Surugin Ramen House: Hidden Ramen House in Alfonso, Cavite

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I am not really into Japanese foods but lately I’ve been craving to taste Ramen. I tasted few Ramens before but was not able to finish a whole bowl so when I read and heard about this Ramen House in Alfonso, Cavite that serves authentic Ramen I eagerly decided to visit it. Surugin Ramen House is located in Brgy. Sulsugin, Alfonso, Cavite just around 20-minute drive from Tagaytay City. So, if you’re already on the area, you could drop by to this Ramen house as a side trip.

How to go to Surugin Ramen House:

From Olivarez (Tagaytay) ride a jeepney bound to Alfonso, Cavite (look for jeepneys with Luksuhin sign) and tell the driver to drop you off on Luksuhin Public Market. Upon drop off, make your way at the back of the market where tricycle terminal is located. Ride a tricycle that will take you directly to Surugin Ramen House.

Surugin Ramen House:

Right after stepping your foot on the grounds of Surugin you’ll already feel the Japanese vibe that the place depicts. The bamboo trees on the parking space, the path walk with Japanese signs, the Japanese-inspired houses and its alfresco dining will really make you sense visiting a tiny Japanese town at the middle of somewhere. The owner’s house is also located on the compound which is the first house at the right upon your entrance.

You have to register first on their receiving desk before you can start a dine-in. As per the staff, there are days that the waiting queue is too long that the waiting time could be 2-4 hours! This usually happens during weekends and holidays. For our case, we only waited for an hour before we can finally take our seats because there are some guests who already cancelled their reservations due to long wait. Many people wished to visit this haven due to the authentic Japanese food they serve and the Japanese ambiance they would give you.

I ordered the Hakata Ramen which as per the staff is the basic ramen perfect for Japanese food starters. I decided to have it as I am just starting eating Japanese foods. We also ordered a serving of Curry Ramen and a serving of Gyoza. The servings didn’t disappoint me and it definitely tasted good! A bowl of Ramen is full of flavors that will savor your mouth for such an experience. You could easily finish a bowl of their ramen and will definitely back next time. Their gyozas are also too good and became my personal favorite.

Hakata Ramen for P190
Curry Ramen for P300
Surugin Ramen House Menu
A serving of Gyoza

They also have rice meals that I’ll certainly try on our next visit. Foods on their menu are reasonably priced and worthy of their servings. Another thing I noticed here is their staffs are the nicest I ever encountered. From the guard to the registration staff to the person who’ll serve your food, they are all accommodating, superb and the kindest. They all deserve a commendation for the excellent service that they do.

Other things to know before going:

  • Surugin Ramen House is open from 11 AM to 7 PM daily except Wednesdays
  • They are open for walk-in dining and pets are allowed in alfresco area
  • Due to changing covid restrictions, guidelines can change anytime so you can visit and message their official facebook page for queries
  • The waiting queue might get too long during weekends and holidays so it will be better to go here as early as possible
  • If you get here through public commute, you don’t have to worry about going home as they can contact a tricycle driver that will take you back on Luksuhin Market where you can ride jeepneys bound back to Tagaytay proper

Mt. Manabu: Overnight Travel Guide

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I can say that trekking Mt. Manabu is one of the easiest climbs I’ve done so far. Not just because the trail is relatively easy but also the trail itself is mostly covered by trees and shades that could tone down one’s exhaustion during the overall trek. There are also a lot of stations you can rest along the way making it a good Mother Mountain for any beginners. Not only beginners would love the place but there are a lot of ace hikers who keeps on getting back here to spend a night to relax, enjoy nature and just to have a fun day of hike.

Knowing Mt. Manabu:

Mt. Manabu is one of the peaks that can be found in the Malipunyo or Malarayat Mountain Range. Malipunyo Range is an extinct volcano that lies across the provinces of Batangas, Laguna and Quezon. The range is known for its three distinct peaks namely: Mt. Manabu, Mt. Malipunyo and Bagwis Peak or also known as Susong Dalaga. For this trip we only went to Mt. Manabu where jump off point is located in Sitio Sulok, Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Manabu came from the word “MAtaas NA BUndok” which means “high mountain” in English. Difficulty level is 2/9 and one can reach the peak in about 3-4 hours.

How to go to Mt. Manabu:

From Manila

From Buendia/Cubao ride a bus bound to Lipa, Batangas and ask the driver if it will pass through Fiesta Mall junction. If not, tell the driver to drop you off in Robinsons Lipa. From Robinsons Lipa ride a jeepney bound to Fiesta Mall Junction. From there, look for a tricycle that will take you to Sitio Sulok. Inform the drive that you’ll go to Mt. Manabu (fare is 40 Php each). You’ll be needing to stop over the registration office to register and pay for an environmental fee first before the driver will drive you again directly to the jump off.

