Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Snippets: Pre-Birthday Celebration Trip Up Mt.Mayon

Taken August 21, 2016 at an ATV trail up Mt. Mayon in Legazpi City, Albay.

A few years ago─rough estimate is about three or so years ago─when I realized that I didn't want to celebrate my birthday as parties, you know, the kind wherein you invite everyone over to your house and have them feast on your home-cooked buffet. I've done that far too many times that most of my birthdays were spent a blur because either I was too tired from all the preparations, or, too preoccupied trying to host the invited guests. It's like a rerun; year after year, like a stressful annual requirement that obliges you to experience that awkward moment wherein everyone gathers around to sing you the Happy Birthday song and you are stuck there unflinching in front of your cake hoping the torture to end. I mean seriously, what to you do when everyone is staring at you yodeling, "Happy birthday to you!"? My closest friends knows that I'd shut them up the moment they start singing. I like the blowing-off-the-candle-on-the-cake part though, because it means I get to eat the cake right after. Not a big believer of birthday wishes...if you want it done, bluntly ask the parties involved of making it happen, using your birthday as an excuse.

In any case, after much self-refection...I realized that what I want for my birthday is to experience a moment to remember a year by. Three years ago I celebrated it by torturing my friends into jogging with me. Two years ago, it was my first time to zipline at a mountain resort in my home province. I remember how my arms hurt a few hours after because I was holding onto the rope far too tightly. Last year, it was the first time I celebrated my birthday abroad, in Yangon more specifically. This year, it was this, riding an ATV up to the 2006 lava flow of Mt. Mayon. Pre-birthday because it wasn't exactly my birthday...but it was what I will remember most on turning late twenty-somethingish. Also, my fourth time to zipline that day. 

It was monsoon season, so it's no surprise that it rained that day. It was one of the unluckiest trip I went on...that story will probably come on my 2016 roundup post under the "Worst Luck Moment of 2016" section. I went to Legazpi two weeks prior, and saw the most beautiful volcano from afar─EVER!!!─not that I've seen a lot though...but I swear on its perfect cone that it is breathtakingly beautiful. On the day of the trail, where we'd go up to the foot of the volcano, she decided to go shy on us and veil herself in very thick clouds. We ended up just seeing a wall of white from the view point at the end of the trail. But despite that, it's the experience of riding an ATV for the first time, up a rugged and puddled path, down to a newly cemented road with the view of Legazpi City below is what mattered. I love driving off to scenic routes, and to be able to do that so much closer to nature, that was awesome. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Trekking Up Masungi Georeserve

I was planning on a long vacation to Bacolod when a friend said, "We have a hike up Masungi on the 26th! We've waited four months for this reservation to happen!" That's when I had to book a flight back earlier than should. Apparently all of us forgot about the reservation save for that one friend...who was also responsible for booking us all. Haha! She must've reminded us a couple dozen times not to make any plans on that day, but because of months of idle wait we constantly strayed from the thought. I mean, seriously, we booked February for a June slot. Although there is a higher chance for you to experience Masungi sooner if you book for a trek on a weekday, it's the weekends that are fully booked for months on end. They limit the tours to eighteen a day, which is why it took forever, considering the popularity of the place and the weekend-adventure trend going on.

I'll give a brief walk-through of the hike. To begin with, expect a lot of steps to be made. My friend recorded a total of 14,100+ steps after the trail, which took us five hours to complete because we weren't exactly built nor made any preparations for this endurance test. They say three hours should be ample time to finish the course, but having to wait for so long it'd be a shame to take the view and photo opportunities for granted. Also, what I meant with course is that the trek is in a loop, so once you begin the only way to exit is to go through all of the point-of-interests. It's not a linear trail that once you reach the end point you have to about-face and retrace your steps back in order to make your way out. And as the guide said, "Take your time to enjoy the view."