Monday, May 8, 2017

Finding Footwear

If there are one piece of gear that is very important to your hiking / trail running adventure , it would be your footwear.

You can get away with your regular backpack, shirt and jeans when hiking but your footwear - might be sandals, rubber shoes, boots, or trail running shoes can spell a happy times on the trail or just plain pain disaster.

Inov8 rocklite 295 in Dulangan River of Mt Halcon
Just like with most of those who are just started hiking - back then Facebook groups are not created yet. We are just getting information from our main source - Now, i think the site are not popular anymore and not often visited by those who wants to hike. They will just join the FB groups, ask questions there ,hoping someone will answer, then voila , they are mountaineer. And when they descend the mountain, they are now organizer.

The boss Inov 8 in action
Going back to finding footwear - Merrell was popular here. They are everywhere, you can purchase them at any shoe store, and they are always on sale. I have my own experience with the shoes. They are great at first , however when you are gaining experience and experiencing a lot of different trails, you will then need a shoes with better grip. I have my own fail moments finding whats works for me. I have purchased columbia, teva and the north face they are okay with some trails, but it is failed on most difficult terrain.

Inov8 race ultra 290 in Balagbag River
I searched online for months reading reviews online.I need to find the shoes that can withstand the trail of Mt Talomo to Mt Apo and Mt Kalatungan traverse continuously.  Then came Inov-8.

It was my first time to come across the brand. I never heard of it before. The first model I have was the Inov-8 rocklite 295.  What impressed me and sold me was the outsole. You can tell that I will have the greatest traction and grip that can help you finished the brutal trail and unimaginable obstacles you will find on the mountain trail.

I have not put the shoes in break in period. I wear it right away in Mt Talomo - Mt Apo traverse. For anyone who have finished that traverse can tell that it have a challenging and brutal trail. That time, there was a lot of section where the shoes was subside on the ankle deep mud. There was a lot of time you need to walk on the mossy covered trunk trees. Passed trough a lot of roots and wet and dried leaves and the rocky trail of Mt Apo to cover all your imagined trail sections.

I finished the trail with the shoes passed in flying colors. Rest for 2 days then hike up again in the jungle forest of Mt Kalatungan.

Inov8 Race Ultra 290
The rocklite 295 exceeds my expectation. I was really happy with the shoes performance. I was very confident and comfortable to all trail sections even on the infamous dead toe's trail of Mt Kalatungan. I used it in Kitanglad, Dulang Dulang, Maagnaw, Lumot Sumagaya, Hibok Hibok, Halcon, Sicapoo, Pulag, Tabayoc, Kibungan, Kanlaon, Talinis, Pinatubo and other Peaks and trail as well.

I have hiked with the shoes in most difficult mountain in Mindanao except in White peak as it hit by Storm Pablo at that time. I know it can survive the trail of Guiting Guiting and Mantalingajan the two mountains mentioned by every one else as the most difficult mountain we have.

Since I have first hand experienced with the brand. I recommend it to my team. The only downside is , Inov8 is not widely available here. There is only one store that carries it at the moment - it was Sportshouse and not all the models are available here.

If you need a new shoes, or planning to switch shoes, I highly recommend you try Inov-8. Our team have hiked with it on most of the mountain in Benguet and we are not disappointed. You just need to find the model that fits you. We all have different foot type - wide, flat, thin etc. We all have preferences - color, looks and budget.

If your looking for recommendation in facebook group about the shoes - please check if the person who recommends you to buy something actually used it on the toughest mountain, not only in batulao or any rizal mountains - you can easily get away with your regular rubber shoes on it.

What we can recommend, what ever shoes  you choose to wear, make sure that it have a good grip otherwise - epic fail.

Team Inov8 In Mt Tangbaw of Mt Purgatory

Saturday, April 8, 2017

You are not there yet

Mt Ugo Traverse Dayhike

There are many groups who already completed this major dayhike, yet there are no accounts of their journey was written. I just found one blog who shared the story.

We are confident that we can complete this traverse knowing that most in our group already completed some major dayhikes with me. And those new in the team are showing great potentials to be mountain crazy ready.

