Hiking at Mt. Manabu…

It’s never too late to start a new thing. I took the plunge and went hiking with family and friends yesterday. I always have respect and admiration for people who love mountain climbing. I have watched numerous tv shows and movies about it which are basically taken from real life events. I am in awe of people being able to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. And so I’ve always dreamed of someday being able to go on trail hiking up in the mountains. After yesterday’s hiking, my respect for mountaineers doubled or tripled. Mountain hiking or climbing is no joke. You must have the stamina for it. I was mentally prepared and it’s the only thing that kept me going (lol)!

My mind was willing but the body was resisting. My fault for being a couch potato the past few weeks even if I knew that I plan to go on a hiking adventure. It was my first time and my body was bruised and battered after the hike. I almost gave up in the middle of the trek. So I guess if you want to try hiking, you must go with people who will encourage you to go on. Even if the answer is always “we are nearly there” or “just 30 more minutes” to your “are we there yet?” question. Even if after 30 minutes you are still ascending and it seems it will never end. It actually helped that people I’m with during the hike were tolerant and doesn’t mind me stopping so I can catch my breath. There were so many stops during the hike (lol). It’s also important to at least condition yourself. Do that 5K, 10K or more steps a day prior to your hiking adventure.

They said that the Mt. Manabu trail is relatively easy as it is classified as 2/9. A single trail lasting 2 hours or less. But for a newbie? I think it’s better to start with 1/9 or very easy trails that are in paved or cemented roads especially if you have a sedentary life like me. But if you are quite the adventurous type and think that you have the stamina for it then by all means go ahead. Trail hiking or mountain climbing is fun most especially if you are with family and friends who got your back! Literally at your back to push you to the mountain top so you can see the beautiful scenery from up above. Ha!ha!

The trail is shaped like a rosary but we did not go to the grotto anymore which is located on the left side after reaching the summit with the white cross. The peak or summit area is not big and if there are other hikers it’s going to be a tight squeeze. Best to take a look and take group photos at the camp site area before the summit. At the back and going down is a small area for a picture perfect shot. There’s a couple of small boulders where we posed and took “aesthetic” photos. But beware because it is literally the side of the mountain top. There’s always the danger of falling! We were told when we stopped at station 4 that it’s about “5 minutes awayto the grotto if we take the left trail. I wonder if the 5 minutes is for seasoned hikers? Might take “30 minutesagain for a newbie (lol).

There are many posts on how to get to Mt. Manabu in Batangas. Our jump off point was in Lipa, Batangas. We rode our own car and used Waze app or Google maps to get there. Just remember to register at the entrance or barangay check point before you start to go up the street towards the parking area. There’s a 30 pesos fee per hiker. As it’s still pandemic time, they will check your temperature as well and log it down. Try to go at the end of the road where the jump off point is located to park your car. It will save you some much needed breath for your hike if you do that (lol). Hire a guide if you don’t have anyone in your group that knows the trail. You can help the locals if you do.

Since we live in the southern part of Metro Manila (Parañaque City) and is very near the entrance to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), it took us less than an hour to travel to Lipa, Batangas. Thanks to the SLEX connection to STAR Tollway, travel time is faster. We took the exit before Lipa which is Sto. Toribio. Probably a must when hiking is lots of water, energy drink like Gatorade or Pocari Sweat and some energy bars. Although, you can also eat at Station 4. There’s a lady selling buko juice and snacks. You can help the locals by buying some. After drinking the juice, eat the coconut meat as well using the improvised spoon. Too bad we weren’t able to try the civet coffee in Station 5 since there were a lot of hikers and no space anymore. Anyway, if you bring your own food make sure to at least follow the rule of “Leave No Trace”. Bring your trash with you.

Also a “must have” is a hiking stick which we forgot to bring! Luckily, there are 10 pesos wood sticks for sale in one of the stations. As for your OOTD, wear comfortable clothes preferably a dri fit shirt and leggings. Shorts is okay but then some part of the trail have overgrown grass or weeds. It’s literally a forest. Shoes is also important. Wear one with a grip if it’s rubber shoes. Best to wear hiking boots or shoes though. Although, I saw a lot of hikers wearing sandals and it’s cool!

Overall, my hiking experience was awesome! I am proud of myself for finishing the trek even if I had a very hard time. I was literally crawling. Ascending the mountain, you are out of breath. Descending the mountain, you fear for your knees and toes. It’s funny to think about it now after the climb but the struggle was real!

I’m turning 50 years old in less than a month. Diagnosed years ago with scoliosis and recently osteoarthritis. I am very happy I was able to successfully go on a mountain hike without injuring myself! I am not yet sure if I’ll be doing it again but who knows when the next invite to climb another mountain will come my way? Maybe next time, it will be an easy hike?

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

The New Normal…

Many changes to one’s normal life happened in the last few months. And not only in my country but the whole world. Most of us were quarantined. We were afraid of an enemy that we cannot see. We became paranoid about getting sick and dying because of a virus. No one is judging anyone of their fears. Everyone were affected one way or another. I am thankful everyone in the family are currently healthy. We had a couple of scary moments thinking one of them got the virus. Luckily, it wasn’t covid although still a respiratory problem.

Metro Manila where I live will be lifting the hard lockdown and will move to what they call GCQ or General Community Quarantine on the first of June. Doing so will help our country’s economy recover by opening businesses. There are still so many restrictions but at least a lot of people can now go back to work with the availability of mass transportation. Air travel is allowed with major airports opening. However, international destinations inbound and outbound are still limited. I guess no one really wants to travel and be quarantined at their destination as well as at home upon arrival from a business or leisure trip. Two weeks ago I cancelled our Taipei trip in July. My companions and I are too scared to travel and be quarantined in our destination or when we come back from traveling. I am collecting travel funds, travel vouchers nowadays! When you buy promo fares, you’ll end up with that. Well, for the airlines that I chose to fly for the cancelled trips. Ha!ha! Anyway, I really hope that when October comes, the virus is nowhere to be seen. Otherwise, another travel cancellation and this time to Europe will happen.

I read that the new normal in traveling will entail going to the airport earlier because aside from the usual security check, there will also be a health check. Online check in is required. Lines will probably be long since we have to follow social distancing protocols. That we need to wear a mask is a given. It is mandated by the government. Failure to wear a mask in public will incur a hefty fine and you might even end up in jail. We will know more about this in the coming days when airports finally open and we get news of the flow.

I am thankful though that during the quarantine I was able to reconnect with old friends and made new friends albeit online. With nowhere to go and our busy lives suddenly slowing down, we have time to actually catch up with one another. Some people became busy harnessing their baking and cooking abilities and turning it into a small business. While I become busy drooling over the yummy food they were selling and then always end up buying them!

I think I will miss being on a total lockdown. I dread going back to the traffic and pollution. I somehow liked the stillness of the street. I enjoyed the supply run where the roads are so eerily quiet

I hope tomorrow when we start to go out from our home again we will remember that the virus is still out there. It’s not eradicated yet. There’s still no available vaccine. The “new normal” will be us making sure we protect ourselves as well as protecting others. So, don’t forget to wear your mask and to bring along a small alcohol or hand sanitizer wherever you go!

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo