Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘fun’

​The Magic of Dinner Over Movies (Eleventh Bite): Food Feast At The Carnival

This blog was supposedly written a few weeks ago but it was delayed due to a number of circumstances and loads of procrastination (sorry about that, guys!). But I still find this food hub worth sharing…and returning to again.

Food hubs are becoming popular in the Philippines and the city of Marikina would not miss out on this trend. There are loads of food hubs around the city, but The Carnival is one of the flashiest places to drop by and enjoy.

Brightly lit up, it can be easily spotted beside the road when taking a jeep going to Montalban, Rizal. Flocks of people kept on filling the site because everybody seems excited with what it has to offer. Its festive air and colorful atmosphere have brought thrill to every hungry foodie like me.

Each food stall has its own unique offer, whether it would be shawarma, burgers, sizzling dishes or fried ice-cream. At my first night, I already had my personal favorites. One of them is the Brewskie Pasta Hub.

Each pasta cost around P150 to P200. This creamy, chicken pesto was so good, I nearly cried at its first bite. But because it’s so heavy, I had to bring half of it home for breakfast.

My second favorite would be the Milkshake Lab.

Milkshakes go around P80 to P150, and one is also very heavy because of its abundance in sweet pleasures that overflow from the brim of the cup. This red velvet milkshake nearly knocked me down because it is really,  really tasty.

These two were paired with nachos which would be best shared with friends.

Because I did not have the chance to try the others, looks like I need to comeback. Visiting The Carnival is the perfect wrap up to our Marikina trip. But it seems to be also the perfect prelude to more visits to Marikina.

Breathing Adventure: Going Back to Mt. Manalmon and Mt. Gola

The rain has passed but the mud was all around my shoes and my pants. I struggled around the slippery rocks that littered the trail. I have returned here for the second time but everything seems to have changed at Mt. Manalmon.

 

wp-1480253695245.jpg

The almost level but muddy path at Mt. Manalmon

It’s been more than a year since my friend and I hiked Mt. Manalmon at San Miguel, Bulacan. This time, we came back with a bigger group and we went on a twin-hike from Mt. Manalmon to Mt. Gola.

 

Since both mountains have an estimated height of nearly 200 MASL, it should be the easiest of all easy climbs. But without proper exercise, I have quite struggled on the way.

The path, still damp from the two-day rain, was sodden and muddy. Our tour guide, Winter, began the trek on the safer side of the trail, opposite to the one we had taken on our first visit. He cautioned us a twin hike is impossible if the river remained too high to cross. Arriving before 6am, the still grey sky would not give a hint if it would rain or not.

Gladly, the assaults were not steep enough to add to my burden. Most of the trek were on an almost level path. The initial part of the trail was covered with man-made stairs. The trouble with this kind of trail is that this would become dangerously slippery during rains. I was in bigger trouble because my shoes were designed for the muddy trail, not for the rocky path. Even though the trail would lead us to the muddy path, most of it constituted of rocks – huge ones mostly.

The very summit of Mt. Manalmon itself could be reached by scrambling on a gigantic boulder sitting atop of it. Despite the struggle, there is still romance in every second chance. Thin wisps of clouds playfully hovered over the vast beauty of Biak-na-Bato National Park before they completely shy away from the rising sun. The winding Madlum River was sparkling beneath the fresh, golden sun rays. On the other side was Mt. Gola, a mountain I have wished to trek the first time I reached the peak of Mt. Manalmon.

 

wp-1480253723672.jpg

The view on top of Mt. Manalmon. Mt. Gola is the one covered by clouds.

 

Mt. Arayat, one of Luzon’s highest peaks, could be seen on the opposite distance. Seeing its silhouette stirs up the hope in me that soon enough, I’ll be ticking this mountain off my bucket list.

 

wp-1480253749041.jpg

The silhouette of Mt. Arayat saying hello from afar.

 

After a breakfast of eggs and boiled bananas, we headed to Mt. Gola. I did not expect bigger challenges going there.

To reach the other side of the mountain, we had to cross a portion of the Madlum

wp-1480253769038.png

Crossing the river.

River. It is important to have tour guides on this trip because they could judge if the waters are safe enough to cross. The river was almost reaching our waists. We had to hold on to one another to keep each other from being carried away by the current.

 

We kept on walking on level ground until we came upon a roped segment that welcomed us halfway to Mt. Gola’s summit.

