ Osmeña Peak
Osmeña Peak
Photo Credits : WanderingfeetPH

Osmeña Peak

Osmeña Peak

Osmeña Peak

Osmeña Peak

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Osmeña Peak sunset

Osmeña Peak sunset

Osmeña Peak

We had our dinner as early as 6pm. We had nothing to do again but to talk with each other. Everyone seemed even more comfortable that we had this silly game to make stories and translate it from English to tagalog, Bisaya and Ilonggo. Everyone had taken turns throughout the game. Few hours later we called it a night. Good night Bes!

Osmeña Peak has been known for its strong wind gusts at nighttime. We had few gruesome experiences before wherein our tents were almost damaged by the strong howling winds especially when the weather was too aggressive. We had this funny experience in one of our camp outs wherein other group of campers asked us if we saw their tent passed by! He meant if we saw their tent flown away by the strong winds.  (“Mga migo, kita mo ug tent ni agi?”). But this time, we were too fortunate that the weather was so friendly that we only experienced a little drizzle and a mild wind gusts throughout the night. Thus, everyone had a very good night sleep.

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There is nothing more fulfilling than the feeling of waking up at the right side of the bed right? The feeling of waking up in an open field with the cool breeze is really invigorating.

We’re awake, had our quick breakfast and broke camp to start our traverse to Kawasan Falls early. We were excited to reach Kawasan Falls for a dip as we had no shower for 3 days already. LOL. The traverse from Osmeña Peak to Kawasan Falls was a fun-filled journey. It was full of conversation with diverse and funny topics again that spiced up the mood of everyone. At some point, we found ourselves singing random songs along the trail and doing silly stuffs and silly poses in front of the camera. LOL.

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After 4 hours of trekking, we arrived at Kawasan Falls and had the ever wanted dip on its ice cold waters that made our strained muscles alive once more.

Here are few Need-To-Know information about Osmeña Peak that most travelers and tourists alike may not know at all or had a totally different info all along.

  • Osmeña Peak stands at an approximate elevation of 1,013 meters above sea level (MASL).
  • It is the highest peak in Cebu island that was formerly known as Mount Labalasan and later on was commonly known as Osmeña Peak.
  • It is located within the boundaries of Patung, Badian and Mantalongon, Dalaguete and is part of Patung, Badian mountain range. Osmeña Peak is said to be part of Patung, Badian and not from Mantalongon, Dalaguete as most mountaineers, tourists and travelers had assumed for a while now. I stand corrected as I was one of those who thought that Osmeña Peak is part of Mantalongon, Dalaguete.
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Exhausted?

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Look who just jump!

How about you? Have you been to Osmeña Peak? Don’t miss out your opportunity to visit and enjoy the stunning beauty that Osmeña Peak could offer you for free! Well the view is free but you have to pay the entrance fee! 😂

How to get there?

From Cebu South Bus Terminal:

  • From Cebu South Bus Terminal, ride a bus bound to Dalaguete or any bus that would pass Dalaguete
  • Alight at the Town Proper (Poblacion). Just tell the bus conductor to drop you off at the junction going to Mantalongon Market (Osmeña Peak).
  • Hire a motorcycle taxi (habal-habal) going to Mantalongon Market
  • Register at Tourism Office.

From Osaka Terminal inside Caltex Gasoline Station (Near Carbon Market)

  • Ride a minibus here bound to Mantolongon Market.
  • Alight at Mantalongon Market.
  • Hire a motorcycle taxi (habal-habal) going to the foot of Osmeña Peak.
  • Register at Tourism Office.

Few Tips:

  • Wear proper trekking attire for comfort even though the trail is established.
  • Parts of the trail have loose soil that can be slippery especially on rainy season.
  • There is a vast area for camping, but on peak seasons it can be overcrowded so if you’re planning to camp overnight, target to arrive early on the campsite.
  • Bring durable tents as Osmeña peak is notorious for having brutal gusting winds at night especially on hostile weather conditions.
  • Preserve the cleanliness of the place by observing the leave no trace principle. Whatever you bring in, pack it out. Do not throw garbage anywhere or leave anything behind rather pack it out and dispose it properly.

Expenses:

  • Mini Bus Fare from Cebu City to Mantalongon Market: Php 100 – 120
  • Motorcycle Taxi (Habal-Habal) Fare:
    • From Dalaguete Town Proper to Manatalongon Market – Php 75/pax (Php 150 /per motorcycle)
    • From Dalaguete Town Proper to foot of Osmeña Peak – Php 100/pax (Php 200 /per motorcycle)
  • Onsite Registration fee: Php 30 / pax
  • Camping fee: Php 50 / tent

Note: Food expenses are not included here, as you may have different preferences as ours.

BackPacking , Falls , Mountains , Philippines , Travel , Trekking , Visayas
Mount Labalasan (Osmeña Peak): Cebu’s Highest Point

Osmeña Peak

After our Mount Takliad trek and camping, we continued our jaunt for another fun-filled camp to Cebu’s highest mountain – the Mount Labalasan or commonly known as Osmeña Peak. It was my nth time visit to Osmeña Peak. Despite of the fact that I visited Osmeña Peak multiple times already, I would never grow tired or lost my interest to go back in this wonderful place. Because in trekking, I really do believe that no matter how many times you have been into the same mountain, you will never get to have the same experience and will never trek the same trail twice. The trail will always change and the experience will always be unique.

Osmeña Peak
Wandering Soul Scamper @ Osmeña Peak

I would be like a broken record if I will keep on describing Osmeña Peak every time I write about it after my trek. So I won’t. Instead I will just jump directly what happened during this journey. But you may want to read my previous experience during my first visit to Osmeña Peak here.

Osmeña Peak
View of the camp site from Osmeña Peak

The trip was a continuation to our Argao Multi-peak trekking plan that focuses on Mount Takliad and Mount Lantoy. Part of being a traveler is being able to adapt easily to changes on the plans due to uncontrollable influences like hostile weather conditions and the likes. Our Multi-Peak and caving adventure plans were cut short so we decided to proceed for another adventure – Trek to Osmeña Peak and traverse to Kawasan Falls to satisfy our adventure hungry and wandering souls. We were eight in the group and half of us decided to proceed and half of the group went home right after Mount Takliad Trek.

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The Squad

The four of us hired a tricycle from Argao to Dalaguete since the two towns were just few kilometers apart and we hired motorcycle taxis from Poblacion Dalaguete to Mantalongon Public Market. We had our lunch at the public market and started our trek right after. We chose to trek from Mantalongon Public Market to the foot of Osmeña Peak as it was more enjoyable and had more fun on the trek while conversing with each other rather than just riding a motorbike throughout. It took us about an hour trek with minimal stops in between.

Osmeña Peak
F4 @ Osmeña Peak?

The weather was excellent. The afternoon sun was not that fierce and the skies had some clouds giving us protection while we followed the open trail going to Osmeña Peak. We can’t even feel the exhaustion of the trek as we were constantly conversing and making the most out of it with some funny and diverse topics and silly jokes.

After an hour, we arrived at the tourism office and paid 30 pesos each as entrance fee. They will also collect 50 pesos camping fee per tent for the overnight campers, but will do the collection in the morning as Osmeña Peak sometimes will be subjected to strong and growling winds that in some cases, few of the camper’s tent won’t even survive the night. If such unfortunate circumstances do happen then no fees will be collected for the camping fee.

Osmeña Peak
Tourism Office

We chose a strategic location for our camp and settled a bit after pitching our tents before enjoying the beauty of Osmeña Peak. The weather was perfect, no fog and has a very stunning sea of clouds formation on the background when the sun was about to set. The clouds added an ethereal hint to the majestic scene at the summit of Osmeña Peak! Picture perfect isn’t it? We took several photos and went back to our camp after the setting of the sun!

Osmeña Peak
Groufie @ Osmeña Peak
Osmeña Peak
Photo Credits : WanderingfeetPH

Osmeña Peak

Osmeña Peak

Osmeña Peak

Osmeña Peak

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Osmeña Peak sunset

Osmeña Peak sunset

Osmeña Peak

We had our dinner as early as 6pm. We had nothing to do again but to talk with each other. Everyone seemed even more comfortable that we had this silly game to make stories and translate it from English to tagalog, Bisaya and Ilonggo. Everyone had taken turns throughout the game. Few hours later we called it a night. Good night Bes!

Osmeña Peak has been known for its strong wind gusts at nighttime. We had few gruesome experiences before wherein our tents were almost damaged by the strong howling winds especially when the weather was too aggressive. We had this funny experience in one of our camp outs wherein other group of campers asked us if we saw their tent passed by! He meant if we saw their tent flown away by the strong winds.  (“Mga migo, kita mo ug tent ni agi?”). But this time, we were too fortunate that the weather was so friendly that we only experienced a little drizzle and a mild wind gusts throughout the night. Thus, everyone had a very good night sleep.

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There is nothing more fulfilling than the feeling of waking up at the right side of the bed right? The feeling of waking up in an open field with the cool breeze is really invigorating.

We’re awake, had our quick breakfast and broke camp to start our traverse to Kawasan Falls early. We were excited to reach Kawasan Falls for a dip as we had no shower for 3 days already. LOL. The traverse from Osmeña Peak to Kawasan Falls was a fun-filled journey. It was full of conversation with diverse and funny topics again that spiced up the mood of everyone. At some point, we found ourselves singing random songs along the trail and doing silly stuffs and silly poses in front of the camera. LOL.

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After 4 hours of trekking, we arrived at Kawasan Falls and had the ever wanted dip on its ice cold waters that made our strained muscles alive once more.

Here are few Need-To-Know information about Osmeña Peak that most travelers and tourists alike may not know at all or had a totally different info all along.

  • Osmeña Peak stands at an approximate elevation of 1,013 meters above sea level (MASL).
  • It is the highest peak in Cebu island that was formerly known as Mount Labalasan and later on was commonly known as Osmeña Peak.
  • It is located within the boundaries of Patung, Badian and Mantalongon, Dalaguete and is part of Patung, Badian mountain range. Osmeña Peak is said to be part of Patung, Badian and not from Mantalongon, Dalaguete as most mountaineers, tourists and travelers had assumed for a while now. I stand corrected as I was one of those who thought that Osmeña Peak is part of Mantalongon, Dalaguete.
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Exhausted?

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Look who just jump!

How about you? Have you been to Osmeña Peak? Don’t miss out your opportunity to visit and enjoy the stunning beauty that Osmeña Peak could offer you for free! Well the view is free but you have to pay the entrance fee! 😂

How to get there?

From Cebu South Bus Terminal:

  • From Cebu South Bus Terminal, ride a bus bound to Dalaguete or any bus that would pass Dalaguete
  • Alight at the Town Proper (Poblacion). Just tell the bus conductor to drop you off at the junction going to Mantalongon Market (Osmeña Peak).
  • Hire a motorcycle taxi (habal-habal) going to Mantalongon Market
  • Register at Tourism Office.

From Osaka Terminal inside Caltex Gasoline Station (Near Carbon Market)

  • Ride a minibus here bound to Mantolongon Market.
  • Alight at Mantalongon Market.
  • Hire a motorcycle taxi (habal-habal) going to the foot of Osmeña Peak.
  • Register at Tourism Office.

Few Tips:

  • Wear proper trekking attire for comfort even though the trail is established.
  • Parts of the trail have loose soil that can be slippery especially on rainy season.
  • There is a vast area for camping, but on peak seasons it can be overcrowded so if you’re planning to camp overnight, target to arrive early on the campsite.
  • Bring durable tents as Osmeña peak is notorious for having brutal gusting winds at night especially on hostile weather conditions.
  • Preserve the cleanliness of the place by observing the leave no trace principle. Whatever you bring in, pack it out. Do not throw garbage anywhere or leave anything behind rather pack it out and dispose it properly.

Expenses:

  • Mini Bus Fare from Cebu City to Mantalongon Market: Php 100 – 120
  • Motorcycle Taxi (Habal-Habal) Fare:
    • From Dalaguete Town Proper to Manatalongon Market – Php 75/pax (Php 150 /per motorcycle)
    • From Dalaguete Town Proper to foot of Osmeña Peak – Php 100/pax (Php 200 /per motorcycle)
  • Onsite Registration fee: Php 30 / pax
  • Camping fee: Php 50 / tent

Note: Food expenses are not included here, as you may have different preferences as ours.

Trail Tweaks: How to Trek Like a Pro?
IMG_4380.JPG
@Mount Lanaya, Alegria,Cebu

I love the outdoors. I love trekking and traveling to places. The fresh air, the rejuvenating feeling, the great workout and the amazing sights that goes with it. I love to go outdoors to have a good balance between the corporate and personal life. Adventure travels which includes communing with nature is definitely a must for me once in a while. Such activities like trekking, caving, chasing waterfalls or simply visiting a resort or an Eco-tourism site will do the trick. The fulfillment of spending time trekking with the great outdoors is unfathomable.

I am not a pro hiker/trekker, but I’ve learned a couple of things along the way and I’m happy to share it with you. As a hiker, there’s a lot to think about when you’re are going to hit the trail. The thought of what to put in the backpack or how to avoid the woes that might be encountered along the journey. But despite all the odds, if you have the adrenaline junkie spirit in you, nothing’s going to stop you from doing so. You will do it against all odds.

So if you’ve been very hesitant because you don’t consider yourself an outdoorsy type or a hiker / trekker or you’ve never tried it yet, don’t fret coz there aren’t many rules to follow. These tips might be of help to get you started and trek like a pro in no time.

How to trek like a pro?

  1. Get the most out of it

IMG_4268.JPG
Lumpan Campsite

Hiking has many benefits and like walking it is a pretty simple activity. But despite it being simple, it requires preparation too. We need to prepare to have an enjoyable, safe and comfortable hike else we end up having a cumbersome experience. The golden rule here to make the most out of our trekking experience is to “trek comfortably and safely”. After all, we do these activities for enjoyment.

IMG_9452.jpg

  1. Dress appropriately

IMG_3682.JPGFor starters, never hike wearing flip-flops. It’s ridiculous! So, how to trek like a pro? You can, by dressing smart. Ask for help with your trekking friends for the right outfit. Here’s few tips about outfit.

Starting with the feet, you need a professional gear as a hiker even though you’re just starting out. If the trail is mild and no treacherous terrain, a good sneaker shoes should be okay or you can wear shoes resembling those of the running shoes but have extra traction. However, for any serious trails, rocky trails and long distance treks, a real hiking boots or shoes is really needed or you’ll want a boot with hefty soles that will protect your feet from “stone bruises” as these shoes provide enough support and stability to keep you from twisting an ankle.

Of course you can trek with anything you want, like with jeans or shorts, a T-shirt and a pair of slippers or athletic shoes. Basically it’s possible but we’re talking about how to trek like a pro here.

Trek Like a ProAs for the clothing, wear layers. This way you’ll be prepared for a range of temperatures in the mountains. Your clothing should be comfortable, temperature-appropriate and provide you with protection from sunburn, bugs and poisonous vegetation. Clothing made from quick-drying technical fabrics will be more comfortable. Sample layers would be: a shirt made of a lightweight synthetic or quick-drying (dri-fit) fabric as an inner layer, mid-layer is a warm top fleece, and an outer layer of a lightweight rain shell.

  1. Carry enough water

IMG_8860.JPGIt is a common mistake for beginners to set out on a trek without enough water. You need water, no question with that. But how much of it are you willing to carry? Yes, water is heavy. So when hitting the trail keep in mind that a little extra weight due to extra water doesn’t hurt compared to the lack of it. Anyway, those extra weight will gradually gets lighter as you trekked, theres Plan to carry at least one liter of liquid per person for every 2 hours of hiking.

Never drink directly from the streams even if it looks pristine. It will likely a breeding place for other organisms or filled will bacteria that can make you very sick. Prevention is better than cure after all.

  1. Don’t leave your research to Siri

IMG_3873.JPGYour phone might not work in some remote areas so don’t rely on it all the time. Do your research beforehand, there are a lot of references that you can refer to. Do yourself a favor by having a well research information about your destination, what to expect, the weather conditions, secure maps, etc or a guidebook. And oh! don’t forget to tell at least one of your good friends when will you be going home. In that way, at least there is someone who will be checking on your whereabouts when you fail to return on the said date. Just a safety precaution but if you don’t feel like doing it, that’s totally fine.

