Into the Ridge – Tarak Ridge

Into the Ridge – Tarak Ridge

For the second time, I gave in to the invitation of my sister to join them in another adventure in the mountains. This time the destination is Tarak Ridge in Mariveles, Bataan. I am more of a sea person but when I googled the place, an amazing body of water called Papaya River came into view so I pushed my doubts away and joined them on their two days one night adventure into the ridge.

We boarded a bus bound for Mariveles in Cubao and left Manila at around 12 midnight. We arrived at Brgy. Alas-asin around 4 am and as SOP, we registered at their Barangay Hall and paid the corresponding registration fee of which I could no longer remember how  much and had our early breakfast shortly after.

The trek from the highway to papaya river was an easy one. Just a typical long distance walk with some short climbs passing through some bent twigs and branches. The weather was not so good on the days before our trek so the trail was a bit muddy and slippery.

We reached Papaya River at around 9 AM. The rushing sound of the river was so relaxing it took away all the tiredness I felt from a more or less five hour trek. Since the river is the only water source in the area, we filled our water bottles first before we continued with our trek.

It was after passing Papaya River when my real struggle started. Climb after climb and it seemed like the steep trail was never ending. I had to held on to the twigs and branches of the trees around just to pull my self up. If it was a day tour I would have told them to just come back for me when they’re done at the ridge but unfortunately we would be staying overnight.

After almost 4 hours of struggle, my sister and I finally reached the ridge – we were the last one to arrive actually. We pitched our tent, and took some rest for more or less an hour and started our trek again, this time to explore the ridge.

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We were anticipating a night filled with star gazing and picture taking but it rained the entire afternoon until the evening. Wet from the downpour we just quickly changed clothes had our dinner and silently prayed for the rain to stop. Unfortunately, it rained until morning. A bit disappointed we took our breakfast and silently packed our things since it was time to go home.

Because of the rain, the steep trail was even more difficult to take. Quite a bunch of cogon grass I had to held on to that left some small cuts on my hand just to support my self not to slide down upon our descent from the ridge.

We passed by Papaya river once again on our way down and decided to stop by to take our lunch in the area and have some final dip. The water was too cold for me it was enough for me to just dip my hands.

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The bad weather might have ruined some of our plans for this adventure but still it was a wonderful experience. This was my first major climb and for a first timer to spend a night on the mountains on a rainy weather together with the sisterette and our awesome bunch of friends was indeed fun.

 

Shrine of St. Andrew Kim-Taegon

Shrine of St. Andrew Kim-Taegon

A certain post on FB about a Korean Temple caught my attention one idle Thursday afternoon. The intricate designs and the thought of having a Korean Temple an hour trip away from Manila made  my feet itch. My curiosity was sparked even more upon knowing that the temple is actually a shrine dedicated to a Korean Saint because I never thought that there is one. So three days after seeing that FB post, I was able to persuade my sister to come with me to fill my curiosity.

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The temple is actually a shrine located in Brgy. Lolomboy, Bocaue, Bulacan. It was built sometime in 2009 and is dedicated to St. Andrew Kim-Taegon – the first Korean-born Catholic priest. 

St. Andrew Kim was ordained by Bishop Ferreol in Shanghai, China on Aug. 17, 1845, beatified by Pope Pius XI on July 5, 1925 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 6, 1984.

I have always been amazed by unique structures and this shrine is no exception but unfortunately, we were not able to explore the inside since it was closed.

Would have loved to know the specific details of each structure but I was too shy to ask the only Nun I saw during our visit, so I just took as many pictures as I can and reminded myself to google about the place when I get home.


Getting there:

From SM north take an SM Marilao bound UV express, fare is php 45/head. At SM Marilao, ride a jeep that would pass by Lolomboy and tell the driver to drop you off at McDo Lolomboy, fare is php7/head. Your landmark will be McDo and Jollibee (the only McDo & Jollibee that you would see along the way). Beside McDo is a small road with some sort of a waiting area and tricycle terminal. From there, you could opt to ride a tricycle or just walk your way to the shrine. We opted to ride a tricycle for a fare of php16 (both for me and my sister) but the shrine is really just a short walking distance from the main road.

 

 

 

Wandering in Coron: Kayangan Lake

Wandering in Coron: Kayangan Lake

Included in the ultimate island tour package we availed, Kayangan Lake was the 2nd to the last tourist destination we visited on our 2nd day in Coron.  Dubbed as the cleanest lake in the Philippines, I could say it has really lived to its reputation.

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Since the boats were docked along the bay, we had to hike for approximately 15 minutes to reach the lake. We passed through wooden walkways in the docking area and endured an uphill climb passing through the man made concrete stairs of approximately 300 steps. Midway through the climb we stopped by the view deck overlooking Kayangan Bay for some picture taking.

Upon reaching the lake, we were awed by the clear bluish green water surrounded by  walls of lime stones covered in lush natural greenery. The water was cold but just cool enough to refresh us after our 15-minute hike. We were not able to reach the farthest side of the lake since there was no raft on the lake when we visited. The lake is quite wide that it would take some time if one would opt to explore.

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We spent just around 30 minutes in the lake since we were on a tour package, but indeed, swimming in Kayangan Lake is one of the not to be missed experience when wandering in Coron.

Kayangan Lake is usually included already in the tour packages offered by various tour operators in Coron inclusive of entrance fees. But if you opt to go on a private tour, entrance fee is around php200 per person.

Wandering in Coron: Concepcion Falls, Concepcion Pier & Malbato Chapel

Wandering in Coron: Concepcion Falls, Concepcion Pier & Malbato Chapel

On the 3rd & last day of our stay in Coron we decided to squeeze into our schedule visiting Concepcion Falls. We were able to hire Kuya Nestor, the friendly tryc driver who fetched us from the hotel for our scheduled island tour on our 2nd day in Coron. For php 1500 it was agreed that he will drive us from Coron town proper to Concepcion Falls and from Concepcion Falls back to Coron town proper.

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Mt. Tapyas

Located in Barangay Concepcion Busuanga, Palawan, the falls is just a short trek away from the main road. Since we went there early in the morning as expected the water was quite cold. (We left Coron town at 6:30 AM and arrived at around 8 AM) The place is clean considering that it has  no entrance fee but there is no proper restroom so better be on your swimming attire when you head to the place.

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Concepcion Falls

We spent almost an hour enjoying the water and taking pictures before we left. Upon Kuya Nestor’s suggestion, we did side trips to Concepcion Pier and Malabato Chapel.

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Concepcion Pier was just a few minutes ride from Concepcion Falls. It is also where the Pierhouse Inn is located. After taking some pictures and enjoying the tranquility of the place, we then headed to our last destination – the Malbato Chapel.

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Concepcion Pier

Unlike Concepcion Falls, Malbato Chapel is already part of Coron. Located on top of a hill overlooking the sea in Sitio Malbato, Barangay Bintuan, Coron, Palawan the Chapel boasts of its unique facade made of stones and sea shells.

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Malbato Chapel

There was an on going mass when we went to the Chapel so we were not able to get inside to take some pictures especially of the bell tower so we just had our photo ops outside. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Since we still had a flight to catch later that afternoon, we did not stay longer and headed back quickly to Coron town proper.