Weekend Getaway at Baguio City V.2

It was surely an unplanned Baguio visit with my team mates. Februrary 26, 2016 – we didn’t even know that it’s Panagbenga Festival! *chuckles*

We all agreed to meet in Victory Liner, Cubao at around 5AM. I told them that I’ll buy bus tickets for us since I’m the first one to get there. Sad to say, the earliest possible that we could get was at 10:30AM. Yes, I did buy the tickets because #YOLO, it’s now or never! Haha. So we had to wait for 5 more hours and was hoping to be a chance passenger in earlier trips, but still nah.

Chance Passenger

Arrived in Baguio City at 5PM then we checked-in Hotel Veniz. I have missed the Lomo Ribs of Canto so I dragged them at Ketchup: The Food Community to have our dinner.

Lomo Ribs

No definite plan afterwards, so we just had a night walk around Wright Park, Burnham Park and Session Road. After the long night walks, we finally decided to go back to hotel at around 11PM then watched The Conjuring on HBO!

Burnham Park
© Dominic Dawat

Burnham Park

On the next day, we went back to Burnham Park. The gorgeous scenery and the cool weather, oohh… the things that I always miss to see in Baguio City!

Mines View Park

Nothing much have changed since my last visit. Still a popular place to get cheap pasalubong, plants and to have a cliff overlooking the mountains.

The Mansion

We rode in jeepney from the Mines View Park going down to The Mansion –  the summer residence of the Philippine President. Only good for taking pictures because going inside the mansion is not allowed and other than that, there’s nothing else to do.

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Wright Park

Right in front of the Mansion. We often joke that the place and the vibe look like the same from what we see in Koreanovelas. 😛 We have enjoyed the sight of the people walking around, the horse back ride, the pine trees and all the other things that the Wright Park could offer!

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Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden is just 10 minutes walk from the Wright Park. A cool place with nice flowers, photo opportunities and interesting structures such as Chinese pagoda, Golden Gate Bridge, various other bridges and walkways with plenty of shade.

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Golden Bridge, OTWOL feels!

Laperal White House

Another famous spot along the Leonard Wood Rd. is the Laperal White House. A Victorian style house with a dark history but it was now transformed into a gallery of Filipino artworks based on bamboo and wood.

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Bagiuo Museum

It was my first time here. The Baguio Museum is a 4 storey building that proudly presents the history and the transformation of Baguio City. There are also displayed paintings that they sell.

IMG_0018 IMG_0011Panagbenga Festival

Just a few shots of the Panabenga Festival because it’s almost time for us to go back to Manila. 🙂

Long walks around Baguio City is so worth it!

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CD-R (CJ, Doms and Rika)

Weekend Getaway at Baguio City V.1

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U.S. Tourist Visa Application Experience

US Visa

Getting U.S. Tourist Visa is one of my goals for this year! It was January 15th when I set a schedule for my visa interview and the earliest possible date by that time was February 2nd; I chose February 5th at 8:00AM (Friday).

For Non-immigrant Visa application, these are the 3 steps:

  1. Go to www.ustraveldocs.com and answer the DS-160 online form (Note: You will need to upload your picture, preferably in a neutral facial expression).
  2. Pay the visa fee, which costs $160; keep the visa fee receipt because you will need it during the appointment.
  3. Schedule your visa interview thru their website or call center agent. Remember, gadgets are not allowed so better leave it at home.

I’m ecstatic about the interview, so I kept on Googling about U.S. Tourist Visa blogs and then I have noticed that these are the questions that the consular commonly ask:

  1. What is the purpose of your visit?
  2. Do you have any relatives or friends in the U.S.?
  3. How long will you be staying?
  4. Countries you have visited for the past 5 years?
  5. What is your work?
  6. How much is your monthly income?

U.S. Visa Appointment Day

My boyfriend (he only accompanied me) and I have arrived at the US Embassy around 6AM and I think I’m the 6th person in the line for the 8AM appointment. At 7:45AM, we were on our way inside the embassy.

Once inside the embassy, the first step would be a pre-interview (checking of printed DS-160/appointment form) this is also your last chance to change any answer in your form, the second step is a fingerprint scanning and lastly, the start of a waiting game for your number to be called for the interview.