  1. Pace yourself

Trek Like a ProPacing is a crucial thing in trekking. If you’re hiking with a group, let the least fit or the slowest person set the pace even if it’s a child. It is not a race in the first place. Remember, you don’t just have to reach the panorama the trail leads to but you also have to get back. Most importantly, converse while you trek. It does not only signify that you are having the right pacing but it could help lessen the feeling of tiredness.

Try trekking without any talking and try to have a similar one with all the usual conversation with occasional jokes and laughter while you converse and see the difference on your exhaustion level.

  1. Always check the weather

IMG_8041.JPGIt sounds like a no-brainier but weather plays an important role most of the time especially when trekking. The weather can be much more severe as you gain altitude or elevation. This can affect the itinerary and the course of action that needs to be taken when certain weather related circumstances will be encountered along the way. When in the midst of adventure with a really bad weather, don’t be afraid to call the shot to withdraw. Trust your instinct. If it doesn’t feel and sound good, then it must not be good.

  1. Practice good trail etiquette

IMG_1996.JPGThis is the common mistake for some. It seems that they owned the trail and will never give way to locals even if they were hauling heavy products. When we hit the trail let us be more considerate to our fellow mountaineers especially to the locals. When someone approaches may it be a local or not, we should step aside and let them pass. If you’re in the large group and a small group of hikers or a solo hiker is approaching, step aside and let them pass.

Also, we must always abide by the “leave no trace” principles, which include respecting wildlife, staying on durable paths rather than tramping on vulnerable land and or vegetation, and the most obvious: putting garbage where it belongs, even if that means you have to carry it for kilometers for proper disposal.

  1. Have a hiking/trekking buddy

IMG_8110.JPGNo man is an island. Even the most seasoned mountaineer could not assure that he/she don’t need anybody on the trail. The trail can be treacherous at its worse especially on bad weather conditions. Although following through wild terrain might leave us introspective and thoughtful, it’s not something that we should do by ourselves. The journey itself can be dangerous for many reasons, so finding strength and safety in numbers is highly encouraged. So go out there and pair up with at least one good and dependable buddy.

These rules/tips might not be applicable to other adventures but this might be of help in some way. Once we’ve mastered these rules on how to trek like a pro, we might be hooked by the activity itself. We should always keep in mind and take into consideration our own safety and we should never take chances that might involve risks in person’s life. There are only a few activities that are both more enjoyable and beneficial to health and that includes hiking/trekking. Thus trekking/hiking is a skill you may want to master quickly, like a Pro!!!

I came up with this list based on my experiences and learning. If you find anything that may be relevant to add in the list, just let me know by leaving a comment below.

Are these tips helpful? Do you think these can help you Trek like a pro? Let me know your thoughts.

BackPacking , Mountains , Tips , Travel , Trekking , Visayas
Trail Tweaks: How to Trek Like a Pro?
IMG_4380.JPG
@Mount Lanaya, Alegria,Cebu

I love the outdoors. I love trekking and traveling to places. The fresh air, the rejuvenating feeling, the great workout and the amazing sights that goes with it. I love to go outdoors to have a good balance between the corporate and personal life. Adventure travels which includes communing with nature is definitely a must for me once in a while. Such activities like trekking, caving, chasing waterfalls or simply visiting a resort or an Eco-tourism site will do the trick. The fulfillment of spending time trekking with the great outdoors is unfathomable.

I am not a pro hiker/trekker, but I’ve learned a couple of things along the way and I’m happy to share it with you. As a hiker, there’s a lot to think about when you’re are going to hit the trail. The thought of what to put in the backpack or how to avoid the woes that might be encountered along the journey. But despite all the odds, if you have the adrenaline junkie spirit in you, nothing’s going to stop you from doing so. You will do it against all odds.

So if you’ve been very hesitant because you don’t consider yourself an outdoorsy type or a hiker / trekker or you’ve never tried it yet, don’t fret coz there aren’t many rules to follow. These tips might be of help to get you started and trek like a pro in no time.

How to trek like a pro?

  1. Get the most out of it

IMG_4268.JPG
Lumpan Campsite

Hiking has many benefits and like walking it is a pretty simple activity. But despite it being simple, it requires preparation too. We need to prepare to have an enjoyable, safe and comfortable hike else we end up having a cumbersome experience. The golden rule here to make the most out of our trekking experience is to “trek comfortably and safely”. After all, we do these activities for enjoyment.

IMG_9452.jpg

  1. Dress appropriately

IMG_3682.JPGFor starters, never hike wearing flip-flops. It’s ridiculous! So, how to trek like a pro? You can, by dressing smart. Ask for help with your trekking friends for the right outfit. Here’s few tips about outfit.

Starting with the feet, you need a professional gear as a hiker even though you’re just starting out. If the trail is mild and no treacherous terrain, a good sneaker shoes should be okay or you can wear shoes resembling those of the running shoes but have extra traction. However, for any serious trails, rocky trails and long distance treks, a real hiking boots or shoes is really needed or you’ll want a boot with hefty soles that will protect your feet from “stone bruises” as these shoes provide enough support and stability to keep you from twisting an ankle.

Of course you can trek with anything you want, like with jeans or shorts, a T-shirt and a pair of slippers or athletic shoes. Basically it’s possible but we’re talking about how to trek like a pro here.

Trek Like a ProAs for the clothing, wear layers. This way you’ll be prepared for a range of temperatures in the mountains. Your clothing should be comfortable, temperature-appropriate and provide you with protection from sunburn, bugs and poisonous vegetation. Clothing made from quick-drying technical fabrics will be more comfortable. Sample layers would be: a shirt made of a lightweight synthetic or quick-drying (dri-fit) fabric as an inner layer, mid-layer is a warm top fleece, and an outer layer of a lightweight rain shell.

  1. Carry enough water

IMG_8860.JPGIt is a common mistake for beginners to set out on a trek without enough water. You need water, no question with that. But how much of it are you willing to carry? Yes, water is heavy. So when hitting the trail keep in mind that a little extra weight due to extra water doesn’t hurt compared to the lack of it. Anyway, those extra weight will gradually gets lighter as you trekked, theres Plan to carry at least one liter of liquid per person for every 2 hours of hiking.

Never drink directly from the streams even if it looks pristine. It will likely a breeding place for other organisms or filled will bacteria that can make you very sick. Prevention is better than cure after all.

  1. Don’t leave your research to Siri

IMG_3873.JPGYour phone might not work in some remote areas so don’t rely on it all the time. Do your research beforehand, there are a lot of references that you can refer to. Do yourself a favor by having a well research information about your destination, what to expect, the weather conditions, secure maps, etc or a guidebook. And oh! don’t forget to tell at least one of your good friends when will you be going home. In that way, at least there is someone who will be checking on your whereabouts when you fail to return on the said date. Just a safety precaution but if you don’t feel like doing it, that’s totally fine.

  1. Pace yourself

Trek Like a ProPacing is a crucial thing in trekking. If you’re hiking with a group, let the least fit or the slowest person set the pace even if it’s a child. It is not a race in the first place. Remember, you don’t just have to reach the panorama the trail leads to but you also have to get back. Most importantly, converse while you trek. It does not only signify that you are having the right pacing but it could help lessen the feeling of tiredness.

Try trekking without any talking and try to have a similar one with all the usual conversation with occasional jokes and laughter while you converse and see the difference on your exhaustion level.

  1. Always check the weather

IMG_8041.JPGIt sounds like a no-brainier but weather plays an important role most of the time especially when trekking. The weather can be much more severe as you gain altitude or elevation. This can affect the itinerary and the course of action that needs to be taken when certain weather related circumstances will be encountered along the way. When in the midst of adventure with a really bad weather, don’t be afraid to call the shot to withdraw. Trust your instinct. If it doesn’t feel and sound good, then it must not be good.

  1. Practice good trail etiquette

IMG_1996.JPGThis is the common mistake for some. It seems that they owned the trail and will never give way to locals even if they were hauling heavy products. When we hit the trail let us be more considerate to our fellow mountaineers especially to the locals. When someone approaches may it be a local or not, we should step aside and let them pass. If you’re in the large group and a small group of hikers or a solo hiker is approaching, step aside and let them pass.

Also, we must always abide by the “leave no trace” principles, which include respecting wildlife, staying on durable paths rather than tramping on vulnerable land and or vegetation, and the most obvious: putting garbage where it belongs, even if that means you have to carry it for kilometers for proper disposal.

  1. Have a hiking/trekking buddy

IMG_8110.JPGNo man is an island. Even the most seasoned mountaineer could not assure that he/she don’t need anybody on the trail. The trail can be treacherous at its worse especially on bad weather conditions. Although following through wild terrain might leave us introspective and thoughtful, it’s not something that we should do by ourselves. The journey itself can be dangerous for many reasons, so finding strength and safety in numbers is highly encouraged. So go out there and pair up with at least one good and dependable buddy.

These rules/tips might not be applicable to other adventures but this might be of help in some way. Once we’ve mastered these rules on how to trek like a pro, we might be hooked by the activity itself. We should always keep in mind and take into consideration our own safety and we should never take chances that might involve risks in person’s life. There are only a few activities that are both more enjoyable and beneficial to health and that includes hiking/trekking. Thus trekking/hiking is a skill you may want to master quickly, like a Pro!!!

I came up with this list based on my experiences and learning. If you find anything that may be relevant to add in the list, just let me know by leaving a comment below.

Are these tips helpful? Do you think these can help you Trek like a pro? Let me know your thoughts.

Mount Takliad: The Unseen Grandiose Mountain in Argao
Mount Takliad
At the foot of Mount Takliad

Argao as considered one of the best places in the Southeastern part of Cebu has a lot to offer aside from its rich heritage and culture. From the wide array of tourism offerings like caves, beaches, springs, waterfalls and the infamous Argao’s Torta and Bahalina, it has a lot more to offer to adrenaline junkies too.

For many, Argao has been underrated in terms of Tourist Attractions. But considering all the beauties of nature that Argao can offer is just mind blowing. It is in Argao that you can find a lot of interesting places like “mini rice terraces’ in Butong, Argao, and the Coal Mountain Resort which offers an all-in-one adventure place. To top it all, Argao has at least 4 mighty mountains that are less trodden by most mountaineers and mostly didn’t even heard of it yet. These mountains were Mount Lantoy, Mount Takliad, Mount Tiposo and Mount Binalabag. These mountains are registered attractions by Argao Tourism but there are also less known ones.

Travel is the only thing that we can buy that makes us richer. They say that we can’t buy happiness. Yes, it’s true but we can always buy plane tickets and it’s the next best thing, isn’t it? Actually the best gift we could give to ourselves is a lifetime of travel adventures as it brings power and love back to our lives. Yes, we travel to escape the daily routines and have a break from the chaotic city life but it doesn’t mean we’re escaping life. We should travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us. We should do it whenever we can, as the future is promised to no one. One thing I learned from traveling is that wherever I’ll go, I must go with all my heart.

Traveling will be more rewarding when shared with good friends and love ones. The memories that we will be creating along every journey will always be imprinted in our minds no matter what as travel is worthy of any cost or sacrifice. These will always stay in our hearts as time goes by. These things will make us even more richer, gain more wisdom and become a storyteller.

Answering to the wanderlust in us, we had an almost spontaneous escape from the city together with my good friends, fellow outdoor/travel bloggers foureyedlaagan, wanderingfeetPH and few guests. The plan was to explore Mount Lantoy and Mount Takliad with several side trips like waterfalls and caving but due to weather constraints, we modified the itinerary and just proceeded to Mount Takliad instead.

Mount Takliad is a mountain located in barangay Cansuje about 11 kilometres inland from municipality of Argao, Cebu Philippines. Despite being registered as a potential tourist attraction for mountaineers by the Tourism Office, Mount Takliad is one of the mountains that are less frequented by mountaineers. It stands at around 700 MASL (approximate reading based on mobile phone’s altimeter) with a ridge like feature. Mount Takliad peak has a stunning 360 degrees overlooking view of the neighboring mountains and one of those is the elusive and mystical Mount Lantoy. On the eastern part of the peak is a cliff, overlooking the Usmad River.

The Mount Takliad Experience:

The Jaunt to the Lost Trail:

Mount Takliad ArgaoMount Takliad

The jaunt started with a registration at Agao’s Tourism Office. The Tourism office was kind enough to provide our guides and open their office on a Saturday to assist us. The guides already contacted the motorcycle taxis that hauled us to the jump off at Barangay Conalum. The trip to Barangay Conalum was about 30-40-minute ride. At the barangay hall at Conalum, Argao there would be an onsite registration and a collection of 20 pesos per person.

No one in the group had been to Mount Takliad so we were basically entrusting ourselves to our guides. We don’t have an idea on what to expect and what kind of trail we are going to take. After our onsite registration, we headed to the jump off. The head guide gave us a short briefing about the trek, it’s pretty basic info but still they have to do it as it is a standard protocol.

The Trail:

We have really no idea what type of trail awaits us as we go trekking to the summit of Mount Takliad. We started our ascent from the jump off point in Conalum, Argao. There are residences along the foot path trail going up. Few more steps and the trail was kind of rocky and mossy signifying that the trail we’re taking was a less frequented one. As we went up a bit towards a thick vegetation getting away from the locals’ houses, the trail was getting more and more unnoticeable. Most part were having loose soil, aside from covered with moss, some parts were covered by grasses or fallen leaves and that made our trek a bit challenging.

Mount Takliadimg_7835Mt Takliad

After trekking for more than an hour, the team was excited as we get passed the steep ascent and we were about to follow the trail on the ridge going up to the summit. But the unexpected happened – we got lost or the trail was just erased or the guides forgot the trail? The guides led us to a dead end. So it’s either we climb up the boulders or pass through the thick forest or jump off the cliff? The guides tried to scout for a passable trail ahead but to no avail, it is not worth the risk. The guides made the call to get back and find the alternative trail on the other side of the mountain. We back trailed a bit and went to the other side of the mountain and go around going to the foot of Mount Takliad.

Mount Takliad TrailMount Takliad Trail

We passed by an easy trail down, passed by a small rice field and farm and then went straight to a not so established but visible trail going up to the peak. The trail going up has a resemblance to the trail of Mount Lanaya but shorter. The trail is just 3/9 but it’s enough to pump up our hearts and sweat our body out. The steepness of the trail has just made our knees trembled at some point. But that doesn’t stop us from our desires to reach the peak in no time to have our lunch.  Everyone was literally excited to get to the peak as our stomach were rumbling already.

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The trail to the Peak

The Camp Site:

We reached the peak thirty minutes past 1PM in the afternoon and ate our lunch. Right after lunch, there was a heavy downpour. Geez, we need to get cover as we were not able to pitch our tents yet. After the rain had stopped, we pitched our tents and settled down for a bit.

Mount Takliad is basically a less trodden mound and has no established camp site too. The peak has a small clearing and literally has a very small area for camping. At the peak, there is a small flat ground that can accommodate 3-4 tents. Some area on the side of the mountain peak can accommodate at least 3 tents too. Basically the peak of Mount Takliad is also the camp site and can only accommodate as much as 6-7 tents.

Mount Takliad Peak
Mount Takliad Peak

Dinner / Socials:

It was an almost spontaneous adventure so we were not able to bring game cards or anything for socials. We reached the peak too early and had nothing to do so we decided to have some early socials. The gang played the “Ping Pang Pong” game and had some truth and dare as consequence for the losers.

We prepared our dinner early and had it by 6pm. Again we had nothing to do after but another social activity and this time, we we’re having serious talks about ourselves. Everyone has to introduce thy own self to all as we have new guests with us. We entertained ourselves by asking (silly) questions and bullying was not an exception. LOL. We got to know each other a little too well and at the same time we had so much fun despite the absence of alcoholic drinks.

Mount Takliad Camp Site
Having fun with the socials activity

After socials, we had this crazy stuff going on wherein we stand near each other, just stared at the sky for nothing and we just laughed why we did that. We had a good time throwing jokes with each other until we called it a night at around 9PM.