 

wp-1480253889335.jpg

Struggling at the roped segment.

This walkway, covered with another gigantic boulder, has become more slippery because of the rain. The key here is to step on the rougher portions of the ground to ensure footing. Taking time would be a better idea because racing with other hikers would only mean trouble. But going up and down on this portion made me completely exhausted, partly because I was battling the thought of falling down.

 

By 9am we have reached the tip of Mt. Gola. The sun was already glaring on the bare side of the peak. Completely tired, I just stared at the blue skies and the green horizon.

We have taken the same trail upon our return to the jump-off. We ended the traverse by 12nn but there are still plenty of adventures to try.

 

wp-1480253930953.jpg

The view on top of Mt. Gola.

 

Let me re-introduce to you the monkey bridge.

 

wp-1480254180461.png

Crossing the monkey bridge.

This is the same hanging bridge we had crossed a year ago. If this reminds you of a milk ad where schoolchildren are crossing a bridge made of thin wire, this is the exact spot where the commercial was shot. This time, tour guides required tourists to put on harnesses. Now, I’m proud of myself for crossing it last wear without such safety gear. There are still no fatal accidents at the monkey bridge yet but the tour guide told us they have to put safety measures to ensure zero fatality.

 

The key for crossing the bridge is to hold onto the wire. It gets wobbly in the middle but I kept myself entertained with raucous tourists splashing into the river while whistling a silly tune to call the wind.

Once we have ravished at the sight of fun at the river while crossing the bridge, wp-1480254088080.jpgit’s our turn to dip into the waters.

Maybe not.

I just wanted to watch the others while I tried to remove the mud off my shoes by dipping them into the water. But a small brown butterfly kept on bothering me as it kept on landing on my cellphone which was covered with a bright red casing.

wp-1480254107478.jpgI tried to lure it to land on my friend’s phone covered in black casing. The little fellow ignored it. Instead, it kept on dancing around me and my cellphone.

And so I let it land on my finger.

I have a theory it must have been attracted to me and my phone because of the bright colors we’re donned in. Maybe, it thought I was a gigantic flower sitting on the riverbank with lots and lots of nectar. Sorry little, fella. Try a real flower.

I’m glad to return to this place again. I am thankful because the Lord answered our prayers for fair, rainless weather. I am looking forward to exploring more of my hometown next time. 🙂

 

wp-1480254127305.jpg

The whole team posing on top of Mt. Gola.

 

Breathing Adventure: Lounging On Mt. Daraitan’s Treacherous Assault

wp-image-1659578173jpg.jpg

My heart was at my throat while I was listening at our tour guide’s orientation. For the first time, I felt a little apprehensive against a planned hike. We were told this would not be an easy one but that fact did not dawn on me until that morning. We were about to conquer an assault we have not yet conquered. I never thought my limits would be tested at Mt. Daraitan – at least a portion of it.
With the world still numb in darkness, we were already bustling with excitement as we waited for the van at 2 o’clock in the morning. I was excited on meeting new friends as well as catching up with old buddies. Because this was the first time we had rented a van, I thought we’d be cozy for the rest of the trip.

 

wp-image-1877555286jpg.jpg

Riding the raft in pitch darkness

Arriving at Tanay, Rizal two hours later, we were surprised to find a wide river separating us from the jump-off. There’s no other way to get there but to cross the six-feet deep waters through a makeshift raft that was able to carry the ten of us. We had to bring all of our things to the summit because shower was also at the other side. But nature’s whimsical charm had made its way to brush off our little disappointment. The smooth rocks beneath the river peered at us when our lights pierced through the clear, pristine waters. It’s going to be a beautiful adventure.
A short tricycle ride carried us to the registration area. The registration area, which

wp-1470333322220.jpg

The team with their headlights still on

was actually the baranggay hall, was jam-packed. Weekends do make terrible hike dates sometimes, even at such a cold Sunday like this. Though hikers were told an assault would meet them ahead, nobody dared to turn back and let us take the rest of the mountain’s space.
Existing blog posts told us Mt. Daraitan’s difficulty was at 4/9, which was a notch higher than the usual 3/9 level mountains we have visited frequently. Our tour guides, Delo and Marquez (because he said his first name was hard to memorize), told us there are two routes to the top – the hard route and the easy route. The first, which was everybody’s usual way, would take 2 to 3 hours. The other one, which might have been a leisure to most of us, would take about 5 to 6 hours. Forget that one. We have became willing advocates of the tougher road.

