2012 "lakwatsa" in Retrospect

Two thousand and twelve has been really kind to me. Looking back, and listing down every single moment, I would think that all of it aren't just ordinary days, or trips, or even work. There are no ordinary moments, as they say. Every single thing that the universe conspired has its own reasons. Whether good or bad, I learned to appreciate it. After all, mistakes shape us, and apart from these departure-arrival scenes that took over my year, I am very thankful for everything. To a tougher, wiser, and hmmm a lot less emo?! Haha

So without further ado (and before I say too much inspirational-shenanigan), and however late this post may be, I present to you the highlights of my 2012 lakwatsa in retrospect.

dududunn.**   ** * < )//''** o*
(not necessarily in chronological order but most probably will be in a chronological order.)

Location: Hong Kong
Hong Kong or 香港, in a nutshell is a place full of people with small chinky eyes. The family planned this trip the year before. Here, I almost lost my beloved film camera, met a really warm Filipino family and witnessed the play of lights amidst the skyrocketing skyscrapers of the so-called Commercial hub of Asia.  I went to the land of that big-eared mouse and Ocean adventure, which is, by the way, the best amusement park i've been to, after Enchanted Kingdom, obviously. I like the tram, by the way.... Hmm and the fact that they serve milk tea at McDonalds.

Location: Tarlac
Who would think that this killer volcano has evolved into something beautiful? I still find it deadly though. I can't manage to swim past 10  feet from the lakeshore (I do not know how to swim?) But still, it's something one should experience here in our country.
The fragile landscape, the colors of a beautiful disaster, the risky trail, the dead silence of the crater inside this megalith, a bumpy 4x4 ride and not to mention the dreaded 3-hour horizontal hike above sharp rocks + under the searing heat of the sun.

This trip shouldn't be taken too lightly.

MT. PUNDAQUIT TRAVERSE //check out my post!
Location: Zambales
Probably my first "real" hike (gotta check this first from my mentor Ivan). Accompanied by the sun, good friends,  bottle of water and a little fatalistic attitude. This was day one of Ivan's birthday shenanigan, which, by the way, I really enjoyed. The varied landscape from rocky paths, bamboo arches, grassy slopes and the agoho-fied beach, this is one of the most visual-gasmic treks (well, aside from Pinatubo) that jumpstarted my career in what many call "pinaphirapan ang sarili sa pag-akyat ng bundok"
nb:  Kaso reminder lang dapat  magbaon ng madaming tubig.

Location: Zambales din ata
We did not settle for that overcrowded Anawangin cove, so we took another boat to Nagsasa, a lesser dense camp-beach-hike-swim destination in this part of Zambales. This is where we celebrated Ivan's birthday... (Si ivan first time uminom dito. uh-uh yeah you've seen that alright wag na magkaila) Oh and did you know *feeling streetsmart mode* why those seemingly foreign trees ended up in the sandy beaches of Zambales?
No? Okay.

Well... they ended up there because mount pinatubo, supposedly blew the seeds away back then!!!

CAPONES ISLAND //check out my post!
Location: Zambales din 'to
Day two of Ivan's birthday shenanigan. I fell in love with this island. Even though it's quite hard to reach this especially during monsoon season, the reward of climbing it's lighthouse with a rickety staircase is worth it. A 360-view of the western seas and the rocky outcrops of Zambales is a sight to see. We saw couples having their pre-nup shoot here as well and I bet it's a really nice place for a wedding.

But... you've got to assist the senior citizens on swimming to the shore, climbing a 100-feet staircase and hiking for 10 minutes.

But still worth it!

Location: Secret
That's Rizal area on the background, by the way, in case you're wondering, and a little pan to the right will be Laguna lake.
Of course, the rest of the year I've been sitting on my workstation (-_-)"
But I'm enjoying it, don't get me wrong, because most of the time I witness strange but nice events through my glass window, e.g, a sudden dance of lightning, a shy rainbow, clouds passing through their private thoroughfare, blue sunrise, a window cleaner risking his life, and even the chopper that brought our former president to the nearby hospital.

