Jun 24 2014

My impressions on the Sandugo Helikon Sandals

first trek! with the Sandugo Helikon.
A hybrid between a shoe and a sandal. This product made by a local company can actually stand side by side against the imported counterparts. At a price of P1,900, this gear is worth every peso I spent. I used this crossing rivers in So. Leyte, in the rocky shores and caves of Camotes and the trails in the Babag Mountain range. It’s been a year now since I bought this pair and so far this pair has not failed me. Pair this with a set of waterproof socks and you are good to go! You do have to take note that this has holes or drains to help drain out the water whenever you dip these into the water. These holes can also work in the opposite direction which can get your socks wet in unexpected situations.

Trekked along the coast line of Poro, Camotes.

Pros: Affordable / Lightweight / Available locally

Cons: Drains work both ways so always take note of this when walking on trail. The soles don’t have good traction for mud so be careful when hiking uphill or downhill in muddy terrain.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Jun 9 2014

A day hike through the Napo-Babag Trail with my buddy Jake & Haiz

Just the usual trail taken by hikers. Packing light this time. I decided to ditch my main tripod for a smaller “gorilla” pod. That really cut down the total weight down to 12Kg.

A quick shot at the jump off point.
Off to Napo-Babag Trail

Not much photos to take. The day was really cloudy and light was not on my side.

The goal just around a kilometer away.
the RCPI towers at Babag Mountain Range

The Queen City of the South as viewed near the RCPI towers.

Mandatory group photo before hiking back down to the city.

On our hike down through the road to Babag Uno, two gentlemen from RECON group offered us a ride back to the city. Thanks guys!

It was a good hike.
Dirty combat boots


Jun 2 2014

Star trails – Chalet Hills, Busay never disappoints a landscape photographer

After almost 2 weeks of staying at home for recovery, my body finally healed and was ready to go outdoors again. After posting an open invite in the social media, I only got 1 response but he can only meet up at the campsite and could not join me in the hike along the Napo-Babag trail. So I decided to just push on for a solo hike and meet up with him at the camp site.

My pack weight 19.4Kg this time because I needed to bring more water, meals and the tent. Just when my mind was set for the solo hike, a friend texted that she wanted to join in the day hike. Well, it is always better and safer than a solo hike so I told her to meet up with me at the church gate.

I really need to buy a 1 person tent for my solo camp outs. This should cut down on the total weight of my pack.

After 2 weeks of being inactive, the weight of the pack turned out a bit too much for me. I got totally exhausted when we arrived at the Roble’s residence. I asked Manang Emem if her son could carry my pack for me up to the RCPI towers but Manwel was out working. Emem offered to carry the pack for me since she was going the same route to buy meds for her daughter Juliet who was having a fever.
For Manang Emem, carrying the 19.4Kg backpack was nothing. She didn’t even sweat carrying it.
Here’s Haiz who joined me for the day hike.

We reached RCPI towers around 530pm and it was getting dark. We rested for awhile and continued on the trail to Babag I. Emem and I parted when we reached the store where she could buy the meds. I paid her for the help and gave her extra money for the meds she needed to buy for Juliet.

Haiz and I continued the hike to Chalet. From there I setup the tent and joined Haiz by the road as she waited for a motorcycle ride back to JY Square.

I went back to my tent to start cooking dinner and setup my photo gears.
Dinner time.

I really thought I was going to be alone up there. The only hope was that Chris would continue his plan in camping overnight at Chalet. But around 8:45PM people started to arrive and occupy the place. 5 people arrived and setup 2 tents in front of me. Then two more and was followed by another large group. I was now in the middle of their group. They were a friendly bunch and in just minutes I was already chatting with them. The most common trait you will notice about campers/mountaineers/hikers is their friendly attitude to strangers. And they won’t hesitate to help you if you need it. I was really glad for their presence or it would have been a lonely and depressing night. I have to admit, I can’t remember all their names but I definitely remember their faces. I hope to meet you all again in the future camp outs.

Of course I didn’t just go up there to get some fresh air and reflect on things. There’s always time for photography. The northern hemisphere was really cloudy but around 2:30am the clouds cleared out so I started snapping series for the star trails. I left the camera for 1hour and 30 minutes. When I got back it was already cloudy and I think I was only able to salvage around an hour of 30sec shots. Here’s the output. Some of the campers were still up having some drinks.
Star trails at Chalet Hills Busay Cebu City.

The next day we had our breakfast and break camp around 7AM. We started our hike back to the main road around 8AM.
Hiking back to the main road.

I was actually in a depressed mood the other day (personal reasons). I was hoping the solo overnight stay at the campsite was going to be a time for self evaluation for me or it could have turned out to be a night of feeling really sad and depressed. I’m very thankful for the campers who arrived that night. Their presence really lighten up my mood of what would have been a lonely and depressing night.

Also a big thank you to Haiz for joining me through the day hike. Thank you for the company.

Apr 24 2014

Denatured alcohol

Stocking fuel for the alcohol stove
Time to restock on denatured alcohol for future camping trips. :-)

Apr 4 2014

Cebu City just minutes before Earth Hour.

Cebu City viewed from the RCPI towers at Mt. Babag, Cebu
For as long as I have no commitments for the weekend, I always want to go out for a day hike and Babag has been my favorite lately. Here’s another view of the city taken just minutes before the Earth Hour last March 29, 2014.

This time I went with my friend Anwar and new friends Johnrel, Jude and Karen.