 

wp-1470333415446.jpg

A steep ascent ahead

As the pathways were still dark at 5 am, most of us have to rent headlamps for 30 pesos (secretly vowing I will buy one on the next payday – next month). After we huddled to pray for God’s guidance and protection, we immediately trudged off with the long line of tourists. Soft drops of the early morning drizzle were already pelting on our already cold faces.
The ascent was a bit more arduous because some of the pathways were at 80 degrees. Most of the muddy path was littered with huge limestones that either slipped us down or helped us up. Around us were sturdy trees that kept our footing sturdy, shielding us from the treacherous cliffs that lingered on one side. The daylight rendered our headlights useless after an hour. Gray clouds have not been cleared from the skies I expected to be blue that day. The wind then howled like mad above our heads.
We were refreshed as it blew horrendously above us, resonating like a typhoon about

wp-image-884382679jpg.jpg

The sign at the summit

to make a landfall. But at that moment, we were not threatened by its howling angst, because it enlivened our weary muscles. But I could sense these kinds of blustery gusts would soon bring rain. While I welcomed the cool winds, I hoped to have a little bit of sun warm me up for the rest of the day.
The sea of clouds were gone and the fog was lifting up, but the wide, green view welcomed us at the last resting point leading to the summit. The little caves that were hidden in dense rain forests have been left behind. The pain of clutching those sharp limestones was forgotten as we stood before the picture-worthy spot that was about to be blurred by the rising fog. It was beautiful, wondering how green and vivid it would have been without the fog. Still, the view appeared to be a dreamy haze that might be stomped eternally in the minds of campers. It was just 8am in the morning and I had this inkling this sight was better than at the highest point.

wp-image-390473243jpg.jpg
Upon arriving at the summit, it was even more crowded than we expected. True enough, the fog has already covered the view. I would have loved to stay and watch the clouds dissipate but more and more tourists were flocking in the area. If there would be anything memorable there, that would be our group action pose on one of the limestones.

wp-1470332360425.jpg

When superheroes unite on the top of Mt. Daraitan

And this strange plant that was hidden behind other plants at the edge of the summit. Can anyone know what it is? I would gladly appreciate your help.

wp-1470332368472.jpg
We proceeded to descend to the Tinipak River. Not yet halfway there, the rain started to fall. In a short moment, it became a downpour that slowed a few of us down. We held onto sturdy trees to keep us from rolling down. This was a crucial part of the trek because it still involved steep pathways and edgy rocks. I was irritated because of the seemingly endless rain that only stopped when we arrived at the foot of the mountain (to which the rest of our group clapped when we came there dripping wet).

wp-image-1699269895jpg.jpg

Gazing at the current of the Tinipak River

The rains have subsided after we took lunch in a hut beside the river. Not wasting the moment, we went to see and wade our feet into the sandy waters of the Tinipak River. From its name (“tinipak” means “chopped off piece” in Tagalog), huge rocks towered along the river’s meandering path. The murky current slices through the verdant Mt. Daraitan and another mountain, sleepily looking down at us as we frolicked on the sabulous riverbed. The roaring sound of the hasty current was memorable, as if its waters were washing away our wp-image-1656096907jpg.jpgtired souls.
The pathway back to the jump-off was lovelier. The captivating landscape garnished with lush, green grass and tiny, yellow flowers seemed to have transported us to a portion of Middle-earth. At our left side, the river’s current became stronger and louder. Some portions of the pathway were danger zones though because of the falling rocks ahead. We needed to hurry and to be alert especially that many are

wp-1470764600245.jpg

The pathway back to reality

crossing that path. Horses carrying loads of goods would rush past us. Ahead, the tricycles were waiting to ferry us back into reality.

 
Instead of crossing the river through a raft, we crossed the hanging bridge. It was sturdy but my head nearly spun as I wobbled while walking on the metal steps. Seeing the river below, the pristine waters

wp-1470332394019.jpg

Collecting guts at the hanging bridge

 

were already replaced by murkier waters caused by the wild current. At the other side where we came from, people were flocking for the next boat ride that has not arrived yet.
I turned back to the mountain which is now shrouded by rain clouds. Hiking season has almost come to a close because of the rainy season. But I guess no season would be able to dictate when we should stop. I bet the bad weather did not dampen our enthusiasm in this adventure and the mud did not spoil the fun we had in our visit to Mt. Daraitan.

