Lost and Found in The City of Guns | Danao Highlands

What better way to burn all the fats I hoarded during the holidays than to embark on a 12km trek and get lost in the City of Guns?

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2019… Let’s get it on!

Here’s to more “getting lost” experiences this year!

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The gang!

Northern Cebu is slowly making its name in the list of hiking destinations in the province. One of the most popular is Mt. Mago in Carmen, then there’s Lanigid Hill in Liloan, and recently, Licos Peak in Danao. Last year, we started a quest of discovering potential hiking trails in the northern part of Cebu which we are going to carry on this year.

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A happy kid!

To kick off this year’s adventures, I went along with some hiking fellows to explore the supposedly Lawaan-Mago route. But we ended meandering back to Lawaan because we couldn’t find a vestige trail to Mago. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a bad start for 2019.

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I arrived in Danao Transport Terminal a ‘bit’ late. (Ahm, okay, really late.) I came to my companions patiently waiting for me. (Thank you, guys.) Without wasting any minute, because I already did, we took a motorcycle at the back of the terminal to Lawaan. The ride was ninety-percent uphill and butt-aching that our driver had to make a few halts to stretch a bit. It took us more than an hour to reach the Lawaan junction.

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Katkat goals.

After a short prayer and few introductions, we commenced with our hike. Beboy advised us that the first leg would be mostly an ascend through a cemented road. Because it had been a while since I last trek, the first few minutes was arduous. Despite my sluggish pace, I found myself panting. I kept a slow gait until my body had adjusted.

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After almost two hours of walking on the paved road, we reached the junction of Danasan and Magtagubtob. We agreed to take a rest before we carry on our hike. We found a small mango tree nearby where we had our lunch.

Lunchtime has to be my favorite part when trekking or climbing mountains because it’s when we get to know each other more. I learned that Geezelle and James are the people behind the blog GeeMiz. I’ve been reading their corner for a while now, and it was great to meet them in person. After lunch, we debated over what makes the texture of an iced-candy powdery. Tatay Raul fended for cornstarch to be the ingredient that gives the iced-candy a refined taste.
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Although, that argument wasn’t resolved, so if you have any idea, please share it with us.

After having enough rest, with replenished energy, we resumed our walk. Still following the barangay road, we passed by some houses and asked for directions to Santican. Not too long, we made a turn into a dirt trail. The trail was relatively an open terrain without foliage canopy but bushes. Favorably, the sun was not too harsh on that day else, we’d all be toasted!

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Oh, no paparazzi please!

After several descending and ascending, meandering through farmlands, we realized we reached a dead end. We tried looking for a possible track but all there was what seems to be a gorge covered by thick foliage. There was no vestige route.

It was already two hours before sundown. Worried that we’d catch nightfall in the forest, we all agreed to turn back to Magtagobtob. Before our final ascent back to Magtagobtob, we made an apropos wrong turn and reached a small household community. We saw a kid and asked which way to the nearest barangay road. He directed us to Lawaan. Albeit steep, it was nearer than Magtagobtob.
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Following his suggestion, we took a descend and crossed a river. A sharp ascent greeted us. We strenuously worked our way to the top. We met a few locals along the way. They came from the weekly tabo-tabo in their barangay. (“Tabo-tabo” is a weekly bazaar common in the mountain areas where people trade and buy goods.) They were kind enough to tell us that we’re on the right path. Finally, we reached the road in no time.

Happiness was all over our faces despite failing to reach Mago on that day. We might have gotten lost along the way, but we found something more important.

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We found out that it’s okay to stop when you aren’t sure. We learned that there is no need to hurry because we will get there, maybe not that day, but someday. At least, we have something to look forward to, we have a reason to come back.

 

’til next getting lost adventures!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

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The Best of 2018 | Ace and Demi Highlights

Yay! Few days before throwing away our 2018 calendars!

It has been 365 fantastic heydays for us. We have lesser trips together this year due to Ace’s work demands, but it wasn’t less of an adventure. It has been a whirlwind of both fun and pain.

We’d like to take this chance to THANK YOU for your never-ending support, for the clicks and views that are never ceasing, and for not getting tired of reading our stories. May you continue to visit this little corner next year, and we’ll try to bring you more adventures and misadventures.

For that, here’s a lookback to some of our unforgettable trips this year.

*Bacalla Woods Campsite (January) 

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Bacalla Woods Campsite

We started 2018 with a getaway to Bacalla Woods Campsite where we were able to disconnect from the mundane life in the city, and reconnect with ourselves. The place was idyllic and indeed a perfect area to find the disconnection that we longed for. As an added bonus, we were joined by some friends from different Asian countries which made our sojourn fun and memorable.