The Morning after the wetly sleep

We managed to make our camp comfortable with the help of the earth pads and had our good night sleep. But the strong winds and the heavy rain downpour had awakened the whole camp. The rain water got inside our tent. The ground sheet must have gotten the water inside our tent floor that distracted our sleep. The rain stopped at nearly morning but I chose to sleep at wet tent floor as I don’t have enough sleep the days before the climb. Good thing our friends found a way to get some sleep too despite being soaked inside the tents and still manage to woke up laughing about the hilarious experience.

Mount Takliad Peak
Mount Takliad Peak

We had our breakfast and broke camp right after.  The group decided not to proceed to Mount Lantoy because it was raining the previous night that we might not be able to cross the river due to flooding. We started our descent and Lo and behold! The trail got treacherous! It was slippery and muddy and I had my fair share of slips too. Upon arriving back at the jump off, we washed ourselves before going back to Town.

We can’t get enough of the adventure despite the not so perfect experience. Thus, half of us decided to proceed for another day of camping at Osmeña peak.

img_20161030-081709
Stunning view of Mount Lantoy from Mout Takliad Peak
IMG_20161030-082032.jpg
Overlooking view at the western side of the Peak

img_20161029-142901

Reflections:

Despite the changes in itinerary and the antagonistic weather condition, the overall experience is one of a kind. The fun and the challenges that quenched our thirst for adventure made the experience a memorable one, from the trail challenges – the tumbles and slips -, the heavy rain downpour, etc. Despite the minor hiccups that we encountered in our adventures, it will seem not to matter when you spend and share it with good people around.

About the tourism, it is really nice to know that the local government was taking the initiative to control and monitor their adventure attractions. It is a bold move to help preserve the natural beauty and cleanliness of the place as well as promote safety for the tourists. However, I always hear about tourists not wanting to visit Argao for adventure or worse take it out from their bucket list for the reasons below:

  1. The guide fee is a bit expensive
  2. The territorial system of guide ship services (You need to hire another set of guides when you want to proceed for another adventure that is out of the guides jurisdiction / area.) It would be nice if it is possible that for a series of adventure, there is only one set of guide throughout from start till end of adventure.

How to get there?

  • From Cebu South Bus Terminal ride a bus bound to Argao or any bus that would pass Argao
  • Alight at the Town Proper (Poblacion)
  • Register at the Tourism Office and secure your guide if you have not called the office beforehand.
  • Hire a motorcycle taxi (habal-habal) to barangay hall at Conalum, Argao for on-site Registration
  • Head back to the jump off point

Few Tips:

  • Contact the Tourism Office beforehand so that they can provide guide(s) ahead and save from being held up in the Tourism office during registration while looking for one.
  • Wear proper trekking attire as the trail is not established when starting the climb from Conalum Jump off (near barangay Hall).
  • Parts of the trail have loose soil that can be very slippery and muddy especially on rainy season.
  • It is advisable to go in small group since the camp site is just too small to accommodate more tents. If you are with a large group, better ask the guides to camp at the foot as there is a vast area in there for camping.
  • There is not enough flat surface ground for camping, so bring with you few things that would make your camping experience a lot comfortable. To know such tips, refer to my previous post, https://wanderingsoulscamper.com/2016/11/05/trail-tweaks-how-to-make-your-camping-experience-more-comfortable/
  • Preserve the cleanliness of the place by observing the leave no trace principle. Whatever you bring in, pack it out. Do not throw garbage anywhere or leave anything behind rather pack it out and dispose it properly.

Expenses:

  • Bus Fare from Cebu City ot Argao: Php 86
  • Guide Fee: Php 500 per 5 pax (It was originally P800)
  • Motorcycle Taxi (Habal-Habal) Fare: Php 100/pax (Php 200 /per motorcycle)
  • Onsite Registration fee: Php 20 / pax

Note: Food expenses are not included here, as you may have different preferences as ours.

Itinerary:

Day 1:

06:00A.M – Meet up South Bus Terminal

07:00A.M – ETD to Argao

09:30A.M – ETA Argao

09:55 AM – Argao Tourism Office registration

10:10 AM – ETD to Brgy. Conalum

10:50 AM – ETA Brgy. Conalum barangay hall (on-site registration)

11:00 AM – Jump Off and short orientation

11:10 AM – Commence trek

01:30 PM – Reached the peak!

01:50 PM – Lunch

02:30 PM – Pitch Camp

09:15 PM – Lights out

Day 2:

06:00A.M – Wakeup call

08:00A.M – Breakfast

09:45 AM – Break camp

10:00 AM –  Start Descend

11:00 AM – Back to jump off / wash up / rest

11:20 AM – ETD to Argao Town Proper

12:00 NN – ETA Argao Town Proper

BackPacking , Mountains , Philippines , Travel , Trekking , Visayas
Mount Takliad: The Unseen Grandiose Mountain in Argao
Mount Takliad
At the foot of Mount Takliad

Argao as considered one of the best places in the Southeastern part of Cebu has a lot to offer aside from its rich heritage and culture. From the wide array of tourism offerings like caves, beaches, springs, waterfalls and the infamous Argao’s Torta and Bahalina, it has a lot more to offer to adrenaline junkies too.

For many, Argao has been underrated in terms of Tourist Attractions. But considering all the beauties of nature that Argao can offer is just mind blowing. It is in Argao that you can find a lot of interesting places like “mini rice terraces’ in Butong, Argao, and the Coal Mountain Resort which offers an all-in-one adventure place. To top it all, Argao has at least 4 mighty mountains that are less trodden by most mountaineers and mostly didn’t even heard of it yet. These mountains were Mount Lantoy, Mount Takliad, Mount Tiposo and Mount Binalabag. These mountains are registered attractions by Argao Tourism but there are also less known ones.

Travel is the only thing that we can buy that makes us richer. They say that we can’t buy happiness. Yes, it’s true but we can always buy plane tickets and it’s the next best thing, isn’t it? Actually the best gift we could give to ourselves is a lifetime of travel adventures as it brings power and love back to our lives. Yes, we travel to escape the daily routines and have a break from the chaotic city life but it doesn’t mean we’re escaping life. We should travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us. We should do it whenever we can, as the future is promised to no one. One thing I learned from traveling is that wherever I’ll go, I must go with all my heart.

Traveling will be more rewarding when shared with good friends and love ones. The memories that we will be creating along every journey will always be imprinted in our minds no matter what as travel is worthy of any cost or sacrifice. These will always stay in our hearts as time goes by. These things will make us even more richer, gain more wisdom and become a storyteller.

Answering to the wanderlust in us, we had an almost spontaneous escape from the city together with my good friends, fellow outdoor/travel bloggers foureyedlaagan, wanderingfeetPH and few guests. The plan was to explore Mount Lantoy and Mount Takliad with several side trips like waterfalls and caving but due to weather constraints, we modified the itinerary and just proceeded to Mount Takliad instead.

Mount Takliad is a mountain located in barangay Cansuje about 11 kilometres inland from municipality of Argao, Cebu Philippines. Despite being registered as a potential tourist attraction for mountaineers by the Tourism Office, Mount Takliad is one of the mountains that are less frequented by mountaineers. It stands at around 700 MASL (approximate reading based on mobile phone’s altimeter) with a ridge like feature. Mount Takliad peak has a stunning 360 degrees overlooking view of the neighboring mountains and one of those is the elusive and mystical Mount Lantoy. On the eastern part of the peak is a cliff, overlooking the Usmad River.

The Mount Takliad Experience:

The Jaunt to the Lost Trail:

Mount Takliad ArgaoMount Takliad

The jaunt started with a registration at Agao’s Tourism Office. The Tourism office was kind enough to provide our guides and open their office on a Saturday to assist us. The guides already contacted the motorcycle taxis that hauled us to the jump off at Barangay Conalum. The trip to Barangay Conalum was about 30-40-minute ride. At the barangay hall at Conalum, Argao there would be an onsite registration and a collection of 20 pesos per person.

No one in the group had been to Mount Takliad so we were basically entrusting ourselves to our guides. We don’t have an idea on what to expect and what kind of trail we are going to take. After our onsite registration, we headed to the jump off. The head guide gave us a short briefing about the trek, it’s pretty basic info but still they have to do it as it is a standard protocol.

The Trail:

We have really no idea what type of trail awaits us as we go trekking to the summit of Mount Takliad. We started our ascent from the jump off point in Conalum, Argao. There are residences along the foot path trail going up. Few more steps and the trail was kind of rocky and mossy signifying that the trail we’re taking was a less frequented one. As we went up a bit towards a thick vegetation getting away from the locals’ houses, the trail was getting more and more unnoticeable. Most part were having loose soil, aside from covered with moss, some parts were covered by grasses or fallen leaves and that made our trek a bit challenging.

Mount Takliadimg_7835Mt Takliad

After trekking for more than an hour, the team was excited as we get passed the steep ascent and we were about to follow the trail on the ridge going up to the summit. But the unexpected happened – we got lost or the trail was just erased or the guides forgot the trail? The guides led us to a dead end. So it’s either we climb up the boulders or pass through the thick forest or jump off the cliff? The guides tried to scout for a passable trail ahead but to no avail, it is not worth the risk. The guides made the call to get back and find the alternative trail on the other side of the mountain. We back trailed a bit and went to the other side of the mountain and go around going to the foot of Mount Takliad.

Mount Takliad TrailMount Takliad Trail

We passed by an easy trail down, passed by a small rice field and farm and then went straight to a not so established but visible trail going up to the peak. The trail going up has a resemblance to the trail of Mount Lanaya but shorter. The trail is just 3/9 but it’s enough to pump up our hearts and sweat our body out. The steepness of the trail has just made our knees trembled at some point. But that doesn’t stop us from our desires to reach the peak in no time to have our lunch.  Everyone was literally excited to get to the peak as our stomach were rumbling already.

img_7964

img_7959
The trail to the Peak

The Camp Site:

We reached the peak thirty minutes past 1PM in the afternoon and ate our lunch. Right after lunch, there was a heavy downpour. Geez, we need to get cover as we were not able to pitch our tents yet. After the rain had stopped, we pitched our tents and settled down for a bit.

Mount Takliad is basically a less trodden mound and has no established camp site too. The peak has a small clearing and literally has a very small area for camping. At the peak, there is a small flat ground that can accommodate 3-4 tents. Some area on the side of the mountain peak can accommodate at least 3 tents too. Basically the peak of Mount Takliad is also the camp site and can only accommodate as much as 6-7 tents.

Mount Takliad Peak
Mount Takliad Peak

Dinner / Socials:

It was an almost spontaneous adventure so we were not able to bring game cards or anything for socials. We reached the peak too early and had nothing to do so we decided to have some early socials. The gang played the “Ping Pang Pong” game and had some truth and dare as consequence for the losers.

We prepared our dinner early and had it by 6pm. Again we had nothing to do after but another social activity and this time, we we’re having serious talks about ourselves. Everyone has to introduce thy own self to all as we have new guests with us. We entertained ourselves by asking (silly) questions and bullying was not an exception. LOL. We got to know each other a little too well and at the same time we had so much fun despite the absence of alcoholic drinks.

Mount Takliad Camp Site
Having fun with the socials activity

After socials, we had this crazy stuff going on wherein we stand near each other, just stared at the sky for nothing and we just laughed why we did that. We had a good time throwing jokes with each other until we called it a night at around 9PM.

The Morning after the wetly sleep

We managed to make our camp comfortable with the help of the earth pads and had our good night sleep. But the strong winds and the heavy rain downpour had awakened the whole camp. The rain water got inside our tent. The ground sheet must have gotten the water inside our tent floor that distracted our sleep. The rain stopped at nearly morning but I chose to sleep at wet tent floor as I don’t have enough sleep the days before the climb. Good thing our friends found a way to get some sleep too despite being soaked inside the tents and still manage to woke up laughing about the hilarious experience.

Mount Takliad Peak
Mount Takliad Peak

We had our breakfast and broke camp right after.  The group decided not to proceed to Mount Lantoy because it was raining the previous night that we might not be able to cross the river due to flooding. We started our descent and Lo and behold! The trail got treacherous! It was slippery and muddy and I had my fair share of slips too. Upon arriving back at the jump off, we washed ourselves before going back to Town.

We can’t get enough of the adventure despite the not so perfect experience. Thus, half of us decided to proceed for another day of camping at Osmeña peak.

img_20161030-081709
Stunning view of Mount Lantoy from Mout Takliad Peak
IMG_20161030-082032.jpg
Overlooking view at the western side of the Peak

img_20161029-142901

Reflections:

Despite the changes in itinerary and the antagonistic weather condition, the overall experience is one of a kind. The fun and the challenges that quenched our thirst for adventure made the experience a memorable one, from the trail challenges – the tumbles and slips -, the heavy rain downpour, etc. Despite the minor hiccups that we encountered in our adventures, it will seem not to matter when you spend and share it with good people around.

About the tourism, it is really nice to know that the local government was taking the initiative to control and monitor their adventure attractions. It is a bold move to help preserve the natural beauty and cleanliness of the place as well as promote safety for the tourists. However, I always hear about tourists not wanting to visit Argao for adventure or worse take it out from their bucket list for the reasons below:

  1. The guide fee is a bit expensive
  2. The territorial system of guide ship services (You need to hire another set of guides when you want to proceed for another adventure that is out of the guides jurisdiction / area.) It would be nice if it is possible that for a series of adventure, there is only one set of guide throughout from start till end of adventure.

How to get there?

  • From Cebu South Bus Terminal ride a bus bound to Argao or any bus that would pass Argao
  • Alight at the Town Proper (Poblacion)
  • Register at the Tourism Office and secure your guide if you have not called the office beforehand.
  • Hire a motorcycle taxi (habal-habal) to barangay hall at Conalum, Argao for on-site Registration
  • Head back to the jump off point

Few Tips:

  • Contact the Tourism Office beforehand so that they can provide guide(s) ahead and save from being held up in the Tourism office during registration while looking for one.
  • Wear proper trekking attire as the trail is not established when starting the climb from Conalum Jump off (near barangay Hall).
  • Parts of the trail have loose soil that can be very slippery and muddy especially on rainy season.
  • It is advisable to go in small group since the camp site is just too small to accommodate more tents. If you are with a large group, better ask the guides to camp at the foot as there is a vast area in there for camping.
  • There is not enough flat surface ground for camping, so bring with you few things that would make your camping experience a lot comfortable. To know such tips, refer to my previous post, https://wanderingsoulscamper.com/2016/11/05/trail-tweaks-how-to-make-your-camping-experience-more-comfortable/
  • Preserve the cleanliness of the place by observing the leave no trace principle. Whatever you bring in, pack it out. Do not throw garbage anywhere or leave anything behind rather pack it out and dispose it properly.

Expenses:

  • Bus Fare from Cebu City ot Argao: Php 86
  • Guide Fee: Php 500 per 5 pax (It was originally P800)
  • Motorcycle Taxi (Habal-Habal) Fare: Php 100/pax (Php 200 /per motorcycle)
  • Onsite Registration fee: Php 20 / pax

Note: Food expenses are not included here, as you may have different preferences as ours.

Itinerary:

Day 1:

06:00A.M – Meet up South Bus Terminal

07:00A.M – ETD to Argao

09:30A.M – ETA Argao

09:55 AM – Argao Tourism Office registration

10:10 AM – ETD to Brgy. Conalum

10:50 AM – ETA Brgy. Conalum barangay hall (on-site registration)

11:00 AM – Jump Off and short orientation

11:10 AM – Commence trek

01:30 PM – Reached the peak!

01:50 PM – Lunch

02:30 PM – Pitch Camp

09:15 PM – Lights out

Day 2:

06:00A.M – Wakeup call

08:00A.M – Breakfast

09:45 AM – Break camp

10:00 AM –  Start Descend

11:00 AM – Back to jump off / wash up / rest

11:20 AM – ETD to Argao Town Proper

12:00 NN – ETA Argao Town Proper

Twin Crater Lake Balinsasayao & Danao: An intimate hideaway

 

“I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.”

—Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Why do people love nature? Why do we love to commune with mother earth?

People would tend to answer that question with “I like nature because it’s beautiful and it provides tranquility” something like that. Yes, that’s a pretty good answer. But when you turn that question over and over, you might not think that it’s an easy question to answer. I have thought of that question several times and it made me question myself, why am I hooked with nature? What are the reasons? I reflected on each of my answers and found out that I barely have answers that I can consider satisfactory –  which made me contemplate again for deeper reasons.

