A Day in the East, Mt. Daraitan

“Salt water is the cure for anything- sweat, tears or even the sea.” I have always been the beach type of person. I could stay in the beach for as long as I want and enjoy the waves while I watch the sunrise or sunset. My country is so blessed with many pristine beaches, and I have a lifetime to visit them all. Aside from the beautiful beaches, we are also blessed with mountains that boast breath-taking views and home to many lives. I have visited a few, and would love to see more. However, my work schedule and physical fitness are giving me a hard time to conquer the mountains. I work on a shifting basis, and I do not have a permanent sleeping pattern. You definitely need a goodnight’s sleep before going up the mountains. Second, you need to be physically fit in order to get up and continue moving. Different mountains have different assaults, trails, and difficulties. If you have not prepared, you will likely have a hard time climbing up the mountains.


I have visited several mountains before, some are volcanic in nature, others are home to breath-taking falls. There is always this enchanting experience whenever I go for a climb. It feels like I’m in a different world/dimension. There are still a lot to see, and I wish to visit all of them. I’m hoping and praying for strength and safety, so I could pay them a visit.

Last December, my friends, invited me for a climb. To be honest, I was not totally prepared for it, but I was game to do it. December weather is way better than the scorching heat of summer, just kept our fingers crossed that it will not rain. We were on a search on which mountain are we gonna climb. We selected it based on location, summit view, and difficulty. We ended up with Mt. Daraitan, in Tanay, Rizal. Just about 2 hours away from Manila. It offers an amazing view of the country’s east side and the Sierra Madre range. It also holds a difficulty of 4/9, which means that it’s a minor climb and beginner friendly.

12.08.18- Mt. Daraitan, Tinipak River in Tanay, Rizal/General Nakar, Quezon

A few days before our planned trip, we searched for “group tours”, on Facebook’s Buhay Bundok group. It’s not really a group tour, but rather, you’ll be all coming from Manila and taking a van going to Tanay, Rizal and back, and your group will be given a local tour guide. This is the best way to visit Mt. Daraitan, as their government is limiting the people going up to the mountain. It is also mandatory to get a local tour guide, because it’s for your own safety, and they know their mountains well, and you are helping their livelihood. The base of Mt. Daraitan is very countryside, and locals live through their tourism.



Trivia: Mulawin, the series, was shot here



Mt. Daraitan is partly Tanay, Rizal and partly General Nakar, Quezon


Our local guide


Our group met up in Mcdonald’s Shaw at 12 midnight, and we arrived in Daraitan, Tanay at around 2 in the morning. There was a cold breeze, and little drops of rain and we were welcomed by sellers of flashlight, gloves, warmers, etc. If you have forgotten to bring some of the essentials, worry not, it’s available in the area. It is very important that you know how to balance yourself as we stood on a bamboo raft to get us to the other side. Then a 10 min. ride trike, took us to the barangay hall for our briefing (the DO’s and DON’Ts), registration and introduced us to our guides. Before starting our trek, we were given an ample time to eat breakfast and do our bathroom breaks, so at exactly 4am, we started moving.

As we moved up, it’s getting muddier, slippery, and steeper. The rain wasn’t also stopping, so imagine the hassle. Thank God for flashlights, tree barks, and occasional man-made handles. We were literally grasping for every rock that we can reach. We were already near the 1st station, when I can loudly hear my heartbeat. We tried moving again, but this time, my friend’s shoes gave up. Since it wasn’t safe to carry on, we decided to go down, and instead, we trekked along the Tinipak River. The crowd along the river is opposite of the mountain. It was getting crowded as groups of people started hiking, while it was only the 4 of us (my 2 friends and I, plus our guide) who were trekking along the river. We enjoyed it more! The whole place was just to ourselves. It was so quiet that you can only hear the gushing of water and the chirping of birds. Tinipak River is one of the clearest waters I have ever seen and it was so clean. We enjoyed wading in the water.


We had a hearty breakfast meal near the river, before we continued moving to the rock formations. Again, it was all to ourselves. According to our guide, they do not classify Mt. Daraitan as a beginner’s hike because of it’s 90 degrees assault, and 4/9 difficulty increases especially when it rains. For them, it is not a minor hike. Now, I’m wondering why it is classified under beginner’s hike, when according to locals it is not an easy hike.