*Bantayan Island (May)

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Ace and Demi at Bantayan Island. 
Another highlight of the year was our summer trip to Bantayan Island. It was one of those spontaneous escapes that turned out to be an unforgettable experience. We only didn’t get to tour the beautiful tourist spots on the island, but we also went on an island hopping on our second day where we visited Virgin Island.

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Ace and Demi at the Virgin Island. 
Truth be told, I didn’t fall in love with Bantayan Island like what I’ve mentioned at the end of my post here. But my curiosity as to why people rave about how beautiful the place is and how I didn’t see it, made me want to go back. And that’s something we have to look forward to next year.  

*Bohol (June)

 

 

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Ace and Demi at the Panoramic Ridges of Alicia, Bohol
Last but definitely not the least was our wedding anniversary trip to Bohol. Instead of the usual countryside tour in the province, we opted for an adventuresome DIY excursion. Our first stop was the jaw-dropping ridges of Binabaje Hills in Alicia, Bohol. Climbing the steep hills while wallowing in the panoramic surrounding was a wonderful adventure.
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Ace and Demi at Can-umantad Falls, Candijay, Bohol. 
We also got the chance to visit some of the tourist attractions in Candijay. We were mesmerized by the cold water of Canawa Spring and its cryptic stories. We were also able to see Can-umantad Falls up close. And who wouldn’t notice the amazing rice terraces in the area?

Our junket ended with a night in Anda where we woke up to the sight of the sunrise while sitting in the powdery sand.

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Ace and Demi at Anda, Bohol. 

All of our adventures are always enjoyable and memorable when we are together. Because we believe in the cliche that it’s not the destination that makes your journey worthwhile but the person you are journeying with. But above are the highlights of our travel stories this year.

2018 might be fleeting for some of you, or it might be dragging for others, but we hoped you’ll end this year with no regrets and grudges. Let’s embrace the new year with a new heart to love and care, and a new mind to think wise and twice.

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Ace, Demi and Elliot! 

Cheers to the awesome 2018!

And here’s to a prosperous 2019!

 

Love,

Ace, Demi and Elliot.

 

 

 

Heaven In the Border | Borderside Mountain Resort

Head to the border but do not cross the line.

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For office people like us who spend the whole week in the city, beating deadlines and dealing with the daily traffic jams, nothing is more comforting than spending a weekend in a place that guarantees relaxation and peace. Most of us seek refuge in the refreshing feel of the mountain, while others prefer the calmness of the sea.

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Beaches are the common go-to place to unwind and chill because they are readily accessible. However, beach resorts tend to be crowded and busy on weekends. This gives way to the rise of mountain resorts.

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So, we were very hyped up when we learned about Borderside Mountain Resort in Compostela, just five minutes away from our house. Tucked near the border of Compostela and Danao, this resort lies peacefully in Bugho, Bagalnga, a far-flung barangay of the former.

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It isn’t as accessible as Gatubod Spring Resort in Basak, so only a few people know about this place. We never got the chance to visit it, not until last weekend. Ace and I went on a road trip with Elliot, and we decided to check it out. (Ways on how to get there is written below.) 

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As soon as we got off from the motorcycle, I instantly fell in love with the place. It was quiet, laid-back and refreshing. I like how it doesn’t feel like a commercial resort but a rest house. The entrance of the resort is canopied by the lush foliage of the bamboo and mango trees. Upon entering the premises, you have to climb the staircase going to the swimming pool. The pool is 4-6 feet deep. On its right side is the house which you can rent for Php2000/night, and on its left is their mini-forest.

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Aside from the serenity of the place, one thing that stands out the most is the cleanliness of the resort. I wonder how I couldn’t see a single falling leaf even when the whole place is surrounded by plants and trees. I think the caretakers are very meticulous in cleaning and sweeping them. I also want to mention how friendly and accommodating they were.

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RATES and OTHER INFORMATION:

HOW TO GET THERE: 

From Compostela, Borderside Mountain Resort can be accessed through Canamucan and/or Buluang road. If you opt for Canamucan road, it is the corner going to Virginia and Gatubod Spring Resort. The road is established, but prepare for an uphill drive when you start to enter the corner street going to Barangay Bagalnga proper. If you choose Buluang road, it is the corner going to Q-Park and Paradise Hills Mountain Resort. Some parts of the street are a bit rough after you pass by Paradise Hills.

