Here are 4 Reasons to Carry Potatoes on Your Next Climb

By Euden Valdez

​“THEY’RE heavy!”
 
This was the rejection I received as an outdoor enthusiast and aspiring mountaineer when I once suggested to include potatoes in a soup dish for a dinner at camp. 

But had I known by then how potatoes could provide enough nutrition to pump up the hike’s next leg, I would have insisted—like Princess Sarah always does for her “patatas.”

Continue reading “Here are 4 Reasons to Carry Potatoes on Your Next Climb”

VIRTUAL TOUR: A Closer Look at Cape Engaño in Palaui Island

Text and Photos By Euden Valdez

FOR over a century, Cape Engaño has been a reminder of a lost time atop its hill of solace in Palaui Island. Built from 1888 to 1892, the lighthouse and its architecture is a testament to the Spanish colonization in the Philippines.

Now in ruins, Cape Engaño has surpassed its original purpose by becoming an iconic tourist destination in Cagayan province, Luzon. It invites visitors and travelers from around the Philippines to take that arduous trip to Palaui Island in Sta. Ana municipality.

Continue reading “VIRTUAL TOUR: A Closer Look at Cape Engaño in Palaui Island”

VIRTUAL TOUR: Cold and Chilly Weather x Warm and Fuzzy Feelings at Mt. Ugo

Text and Photos by Euden Valdez

HOW does a life moment qualify to be precious? For this author, the moment has to have moved you in unspeakable ways, to have made you escape reality, and to have left a lasting mark in you.

Take for example, that moment when a bunch of young ones rode on top of a jeepney for the first time, after a long and tiring traverse of Mt. Ugo in the Cordillera. Only, it was going to be a “topload” ride with a good chance of shower.

Dark clouds descended with us from the mountain and just as the jeepney hit the road, the rain did fall. Then something precious happened.

I saw their eyes lit up with wonder, their lips smiled from glee as raindrops tickled their skin, winds kissed their faces, and adventure filled their hearts. All the while, the formidable views of Cordillera stretched and crawled before us. 

Continue reading “VIRTUAL TOUR: Cold and Chilly Weather x Warm and Fuzzy Feelings at Mt. Ugo”

Tara! Abra: Licuan-Baay, a Land of Bountiful Resources, Beautiful Places

Text and Photos by Euden Valdez

LICUAN-BAAY is one of Abra’s upland municipalities nestled in and surrounded by mountains that hide plenty of treasures: the hospitable Tinguian, scenic waterfalls and rivers, and even highly prized gold.

Located east of the capital Bangued, it is accessible via the Abra-Kalinga Road that connects the two said provinces. The public utility jeepneys, as well as private motorcycles, serve as the main mode of public transportation to and from Bangued and Licuan-Baay.

This was how this author, together with cousins and friends, reached Licuan-Baay for a short vacation and exploration in April. Why there, you may ask? Our family hailing from the municipality of San Quintin married into Pogyao family from Licuan-Baay—the wedding, held just a day before our trip! After the celebration in our family’s place, we decided to go to our new in-laws’ place.

Continue reading “Tara! Abra: Licuan-Baay, a Land of Bountiful Resources, Beautiful Places”

Palaui Island’s Best Accommodation is at Home with the Agta

Text and Photos by Euden Valdez

TECHNOLY has transformed the ways people travel nowadays. Take for example the rise of online booking apps, which has made private properties accessible as accommodation instead of the more expensive hotels and resorts. 

But even before the rise of AirBnb and the likes, home-staying has been preferred by nomads, backpackers and budget travelers. They arrive at a destination without accommodation and hope and pray there is a host willing to accept them under their roofs. Why do this? Not just because it is cheaper but also because it allows them to know their destination better through its people and their ways of life.

​While this concept is taking the backseat, it remains to be practiced by RAK Ph Mountaineers, an outdoor-advocacy movement in support sustainable and ethical tourism. In March, RAK (meaning Random Act of Kindness) went to Palaui Island in Cagayan province not only as ordinary tourists but also as guests of the Agta tribe of Punta Verde. We were billeted at the household of Erick Agcaoili and his family, a warm and welcoming bunch. 