 

 

wp-1470333251815.jpg

The whole adventure team posing after another adventure at Mt. Daraitan

The Magic Of Dinner Over Movies (Eighth Bite): At Home In the Metro In the Hammock Kitchenette

wp-1468025228049.jpgMy initial impression of eating in the suburbs is too commercialized and a bit crammed at most times. We are treated with an endless choice of fast foods lined up on every street corners, offering a variety of burgers and fries that is only made distinct by their packaging.

But hidden in the corners of Mandaluyong is a kitchenette that is closer to home. Safely tucked away from the noise and toxicity of the rushing main roads, the Hammock Kitchenette is the place where you can eat, relax, and swing away from the fast paced city life.

wp-1467684364770.jpg

Books to keep you excited while waiting for meals

Small but dandy, the place is not crammed like any other restaurant. This is ideal for a wp-1467684302951.jpgnoisy group like ours, who needed to giggle and laugh our hearts out on a weekend. The Hammock will instantly give you a warm welcome, homey feel upon entering. Some of furnishings remind me of home. On one table was a sungka board, where I tried to play with the white conch shells by myself. The other end was lined up with books, all yours for picking and reading while waiting for your food. (Just a reminder, not one is yours to take home)

The place won’t keep you hungry and bored, especially if you have fun friends to joke

wp-1467684326041.jpg

Mylene doing her artwork 🙂

around with and colored pencils to play with. In such hungry moments, creativity is unleashed. This place allows one to doodle or color mandala designs as meals are being prepared lovingly.

 

wp-1467684311670.jpg

A sample of their menu

The menu feature mostly Filipino food. Pasta, sandwiches, and shakes are also served. Prices range from Php70-100 for the shakes and Php120-200 for the main course. When it was served, the servings appeared little, to which I did not expect it to be heavy and full.

 

And my, my! The food is indeed worth the wait. First served is the Bagnet in Tamarind Soup (Php120) which is served with rice in a pot. The soup is

wp-1467684336212.jpg

You won’t regret when you try thier Bagnet in Tamarind Soup

not your usual salty taste as it boasts of something more unique. One of my friends ordered Pakbet ala bagnet (Php120) which was very healthy because the tasty bagnet was partnered with a lot of vegetables. My Chicken and garlic sausage pasta (Php130) was very tasty and satisfying because it is not lacking in meat pieces and the sauce. It was perfect combination to the Nutty Banana Shake (Php70).

 

Anyone for desert? Who wouldn’t? We took

wp-1467684343555.jpg

Go healthy with their Pakbet ala Bagnet

the chance to try Hazelnut mallows sandwich (Php70) which was a hazelnut version of smores which nearly overflowed to the side of our sandwiches. That’s the best finishing treat. Too bad we have to go.
Before we go, I left my little piece of artwork in the kitchenette. It’s would serve as a memorial on how I enjoyed the good food, friendly staff, and memorable place. I hope my little puppy would bring good vibes to the next visitors who would come here.

 

 

wp-1467684353137.jpg

Pasta and doodles can go together

Whenever you would be bored with fast food chains around the metro, drop by the Hammock Kitchenette. It is just located at 40B Basilan St., Brgy. Malamig, 1550 Mandaluyong. Its street is located just opposite of Rizal Technical University. Remember to bring your friends along so you can have someone to share the enjoyable moment. Bon apetit!

wp-1467684382158.jpg

My artwork proudly sits at their little art gallery. Enjoy! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breathing Adventure: When the Heavens Come Down (A Twin Peak Adventure At Mt. Cuyabo-Mt. Maynoba)

I felt like entering into twilight zone as the tricycle bumped into the pitch-black road at Brgy. Cuyabo in Tanay, Rizal. This is the first time our team were able to set out very early in the morning. It was almost 5am and the three of us did not have a bit of sleep the night before. All of us booked for a tour group for Mt. Batolusong, which disappointingly, did not show up at our designated meeting place.

But we were determined to set out into the wilderness again. Packed with our heavy bags and a reliable data connection, we reviewed directions from travel blogs and soon found ourselves at Mt. Cuyabo and Mt. Maynoba.