One of the factors to be considered to complete the climb and not to be too late to finished was to start as early as possible. And that can be accomplished only if all of you agreed on the desired meet up time.

We arrived in Kayapa at 4:00am. Our guide is alredy there. After a few minutes to prepare, we prayed then start our hike.

The first part of the journey was all uphill. Entering the narrow path which the locals used, then a few minutes we arrived at the pine forest trail.

For every climb the hardest part is the first part - your muscle is not awake, your lungs is not yet fully activated and somehow you feel sleepy.

Pics from Raffy
During this moment, sometimes you will ask yourself what is the reason why you are still hiking. For me, I hike not to add to my personal peaks , but to bring my friends to the summit. Seeing they are painfully enjoying the hike fulfilled my self accomplishment.

The open trail to Domolpos ( Pics from Raffy)
We arrived in Indupit Village just before the sun shines at 6:50am. We rest , re-filled our water supply and bond. From here the trail was mostly straight forward and it is the best to rest your legs , catch up your breathe and take up your pace.

We are blessed because the sun is not that hot, mostly the skies are covered with clouds. So we hiked up with eased. Catch up with one another, shared a laughter, capture some beautiful views along the trail.

From Where is Xaan
At 10:20am we arrived in Domolpos waiting shed. It is now all up hill. Slowly, by keeping one feet ahead of the other, we reached the campsite at 11:40am and reached the Mt Ugo marker at 12pm.

Group picture (pics from Raffy )
We took our lunch at the summit. Rest, Photo-ops, take a nap , recharge our energy. I know that the real challenge here is the descend from the summit all the way to the exit point.

We start our descend at 1:15pm . Once again we are mesmerized by the beauty that surrounds us as we emerged to the fine forest under the cold sunny weather. This was the most beautiful part of the Mt Ugo traverse. The trail going to tinongdan. Pine forest and  Mountain Peaks are every where.

Captured by Donners
It was a continuous descend and some time rolling terrain. We arrived in Km 3 at 6:00 pm just before the sun sets and the darkness creeps in.

We know that there are an hour or so to reach the hanging bridge in km 0. We decide that it would be practical not to proceed to km 0 but to ask our van to pick us up along the way to Km 3.

Thus the adventure ends.

Once again, another major mountain was completed by the team on a single day.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mt Pigingan Dayhike

There are another peaks on the north that is slowly gaining popularity due to its own secluded beauty and challenges - Mt Pigingan.
This is also the place where they held the Cordillera Mountain Ultra a 50km trail running event.
If you want to hike in Mt Pigingan, coordinate with the same contact person who handles the climb arrangment in Mt Ugo. 

Pics courtesy of Direk
Our Team was always looking for a new peak to summit or new challenges to have.Well it is our just an excuse to be together and to catch up with one another. Since mostly we have climbed some of the major mountains in Benguet, its time to have a chill up climb where we can just relax and enjoy the view. Mt Ulap is also a great mountain to hike, however there are just too many people hiking it because it is too easy and many people just jumping into bandwagon joining an organized climb, with just an hour away to Baguio, it is just a perfect destination to even to just plain tourist.

Start of the uphill
Since most of us have their own schedule on Saturday's , we just settle to do in on a dayhike. I am not too sure if there are other group who have done it before, but when I searched for it , nothing has been documented or shared on the web , mostly groups are hiking in the mountain to camp overnight.

Jagged Peaks
We started our hike in the darkness, With our headlamp on, we slowly trekked to the straight forward path until we reached the steel bridge. We picked up our guide then we continue our hike with just the light from our headlamp showing us the way. Slowly and continuously the trail was getting steeper. We were greeted by the sun just when the open trail begins and it was all up hill. There was a water source just before you hike up, and there is also another water source near the camp site. So keep that in mind for your hydration strategy. 

Mountain View
We are in awe to witness the grand beauty of the mountain as it was slowly shines in the ray of the sun. There are mountain peaks and river that you can see while hiking up on an open trail. This is also one advantage of hiking early, you are almost midway to your destination when the sun hits on you, and you are getting back when the heat was on its peak. 