Continue reading “Palaui Island’s Best Accommodation is at Home with the Agta”

Get Mesmerized by the Pristine Trails of Mt. Palali

Text and Photos by Euden Valdez

INHALE deeply—if not a little sharply—and fill the lungs with much needed air. Panting now, both organs expand and deflate as the heart in between beats faster and wilder. All this in rhythm with the feet that keep stepping forward and upward.

But while we were straining from a challenging trail, we managed to be mindful in both our breathing and our surrounding. We were meeting Mt. Palali truly for the first time, not only physically but also visually and emotionally.

Indeed, this mountain accessible via Quezon town in Nueva Vizcaya lives up to its reputation as the northern counterpart of Mt. Makiling and Mt. Arayat in southern Luzon—especially in terms of difficulty.

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The Unconvincing Truth about El Nido

Text and Photos by Euden Valdez

(Disclaimer: What you are about to read is an unpopular opinion.) 

BEAUTY comes with a price—a hefty one at that—when in El Nido. Harsh as it sounds, the observation holds true for this author and family who have traveled to the top tourist destination in Palawan.

A paradise famed for its tropical islands, clearest seas, teeming marine life, unspoiled beaches, bluest lagoons and so much more, El Nido also brings about inconveniences—especially to budget travelers.

And contrary to belief, traveling on a budget doesn’t mean it is cheap in terms of experiences, food, accommodation and transportation. Things are just not luxurious but nevertheless, decent. Believe me for I have traveled on both ends of the spectrum.

Continue reading “The Unconvincing Truth about El Nido”

Cordillera Cross Country: Traversing Mt. Amuyao’s Trail Less Traveled

Text and Photos by Euden Valdez

RAIN was falling and despite the forest cover, it was seeping to the ground and whatever waterproof clothing we donned. Rain was also touching layers of leaves, tangles of vines and roots, and freshly grown moss attached to branches and bodies of trees — making vivid a green sea of fauna. This was a sight to behold but then there was the biting cold.

A day before, a tropical storm was forecasted to shroud most of the Cordillera Administrative region, north of the Philippines. Where we’re at, Mt. Amuyao, was part of Cordillera’s vast mountain range infamous for sea of clouds and cold temperature. Yet during the country’s rainy season, expect only to get the latter.

For someone’s first major climb, a mountain classified at 9/9 difficulty level, in the middle of a storm, was not the most ideal condition. Add to this the fact that it was a reverse-traverse from Banaue in Ifugao to Barlig in Mt. Province — regarded as trail less traveled of Mt. Amuyao.

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How Cordillerans Showered Us with Random Acts of Kindness – Part 3

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY EUDEN VALDEZ

IN November, this author’s outdoor and volunteer movement RAK Ph Mountaineers embarked on its first-ever, much-anticipated “The Great Cordillera Cross Country.”

It was a six-day adventure that saw our team of six trek three provinces of Cordillera by foot, face tough weather conditions, carry full packs heavier than ourselves, and test our limitations.

On the first part of this series, the Cordi cross country took us to reverse traverse of Mt. Amuyao from Batad, Ifugao to Barlig, Mt. Province. Then on the second part, we travel from Barlig to Besao. On this third and last part, we conclude our expedition by finally crossing over to Tubo, Abra.

More than the challenges we met along the way were the random acts of kindness we were unconditionally given. Here the best of them.

Continue reading “How Cordillerans Showered Us with Random Acts of Kindness – Part 3”

How Cordillerans Showered Us with Random Acts of Kindness – Part 2

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY EUDEN VALDEZ

RECENTLY, Traveling Journo Ph has shared about the first leg of RAK Ph Mountaineers’ first-ever, much-anticipated “The Great Cordillera Cross Country.”

It was a six-day adventure that saw our team of six trek three provinces of Cordillera by foot, face tough weather conditions, carry full packs heavier than ourselves, and test our limitations. But more than the challenges, it also showered us with random acts of kindness from the locals we met along the way.

On this second and last part, the journey continues with more challenges, and even more random acts of kindness from the locals we met along the way.

We take off from our descent at the municipality of Barlig, Mountain Province.

Continue reading “How Cordillerans Showered Us with Random Acts of Kindness – Part 2”