Lake Balinsasayao

As far as I can remember, I always love nature. I spent most of my time outdoors since I was a child. For outdoor lovers like me, the euphoria of spending time outside is inexplicable. If you spent more time with nature, you’ve probably noticed that you feel happier out there than staying within the four corners of your room. There are so many reasons why we love nature.

First of all, is because we are part of it and we evolved in it, it’s already in our DNA that we need nature for our psychological being. It reminds us of death so that we can appreciate life.

Lake Danao

Secondly, nature has the ability to bring people closer to their sense of spirituality, openness and reality. It reminds us that we can’t stop it from raining, delay the setting of the sun or set the temperature to some comfortable degrees. It awakens us from a dream and realize how little control we really have in this world and that hardships and lack of control are part of life and accepting these reality makes it not only bearable but leads to the possibility of celebrating the bliss of being alive.

Lake Danao

Lastly, nature teaches us that there is nothing wrong with ourselves. When we are communing with nature, we don’t look at the mirrors, we are focused on the setting around us. When we’re alone in nature, or with a loving friend or group of good company, we can be totally free and be our real selves. We get the sweet relief from all forms of oppression and stigma from the so called society like sexism, racism and even trans-phobia and or homophobia and other things that would belittle one another.

In general, people love nature because of the euphoric effect that they could get from spending time with it, the surprises of the natural world and how nature enthralls with amazement.

Lake Balinsasayao

The Twin Crater Lake Balinsasayao & Danao Natural Park of Negros Oriental, can be one of the best intimate hideaway for people that seek utmost outdoor delight. This natural wonder can be found few kilometers away from Dumaguete City. It is cloaked with a montane rain forest of about 830 meters above sea level. This park is one of the unperturbed tourist attraction in the highlands of Sibulan. Surprisingly, being one of the highly suggested tourist attraction in the fast progressing Dumaguete City, the lakes are still in its pristine form. The turquoise waters are still in its natural state; the surrounding rain-forest are elegantly standing guarding the lakes. The fresh air that smells like a morning dew and the cool breeze will keep you cool throughout the day.

Lake Balinsasayao

It is amazing that the park has just minimal human influence. You can only see few small native cottages and paddle boats docked on the sides. These lakes are situated in a hollow between four mountains that belong to Talinis Range, Mount Mahungot,Mount Kalbasan , Mount Balinsasayao and Mount Guidabon. Lake Balinsasayao lies to the northwest of the ridge and Lake Danao to the southeast.

Getting to Lake Balinsasayao & Danao

By Public Transport

From Dumaguete you can ride a PUJ (Public Utility Jeep) going to Amlan and get off at the juncture in La-laan in San Jose. From there hire a motorcycle taxi (habal-habal) going to the Twin Lake natural park. Be cautious on the overpricing of fares. Prepare your best haggling skills but don’t be rude. Estimated fare is 400 pesos for 2 pax (roundtrip).

By Car

From Dumaguete or from your starting point, drive to the juncture in La-laan in San Jose and follow through the road up to the highlands of Sibulan.

The jaunt to the Twin Lake Balinsasayao & Danao

From San Jose juncture, there is a concrete road that will lead you to the lakes. The road is concrete paved but some parts are steep and have blind curves so be careful. There is only one road leading to the lakes that would take up to one hour drive. You will pass by a few villages and Azalea Restaurant before you reach the registration office where you will have to pay entrance and parking fees. From there the lakes are just a few minutes away.

The Twin Lakes

IMG_6762.JPG

The crater Lake Balinsasayao is the first of the two lakes you will see upon reaching the end of the road from the entrance of the park. There are two entry points going down to lake Balinsasayao, one is by following the concrete paved road or by taking the slightly longer trail going down.  You can see the first lake also from the restaurant balcony near the entrance.

IMG_6833.JPG

Lake Balinsasayao has a surface area of about 76 hectares and is about twice as large as the Danao lake. The lake side is generally steep and form part of the crater walls that plunge to depths of up to approximately 90 meters. The lake is inhabited by at least three species of introduced freshwater fish. There are also wild animals in the area and the surrounding vegetation is said to be dominated by around 180 forest trees species including the endemic Red Lauan and Almaciga.

IMG_6514.JPGYou can reach Lake Danao, the second lake by trekking on a rugged terrain trail or by renting a boat. The boat will take you to the other side of the road just below the access trail going to the view deck located in the ridge between two lakes. The boat is on per hour charging so might as well take the trail if you plan to stay longer at Lake Danao hideaway. The 600-meter paddle boat ride will just take few minutes.

However, if you want to have a little adventure and have enough time, choose the trail to reach Lake Danao. The trail is around one kilometers from lake Balinsasayao to Lake Danao and might take up to an hour trek under the stoned path, rugged terrain trail in the midst of the rainforest.

IMG_6621.JPG

IMG_6653.JPG

During our visit, there were just few tourists maybe because it was raining hard the previous night. The place was so quiet yet relaxing rather than creepy despite the thick vegetation. The trail going to Lake Danao is a stairway made of limestone rocks and slightly covered with moss and can be very slippery on rainy days.

Lake Danao, though smaller than the Lake Balinsasayao, is equally exquisite! The basin of torquiose waters surrounded by the thick lush green vegetation is just breathtaking. There are no cottages in the second lake, it will just be you and  the lake. After having a doze of nature you can go up and have a quick rest at the view deck while indulging yourself for an overlooking view of the two lakes before home.

img_6853IMG_6854.JPGOn the main entrance, there is a local restaurant with the balcony as a viewing deck for lake Balinsasayao which we chose to check on our way out of the park. Along its parking spaces are small souvenir shops too. And oh! we spotted an eagle on the tree branch where our car was parked.

Indeed, these lakes can be a safe haven for outdoor lovers and to those who just wanted to have a short break from the chaotic city life. The place is so inviting and conducive for picnics, group adventure and the likes. I personally recommend to visit this place when you’re visiting Dumaguete city, the city of gentle people. Despite its distance from the city,  this Islands’ intimate hideaway is worth a try!

IMG_6878.JPG

Other Activities to do in Lake Balinsasayao & Danao:

Kayaking
Boating
Trekking nature trail to viewing Deck of lake Danao
Camping

The Twin Lake Balinsasayao & Danao Rates:

Entrance:

  1. Filipino Nationals Php 50/pax

Negros oriental/Occidental (N.I.R) – Php 20 / pax

  1. Senior Citizen (Less 20%) – Php 16/ pax
  2. Student (Less 20%) – Php 16/ pax

Note: NO I.D Card, No Discount

  1. Other Provinces Php 50/pax
    1. Senior Citizen (Less 20%) – Php 40/ pax
    2. Student (Less 20%) – Php 40/ pax

Note: NO I.D Card, No Discount

  1. Non-Filipino Nationals Php 100/pax
    1. Senior Citizen (Less 20%) – Php 80/ pax
    2. Student (Less 20%) – Php 80/ pax

Note: NO I.D Card, No Discount

Children below 7 years old is free of Charge.

Van/PUJ :     Entrance Php 30, Parking Fee Php10
Bus/Truck : Entrance Php 50, Parking Fee Php10
Other 4W Vehicle: Entrance Php 20, Parking Fee Php10
Motorcycle: Entrance Php 10, Parking Fee Php2
Bicycle:         Entrance Php 4, Parking Fee Php2
Camping Fee:  (Foreign and Local) Php 50

Other Fees / Rentals inside the protected area

Kiosk Php 100
Tent Php 300 / 2 persons, 400/4 persons
Boat Php 250/hour (max 7 persons)
Kayak Php 150 / hour

SPECIAL THANKS 

I would like to thank the Office of NEGROS ORIENTAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY (NOCCI) for sponsoring this trip and to Province of Negros Oriental Tourism Office for the assistance. For more updates visit their Facebook page at Buglasan Festival.

BackPacking , City Scapes and Tourist Spots , Philippines , Travel , Uncategorized , Visayas
Twin Crater Lake Balinsasayao & Danao: An intimate hideaway

 

“I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.”

—Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Why do people love nature? Why do we love to commune with mother earth?

People would tend to answer that question with “I like nature because it’s beautiful and it provides tranquility” something like that. Yes, that’s a pretty good answer. But when you turn that question over and over, you might not think that it’s an easy question to answer. I have thought of that question several times and it made me question myself, why am I hooked with nature? What are the reasons? I reflected on each of my answers and found out that I barely have answers that I can consider satisfactory –  which made me contemplate again for deeper reasons.

Lake Balinsasayao

As far as I can remember, I always love nature. I spent most of my time outdoors since I was a child. For outdoor lovers like me, the euphoria of spending time outside is inexplicable. If you spent more time with nature, you’ve probably noticed that you feel happier out there than staying within the four corners of your room. There are so many reasons why we love nature.

First of all, is because we are part of it and we evolved in it, it’s already in our DNA that we need nature for our psychological being. It reminds us of death so that we can appreciate life.

Lake Danao

Secondly, nature has the ability to bring people closer to their sense of spirituality, openness and reality. It reminds us that we can’t stop it from raining, delay the setting of the sun or set the temperature to some comfortable degrees. It awakens us from a dream and realize how little control we really have in this world and that hardships and lack of control are part of life and accepting these reality makes it not only bearable but leads to the possibility of celebrating the bliss of being alive.

Lake Danao

Lastly, nature teaches us that there is nothing wrong with ourselves. When we are communing with nature, we don’t look at the mirrors, we are focused on the setting around us. When we’re alone in nature, or with a loving friend or group of good company, we can be totally free and be our real selves. We get the sweet relief from all forms of oppression and stigma from the so called society like sexism, racism and even trans-phobia and or homophobia and other things that would belittle one another.

In general, people love nature because of the euphoric effect that they could get from spending time with it, the surprises of the natural world and how nature enthralls with amazement.

Lake Balinsasayao

The Twin Crater Lake Balinsasayao & Danao Natural Park of Negros Oriental, can be one of the best intimate hideaway for people that seek utmost outdoor delight. This natural wonder can be found few kilometers away from Dumaguete City. It is cloaked with a montane rain forest of about 830 meters above sea level. This park is one of the unperturbed tourist attraction in the highlands of Sibulan. Surprisingly, being one of the highly suggested tourist attraction in the fast progressing Dumaguete City, the lakes are still in its pristine form. The turquoise waters are still in its natural state; the surrounding rain-forest are elegantly standing guarding the lakes. The fresh air that smells like a morning dew and the cool breeze will keep you cool throughout the day.

Lake Balinsasayao

It is amazing that the park has just minimal human influence. You can only see few small native cottages and paddle boats docked on the sides. These lakes are situated in a hollow between four mountains that belong to Talinis Range, Mount Mahungot,Mount Kalbasan , Mount Balinsasayao and Mount Guidabon. Lake Balinsasayao lies to the northwest of the ridge and Lake Danao to the southeast.

Getting to Lake Balinsasayao & Danao

By Public Transport

From Dumaguete you can ride a PUJ (Public Utility Jeep) going to Amlan and get off at the juncture in La-laan in San Jose. From there hire a motorcycle taxi (habal-habal) going to the Twin Lake natural park. Be cautious on the overpricing of fares. Prepare your best haggling skills but don’t be rude. Estimated fare is 400 pesos for 2 pax (roundtrip).

By Car

From Dumaguete or from your starting point, drive to the juncture in La-laan in San Jose and follow through the road up to the highlands of Sibulan.

The jaunt to the Twin Lake Balinsasayao & Danao

From San Jose juncture, there is a concrete road that will lead you to the lakes. The road is concrete paved but some parts are steep and have blind curves so be careful. There is only one road leading to the lakes that would take up to one hour drive. You will pass by a few villages and Azalea Restaurant before you reach the registration office where you will have to pay entrance and parking fees. From there the lakes are just a few minutes away.

The Twin Lakes

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The crater Lake Balinsasayao is the first of the two lakes you will see upon reaching the end of the road from the entrance of the park. There are two entry points going down to lake Balinsasayao, one is by following the concrete paved road or by taking the slightly longer trail going down.  You can see the first lake also from the restaurant balcony near the entrance.

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Lake Balinsasayao has a surface area of about 76 hectares and is about twice as large as the Danao lake. The lake side is generally steep and form part of the crater walls that plunge to depths of up to approximately 90 meters. The lake is inhabited by at least three species of introduced freshwater fish. There are also wild animals in the area and the surrounding vegetation is said to be dominated by around 180 forest trees species including the endemic Red Lauan and Almaciga.

IMG_6514.JPGYou can reach Lake Danao, the second lake by trekking on a rugged terrain trail or by renting a boat. The boat will take you to the other side of the road just below the access trail going to the view deck located in the ridge between two lakes. The boat is on per hour charging so might as well take the trail if you plan to stay longer at Lake Danao hideaway. The 600-meter paddle boat ride will just take few minutes.

However, if you want to have a little adventure and have enough time, choose the trail to reach Lake Danao. The trail is around one kilometers from lake Balinsasayao to Lake Danao and might take up to an hour trek under the stoned path, rugged terrain trail in the midst of the rainforest.

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During our visit, there were just few tourists maybe because it was raining hard the previous night. The place was so quiet yet relaxing rather than creepy despite the thick vegetation. The trail going to Lake Danao is a stairway made of limestone rocks and slightly covered with moss and can be very slippery on rainy days.

Lake Danao, though smaller than the Lake Balinsasayao, is equally exquisite! The basin of torquiose waters surrounded by the thick lush green vegetation is just breathtaking. There are no cottages in the second lake, it will just be you and  the lake. After having a doze of nature you can go up and have a quick rest at the view deck while indulging yourself for an overlooking view of the two lakes before home.

img_6853IMG_6854.JPGOn the main entrance, there is a local restaurant with the balcony as a viewing deck for lake Balinsasayao which we chose to check on our way out of the park. Along its parking spaces are small souvenir shops too. And oh! we spotted an eagle on the tree branch where our car was parked.

Indeed, these lakes can be a safe haven for outdoor lovers and to those who just wanted to have a short break from the chaotic city life. The place is so inviting and conducive for picnics, group adventure and the likes. I personally recommend to visit this place when you’re visiting Dumaguete city, the city of gentle people. Despite its distance from the city,  this Islands’ intimate hideaway is worth a try!

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Other Activities to do in Lake Balinsasayao & Danao:

Kayaking
Boating
Trekking nature trail to viewing Deck of lake Danao
Camping

The Twin Lake Balinsasayao & Danao Rates:

Entrance:

  1. Filipino Nationals Php 50/pax

Negros oriental/Occidental (N.I.R) – Php 20 / pax

  1. Senior Citizen (Less 20%) – Php 16/ pax
  2. Student (Less 20%) – Php 16/ pax

Note: NO I.D Card, No Discount

  1. Other Provinces Php 50/pax
    1. Senior Citizen (Less 20%) – Php 40/ pax
    2. Student (Less 20%) – Php 40/ pax

Note: NO I.D Card, No Discount

  1. Non-Filipino Nationals Php 100/pax
    1. Senior Citizen (Less 20%) – Php 80/ pax
    2. Student (Less 20%) – Php 80/ pax

Note: NO I.D Card, No Discount

Children below 7 years old is free of Charge.

Van/PUJ :     Entrance Php 30, Parking Fee Php10
Bus/Truck : Entrance Php 50, Parking Fee Php10
Other 4W Vehicle: Entrance Php 20, Parking Fee Php10
Motorcycle: Entrance Php 10, Parking Fee Php2
Bicycle:         Entrance Php 4, Parking Fee Php2
Camping Fee:  (Foreign and Local) Php 50

Other Fees / Rentals inside the protected area

Kiosk Php 100
Tent Php 300 / 2 persons, 400/4 persons
Boat Php 250/hour (max 7 persons)
Kayak Php 150 / hour

SPECIAL THANKS 

I would like to thank the Office of NEGROS ORIENTAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY (NOCCI) for sponsoring this trip and to Province of Negros Oriental Tourism Office for the assistance. For more updates visit their Facebook page at Buglasan Festival.

La Residencia Al Mar Hotel : A cozy home away from home
La Residencia Al Mar Hotel
La Residencia Al Mar Hotel

Home is not a place… It’s a feeling!