You can ride a motorcycle or habal-habal from Compostela Public Market to the resort. The fare is Php40-50 per person. Tell the driver that you are going to Borderside Mountain Resort in Bugho, Bagalnga.

Recommended driver: Alfie — 09108490689

Entrance Fees:

  • Php100/head — Adult
  • Php50/head – kids

Cottages: Php250

Tables: Php200

For overnight stay: (They have rooms under construction.)

  • House: Php2000
  • Own Tent: Php200
  • Resort tent: Php500

For more information, you may contact these numbers:

  • 564-2161
  • 423-4947
  • 09088631029
  • 09420915982

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It’s a garden…it’s a farm… it’s a mountain resort.

~Borderside Mountain Resort

 

 

’til next refreshing guide, everyone!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

 

I Fed My Own Demon With My Embarrassing Judgment.

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Everything on that day didn’t fall in place. I thought I couldn’t do anything right. I was embarrassed to the point of annoyance. I was annoyed of myself that I wanted to break down. I could hear my subconscious mocking me.

She was mocking me the whole time while I was riding a bus going to Naga City. I closed my eyes hoping I could take a nap and ignore her. She was too loud. I could see her bulging eyes. I could feel her finger pushing my forehead. I was taken aback when she shouted my name. Her caustic voice awakened me from my reverie.

“Are we there yet?”, I asked my friend, Niña.

“Uh, almost there,” she replied. “Have you texted them?”

I grabbed my bag where I put my phone. It took me an ounce of courage to finally open my phone.

“We already left,” Tatay Raul’s message went.

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My inner-self started to panic again. I was uneasy on my seat. I kept looking at the windows to see if we have arrived. At one point, I wanted to suggest to my friend to hop off the bus and go back to Cebu City. Yes, it was a dastard idea.

But before I could tell her, the bus halted. We had arrived. I reckoned it’s too late to retreat. I looked at Niña who looked relaxed, unaware of the war inside me at that moment. She looked excited. The look on her face made me feel even more guilty. I felt really sorry.

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My phone rang. It was Beboy. He told us we might be unable to catch up with them because they were already far. He suggested we ride a motorcycle to Magdooc and wait for them there.

I let a sigh of relief before I hopped on the motorcycle. While my ride climbed its way through the steep barangay road of Naalad, my mind brought me back to the scene earlier that day.

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This emotional ruckus started with the wrong alarm time. Hubby mistakenly set the alarm at 4 pm instead of 4 am. When I opened my eyes that morning, the sun was already up. I quickly got up and checked the time hoping it’s not 8 o’clock yet. My clock said it was five. With the meet-up time set at 6:30am in Naga, I knew I was doomed. I knew it was impossible to arrive on time. Thinking we’d be ONLY 30 minutes late, I pursued it. I did everything like lightning, as fast as I could. I met up with Niña who had been waiting for me for a while. We hurried ourselves to get to South Bus Terminal.

I texted Tatay Raul to please wait for us, but I was too ashamed to tell him we weren’t on the bus yet. I kept my phone inside my bag, not wanting to check it again because I was worried Tatay would ask where we were. (Sorry Tay Raul.) Peace! 44440846_342898453130268_6043908722307104768_n

The smell of the mountain breeze interrupted the flashback play on my mind. Somehow, I felt my heart at ease and not anxious anymore. The green surrounding had calmed me and made me forget my worries.

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We got off at Magdooc and waited for them. Beboy said Sir Aldrich and Tatay Raul were off to meet us there. But an hour almost passed, no one came. When I called Beboy again, he said they were in the highest peak of the area, near a tower. We couldn’t find any higher elevation with a tower except the one we’re facing, so Niña and I climbed it. The funny thing was when we reached the top, we found out, there was a higher hill on the other side. There was a tower, yes, it was a smaller tower though.

We bet on our perhaps and agreed to go there. We had to trail back and ask the locals if there was another higher mountain other than that. They confirmed that it was the highest one. We took a short breather before we started to climb it. Halfway through the climb, we heard voices coming from the street below.

It was Sir Aldrich and Beboy!!! Oh, what a relief!

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We exchanged our hi’s and hello’s and I apologized for causing delay. I was prepared to be blamed or scolded, surprisingly, I did not get any of that. I neither saw that disappointment directed towards me on their faces. They carried on the hike just like nothing happened.

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Personal thought:

Guess, I fed my own anxious demon with worry that it almost ate me.

I thought Tatay Raul would scold me for not replying his texts and not answering his calls. I thought Sir Aldrich would blame me for causing trouble and delay. I thought Beboy would tell me not to do it again. I thought Dian would give me a scornful look. I thought my new friends would look at me with disappointment.