From Laguna

Make your way to Turbina Terminal and look for jeepneys bound to Lipa. Tell the driver to drop you off in Fiesta Mall junction and fare will be 70 Php each. At the Fiesta Mall junction charter a tricycle that will take you to the jump-off in Sitio Sulok.

Start of trek:

We reached the jump-off point (which is the parking area too if you bring your own car) at around 9:30 AM but decided to eat first as we didn’t have any breakfast yet. We just asked some locals and found this local “karinderya” that cooks and sells the famous Batangas Lomi. After eating, we started our trek at around 10:30 AM. Our supposed tour guide, Kuya Allan, was still on the station 5 of the Manabu trail as we arrived too early on our agreed time. So, he let his uncle, Kuya Floren, guide us for today during our ascend. We started the trail by passing through a water tank (station 1) and the trail was kinda forthright. Station 2 is just few hundred meters away and there are huts and sari-sari stores to buy snacks and take a seat to rest along the way. One store sells wooden trekking poles for 10 Php that I suggest you to have one as the trail could be muddy especially during rainy season. You’ll be needing it as a support if you always stumble on a muddy trail.

About 500 meters from station 2, you’ll be reaching station 3 which is located beside a creek then take another 378 meters and you’ll be reaching station 4 where you’ll be seeing a Jackfruit tree as a landmark. The trail is almost covered by trees and plant lives so no intense heat of the sun that could make you too exhausted.

The rosary trail guide of Mt. Manabu

After another 25 to 30 minutes, we reached station 5 where the famous kubo of Tatay Tino can be found. Mt. Manabu, aside from its peak, is famous also for the civet coffee that Tatay Tino offers to the hikers for free! Here, you can drink as much coffee as you want. You can also purchase Tatay Tino’s civet coffee as he already had it packed if you wish to bring some back home. They also sell foods, drinks and Mt. Manabu’s souvenirs such as bracelets, keychains and t-shirts. We also met here our supposed tour guide, Kuya Allan. Tatay Tino and our current tour guide, Kuya Floren, are brothers and both uncle of Kuya Allan. Their family owns this hut in station 5. We sat here for some time and talk with our Kuya guides and Tatay Tino. Your hiking experience wouldn’t be complete without meeting and talking to Tatay Tino and I think all hikers on Manabu will share the same thoughts.

Tatay Tino, Kuya Floren and Kuya Allan
Civet coffee and souvenirs on station 5
Photo with Tatay Tino
Photo with Kuya Floren

After some rest, we started the last leg of assault going to the station 6 (Manabu peak). I must say that this is the hardest part of the trail as it is a continuous ascend and there are parts not covered by trees anymore so scorching heat will make your way harder. There are around three camping grounds located just below the summit. We reached Mt. Manabu summit by around 2 PM and were greeted by the big white cross. We had the stunning view of Batangas from above all by ourselves. We were blessed that we had a clear view during our visit though the weather signals a rain anytime soon. We spent some time on the peak for picture taking (of course! Haha) and enjoying the view right in front of us.

Big white cross on the summit
View of batangas from the summit
Kuya Floren is always game for a photo
A nice view located few steps below the summit

Camping ground for our overnight stay:

After getting enough photos, we decided to trek down back to the camping grounds to setup our tents since we’ll be spending the night here. Kuya Floren left us and informed us that Kuya Allan will fetch us by the next morning. Right after setting up our tents and settling our things, a heavy rain poured down. Water came inside in one of our tents so I suggest to bring a waterproof tent especially when there is a high chance of rain on the day of your hike. Good thing, the rain only poured for about an hour or two. We ate early dinner and took some rest.

Our camping tents during a rainy afternoon

At around 5:30 PM, another two sets of well-equipped campers arrived. I can say that they’ve been to Manabu multiple times since they came without a guide. They setup their tents, cooked foods, invited us over dinner and spent the whole night talking about life and likes. I can say that hiking is their escape. Manabu is a perfect sanctuary to relax and disconnect with the reality and turmoil of the jungled city once in a while. If you’re looking for solace, Manabu would happily give you that.

The next morning:

We woke up at around 6 AM and decided to get back on the summit wishing that we could witness a sunrise but due to the thick clouds, we were not able to see one. We sat on the summit and waited for the clearing. It was such a nice encounter to just sit down and behold how the clouds slowly getting washed away by the wind and greeted again by the same beautiful view from yesterday that I’ll never get tired of seeing.

