Trip Down Memory Lane | Weekend Warriors Part II

Christmas is only 44 days away, and the year is swiftly coming to an end, yet I haven’t even crossed out half of the stuff on my list of trips and events to write about. Boy, I better get everything done soon and by soon, I mean NOW! 😛

So going back to where I left off 4 months ago, here’s the second part of our exciting, but not so challenging, and thus enjoyable 😛 day hike to Mt. Manalmon back in May. Here’s the first part. ⛰⛰⛰

No, I’m not being cocky at all. It was definitely a walk-in-the-park and I can even vouch for those who don’t work out on a regular basis. Easy peasy is what it was.

Although I couldn’t say the same for my cousin, whose blood pressure, I assumed shot up as early as the first ascent. We had to stop a few times so he could recuperate and re-hydrate.

After the first ascent, we reached a clearing (in terms of plants & trees), just a few meters from the marker at the foot of the mountain.

We stopped again so we could catch our breath or should I say, take some selfies. The drying grass helped make for a good background on our photos and the wide patch of land served as a rest stop for various groups before the second ascent.

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Basing on this marker, the first ascent was just around 36 MASL

We then proceeded to climb the mountain itself in more or less an hour after we left the jump off point. This was probably the more challenging part of the climb. Though more amateur friendly, it’s still a mountain, so obviously there are no paved staircases and metal railings to hang on to on the way up. It can still be perilous so you’d need to watch every step and to hang on to branches and vines to support yourself. You see, that’s the beauty of having a guide, he told us exactly where to anchor our feet and which vines/branches to grab a hold of.

Here are some shots taken by my sister who was ahead of us…

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Resting after the steep climb, while the sister went up ahead…

Here we were finally reaching one of its many summits!!

Reaching the first summit was more than amazing. The first mountain I ever climbed was Kalbaryo within Mt. Banahaw back in high school and for a moment, I was taken back to how good it really felt to immerse in the great outdoors.

I’ve this extreme fear of heights. I get weak in the knees just walking along mall balconies, but being on top of a mountain feels so much different from that. I guess the surreal feeling tricks your mind into thinking that you cannot fall over the edge, not with beautiful views in sight. Just saying that makes me seem high because that’s exactly what it felt like, literally and figuratively. It was euphoric. I guess nature can really give you that feeling, huh? This is most probably why everyone goes mountaineering these days. Just writing about it now makes me giddy. Definitely can’t wait til our next hike. Keeping fingers crossed.

Apparently as seen on the following photos, the first summit was where we stayed the longest, because it had bigger room to accommodate several groups. At the time, I think there were 4 groups of 5-10 climbers when we reached the first one.

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We also maximized the time to take as many selfies and groufies as we can in one spot, and to re-hydrate and freshen up. Fortunately, the sun kind of shied away too when we reached the top, so we didn’t have to hurry to go to the next stop.

Some of these photos below were taken by our guide and we’re all very impressed, I must say. His compositions were spot on! Way to go, Kuya Joseph!

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After a while, we decided we needed to let go of our spot as more groups were coming up, so off we went to……….. take more selfies! 😛

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Here are some longshots of the incredible scenes we saw from above. Those ants meeting under a tree sure look good in those shirts.

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The second and final summits were both on the other side of the mountain and had more beautiful views of what I believe is the Madlum river snaking its way in between these mountains.

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The final ascent was quite steep so we had to Spiderman-crawl to the top. My sister recorded the whole thing on video, unfortunately I messed up the music volume while editing, so you’re gonna have to put your speakers on full blast for this one.

The third and final summit had less room obviously, so we had to do all our shenanigans very quickly as the queue of climbers was also getting longer.

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This tree was on the edge of the mountain and even though my cousin looked really happy here, he was actually very nervous as I was when I took the photo.

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Yes, we also danced our hearts out on the summit. Bucketlist thing. LOL. This must be why someone from the group behind us was so pissed at us.