Calling out of the number is randomized, as what the guy staff explained, it is random because the number that was first to enter into their system after the fingerprint scan will be called immediately, so don’t get mad if you saw the last person in your line to be called first. 🙂

I wasn’t wearing a watch on that day (because I thought it is also prohibited) so I assume that it took me an hour before being called. Maybe I’m just lucky that there were fewer people went for an interview on that day, other people waited for 2-3hrs. (Tip: Bring a book that you want to read while waiting because it might take hours before you’ll be called).

The consuls looks nice, approachable and good anyway, unlike the stories that I have heard. Before my turn, I could hear a lot of people being interviewed and most of them got approved.

The Interview

I was feeling nervous while waiting for my number to flash in the screen, but during the interview, my nervousness suddenly went away!

Consul: Hi, how are you?
Me: Good morning, I’m good. *smiles*
Consul: So, what’s the purpose of your visit?
Me: I will visit my relatives
Consul: What is your relationship with them?
Me: My aunt and my grandmother
Consul: How long do you plan to visit?
Me: For 2 weeks
Consul: So you work in *********?
Me: Yup
Consul: For how long?
Me: For ** years
Consul: From which department?
Me: From **** department
Consul: Oh, the **** store. What’s your work?
Me: *explaining my work*
Consul: Who will pay for your trip?
Me: Myself
Consul: Okay… So you’re saving up for yourself?
Me: Yes

And that’s how I got my U.S. Tourist Visa application approved! 😀 The excitement and the visa fee are all worth it! Haha. After 5 business days, my passport was delivered to our house… The US Embassy gave me 10 years! I think most of the questions were about my work because it will be the main reason why I’ll return here in the Philippines. Also, they didn’t ask for any supporting documents during the interview. My ultimate tip for the interview would be:

BE HONEST AND BE CONFIDENT

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Majestic Tinipak River and Mt. Mamara Day Hike

Hiking is now one of popular outdoor activities and a weekend getaway nowadays. So I’ll have to remind everybody, including myself, that do not hike in mainstream mountains a day before the holiday because there will be too many people!

We originally planned to hike in Mt. Daraitan but since there were too many people at that time, we were not lucky enough to be with the 300 people that were allowed to go up.

Good thing, we were still able to hike Mt. Marmara and Tinipak River which are also located in Barangay Daraitan, even though it’s crowded as well. Personally, I haven’t heard about the Mt. Mamara so I did not have any idea about its difficulty and what to expect at the summit.

Tinipak

Before you reach the starting point of Mt. Mamara, you’ll get to see and enjoy the Tinipak River first. The Tinipak River is characterized by cool clear waters, amazing rock formations and colorful stones by its banks; most of our time was spent taking photos near the river and on top of the rock formations. It was a 30mins walk from Brgy. Daraitan to the campsite and another 5mins walk going to the start point of Mt. Mamara; at the same time, it is the part of the river where you could swim around.

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Our hike from the starting point of Mt. Mamara up to the summit took us almost 2hrs and 30mins because we had to stop most of the time to give way for those hikers going down. The mountain is not yet developed and upon reaching the summit, I’m a bit disappointed about how crowded it was and there’s nothing much to see! You wouldn’t think of it as the summit. There wasn’t enough space to sit so most of us had our snacks while standing. I hate to say it, but the view doesn’t worth our climb at all… While going down took us only 1hr and 30mins.

There is also the Mamara cave, however, it was also crowded. We had to wait for the five groups to be finished (30mins for each group) before our turn so our group decided to skip the cave for us not to go home late and just go swim around Tinipak River.

Expenses: Tour guide – Php500 | Environmental Fee: Php25

© Allysa Pajarillo
© Allysa Pajarillo
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Philippine Map Pinboard

Philippine Map Pinboard

Isn’t it fun to know where you’ve been and haven’t been by marking it on a pinboard map? Listing down the mountains that you have conquered? A pinboard that will help you remember the moments you had in a certain place. Memories that will be remembered forever.