Filipinos love good festival. We tend to visit places during the festivities to witness the rich culture the place has to offer. Dumaguete city is not an exemption for it is known for their Buglasan Festival.

Dumaguete City is a component city in the Province of Negros Oriental in the Philippines. Being the capital and the principal seaport, it is one of the most populous city in the province of Negros.

Visiting a place during festivities or on their peak season is exciting and fun. But one thing that needs consideration is the accommodation as it can be a real challenge to get one due to the volume of people who flock into hotels, transient houses and the likes. Booking a hotel accommodation will be a race for the visitors. On our jaunt to Dumaguete to witness the Buglasan Festival and visit some tourists spots in the province, we stayed at the La Residencia Al Mar Hotel. The hotel is our cozy second home – for 3 days and 2 nights.

Experience in La Residencia Al Mar Hotel

This is not a low-priced hotel but the look and feel is so homey. The rooms are stylish and contemporary. The interior has some sophisticated decors and the modern architecture with a Spanish hint provides an overall sense of well-being. It’s a rainy weekend and I just wanted to sleep all day if only I could. Anyway, what I like most was the view at the balcony. It was an added value for enjoying the panoramic view of Rizal Boulevard with the turquoise bay waters on the back drop. It is also a nice place to watch Mr Sun greeting everyone his warmest hello every morning.

IMG_5312.JPG

IMG_5313.JPG
The carpeted stairs in green from second floor down to the reception area.

The hotel is good for tourists and business people alike. With its seamless services the place is idyllic for leisure and business settings. The hotel is located along the famous Rizal Boulevard. It is just a few moments away from Dumaguete’s commercial district and attractions like the Siliman university.

IMG_5320.JPG
Hello Rizal boulevard. A great place for a short walk early in the morning.

Guest Rooms

The guest rooms provide tranquil for business and leisure alike. It is spacious and has a cozy ambience thoughtfully designed to provide maximum comfort to guests. It is equipped with an air-conditioning system, a mini bar, comfy beds, free WIFI access and other room standard services.

IMG_5156.JPG

IMG_5144.JPG

Fine Dining

La Residencia is the heart of Dumaguete’s culinary heritage serving an array of gastronomic specialties with a touch of local color giving its guests a decade of fine food and exceptional services.

The hotel has three on-site restaurants that serve Filipino, Western and Japanese cuisines. There is also a bar and customized catering services for private events and meetings. These three restaurants are the Don Atilano Fine Dining, The Filipino and, Wakagi (Japanese). Too bad, we’re not able to try these restaurants as we had a different itinerary to follow. Maybe on our next visit. 🙂

Function Halls and Meeting Facilities

The function rooms offer a convention and banquet space as needed. It provides function organizers the flexibility in setting the size of conferences, events and meetings of up to 200 persons.

Room Rates:

Superior Executive  – Php 2,900
Family Room             – Php 2,750
Executive Suite         – Php 2,600
Executive Deluxe      – Php 2,300
Deluxe                          – Php 2,000

Check in 2:00 PM
Checkout 12:00NN

Other Hotel Services:

Free Wi-Fi
Wake up Call
Standby Generator
Spa Services
Laundry Service
Safety Deposit Box
Cable TV
Room Service

For Inquiries and reservations contact La Residencia Al Mar Hotel:
Email:  laresidenciaalmar@yahoo.com.ph
Website: www.laresidencialmar.com

 

SPECIAL THANKS 

I would like to thank the Office of NEGROS ORIENTAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY (NOCCI) for sponsoring this trip and to Province of Negros Oriental Tourism Office for the assistance as part of the celebration of Buglasan Festival 2016. The Buglasan Festival will run from October 14-23,2016. For more updates visit their Facebook page at Buglasan Festival.

BackPacking , Philippines , Travel , Uncategorized , Visayas
La Residencia Al Mar Hotel : A cozy home away from home
La Residencia Al Mar Hotel
La Residencia Al Mar Hotel

Home is not a place… It’s a feeling!

Filipinos love good festival. We tend to visit places during the festivities to witness the rich culture the place has to offer. Dumaguete city is not an exemption for it is known for their Buglasan Festival.

Dumaguete City is a component city in the Province of Negros Oriental in the Philippines. Being the capital and the principal seaport, it is one of the most populous city in the province of Negros.

Visiting a place during festivities or on their peak season is exciting and fun. But one thing that needs consideration is the accommodation as it can be a real challenge to get one due to the volume of people who flock into hotels, transient houses and the likes. Booking a hotel accommodation will be a race for the visitors. On our jaunt to Dumaguete to witness the Buglasan Festival and visit some tourists spots in the province, we stayed at the La Residencia Al Mar Hotel. The hotel is our cozy second home – for 3 days and 2 nights.

Experience in La Residencia Al Mar Hotel

This is not a low-priced hotel but the look and feel is so homey. The rooms are stylish and contemporary. The interior has some sophisticated decors and the modern architecture with a Spanish hint provides an overall sense of well-being. It’s a rainy weekend and I just wanted to sleep all day if only I could. Anyway, what I like most was the view at the balcony. It was an added value for enjoying the panoramic view of Rizal Boulevard with the turquoise bay waters on the back drop. It is also a nice place to watch Mr Sun greeting everyone his warmest hello every morning.

IMG_5312.JPG

IMG_5313.JPG
The carpeted stairs in green from second floor down to the reception area.

The hotel is good for tourists and business people alike. With its seamless services the place is idyllic for leisure and business settings. The hotel is located along the famous Rizal Boulevard. It is just a few moments away from Dumaguete’s commercial district and attractions like the Siliman university.

IMG_5320.JPG
Hello Rizal boulevard. A great place for a short walk early in the morning.

Guest Rooms

The guest rooms provide tranquil for business and leisure alike. It is spacious and has a cozy ambience thoughtfully designed to provide maximum comfort to guests. It is equipped with an air-conditioning system, a mini bar, comfy beds, free WIFI access and other room standard services.

IMG_5156.JPG

IMG_5144.JPG

Fine Dining

La Residencia is the heart of Dumaguete’s culinary heritage serving an array of gastronomic specialties with a touch of local color giving its guests a decade of fine food and exceptional services.

The hotel has three on-site restaurants that serve Filipino, Western and Japanese cuisines. There is also a bar and customized catering services for private events and meetings. These three restaurants are the Don Atilano Fine Dining, The Filipino and, Wakagi (Japanese). Too bad, we’re not able to try these restaurants as we had a different itinerary to follow. Maybe on our next visit. 🙂

Function Halls and Meeting Facilities

The function rooms offer a convention and banquet space as needed. It provides function organizers the flexibility in setting the size of conferences, events and meetings of up to 200 persons.

Room Rates:

Superior Executive  – Php 2,900
Family Room             – Php 2,750
Executive Suite         – Php 2,600
Executive Deluxe      – Php 2,300
Deluxe                          – Php 2,000

Check in 2:00 PM
Checkout 12:00NN

Other Hotel Services:

Free Wi-Fi
Wake up Call
Standby Generator
Spa Services
Laundry Service
Safety Deposit Box
Cable TV
Room Service

For Inquiries and reservations contact La Residencia Al Mar Hotel:
Email:  laresidenciaalmar@yahoo.com.ph
Website: www.laresidencialmar.com

 

SPECIAL THANKS 

I would like to thank the Office of NEGROS ORIENTAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY (NOCCI) for sponsoring this trip and to Province of Negros Oriental Tourism Office for the assistance as part of the celebration of Buglasan Festival 2016. The Buglasan Festival will run from October 14-23,2016. For more updates visit their Facebook page at Buglasan Festival.

Buglasan 2016: Festival of Festivals in the City of Gentle People

The Buglasan Festival is a week-long commemoration of all festivals held every second week of October in Negros Oriental’s capital – Dumaguete City dubbed as the City of Gentle People. It is an annual festivity of the island’s antiquity and diversity showcasing its cultural treasures that progressed from the many festivals from municipalities and cities in Negros Oriental.

Buglasan Festival is a summit of these local festivals as a commemoration of each patron saint. Thus came to be known as the festival of festivals.

Why is it called Buglasan?Buglasan Street Dance

Buglasan came from the word “Buglas” which is the former name of Negros. According to two popular narratives, “buglas” came from 1) the tall perennial reeds known as “buglas” that were said to be predominant vegetation on the place at that time 2) when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi anchored Bohol, he was intrigued by the neighboring island (Buglas) that he sent an expedition team to explore the area wherein the crew encountered several dark-skinned natives. Thereafter, Buglas was then called NEGROS.

Ariel of The Little Lai:Beyond Limits  and I had our early trip bound for Dumaguete City. We arrived at around 10AM on 14th of October, 2016. We went directly to our accommodation at La Residencia Almar Hotel. After our early check-in and meet up with our host from Negros Tourism (on behalf of NOCCI), we had our lunch at Captain Ribbers and while we were eating our mouthwatering boodle style lunch, the heavens cried. I was a bit worried as the parade would start at 2PM and yet it was still raining when we were about to head back to the hotel to get our cameras before joining in the parade.

Transportation was a bit of a challenge as most trike drivers won’t haul us near the Provincial Capitol due to the traffic caused by the parade and some road closure. After several tries, we finally got our ride.

Despite the heavy rains, “the show must go on, rain or shine! “The parade went on as planned even if the participants were soaked wet while dancing on the streets. All you can see on their faces are smiles and enthusiasm.

Parada Negorense started at 2PM from Quezon park to Provincial Capitol forecourt. It was joined by different participants from different LGU’s and schools. It showcased their respective talents, produce, patron saint devotion and or local culture.

Buglasan Beauty Queens Parade

Festival Highlights:

  • Booths from different cities/municipalities

Each booth brings the experience of their localities for the tourist to experience what each municipality has to offer from arts, culture, cuisine and different produce such as fruits and vegetables.

Buglasan Booth

  • Float Parade

An eye-catching parade of floats clearly depicts the creativity and resourcefulness of the people. This is one of the most awaited events that fascinates and interests’ tourists to come and witness the event.

Buglasan Floats

  • Street Dancing

This will showcase the talents of the local people in dancing and creativity that offers a great opportunity for the public to experience and witness this fun and colorful activity.

IMG_6410.JPG

  • Shows

From the opening until the last day of the festival, there are shows held in different locations within the city. These shows are not limited to concerts, Talent shows, beauty pageants, etc.

Buglasan Republikaravan

After the parade with the unfriendly rain, we got to witness the awarding ceremony of the brilliant people of Negros oriental who bring home honor from competitions both local and international. We had dinner on one of the food stalls at freedom Park, we chose to eat in the stalls and not on the restaurants for the purpose of immersing ourselves to the locals and taste their local foods. There were a lot of stalls for almost everything, food, pasalubong, fruits, local produce, and even telco like Globe/TM.

Buglasan Party

One of the highlights on the opening day was the opening of LGU Freedom Fair Booths at Capitol forecourt with the fireworks display. We’re not too lucky as we were having our dinner when the firework display had started.

We had checked these booths after dinner and we were in awe because it was really an eye-candy. These booths were well-made and conceptualized well. The ingenuity of these people at its best!

Enjoy these few booth snapshots that I took during the event.

IMG_6446.JPGIMG_6433.JPGBuglasan Booth

Another remarkable event was the Negros Oriental Tourism Jingle Competition wherein the winning piece will become the official Jingle for Negros Oriental.

img_6469

I was so thankful that I got to witness this kind of activity. Indeed, it showed that Negros has a lot to offer not only to its own people but to the tourists as well. The experience is one of a kind and I had a chance to experience the many different cultural offerings all in one remarkable event, only in Negros Oriental – a province full of festivals.

Come and visit Dumaguete now and get to experience the festival of festivals!

SPECIAL THANKS 

I would like to thank the Office of NEGROS ORIENTAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY (NOCCI) for sponsoring this trip and to Province of Negros Oriental Tourism Office for the assistance as part of the celebration of Buglasan Festival 2016. The Buglasan Festival will run from October 14-23,2016. For more updates visit their Facebook page at Buglasan Festival.

Getting There

From Cebu by Bus:

  • Take the bus from CSBT (Cebu South Bus Terminal) bound to Liloan Port
    • Fare = Php 185 (CERES Liner Air-conditioned)
    • Travel time = 3.5 – 4hrs
  • Take the ferry bound to Sibulan
    • Ticket = Php 50 + Terminal Fee Php 12
    • Travel time = 20-30 mins
  • From Sibulan wharf, take the tricycle or PUJ bound to Dumaguete City.

From Cebu by Air:

  • There are few flights from Cebu to Dumaguete (3 flights per week)

From other Major Cities by Air:

Major Airline companies offer few flights to Dumaguete per week.

BackPacking , Philippines , Travel , Uncategorized , Visayas
Buglasan 2016: Festival of Festivals in the City of Gentle People

The Buglasan Festival is a week-long commemoration of all festivals held every second week of October in Negros Oriental’s capital – Dumaguete City dubbed as the City of Gentle People. It is an annual festivity of the island’s antiquity and diversity showcasing its cultural treasures that progressed from the many festivals from municipalities and cities in Negros Oriental.

Buglasan Festival is a summit of these local festivals as a commemoration of each patron saint. Thus came to be known as the festival of festivals.

Why is it called Buglasan?Buglasan Street Dance

Buglasan came from the word “Buglas” which is the former name of Negros. According to two popular narratives, “buglas” came from 1) the tall perennial reeds known as “buglas” that were said to be predominant vegetation on the place at that time 2) when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi anchored Bohol, he was intrigued by the neighboring island (Buglas) that he sent an expedition team to explore the area wherein the crew encountered several dark-skinned natives. Thereafter, Buglas was then called NEGROS.

Ariel of The Little Lai:Beyond Limits  and I had our early trip bound for Dumaguete City. We arrived at around 10AM on 14th of October, 2016. We went directly to our accommodation at La Residencia Almar Hotel. After our early check-in and meet up with our host from Negros Tourism (on behalf of NOCCI), we had our lunch at Captain Ribbers and while we were eating our mouthwatering boodle style lunch, the heavens cried. I was a bit worried as the parade would start at 2PM and yet it was still raining when we were about to head back to the hotel to get our cameras before joining in the parade.

Transportation was a bit of a challenge as most trike drivers won’t haul us near the Provincial Capitol due to the traffic caused by the parade and some road closure. After several tries, we finally got our ride.

Despite the heavy rains, “the show must go on, rain or shine! “The parade went on as planned even if the participants were soaked wet while dancing on the streets. All you can see on their faces are smiles and enthusiasm.

Parada Negorense started at 2PM from Quezon park to Provincial Capitol forecourt. It was joined by different participants from different LGU’s and schools. It showcased their respective talents, produce, patron saint devotion and or local culture.

Buglasan Beauty Queens Parade

Festival Highlights:

  • Booths from different cities/municipalities

Each booth brings the experience of their localities for the tourist to experience what each municipality has to offer from arts, culture, cuisine and different produce such as fruits and vegetables.

Buglasan Booth

  • Float Parade

An eye-catching parade of floats clearly depicts the creativity and resourcefulness of the people. This is one of the most awaited events that fascinates and interests’ tourists to come and witness the event.

Buglasan Floats

  • Street Dancing

This will showcase the talents of the local people in dancing and creativity that offers a great opportunity for the public to experience and witness this fun and colorful activity.

IMG_6410.JPG

  • Shows

From the opening until the last day of the festival, there are shows held in different locations within the city. These shows are not limited to concerts, Talent shows, beauty pageants, etc.

Buglasan Republikaravan

After the parade with the unfriendly rain, we got to witness the awarding ceremony of the brilliant people of Negros oriental who bring home honor from competitions both local and international. We had dinner on one of the food stalls at freedom Park, we chose to eat in the stalls and not on the restaurants for the purpose of immersing ourselves to the locals and taste their local foods. There were a lot of stalls for almost everything, food, pasalubong, fruits, local produce, and even telco like Globe/TM.

Buglasan Party

One of the highlights on the opening day was the opening of LGU Freedom Fair Booths at Capitol forecourt with the fireworks display. We’re not too lucky as we were having our dinner when the firework display had started.

We had checked these booths after dinner and we were in awe because it was really an eye-candy. These booths were well-made and conceptualized well. The ingenuity of these people at its best!

