Bear Grylls is Back

Image Credit from Bear Grylls Ventures

Discovery Networks International has announced a new six-episode series Bear Grylls: Ultimate Survivors that will air in 217 markets outside North America. The show will use archival footage and interviews with people who’ve survived being stranded in the Amazon, in the European Alps, and in the North African desert, and place the former Man Vs. Wild host in the same terrain to re-live their journeys.

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The Pulag Pilgrimage

Pulag Sunrise

Pulag Sunrise. Why going up Luzon’s highest never gets tiring.

It’s that time of the year when the your bed has seemingly increased its gravitational pull – when the warmth of the blanket is more irresistible than a hearty bacon and egg breakfast. Freezing vegetable farms in Baguio attract numerous attention from the media, leaving the farmers little gain from their months of farming.

For trekkers and adventure-goers however, this signifies one thing – time to pack up the ‘winter gear’ and head on down (or UP) to Luzon’s highest. Temperatures go down to 15 – 10 degrees easily during the trek, even with daylight. Early in the morning, personal experience dictates negative temperatures. It’s ‘leave-your-beer-on-the-ground’ time to get the Below Zero temp in 5 – 10 mins.

That’s why multitudes of hikers climb Mt. Pulag during this season. I’ts the Philippine’s closest thing to a winter. People go on a pilgrimage, braving cold weather and long travel hours to summit the Playground of the Gods.

And that’s where I’m headed tonight. Six hours to the City of Pines, and 4 hours more to the Ranger Station. Tomorrow night I die in cold weather, but live in the light of a million stars and the song of the age-old mountains. The next morning I die by the piercing wind and the sharp blades of frosted leaves, but live to bask in the glory of the gallant sun, above the bed of clouds, 2922 meters above sea level.

Below Zero Temperatures Reported in Mt. Pulag

Pulag Summit

A temperature below zero was recorded at the summit of Mount Pulag in Benguet province over the weekend, a government official confirmed.Emerita Alba, who heads a park that has jurisdiction over the third highest mountain in the Philippines, said temperature in Mount Pulag dropped to negative 2 degrees Celsius. Read more…

Disclaimer: The blog author does not claim ownership of the article.

[Feature Picture 2012:3] Island Snapshot

A welcome sight. Upon docking, the Siquijor Port shows you a snap of the whole island vibe – peaceful, calm, and laid back. Siquijor is perfect for the traveler who wishes to escape the stresses of city life. From chill time to adventure time, you’ll be able to find it here in the so-called Isla del Fuego or Island of Fire.

[Feature Picture 2012:2] Peaceful Sea

Peaceful Sea. Appreciating the calmness of this usually action-packed surf spot in Baler, Aurora. Will definitely get back here to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf. Aaliyah Surf Resort

Sea and Summit this Weekend

I’ll head over to San Juan, Batangas tomorrow to the acclaimed Laiya Beach. Nope, not going there to swim. Well, maybe a little. But the main purpose is to trek Mt. Daguldul, 670+ MASL leading the Teradata Outdoor Club. Looking forward to the beach trek and the ascent with the summit showing a 360 view of southern Batangas and the neighboring municipalities in Quezon Province. Hopefully we’ll be able to accommodate the waterfalls near the trek in our itinerary. We will still swim at Laiya after the climb but we’ll crunch everything in 1 day.

I’m breaking-in my  new pants and cap. Hopefully I’ll be comfortable with these new gear. We’re meeting up at 2AM since the travel time takes 3 – 4 hours. I’m still at the office and I still have to pack when I get home. It’s gonna be a long night but I’m looking forward to the sea and summit trek which Mt. Daguldul has to offer. Will post photos on my Pichur Pichur post when I get back!

See you on the trails!

[Reblog] Date A Guy Who Climbs Mountains

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Day Trek Essentials

For most people, when the word trekking comes to mind, they associate it with the following terms: multiple-dayhikes, overnight camping trips, heavybackpacks, etc. I once did.  But for the adventurer who is not so blessed with available time, say he has an 8 – 5  job on weekdays, there is another option – the Day Trek.

Day-treks have gained recent popularity in the hiking community. The basic idea: to pack light, leave early, enjoy the scenery, get back before sun down. A mountaineer friend of mine said, “Paakyat pa lang sila, ako, pababa na. Nasulit ko na yung summit bago pa magsipagdatingnan yung maraming tao.”  For the adventurer who wishes to avoid the bulk of the crowd along the trails, this may be for you.

Here are a few points if ever you have considered doing a day-trek.