Just finished my Philippine map pinboard today; it may have look simple, but the point of it is to let me remember where I have been. More than 20 years living in Philippines and as you can see, I still have a lot of Philippine provinces to visit! I’m not even in the half yet! Haha. On the left side, I plan to list down the mountains that I have conquered.ListsWhat else do you think should I add to it? Were you also able to track down the places you’ve been? Comment below. 🙂

Materials:

Cork Board | Wooden Frame| Construction Paper | Dressmaker Pins | Glue | Pencil | Scissor | Permanent Markers (Black and Silver)

PS: If you are interested to have one, just send me a message. 🙂

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Mt. Manalmon: Day Hike And More Adventures At Sitio Madlum

We went to Sitio Madlum, San Miguel, Bulacan by a private car but if you prefer to commute, there are buses in Cubao that are bound to San Miguel, Bulacan. Arrived at Sitio Madlum around 10:30 AM; packed the things to bring for our day hike, left our extra clothes inside the car then we headed to registration area immediately. Glad that I’m with two people who have been there for three times already so they already know the way around. Expenses will be at the bottom of this post. 🙂

Upon arriving in the registration area, the officer informed us about the new rule: No Permit. No Entry. Thankfully, even though we do not have a permit, they allowed us to hike just for this time because we were obviously not aware with the new rule.

RegistrationRules

The tour guide gave us an option if we want to start from Madlum Cave or hike the Mt. Manalmon first. We chose option 2.

It was a short hike from registration area to Mt. Manalmon’s peak (1hr the outmost), the trail is good for beginners. Well, if you find the hike too short, there are also other mountains around such as Mt. Gola. 🙂 There is a small cave that serve as an entrance to Mt. Manalmon’s trail and we also had to go through the strong current of the river. We rest and had our snack at the peak while enjoying the strong wind and the beautiful view.

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Mt. Manalmon

At exactly 1PM, we went down from the peak then headed to the river where we spent some time to swim. There are also cliffs around where you could jump off into the deep parts of the river.

River

From the river, we headed back to the registration area to rent headlights for our next activity – spelunking inside Madlum Cave – something tick off my bucket list! Since spelunking requires you to use both hands… and your whole body, we thought of leaving our mobile phones inside our bags in the registration area, so we do not have a photo of our spelunking moments. Haha! We have now a reason (an excuse) to go back. 😛

For adventure seekers, you’ll love this Monkey Bridge where you have to go to the other side by walking on wire! But only if you are brave enough to do it because there is another option, use the normal bridge. Haha. Also, they do have a harness now unlike before. Can you imagine yourself walking on a wire without a harness? I might have chickened out!

money bridge

bridge

Too much adventure in one place for a day. For my last hike for year 2015, it was one heck of an experience!

Expenses for group of 4:

Registration Fee – Php 40 (Php 5/person)

Tour Guide – Php 500 (Php 125/person)

Headlight rental – Php 30/person

Wash room – Php 10/water gallon (bought 2 gallons per person)

Total expense per person: Php 180 🙂

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5 Days Trip Around Surigao

We availed a package for our 5 days trip around Surigao and the first thing that I have noticed with our itinerary is that it takes up a lot of time to travel around Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte. Availing a package tour made our trip more relaxing since van rental and accommodations were already included. Package details can be found at the end of this blog post. 🙂

Day 1: Enchanted River, Tunuy-an Falls and La Entrada Resort

bancasi breakfast

Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines have a direct flight from Manila to Bancasi Airport (Butuan City). Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted by car rental drivers so I guess if you plan to have a DIY trip, you could easily rent a car/van. 🙂

Our tour guide let us taste their Toasted Siopao while driving our way to D’ Home Maker’s Cafe to have some breakfast before we head to Hinatuan Enchanted River. Butuan City to Hinatuan took us 3 hours of travel time.

Enchanted

Rain poured heavily minutes after we arrived in Enchanted River so no fish feeding for us! 🙁 Before we go to swim, we had lunch at Sibadan Fish Cage Resort which is just a short boat ride from Enchanted River. What’s fun about Sibadan is that you could swim with the stingray named Brenda and feed the big fishes!

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Sibadan

Even though we did not experience the fish feeding, I’m still amazed by its bluish clear water and also curious about what’s inside the underground cave of Enchanted River. Nothing much to do though, we just spent an hour swimming around the river before going to Tinuy-an Falls.

Tinuy-an

Tinuy-an Falls is said to be the little Niagra Falls and the widest waterfall in the Philippines. It was already getting dark when we arrived in Tinuy-an Falls and the waterfall was strongly splashing but you could still see how beautiful the little Niagra is! 2 hours away from Tinuy-an Falls, we have finally reached the famous La Entrada Resort where we had our dinner and spent the night.