Enjoy these few booth snapshots that I took during the event.

IMG_6446.JPGIMG_6433.JPGBuglasan Booth

Another remarkable event was the Negros Oriental Tourism Jingle Competition wherein the winning piece will become the official Jingle for Negros Oriental.

img_6469

I was so thankful that I got to witness this kind of activity. Indeed, it showed that Negros has a lot to offer not only to its own people but to the tourists as well. The experience is one of a kind and I had a chance to experience the many different cultural offerings all in one remarkable event, only in Negros Oriental – a province full of festivals.

Come and visit Dumaguete now and get to experience the festival of festivals!

SPECIAL THANKS 

I would like to thank the Office of NEGROS ORIENTAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY (NOCCI) for sponsoring this trip and to Province of Negros Oriental Tourism Office for the assistance as part of the celebration of Buglasan Festival 2016. The Buglasan Festival will run from October 14-23,2016. For more updates visit their Facebook page at Buglasan Festival.

Getting There

From Cebu by Bus:

  • Take the bus from CSBT (Cebu South Bus Terminal) bound to Liloan Port
    • Fare = Php 185 (CERES Liner Air-conditioned)
    • Travel time = 3.5 – 4hrs
  • Take the ferry bound to Sibulan
    • Ticket = Php 50 + Terminal Fee Php 12
    • Travel time = 20-30 mins
  • From Sibulan wharf, take the tricycle or PUJ bound to Dumaguete City.

From Cebu by Air:

  • There are few flights from Cebu to Dumaguete (3 flights per week)

From other Major Cities by Air:

Major Airline companies offer few flights to Dumaguete per week.

12 Reasons Why Tourists Love Tokyo

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Tokyo has been the most expensive city to live in the world last 2013 and the title was snatched by Singapore the following year and now Tokyo is ranked 5th. Despite the high cost of living in Tokyo, Tourists still love to visit the place.

For me as a tourist in Japan, the following are the reasons why tourist has fallen in love with Tokyo.

  1. Shopping Centers

The most go-to place when talking about shopping centers is the GINZA district.  It is the home of the most sophisticated department stores and boutiques. There’s nothing that can beat the traditional stylishness of Mitsukoshi line of department stores like the Mitsukoshi -Isetan. For more contemporary feel, there are stores like Chanel, Dior and Cartier too. You can also visit the known Takashimaya department store in the time square.

  1. Gardens and Parks

Tokyo is also packed with the wonderful selection of parks and gardens within the vicinity. You can stroll these picture-perfect gardens whenever you like. Top pics would be the Rikugien garden, Hamarikyu, Koishikawa Korakuen, Kiyosumi, Kyu Shiba Rikyu and Tonogayato. I might make a separate post for these gardens soon.

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  1. Crafted Beers

Talking about alcoholic beverages in Japan, we could say that sake is one if not their best. Sake is a Japanese alcoholic drink made from fermented rice. Despite sake can be considered as their best cocktail later on crafted beers has taken off in the scene. There are about more than 50 Japanese craft brews to date.

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Courtesy of http://www.latimes.com
  1. Cutting-Edge Gadgets

Japan offers a wide array of sections in terms of gadgets. Akiba is known as the gadget haven. Akiba is located in the Akihabara district. This place is well-known for two things: electronic stores offering the latest tech and gadgets. Akiba is well-known also for their manga and anime stores. So if you want to test out a new gadget like cameras or phones, or if you need something but can’t put your finger on what it is?  Akiba is the place to be.

Akiba_denkigai.jpg

  1. Cuisine

Who doesn’t love Japanese food? Maybe it’s just me. LOL. But seriously. The food in Tokyo is fresh and delectable. You can have numerous options when it comes to food. The dedication and precision that the Japanese have were applied in their cooking too. Even the simplest of their dishes is mouthwatering.

For travelers on a budget, there are a lot of shops also that serve affordable meals and dishes like noodles. They also have affordable ramen, udon and yakisoba. Most shopping centers have food courts with a wide variety of food choices too.

But take note, you have to return your own plates and utensils after eating to where you bought it. Simply put, you need to clean your dining table before leaving. What I like on these budget shops are their tonkatsu and katsudon.

You can also buy bento or packed meals on some convenience stores like 7&I (7/11 in the Philippines) or at mini-stops.

katsudon6.jpg
Katsudon
  1. Manners

Speaking about manners, Japanese people are known to have the best of it. For a city in Japan like Tokyo, despite the bustled and crowded, you can find out that the people are incredibly considerate.  People are organized in every possible way, like in the jam-packed subway stations.

For train setting, for example, there are cars that are exclusively for women that are not comfortable when mixed with men on crowded days. Everything is clean from the sidewalks to the subways. It’s a common standard in Japan to bring one’s trash at home within your bags or purse or pockets. That is why, even there are hardly any trash bins in the city, you can’t find any litters.

  1. Fast Transit

Tokyo is a busy city. Its public transit is very crowed and straggling most of the time. Metro Tokyo is one of the places that has the busiest subway system but very efficient and are easy to navigate. Trains are air-conditioned too and never late on schedule most of the time. Loud chatters and eating on trains are highly discouraged but dozing, reading are most common past times for the long ride.

If you find the ordinary transit too slow, then there are express trains and you can even catch the bullet train (Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Kyoto in just around 150 minutes or so.

aerodynamic-high-speed-train.jpg
Courtesy of http://www.wisegeek.com/
  1. Temples and Shrines

Shinto Shrines and Buddhist temples are a must visit place to experience Japan’s rich religious and ancient milieu. You can meditate and pray on these shrines. You can offer a coin for a wish also. Legends had said that wishes are granted at this shrines.

IMG_7348.JPG

  1. Cosplays and Toys

Are you an avid cosplayer or have an obsession with Gundam? Japan has a lot to offer on these categories.

Cosplayers often meet to show off their creations and they also have sessions for sharing their ideas, tips, etc. Frequently, they will meet at Harajuku Jingu Bridge every Sunday.

For Gundam lovers, you can visit Yodobashi in Akihabara for Gundam models. There are a lot of stores that sell almost all Gundam models. Visit Diver City Tokyo to take your picture in front of the huge gundam statue.

20140302_143017.jpg

  1. Museums

Japan has a rich culture heritage. They are really good in preserving their culture that can be found in their museums.  Ueno area in east Tokyo has several museums like the Tokyo National Museum that displays the collection of Japanese arts and artifacts. More modern Museum can be found in Roppongi that showcased their top of the line contemporary arts both local and overseas.

Reasons Why tourists love tokyo

  1. Night Life

Nightlife in Tokyo is really insane. There are some dance clubs, competitive karaoke lounges, upscale clubs not to mentions there are a lot of strip clubs. Yes, Japan has a lot of that. 😀

IMG_6675.jpg

  1. High-tech Toilets

Toilets in Japan is terrible! Yes, it is terribly awesome! You can call it a masterpiece. Although they say that the origin of these High-tech toilets is from US and Switzerland that are used in hospitals but Japan made it their own.

Their toilets have a lot of buttons and pictures. You can control the temperature of the toilet seat. You can also control the pressure of the bidet’s water jet.

image_1393386908388_article.jpg

Are these reasons made you fall in love with Tokyo? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

BackPacking , Japan , Travel , Uncategorized
12 Reasons Why Tourists Love Tokyo

img_7595

Tokyo has been the most expensive city to live in the world last 2013 and the title was snatched by Singapore the following year and now Tokyo is ranked 5th. Despite the high cost of living in Tokyo, Tourists still love to visit the place.

For me as a tourist in Japan, the following are the reasons why tourist has fallen in love with Tokyo.

  1. Shopping Centers

The most go-to place when talking about shopping centers is the GINZA district.  It is the home of the most sophisticated department stores and boutiques. There’s nothing that can beat the traditional stylishness of Mitsukoshi line of department stores like the Mitsukoshi -Isetan. For more contemporary feel, there are stores like Chanel, Dior and Cartier too. You can also visit the known Takashimaya department store in the time square.

  1. Gardens and Parks

Tokyo is also packed with the wonderful selection of parks and gardens within the vicinity. You can stroll these picture-perfect gardens whenever you like. Top pics would be the Rikugien garden, Hamarikyu, Koishikawa Korakuen, Kiyosumi, Kyu Shiba Rikyu and Tonogayato. I might make a separate post for these gardens soon.

img_7619

IMG_7616.JPG

  1. Crafted Beers

Talking about alcoholic beverages in Japan, we could say that sake is one if not their best. Sake is a Japanese alcoholic drink made from fermented rice. Despite sake can be considered as their best cocktail later on crafted beers has taken off in the scene. There are about more than 50 Japanese craft brews to date.

la-dd-japanese-craft-beer-far-bar-20150813.jpg
Courtesy of http://www.latimes.com
  1. Cutting-Edge Gadgets

Japan offers a wide array of sections in terms of gadgets. Akiba is known as the gadget haven. Akiba is located in the Akihabara district. This place is well-known for two things: electronic stores offering the latest tech and gadgets. Akiba is well-known also for their manga and anime stores. So if you want to test out a new gadget like cameras or phones, or if you need something but can’t put your finger on what it is?  Akiba is the place to be.

Akiba_denkigai.jpg

  1. Cuisine

Who doesn’t love Japanese food? Maybe it’s just me. LOL. But seriously. The food in Tokyo is fresh and delectable. You can have numerous options when it comes to food. The dedication and precision that the Japanese have were applied in their cooking too. Even the simplest of their dishes is mouthwatering.

For travelers on a budget, there are a lot of shops also that serve affordable meals and dishes like noodles. They also have affordable ramen, udon and yakisoba. Most shopping centers have food courts with a wide variety of food choices too.

But take note, you have to return your own plates and utensils after eating to where you bought it. Simply put, you need to clean your dining table before leaving. What I like on these budget shops are their tonkatsu and katsudon.

You can also buy bento or packed meals on some convenience stores like 7&I (7/11 in the Philippines) or at mini-stops.

katsudon6.jpg
Katsudon
  1. Manners

Speaking about manners, Japanese people are known to have the best of it. For a city in Japan like Tokyo, despite the bustled and crowded, you can find out that the people are incredibly considerate.  People are organized in every possible way, like in the jam-packed subway stations.

For train setting, for example, there are cars that are exclusively for women that are not comfortable when mixed with men on crowded days. Everything is clean from the sidewalks to the subways. It’s a common standard in Japan to bring one’s trash at home within your bags or purse or pockets. That is why, even there are hardly any trash bins in the city, you can’t find any litters.

  1. Fast Transit

Tokyo is a busy city. Its public transit is very crowed and straggling most of the time. Metro Tokyo is one of the places that has the busiest subway system but very efficient and are easy to navigate. Trains are air-conditioned too and never late on schedule most of the time. Loud chatters and eating on trains are highly discouraged but dozing, reading are most common past times for the long ride.

If you find the ordinary transit too slow, then there are express trains and you can even catch the bullet train (Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Kyoto in just around 150 minutes or so.

aerodynamic-high-speed-train.jpg
Courtesy of http://www.wisegeek.com/
  1. Temples and Shrines

Shinto Shrines and Buddhist temples are a must visit place to experience Japan’s rich religious and ancient milieu. You can meditate and pray on these shrines. You can offer a coin for a wish also. Legends had said that wishes are granted at this shrines.

IMG_7348.JPG

  1. Cosplays and Toys

Are you an avid cosplayer or have an obsession with Gundam? Japan has a lot to offer on these categories.

Cosplayers often meet to show off their creations and they also have sessions for sharing their ideas, tips, etc. Frequently, they will meet at Harajuku Jingu Bridge every Sunday.

For Gundam lovers, you can visit Yodobashi in Akihabara for Gundam models. There are a lot of stores that sell almost all Gundam models. Visit Diver City Tokyo to take your picture in front of the huge gundam statue.

20140302_143017.jpg

  1. Museums

Japan has a rich culture heritage. They are really good in preserving their culture that can be found in their museums.  Ueno area in east Tokyo has several museums like the Tokyo National Museum that displays the collection of Japanese arts and artifacts. More modern Museum can be found in Roppongi that showcased their top of the line contemporary arts both local and overseas.

Reasons Why tourists love tokyo

  1. Night Life

Nightlife in Tokyo is really insane. There are some dance clubs, competitive karaoke lounges, upscale clubs not to mentions there are a lot of strip clubs. Yes, Japan has a lot of that. 😀

IMG_6675.jpg

  1. High-tech Toilets

Toilets in Japan is terrible! Yes, it is terribly awesome! You can call it a masterpiece. Although they say that the origin of these High-tech toilets is from US and Switzerland that are used in hospitals but Japan made it their own.

Their toilets have a lot of buttons and pictures. You can control the temperature of the toilet seat. You can also control the pressure of the bidet’s water jet.

image_1393386908388_article.jpg

Are these reasons made you fall in love with Tokyo? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Reasons why Fuji-Q Highland is getting more Popular in the past decade

Fuji-Q Highland

Fuji-Q Highland is an amusement park situated in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan with huge roller coasters, haunted-theme rides, kids’ area and a couple shops & cafes. This amusement park is located near the base of mount Fuji, the highest peak in Japan.

Fuji-Q Highland offers a wide array of attractions ranging from a number of really fast coasters to haunted houses.

The Japanese people are known for their love of adventure and theme parks. In all seasons, these amusement parks in Japan were filled with people craving for fun and adrenaline pumping activities. One is the Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park.

Fuji-Q HighlandSo why does Fuji-Q Highland has gained popularity since it has been opened and had been frequented by both local and foreign tourists in Japan? Here are few reasons why.

  1. Fuji-Q Highland amusement park has the King of Coasters also known as the first world’s tallest and longest roller coaster opened in 1996 and currently the world’s 8th tallest, 5th longest coaster around the world.
  2. It has the first world’s fastest coaster opened in 2001, now the 4th fastest but still notorious for being the world’s coaster with the fastest acceleration at launch time. Scary amazing isn’t it?
  3. Fuji-Q Highland has the world’s steepest roller coaster with the steepest drop of 121-degree free fall.
  4. It has the world’s coaster with the highest number of spins.
  5. It has the 4th Dimension roller coaster wherein the seats can rotate 360 degrees.
  6. Fuji-Q Highland has the most difficult maze ever created, with a successful escape rate of only 1/100000!
  7. The Fuji-Q Highland also has numerous rides and horror booths.

Fuji-Q Highland Attractions:

  1. Takabisha
  2. Eejanaika, the 4th dimension coaster
  3. DODONPA, the world’s tremendous roller coaster
  4. FUJIYAMA, the king of roller coasters
  5. TEKKOTSU BANCHO
  6. Ultimate Fort
  7. Adventure land of Kaiketsu Zorori
  8. Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear
  9. Tondemina
  10. Nagashimasuka
  11. Great ZABOON
  12. Red Tower
  13. Mad Mouse
  14. Panic Clock
  15. EVANGELION: WORLD
  16. Shining Flower
  17. Tea Cups
  18. Merry-Go-Round
  19. Mizuki Shigeru’s Ge-Ge-Ge Haunted Mansion
  20. Hide-and-Seek in the Forest
  21. THOMAS LAND

Fuji-Q Higland Experience: The Coasters and more!

  1. Fujiyama (The King of Coasters)

fujiyama_entrance, Fuji-Q HighlandFujiyama is named after the iconic Mount Fuji, which stands to the west of Tokyo. The term Fujiyama comes from “fuji” which means king, and “yama” which means mountain.

This hyper coaster boasts a world class spec. It stands at 79 meters tall, has a maximum speed of 130kph and has a maximum of 70 meters’ free fall drop (230ft) within a 2km track. This is recorded as the world’s 8th tallest, 5th longest, and 10th fastest roller coaster. The thrill on this attraction is so out-of-this-world that you’ll feel like you did the first time you rode it no matter how many times you’re on it!

I was not really into coasters as I’m really afraid of the free fall thing, but out of curiosity and the eagerness to conquer my fear, I tried it. I told no one that I am afraid of the free-fall. Little did I know, my Japanese manager was afraid of heights too, he only told us when we’re on the top of the track and ready for the launch!