It has been a good day despite of not reaching the summit (but we’ll get there too), we were one with nature, and it’s just good to be with her.



PHP 850/pax for RT van transfer Manila-Daraitan, registration fee, guide fee, environmental fee

PHP 100 (up to you) my tip for our guide

PHP 20- use of shower rooms

PHP 200- total I spent on meals


Anawangin, 5 years ago

Pundaquit Shore, I have been visiting this place since the 90s, thanks to our cousin in law who hails from this beautiful place. Most of the time, I was just in the sand and playing because the waves were too high (which after several years becomes a surfing destination) and the oldies will always say that once you go far, the waves will throw you to the other island across, which happens to be Capones Island (which I got to visit only in 2013). However, I only got a chance to see Anawangin Cove in 2010 (I believe this is an Aeta Village). Thanks to my aunts and cousins who pushed for the island hopping tour.


2010: Pundaquit Shore


Anawangin 2010


2010: with my aunt



All to ourselves, Anawangin 2010


Anawangin 2010


Take me back, 5 years ago.


Not long ago, when I first visited the remote coves of Anawangin. It was in 2010, when I first stepped into this beautiful beach. This can be reached through boat (20 mins) or trekking (not sure how long though). We opted for the boat, because a cousin in law, happens to have an uncle with a boat. There were no phone signals nor electricity in the area, and only a single store to cater your basic needs. The whole stretch was ours, and it was crystal clear clean. After 3 years, I was back with my officemates. It was Holy Week, for sure there will be a lot of people to flock the place. Indeed, I was right. The camp site were full of tents, and full of people.




Anawangin 2013


Anawangin & Capones: 3 Days 2 Nights

For this trip, our good friend drove for us from Makati to Zambales. Our first stop was at Pundaquit Market in San Antonio, Zambales. We bought all our fresh food from here, which was good for 3 days. We shared 500/head for our food. It was more than enough for 5 people to share. After 20 mins., we were at Pundaquit shore to meet our boatman, who happened to be our tour guide too. We haggled and he gave us 5000 for 3 days 2 nights that includes boat transfer, island hopping tour, camping needs/tools, trekking and even offered his house to shower on the last day. 1000/head was a good deal! The whole trip cost us 2500/head, which was pretty good, since we didn’t share our trip with other tourists.


Capones Island





Spring at Anawangin



Anawangin view from top





The lone store


Quite pricey for 50 bucks


Fast-forward 2018

I’m not sure if the place remains to be the same, without any electricity or phone signal. I wonder if it is still the same that they set up tents and they do bonfire. Last thing I remember, goods from the store were pricey. A bottle of beer would cost you 50 bucks. Since it’s known to many now, I wonder if it is still peaceful like how it used to be.





Staycation at Pico de Loro

My last hurrah for Summer 2017 came in June. It has been raining for almost everyday, and I was already losing hope to get myself a tan. However, on that weekend of June 17 & 18, the weather was with us. It was a pretty good day to get ourselves soaked in the water.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Passing by this beautiful scenery on our way to Pico de Loro

Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club in a glance of 2 days, and 1 night. (06.17-18.17)

We are expected to check-in at our room at 2 in the afternoon. Instead of leaving early, which we normally do when we go out of town, we left our house at almost 12 noon, and reached Nasugbu, Batangas at 2pm. It was a pretty decent ride, and I didn’t expect that it will only take about 2 hours going there from our place. We usually take the Tagaytay-Nasugbu route, which takes about 3 hours or more, depending on the traffic in Tagaytay. Based from our navigator, Waze, we’re suppose to take NAIAx and Cavitex, and take Noveleta Exit, and you will pass by the towns of Tanza, Naic, Maragondon, and Ternate, until you reach the Kaybiang Tunnel, and just a few minutes away from Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Kaybiang Tunnel

Pico de Loro is actually a members-only leisure club, but thanks to Airbnb, we found a way to get in there. After weeks of searching for an affordable, yet worthy escapade, I ended up in the page of our host who owns a unit at Pico de Loro. Our host’s unit is the cheapest among all those who have their units rented at Pico de Loro. For only PHP 3658 per night (all in) her space is fully furnished, and you’re allowed to cook and use her appliances as well. Although, you need to pay PHP 1200 per head as guest fee for the use of  facilities for non-members (as per management of Pico de Loro)