This twin peak is an almost-new hiking destination in South Luzon. Surrounded by other popular mountains like Mt. Irid, Mt. Cuyabo and Mt. Maynoba are relatively small. However, they boost this one sighting that would only be seen when you arrive there at the right time.

image

Past 5am and we were beginning to trudge along the damp trail lined with dew-covered grass. The trail became suddenly steep at the foot of Mt. Cuyabo. But that was just the beginning.

We could hear the birds singing their wild but glorious morning call among the dense forest leading to the summit. There was a faint fog that brought a slight chill over my face. This made the hike lovelier, although the initial trail was bringing pressure to my legs. Almost halfway, I was sweating too much and nearly dead-tired. It was tempting to rest for long periods, not until I turned around and saw the sea of clouds.

image

This is heaven on earth! I thought I could only see such a sight on Mt. Pulag. The mountains surrounding us shyly covered themselves in the pure, white blanket of clouds from a distance. However, they were beginning to fizzle off from the morning kiss of the great, golden sun so we have to get to the summit as quick as we can.

image

It was a sight to behold. The Great Artist had lovingly stroke different hues of blue and faint yellow on His favorite sky blue canvas above our heads. The sound of birds seem to cheer gleefully at His masterpiece while they flitted around His watercolor palette. But it’s a fleeting artwork, because He’s planning to create a new one soon. And because we love keeping memories, we have endlessly made selfies beside His work. This is the moment when we would love to pull out a guitar and sing a heartfelt song of praise. I hope we could do that next time.

image

We rested and ate breakfast for a while at Mt. Cuyabo. There was still another mountain to conquer. Sherwin, our tour guide, told us we would try our best to see the clouds on Mt. Maynoba’s summit. But 8am and now sleep-deprived, we missed a better view of the sea of clouds over Mt. Maynoba.

image

The sun was a bit crueler by this time. Her rays had finally fizzled the rest of the clouds that once covered the sleepy mountains. Yet, Mt. Cuyabo appeared greener as we viewed it from the peak of Mt. Maynoba.

image

Our adventure does not end here yet. If you think the sea of clouds is the only highlight of this place, there are more to see beyond this twin peaks. There are eight waterfalls to visit before the trail ends.

But we need a shut eye first…or I’ll end up clawing the damp soil towards the falls.

Our tour guide led us a to a corner where the tall grass has been cleared away. This is where campers would set up their tents for an overnight stay. We spread our jackets and raincoats over the still damp grass to finally have the sleep that we’ve been craving for.

I opened my eyes to see gray clouds hovering over me. My friends have also awakened. I felt like napping for about a few minutes but I was surprised we had dosed off for an hour!

We had gained enough strength to continue the trek. Since it was a Saturday, the tourists were almost closely lined up at some parts of the trail. Fortunately, we don’t get to bump into each other at the steeper portions, especially at the roped segments. More fortunately, we had a good sleep before that or I might roll myself downwards until I reach the falls.

The sound of gushing water could be heard at a near distance as I slowly balanced myself at the rock-laden, downhill trail that had my head spinning for a while. When we got to the falls, we sat down and took lunch.

image

It was not a huge waterfalls, but it’s still refreshing to stay before it was kept hidden among the hills and the tall trees. The waters were cool and refreshing but we were just to tired to dip into it. Instead, I waded through these waters when we began our trail back.

image

Curious little creatures and insects hovered over the pristine waters of the stream the flowed from the falls. Giant blue dragonflies rested on the enormous green leaves that flourished beside the waters. One huge, dark-colored butterfly covered the sunlight that inched itself between the dense little forest of greens. This is the kind of place I would want to wake up to in the morning, but also the one that can’t be carried back to the tainted and crowded suburbs we knew as home.

image

We passed by the other waterfalls that were smaller than the one we stayed. It was noon and the trek was about to end. Small rice paddies that cradled a

image

little hut on its corner were already looming as we hit the last leg of the visit. Houses could be seen lined up along a cemented road at a distance. The paradise was already far away. We were already back at the registration site.

It’s an achievement that we were able to come and end the tour early, without having the troubles of being late. The disappointing meet-up turned out to be a blessing in the end. Besides, we saved much on our expenses when we had our own tour. The travel group had charged us with a bigger fee.

image

It’s great when these little unexpected circumstances bring you to more awesome moments. It just takes that determination to shove off the disappoinment and breakaway into the wonderful unknown.