Wish there was a shade
After hours of going up , with rest for photo ops and view appreciation , we reached the campsite. Here we took our lunch and take a rest before continuing our ascend to the summit.

A great view at the summit
From the campsite to the summit it is like an hour or more to reached it. Dont worry you will be mesmerized by the view every where and there was enough spot for your instagramable picture. 

After spending a few minutes at the summit and the sun was on top of our head , we decided to descend. 

We descend with much faster and continuous pace. Eventually after hours of knee devastating descend, we arrived at the steel bridge which serves as our marker , that means we are almost there. 

The group just resting after descending from the peak

At 4:00 pm the last of our team arrives, thus the adventure ends. 

As all things - all will come to an end. Means that for every adventure your having - enjoy it to the fullest , connect to people, not only with your own group with others as well. Build better friendship, Make lasting memories and share positive influence on others. 

Pine forested trail
Remember we are not alone on the journey of life. 

Adventures are the best when shared. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mt Purgatory Traverse Dayhike

Bokod, Benguet
Entry point: Japas Jumpoff, Bokod
Exit point: Brgy. Ekip, Bokod
LLA: 2290m (Mt. Pack); 2080m (Mt. Purgatory); 2329m (Mt. Komkompol)
Days required / Hours to summit: 2-3 days / 4-5 (Pa); 5-7 (Pu); 9-11 (K)
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 6/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Pine forests, mossy forests, Views of Benguet mountains

Jump off point
The mountain was usually climbed in 2 days, having to spent the night in Bakian School or in Tangbaw campsite. However due to increasing popularity of day hikes, and our team already some mountain in one day, We all agree to climb the Mt Purgatory in one day.

Climb in Style
Most of us was going to climb this mountain for the first time. I have climbed this mountain twice in an overnight climb. The first one was the real deal as the short-cut was not established yet. The second time was much easier as the trail was cut-short in tangbaw. 

We arrived at the jump-off at 20mins past 7am. A short orientation and preparation and off we go. 

Here is our itinerary 

Start trek :                        7:20am 
Mt Mangagew                   8:30am
Rest house       :                 9:30am
Mt Pack Lunch                 12:15pm 
ETD to Purgatory Peak     1 :00pm
Arrival in Mt Purgatory     2:20pm
Arrival in Tangbaw           4:00pm
Start Descend                    5:00pm
Arrival in the exit point    7:00pm
Etd to Baguio                   9:00pm
Arrival in Manila             4:00am

For other useful information you can visit :

The Team

Boss Marge
Tito Macky

Group picture in Mt Pack ( from Mark Bolences )

Foggy Mt Purgatory Summit

Team Inov-8 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Amuyao Traverse Dayhike

The idea of Amuyao Dayhike Traverse came to my mind when I saw the photo of Roland Wang Wang and friends doing a sky run on the said mountain. Meaning, if they can run it fast, we can hike it slow. So I coordinated with him to ask about all the necessary information to make the dayhike a success.

Once I gathered the logistics, I look for the contacts in Barlig. More importantly the guide who will join us on this never heard quest. Funny, I found the contact in Facebook when carrot man was viral. I saw the picture of him posting in Barlig Police Station. I made the necessary inquiry, good people point me to the person who can help me made this journey complete.

The marker near the summit - (courtesy of Mark Balonces )
So you see, We make this climb happen without help of a well known mountaineering group and individuals. We are just a bunch of newbie, shy type, all have a regular day jobs. We are all just love the outdoors and new challenges. We just all finished some Cordillera Mountains, so we all know each other's capability and strength on the trail. And most of all - We trust and care for each other and our bond is strong enough to believe in one another.

We could have finished up to Batad as we arrived in Cambulo at 5 pm with still an hour or more daylight. We are all feel good, We still have supplies , no one in the team have injury or even a blister. Meaning, If we choose to proceed to Batad, we can actually do so. However due to landslide that happened in Barlig, We were faced with unexpected problem, that needed our attention. That issue was delayed us for one night. We'll that's part of life, sometimes you just move on, think of what to do next and still have fun. All of us have a great mind set, no one sulk in bitterness as most if not all of us will be absent on Monday.