There you go. That was definitely one of the many highlights and blessings of this year for me. Of course, it could not have been possible without His blessing so like all of the mountains that we’ll be conquering this year and the years ahead, this was and always will be for His glory.

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I want to say though that this is the last part of this travel series, but then I realized there’s still so much to write about. We also tried the extremely challenging Monkey River Crossing and Spelunking, both of which I think deserve a separate entry.

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Realizations of a First Timer (#WhyILoveJapan)

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  1. I was the only one in my family/in the group I’m traveling with without a single stamp on my passport.IMG_20160830_093827
  2. Traveling makes my heart grow bigger. Always!
  3. Pinoys are much more disciplined when abroad.
  4. I can travel without so much baggage (no pun intended)! It was my first time to do so and it was heaven! IMG_20160829_110614
  5. I have never bowed so much as I have in the past 4 days. I grew accustomed to this practice, together with the phrase “Arigatou Gozai—-” (-it’s too long, I almost always just finish up to Gozai, so my sister would tell me to just say “Doumo” instead) I even bowed to thank the cab driver who had to stop outright, just for us to cross the street.
  6. In relation to #4, Japanese drivers are extremely cautious and give so much priority to pedestrians.
  7. I almost forgot that Japanese elderly people work past retirement age, so it was hard for me to see them working, especially those in customer service and maintenance. I even saw one carefully scouring shoe marks on the floor by hand, in Yodobashi. And yes, you read that right, shoe marks. I guess, this is how it really is in first-world countries? IMG_20160829_075037
  8. There aren’t a lot of Pinoys in Japan, at least not as many as I have expected. My parents were always talking about how there are so many Pinoys working in HK Disneyland, but we never saw one in Tokyo, so it always made me smile when I accidentally heard a couple of Pinoys talk to each other in Filipino in random places in Tokyo.
  9. Japanese trains and subways are not as confusing as I have expected, but it would have been without the help of our handy dandy Metro App.
  10. Japanese trains have seat cushions, not smelly and arrive and leave on time, which led me to ponder upon the money that should have been invested in better transit systems in our country. Also made me think how corrupt and shameless our government officials are. LRM_EXPORT_20160827_132018
  11. It’s so safe to walk around Tokyo even late at night, so we didn’t have a problem collecting (yes collecting talaga!) drinks from vending machines and scouting for a Ramen place. LRM_EXPORT_20160827_224836
  12. Speaking of vending machines, I love them!!!! They’re found literally everywhere in Tokyo, even inside some of the trains!
  13. I can’t explain how much I loved Japanese food even more after the trip. I was always scared of eating raw food other than sashimi, but not anymore! 🙂 LRM_EXPORT_20160828_232617
  14. Tourist spots that are less crowded, quiet and peaceful, more homey and laid back are what I loved the most: a.k.a Meiji Shrine, Nezu Shrine and the surrounding neighborhood (see first photo) and Bunkyo, where we stayed for 3 days! I even loved Yushima station in Bunkyo because of how quiet and less busy it always was, day or night! Ganun siguro talaga pag tumatanda na. Chos!IMG_20160830_123351
  15. It helps to learn some helpful Japanese phrases and I got giddy and nervous everytime I blurted out “Sumimasen” “Arigatou Gozaimasu” and “Gomen Nasai” for fear that I might mispronounce them. I didn’t want them to think I’m trying too hard either, but like one guy said on a forum, tourists would always stand out, no matter how hard they try to fit in, but it makes a good impression that you’re making an effort to learn their language and their customs.
  16. Speaking of customs, they have tons of them, so we made sure we didn’t use our chopsticks the wrong way (who knew there are so many ways you can commit a mistake with just 2 sticks?) and we made sure we followed the rules as much as we could.
  17. I thought I’d never find a Catholic church in Tokyo, but there are lots of them, with some even holding masses in Filipino!
  18. Japanese people in customer service are very polite, very helpful and kind in so many levels.IMG_20160827_105057
  19. I love sleeping on Japanese futons!LRM_EXPORT_20160829_004229
  20. I realized I peed on a Japanese squat toilet the wrong way, or at least at the wrong side twice!
  21. I realized I still love toys after entering Japanese anime and toy stores!
  22. Littlest things such as the catchy songs around Disneyland and the final song during the Nightfall Glow Parade easily made me cry,probably because of the certain feel the parade itself evokes. Apparently, it’s a back up parade for when the weather is bad. Here’s a video I found on Youtube! Still makes me cry. I’d definitely listen to this every night from this day on!
  23. I love kids so much and the hilarious stuff they say! There’s this Fil-Jap kid on our plane back home and he was so cute and square & straight. Everything he said made the whole waiting area laugh. When he came out of the restroom, he was complaining about how their group left him and his dad. He also shamelessly talked about how big his poop was. Hilarious kid. When we were boarding, he was asking his dad to move faster saying, “Papa dalian mo, iiwanan na naman nila tayo!” Imagine a chinky-eyed, rosy-cheeked boy boarding alone and was so frank and outspoken, speaking in straight Filipino. Reminded me so much of Miho‘s (PBB winner) daughter. 🙂

