Liwliwa Surf

There’s a light that never goes out


Make a friend


Bunk beds





We own the sea


Surfing chicks


Second surfing trip with these girls after Baler. It’s more of beach bumming in fact because there was no swell. We just enjoyed the sea and hostel because we arrived before anyone else.

Liwliwa, Zambales

Jan.30, 2014







In the Pines

For the second time around, I capped the (previous) year in a place where the cold wind blows, where the smell of pines is typical, and your hips might complain for non-stop hiking.

Original plan was to head for Kalinga and visit Fang-Od (the last mambabatok) to have fertility ring etched on my skin in a traditional way of tattooing. Sadly, the allotted days were not enough so we decided to stay in Baguio instead.

It was too quick that all we did was to visit the parks which are less crowded, stare at the pines (or more appropriately sniff its scent), pick some fallen pine cones and twigs, and Ukay raid, of course.

We should have gone to Tam-awan Village and Bencab Museum, I know. I save it when we come back.

Hence, here are some snaps from wandering and wondering around the City of Pines!

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetIMG_20131229_172256IMG_20131230_110848IMG_20140101_090221 hundred-year-old sculpted pine tree near Mines View Park

IMG_20131230_094127 bb pineIMG_20131230_122729

along the Eco trail2013-12-30-13-50-29_photoIMG_20131230_134615 bookshop on the clouds .. err mountainsIMG_20131230_144536 Rizal Day commemoration at Oh My GulayIMG_20131230_161937IMG_20131230_162833 Spazzkid in the pinesIMG_20131230_140820It’s always a nice way to bid farewell to a challenging but pleasant year (2013). May we all carry new hopes and become more productive and make life a lot meaningful this new year.


All photos were taken using a mobile phone only. Follow me on Instagram.



Succulent Hunt

Made a short trip at the plant haven called Manila Seedlings recently for succulent hunt. I remembered my man brought me there during our first few dates. As an Interior Design student, he used to go there for landscaping projects and he has this wild fascination with plants.



Succulent faves

Dish garden inspirations


We’d like to grow some greens at our little space and succulents are just right. We also bought some bird’s nest hanging plants. There are more charming plants available but we need extra space for it. This kind of nature trip is best ever, isn’t it? Hope to visit there more often and buy other kind of plants or build my own pond. That’s an ultimate dream. xx

Buksan ang summer (Baler Trip)

I’m soooo lazy for posting this late! And even lazier for not giving much details. That’s for my next post, I promise. Haha! It’s just too hot these days plus I was caught between my desk job and Monsterella! But one thing’s for sure. It’s beach season so everyone can’t wait to hit the waves. Let me share some photos of my Baler experience like a couple of months ago. Hehe. I truly want to go back because of the awesomeness of this place.

After taking the 2am Five Star Bus (from Pasay), we arrived in Cabanatuan City before 4am. A UV express van was waiting and we had no choice but to take it because the public bus starts at 7am. We woke up (if ever we really had a sleep) to a wonderful view of some dams in Pantabangan (halfway to Baler). But I forgot to take some photos. Boo!

Good morning, Baler! 

Just before 9am, we reached Baler and hurriedly checked in at a beachfront lodging house and had breakfast at the “Rolling stores.” We were eager beavers to start our day trip, we had some troubles with the tricycle drivers. Note: Tricycle is the means of transportation in Baler since you won’t see any public jeepneys there. A tricycle driver serves as your guide. (More stories about the tricycle drivers and the owner of our lodging house in my next post. Yeah. It’s complicated like that.)

What to do in Baler (2 day trip)?

1. Have breakfast in Rolling stores.– Some typical carinderia that serves several dishes, name it they have it but don’t expect too much with the taste.

4/5 casts

4/5 casts

Balete tree

2. Climb up and take a pose on the 600-year-old Baler Tree. Some kids are waiting to guide you upon climbing it. They are experienced photographers, too. They know the right angle!


600-year-old Balete tree

2. River trekking to Mother Falls- Another part of the eco-trail. Tricycle drivers/guides will take you here right after dropping by Balete tree. In less than 45 minutes, you will be at the jump off to start the river crossing and hiking. We’re failed to reach the Mother falls at first try due to strong current. Yet we tried again the next day and everything was so worth it when you finally reached the grandiose falls. There’s also a small hydro power plant near the jump off site and the guides said it supplies electricity to a barangay nearby.