I realized that I have created a fearful image of these people because I judged them out of guilt. While writing this, I realized, my judgment was more embarrassing than my tardiness.

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Peace, everyone!

Over to you, have you misjudged someone? Let me hear it from you!

 

’til next time!

Keep safe!

Love, Demi

 

Don’t Get Married Because…

Despite the steady decline of people who no longer believe in marriage, there are still more who have faith in it. There are still more people who wanted to get married, who are excited to be married, and who love the idea of getting married.

To these people, here’s for you.

We commit to marriage for lots of reasons. If it is LOVE, that’s wonderful! However, for some, it is not always because of love. In the olden times, they were married because of cultural or family tradition like arranged-marriage, while some are married to pay debts. I’m not sure if it still does exist nowadays.

Marriage is a big commitment. If you are free to make your own decision about this matter, I hope you take time to think about it and ask yourself why.

Regardless of your reasons, don”t get married because of the following.

* Don’t get married because you feel alone and lonely.

First, there’s a big difference between being alone and being lonely. You can be alone but not lonely because you are contented and happy with your life without a romantic relationship. On the other hand, you can be with someone but feel lonely and unhappy. Don’t think that having someone will guarantee you happiness. Don’t settle just because you feel lonely or you are afraid to be alone. Marriage is not the answer to your loneliness. You should be happy being alone with yourself first before you decide to marry someone. Don’t put your happiness in someone else’s hand, especially not your partner’s. Be happy with yourself first.

* Don’t get married because you felt pressured.

Isn’t it annoying when people around you keep asking when are you going to get married? But no, don’t compel yourself to marry because your mom wants you to, or because all of your friends have already married. After all, they are not the ones committing that ’til-death-do-us-part’ vow.

Don’t get married because you felt pressured of your age and the length of your relationship. Never marry when you are not ready.

* Don’t get married because your Ex is moving on with someone new.

The emotional mayhem brought by your ex’s engagement with someone new is not enough reason for you to rush into marriage. Don’t get married to prove to your ex that you are the one who got away. Common, you know better than that! If you are stirred up upon hearing the news that he is getting married, let it go. Yes, it is irrational when you’re confident that you have moved on, but that is normal. After all, you had once imagined walking down the aisle with this person. That sting of emotion that is bothering you is okay, but don’t let it push you into marrying your partner now because you want to get even.

 

Marriage is not a race. It is neither the measurement of happiness nor success. Before you say I do, ask yourself if you really do. Get married because you want to and you feel that is right for you.

 

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Is He ‘The One’ or Just ‘Another One’?

So a few days ago, a friend asked me how did I know Ace was the one. It’s funny how I was unable to grasp an answer to that familiar question.

Ace and I have been asked the same question a lot of times. But until now, we still couldn’t find the exact answer. It’s hard to tell especially if you have once committed to someone but ended up disappointed. I guess, there isn’t really a ‘right’ answer at all!

We’ve been there. We were once the one asking the same question to ourselves. Ace and I had our fair share of i-thought-i-found-the-one experience before we found each other. In fact, who would thought the relationship which started on an online dating site would work than that nurtured for several years?

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There are no right signs to know you’ve found the right one. But here are some things you might want to consider:

1. He’s always there to support and cheer you up.

He doesn’t laugh at your eeriest dreams. He supports your stupid ideas. And when things don’t go your way, he is there to cheer you up. He doesn’t blame you for your failure instead he encourages you to try again. He believes in you, and he is your biggest fan.

2. You don’t feel insecure.

He doesn’t make you feel jealous with his accomplishments. You feel proud of him when he achieves something. He doesn’t make you feel inferior in any way — neither intellectually, financially, nor professionally.

3. You want to stay together even when you argue.

Love quarrel sure is inevitable. If the both of you choose to patch things up instead of threatening to break up, only means your love is strong. When you don’t keep a score between who is right or wrong and opt to forgive each other, you guys are a match made in heaven.

4. You are yourself around him.

He doesn’t make you feel like you have to be anything you’re not. You can wake up with messy hair around your face, make-up off and he still finds you beautiful. You can laugh out loud, even snort and fart and he wouldn’t mind.

5. You trust each other.

You know he is the one when you trust each other. He does not spy on you nor question your privacy. He respects your personal space. He is not paranoid to monitor your phone calls and demands to know the passwords of your social media accounts.

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One day, someone will come into your life and make you see why it never worked out with anyone else.

Don’t cling to that idea of love portrayed in the movies, it will only disappoint you. Love is hard to define. Every love story is unique. There is no perfect relationship, just harmonious ones. But it takes a lot of effort and sacrifice. It takes both of you to make it work.