  • Quick-dry Shirt – cotton shirts are highly discouraged due to the weight it accumulates when it becomes wet (rain or perspiration)
  • Quick-dry Pants – light pants or leggings will do, jeans are not recommended due to the weight
  • Trekking Shoes – high grip rubber shoes, cross trainers will do. no sneakers
  • Socks – thick socks. some people prefer 2 layers to avoid blisters
  • Headgear – for protection from sun, rain, and other weather conditions. Buff, scarf, explorer cap, etc
  • Identification – be sure to have an armband, dog tag, or any form of equipment where your will be identified. IDs can be put in your pockets or packs.

When choosing a pack for a day-trek, always consider the things you’ll be putting inside. On a normal basis, a 30-liter back pack can already accommodate the usual load. For those who do not have one, better look for a backpack that would be sturdy enough to support the full weight of your equipment. Check for loose seams and stitches, assess the zipper if it will hold, check for backpack holes and tears. Make sure to spread out the load throughout your pack so it doesn’t swing everywhere or put pressure on a certain part of your back only. For trekking, an essential backpack is one that will hold all your equipment so that your hands are free.

Inside Your Pack

My typical day gear.


  • 1 Set (shirt, pants, underwear)
  • Towel
  • Handy Kikay Kit/Pogi Pack (personal toiletries)
  • Water ( 2 Liters )
  • Trail Food
  • Packed Lunch


  • Pocket Knife
  • Headlamp
  • Matches/Lighter
  • First Aid Kit
  • Rain Gear (Poncho or Umbrella)

Optional (but highly recommended):

  • Directional Compass – make sure you know how to use one
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) – if you have one, always bring it just in case you get lost
  • Rope – you’ll never know when a good and sturdy rope will come in handy

Waterproofing/Stuff Sack


  • Electronic Devices ( cellphones, camera, batteries )
  • Matches/Lighter
  • Food


  • Put devices in a secure dry-bag (ziploc or plastic bags are okay)
  • Put plastic bag or trash bag inside your main pack before putting in other equipment.
  • Put food in another stuff sack/plastic bag to protect your other equipment in case of food spillage.

Now that you have your pack and gear set, it’s time to trek! Don’t forget, day-treks almost always have a really early call-time, so be prepared to wake up early (and possibly arrive back late). Be mentally prepared for your trek too. Always read ahead on your destination to know certain details of your trek (i.e., muddy trail, river crossing, extreme heat, etc.)  Hopefully this article helps!

See you on the trails!

Tukad sa Mt. Asog kan Sabado de Glorya

I’ve been trekking a number of mountains recently, guiding people in easily accessible mountains such as Mt. Palay-palay (Pico de Loro) and to  popular destinations such as Mt. Pinatubo and Mt. Pulag. In my recent travels, some people ask me, “Ah, hindi ka ba tiga-Manila? Saan naman ang probinsiya mo?” Then we talk about Mt. Mayon and Mt. Isarog, the Butandings in Sorsogon, the spicy and ma’gata’ food, and I go on sharing stories about my beloved Bicolandia. But I always end up with a short pause afterwards, then say, “Actually, di pa ako nakakaakyat kahit isa sa mga bundok sa Bicol.” That’s where this story begins.

The choice obviously had to be Mt. Asog. I wanted to bring my highschool batchmates to the trails the way I enjoy it and I figured Mt. Asog was doable – dayclimb, scenic view at the summit, anyone athletic would be able to go. By the time the plans were all set, there were 3 of us that were willing to join. I decided not to have a local guide anymore even though it was to be my first time on that mountain. My thoughts were, Mas okey to, tatlo lang kami, mas exciting.

[DAY ZERO] Biyernes Santo sa Buhi

I decided to go the night before the trek and stay at Buhi, Camarines Sur, considering that the travel time from Tabaco City would take me roughly 3 – 4 hours to Iriga City. I stayed at a highschool friends residence who also confirmed to climb with me the next day. Buhi is popular for her Lake and the species of the Sinarapan – the smallest fish in the world – that is endemic to that place. We had fresh tilapia for dinner and waited for the traditional Biyernes Santo Prusisyon then had beers before we went to sleep.

Here's a photo of the lake just a 2 minutes away from Tom Jordan's place.

[TREK DAY] Tukad

The cold breeze and the sound of roosters woke me up early the next morning. Carbo-loading for the climb, we ate the region-wide popular Pansit Bato and packed our Pritong Dried Pusit baon. Prepared our gears and supplies and went off to Iriga City. From Iriga Bus Terminal, we took a tricycle to Ilian at about Php 50.00. Ilian is an IP settlement at the jump-off point. There is also a CAFGU detachment seen from the jump-off.

The hill with the IRIGA CITY sign is seen from the jump off. The IP settlement is at the foot of the hill which you have to pass by to reach the mountain at the back which is Mt. Asog.