Mother falls

River trekking to Mother falls

Photo by Annie

Photo by Annie

4. Take some shots of the scenic view of Baler Bay before heading for Diguisit Beach.

Baler Bay

Baler Bay

5. Enjoy the splashing Diguisit Water Falls.

Diguisit Falls

Diguisit Falls

6. Picture taking and take a dip at Lukso-lukso Islets and Diguisit Beach. Feel the serene beach life here.

Lukso lukso beach and islets

Diguisit beach and Lukso lukso islets



7. Another Part of History-eco Trail is the Ermita Hill where you can find statues of one of the 7 families who survived a huge tidal waves in December of 1735. You can find the historical tunnel as well where it is believed many townsmen used it to escape the raids of the Moros and so on.


Ermita Hill


Have yourself a reward of picturesque views of the Baler bay from this hill.

Top- Cemento beachbottom- Sabang beach

Top- Cemento beach
bottom- Sabang beach


8. SURF!

At first, surfing didn’t cross my mind (and my budget) as I underestimated myself (I’m pessimistic like that). I was afraid to fall off the surfboard and get drowned haha. But when I saw all the pro and amateur surfers even my friends nailing it, I felt regretful. After a while, Teacher Candy allowed me to try it while she was taking a rest. Her trainer was a 15-year-old boy with six packs (take note haha). As expected, I couldn’t actually make it after few attempts but Angel (trainer) gave me a heads up. I couldn’t believe my eyes that I made to stand up on the board with a less than 10 minute practice. I promised myself that I shall return and do it all over again. It’s a lesson learned to me. Never underestimate yourself even if you know it’s hard but then after few (or more) attempts, you shall conquer that fear.

Surfing at Sabang Beach

Sarping pose! (I'm the apparition. hee)

Sarping (surfing) pose! (I’m the apparition. hee)

Sarping (surfing) chicks

Sarping chicks


Candy and her 15-year-old trainer, Angel (Whatta abs!)

me surf


9. Breakfast at Bay’s Inn

Second day was to enjoy the breakfast at Bay’s Inn, visit Ampere beach, and most of all, conquering the Mother falls. We were not able to cross the river on day 1 due to strong current so we decided to go back on the next day and our efforts were all worth it when we reached the majestic falls. The view was breathtaking. It’s my first time to see raging water falls like that. The water was so cold and refreshing. Too bad we had to hurriedly go back to our lodge to check out. We weren’t able to do the historical sites but that’s another reason to go back aside from surfing. Hehe. Breakfast at Bay’s Inn We started day 2 by eating breakfast at Bay’s Inn. They offer buffet that costs around 150php/person but we opted to share some meals since we wanted to taste home-cooked soup and vegetables. We ordered blue marlin sinigang, Pinakbet, and yangchow rice. We had no regrets because they all tasted so good. You will love it, too. Moreover, nothing’s more fun than to eat breakfast watching people playing with the waves. bays inn 10. Ampere beach. Unlike the other shores along Baler bay, this one is full of small and big stones, those our moms and grannys use to rub on their skin. haha! SAMSUNG

Ampere beach

Ampere beach

boy/girl band

boyband, yes?

(to be continued…)

You may want to check out:

Life in Low-res: Instatravel

Nagsasa Cove/ Laiya Beach/ Sunset in Cagbalete, Quezon/ Mt. Batulao (?)/ Nagsasa Cove from the summit

Ola! It’s been a while since my last post. Hiking stories are still nestling in my drafts. I could only do quick posts for now since I’ve been a busy bee for the next 10a Alabama Craft Fair. These are some Instagram photos I took during travels. Have a good week ahead!

Follow me on Instagram @hellocheechako

.: credits :.

medallion starburst  by puglypixel

Mystical island of Cagabalete x Hamog’s 2nd Anniv

Last June 23-24, Haksonero Mountaineering Group (HAMOG) held their second anniversary in Cagbalete island, Quezon. Jordan and I had a chance to join the said event despite of the hectic schedule at work. Right after my shift that Friday night, we headed to the meeting place without any sleep or bath. Haha! There, we saw familiar faces like Shan and Dhez from Daraitan hiking, DJ, Jec, and Tem (the ones we used to rub elbows with in Talahib gigs), also Jevi and Sara from Cristobal climb. We got to know the rest of the group at the event proper.

After 3-4 hours of travel by bus, we waited for the public boat going to Cagbalete island. There’s a public market nearby so we could buy everything we need for an overnight stay.