The clouds on trail -Photo courtesy of Mark Balonces

Some might not believe it,  Some were proud we nailed it., Others might think it's impossible

So let us share how we did it.


1am - Start trek
5am - Amuyao Summit - Rest, Photo-Ops, Breakfast
7am - Start Descend
11am - Patyay Village - Lunch
12pm - Start trek to Cambulo
1pm  - Mt Umayao
5pm  - Cambulo - End of Trek. Awarding of Certificate
From Cambulo it will be just another 2 hours of easy trek to Batad.

We just call it a day there..

Thanks to Sir Wangsky for paving the way and inspiring my imagination to do this.
Thanks to All the people of Barlig for welcoming us, specially our host in Sea World Inn, Madam Jansen for all logistics and for the climb certificate and to our 2 guides - for pushing us to move forward.
To our Guide / Driver - Raffy - who happened to be left behind in Barlig for a day due to landslide.

And of course to everyone who joined me in this not so normal Dayhike.

The baby ducks of the team


The boys and not so boys


And to Almight God for give us this mountain to climb, for giving us a good weather and a full moon on our hike. For giving us all the strength to finish the entire length without injury. and most of all for giving us each other - to be together - and to experienced and finished this wonderful and beautiful mountain trail with one another..

Resting at Cambulo - Photo courtesy of Mark Balonces
As I told them, If we complete this climb, our self confidence will boost, our bond will get stronger. We will now have a mindset that together we can complete any Mountain we set our hearts and minds to.

At the summit of Mt Amuyao
The complete TeamAttitude at the Summit

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dayhike Essentials

I love Day hiking and Peak bagging more than camping and spending the night in the wilderness. Why ? Because I have only 2 days off and of course there are other things I want to do beside spending it on the Mountain tops. There are other important things to do, to focus on and to spend time with. Thus, If the summit can be reach in one day, then Ill do it and find someone who would join me.

Thus, having doing it for years, I might or might not found ways of doing it more efficiently and to know the necessary and useful gears to bring on day hikes. 

This works for me on major and minor mountains alike, it might work for you as well, or you might found something useful to add to your gear list.

My Day Hike Essential Gears not necessarily in order of their importance. 

1. Umbrella - This is very useful for both rainy and sunny condition. It will reduce the amount of heat your body is absorbing on a very sunny day that can save you from being insane from the heat and from having a heat stroke. This is very useful also on rainy days without strong winds. IT blocks the rain from making you too wet and also have the ability to protect your packs if you forgot to water proof your gear. The umbrella also keeps you dry after the climb and to you travel going home. 

2. Headlamp / Flashlight - Even the very minor day hike can go wrong. Shit happens out there so it would be useful to have a means to light your way when the darkness creeps in.

3. Nutrition and Hydration - Foods for your energy and water for your hydration. Always research in advance the available water source on the trail for you not to bring too much water. Water is heavy. 
If you find the nutrition of trail runners, they dont rely on jelly ace for their fuels , the same should be applied to hikers. And also, do not bring your 1 liter Nalgene bottles on day hikes as it was bulky. 

4. First Aid Kit - Basic medicine will do. I always bring loperamide and ibuprofen

5. Disposable poncho - To complement the umbrella if the wind is too strong. Also poncho can keep you warm on a cold dark days. 

6. Cellphone with load- I always turn off my phone on a day hike. I just turn it on on breaks. So I do not need to carry an extra weight by bringing a power bank. 

7. Lightweight fleece - Depends on the mountain and season-  if it is nearby and can be finished in 6 to 10 hours I will not bring it. If the Mountain is on Cordillera Region and in Mindanao I will packed it. 

8. Shades - To protect your eyes from the sun. 

9. Headwear / Buff - Multiple use. On all my climb day hikes or not, I do not bring a bath towel. Headwear is enough. 

10. Slippers - Nothing can give you much comfort after a long and hard day's on the mountain than removing your shoes and socks and slip on  your slipper. 

11. Plastic Bags / Black bags - Plastic bags can be use to water proof your gears and clothes and for your trash and for your dirty clothes and shoes. Black Bags can also be used as windbreaker. 