Summit for the second time
Yes, that's Mt. Maculot from afar!

We packed our tents and stuffs and started our descend at around 8 AM. It was Kuya Allan who went back and fetch us instead. We opt not to do the rosary trail anymore and decided to just continue our trek down back to station 5. The trail down back to station 5 became trickier as the path became muddier due to the rain the other day. We took a lot of rest along our way down and even washed our muddy shoes on the waters of the creeks we passed by. And I think that’s the purpose of traveling and hiking, to just slow down and enjoy every experience of it.

We reached the jump-off point at around 11:30 AM. There are bathrooms and comfort rooms on the post so we cleaned ourselves, took a bath, fix our things and head back home.

Almost at the jump-off
Jump-off point

Other things to know:

  • Registration fee that you have to pay is 30 Php.
  • If you are looking for a tour guide, you can contact Kuya Allan on this phone number 09099586191 or contact him through his facebook page here.
  • Jump-off point of Mt. Manabu is in Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Sto. Tomas, Batangas while Mt. Malipunyo jump-off point is in Brgy. Talisay, Lipa, Batangas. So, if you wish to have the Malipunyo-Manabu traverse you’ll be having a different entry and exit point.
  • Hiking to the summit could take around 3-4 hours.
  • We paid our tour guide 1,500 Php for an overnight hike. We didn’t get the day hike rate but you can contact the guide beforehand.
  • If you’ve been to Mt. Manabu before and you’re confident enough that you know the trail path, tour guides are no longer required.

When It’s Okay To Be Afraid

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I grew up thinking that the world is kind to everyone but in reality, yes it is kind but not all the time. Uncertainties will always be part of everyone’s life, hate will be thrown upon you and sometimes fear will not make you sleep at those cold nights. And in those cold nights all you wished was that hopefully the world could just be kind to you once again and could wake you up the next morning unoccupied by the thoughts and fears that tried to kill you the other night.
 
It’s okay to be afraid but you have to look on the mirror and ask yourself “will you let your fears stop you from trying again?” Because if you’re answer is ‘yes’ then it’s game over. Imagine your heart was broken by someone and you built a wall on you that no one can pass by because you’re too afraid of loving again. If you let those fear of opening your heart again with someone else then you would never find your soulmate. Imagine getting failed on a job interview for many times and you stopped sending out your applications because you’re too afraid of being rejected once more. If you let those fear of trying again you would never land on your dream job. Imagine setting aside your passion because you’re too afraid that a family or a friend might judge you doing something that doesn’t pay more as usual. If you let those fear of continuing the passion you worked on you would never see yourself that fulfilled doing things that makes you happy.
 
The feeling of inferiority and fears that we usually get out of our failures are all valid. You are allowed to be sad and afraid of what’s happening around. As life is not always rainbows and sunshines, there are rainy days and thunders flashing above the dark heavy clouds. So let me tell you to take the rest that you deserve. Rest your heart, rest your mind and soul because I know the power you could create once your heart, mind and soul works again after getting all the rest they deserve.
 
Fear will always be there waving on us from time to time but what we have to work on our lives is our bravery so it could rule over our fears. Take a break, accumulate all your reasons to fight, so at the end of each day you can rule over your own demons. Cheers to a braver you!
 

Travel Guide: Mt. Romelo + 4 Falls

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The province of Laguna still have a lot of unrefined beauty to offer to everyone who seeks adventure. One of its gems can be found on the town called “Siniloan”. The town of Siniloan, also tagged as “a waterfall sanctuary”, is situated between the plains of Sierra Madre and Laguna De Bay. Just 2-3 hours away from Manila, a weekend trip to this sanctuary is a perfect idea for a jampacked escapade one true adventurer could imagine.

Mt. Romelo and its falls:

Mt. Romelo is an ideal mountain for first- timers as the mountain only stands 240 MASL. One can reach the summit for about more than an hour or two but when you visit the during rainy season where trail becomes too muddy, the difficulty of the trail could climb up to another level. Aside from the mountain summit, Mt. Romelo is also an oasis of several waterfalls anyone would love to see. One could not see much on the summit but people look forward more on its hidden majestic waterfalls. Currently, they’re promoting seven of its waterfalls but as per our guide, there’s still more waterfalls on the mountain that only locals know.

How to go to Mt. Romelo?

Option 1:

Ride a bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna (Buendia or Cubao). Upon reaching Sta. Cruz, ride a jeepney bound to Siniloan (fare is P50). From Siniloan town proper, charter a tricycle going to Brgy. Macatad (fare is P30 each) just tell the driver to drop you off on the registration house to Buruwisan.