We headed to Villa Cleofas which is 1.5 kilometer walk from Sabang (where the public boat unloaded us). And to our delight, this welcomed us– LOW TIDE!  Hello, Cagbalete! Villa Cleofas is one of the resorts in the island and we were lucky to own it even just for a night because there were no other guests.

After having lunch and setting camp, we had a short program about HAMOG’s second year anniversary. It started with introducing ourselves to each other since some (like Jordan and I) were newbies in the group. The crowd was cheerful and warm. You will always laugh at funny gestures and jokes.  Haksonero Mountaineering group promotes enjoyable and responsible mountaineering as well as valuing safety, camaraderie, and respect for the environment. They even had outreach programs for some communities living at the foot of the mountains they have climbed up on. Get to know more about them through their facebook fanpage.

At first, I thought there was no luck to swim because of low tide but then after few hours the water gradually filled up the sea bed. Notice  the sky was painted yellow orange which made it magical and romantic.

We spend the night enjoying savory meals such as pork sinigang, grilled pork chop, and an octopus dish (for realz) cooked by amazing youngsters in the group, never-ending rhum and iced tea, drum jam, guitar app by Shan, and fun fun fun stories. The island was quiet and cozy. I had a good night sleep in our tent.

Though many stayed up late, some were still able to have a glimpse of the sunrise. Not me because I’m a sleepyhead yet I had to get up and lavish the glittering water. It’s  so inviting. You MUST hop in before it subsides again. Morning swim!

drum jam with the guys

We had quick lunch then break camp to be able to catch the 1pm boat ride, however, we missed it. We had to arrange a chartered boat and another misfortune was the tide became low again so the boat couldn’t sail. We waited for a couple of hours or more (I guess) at the barangay outpost. At least we had time to take a nap and chat more with each other. Just before the sunset, we found ourselves boarding the chartered boat heading back to Mauban port.

I love sunsets by the sea.

The whole cast! (Photo grabbed from Shan’s album)

Wait! Misfortune didn’t end there. We also missed the public buses going back to Lucena Grand Terminal where we could take buses back to Manila. The night already unfolded and we had to arrange another chartered vehicle again, this time two vans for all us. Despite of being restless, we still managed to keep our heads up. Sometimes, it’s just hard to follow the itinerary. Haha!

On top of everything, I’m delightful to be part of this event as well as having the chance to set my own feet in Cagbalete– a mystical island for me. Breathtaking views, magical beach, great buddies, fun times. We’d definitely come back!

How to get there:

  • Take Lucena bound bus either in Cubao, Buendia, or Alabang. Jac Liner or Jam Transit have regular rides going to Lucena Grand Terminal. Fare is 210php from Buendia (3 hours ride).
  • From Lucena Grand Terminal, catch a mini bus (ordinary) going to Mauban, Quezon (almost 2 hours ride). Fare is around 50-60php.  The last trip is at 6 pm.
  • Arriving Mauban town proper, the port where the boats are stationed is just nearby public market. Trips are scheduled at 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM daily, for P40-50 per person. They usually drop off passengers at “Sabang”  although they sometimes drop off their passengers directly to the south eastern part of the island where the resorts Villa Cleofas and MVT Sto. Nino are located. Chartered boats are also available. Rate is P4,000 two-way ( Mauban-Cagbalete-Mauban) and can ferry up to 25 people.

Where to stay:

You may want to check out this:

Meet Mr. Wandering Gnome

Hello, my new travel buddy!


If you have seen Amélie, you must be familiar of this. Late last year, we launched our collection of 7 gnomes in different colors and seeing the film was one of our inspirations. Amelie (Audrey Tautou) persuades her father to follow his dream of touring the world by stealing his garden gnome and having a stewardess friend send pictures of it posing with landmarks from all over the world (Wikipedia). Clever, isn’t it? 

All these wonderful gnomes are already in good hands now. We gave them as freebies at the recent 10a Alabama Craft Fair. Wait! There’s one left. Tada!

He’s actually our prototype and we just can’t let go of him. So there, he’s our travel buddy from now on. Other hobbies of us is traveling though we can just do it if we have spare time from production and yes, savings. We’d like to share…

View original post 252 more words


March 2012

This was our first time to go hiking with mountaineer friends. Shan, Dhez, Tyland, and Maricar are members of HAMOG (Haksonero Mountaineering Group). They joined numerous climbs of the said group. We headed for Daraitan to celebrate Shan’s birthday. Tyland and Maricar led us all throughout since they had been there once.

Daraitan is a trekking destination within the Sierra Madre mountain range in Tanay, Rizal. It’s well-known for river trekking, rock climbing, hiking, swimming, and spelunking. The trail is mainly rocky though ground level only. Locals called the river, “Tinipak.” It’s no wonder! The trail is full of big chunks of cream-colored rocks along the river. Parang tinipak na mga bato talaga. 

Day 1

We gathered somewhere in Shaw, Ortigas then took a jeepney going to Tanay, Rizal. It took 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the traffic. We’re few hours behind our itinerary so we weren’t able to catch up on the public transportation to get to the jump off site. However, we had luck to get 2 chartered tricycles for the seven of us. It was getting dark. We bought ingredients at the public market before taking off.

The tricycle ride was more or less 1 hour of on and off dark and rocky road. First half was meant for sightseeing. Rizal is indeed a beautiful province. Then, I was quite thrilled in the second half. Darkness unfolded and we see nothing but the light of the vehicles and silhouettes of trees and occasional houses. I stopped myself imagining things because I have that kind of habit. Creepy.

Arriving at the jump off site, there was a dim view of the river. We got ourselves ready with our head lights and flashlights. Like most of the trekking destinations, we headed to the barangay hall to register our names and pay for registration fee. We were told that there were plenty hikers before us so we could expect others along the campsite. They were concerned about night trekking since we didn’t hire any guides. (Note: The trail was merely straightforward, however, there are available guides if you need one.)

At the beginning of the night trek, we were stunned after seeing a number of tombs in the beginning of trail just right after passing by houses in the barrio. Just look straight, though. Hehe. But then after, we could hear the lush sound of the river. The wind was chilly and the sky was full of stars. What a sight!

After approximately 1.5 hours, our feet set off the campsite. We saw others pitched in their tents in the riverside. Quite scary, we thought. Obviously, there’s water source nearby so cooking and washing stuff were just easy. Boys were pitching the tents and we, the girls, prepared dinner. We did the socials right after dinner.

Day 2

At last, here comes the photos!

Good morning, Daraitan!

View from the campsite

You can appreciate it more in daylight, indeed. We did break camp right after having breakfast and decided to enjoy a little in the river.

(L-R: Rj, Dhez, Maricar)

(L-R: Tyland, Shan, Jordan)

square 1-6: Maricar, Dhez, Rj, Jordan, Joycee, and Shan with dumagat kids.

How serene it is? You will be a nature lover in a glimpse. That’s why we have gone this far because of this trip. We owe it all to Daraitan and to our hiking buddies. Nostalgia brings the fun memories and vivid scenery I was able to capture in my mind.

We had our lunch along the riverside and dipped in the water. It’s deep and has strong current. We saw local kids diving from a tall standing rock. We learned that the main inhabitants in the mountain are called “dumagat,” indigenous people in Southern Tagalog. We met some children and gave them our spare breakfast (sopas). They also collected our plastic bottles for recycling. They are very different from the people in the town. Everything was just basic. Some of them were still waiting for their parents who went out farming. I remembered a protest song we knew way back college. It was entitled “On Potok.” A local indie band, Talahib People’s music made their own cover of it. It’s all about the struggles of dumagat people against mining, land grabbing, and the violations of indigenous people’s rights. Hear it in soundcloud.

To sum up my very first hiking outside the metro, it was truly fascinating. Night trekking, enchanting river, new faces, overnight getaway, it was all superb! Thanks to Shan and Dhez who invited us over. We got into hiking because of this unforgettable experience. More camping trips in my next entries. Imagine, I had blogged about this after 4 months of hectic schedule and occasional getaways. Whew!

How to get there:

1. From Shaw Boulevard, take a jeepney bound for Tanay Rizal. Travel time is around 1.5 to 2 hours, fare is approximately Php 50 pesos.

2. Get off at Tanay Public Market and proceed to the jeepney terminal located at the back. Take the jeepney going to Brgy. Daraitan, fare is around Php 60 pesos. Travel time is about an hour. You can also rent the whole jeepney for Php 1,500 pesos.

The Tanay-Daraitan route has scheduled trips at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM from the terminal in Tanay Market and at 9:00 AM and after lunch from Daraitan.

3. Upon reaching Brgy. Daraitan, look for the Barangay Hall and have yourselves registered in the logbook, pay Php 10.00 pesos each as registration fee. Guides are also available here for Php 250 pesos per guide. (Pinoyadventurista)

We need a life,