While you are trying to find the right one for you, I want you to remember that LOVE is not just all about you. It’s about two people working together. You may have found him but don’t forget to ask yourself if you have what it takes to be the one for him, too.

Let me leave you with these words from Creig Crippen.

As you awaken,you will come to understand that the journey to love isn’t about finding “the one”, the journey is about becoming “the one”.

 

Over to you! How do you know you’ve found the one for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave us some words. 🙂

’til next time, everyone!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

Our Northern Exodus Unlocked Our Hiker’s Compass | Liloan Highlands

While the highlands of southern Cebu become a trekking playground frequented by experienced and newbie hikers, the northern highlands remain humble and still. Although the latter is not favored with high elevation, it has trails and vistas you can compare to that of the known mountains out there.

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Recently, I joined a hiking group that aspires to discover the beauty of the highlands in the north. After that successful quest of visiting Mount Licos, I received an invitation from OMG to trek the mountains of Liloan, Cebu. For someone who came from the north myself, I couldn’t say no since I wanted to give my place it’s due recognition.

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The gang!

Our adventure started with a rendezvous in front of Gaisano Grand Mall -Liloan. As soon as we were complete, we walked to the old Liloan Public Market where we took a motorcycle to Barangay Mulao. Good thing there were only seven of us because it’s hard to get a ride. Mulao is 45 minutes uphill ride from the town, the motorcycles to the said place are very limited.

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Mount Licos from Lanigid Hill.

It took a while before we reassembled at the barangay hall of Mulao. So as soon as everyone had gathered, we immediately commenced our hike to Lanigid Hill. I had been to Lanigid last year with my friends and climbing this hill again brought back those memories. But scaling it with new people was different. The trail started with a steep ascent which made us catch our breaths. It was a strenuous warm-up.

From the top of the hill, we saw Mount Licos standing loud and proud. It was great to see her from afar. She’s such a beaut. I felt a sense of pride in surviving her trail.

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After taking a breather from the top, we trailed back to the barangay hall to head to Barangay Tabla to check out Mount Kolo (also known as Mt View). In the Google map, Mulao and Tabla are adjacent to each other, but there is no trail from Lanigid to there. We had to follow the provincial road that goes around Lanipga to Tabla.

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Have I already told you that I hate hiking on concrete roads? My legs easily get tired on cemented roads compared to rocky terrains. Plus the heat produced by the cement is energy-draining.

Yet, that was what exactly happened that day. After 3 hours of walking, we passed by Lanipga National Highschool. We decided to have our lunch at a nearby store since our tummies already signaled a refill. Tatay Raul’s mirthful spirit boosted our appetite as he entertained us with his hilarious quips. With a companion like him, no journey is dull.

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As soon as we had rested enough, we resumed our hike to Barangay Tabla. We had to ask some locals along the way about Mount View, but only a few of them know it. Most of them were more familiar with Mount Kolo because it’s a neighborhood name (purok). However, nobody could give us a specific way to get to that hill.

Knowing that we were already in Purok Kolo, we trusted our guts and adventurous soul to lead us to the right track. (Tatay Raul called it the hiker’s compass.) We looked for a higher elevation and followed a trail uphill. Fortunately, we were not mistaken. A taller hill stood in front of us.

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Lo and behold, Tabla’s Mountain View!

Seeing the sign that says “This way to Mt View” felt like we won a raffle contest. We did not waste time. We hurriedly climbed the hill. I didn’t mind my sore legs, I just wanted to reach the top. And I wasn’t disappointed. The verdurous panorama of Liloan and the Mactan Island from afar welcomed us. What an astonishing reward!

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The place showcased a 360-degree view of lush foliage. The mountain ranges of Compostela and Danao could be seen from there. In fact, we saw the Holy Cross of Compostela, too.

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We stayed there for a while as we savored the pleasant scenery in front of us. The cold breeze of the wind shooed away our weary feel. We wished to stay longer but time wasn’t on our favor. After an hour, we bid goodbye to the place.

I went home that day with sore legs but with and accomplished heart.

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When life feels like rut and jading, the mountain calls to rescue.

Personal thought:

Life happens! We have different ways to get through it. Some dance with it while others try to escape. Me? I seek refuge in the mountains. If Moana keeps going back to the water, I, on the other hand, go back to the mountains. Because that’s where I feel safe and at peace. It’s where I feel at home.

Over to you! How do you keep up with life? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me some words.

 

‘Til our next exodus!

Keep safe!

Love, Demi