The experience was really both scary and exhilarating.  On its vertical free fall drop (70m+), it felt like I lost my soul for about 5 seconds, I can’t find it! LOL. It separated from my poor body. Haha. My companion who really loved this type of rides gave me some tips to minimize the tension and fear. She told me to raise both arms whenever the car is going down or on a free fall and to shout loud. She said it can help ease the sensation that you lost everything inside your stomach. (don’t know how to describe it properly). LOL. Indeed, that 4 minute-ride was the hell ride of my life!

  1. Fuji-Q Highland’s Dodonpa

This is another beast coaster that Fuji-Q Highland offers. It stands at 52 meters, 50 meters drop in a 1.2-kilometer track reaching the top speed of 172 kph in just after 1.8 seconds after the compressed air launch! This is the fastest coaster upon its opening way back in 2001, currently ranked as the 4th fastest in the world now but still has the highest acceleration at launch time.

It travels at speeds that are almost too fast that brings a thrilling sense of acceleration that races almost the entire park that when you’re riding, it feels that you can’t even breathe!

Fuji-Q Highland
Dodonpa track

At this time, my soul didn’t just separate from my body but it was scattered everywhere in the park. It was too damn fast that you will get the feeling of being thrown on the in the air halfway of the track. This 55 seconds ride is a killer! But thank God I’m still alive! 🙂

  1. Eejanaika and Takabisha

Unfortunately, we do not have time to ride these coasters. Thank God, those first 2 was an overkill already. 🙂

Well, Eejanaika is the 4th Dimension roller coaster with the highest total number of spins in the world. The seats can rotate at 360 degrees may it be spinning forward or backward, spinning with twists or rotating in loops or flip-flops in the air. All these rotations will take place while you are in the race down the 1.5km track at top speed of 126 kph.

1.jpg
Eejanaika

Takabisha is the coaster with the steepest free-fall of 121 degrees. This coaster offers a spine-tingling drop by its linear launch system with linear acceleration and vertical ascent at 100kph! Whoa vertical ascent! It also offers a heart-pounding experience with non-stop thrills that awaits you starting with a vertical ascent that takes you straight up toward the sky followed by a brief stop at the top, tilted downward just before the highlight, finishing off with a maximum of 121°-tilt drop in free fall.

  1. Ultimate Fort

Ultimate Fort is a walk-through attraction set up as a labyrinth in a huge fortress with mission tasks to clear in order to escape. The goal is to make it so difficult as to boast a successful escape rate down as close to 0% as possible. This is the most difficult maze ever created, with a successful escape rate of only 1/100000! Hilarious right? I wasn’t able to try this, so I’ll just have to put here what the Fuji-Q Highland guide said about this attraction.

“Guests who take on the challenge have to try to work through a labyrinth of countless doors, corridors, and rooms and strict security set up within the fort and make it out within the time limit. There are different stages inside, with the stages becoming increasingly difficult as you progress through the fort. Each stage is full of hidden clues, secret doorways, and other traps and contraptions all designed to trip you up. This is not the type of maze that can be cleared by merely fumbling around in the dark. Only those who possess the knowledge, memory power, physical strength, imagination, and most of all, luck will be able to persevere to the end and earn the rank of “Successful Escapees. “Successful escapees will have a prize to recognize their glorious achievement.”

Fuji-Q Highland

There are attractions (listed above) inside Fuji-Q Highland that can satisfy the daredevil within our adventurous soul. They also have horror booths that I don’t want try coz it’s really creepy as they say. Since our time was consumed mostly on lining up for the Fujiyama coaster, we were not able to try as many rides as it closes before sundown. So we opted to try the Shinning Flower instead. Shining Flower is a Ferris Wheel that spins so slow in order for the riders to enjoy the view below and hear the screaming of the riders of Fujiyama and Dodonpa. The ride was about 11 minutes (1 complete spin).

Fuji-Q Highland
Shining Flower

My Japanese manager had told me that he was thankful that I tried the Fujiyama because it left him no choice but to accompany me and at the same time conquered his greatest fear, the fear of heights! It was still fresh in my mind what he said to me that, Fujiyama is the dubbed as the scariest coaster in Japan but often the only ride in Fuji-Q Highland that has the longest queue. Ironic isn’t it? He told me also that any coaster rides after that King of Coasters Experience will be so easy.

Indeed, it was a fun and kind of suicide ride for me. But overall, it was really top of the world experience! If you are to pick few of those rides, what are your top picks?

Tickets:

You can purchase tickets / passes upon entry of the amusement park. We availed the blue pass (fujiyama access included). The blue pass costs 2,800 yen. There are also another type of passes and package inclusions depends on their prices. For those attractions not included in the packages , you may get the tickets on machines near the entrances of those attractions.

How to get there:

By Bus:

From Shinjuku Station(West Exit)
Take Chuo Highway Bus Fujigoko Line (app 1 hr and 40  min)
From Tokyo Station (Yaesu Exit)
Take Tomei Highway bus (2 hrs and 30 min)
From Yokohama Station(West Exit)
Take Tomei Highway Bus at West Exit of Yokohama Station (2 hrs and 30 min)

By Train:

=============

Take JR Chuo Main Line (app 60 min by limited express ) to Otsuki Station.
Transfer to Fujikyu Line to Fuji-Q Highland (app 50 min). From Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station by JR Line
Regular fare: around 1,300+ yen
Express fare: around 1,300+ yen (in addition to regular fare)

====================

From Otsuki Station to Fuji-Q Highland Station
Regular fare by Fujikyu Line Direct: 1,000+ yen
Express Fare: 300+ yen (in addition to regular fare)

===================

The Fujikyu Line is a private railway line, so the Japan Rail Pass by JR Group is not usable for this line. However, the Japan Rail Pass is usable from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station.

By Car:

Take Shuto Expressway #4 then Chuo Expressway to Kawaguchiko I.C. via Otsuki JCT(app 50 min).After Kawaguchiko I.C.to Fuji-Q Highland (0 min).Take Shuto Expressway #3
to Gotenba I.C. via Tomei Expressway(app 60 min). Then take Expressway No. 138 (app 15 min) to Subashiri I.C. (app 3 min),and change to Higashifujigoko Road to Fujiyoshida I.C.(app 15min). Then you can finally see Fuji-Q Highland (0 min).

BackPacking , Japan , Travel
Reasons why Fuji-Q Highland is getting more Popular in the past decade

Fuji-Q Highland

Fuji-Q Highland is an amusement park situated in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan with huge roller coasters, haunted-theme rides, kids’ area and a couple shops & cafes. This amusement park is located near the base of mount Fuji, the highest peak in Japan.

Fuji-Q Highland offers a wide array of attractions ranging from a number of really fast coasters to haunted houses.

The Japanese people are known for their love of adventure and theme parks. In all seasons, these amusement parks in Japan were filled with people craving for fun and adrenaline pumping activities. One is the Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park.

Fuji-Q HighlandSo why does Fuji-Q Highland has gained popularity since it has been opened and had been frequented by both local and foreign tourists in Japan? Here are few reasons why.

  1. Fuji-Q Highland amusement park has the King of Coasters also known as the first world’s tallest and longest roller coaster opened in 1996 and currently the world’s 8th tallest, 5th longest coaster around the world.
  2. It has the first world’s fastest coaster opened in 2001, now the 4th fastest but still notorious for being the world’s coaster with the fastest acceleration at launch time. Scary amazing isn’t it?
  3. Fuji-Q Highland has the world’s steepest roller coaster with the steepest drop of 121-degree free fall.
  4. It has the world’s coaster with the highest number of spins.
  5. It has the 4th Dimension roller coaster wherein the seats can rotate 360 degrees.
  6. Fuji-Q Highland has the most difficult maze ever created, with a successful escape rate of only 1/100000!
  7. The Fuji-Q Highland also has numerous rides and horror booths.

Fuji-Q Highland Attractions:

  1. Takabisha
  2. Eejanaika, the 4th dimension coaster
  3. DODONPA, the world’s tremendous roller coaster
  4. FUJIYAMA, the king of roller coasters
  5. TEKKOTSU BANCHO
  6. Ultimate Fort
  7. Adventure land of Kaiketsu Zorori
  8. Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear
  9. Tondemina
  10. Nagashimasuka
  11. Great ZABOON
  12. Red Tower
  13. Mad Mouse
  14. Panic Clock
  15. EVANGELION: WORLD
  16. Shining Flower
  17. Tea Cups
  18. Merry-Go-Round
  19. Mizuki Shigeru’s Ge-Ge-Ge Haunted Mansion
  20. Hide-and-Seek in the Forest
  21. THOMAS LAND

Fuji-Q Higland Experience: The Coasters and more!

  1. Fujiyama (The King of Coasters)

fujiyama_entrance, Fuji-Q HighlandFujiyama is named after the iconic Mount Fuji, which stands to the west of Tokyo. The term Fujiyama comes from “fuji” which means king, and “yama” which means mountain.

This hyper coaster boasts a world class spec. It stands at 79 meters tall, has a maximum speed of 130kph and has a maximum of 70 meters’ free fall drop (230ft) within a 2km track. This is recorded as the world’s 8th tallest, 5th longest, and 10th fastest roller coaster. The thrill on this attraction is so out-of-this-world that you’ll feel like you did the first time you rode it no matter how many times you’re on it!

I was not really into coasters as I’m really afraid of the free fall thing, but out of curiosity and the eagerness to conquer my fear, I tried it. I told no one that I am afraid of the free-fall. Little did I know, my Japanese manager was afraid of heights too, he only told us when we’re on the top of the track and ready for the launch!

The experience was really both scary and exhilarating.  On its vertical free fall drop (70m+), it felt like I lost my soul for about 5 seconds, I can’t find it! LOL. It separated from my poor body. Haha. My companion who really loved this type of rides gave me some tips to minimize the tension and fear. She told me to raise both arms whenever the car is going down or on a free fall and to shout loud. She said it can help ease the sensation that you lost everything inside your stomach. (don’t know how to describe it properly). LOL. Indeed, that 4 minute-ride was the hell ride of my life!

  1. Fuji-Q Highland’s Dodonpa

This is another beast coaster that Fuji-Q Highland offers. It stands at 52 meters, 50 meters drop in a 1.2-kilometer track reaching the top speed of 172 kph in just after 1.8 seconds after the compressed air launch! This is the fastest coaster upon its opening way back in 2001, currently ranked as the 4th fastest in the world now but still has the highest acceleration at launch time.

It travels at speeds that are almost too fast that brings a thrilling sense of acceleration that races almost the entire park that when you’re riding, it feels that you can’t even breathe!

Fuji-Q Highland
Dodonpa track

At this time, my soul didn’t just separate from my body but it was scattered everywhere in the park. It was too damn fast that you will get the feeling of being thrown on the in the air halfway of the track. This 55 seconds ride is a killer! But thank God I’m still alive! 🙂

  1. Eejanaika and Takabisha

Unfortunately, we do not have time to ride these coasters. Thank God, those first 2 was an overkill already. 🙂

Well, Eejanaika is the 4th Dimension roller coaster with the highest total number of spins in the world. The seats can rotate at 360 degrees may it be spinning forward or backward, spinning with twists or rotating in loops or flip-flops in the air. All these rotations will take place while you are in the race down the 1.5km track at top speed of 126 kph.

1.jpg
Eejanaika

Takabisha is the coaster with the steepest free-fall of 121 degrees. This coaster offers a spine-tingling drop by its linear launch system with linear acceleration and vertical ascent at 100kph! Whoa vertical ascent! It also offers a heart-pounding experience with non-stop thrills that awaits you starting with a vertical ascent that takes you straight up toward the sky followed by a brief stop at the top, tilted downward just before the highlight, finishing off with a maximum of 121°-tilt drop in free fall.

  1. Ultimate Fort

Ultimate Fort is a walk-through attraction set up as a labyrinth in a huge fortress with mission tasks to clear in order to escape. The goal is to make it so difficult as to boast a successful escape rate down as close to 0% as possible. This is the most difficult maze ever created, with a successful escape rate of only 1/100000! Hilarious right? I wasn’t able to try this, so I’ll just have to put here what the Fuji-Q Highland guide said about this attraction.

“Guests who take on the challenge have to try to work through a labyrinth of countless doors, corridors, and rooms and strict security set up within the fort and make it out within the time limit. There are different stages inside, with the stages becoming increasingly difficult as you progress through the fort. Each stage is full of hidden clues, secret doorways, and other traps and contraptions all designed to trip you up. This is not the type of maze that can be cleared by merely fumbling around in the dark. Only those who possess the knowledge, memory power, physical strength, imagination, and most of all, luck will be able to persevere to the end and earn the rank of “Successful Escapees. “Successful escapees will have a prize to recognize their glorious achievement.”

Fuji-Q Highland

There are attractions (listed above) inside Fuji-Q Highland that can satisfy the daredevil within our adventurous soul. They also have horror booths that I don’t want try coz it’s really creepy as they say. Since our time was consumed mostly on lining up for the Fujiyama coaster, we were not able to try as many rides as it closes before sundown. So we opted to try the Shinning Flower instead. Shining Flower is a Ferris Wheel that spins so slow in order for the riders to enjoy the view below and hear the screaming of the riders of Fujiyama and Dodonpa. The ride was about 11 minutes (1 complete spin).

Fuji-Q Highland
Shining Flower

My Japanese manager had told me that he was thankful that I tried the Fujiyama because it left him no choice but to accompany me and at the same time conquered his greatest fear, the fear of heights! It was still fresh in my mind what he said to me that, Fujiyama is the dubbed as the scariest coaster in Japan but often the only ride in Fuji-Q Highland that has the longest queue. Ironic isn’t it? He told me also that any coaster rides after that King of Coasters Experience will be so easy.

Indeed, it was a fun and kind of suicide ride for me. But overall, it was really top of the world experience! If you are to pick few of those rides, what are your top picks?

Tickets:

You can purchase tickets / passes upon entry of the amusement park. We availed the blue pass (fujiyama access included). The blue pass costs 2,800 yen. There are also another type of passes and package inclusions depends on their prices. For those attractions not included in the packages , you may get the tickets on machines near the entrances of those attractions.

How to get there:

By Bus:

From Shinjuku Station(West Exit)
Take Chuo Highway Bus Fujigoko Line (app 1 hr and 40  min)
From Tokyo Station (Yaesu Exit)
Take Tomei Highway bus (2 hrs and 30 min)
From Yokohama Station(West Exit)
Take Tomei Highway Bus at West Exit of Yokohama Station (2 hrs and 30 min)

By Train:

=============

Take JR Chuo Main Line (app 60 min by limited express ) to Otsuki Station.
Transfer to Fujikyu Line to Fuji-Q Highland (app 50 min). From Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station by JR Line
Regular fare: around 1,300+ yen
Express fare: around 1,300+ yen (in addition to regular fare)

====================

From Otsuki Station to Fuji-Q Highland Station
Regular fare by Fujikyu Line Direct: 1,000+ yen
Express Fare: 300+ yen (in addition to regular fare)

===================

The Fujikyu Line is a private railway line, so the Japan Rail Pass by JR Group is not usable for this line. However, the Japan Rail Pass is usable from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station.

By Car:

Take Shuto Expressway #4 then Chuo Expressway to Kawaguchiko I.C. via Otsuki JCT(app 50 min).After Kawaguchiko I.C.to Fuji-Q Highland (0 min).Take Shuto Expressway #3
to Gotenba I.C. via Tomei Expressway(app 60 min). Then take Expressway No. 138 (app 15 min) to Subashiri I.C. (app 3 min),and change to Higashifujigoko Road to Fujiyoshida I.C.(app 15min). Then you can finally see Fuji-Q Highland (0 min).

Culture Alienation: My First Onsen Experience and why you should Experience it too at least once in your Lifetime
1_044.jpg
Photo courtesy of http://jisforjapan.blogspot.com

What is Onsen?

Onsen is the Japanese word for hot spring. It is a term often used to describe the bathing facilities and inns around these hot springs or sources of geothermally heated water which literally `spring up` in areas where volcanic activity is present. Japan, as one of being a very volcanically active country, is covered with them that were scattered along its length and breadth.

According to Preservation and Use of Hot Springs, Ministry of the Environment, there are more than 3,000 registered hot spring resorts in Japan and around 30,000 resort spas. They are fascinating places where people from Japan and overseas can all enjoy themselves. Japan’s hot spring resorts are ready to welcome everyone (locals and foreigner tourists) for a therapeutic experience.

