Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sneaking around Mt. Kapayas (Lantawan or Torre Peak)



This is the highest point in Mt. Kapayas' Peak
When I got an invitation for this climb, I easily agreed without hesitation since Mt. Kapayas in Catmon Cebu is not a simple climb that can be done with just a group of friends since one needs to get a permit and a guide recognized by the LGU in order to ascend it. Mt. Kapayas is also known as Lantawan Peak or Torre Peak because the highest point of Mt. Kapayas is made of limestone rocks which also resembles the peak of Mt. Mauyog in barangay Tabunan, Balamban.

Tip: Don't Look Down :)
Mt. Kapayas is 50 kilometers north of Cebu City, located in Sitio Kampanya, Barangay Kabangkaya in the bowels of Catmon, Northern Cebu. Rising at 783 MASL and sheltering a couple of mountain villages that have yet to receive the full benefits of modern civilization and add to that some roaming "Nice People Around," this makes the Kapayas Trail or Peak to be less preferred by outdoor groups and enthusiasts.


For safety purposes, it is best and ideal to have get the services of a guide, reserve and get a permit, pay for it then register at the Police Station/municipal hall before climbing Mt. Kapayas. We left the city (North Bus Terminal) around six or seven in the morning and reached the Catmon Municipal Hall after an hour and a half travel.

Interesting landscape view while riding our vehicle
While we’re in the town proper, we bought our packed lunch and replenished our water supply before proceeding to the jump-off point which was a lot of bumps and dust that took another hour or two due to the very rough road. would take us approximately an hour more of travel because of its rough road.

Getting to the jump off point alone is quite the challenge for any vehicle (which is why very few habal-habal drivers will take climbers there unless you are willing to pay for the pricey fees); although the guide usually arranges for multi-cabs/van, we rode a modified elf-type truck and yet even the road was merciless towards it.

Our cool Jump off area where we had to finalize our gear-weight distribution, a quick orientation, GTKY and a prayer
There are steep curves and sometimes twists that at times make it a slow roller coaster ride; and add to that certain areas that are literally "on the edge" of a cliff plus some natural dust to keep you company. The ending? Our transportation suffered a flat tire around Barangay Agsuwao I think before heading to the actual jump-off point.

We passed by and through a lot of these from our vehicle and on foot
The first leg of the trail towards Mt. Kapayas’s summit is open and fully exposed to the sun. The main “obstacle” is exposure to the elements, the heat of the sun which can probably cause heatstroke. If I were to compare the trail towards Kapayas, it is a combination of open and rolling hills trail similar to Alegria's Lanaya with few shaded areas and a lot of rolling hills.


Assaulting under these conditions is really difficult so you have to find some fun things to do like: selfies, groufies, taking photos of cute animals along the way (Goats, Chicken, Horses, Cows) or even that of plant life like flowers, lilies and even fruits like what those two (above) are doing! Hahah

Do you see that mountain range? That's not our destination, Mt. Kapayas is still on the other side of that!
At 12noon, the sun was merciless so we had to take a stop, eat lunch, drink water and I even took a nap
The second half (which was assaulting towards the peak) was still a bit exposed to the sun but this time, there is more shaded areas and eventually entering a relatively thick jungle like trail with the occasional cold breeze.

This is a hourse that was near our camp site so we left our bags here before attacking the summit to lessen our burden

From there, more rolling hills and beautiful landscapes such as this!
They say the best part of the Mt. Kapayas climb will start at the base of Torre’s cliff-base. To access the summit, we needed to free solo (i.e., climb without ropes) a 15- to 20-foot rock face that serves as a gateway to a passage that leads to the summit. Yes, it involves rock climbing up a vertical rock face! This is a unique obstacle of Kapayas compared to most mountains in Cebu. After safely passing the “Kiss the Wall” section, you simply follow the rocky passage to reach the Torre.

This is at the cliff base where the plant life is really thick and the breeze cold as well

Above is the spot before the "kiss the wall" portion, of course I could not take a photo or proper selfie since I needed all my limbs in order to not fall from the cliff face.