Option 2:

Ride a van from Starmall Shaw Blvd. bound to Tanay. From Tanay public terminal, ride a jeepney bound to Siniloan. From Siniloan town proper, charter a tricycle going to Brgy. Macatad just tell the driver to drop you off on the registration house to Buruwisan.

Start of trail:

For this trip, we decided to visit Mt. Romelo and four of its waterfalls in an overnight experience. Since we’ll be spending the night on its campsite, we opted to start the trek late. We reached the jump off on Brgy. Macatad at almost 10 AM, logged our names and paid for the registration fee of P50 each. We were welcomed by our tour guide, Arnold, who we already contacted beforehand. After registration, we walked for few hundred meters to the nearest food house to have tapsilog as our early lunch then we started our ascent at almost 11 AM. The first part of the trail is a mild slope uncovered by trees and the scorching heat of the sun made our initial trek way too tiring. It made us realize that it was a wrong decision to start in almost noon (lesson learned haha!) After meters of struggling, we reached the part of the trail where trees already cover the trail and the trek became more manageable. We were lucky too that the course was not that muddy.

After spending some time of rest on shades and huts on the area, we took our final ascent to the top. We reached the summit at around 12:30 PM and just took few photos for few minutes because it was too hot! There’s no trees or shades available on the summit and the burning heat made us decide to just continue walking down the trail. Few meters down the summit is a sari-sari store where you can buy some refreshments. Not far away is another picture taking area called “skyview”. You can enter skyview and the other heart/start backdrop and take photos for a fee that you have to pay on the caretaker.

Sari-sari store located down the summit
Skyview

Campsite:

We continued the trek and after another hour we set foot on the camping site. The camping ground lies beside the Siniloan River just above the known Buruwisan Falls. There are “bahay kubo” that can fit around 5-6 people that can be rented for only P500 (overnight) or you can simply pitch your own tent. The camping area is completed with basic facilities such as public comfort room and “sari-sari” stores for your food needs. We just settled our things and started our journey down to Buruwisan Falls. The way down to the Buruwisan Falls is very steep that you really have to be careful because one misstep could make you stumble. Take note that the trail down to the falls is not as easy as the summit trail and could be another level as it will require series of climbing rocks and conquering abrupt tracks. After few minutes of striving effort will lead you to the majestic Buruwisan Falls. It is the most accessible falls and the most visited. Many consider this as the most stunning among all. It’s such a rewarding experience to finally bathe on its waters after a tiring day of trek and being under the sun. We stayed here for more than an hour just enjoying its cold waters and appreciating the grandeur of this 170 ft falls.

Bahay Kubo that can be rented for P500
Open huts located on the campsite
Buruwisan Falls
Buruwisan Falls

Few meters from Buruwisan, we reached our second waterfall named “Lanzones falls”. It’s smaller than Buruwisan, the area was a bit gloomy due to trees covering the area and it’s located on the other end of Buruwisan so both of its drifting water meets on the same river.

Trail going to the Lanzones Falls
Lanzones Falls

After enjoying two falls on our first day, we climbed back to the campsite to prepare for dinner. Good thing, there’s a store on the camping site that offers cooked rice. We spent around P60 for a half kilo rice. We relished dinner over rice and canned tuna meal and had a chitchat with the locals until we took a rest and had a good night sleep to prepare for another adventure by the next morning.

Second day:

We woke up at around 6 AM to have some breakfast before starting another long day. The stores on the site also offers cup noodles, pancit canton and hot coffee/chocolate so breakfast would not be a problem. We started our hike to the other two falls by 7:30 in the morning. First stop was the Sampaloc Falls located north of the campsite which took us around 45 minutes to one hour to reach. We did few river crossing and climbed rocky slopes. It was a continuous ascent-descent trail until we reached the 40 ft falls. I think this was the hardest to get so its charm is the most untainted.

 

Sampaloc Falls
Sampaloc Falls

Last stop is the Batya-Batya falls which means “basin”. It Is a two-level of cascading waterfall located downstream of Sampaloc Falls. It became my personal favorite as going towards batya-batya, you have to pass through a dreamy-like/enchanting river that lies between high rock formations. You even have to pass across a part of the river that’s more than 5 ft in height! One should be careful and guides usually ties rope for assistance.

River towards Batya- Batya Falls
Another river crossing to reach Batya- Batya
Batya- Batya Falls
Batya- Batya Falls

We went back to the campsite, packed our things and started our trek back to the jump off. It was past 12 noon when we reached the tapsilogan to eat lunch and took a bath.