La Entrada

Day 2: Britania Group of Islands, Cagwait and Cinnamon Island Resort 

Started our day with an island hopping! Britania Group of Islands is composed of 24 islands and islets but we managed to visit Hagonoy, Naked and Boslon islands only. Snorkeling is not part of the activity since there’s nothing much to see under the water.

Spacebar

After 3 hours of travelling from La Entrada Resort, we stopped over at Spacebar Beach Resort which is known as the Boracay of Cagwait – where we rest, enjoyed the beach for a while and had lunch because our next destination will be at Hayabangon Port which is 4 hours drive away! Then 45 minutes boat ride from the port, we have reached our final destination – Cinnamon Island Resort.

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Cinnamon Island Resort is located in Bucas Grande, Socorro. Cinnamon is called such because of the cinnamon trees that grow in the island. They also served cinnamon tea which for me, it taste like cinnamon blended with peppermint. 🙂

Day 3: Sohoton Tour

The tour consists of going to Tiktikan Lake, Hagukan Cave, Makukuob Cave and Sohoton Jellyfish Sanctuary.

Tiktikan Lake

12241492_10205465377539983_917263160359584953_nWill need to trek for about 5 minutes from the cottage before you could see the Tiktikan Lake. The lake water is calm and surrounded with forest trees – a very serene view. Water creatures such as big fishes and crabs also live here.

© Jila Reyes

Swimming in the lake is not advisable but don’t worry, there’s a diving board near the cottage!

Hagukan Cave

The guide said that we should be there during low-tide because the entrance of the cave gets submerged during high-tide. But what we did is different, we dived to get inside the cave! When inside, you’ll hear a snoring sound as the water slams into the cave. The ample light coming from the entrance of the cave makes the water luminous green color.

Makukuob Cave

Inside the cave awaits majestic stalactite and stalagmite formations so don’t forget to wear a helmet for safety. Once you’re inside, the only way out is to jump off the cliff!

Sohoton Jellyfish Sanctuary

JellyFish
© Erika Arcamo

My first time touch a real jellyfish! 🙂 They are stingless, slimy and cute. Haha. The best time to visit is from April – June. Just a reminder, do not lift the jellyfish out of the water because they easily dry up and die.

Day 4: The Board Walk at Cloud 9, Siargao and Ronaldo’s Inn & Resto Bar

We packed our things early in the morning because we will now transfer to Siargao. It was a 2 uncomfortable hours boat ride from Cinnamon Resort to Siargo. We checked in Ronaldo’s Inn first before proceeding to our most awaited activity, surfing!

Cloud9

surf
© Jila Reyes

The Board Walk at Cloud 9 have the best access and views of the famous Cloud 9 surf break. The weather was bad so the waves are strong and heavy but not bad enough for us not to surf.

Pizza

We also tried the three layered cheese of Avenito’s Pizza! Yum <3

Day 5: Siargao to Bancasi Airport

Pasalubong day and a short side trip at Bood Promotory Eco-Park in Butuan City wherein they believed that the first blood compact happened. No planned activity other than that since most of our time was spent for travelling back to Bancasi Airport.

Package details:

You may visit this site to check their packages or you may contact directly our tour guide Kuya Philip through this number: 09985590527

For our package, it was Php 8,950/person – foods, accomodation and transportation included. Price may change depending on your itinerary or accommodation requests. 🙂 If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!

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Coffee Tea Library in Malabon City


Coffee Tea Library

The Place and Ambiance

New hangout place for coffee, tea, book and board game lovers in Malabon City! It is rare to find a place that almost have everything a person is looking for in a café. The outside looks isolated but it’s different inside, Coffee Tea Library will give you a different kind of experience: Instagram worthy designs, comfy space, inexpensive yet quality coffee, different selection of books and games, accommodating and friendly staffs, daily promos – just WOW! Great concept. 🙂 I could have stayed longer if only I’m with a friend. Haha.