The cemented road narrows down to a ground path as you pass by the Ilian settlement. Passing by a few farms and coconut plantations, we asked a local if we were going on the proper trail up the mountain. He directed us to a small trail at the right part of the road that would lead us to the summit.  Trekking in Bicol is much different from my usual mountain experience. The vegetation at the lower altitude is mostly mango trees and coconuts – the humid air hinting with the scent of moist grass and drying leaves. And when Pinoy Mountaineer mentions that this trek is hot, IT IS REALLY HOT. The humidity being contained by the tall grass and the sunlight that makes way through the spread-out trees makes the temperature hotter than normal. The smell of  dried coconuts coming from ‘koprahans’ adds more difficulty to your breathing. You’ll be able to see some of these houses abandoned or unused which makes for great resting spot.

Resting at one of the kopra (crude coconut) processing places (koprahan). Im standing in front of the pit where they place the mature coconut meat heating them like the way an oven does.

Trekking Mt. Asog, you’ll experience the tropical flora of Bicolandia. In the forest levels, you’ll encounter coconut and mango trees scattered all over. Some banana trees can also be spotted scattered throughout the trails. Going up, the vegetation will end up mostly of cogon grass and some large ferns. Occasional pitcher plants can also be seen.

The Tropical Forest Vegetation at Mt. Asog's Trails

Recovering from the hot and humid atmosphere on the slopes. The temperature was hotter because the tall grass was keeping the humidity in the ground level.

The forest up the trails.

Cogon covering the trails from both sides.

Reaching the summit of Mt. Asog is no easy task. We had to ‘scramble’ ( that means use our 4 limbs) to climb up 30 – 40 degree slopes. But it was all worth it. Reaching 1,140 MASL with a 360 degrees view of Camarines Sur is an awesome sight to behold. I guess it’s my turn to stop mumbling and just awe you with the shots at the summit.

We stayed at the summit for about 1 hour. There is no natural coverage at the summit so without clouds, you’ll be exposed to direct sunlight. For that reason and due to time constraints, we had to trek down, which was more difficult. Sliding down on some slopes made for great time but we had to be careful still since missing some branches for gripping and we would find ourselves down cliffs and small ravines. My tried and tested trekking boots would sometimes lose grip due to the dry ground. We successfully scaled the mountain after 3 hours with a buko stop just before reaching the rough road.

Back at Sitio Ilian, waiting for a tricycle to pass by.

It was a great experience for me to lead a climb without prior knowledge of the trail. It was also fun hiking with my highschool friends who have had minimal experience in hiking as well. It is safe to say that Mt. Asog was a perfect learning experience for me and my climbing buddies and I hope they enjoyed the trek as I did. Mt. Asog was a perfect choice as my introductory trek to Bicolandia and I will definitely be back for more Bicol mountains.


  • Make sure to properly pack your hydration supply (water and sports drinks).
  • When reviews say the trek is hot, it will be. Always bring an umbrella, suncreen, or any other sun-protection.
  • Humidity increases the temperature by an estimated 1 degree or higher.
  • Be mindful of the rests and breaks you take during the trek – just enough to catch your breath and re-energize, not too much that your heart rate and pulse would go back to resting mode.
  • If things get really tiring, enjoy the scenery, converse with your climbing buddies, feel the little things surrounding you ( birds chirping, leaves swooshing, clouds forming beyond the horizon). Nothing re-energizes an adventurer than the adventure itself.


Thanks to Tom (right) and Lloyd (center) for accompanying me in my first trek in Bicol.

'Dios Mabalos' Manoy for providing us with fresh Buko and Buko Juice when we had very little supply of fluids left in our arsenal.

Thanks Tom( for the great photos taken during our trek. I had to post this photo since you still found time to do 'wild bird photography' during our trek.

Thanks Ruby, for providing us a place to wash-up and sharing your time to serve us snacks even with your very busy schedule.

Thanks to Papa Alex, Jay, Ryan, and all my family, for allowing me to trek even though we only have very little time to hang-out with each other. Thanks Papa for letting me borrow your GPS, Directional Compass and 30 Liter Day Pack - you were always concerned for my safety.

Thanks to Papa God for giving me the strength and focus to experience the beauty of Your creations. My climbs will always be my prayer to You. All these I do for Your greater glory!

Bani VS Wild: Mt Asog [April 6, 2012]

Pico de Loro on PDI

Pico de Loro

Mt. Pico de Loro, the highest point in Cavite (664 MASL), is the cover of todays Philippine Daily Inquirer. This was my first mountain trek way back in 2009. This mountain is famous for the 2 peaks resembling the shape of a parrot’s beak. The shot above shows the lower beak part which is a stone wall which you have to scale using a rope.

Pico de Loro

Here’s a photo of the 2 peaks. The stone wall on the top photo is the huge rock on the left. The peak at the center gives you a great view of Nasugbu, Batangas and portions of Cavite.

Thank you PDI for sharing a glimpse of the Philippine mountains.

Disclaimer: The photo on the topmost was taken from a Facebook repost. The author does not claim ownership of the identified photo.