If you wish to visit Mt. Romelo and its waterfalls, you can contact our recommended tour guide, Arnold. He is a college student who works as a tour guide on the side to earn extra living. You can contact him on his phone number 09065049465 or on his official facebook page here.

With our tour guide, Arnold.

Additional Information:

  • Siniloan tourism promotes seven waterfalls on Mt. Romelo namely: Sebakon Falls, Diwata Falls, Sampaloc Falls, Sapang Labo Falls, Batya- Batya Falls, Lanzones Falls and Buruwisan Falls.
  • Guide Fee depends on how many falls you want to visit. For our case, we paid P1500 for an overnight stay for summit and four falls.
  • Registration fee is P50.
  • Some stores on the campsite and along the trail might be close during weekdays.

 

When Tough Situations Build Strong People

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I would always feel that life hits harder on me since I was young. Most of the time, fate would put me on a situation that I needed to put more effort and sweat just to get the same result as anyone else. I was more broke and underprivileged, I was deprived with all the luxuries that people around me savor a lot. I needed to exert so much into my studies so I would not lose a scholarship that keeps me alive. I can’t stay late outside because no one would pick me up. I can’t eat those fast food menu because my allowance won’t allow me to. I can’t spend vacation far from home and the list goes on and on.

But you know what? I realized that those extra efforts that we put in our past will eventually result into something beneficial to us in the near future. It will make us more experienced in life and will make us feel more ready anytime life decides to shoot us. It will make us stronger as an individual, unbothered by anyone, will make us braver and bolder on whatever choices we decide to take.

I must agree when they say that tough situations build strong people because those battles of yours will thrive little by little into a power that you’ll be needing by tomorrow. One day if you come to the point where you doubt yourself again, remember all the battles you silently overcome. Remember how your young self get through your fears alone, how you mended your heart when it was broken, how you decided to listen to yourself when no one wants to hear your inner thoughts, how you still decided to smile when you actually wanted to cry and how you still chose to step forward when everyone around wants you to step back. They are not meant to destroy you, they were made just to discover additional strengths of yours. Keep going because we only become stronger by carrying heavy things. The heavier, the stronger we become!

Mt. Gulugod Baboy And Anilao Beach Travel Guide 2021

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Aside from being famous as a diving hotspot of the south and an oasis of rich marine life, Anilao in Batangas is also known to its climbing spot, Mt. Gulugod Baboy. Just 2-3 hours away from Manila, Anilao is a perfect place if you want to experience and see lushes of the mountain and at the same time see more of our prolific aquatic existence.

Knowing Gulugod Baboy:

Mt. Gulugod Baboy which means “Pig Spine” in English was named because its peak resembles of a pig spine. The mountain is also known to the locals as Mt. Pinagbanderahan. As per locals there was a Japanese aircraft that crashed on the mountain long back. The Japanese aircrews survived and raised a flag on the mountain that’s why it was called “Pinagbanderahan”. Standing 525 MASL with a 2/9 difficulty level, it is a famous hiking spot for beginners. The trek may take around 2-3 hours depending on your pace and you will be rewarded by a scenic lush rolling hills on the top with a 360-degree view of blue waters surrounding Mabini and nearby islands of Sombrero and Tingloy.

How to go to Mt. Gulugod Baboy:

From Manila

Ride a bus (Buendia or Cubao) bound to Batangas Grand Terminal. Upon arrival, look and ride a jeepney bound to Mabini (fare is 70 Pesos each). From Mabini ride a tricycle to Anilao, tell the driver to drop you off on the registration area located after the Philpan Diving Resort sign.

From Laguna

Make your way to Turbina Bus Terminal and wait for buses bound to Batangas Grand Terminal (fare will be 92 Pesos). Upon reaching Batangas Grand Terminal, ride a jeepney bound to Mabini then from Mabini proper ride a tricycle that will take you to Anilao.

Mishap before our trek:

We initially decided to stay overnight on one of the resorts in Anilao so that we could start our trek early in the morning and have a chance of watching sunrise upon reaching the peak. Since we still have work the same day, we waited for our shift to end and left around 3 PM hoping that we can still catch public transpos going to Anilao. We ride a bus from Turbina at around 4:30 PM but due to heavy traffic we reached Batangas City at 7 PM and were not able to catch the last trip to Mabini which is 6 PM (last trip is now earlier due to pandemic).

