After spending a refreshing morning at Aninuan Falls, we rested for a bit before hitting the beach front for a water adventure. There are lots of things you can do on the fine sand of White Beach. There are nets for those who wish to play beach volleyball. Locals who offer body massage for 200Php roam around. You can bring your tent and camp out especially if your booked accommodation is far from the beach. As you look in the horizon, you won't fail to notice that the sea is action packed. Aside from people swimming, you could see jetskis, motor boats, parasailing, kayaks and... bananas! Due to limited time, we resigned from our original plan of a snorkeling expedition. Instead of boarding a motor boat, we hopped in, banana-style!
There are three waterfalls near White Beach, Puerto Galera. On the second day of our Mindoro escapade, we woke up early to visit one of these falls: Aninuan Falls. It is nestled at the foot of the towering Mt. Malasimbo and is under the vicinity of Brgy. Aninuan, hence the name Aninuan Falls. In order to get there, you can either give in to the offer of the local businessmen and hire their jeepney (or van) which will take you to the jumpoff point or you can just hike from your inn/hotel straight to the falls. Taking the former will cost you 1,000 - 1,500Php plus you still need to hike from the jumpoff point up to the falls. We opted to take the latter: hiking up at the wee hours of morning until we reach the waterfalls.
The town of Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro is very blessed to be surrounded by a lot of beautiful and crystal clear beaches. Each has its own unique beauty. There is at least one beach that will fit one's preference or lifestyle. If you want your stay to be in a cozy, luxurious and serene ambiance, there's Coco Beach. If you want it to be very majestic by situating yourself in a breathtaking landscape, being sandwiched by the shimmering waters of Mindoro, try booking a stay at the Sandbar in Boquete Beach. Divers prefer Sabang Beach because it boasts of stunning dive spots and magnificent coral reefs.
We met at JAM bus station in Buendia where we bought some last minute supplies. It is easy to spot the bus that will take you to the port where you can board Mindoro bound ferries. Just look for one with a Pier (or Batangas Pier) signboard. Our bus departed at around 9:00AM. The three-hour ride was not yet enduring as our spirits were still enthusiastic towards the experiences in store for us for three days and two nights. It was noon when we reached Batangas Pier. There were minor mishaps prior to entering the port: our fresh meat and butane might not make it inside after inspection. We were assisted by the staff. Though I was apprehensive, they were able to bring in our meat and butane. I did not want to think that all of it was a fraud so I just shrugged off all the negativities and focused on the day ahead. We opted to take our lunch inside the port after checking in.
April 15, 2012 - Four members of The BACKPACKERS (BP) namely, Clue Fajardo, Weng Topasi, Chons Zosa, and Heinz Alvarez joined and facilitated a Mt. Makiling dayhike for UPLB graduating and soon-to-graduate students.
Three years ago, I started an adventure in a mountain that's said to be mystical: Mt. Makiling. Mountaineering, and even backpacking, were not my cup of tea then. The complexities of the sport were more of perplexing to me. Thus, I came in unprepared. I even had jeans on instead of wearing a trek pants. It was a trek to the mountain's peak via traditional UPLB trail. After reaching Station 17, I aborted the expedition because of the ire weather which made the trail implausibly hazardous.
The last town that we visited: Kalayaan, Laguna! Kalayaan in the local language means freedom. And perhaps the best word to describe our free flowing adventure! We were eyeing for a trip to the Twin Falls in Nagcarlan, Laguna. But we learned that it would be another two hour trip from Cavinti and it was already 4 in the afternoon when we finished our boating expedition atLumot Lake. So instead of going to Nagcarlan, we had a spontaneous trip back to Kalayaan, Laguna, in search for the town's version of Twin Falls.
stripes of white and black lakebirds hovering around the lake
Another man made lake caught our attention as we were surveying the Caliraya Lake area. Lumot Lake, also in Cavinti, is said to be a hit for bass fishing in the country. Lumot in the local dialect means moss. The name sure sounds less grander than that of the bigger Caliraya Lake. I asked the local at the Japanese Garden if visiting Lumot Lake would be worthwhile and she said yes with a lot of conviction. So when we went out of the park and hit the road in search for Caliraya Lake's twin sister: Lumot Lake.
BP couple Angel and Ivan at a ledge near the lakeside
A man made lake that was created in late 1930s by a US Army Engineer by flooding the Cavinti valley of the Sierra Madre mountain range to generate hydroelectric power for Manila (source:http://www.calirayalake.com/historyclryalake.html). Ever since it drew popularity, real estate developers started to enhance the surroundings as witnessed by the several resorts and clubhouses that circumscribe the lake. A two-day trip at Caliraya Lake would be enticing and complete if you will book an overnight accommodation at some of the popular hotels and resorts here. In my humble opinion, the most popular among these is Lagos Del Sol Resort, but the other resorts are also contending to be the best provider of amenities and adventures at the lake. For a complete list of the resorts in the area, click here.
An hour away from Tanay, Rizal (approximately three hours away from Manila) is the quaint town of Pangil in the province of Laguna. Who knew that a hidden natural wonder can be found along the town's peaceful roads. After entering Pangil, approximately five minutes away, you will see a marker on the road pointing out the direction to the park. Take a left turn and you will pass by a barangay until the sight of the houses decreases and you will be greeted by the park's admission office.
April of 2012 has started! Despite the not-so-good weather, we are sure most of you are already planning your ULTIMATE SUMMER OUTING. Hundreds or thousands of people will surely flock the shores of Boracay, Puerto Galera or Anawangin especially for next week's holidays! These destinations are so popular that it attracts local travelers and foreign tourists alike.
But if you are a travel junkie or a nature enthusiast but you are out of budget or not comfortable in taking that long trips to the said destinations, you do not have to worry! There are lots of places just near the metropolis that will satisfy your craving for a nice dip, a breathtaking scenery and a nice but cheap summer escapade.
April 1, 2012 - Four of The BACKPACKERS had the opportunity to take on a journey to search for some exciting destinations just near Metro Manila. And first up, we headed towards the mountainous town of Tanay, Rizal to visit the famous Daranak Falls.