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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Manabu Peak: Great Things to Expect at the Summit

Mt Manabu, Mount Manabu, Peak, Batangas, Itinerary, Expenses, Mountain Climbing, Minor Climb, Philippines, Activity, Nature Trip, Near Manila, Budget, 2D1N, 2 days 1 night, overnight
Manabu Peak, at 2400 feet above sea level

Thinking of doing a minor climb/trek but you're too glued in Manila that you don't want to stray far much from it? Well, Batangas, just a stone's throw away from Manila, is the perfect place for you. Aside from beaches, Batangas is home to a lot of mountain ridges of all sizes, perfect not just for professional mountaineers, but also for beginners or nature-trippers who are not into hard-core climbing.

One of the easiest mountain summits to conquer is Mount Manabu located in Brgy. Sta. Cruz in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. The peak is at 2400 feet above sea level and the trail difficulty is at 2/9 - a minor climb specification, very easy even for beginners.


Mt Manabu, Mount Manabu, Peak, Batangas, Itinerary, Expenses, Mountain Climbing, Minor Climb, Philippines, Activity, Nature Trip, Near Manila, Budget, 2D1N, 2 days 1 night, overnight

Although we experienced an overnight rain shower during our climb and it's quite a hassle if your gears are not rain proof, the experience we had, nevertheless, was still topnotch!

TIP: Be sure to bring a waterproof mat/tent base so your stuff won't get drenched in water in case it rains. That's exactly what happened to me and my tent-mates. Our tent didn't have a waterproof base that's why the rain water was absorbed inside and voila, all our stuff (including us) were soaking wet.

Also, in case you're wondering, there is cellular signal (3G c/o Globe), even at the summit! You can share your camping experience in real-time! :)

What great things to expect in Mount Manabu:

1. Beautiful Sunrise

Don't underestimate Manabu. Yes, the summit is not that high, but watch out as the dawn breaks. The view of the sunrise as it hits the lush green scenery is to die for! It's not everyday that you feel a certain kind of bliss as you get a sight of the peeking ball of fire.


Mt Manabu, Mount Manabu, Peak, Batangas, Itinerary, Expenses, Mountain Climbing, Minor Climb, Philippines, Activity, Nature Trip, Near Manila, Budget, 2D1N, 2 days 1 night, overnight

2. Free Civet Coffee

There's free authentic civet coffee in the mountains courtesy of Mang Pirying and Mang Tino in one of the camper's stations (station 5). Alamid or Civet coffee is among the world's most expensive coffee. What's so special about it? The civet cats feed on coffee berries and the coffee beans collected from their poop are used to make this expensive coffee. Civets' special instincts allow them to eat only the best berries containing the best beans. Aside from that, the civet's digestive enzymes also improve the flavor of the beans. Interesting!

Group photo with Mang Tino (2nd from left, wearing blue overhaul)

3. White Stone Cross

A huge white cross will greet you as you get to the peak. There's this certain feel of accomplishment and redemption when you reach the summit.

A breathtaking 360 degree view of Batangas and nearby provinces also awaits!

Mt Manabu, Mount Manabu, Peak, Batangas, Itinerary, Expenses, Mountain Climbing, Minor Climb, Philippines, Activity, Nature Trip, Near Manila, Budget, 2D1N, 2 days 1 night, overnight


Mt Manabu, Mount Manabu, Peak, Batangas, Itinerary, Expenses, Mountain Climbing, Minor Climb, Philippines, Activity, Nature Trip, Near Manila, Budget, 2D1N, 2 days 1 night, overnight

4. Priceless Camping Experience

Camping up the mountains is always one of the best ways to meet interesting people. We've met campers from different groups. Different professions, different interests, different goals,  different stories, but somehow, up that summit, we were as one - it's like family. The experience of meeting strangers as you travel is inexplicable.

Mark Twain has always been right about traveling and getting along with people. Indeed, the best way to find out whether you like people or hate them is to travel with them.


Mt Manabu, Mount Manabu, Peak, Batangas, Itinerary, Expenses, Mountain Climbing, Minor Climb, Philippines, Activity, Nature Trip, Near Manila, Budget, 2D1N, 2 days 1 night, overnight
Early morning breakfast

Time to pack up!

More photos..

At the base camp before hitting the trails.

Mt Manabu, Mount Manabu, Peak, Batangas, Itinerary, Expenses, Mountain Climbing, Minor Climb, Philippines, Activity, Nature Trip, Near Manila, Budget, 2D1N, 2 days 1 night, overnight

Back in the base camp to tidy up before heading back to Manila.