12. Tissue ( Wet or Dry ) - You never know when you might need to use it, better be ready. 

Always use your common sense on what to bring. Research the mountain first and you will enjoy your hike more.. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Random Thoughts

I have been reading a lot of post, comments and violent reactions regarding the state of hiking boom on nearby mountains and a lot of self pity and bitter individuals who try to find solace and comfort in the mountains.

Yes, there are lot of interest focus now in hiking or backpacking, as all the information now can be easily get on the internet. If you are just plain lazy like the most, you just post your questions on the Facebook group and hope you can find what your looking for or there are someone interested to answer your post.

I have been lucky to be able to complete the Great Cordillera Traverse individually just before the hiking booms. Those are the days that Facebook group is not that big, we are just relying on Pinoy Mountaineer and some other hiking blogs for itinerary and contacts. Some contacts are not active, so you will do the hard part trying to gather information on different sources. I have been established contacts trough Department of Tourism, Local Government and even just a mere local of that place. I have successfully organized my climb from Luzon to Mindanao without doing a pre-climb meeting, but I am always hiking with a small group that might differ from your way of doing things.

I have a lot of respect and thanks to our Old School Mountaineers, without them we might not have been inspired to follow their footsteps. However, we are just to concern about the good old days, the glory days of external backpacks, maong shorts, cotton shirts, hiking boots etc, can you imagine yourself now with that gear ?

Margaja Valley
Technology was created to make our life better, for us to be able to connect with the world much easier and faster. Can you think or organizing a climb now without internet, without mobile phones ? Before  you need to do a long distance call if you plan to gather information or to set up a climb outside metro manila. Now, trough Facebook messenger and text messaging we can connect without much cost and effort.

In terms of gears, lightweight packs, technical shirts, light weight and trail specific shoes are created so that we can enjoy the outdoors more. Indeed, you can still wear your combat shoes or your chuck taylor and take a lot of selfies , no one will damn care.

About the trail traffic, it is the hiker's choice to start early or start late, or as sir Gidz said, climb somewhere else. We cannot tell others not to climb the mountain because our group will climb it, your only choice was to start early you that you will be ahead of them when they are just starting.

The hiking boom creates more income to the community and weekend jobs to the locals. We should be thankful that they have now means to feed their family or to support whatever needs they have. Of course for the hard headed and self concern individuals, they always have the habit of finding fault, seeing the negative effects, take pictures , post it on Facebook attitude. Remember if your not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

No Trail Traffic here. (Trail connecting Dulang to Maagnaw )
One more thing, nothing drives me crazy than seeing a lot of Hugot post shit. No one cares about your bitterness, negative thoughts, and self pity , why post it on Facebook to gather sympathy and attention. You climb mountains, go places with that shit and you are just infecting others who are just trying to have a good time with people, places and themselves.  No one really cares if you dont have your Forever, or you just lost your Forever, We all have shits to deal with so your self pity and bitterness can just add to what we already have. Why most of us are just to damn dependent on other person for our happiness ? Cant you just let go and move on? Just accept it and move on with your life, If you are worth it, someone will come along eventually and make your adventure comes true. No one wants to be with the persons who just complaining, who are wallowing in self pity, revenge, negative thoughts and habits.  Cant we just climb on a good frame of mind? Cant we just go places just to enjoy it and enjoy it with the people around us ? Just leave your self inflicted pain and bitterness just deal with it again once your at home.

I have been blessed to have friends who somehow have the same thoughts as I have. We all have problems, issues, pain, disappointment , relationship failure, difficulty connecting to other people and yet when we are together we just enjoy that we are once again on the mountains and places and do not bring negative thoughts and energy among ourselves. Once we get back to our personal lives, we deal with it on our own. Of course we talked and shared about our personal problems with our friends, we just dont let the world know about it.

My Friends on top of Mt Napulauan. (picture courtesy of xa-an)
Just climb and enjoy it. Enjoy the people you are hiking with. Make new friends, strengthen the bond with your old friends, Enjoy the places , share stories with the locals. Make friend with your guides and porters, talk to them and soon you will find new meaning in your hiking and adventure life.

See you on the trails.