We’re actually unsure of what we’ll do by that night. We’re thinking of just staying overnight on the terminal and just ride the first trip to Mabini by 4 AM, look for a nearby transient houses or rent a vehicle that would take us to Anilao. All these options went all down to buying the famous Batangas Lomi on one of the remaining open food stall in the terminal. Who can’t resist this delicious food especially when your tummy says it’s hungry? While eating, drivers and dispatchers gathered around us negotiating to take us to Anilao for around 1500 to 1800 Pesos which is too much for us. Good thing our tour guide from Anilao, arranged a jeepney ride for us for only 800 Pesos. It’s a pretty good deal because we decided to just start our trek that night and just sleep on our tents halfway of the trail so there’s no need to pay for an overnight stay on a resort. We’re luck enough that our tour guide made sure that we’ll be able to reach Anilao safe that night.

Start of journey to Mt. Gulugod Baboy:

We reached Anilao at almost 9 PM and were welcomed by our guide on the registration area. We paid 50 Pesos as registration and started our trek right away. First part of the trail is a very steep cemented road. Though the road is cemented and kinda easy to walk on your first few steps, it gets too exhausting because of the continuous ascend of the road.

After the cemented road, we set foot on the unpaved or dirt trail where our exhaustion slightly toned down. The trail was dark but thanks to our phone’s flashlights and few light posts along the way. You’ll also see few houses on the course. We finally reached our guide’s house at around 10:30 PM where we’ll be spending the night. We setup our tents inside their compound, freshen up and took a sleep so we could be ready for the next half of our trek by the next morning.

Journey by the next day:

We woke up at around 5 AM by the next day, geared up and ate some biscuits to have some energy before we start our ascent. The trail of Gulugod Baboy is pretty direct and uncomplicated. We saw few more settlers along the path and as per our guide, those settlers are also their relatives who are native of the place. Around 6 AM we didn’t witness any sunrise due to the rainy and cloudy weather the other night. The place was so gloomy, no clearing and what we can only see are mountain fogs all over the place. We decided to stay on a sari-sari store first to eat some decent breakfast before our final ascent on the top.

The sari-sari store where we had noodles for breakfast

1.5 hours had passed, there’s still no signs of clearing and I was already losing hope. We decided to take on the last pace of the trek to the peak. Upon reaching the top, we can’t appreciate fully its beauty yet since no view can still be seen. We decided to take some photos first while hoping and praying for a clearing.

With our tour guide, Ate Rose Ann

We waited for about an hour before our prayers were finally answered! The sun shines so bright, mountain fogs were washed away and we were greeted by a beauty no one can’t deny. We’re stepping on a green rolling hills similar to Batanes and we’re surrounded by blue waters of Batangas Bay. Such a beauty we can’t resist and I thank God for letting us see the scenery He created.

Descent and visiting Anilao Beach:

Islands of Tingloy and Sombrero as seen from above
The blue waters will make you want to swim after hike

Seeing the blue sea from the peak will make you want to splash on its waters upon descent. So, we decided to go down as fast as we can so we’ll have more time to swim our hearts on the beach. We haven’t been to the beach for a long time due to lockdowns so we were really excited. Our guide introduced us to a local resort. The resort doesn’t have any name but it’s definitely cheaper compare to other known resorts on the area. We bought foods to cook and let one of their local cook it for us for a very affordable price. She even let us borrow eating utensils since we really don’t have any at all. The place is an old resort but we really enjoyed it since we’re the only guests, no crowd and the beach water is as clear as like on the other expensive resorts. If you wish to go here, you can simply ask our guide Ate Rose Ann.

Recommended tour guide: Ate Rose Ann/Kuya Jaymar Ilao (you can contact them through their facebook page here)

Start of our descent
Meeting a local kid on the area
Swimming is always a good idea

Other things to know before going:

  • Tour guide fee is 500 Pesos for dayhike and 800 Pesos for overnight hike.
  • If you are not into hiking, there’s a road on the other side of the mountain where you can ride a vehicle. The road leads to the parking lot of the main campsite.
  • If you wish to stay overnight on the main campsite, please coordinate with the people from the registration first or with your tour guide.
Philpan Diving Resort Signage
Registration Center

Think Like A Queen, Have A Heart Of A Warrior

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Growing up, I would always see on how a book depicts life of a man and a woman. They would usually illustrate men being the head of a family, solely goes to work to earn a living and a strong individual who fearlessly do anything to protect his family while women on the other hand would usually be pictured as a person who would stay at home to take care of their kids, cooks for the entire family and gives light by giving love and care to every home. As I grow and experience life, I realized that anyone can freely do things that their heart desires. Women can stand and work hard to earn too while men are also capable of spreading care and peace at their abode. In short, anyone is in the position to take any role he or she aspires to get hold of.

I always dream that each women would wake up one day without the fear of going beyond because we also deserve to get our full potentials. Stop thinking that you need anyone in order to be capable of doing great because you alone can be great. Stop thinking that you can’t be like this or like that because anyone including you is allowed to prioritize what she really wants and not the world wants. Stop invalidating your worth just because society expects you to be less, please believe in yourself and you’ll be worthy beyond measure. And lastly, I want to tell you that you are fierce for fighting for yourself but you will be more powerful if you fight for and empower another being or a woman. Strength shouldn’t stop within you, it should be spread out to uplift other individuals who might got lost along the way and needs morale to continue winning life.

Always remember that one woman should not beat a man or another in order to be called strong or successful, one woman should be able to defeat her own self and her insecurities that society throws in order to be a winner. You are not weak, you are not incapable, you are not voiceless, those are just cliches that needs to be neglected. Focus on your own choice, mind your worth and always remember that you can be a game changer. Think like a queen, have a heart of a warrior and everything you believed in will be possible. Ladies, we can and we will! Always!

Luisiana, Laguna: Hulugan Falls Travel Guide

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Laguna might be known for its hot spring resorts, location of the country’s biggest freshwater lake, Laguna De Bay and being home of Philippine’s famous amusement park, Enchanted Kingdom but this province situated Southeast of Metro Manila has a lot of natural attractions waiting to be explored. Multiple waterfalls can be found in the province but for this article we’ll be talking about Hulugan Falls located on Laguna’s little Baguio, the town of Luisiana.

Knowing Hulugan Falls:

Hulugan Falls is one of the few falls that you can visit in Brgy. San Salvador, Luisiana. Locals would agree that it is the most stunning among all. Standing 230 feet, you’ll be amazed by its natural beauty and to be drizzled by its strong water drops is an experience you must look forward to. As per our guide, with the effort of the barangay’s ex captain the place was finally opened to the public last 2015 and since then many tourists were captured by its charm.

How to get there?

From Manila

From Manila ride a bus (Buendia, Cubao or Alabang) bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Upon reaching Sta. Cruz town proper, ride a jeepney bound to Luisiana. Jeepney terminal is located at the back of Jollibee Sta. Cuz, fare is P50 each and tell the driver to drop you off on Brgy. San Salvador. Upon arrival you’ll be seeing a sign “To Hulugan Falls” at your right. Walk to your right and you’ll be greeted by tour guides. Once they assigned a guide, they’ll accompany you to the old Captain’s house for registration. After registration, you have to ride another tricycle going to the jump off (80 Pesos per ride good for 4 pax).

From Laguna

Make your way to SM Calamba and look for jeepneys bound to Sta. Cruz on its transportation terminal. Fare will be P60 each and travel time is around 1 hour. Upon reaching Sta. Cruz town proper, ride a Luisiana bound jeepney (located at the back of Jollibee Sta. Cruz). Fare will be P50 and travel may take another 45 minutes to 1 hour. Dropped off at Brgy. San Salvador and walk to your right, have a tour guide assigned and have your group registered at the Captain’s house. After registration, ride a tricycle going to the jump off.

Registration area

Journey to Hulugan Falls:

On this trip, we only decided to visit Hulugan Falls. Upon reaching the jump off, we make our way to the right where we were greeted by the “I Love Hulugan Falls” sign. Long tables and chairs are also available on the area where visitors can take a quick rest. After this part, this is where the real tricky trek starts. You have to descend a very steep natural stairs and since it poured the day before we went, the trail is too slippery, muddy and a bit complex. Good thing is they managed to put bamboo railings that one can hold and use as support all through his journey. We also have a very nice guide that holds and assists us anytime we need.

The trek may take around 30 minutes and after a tiring descent, you’ll be rewarded by the majesty that awaits you. It rained the day before we went to Hulugan, making the waterfalls white in color, larger than usual and water drops powerful. Regardless of its color and not being in its best glory (as per guides and locals), I was just stunned and overwhelmed by the beauty right in front of me at that moment. It’s such a gem that doesn’t deserve displeasure.

We have to put all our belongings inside a big plastic bag (prepared by our guide) to keep our things dry. Due to the strong current of water, we were not allowed to go below or near the falls itself for our safety. You can take photos on the big rocks around the area but make sure to be careful since it can be too slippery. Make sure to bring as well waterproof phone cases so you could take good pictures without worrying about your phone getting showered. Enjoying being poured by water drops from the falls is a must experience! It’s like bathing one rainy day back on your childhood days.