Detailed Itinerary: 2D/1N

DAY 1 (Saturday)

0700 Meet up from Buendia LRT Board Batangas City-bound bus
0800 ETA Tambo Exit; Ride Jeepney to Lipa
0820 ETA Lipa; Ride jeep to Fiesta Mall
0830 ETA Fiesta Mall; Buy stuffs ; Early lunch
0900 Ride Trike to Brgy Sulok
0930 ETA 'Sulok', Brgy. Sta. Cruz
1000 Start trek
1100 Arrived at fork, take left path to Grotto
1200 ETA Campsite. Pitch tents
1300 Summit
1400 Siesta
1900 Dinner
2000 Socials

DAY 2 (Sunday)
0600 Wakeup
0700 Breakfast
0900 Break Camp
0930 Summit
1000 Start descent
1045 Grotto
1120 Back at jump-off. Proceed back to Lipa.
1200 ETA; Lipa, lunch.
1330 Take bus to Manila
1600 ETA Manila


EXPENSES:
Bus: Buendia to Lipa - PhP 124
Tricycle: Lipa to Sta. Cruz - PhP 200/tricycle
Environmental Fee - Php 20
Guide Fee PhP 500
Tricycle: Sta. Cruz to Lipa - PhP 50/person
Meal - PhP 100
Bus: Lipa to Buendia - Php 124

Miscellaneous: water, trail food, etc. - Php 200
TOTAL: approx Php 800 per pax

MOUNTAINEER'S CHECKLIST
CAMPING + CLOTHING:
Backpack / raincover
Tent / groundsheet / earthpad / Pegs
Tarp*
Sleeping bag*
Hiking shoes / plus optional slippers/sandals
Trekking pants/light pants
Thermal/cotton/wool undershirt
Long sleeved trekking shirt
Sweater
Windbreaker/Jacket
Poncho / raincoat
Extra shirts
Gloves/bonnet/thick socks
Bush hat / cap
Trekking pole*

DRINKING + EATING + COOKING:
2-3L water or liquids / hydration pack or water carriers
Trail food: could be energy bars, nuts, dried fruits
Trail Water: 1- 2L
Rice / precooked/uncooked meat
Noodles / instant coffee / canned goods
Oil / garlic / pepper
Portable stove and fuel / butane
COoking/eating utensils
Spoon/fork/knife/can opener
Lighter /matches
Garbage bags/Ziplocks

TOILETRIES:
Towel /tissue paper
Soap/ Shampoo
Toothbrush / toothpaste
Alcohol

GADGETS:
Flashlight / headlamps
Camera / binoculars
Cellphone / Two-way radios
GPS / altimeter watches
Compass / Topographic maps
Extra batteries / memory

PROTECTION + EMERGENCY + UTILITIES:
Whistle
Lighter /matches
Insect repellent / Sunscreen or sunblock (>SPF 30)
First aid kit / Personal medications
Utility rope*
Multi-purpose cord / twine
Duct tape
Swiss knife
ID with emergency phone numbers and blood type / HMO Card


Friday, May 1, 2015

The Giant Golden Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest temples in Bangkok and is home to more than one thousand Buddha images, including the famous and one of the largest single Buddha structures in the world, the Reclining Buddha, 43 meters (160 feet) long and 15 meters high.

The sacredness of the place is religiously maintained. You need to take off your shoes as you enter the temple. And don't worry, in case you are not properly dressed, robes are provided at the area for those wearing sleeveless tops or short skirts.

The reclining golden Buddha is jaw dropping. I've never seen a Buddha as big as this. The soles of the Buddha's feet alone are whopping 3 meters high and almost 5 meters long, and are embedded with mother of pearls. Very enchanting!

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

Wat Pho temple is just a few walks away from The Grand Palace.

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

The temple, considered as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage, is home to one of the earliest Thai massage schools. And I was able to experience the massage - an authentic Thai massage for the win!

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

The reclining Buddha is so huge, it makes it so hard to get a nice angle to photograph it.

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

Around the walls of the temple are beautifully preserved hand paintings depicting the rich Thai culture and tradition.

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

Along the giant Buddha image you will find 108 bronze bowls where people donate coins because it is believed to bring good fortune, and also to help the monks maintain the temple.

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

The intrinsic design of each temple here is just unbelievable. Very detailed!

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, Reclining Buddha, Phra Nakhon district, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan, birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Asia, culture

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Talk soon!
- Jaypee