Onsen contains many types of chemical ingredients. It has different types and depending on the type of Onsen, different therapeutic effects can be expected by bathing from it.  By definition, it must have at least one of around 20 elements like including iron, sulfur, radon, gypsum and metabolic acid and must be at 25 °C or warmer temperatures.

Different Onsen types include chloride, sodium bicarbonate saline, ferruginous, sulfur, carbon dioxide and radioactive springs. These springs had therapeutic effects on but not limited to cuts, burns, chronic skin disease, arteriosclerosis, gout, anemia, menstrual disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pains, rheumatism and circulatory diseases.

Japan ancient history published that Onsen is used for purifying rituals in the Japanese religion “Shinto” and at the same time enjoyment for emperors. Other folklores had claimed that people gather around the onsen to hunt wild animals which will generally come to drink hot spring water to absorb minerals.

It cannot be denied that one of the Big Tourism attractions in Japan is their Onsen. Your trip to Japan won’t be that rewarding without the Onsen experience. The Japanese emphasized the virtues of “naked communication” for breaking down barriers and getting to know other people more whether a family member, loved ones, friends or strangers you just met in a relaxed and homey atmosphere.

Due to a large increase of tourists from other countries, their private onsen bathing tub (reserved onsen) is getting more popular but still they have their public onsen separate for male and female aside from the traditional mixed onsen for any gender (not so common these days).

My Onsen Experience

My trouble started when my Cebu Boss told our Japanese counterparts that she wanted to experience Onsen before going back to the Philippines. Our counterparts had agreed to visit one of the hot spring resorts over the weekend.

They were very excited about it, but I am not really as I am not a fan of onsen upon knowing that you must be totally naked while bathing. They invited me to come also. I was about to say no but out of respect to our managers, I said I will go with them. Anyway, I can stroll around the place while they are enjoying the Onsen.

While we were on the trip, my Cebu Boss had asked me if I am ready for the Onsen and I was shocked. I told her that I never said that I would try the Onsen and I said I really won’t. She said that our Japanese male counterparts (Senior Engineer and Senior Manager) had come just for me to have company on the Onsen. It was really a miscommunication!

My worries were heightened to a million level as I am not comfortable even wearing trunks in resorts, how much more being naked in front of my bosses and total strangers? I keep on thinking of alibi’s how to ditch the Onsen bath, but they already assumed that I am up for it! I was so restless until we arrived at the hostel in Ito. We stayed at K’s House, a refined hostel in a 100-year old building in Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture.

room_popup08.jpg
accommodation @ K’s House

After settling down, we headed to a nearby hot spring. I was so anxious about what’s going to happen. It’s like I’m submitting myself to be sexually harassed. LOL. But seriously, I had lizards (butterflies are too cute for the situation) on my stomach, that I just wished I had an invisible cloak so that I can disappear in an instant. I even hoped that I can catch fever really fast to have a valid alibi.

Of course, I could not say that my Cebu Boss just assumed that I wanted to try the Onsen too, it’s too disrespectful that they drove around 5 hours from Tokyo only to have NO as an answer from me. They came with us to accompany me in the first place! Komatta na! (I’m in trouble!).

We arrived at the Onsen resort and secured our valuables in the lockers. When we were heading to the dressing room, I was literally sweating a lot despite the place was air-conditioned. On the reception area before the dressing room, the staff reminded us of the do’s and don’ts, etc.

Don’ts:

  • Generally, no camera or camera phone is allowed inside the bathing area.
  • No towels are allowed on the bathing area; towels must be left on the sides.
  • Tattooed individuals are generally not allowed inside the bathing area (case to case)
  • It is a place for relaxation, not for cleaning. (Have a shower first on the shower area)
  • Follow the suggested maximum time on dipping/submerging yourself in the hot spring

Getting Naked is not that easy always 🙂

nude.jpg
Private Onsen. Credits to Marc VeraArt

My Cebu Boss had gone to the other side with my female colleagues. While my Japanese counterparts and I, headed for the male dressing room. The dressing room walls were mostly mirrors.

In the dressing room, it has a big towel and a small towel provided in each basket that you can use. The small towel has the size of a square-shaped face towel. I don’t know what to do in the dressing room (I’m so dumb at that moment), at the back of my mind I was thinking that the place was the undressing room, the naked room!

My counterparts immediately took off their clothes, got naked fast and even instructed me to place my clothes in one of the baskets. They don’t really care being naked in front of anybody. LOL. I waited for them to proceed to the shower area before getting naked myself. I was shocked when I was about to take off my clothes, my counterpart checked upon me as it took me almost forever to get naked. HAHAHA.

I came to my senses and scolded myself for being such a baby and a worrier. If they can do it, why can’t I? I didn’t look around, I didn’t think, I didn’t worry. I simply took off my clothes and grabbed the small towel and went outside to the shower area covering just a portion of me. (Sweating again).

The public bath area had few goers at that time. My manager noticed me getting out from the dressing room and went inside the shower area to assist me. He grabbed the small stool and got some soap and shampoo for me. WAAAA that awkward moment when your manager is naked in front of you and you are naked too! Culture differences are really challenging! 🙂 That moment was so uncomfortable for me, but not really for them. I must admit, I am not even comfortable staying naked in front of my loved ones sometimes. How much more to my boss? 🙂

After the quick shower, I joined them outside in the public bath. I was thinking again if I am going to cover my private parts with that cute towel again like what I did from the dressing room to the shower area. But upon observing them outside, they don’t even bother to cover anything with their hands. At this time, it’s not lizards inside my stomach but I can feel I had a hundred frogs jumping back and forth. I was so pissed off with myself with what I am about to do.

I slowly slid the glass door from the shower room to the public bath area leaving my small towel at the sides. What I did was, I just keep a thought in my mind this time, that these people do not know me at all. I don’t care if they will take a look at me walking naked. I don’t even look at my Japanese counterparts while I was walking towards the bathing area. After then, I quickly submerged myself to the waters not minding how hot it was! After few minutes of dipping in the hot waters of the spring, my body had adjusted to the water temperature and I felt a bit relaxed. We had small chit chats with my counterparts then. It was not really super awkward though as there were just a few of us in the bathing area.

My counterparts helped me feel comfortable at that awkward moment by always talking to me. That was the time when I really felt liberated with myself and seems my shyness went away. I was thinking, we are all equal here, everyone has nothing but those small towels on the sides. LOL. But it was really an amazing experience, it was a truly multi-sensory one! I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would rather be naked “when in public” but in Onsen.

My take home for that one of a kind experience was that, aside from it was therapeutic, I just found out that my greatest fear is not being in a close, dark spaces or from free falling (skydiving) but “being naked in front of people”. It was more challenging than spelunking, skydiving, deep sea diving, etc. Well at least for someone like me who is not really comfortable showing some “private skins” to anybody. hahaha 😀

After that Onsen experience, we went back to the hostel and cooked our dinner. Our counterparts wanted us to cook the famous Pinoy Adobo so we did. We had met also some tourists from other Asian countries. Had short talks with them and call it a night after dinner and games plus wine. We had the private Onsen at the hostel the next day. 🙂

We often say that wherever we’ll go, we need to adjust, adapt and live like they do. But sometimes, cultures may be a little too much for us to adapt quickly. It is not like an algebra assignment that can be done overnight. It’s a long process. It’s easier said than done sometimes. J But at the end of the day, I can proudly say that I conquered my greatest fear! 🙂

IMG_6832.JPG
Having fun @ K’s House

So, did I convinced you to try Onsen on your visit to Japan? Or the other way around?

But I really recommend it to everybody. Whether for the reason of conquering your fears of being naked in front of others haha, for relaxation, or for the sake of experiencing the Japanese culture yourself. After all, it’s really worth a try.

BackPacking , Beaches and Resorts , Uncategorized
Culture Alienation: My First Onsen Experience and why you should Experience it too at least once in your Lifetime
1_044.jpg
Photo courtesy of http://jisforjapan.blogspot.com

What is Onsen?

Onsen is the Japanese word for hot spring. It is a term often used to describe the bathing facilities and inns around these hot springs or sources of geothermally heated water which literally `spring up` in areas where volcanic activity is present. Japan, as one of being a very volcanically active country, is covered with them that were scattered along its length and breadth.

According to Preservation and Use of Hot Springs, Ministry of the Environment, there are more than 3,000 registered hot spring resorts in Japan and around 30,000 resort spas. They are fascinating places where people from Japan and overseas can all enjoy themselves. Japan’s hot spring resorts are ready to welcome everyone (locals and foreigner tourists) for a therapeutic experience.

Onsen contains many types of chemical ingredients. It has different types and depending on the type of Onsen, different therapeutic effects can be expected by bathing from it.  By definition, it must have at least one of around 20 elements like including iron, sulfur, radon, gypsum and metabolic acid and must be at 25 °C or warmer temperatures.

Different Onsen types include chloride, sodium bicarbonate saline, ferruginous, sulfur, carbon dioxide and radioactive springs. These springs had therapeutic effects on but not limited to cuts, burns, chronic skin disease, arteriosclerosis, gout, anemia, menstrual disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pains, rheumatism and circulatory diseases.

Japan ancient history published that Onsen is used for purifying rituals in the Japanese religion “Shinto” and at the same time enjoyment for emperors. Other folklores had claimed that people gather around the onsen to hunt wild animals which will generally come to drink hot spring water to absorb minerals.

It cannot be denied that one of the Big Tourism attractions in Japan is their Onsen. Your trip to Japan won’t be that rewarding without the Onsen experience. The Japanese emphasized the virtues of “naked communication” for breaking down barriers and getting to know other people more whether a family member, loved ones, friends or strangers you just met in a relaxed and homey atmosphere.

Due to a large increase of tourists from other countries, their private onsen bathing tub (reserved onsen) is getting more popular but still they have their public onsen separate for male and female aside from the traditional mixed onsen for any gender (not so common these days).

My Onsen Experience

My trouble started when my Cebu Boss told our Japanese counterparts that she wanted to experience Onsen before going back to the Philippines. Our counterparts had agreed to visit one of the hot spring resorts over the weekend.

They were very excited about it, but I am not really as I am not a fan of onsen upon knowing that you must be totally naked while bathing. They invited me to come also. I was about to say no but out of respect to our managers, I said I will go with them. Anyway, I can stroll around the place while they are enjoying the Onsen.

While we were on the trip, my Cebu Boss had asked me if I am ready for the Onsen and I was shocked. I told her that I never said that I would try the Onsen and I said I really won’t. She said that our Japanese male counterparts (Senior Engineer and Senior Manager) had come just for me to have company on the Onsen. It was really a miscommunication!

My worries were heightened to a million level as I am not comfortable even wearing trunks in resorts, how much more being naked in front of my bosses and total strangers? I keep on thinking of alibi’s how to ditch the Onsen bath, but they already assumed that I am up for it! I was so restless until we arrived at the hostel in Ito. We stayed at K’s House, a refined hostel in a 100-year old building in Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture.

room_popup08.jpg
accommodation @ K’s House

After settling down, we headed to a nearby hot spring. I was so anxious about what’s going to happen. It’s like I’m submitting myself to be sexually harassed. LOL. But seriously, I had lizards (butterflies are too cute for the situation) on my stomach, that I just wished I had an invisible cloak so that I can disappear in an instant. I even hoped that I can catch fever really fast to have a valid alibi.

Of course, I could not say that my Cebu Boss just assumed that I wanted to try the Onsen too, it’s too disrespectful that they drove around 5 hours from Tokyo only to have NO as an answer from me. They came with us to accompany me in the first place! Komatta na! (I’m in trouble!).

We arrived at the Onsen resort and secured our valuables in the lockers. When we were heading to the dressing room, I was literally sweating a lot despite the place was air-conditioned. On the reception area before the dressing room, the staff reminded us of the do’s and don’ts, etc.

Don’ts:

  • Generally, no camera or camera phone is allowed inside the bathing area.
  • No towels are allowed on the bathing area; towels must be left on the sides.
  • Tattooed individuals are generally not allowed inside the bathing area (case to case)
  • It is a place for relaxation, not for cleaning. (Have a shower first on the shower area)
  • Follow the suggested maximum time on dipping/submerging yourself in the hot spring

Getting Naked is not that easy always 🙂

nude.jpg
Private Onsen. Credits to Marc VeraArt

My Cebu Boss had gone to the other side with my female colleagues. While my Japanese counterparts and I, headed for the male dressing room. The dressing room walls were mostly mirrors.

In the dressing room, it has a big towel and a small towel provided in each basket that you can use. The small towel has the size of a square-shaped face towel. I don’t know what to do in the dressing room (I’m so dumb at that moment), at the back of my mind I was thinking that the place was the undressing room, the naked room!

My counterparts immediately took off their clothes, got naked fast and even instructed me to place my clothes in one of the baskets. They don’t really care being naked in front of anybody. LOL. I waited for them to proceed to the shower area before getting naked myself. I was shocked when I was about to take off my clothes, my counterpart checked upon me as it took me almost forever to get naked. HAHAHA.

I came to my senses and scolded myself for being such a baby and a worrier. If they can do it, why can’t I? I didn’t look around, I didn’t think, I didn’t worry. I simply took off my clothes and grabbed the small towel and went outside to the shower area covering just a portion of me. (Sweating again).

The public bath area had few goers at that time. My manager noticed me getting out from the dressing room and went inside the shower area to assist me. He grabbed the small stool and got some soap and shampoo for me. WAAAA that awkward moment when your manager is naked in front of you and you are naked too! Culture differences are really challenging! 🙂 That moment was so uncomfortable for me, but not really for them. I must admit, I am not even comfortable staying naked in front of my loved ones sometimes. How much more to my boss? 🙂

After the quick shower, I joined them outside in the public bath. I was thinking again if I am going to cover my private parts with that cute towel again like what I did from the dressing room to the shower area. But upon observing them outside, they don’t even bother to cover anything with their hands. At this time, it’s not lizards inside my stomach but I can feel I had a hundred frogs jumping back and forth. I was so pissed off with myself with what I am about to do.

I slowly slid the glass door from the shower room to the public bath area leaving my small towel at the sides. What I did was, I just keep a thought in my mind this time, that these people do not know me at all. I don’t care if they will take a look at me walking naked. I don’t even look at my Japanese counterparts while I was walking towards the bathing area. After then, I quickly submerged myself to the waters not minding how hot it was! After few minutes of dipping in the hot waters of the spring, my body had adjusted to the water temperature and I felt a bit relaxed. We had small chit chats with my counterparts then. It was not really super awkward though as there were just a few of us in the bathing area.

My counterparts helped me feel comfortable at that awkward moment by always talking to me. That was the time when I really felt liberated with myself and seems my shyness went away. I was thinking, we are all equal here, everyone has nothing but those small towels on the sides. LOL. But it was really an amazing experience, it was a truly multi-sensory one! I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would rather be naked “when in public” but in Onsen.

My take home for that one of a kind experience was that, aside from it was therapeutic, I just found out that my greatest fear is not being in a close, dark spaces or from free falling (skydiving) but “being naked in front of people”. It was more challenging than spelunking, skydiving, deep sea diving, etc. Well at least for someone like me who is not really comfortable showing some “private skins” to anybody. hahaha 😀

After that Onsen experience, we went back to the hostel and cooked our dinner. Our counterparts wanted us to cook the famous Pinoy Adobo so we did. We had met also some tourists from other Asian countries. Had short talks with them and call it a night after dinner and games plus wine. We had the private Onsen at the hostel the next day. 🙂

We often say that wherever we’ll go, we need to adjust, adapt and live like they do. But sometimes, cultures may be a little too much for us to adapt quickly. It is not like an algebra assignment that can be done overnight. It’s a long process. It’s easier said than done sometimes. J But at the end of the day, I can proudly say that I conquered my greatest fear! 🙂

IMG_6832.JPG
Having fun @ K’s House

So, did I convinced you to try Onsen on your visit to Japan? Or the other way around?

But I really recommend it to everybody. Whether for the reason of conquering your fears of being naked in front of others haha, for relaxation, or for the sake of experiencing the Japanese culture yourself. After all, it’s really worth a try.