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Registration area

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Our room is at Carola B

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Mt. Pico de Loro in the background

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

We arrived just in time for check-in, and we’re all hungry. As expected, we ended up eating at the restaurant. We had bulalo, pancit luglug, and beef salpicao, good for 4 pax. Afterwards, we headed to the pool and stayed there until sunset. My sister and her friend left the pool earlier, because they are tasked to prepare dinner.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset


Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with  presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

The night before we left, I went to the grocery to buy the essentials for our trip, and to actually save more money on food. We had Buttered Chicken with Salted Egg for dinner, and it was a good one. We’re suppose to drink beer for the rest of the night, but my sister fell asleep and we ended up watching k-drama instead.

06.18.18- Day 2

I woke up earlier than the rest so I prepared the breakfast. I cooked corned beef, hotdogs and fried rice. It was quite plenty for a group of 4. At 0900am, we headed to the beach. I wasn’t impressed with the waters (compared to those I’ve been to). It was so hot that day so I stayed under the umbrella for a long time, while my sister and her friend enjoyed riding the jet-ski. After a few more hours, we left and prepared for checking-out. I’m glad that in our whole stay, it didn’t rain and ruin the fun.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Jellyfish warning to swimmers (but luckily I didn’t see any)

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Lifeguard on duty

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset


Maxi dress from Forever 21


For itinerary and budget, feel free to click the link Itinerary- Pico de Loro 2017

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset


PS. They do not accept cash instead they prefer debit/credit card and cash card which you can reload with your cash.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Ice-cold beer on a hot day


The Mystery and Beauty of Masasa Beach

Masasa Beach is approximately 3 hours away from Manila. Located in Maricaban Island, town of Tingloy in Batangas. It is neighboring to Mindoro Island, Isla Verde, and Anilao Batangas. It is near the famous Sumbrero Island, which they say that it’s part of Anilao (please correct me if I’m wrong). Among all the beaches that I have been to, this is the most quiet and cleanest. When I was walking in their downtown, it felt like I was transported in the old times. When you want some peace and quiet time, you can go here. It is under-developed and it has not been commercialized.

I’ll take you back in 2015, 2 years ago

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Masasa Beach with the over-looking Mindoro island


This DIY trip is the most buwis-buhay getaway in my entire existence.

It happened to be a long weekend, 17th of January 2015, because of the pope’s arrival in the country. Long weekend means time to pack our bags and go somewhere. Fortunately, it’s also the birthday weekend of my other half. I planned the whole trip and gave it as my birthday present to him.

A glimpse of Masasa Beach, Tingloy, Batangas in 3 days and 2 nights (01.17.15-01.19.15)

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Crystal clear water of Masasa Beach

We left our house at 5am, so that we could catch the JAM Bus Liner going to Batangas City Grand Terminal at 7am. The bus ride took almost 2 hours coming from Buendia, Makati.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Bus ride to Batangas

Upon reaching our destination, we took a jeepney ride to Mabini Port, which took 45 mins to an hour from the city. The boats at the port are scheduled to leave every hour starting at 10am. Unfortunately, a storm happened to enter the country on that day, as a result the provincial government declared Signal no. 1, which means that no boats could sail. We were not informed that there was a storm signal, because the sun was out there, and not even a single drop of rain has fallen. But rules are rules- storm signal warning, strictly no sailing. We were stuck in the port for 4 hours, and I have thought of just going to a resort in Anilao. However, we saw some locals of Tingloy heading home. (so there must be a way to go to that island). He, first tried talking to the Tingloy locals, in his Batangueno accent, (so that they won’t assume that we are Manila kids & might take advantage) and asked if we could hitch a boat ride with them, and we’re willing to pay some extra bucks just to go to Tingloy. The very nice man agreed, and accommodated the 2 of us in their small boat with a capacity of 10 people. We sailed away. It was very smooth and we’re just passing through the shores of Anilao. The waves were very peaceful and there was no slight evidence of a storm approaching. We called the caretaker of the place that we’re staying, and told her that we will be arriving in about an hour.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Waiting at Mabini Port in Anilao, Batangas