This is the reward-view that meets you when you reach the top!
Navigating the peak for that 'perfect shot' is also not that easy
One of our "Group Photos" since it is a bit crowded and we just could not have everyone in one particular area I guess
Some shots are worth the Risks I guess; Our guide staring down the cliff
From the base camp, it took us less than an hour to reach the summit. It was already around 4pm when we arrived at the peak. After admiring the view and taking some pictures, we took a straightforward descent back to the base camp

This beautiful sunset greeted us as we were heading down the summit

We barely made it with the remaining light of the day and that signals the time for Silhouettes!!
I was pretty sure we snuck into the place since according to our guide, we tried new route on our trek until we set-up camp at night because someone got drunk and made a lot of noise; luckily the "Nice People Around" didn't do anything.

Good Morning from our Camp site!
Going to Mt. Kapayas in Catmon:

  • There are buses at the North Bus Terminal that passes Catmon on a daily basis. Fare should be PHP70 and drop-off point would be at the Catmon Municipal Hall. 
  • Get the services of a recognized guide in the area: Kyno Dumlao (09993259621), pay and get permits as well (Transportation from the Catmon proper to the jump-off point was provided by the municipality of Catmon through the permit) - The budget for a Mt. Kapayas day trek is relatively high;
This is by far one of the most interesting trail and trekking experience I've had so far! Check out the video summary I made below!:

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Born to rise



Holy Week  (“Mahal na Araw” or “Semana Santa”) is a significant religious observance for the Roman Catholics and Protestants in the Philippines. Many of us may go on leave and spend time with the family to do the various religious activities and traditions while some will take this opportunity to go on a vacation to chill, party or even have relationship goals.

Being the lazy and cheap person  that I am, I opted for a staycation and spent my holy week in ‘reflection’. My so-called reflection included reading light novels, watching movies and motivational videos I stumbled upon while meditating.

I reflected on the prayer for generosity I learnt during my innocent days in the Jesuit education system. Life was much simpler then, and I was even more thankful then compared to today.

“You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” - 2 Corinthians 9:11

Why does God bless you with riches? So you can share these riches generously with those in need and in so doing you can bring thanksgiving to God. Riches may not necessarily mean money, it could be your talents, skills, even your presence.

What if I told you that we could all be heroes, right where we are?

You don’t need super powers, all you really need is to act on your desire to care.

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20, NIV

In scripture, many heroes of faith started out at the very bottom and they didn’t live a life of great exploits every day. Like Noah who built an ark, Joseph the dreamer, and many more. Choose to shake off the old; choose to forgive and be in the new. Take your eyes off your circumstances, like Noah, keep the faith in the normal days when he was building the ark until his time to shine came when the rain fell; and like Joseph, declare that it’s time to get out of the pit and begin the journey to rise to the top.

As someone created in His image and likeness, you were simply not created to be average. You were not created to barely get by and drag through life. You have seeds of greatness inside of you.  Hold your head up high and think like a victor, know that any adversity in your life is not permanent but rather temporary for it is only a matter of time for things to turn around in your favor.

No matter what your circumstances may look like today (sad, happy, confused, or jaded), God’s plan is to bring you through to a place of abundance. He wants to resurrect your spirit,  your hopes, goals, dreams, relationships and every aspect of your life.

He wants you to have an overflowing abundance of peace, joy and resources (investments, business) so you too can be a blessing to the people around you.

--

The writer is an RFP® - registered financial planner of RFP PH, Licensed Real Estate Broker and Director of CERTA, Inc., a family estate planning and investment advisory firm. To know more, please visit www.certa.ph
--

Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last April 18, 2017.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Unravelling the Secrets of Bugho Falls in San Fernando Cebu



San Fernando may not be your go-to place for waterfalls or a tourist destination but it is slowly becoming one with the discovery of this waterfalls called Bugho Falls. This is another spot to add to the long list of options down the south of Cebu.

This was our 2nd day activity during our 1,000 peso challenge during our stay in San Fernando via Bacalla Woods Campsite (BWC). This is the real highlight of our trip and my primary motivation for joining the challenge among bloggers--the trek to the hidden waterfalls!