I miss this view to be honest, I just hope my boss assigns me back to that workstation.

Location: Baguio City
I was too curious about this structure before and good thing my companions from the Azalea residences team took time to checkitawt. I do find something creepy lurking behind those brittle concrete walls, especially on the empty corridors and rooms.

But i like it.
? - have yet to be proven

Location: San Juan, La Union
A moonset, my good ol' workmates, unlimited food (perhaps?), a hefty amount of beer over a campfire, gleeful crashing waves and even seeing the sun rise from the horizon while swimming in the shore, is just as perfect.

Surf's up!

TARAK RIDGE MAJOR CLIMB//check out my post!
Location: Bataan
Tarak Ridge rises bashfully along the lower side of Mt. Mariveles, in Bataan. If you've been on a plane en route NAIA coming from Manila bay, you can see it jutting just a few leagues from the Corregidor coast.
It isn't your walk-in-the-park type of adventure as tough trails, steep ascents and deadly cliffs are out and about.

But of course a rewarding scenery will be seen on top of the bald mountain ridge, and a strong sweeping wind curtain coming from Manila bay and the west can knock your tents down.

PICO DE LORO DAYHIKE (not to be mistaken with SMDC's hamilo cove)
Location: Mt. Palay Palay, Ternate, Cavite
It isn't a really good time for us and the mountain when we tried our first ascent in the twin peaks of Mt. Palay Palay. Aggressive clouding(?) were on our way and I didn't even get my photo taken when I was on peak 2 (selfish tendencies!!!)
Famous for its phallic rock.. er... monolith, i mean, the peak resemble a parrot's beak seen from a lower elevation, hence the name, Pico de Loro.

Pardon the photo above, by the way.

Location: Singapore
I haven't seen much of the Lion City but it's the people I met, the food that we ate and the environment that made an impression on me. I'm sure I'll come back here, not on an F1 race season, btw, for I don't want the hotel rooms charging an extra because it's freakin' F1 race season.

I still find this city, quite, maybe a little bit, or perhaps... lonely.
Saludo ako sa inyo, mga bagong bayaning OFW.

Location: El Nido, Palawan
Hear ye' I present 't tyou! El Nido!
Like any other corporate (slave) person, a long weekend or a holiday will get your numb asses off the office chair. Yes, I'm one of those, and truth be told, a weeklong trip to one of the most beautiful places in our motherland jumpstarted my November.
El Nido is just a 6-hour bus ride from Puerto Princesa City. Cradled by the towering limestone rock formations and the cove, this little town (which is, according to a local, the birthplace of Katrina Halili) is a jumpoff point of everything that is eyegasmic. Hmm not really out of this world, but a place where you'll be in awe at the world's creations.
If you're into beach hopping, snorkeling while having lunch, a hidden beach, a secret beach, lagoon beaches, helicoooopter beaches,or anything beach, then El Nido is just for you. And --- a really nice foreign tourist stock going out and about. Feast your eyes, skin, and tastebuds, that is El Nido!

Location: Mt. Palay Palay

And because the Mayans failed, we just hopped on a bus, took a long road to my hometown in Cavite and made a revenge climb to my unrequited love that is, Pico de Loro.
It was a very sunny day. Turns out that there was a weeklong dry spell and the muddy trail before has already dried up to its cracks. Everything was favorable for a revenge climb. I'm with almost the same persons who share the same love for mountains aka "pinapahirapan ang sarili sa pag-akyat ng bundok".
The day took a while, and as usual we were all tired but it won't end unless, I have a gazillion of photos at peak 2.

Traveling is a choice. Neither it is always an act of escapism. Going out there is an act of will, whatever reason you may have.

If you really want to try and see what this world has to offer with your own eyes, do it.
One thing though: Let's start on our own country. :)

For more and more escapades, and peculiar hours on the road! Cheers for 2013!


  1. Congrats on an adventure-filled 2012, boy!

  2. naks.. mentor tlga.. congrats on your growing career in mountaineering. more climbs to come this 2013 :)

    btw, may naalala ako sa last pic. hehe. yung in-edit ni louie. haha


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