Breathing Adventure: Jumping Into the Crater’s Mouth at Mt. Pinatubo

image

I woke up to a very chilly morning as the van sped across the bucolic, quiet roads of Tarlac. Sunrise was already breaking through the dreamy fog that shrouded the seemigly endless, narrow road. Amidst the cheery laughter of the people in the van, I wanted to have more of that shut eye. I only had an hour of sleep after coming from an overnight work. But I have to tuck that comfty nap for a while because that long-awaited adventure at Mt. Pinatubo is about to begin.

image

I had been longing to hike this dormant volcano that peacefully rests on the border of Tarlac and Zaambales. Though this tourist destination boasts of being a fun and friendly, chill hike, this mountain has carried a very violent past. Its 1991 eruption has been considered as one of the strongest in history, causing extensive damage around the area and affecting distant regions and countries. I could still remember my old nipa hut playhouse being covered in white ash days after that disaster. Still, beauty had risen from beneath those ashes. This was what I had been anticipating for this trip.

image

We had to take a bumpy ride on a 4×4 truck before reaching the hike’s jump-off site. The vast, almost bare, but scenic, rocky terrain opened wide before us as our heads bobbed along the ride. Our tour guide told us how this place would be changed into a pseudo-war zone when Filipino and American soldiers train here for the annual Balikatan exercises.

image

The place looked like one giant, crushed highway. The small pebbles and huge boulders littered on the jagged pathway were remnants of that deadly lahar flow that came with the eruption more than twenty years ago. Cliffs and ranges that have been scraped by the molten lava loomed at our sides as we were about halfway to the jump-off. Some of them have been precariously and fantastically molded by a more previous lava flow a hundred years ago. Our tour guide proudly told us that this area would be used as a

 

favorite shooting site for film and television productions. He reiterated countless stories of actors and actresses seen there, with him once taken as an extra for the wp-1464373136615.jpgshoot!
There are no dense forests or elfen-like jungles but the green little hills and the carved valleys were enough to awe me as we tip-toed over the rocks from the beginning of the jump-off site. I believe this area can be a good geological study. However, this valley is slowly eroding because of the little streams that flow from the top of the mountain. One area even had a minor landslide as the soil had become loose.

image

Groups of Aeta children waved and said hello to passing hikers. I find them amusing because they were making makeshift houses from any thing they can find. Our guide said their parents would work as guardians of the mountain. They are the ones who check out the weather conditions of the place as well as making sure whether the mountain is safe to climb or not.

image

At the last leg of the trail was the original jump-off point. A sign told us the estimated time we can get there. Young adults, it said, can reach the summit in 18 minutes. But our tour guide warned us that’s not the case.

True enough, the path became even

 

rockier. The rocks were definitely a challenge to my two left feet. Still, this is the wp-1464375493942.jpgeasier path, said our guide. The other that would come from Zambales is the more challenging trail. But I would not ask for that for now.

image

Reaching the summit was a relief from the stone-filled pathway that almost zapped half of our energy. The rocky terrain was way behind us as we arrived at a well-developed garden-paradise that was draped with lovely landscape.

image

The memory of the chaotic ash rain and molten fire brand that nearly destroyed the mountain was wiped away by the stunning blue green lake sitting at the very crater that now lazily yawns before the clear blue skies. I curiously touched the waters and found out it was cold. But no one is allowed to dive into it because no lifeguard can save you from its deep abyss.

image

For now, the steam from this volcano would go out at the other side of the mountain, our tour guide said. I breathed in the fresh air until the tranquility that fills the place lulled me back to the sleep I’ve been longing for that day. Mt. Pinatubo may release its rage again into another time and era, but at this moment, she lets her weary visitors rest at her bosom.

imageSince this was a two-hour trek, the group I’m with decided we take a side trip to the falls before we go back. But we had to scrape that plan at our descent because the rain was threatening to pour down. Should the rains be heavy, there’s the tendency that the stream waters may rise and make our journey more dangerous.

We were leaving the site in our 4×4 trucks when the rains poured down. The ride back was even heart-stopping because there were times our dear, elderly driver would try to cross a higher plane where we had nearly fall sideways. The bumpy ride seemingly became even bumpier! Now, I guess this is where the adventure is, as it made my heart jump to my throat.

