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.

Continue reading “Get Mesmerized by the Pristine Trails of Mt. Palali”

IN PHOTOS: Kampong Glam Splashes Color on a Gloomy Day

Text and Photos by Euden Valdez

IF you’re out to discover Singapore’s diverse cultures, there’s one neighborhood you should not miss.

This is Kampong Glam known for its “rich history, living traditions, excellent eateries, and trendy shops,” according to visitsingapore.com.

Located right at the mouth of Rochor River, Kampong Glam was originally a fishing kampung (or village) where the gelam tree (Paperbark tree), used for building ships and boats, grew—thus, the neighborhood’s name.

Continue reading “IN PHOTOS: Kampong Glam Splashes Color on a Gloomy Day”

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”

IN PHOTOS: Spotless Singapore at Night Makes One Breathless

Text and Photos by Euden Valdez

WHENEVER a Filipino visits Singapore, whether as a first or a return visitor, he/she can’t help but compare it to the Philippines and inevitably, feel envious. How can a country as young as SG be so progressive, orderly, safe and clean? 

Let’s not rack our brains. Instead, let’s just appreciate Singapore’s spotless nightscapes.

Open, wide and traffic-free roads

The skyline protrudes in the night sky

The grandeur of National Gallery Singapore

Glowing former Parliament House

A piano on the street catches this couple’s attention

Crossing the Helix Bridge at Marina Bay

The look of luxury at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Your author-photographer being a tourist

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.

Continue reading “Cordillera Cross Country: Traversing Mt. Amuyao’s Trail Less Traveled”

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”

How Cordillerans Showered Us with Random Acts of Kindness – Part 1

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY EUDEN VALDEZ

AROUND the same time last year, I hiked my first summit: Mt. Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal. At 739 meters above sea level (MASL), it was classified as a minor climb yet I felt like my body would break from every step and slip that I took.

But not my spirit. I continued hiking other mountains and subjecting myself to physical pain while finding reward in the wealth of experiences that I gained along the way.

So that a year later after my first minor mountain, I found myself climbing my first major mountain, and not just that! The hike was part of RAK Ph Mountaineers’ first-ever, much-anticipated “The Great Cordillera Cross Country.” 

Continue reading “How Cordillerans Showered Us with Random Acts of Kindness – Part 1”

Tara! Abra: Before Kaparkan Got Famous, There was This Waterfalls

TRUTH be told, the province of Abra has no organized tourism effort, as a whole or individually by its local government units except for one. This is Tineg, where Kaparkan Waterfalls is found. 

If you have seen trending photos of this unique, multi-tiered waterfalls over at Facebook, you’ll know why. But it wouldn’t even come to our attention if not for “Biyahe ni Drew,” a popular travel show by TV host Drew Arellano.

As someone who considers Abra as my other home—it is my father’s hometown—I believe this is good development. Other municipalities can replicate Tineg’s tourism, and maximize their natural hidden treasures for the better. In the long run, they can make it sustainable for both the locals and the environment. That’s what eco-tourism is all about.

One town I am hopeful about is San Isidro, which is just an hour away from the capital of Bangued. There lies the waterfalls of San Marcial (named from the sitio it is located) with its own personality and beauty.

Continue reading “Tara! Abra: Before Kaparkan Got Famous, There was This Waterfalls”

Tara! Abra: The Road Less Traveled to San Marcial Falls

WHEN something familiar turns into something unexpected, then one, unforgettable adventure is in store.

Traveling Journo Ph’s experienced this on its visit to Abra in September. Accompanied by my cousins residing in the Cordillera province, TJPh set forth to San Marcial Falls in the town of San Isidro.

San Isidro is located just southeast of San Quintin, the municipality where my paternal family hails. So our group of nine boarded our motorbikes—or habal-habal locally—confidently believing that would arrive at our destination within an hour of riding via entry on Pidigan.

Little did we know that we actually took the road less traveled to San Marcial Falls. It turned out to be a difficult yet exhilarating one.

Continue reading “Tara! Abra: The Road Less Traveled to San Marcial Falls”