travel factor: mt. pico de loro/mt. palay-palay

Wet with mud and rain, sliding down the mountain using my butt and palms, I wondered, briefly, why I even signed up for this.

Compared to Mt. Pinatubo, the climb to Pico de Loro was harrowing. I had a scary moment when I had to sit because I couldn’t catch my breath and I could already see black spots in front of my eyes. The muscles near my right kneecap cramped up on the return trek –  a new pain, so new that it took me a while before I realized I was already having cramps. It rained while we were on the summit, and on the way down I slipped and fell in the mud more than twice. Four days after the hike I still find it hard to bend my knees. Perfect for newbie mountaineers, my foot!

BUT I was glad I went ahead and discovered that I could survive such a crazy trek. While on the summit we spotted rain in the distance, and saw black rain clouds rise up around the summit like smoke. We saw dragonflies flying more than 600 meters above sea level. I heard complex bird calls I’ve never heard anywhere before. And the most amazing thing was the entire week before the trek I was worried I would be a burden to strangers, but it turned out that Bebang Siy’s husband, Poy, was there with his sister, Rianne — so I became a burden to people I sort-of know! Pwede na rin! Haha! Thanks to these two, otherwise I would have been found crying in an ant-infested corner of the trail.

My thanks once again to Travel Factor, especially to sweeper Fonci Patricio. Syempre sa sobrang bagal ko sweeper na ang kadaldalan ko pabalik. Kalurkey. 

Great trip! The pain was worth it.


Maragondon, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas
Major jump-off: Magnetic Hill, Ternate, Cavite
Minor jump-off: Ternate-Nasugbu Highway, Nasugbu, Batangas
LLA: 14° 12.855 N; 120° 38.785 E; 664 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 2-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Distinctive spire at the summit, forests, scenic views of Cavite



04:00 Meet-up at designated location in Ortigas area
04:30 ETD Ortigas
07:30 ETA Ternate Cavite, eat breakfast snacks
08:00 Registration, Start of trek
11:30 Arrive at summit!
12:00 Lunch
13:30 Start of descent
14:30 Sidetrip to the falls
15:00 Resume descent
17:00 Arrive at jump-off point, wash up
17:30 ETD Ternate, Cavite
20:30 ETA Ortigas

PS I didn’t go to the monolith because damn are you crazy

Mt. Pico de Loro Climb

Poy and Rianne:

Mt. Pico de Loro Climb

It was a big group, 64 in all:

Mt. Pico de Loro Climb

Mt. Pico de Loro Climb

Some of us took the wrong trail and ended up on the other side of the campsite. Oops. But it was a great view:

Mt. Pico de Loro Climb

Mt. Pico de Loro Climb

We had to loop back and go through thick clumps of bamboo.

Campsite for lunch.

Mt. Pico de Loro Climb

Mt. Pico de Loro Climb

Mt. Pico de Loro Climb

Mt. Pico de Loro Climb

To the summit!

Mt. Pico de Loro climb with Travel Factor

Corregidor in the distance.

Mt. Pico de Loro climb with Travel Factor

Hamilo Coast?

Mt. Pico de Loro climb with Travel FactorThe monolith.

Mt. Pico de Loro climb with Travel Factor

Mt. Pico de Loro climb with Travel Factor

Look at that striking white line of a road:

Mt. Pico de Loro climb with Travel Factor

Here comes the rain.

Mt. Pico de Loro climb with Travel Factor

The campsite from above.

Mt. Pico de Loro climb with Travel Factor

Mt. Pico de Loro climb with Travel Factor

Mt. Pico de Loro climb with Travel Factor

I was told the Pico de Loro trail, though covered and cool, was harder than the Mt. Pulag Ambangeg trail. Well, damn. I guess I’m going to Pulag next? :)

from the beach to the casino

I had a fun, food-filled weekend. On April 19 to 20 the department went to Palm Beach Resort in San Juan, Batangas. According to their website, “The Resort is designed to be a private retreat for those who prefer the tranquility and peace of a place with a well-preserved natural setting as an alternative to other overdeveloped destinations.”

It is definitely a private place. It’s a long drive from the main road (it felt like the edge of the earth), and there is no signal.

But it is serene and beautiful.






Where we stayed, and the path to the dining pavilion. They serve good food!



On Sunday, we visited Solaire with J’s mom to have lunch at their sosyal food court.

Solaire Resort & Casino has beautiful decor.





And fresh flowers!





The food court looks great, but I think the food is too expensive.



Cute take-out box. :)


updates galore

Life updates! Work updates! Bookswap updates!

Bookswap on April 14, where we met Kat’s friend Aych for the first time. I love doing this meetups with the girls (and occasional boy). Book nerds! Love it.

Kim and Almi weren’t present because they were celebrating their monthsary. Next time!

On April 18, J’s sister V gave birth to the cutest baby boy.

Proud uncle.

I realized then that it has been years since I last touched a baby. They’re so soft! (And so small!)

I told myself that I won’t blog about work, but this isn’t really work. The Marketing department had a team building activity at Stilts in Calatagan, Batangas on April 20 to 21. Not my first time here, but my first time to stay overnight. I’d like to go back sometime for an overnight trip with the family, or just with J.

I had fun, despite being generally cynical toward any kind of team activity.

Feeling at home.

First time to see Stilts at night...
...and in the early morning.
Office mates enjoying a quick dip.
Just look at the water! Beautiful.

We had a stopover in Tagaytay. Lunch at Dencio’s and we bought pasalubong from Amira’s and Rowena’s. J enjoyed some eclairs and ube tarts when I got home.


Maundy Thursday’s the only day the entire department is available to go anywhere as a group (no newspaper for Good Friday so the office is closed), and this year we grabbed the opportunity.

We went on a daytrip (8 am to 6 pm) to Stilts in Calatagan, Batangas. Left Makati at 4:30 a.m. We were able to arrive and leave on time, it was ridiculous. On the itinerary: lunch on the beach, swim, camwhore, dinner on the way home. Special thanks to Boss Kate for making it all happen.

Her notes: “Technical notes re this trip: Entrance to Stilts was at P350/head (daytour). Since we brought in our own food and drinks, we also had to pay corkage of P100/head. (Food at the resort was around P300/meal). We also rented an open hut good for max of 15pax for P850. How to get there:View map here. Rented a van for P3,500, excluding gas and toll fees.”

Photos from Ate Julie, Andrea and Kate, Almi, and my camera.

I was happy to see that the beach wasn’t crowded at all. (Even though we ran out of parking space.)

We were given green mango juice as a welcome drink. Sour and yummy.

The Research Team: Marielle, Almi, Schatzi, Lawrence, me, Kate (plus Andrea and Jaykie!)
My beachmates.

Lunch was Andok’s chicken!

Stilts also has a pool –

Those were Jaykie's legs. Definitely Lawrence's idea.

and a raft, to fulfill your camwhoring needs.

I have never been in a successful jump shot before. UNTIL NOW BWAHAHA.

See Jaykie jump! Howeeee!

Final pose before packing up:

Wheeee wiiiiind.

The water was cold and the beach was stony but the weather was fine and the company was great and the place was beautiful. I had fun! Next year uli!