The 1 hour trek according to the guide took us about 3? Photo by: RadySetGo

Group Photos and smiles despite the summer heat
There are two more known and explored waterfalls in the municipality which are Busay Falls (which I solo-ed, read more here) and Lisuran Falls (which cannot be solo-ed as I think this is right below Busay Falls). According to our guide, they are also exploring another waterfalls that is a bit difficult and needs proper gear to explore in the future.

Me, Rea and Channel got left behind since we were looking for really really cold softdrinks >_< We asked the locals and were told to find this bridge nga naa ra sa unahan (mountain speak for really really far)
There are actually two routes to access this waterfalls, through the river or going around the bridge. Going through the slippery rocks, boulders and occasionally wading through the river, I tried my best not to slip since my drone is not waterproof, so I was basically the sweeper of the group. This place was already near the border of San Fernando (18 Km from San Fernando's Poblacion) and approaching the town of pinamungahan.




Photo by: RadySetGo.wordpress.com

Me trying to cross this single bamboo bridge. Photo by: Miss BeanInTransit.com

Miss Bean, me and Rady all in one photo
As expected, the waterfalls was not in its full might as season was already shifting towards summer; I can only imagine the overflowing version of Bugho waterfalls.



You can swim in this area as well as have a picnic or perhaps set up a hammock. There are shallow and deeper parts as well, or you may do a little rock climbing to access its second level that has a mini natural Jacuzzi of sort.


Do you know of other “secret” spots?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Investing is an art and not an exact Science



Even though we have more financial data than ever, investing is just as much an art as it was when Ben Graham criticized it almost a century. Investing is not a hard science like chemistry or physics and there are no laws or unbreakable rules although data-driven models do work every now and again. Equally smart people can have opposite views and, oddly, be equally successful.

Although I said it is art first, having a good grasp of subjects such as mathematics, finance, accounting and economics is still very important. However, there are also other subjects that one must understand in order to be successful in investments. These may include the following: political science, history, sociology and psychology.

Apart from crunching the numbers, having a healthy appreciation of the arts can help investors synthesize seemingly disconnected events in order to come up with more informed investment decisions!

Successful investing is not about perfection. It is about prudently governing one’s behavior, which over time leads to more success and less failure.

The art of Lazy Investing

"People waste years of their lives not being willing to waste hours of their lives. If you mistake busy-ness for importance — which we do a lot — you're not able to see what really is important." – Michael Lewis

Have there been potentially great projects in your own life that you didn't get to explore because you didn't have the time to waste? It is better to do something and confirm that it did or didn’t work rather than always wondering or regretting that ‘what-if’ scenario.

This is one of the reasons why I have become an advocate of lazy investing. If you are pursuing a job or career you like; perhaps doing something you absolutely love but also need to be “Adulting” or provide for your Family, then lazy investing can definitely be an option to help yourself. You don’t have to dive into the nitty-gritty details and simply follow a disciplined or perhaps even automated path to save-and-invest for future goals (such as family, travel, house or retirement).

Why Does Laziness Pay Off? The key is diversification. Diversifying your portfolio with both fixed-income and equity securities allows an investor to limit losses during periods of bearish equity performance. Doing this yourself may take some time, effort or even some errors due to learning curve; but this is where pooled funds come into the picture. An example to this is an Index Fund. The science of investing is done by the professional stock market traders maintaining the index while me as an investor subscribe (or ride along) to this strategy.

“Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” — Pablo Picasso

The return investors gain is not a result of taking big risks since you are copying another’s strategy. Just sit back and concentrate on things other than investing. In this case, it's okay to be lazy I’d say. This strategy offers sound gains while allowing investors to sleep soundly each night or perhaps even forgetting about it because you are busy experiencing a great time of your life pursuing your hopes, goals and dreams.

How lazy are you when it comes to investing?