Recommended tour guide, Kuya Jayson
Be careful with the slippery rocks when taking photos

Getting Back From Hulugan Falls:

You have to take the same route to get back above. It may be extra tiring as you’ll need additional strength during ascent. Still, be mindful of your steps because one missed step could make you slide. Upon reaching the top where “I Love Hulugan Falls” sign is located we took some time to rest and that’s when I noticed that I lost my gold ring given to me by my mom. Our tour guide was too kind and decided to went back to the trail to look for it but unluckily, he didn’t find it. (He even went back to the falls by the next day to look for my ring again but still didn’t find it).

We continue our ascent until the drop off and ride a tricycle going to a house where we can take a bath and change clothes (P20/ligo). After fixing our things, we ride another tricycle back to the main highway and waited for a jeep back to Sta. Cruz.

Additional Information To Know:

  • Aside from Hulugan Falls, you can visit the other two falls in Brgy. San Salvador namely Talay Falls and Hidden Falls. You’ll take around 1.5 hours of trek when visiting the three waterfalls.
  • Registration Fee is 40 Pesos only. During this pandemic, they don’t require any requirements but you have to fill out their registration log book with your passing temperature.
  • Standard guide fee is 500 PHP (mandated July 2020) for Hulugan Falls.
  • For a recommended tour guide, you can contact Kuya Jayson. Once you are sure, tell him your desired date to visit so he can reserve you under his name. Kuya Jayson’s phone number is 09094522936.

It’s such a refreshing activity anyone could try since we have been forced not to leave our home for the past months due to the pandemic. We’ll surely be back and will try to visit the other known “Aliw Falls” on the nearby barangay. Please follow health protocols and safe travel to everyone! 

Lost But Trust Me, You’ll Be Found

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Did it ever happened to you that you woke up one morning and suddenly felt lost? For so many years you thought you had your life figured out and you led your life towards the path you always dream of walking on but then within that morning you opened your eyes, the wind blows entirely the other way. Your heart and mind are nowhere to be found and you completely lost your sense of direction.

Feeling empty, confused and unhappy is okay. It’s a feeling that we have to go through in order to be full, precise and genuinely happy again. Think of yourself as a moon, it needs to go different phases for a month in order to be full again and it’s fullness shines so bright beautifully even on the darkest nights. So no matter how empty you are right now, you will go through phases and can still be the light someone is waiting to shine on their darkest times. So prepare yourself to shine.

Not gripping on your sense of direction can be hard for someone who always visions his desires but think about all the possibilities life has to offer. You’ll be touching the lives of thousands or even millions of people a lifetime, there’s a lot of coffee to try in the tiny coffee shops of your hometown, there are plenty of white beaches to visit on your country and there are thousands of languages being spoken across the globe that we can hear by ourselves when traveling. There are so many dreamy things that will come our way as long as we believe. So prepare yourself to believe.

You might be extremely sad having your heart broken by someone. You might be feeling belittle because of a neighbor who judges you for not earning enough. You might be crying over the night because you can’t leave a job that you hate but feeds your entire family. You might be in the middle of a decision of either going forward or giving up. Regardless of how sad or how you push yourself to the inch of giving up, always remember that you will be fine someday. It might not be today or by tomorrow but I truly believe that you will. So prepare yourself to trust because someone still believes in you.

I am proud of you because you are still here, you’re lost but still living and trying to figure things out again despite all. It’s okay not to get all the answers to your questions today. You’ll be found again, someday. Don’t lose heart until then.

I Keep Moving Forward And I Thank Myself For That

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Dear self,

I know how hard it is to live on a world where struggles always arises out of the blue. You don’t let those obstacles torn you down. Your problems seems to be strong but I thank you for being stronger.

I know how frustrating it is for not getting all your dreams in life. I know how sad it is every night to think how far you still have to walk on your journey towards your wildest dreams but I thank you for not giving up.

I know how you cry when people starts to hurt your feelings, judge you and simply disagree with the way you wanted to live. It’s disappointing how many of us still believes with a certain standard setup by the community but I thank you for surviving.

I know how difficult it is to keep moving forward when the world around you starting to fill in with so much hate but I am proud of you and I thank you for still choosing love amid the uncertainty.

I know how you always feel inferior because of the people who are always trying to pull you down. Regardless how good you’ve shown to them they still have anything bad to say but I thank you for growing instead of feeling belittle.

I know how you struggle with every mistakes you didn’t wished to happen. Mistakes might be a result of your weaknesses but a single mistake should not define you and I thank you for learning from it and by just being a stronger version of yourself.

Lastly, thank you for always saving yourself when everyone else is busy saving their own lives too. I will always love you and I will never get tired of showing how thankful I am to you.