 

Inside

The Food

menu

Been there once so I haven’t tried everything yet. I ordered Herb Cheese Nachos for P85 and Dark Chocolate Cream-Based Ice Blended for P140. They do not have pastries by the time I went there, I would have ordered Blueberry Cheesecake (my favorite). Nachos and Chocolate drink might not be a good pair but I don’t mind, I like them both! 🙂

nachos drinks

Here’s the list of their daily promos:

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Services

Very friendly and fun to talk to. I think they find me weird because I kept on walking and taking pictures so one of the staffs offered to take a picture of me. I did not mention that I will be using these photos for my blog. 😛 The crafts are made by them too, amazing!

DesignI’m glad to find a rare place like this. Superb!

Location: Unit 103-104 A&S Bldg 189 MacArthur Hwy Potrero, Malabon City

Landmark: Beside Victoria Court and in front of Infinima Spa

Click here for their Facebook account.

Sneak Peek To My First Blogapalooza Experience!

Blogapalooza 2015_2

 

The event happened on October 25, 2015 at One Esplanade from 10AM to 9PM. I thought I won’t be able to attend the event because I got fever early that morning. 🙁 I was starting to get hopeless until I somehow felt better at around 1PM so I rushed over to One Esplanade with the boyfriend. Haha. Yco was very supportive to me on that day even though he knows that I’m too sick to go out. He was my personal assistant on that day, reminding me to eat, to drink water, med, and etc. But later that night, my fever still went back.

Moving forward, in my previous post I explained what Blogapalooza is. But in case you have missed that post, Blogapalooza is the biggest B2B (Business-to-Bloggers) event wherein businesses will present their products and services to Bloggers and Online Influencers. Freebies/Samples will be also given to Bloggers and Online Influencers then they must help those businesses to gain exposure by sharing their honest insights thru online.

I’ve been waiting for this event since last month so I filed a vacation leave and even my fever can’t stop me (I’m sorry body). Haha. Here’s a sneak peek to my first ever Blogapalooza!

These are the freebies that I received from the event. So many, right?! But take note, there are booths that I did not visit because my fever went back. 😉

Booth #1: I AM Cardboard

This one is simple yet amazing. Yes, the products were made from a cardboard! I AM Cardboard is a group that is developing a virtual reality headmounted device. The apps they use can be downloaded in smartphones. Once you get your own VR, just place the smartphone inside the cardboard then enjoy your virtual life!

Website: http://www.imcardboard.com/

Booth #2: Chips Delight

Chips delight

Chips Delight Striped Chocolate Chip Cookies is one of my favorite cookies! I didn’t actually know that they have at least 12 different flavors so during that night, I was able to try some of the other flavors; they even gave me my own pack of Chips Delight Chocolate Chip Brittle Brownie! Hoho. I was munching it last night with my mom while watching my favorite night show. Haha. Grab one and #ShareTheDelight!  🙂

Website: http://www.galinco.com/chips-delight/

Booth #3: Fruit Tea

The booth with many activities! They have photobooth, caricature artists, contests and Fruit Tea samples. Sosro Fruit Tea was our thirst quencher that night and they offer 4 flavors: Freeze, Apple, Strawberry and Guava. I chose Guava flavor while Yco chose Freeze, both taste good anyway. 🙂

Website: http://www.sosro.com/en/fruit-tea-sosro

Booth #4: Lactium

They have this game wherein I have to pop-out the balloon with the image of the main cause of my stress in life; that’s how I got my heart-shaped stress ball. They also have a sample of Lactium capsules and stress test where I answered 35 questions and got a “Low Stress” result! Yey for me! Maybe it is also the result of keeping a positive vibes. 🙂 If you want to know more about Lactium, click the link below.

Website: http://lactiuminfo.com/faq.html

Booth #5: Ace Water Spa

I love how they gave out a bag with many freebies inside of it! Thank you so much Ace Water Spa! I haven’t tried their spa yet but hopefully I could try it out before this year ends. 🙂 Well, aside from their spa, you could also stay and relax in one of their hotel suites or unwind at the Sky High Bar.

Website: http://www.acewaterspa.com.ph/

Booth #6: Food Panda


It’s okay that I didn’t get to hug the Panda mascot because at least, I got a chance to mingle with these cool Food Panda crew! Yco got the Hungry? shirt from a game while I got a Food Panda tumbler. 🙂 Download Food Panda app and browse hundred of menus to find the food that you want to be delivered. Worry no more!