--

The writer is an RFP® - registered financial planner of RFP PH, Licensed Real Estate Broker and Director of CERTA, Inc., a family estate planning and investment advisory firm. To know more, please visit www.certa.ph
--

Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last April 11, 2017.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Isolated Bloggers at Bacalla Woods Campsite in San Fernando Cebu



I got an invite to join a 1,000 peso challenge organized by Miss Bean-in-Transit to go to Bacalla Woods Campsite in San Fernando here in Cebu (This was the 2nd one she organized). This is not my first time doing a 1,000 peso challenge since me and my workmates have done this in the past although mostly day hikes and the occasional overnight camping; however this will be my first time joining a challenge organized by another blogger together with other bloggers.

If you're wondering about the title, to put it simply, the area was without cellular signal and therefore, no internet connection. Is that good thing or a bad thing? For bloggers or even most of us who spend a lot of time online these days, that sounds torture.

Me chillin Photo Credit: RadySetGo.Wordpress.com
The camping (and the waterfall chasing the next day) was planned but everything else was not. So we somehow managed to get passed some awkwardness and "connected" with each other somehow and bonded the rest of the Day and night after exploring around Bacalla Woods Campsite.




We did some GTKY activities, which was made long by me, because these bloggers have interacted more with each other through the Cebu Blogging Community group while I did interact online but was mostly being a 'Lurker'; If you want to know how it's like when bloggers meet, this should be a great example: "Hello, I'm blissfulsnapshots.com, and I'm vernongo.com ..so on and so forth". HAHAHA




We also had some interesting card games, but most of all the most exciting part was the boodle fight as we were the first to arrive, even before the 'organizer', we were already famished after exploring the place, talking with each other or for just being restless for a couple of hours.

Having a briefing and chat and Ian of Bacalla Woods Campsite
Bacalla Woods is a camping site located in Libo, Ilaya, San Fernando and accessible via habal-habal from iskina (corner of) San Isidro, San Fernando as well. It is a place artists, environmentalists, adventurers, or nature enthusiasts gather and chill. It is located about 1 kilometer from Hidden Paradise Mountain Resort in San Fernando, Cebu.

Boodle Fight!! Photo by: Miss Bean of Beanintransit.com

Everyone's shy from GTKY Photo By: RadySetGo

Serious Talk, Bloggers edition Photo By: Miss Beanintransit.com

Yoga Dance in the morning with fellow guests who are yogis

Cooked by Sean of HisHiddenLetters I believe and Photo by RadySetGo
Oh, how much did I spend? About 500++.. cool huh, I should get a prize or something.. but then again, I had the advantage since I started from Minglanilla while the others from Cebu City, or maybe even Mandaue City.



Also, it was nice meeting (again?) these bloggers, it is always good to actually meet in person and put a living-breathing-talking-face to the URL names. Thanks Johanna (Bean in Transit), Rome (Basta Bisaya), Sean (His Hidden Letters), Ryze (Synergium Real Estate Solutions) and his wife. Rea (Blissful Snapshots), Rady (RadySetGo), Jazmine (Cebu Spa and Wellness Guide), Chanel (Channel Marie Ph) and Roneth (The Fickle Feet) and her boyfriend, Hernan,

Here's a video I put together after this trip:


The 2nd Day of this adventure was we went and explored Bugho Falls which was somewhere in Bugho of course but was already bordering Pinamungahan I was told. More on that Here.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Badian-Dalaguete Traverse: Mt. Kandungaw (Candongao) and Dalas-ag Peak



This Traverse from Badian to Dalaguete passing by Mt. Kandungaw (Candongao) and Dalas-ag Peak was truly a fascinating adventure that I’ll always remember for years to come since not only did we do this for fun but also cleaned up the peaks and also along the way.

We did this group climb as part of the National Mountain Clean-Up Day (#NMCD)! So we got exploration for the great outdoors, fitness through hiking as well as being good stewards to our environment while also ending up doing some LNT (Leave-No-Trace Principles) awareness to who ever we found along the way!



We arrived really early in south bus terminal with our mixed-squad of people I know and don't know whom I later got to know during our socials at night. After arriving in Badian town proper, we had some breakfast, as well as packed lunch before we proceeded to the Jump off point via Motor-Taxi (Habal-habal). 