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

The waves are very calm

When we’re about to cross the middle of the sea, I’ve started seeing giant waves. Waves that could make our boat sink. I could not make a single move from where I am seated, and it feels like, one wrong, all wrong and we die. I tried my best to hide my emotions so I wouldn’t scare the birthday boy. Mind you, we were not even wearing life vests, and if the boat will sink, I wondered if there are sharks out there to eat us. It’s impossible to be saved by another boat because we’re the only boat in that part of the sea. Prayers are already shouted in my head, and I thought of my family (feels like the end of the world). It was the longest 1 hour boat ride of my life, and thank you that we made it alive to Tingloy.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Trike ride going to the shore

We took a trike from the shore going to our inn, and we were welcomed by the caretaker. After changing into our swimwear, we headed to the beach. It’s indeed a virgin beach! Crystal clear water, white powdery sand with a few pebbles, calm waves, and even if you go far, it’s still safe to swim. When we were walking along the shore, we saw a camp site of 2 pax, and they look very much chill.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Passing by the green fields before you reach the shore

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

It’s actually a 10-min. walk

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Met a carabao on our way

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

And a goat too

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

We returned to the inn when it was 6pm, and cooked our baon for dinner. The caretaker was so nice that she even allowed us to use their stove, and other kitchen utensils. We were even lucky that we get the house all to ourselves, which means that we don’t have to share the bathroom with anyone!

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

All to ourselves

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

The famous staircase, I’m not sure of the name


Day 2- 01.18.15

We got up so early, but it was raining hard. The caretaker informed us that there is still a storm signal, and we cannot go back to mainland Batangas yet, so we went back to sleep. We went to the beach at 3pm, and the whole beach was ours. Nobody wanted to enjoy the beach except us. Mr. Sunshine showed up in the afternoon, and it was just perfect to get my tan.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Our campsite

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Getting a tan

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Mr. sunshine is about to set

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset


Day 3- 01.19.15

Storm signal has been lifted, and we could leave.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Time to go home

On our last night in the island, we felt something strange. I mentioned above that we got all the house to ourselves. The house is relatively new. All the floors are made of cement including those in the 2nd floor. There are 3 rooms upstairs, and I noticed that there is also no ceiling. You can already see the roof, if you look up. There is also a rotating brown-out in the island, starting 11pm until 6am. We were already in bed at 10pm, then the lights are out. We only have the rechargeable fan and light. We turned it off because it was so cold. We were so silent because we both felt sleepy and tired, not until, I heard something. I went like, “Naririnig mo ba yun? (Do you hear that)”, and he goes like, “Oo, wag mong pakinggan (Yes, don’t listen)”. Then he covered my ears. Well, we just heard footsteps going towards our room. I’m sure it was not a cat, because the floor is made of cement. It was heavy footsteps. The wall in our room, doesn’t extend up until the roof, because there was no ceiling, so there is a space, and you can just peak outside our room. We knew what we heard, so I said, “Ang lapit na niya, papunta ata sa’tin (It’s near, I think it’s going towards us)” So we were under the sheets the whole wee hours and hugging each other tightly, and very scared. I never told the caretaker about it, because she was so nice to us, and I don’t wanna say anything negative because she’s very accommodating. Probably, it was just a welcome from the other side, but we got scared.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I was planning to take my sister to Masasa Beach, not until I came across a very recent blog post about it. I suddenly felt sad, coz it was no longer the Masasa Beach that I was imagining. It was so packed with campers, and it felt like there was no space to pitch in my tent. The locals have made curfews for campers, unlike before that we can camp overnight. I hope I’m wrong, and it only looks like that during peak season, but you can barely see people before even if it’s a peak season.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

How to visit Masasa Beach?

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I wish it stays like this for a lifetime

From Makati or Cubao, take a bus ride going to Batangas City Grand Terminal, then transfer to a jeepney bound to Mabini. You may drop-off at Mabini Port. Ferry rides going to Tingloy and vice-versa are scheduled and available daily. Once you reach Tingloy, you may walk or take a trike going to your accommodation or to the beach site.


The beach is a public beach so it is free. I suggest that you buy your food and toiletries from the mainland as these items are expensive in Tingloy. Prepare your budget on transpo and accommodation. The people are very nice, so please be nice to them too. Don’t forget to dispose your garbage properly. Keep the island clean and enjoy.

Processed with VSCO

Itinerary & budget for this trip