Website: https://www.foodpanda.com/

Booth #6: The Diff

The most artistic booth in the event, The Diff! They offer a customized phone case but wait there’s more! They also displayed the other works of their artists such as posters, books and cookies. I also met Apol Sta Maria the Author/ Artist behind the Ang Alamat ng Panget & Many Other book that I bought for Php 200, he even signed it with my name! 🙂 Characters were drawn creatively, the story is so witty and the book is in a black and white so I’m currently fighting the temptation to color it. Haha!

Website: http://thediff.com.ph/

Booth #7: Outbreak Manila

What will you do if you see a Zombie? Run! I once tried Outbreak Manila and those zombies really gave me a scary feeling! Like I have to run as fast as I can just to escape from them. OMG! Everyone behind the fun run acts as if they are real. Good job for scaring everyone. Haha. Anyway, I got a shirt from the raffle in their booth. 🙂 If you want to feel what I felt, don’t forget to register and gear up on their next run.

Website: http://www.outbreakmanila.com/

Booth #8: Aqua Best

My thought about the game, “Ha! This will be easy, I play beer pong!” then ta-da! I shoot 1 ball inside the cup and I got a foldable fan. Just what sick people need, water!

Website: http://www.aquabest.com.ph/

Booth #9: Flawless

I know how to play golf so I cannot… accept… the truth that I did not shoot any of the 3 balls! lol. Well, the good news is I still got a P500 discount voucher valid until 2016. Ha! If only I came earlier, I would have seen Maxine Magalona. *cries*

Website: https://flawless.com.ph

There are still other booths around the corner but didn’t go there anymore because for the Nth time, I’m not feeling well already. I even saw Urbandub with Mommy Reylen of Made It Through Mom in the JB Music photobooth but I didn’t get a chance to say “Hi”. 🙁 I also saw from other accounts that Kamikazee went there. Geez.

Obviously, I enjoyed my first Blogapalooza event so I’m looking forward for the next one and hope to see familiar faces (also not to have fever on that day). Congratulations to all the people behind this successful event! And oh by the way, here’s my contact card. 😉 I love meeting other people!

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Sign-up and join Blogapalooza 2015!

Hey there, fellow bloggers! One of the most awaited event for bloggers is still open for sign-up! Great, isn’t it? 🙂

What: Blogapalooza 2015!

When & Where: October 25, 2015 at One Esplanade from 10AM to 9PM

How? Click here to sign-up

So what is actually Blogapalooza?

Blogapalooza is a community of Bloggers and Online Influencers wanting to feature and connect with Businesses.

Blogapalooza

Blogapalooza Events are composed of a Interesting Business Presentations, Entertainment, Trade Shows and Networking. Our events are always well attended and has always reached our target number (if not more) and promise to Businesses and Sponsors. We intend to improve this as we do more and more events in the future.

Today, Blogapalooza has diversified, from simply running one big annual event to running smaller events and a newsletter. We’re in the process of restructuring to offer more services and help more Bloggers and Businesses.

All you have to do is sign-up and wait for their confirmation. 🙂 I will be part of Blogapalooza 2015 so see you at One Esplanade!

Mt. Pinatubo: Weekend Escapade

Mt. Pinatubo

The volcano’s eruption on  June 15th 1991 was truly a nightmare; it caused several earthquakes which resulted in the collapse of summit and the creation of caldera. It was a nightmare that surprisingly left us a beautiful crater lake.

For this trip, we had a package deal from Majestic Mount Pinatubo which costs Php 1900/person. Foods, snacks and van rental are excluded but they have a public van from Manila going to Tarlac and vice-versa. The 4×4 ride made it quite pricey.4x4 ride

rocky road Trekking Mt. Pinatubo doesn’t necessarily need to camp out since it was just a 2 hours trek, excluding the 1.5hr 4×4 ride. Expect the trail to be bumpy because it was badly damaged by the eruption and sometimes you have to cross rivers so it’s better to wear a wettable shoes.

crater lake

Reaching the crater lake will make you see the worth of all your effort and sweat. Though swimming in to the lake has been prohibited since 2013, the breathtaking view of the crater lake will leave you in awe. The surrounding is really wonderful and peaceful!

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group pic

shore

We were lucky enough that the weather is nice and cool during our trek. 🙂