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    that’s the kid behind us and his family at the end of the hall, if you could still see them
  24. I realized I could never get enough of Japan and I would definitely go back. There’s still so much to see in Tokyo alone, and even more outside. I would definitely be back for Osaka and HP world, Nagano and its beautiful mountains, Mt. Fuji and Mt. Takao, the Ryokan town, Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima and a hundred others, the FOOOOOOOOD, make up and skin care, FILMS and more FILM CAMERAS and a whole lot more! Being a first world country in Asia, I easily felt culture shocked, but in time easily got used to it, as long as I’m willing to comply and I should.
  25. Lastly, I realized how truly endless the possibilities are with God. He is the most loving, generous and merciful father and with faith in Him, nothing is impossible. Because He is such a kind God and all His creations were created in His image and likeness, all of us possess goodness inside of us. When they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I guess that also applies to God being our Father and us being His children and so I know that my parents’ generosity not only to us but to those who work for them, came ultimately from God Himself. In turn, they too have imparted God’s generosity to my younger siblings and I and it isn’t quite surprising to see how unconditionally giving they are especially now. It was a miracle that I was able to go on this trip and that miracle wouldn’t have been possible without God and the help of my family, a.k.a., my sponsors. 🙂 For that, I am truly grateful! ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU! IMG_20160830_133040LRM_EXPORT_20160828_055441

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Marriage Goals

It’s my parents’ 27th anniversary and our car’s 2nd! Haha! Yes, I had to include that since it’s always going to be a part of their celebration now.

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I know they’ve been through so much and still going through a lot, but I also know they’re both happy and content with each other and with what they have.

Everyday, I get to witness their conversations and I find it amusing that at their age and at this point in their lives, they still get to talk about the smallest things, tease each other and even laugh at their mistakes.

I’m pretty sure they didn’t plan anything for today. They went to work and will be coming home late again, waiting for my sister. It would be like any ordinary day, but it’s no biggie. I know they both wouldn’t mind having dinner at a non fancy place or going to work when they could’ve taken the day off.

I have to say I’m really lucky to have parents like these two. They’re not perfect, but their generosity, kindness, simplicity and faith makes them one of those couples a lot could easily look up to. They’re both soft spoken but their actions speak louder than their words. They don’t have a lot, but they always have something to give. They’ve come a long way since they got married, but they remained simple and content. I don’t see why God wouldn’t bless them for they have always shared what little they have in life to those in need. And as for faith? I don’t think they would have remained together all these years without God at the center of their lives and that’s what I’m most thankful for.

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I’m really blessed for having parents that are more than what I could have hoped for. They’ll always be the source of my strength, inspiration and of course, my life, couple and marriage peg/goals!