Sunday, June 28, 2015

LOGSAC’s Seven Summit attempt in Luzon

While I had an Independence Day climb in Mt. Apo with Niloy and Hardi for that annual simultaneous clean up drive on June 9-11, the other LOGSAC trio had a different climb experience on that same dates. Instead of joining us, Pawiks, Raffy Gonzales and Michael Gapula had a great climb through Luzon’s seven summits. Although minor climbs at that, they also had their very memorable experience and some fair share of fatigue and joyfulness just like we had in Apo.

As usual, Pin had made the climb successful. She crafted the complicated itinerary. The loop they traversed was within the Cavite-Batangas area where most of Luzon’s minor climb destinations are nestled. It was the first time for Raffy and Michael to climb mountains outside Mindanao and the excitement, according to them, was tremendous because seven summits in a first time climb away from their playground was something special.

They completed the expedition in four days starting from a popular Pico de Loro in Cavite and then they proceeded night trekking to Mt. Talamitan for an overnight stay. The trekking continued the day after through a Batulao assault and a little detour route to hike the shortest among the mountains – Mt. Taal. 

Pico de Loro
Mt. Talamitan
Mt. Batulao
Taal Volcano
 After Taal, they once again night trekked Manabu peak as their fifth destination before heading to the beautiful Mt. Maculot Rockies. They scaled their seventh and final summit Mt. Gulugod Baboy on the fourth day that completed that epic climb.

Mt. Maculot
Manabu Peak
Mt. Gulugod Baboy
The average elevation was 630 meters above sea level with Batulao as the highest and Taal the lowest. According to Pawiks, it was his first time hiking in four straight days in seven different mountains. “The experience is worthwhile. We were physically exhausted but we enjoyed the trip very much. I have seen varied landscapes which I never saw before.”

Pawiks also said he did not expect to complete the course in just four days because they were behind the itinerary. “The good thing was that we all came home safe and sound, no injuries whatsoever. For me that was my best climb ever of all the minor climbs I have done before.”

Congratulations to all of you guys for making that climb successful.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


It’s been quite a while now since Davao Region experienced the rainy season. In Sta. Cruz, four straight days that the sun didn’t show sign of life. We have waited for that moment to happen in time for our preparation of the 48th Araw ng Davao del Sur but to no avail. Day in and day out, heavy downpours made its presence felt.

In Digos City, we were manning our Agri-Trade exhibit for three consecutive nights with rain as the background. Our desire for more people to come to the exhibit was spoiled by the rain and the ground where all the booths were positioned was filled with flood waters.

A lot of Mt. Apo climb bookings also in our trails have recently moved their schedules a month further because of the continuous rain in Davao. At least two bookings, one from Manila and one from Davao group advised me to have their climbs rescheduled in August this year. Heavy rains especially in Mt. Apo areas can actually be a major hardship for mountain climbers in Apo and all other mountains to that effect.

According to PAG-ASA, intermittent to continuous rains and thunderstorms associated with the Southwest wind flow will affect the entire country. The day-to-day change in weather pattern indicate seasonal shift from dry to wet season. However, breaks in the rain events are commonly experienced that may last for several days to weeks due to persistence of the ridge of the North Pacific high pressure area.

The trouble with us people, is that we are not happy with the wet days. We always demand for sunshine and we do not know that we also need rains and storms to make our spirits strong. We always look at the negative side of the rain as cause of our works and travels not being enjoyed to the maximum.

To some extent, I always enjoyed doing things when it rains. There can be no other instance on earth, except raining, where I can live my life to the fullest with whatever stuff I do. Being soaked in the rainwater allows me to live my dream and fight for it.

Rain, somehow, is life’s blessings. That is why we always associate rains to blessings. We always say “when it rains it pours,” and the ultimate reason why we should be happy for the rain is that we have the chance to walk along it, get wet and our pains and sufferings will be swayed away by its flows.

I can really feel that human being has been very unfair to God. We have been praying for the rain to take over when the El Niño phenomenon wreaked havoc. Now that we have all these rains, we complained all throughout without even saying “thank you God” for the rain. We should remember that if we want to see and enjoy rainbow, we should deal with the rain first.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

My shoot of Kiblawan's "Heritage of Pristine Waters" Program

I was commissioned by the Local Government of Kiblawan, Davao del Sur on June 4-5, 2015 for a shoot of its newly-discovered ecotourism destinations located in a far-flung sitio of Lem Saging which is part of Barangay Bagong Negros. It is situated southwest of Davao del Sur and is accessible by any vehicle as new roads going to Lem Saging were recently opened by the LGU in support to its aggressive stance on ecotourism development. Last year they had embarked on a laudable tourism program which they called “Tourism at the Edge,” a niche that is considered due to the geographic location of Kiblawan being situated in the borderlines of Davao del Sur and Sarangani Province. Some destinations showcased in the “Edge” initiative included cultural features of the B’laan tribe, rivers and mountain ranges.

This year, the tourism council of Kiblawan shall again inaugurate another ecotourism product called “Heritage of Prestine Waters.” This is essentially a community -initiated project of the culturally diverse population of Barangay Bagong Negros, a landmass situated in the shared boundaries of Davao del Sur and Sarangani in its terrestrial setting, one is amazed on the formation of three multi-tiered river Tributaries that meet to forge a mighty river.

Aside from the shoot, other events were also conducted purposely to prepare the community of Bagong Negros on tour guiding and technical skills transfer for high angle activity particularly adventure rappelling in an identified sites. I had a brief talk about ecotourism and community tour guiding while my colleagues Ryan Adalim, Lito Roque and the rest of the team handled the lecture and actual demonstration on ropemanship and knot-tying techniques which are essential when their ecotourism program will be launched anytime this year.  

On the second day we visited Nilo Falls, one of the verdant waterfalls in Lem Saging. We demonstrated the basics on rappelling with the eleven trainees personally simulated proper rope anchorage, actual rappelling and belaying. The rock cliff where the waterfalls cascaded was a perfect venue for the training as rappelling will eventually be an option activity for tourist to do while staying in the town. Actually there are other waterfalls in Lem Saging according to our guide Edmond, but because we were running out of time we weren’t able to visit the waterfall series located on the northern part of Lem Saging.

The series of waterfalls In Bagong Negros added another exciting inclusion to the ecotourism package of Kiblawan which was launched last year. For me, this will perhaps be step towards making Kiblawan a truly amazing destination in Davao del Sur. This will also propel economic development in a town which was previously considered as subject of negativity. Honestly, I can say that Kiblawan is another ultimate destination for the brave souls who want adventure activities.  

My salute to Mayor Jaime Caminero for coming up with this initiative of investing into ecotourism and also to Councilor Dicdican and Tourism Officer Rebecca Camporedondo for inviting me in your beautiful town.