The hike may not be as strenuous as the previous ones we’ve taken but it was a memorable one. Maybe because through its transformation, Mt. Pinatubo is a testimony that no dire or tragic history can ever overcome hope in this generation.image

Breathing Adventure: Fluttering Fun On the Weekend Where Everything Flies at Clark Airbase (Angeles City, Pampanga)

Tourism has been one of the main highlights at Angeles City in the province of Pampanga. When looking for a good restaurant or an amusement center, Angeles City would have one at every corner. Deca Wake Park is worth the visit even if it’s located in a quite isolated village away from the main city. And with Valentine’s Day smooching the air two weeks ago, Clark Freeport Zone has been packed with tourists that fell in love with everything that flies at the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. We were one of the first visitors to check in just to see hot air balloons for the first time.

(I acknowledge my friends Cristina Sison and Ritz Ricardo for their pictures in this wonderful one-day event. I am awestruck by the beauty of their shots.)

12670169_552340671599779_5617593384823323860_n

Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta:

12734128_552344794932700_9105380592415042712_nWe had a nearly fifteen-minute walk along the dusty highway from the point where the tricycle was allowed to pass. Tired but happy, we stopped in for a late lunch at a mall near Clark Freeport Zone. We were expectant because all of us were first-timers at the Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

The Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is a yearly airshow event where aviators from around the world gather to showcase the beauty and awareness of aviation. Entrance to this event was at Php300 (US $6.31). February 11 was the first of the four-day event  and a lot had already arrived.

IMG_20160211_171447

A paraglider

12743570_552340398266473_3697378189625949798_n

Kites littered the sky

I was thrilled at the sound of jet planes zooming above us. Paragliders jumped into the air like rainbow dandelions, gently dropping upon the green treeless field. Kids and adults alike raced around the open spaces with their fancy kites dancing with the wind. Sights and sounds filled the air with excitement. Everybody was waiting for the flight of the hot air balloons at dusk and most of them were there since morning.

12744655_552335574933622_5646459502545347913_n

Various booths were set up all around the venue while everyone was waiting for the day’s12743731_552336404933539_2509382586622421281_n main highlight. Some of these booths are from the Philippine Air Force, where visitors could try their military gear and machinery. I smiled as I posed for the camera while wearing the heavy bulletproof vest, helmet, and safely locked gun. It’s no joke lifting these weapons around. I wonder what kind of discipline these soldiers undergo to wear such heavy gear while going into battle.

IMG_20160211_165949The interesting part in these photo ops was the military camouflage. Imagine my uneasiness while wearing grass all over 12688241_552341161599730_1024070137905064264_nmy body while trying to focus on the target (even though there was not one). I then poked around the exhibits of various military air gear, other weapons such as hand granades and smoke bombs, and military planes and other vehicles. It’s a privilege when we civilians have been given a glimpse of how a soldier’s life goes. Because of what I had experienced and seen at the exhibit, I salute the Philippine soldiers for their discipline and stamina to serve the country.

12717650_552340938266419_2093151925233472041_n

Exhibit of military air gear

12669692_552343481599498_1079194033296672212_n

Exhibit of hand grenades and smoke bombs

10400613_10153931099932708_4281309047790311920_n

The balloons carrying the name of various sponsors

The announcer at the main stage gave everyone a heads up that the balloons might not fly that day because the winds might be too strong. If the balloons fly when the winds are fast, it might pose danger to the balloon and to the operators of the balloon as well. Fortunately, some of the balloons were able to fly at dusk. However, most of them were commercialized balloons.

So, did we get to ride on one of them? Nope. We don’t have budget for that yet. How much would a balloon ride be? I better not guess.

After some minutes of balloon showcase we went around to check on some of the booths we haven’t seen. We passed on more military planes on display. When we thought that the

12805907_10153946413037708_388984782273087396_n

A baby dinosaur is coming out of its balloon shell! Roar!

hot air balloon showcase was over, more of them came up into the night sky!

Too sad our cameras could not catch the beauty of some of these fancy balloons in the dark. Besides that, the gang wanted to go home to catch the bus to Cubao early. I was fortunate to take a ride straight back to my hometown in Bulacan. And it was the last trip of the day!

I assumed that the last day of the Philippine Hot Air Balloon Festival would have had more fancy balloons than the first day. Still, we had fun at our visit and I would like to return again to see more fancy balloons next time.

12687809_552337964933383_332600903756409756_n

Tag Cloud