The ride to Sohoton Elementary School took around 30 minutes or so. We rode on unpaved, rock-strewn roads most of the way inland which can only be described as a YOLO-ride or near-death ride with the ridiculous bumps which can even lift you up from your seat (about 4-5 inches maybe?) even while carrying a huge bag (Hiking Gear: Tent, Water,..etc..).

Our group photo from the Badian Side facing the coast before we entered into the inner rolling hills and mountains
The exposed trail provides an encompassing view of Badian’s coast, a breathtaking overlooking view of the TaƱon Strait which also includes nearby islands, including Badian island and Pescador Island. 

We cleaned along the way but we got the worse of it when arriving at this supposed water source with the well on the right

We have not even arrived in our destination yet; you will probably see this tarp hanged in Candungao's "Payag" :)
We were told that the total hike will be about less than 4 hours or so but we expected it to be more since we were doing a clean-up while we also enjoyed the views and beauty of nature along the way. 


Add to that we took about an hour or so or more of siesta or sleeping time since there was scattered rain showers in an area before we saw the chocolate hells (because it was a pain to traverse - whether if its super sunny or raining, there were no trees to take shelter in and also the terrain is also difficult) or perhaps in certain angles, look like middle earth as well.



Me running towards Dalas-ag peak! Weeeeeh... Also there's a single boulder near the top where people take selfies! We didn't.
Rest, Breathe, Take it all in!
After passing some form of rice or farm terraces (since there were no plants), we arrived at a magical and stunning view, which was called: Dalas-ag Peak. Dalas-ag peak can show you an awe-inspiring sight, from farmers down below tending to their terraces, to the overlooking view of the coast (which some of my colleagues noted that gives a Batanes-ish feel) and the islands and the peak itself. We probably spent more than 20 minutes at Dalas-ag Peak, admiring the views and taking photos.

You can apparently see Candungao Peak from Dalas-ag Peak if you can identify it. We manage to identify it as we saw cool kids screaming from a distance. And we did underestimate that distance too.

Lost
Still Lost
Well, we also got lost along the way and we later found out that there was a short-cut as well and the route we took was the longer one and add to that back tracking after getting lost was truly a challenge to one's lungs, heart, knees and legs.

Might as well enjoy the scenery and take a bunch of photos with varied subjects.




And so we finally reached Candungao (Kandungaw) Peak. The peak itself is a long stretch which leads all the way to the Dog-faced peak. Below are various perspectives of the wide peak from the back (accessed from Badian), the edge facing the Badian coastline and the other end facing Maloray, Dalaguete. I hope the following captures to full beauty (with photobombers) of the highland.

This is the awesome view of Kandungaw from the "Back" Badian-side.
But first, let us take a haggard groufie

On top of the coast-facing edge of Candungao
Top view of Candungao Camp Site
Campsite level view
Subject: Gino + Kandungaw Peak, Shot by Donna? With special photo bomb of bird -- Photo by Gino

Facing the Badian coast

It was sunset and this weird mushroom explosion cloud appeared too Photo by: Sir Jan

Dawn Breaking view right below the dog-shaped face cliff

We did a clean up and met other day hikers at the top too together with some fog
 Kandungaw can be accessed via Mantalongon, Dalaguete. From the bus stop at Mantalongon Market, you will have to hail a habal2x (motor) to the jump-off at Maloray, Dalaguete. The hike to the peak is short but coupled with mostly ascents.



The day-hikers' ascent is our descent
Locals mentioned as well that on a clear day, you can see the tip of Kandungaw on the ride to the jump-off and in the ascent which can be reached between 1-2 hours at the slowest pace. These stairs can also be called stairway to heaven, either you will start seeing stars or you will be too breathless to complain anyway. It is a knee-bursting, back breaking trek to say the least, according to a day-hiker we met.



We are somehow always hitch-hiking when going home
And so ends our beautiful journey and clean up from Badian to Dalaguete. We hope some of the kids we talked to learned a lot from us teaching them some LNT bisaya edition principles and hopefully the will ripple to the rest of their peers and communities.

Photo Credits: Siblings Sir Jan and Miss Liz, Donna and Gino's iPhone + Jessa and Aires

Check out our video: