Showing posts from September, 2013

PSA: 2014 Holidays in the Philippines

The Philippine government just announced the dates of public non-working holidays in the Philippines for 2014. Plan your trips accordingly.
A. Regular Holidays
New Year’s Day        01 January (Wednesday)
Araw ng Kagitingan      09 April (Wednesday)
Maundy Thursday       17 April
Good Friday       18 April
Labor Day        01 May (Thursday)
Independence Day       12 June (Thursday)
National Heroes Day    25 August (Last Monday of August)
Bonifacio Day        30 November (Sunday)
Christmas Day        25 December (Thursday)
Rizal Day        30 December (Tuesday)

B. Special (Non-Working) Days
Chinese New Year31 January (Friday)
Black Saturday19 April
Ninoy Aquino Day         21 August (Thursday)
All Saints Day        01 November (Saturday)

Additional special (non-working) days
24 December (Wednesday)
                26 December (Friday)
Last Day of the Year31 December (Wednesday)

C. Special Holiday (for all schools)
EDSA Revolution 25 February (Tuesday)

Climbing the Millennium Tree at Balete Park

I was a bit skeptical at first when I was told by a friend that one of the sights not to miss when visiting Baler is the Millennium Tree. From the name itself I thought that it's just another old tree which the locals named using hyperbole. My interest got piqued a bit when I read that visitors can actually climbed on it. So I said, OK, I'd try that, since it's been long since I've climbed a tree myself. I suggested it to my friends, James, Aroma, Sigrid and Randy when we arrived in Baler. We set out to it right after we visited the Mother Falls in Dimutabo.
It was almost sunset when we, on two tricycles that we hired, arrived at the Balete Park, in Maria Aurora, a town adjacent to surfing town of Baler. The ride almost took more than thirty minutes, and I was even feeling a bit tired while on the way. 

I did not expect the enormous size of the tree when we finally saw it. The tree, we were told, was about 200 feet high, and about 49 feet in diameter in its widest. It is…

Trek to Ditumabo Falls, Aurora

The ride from Baler going to Ditumabo, a small village of San Luis, Aurora, was not easy. The road was rough and unpaved, with small boulders seemingly strewn over it, testing the suspension system of the two tricycle cabs that we (the same people whom I went surfing in Baler with) hired to take us to the village. 
Much of the four-kilometer trip was also uphill, making the engines cry out as our drivers, Anthony and Carlo, struggled to stabilize the vehicles as we trudge along. Our destination was a waterfall called Ditumabo Falls, also known as Mother Falls.
After arriving at the village we set out to  "twenty-minute" hike, crossing several footbridges made of bamboo and driftwood, across streams and through footpaths carved on hills. The 20-minute hike easily went to almost an hour.

The clear, cool waters of the stream that we forged gave hints of what were in store for us. On several occasions I was tempted to just take off my shirt and take a dip in the stream, but I resis…

Surfing in Baler

Normally my go-to place for surfing is San Juan, La Union, a town about six hours north of Manila, but I wish I had discovered Baler, Aurora a long time ago as an alternate surfing spot. I immediately fell for the place as soon as we arrived in our beachfront hotel early in the morning, just off from a 5-hour bus ride from Manila.
Baler is located northeast of Manila, facing the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It is basically on the opposite of San Juan, which faces the West Philippine Sea, although the surfing season for both is similar, from September to February. Baler became a popular destination for surfers recently, after which it was voted as a top beach destination and surf spot in various publications.

I went to Baler with my friends from the university - Sigrid, Randy, Aroma and James - the same group that I usually go with in weekend jaunts and adventure, like in Coron, San Juan, Cagayan de Oro, and even Bangkok. We did not surf right away, as we reserved Saturday for e…