My 6 months in Philippines starts!

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February 11th 2017
Published: February 12th 2017
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Thanks to a great opportunity from my company, I was posted to Manila for a work attachment for 6 months (similar to my stint last year in Indonesia), and that means more travelling opportunities in a foreign land! In the blink of an eye, I’m already onto my 2nd weekend in Philippines. On each separate weekend, I managed to escape the concrete jungle of Manila into less crowded towns.

On the first Sunday, together with 4 other friends, I took a sneak peek into the hiking scene in Philippines. At an unearthly timing of 1am, we took a pretty arduous journey with a bus-jeepney-trisikad-van combination into Lobo, Batangas, some 4 hrs away from Metro Manila. That’s where we begun another 2 hr hike up to Mt. Nalayag, where splendid views of the ocean and neighbouring high lands greeted us. The trek in the tropical forest was moderately easy, with a few steep inclines and rocky terrain. Nalayag is popular with locals because at the peak, freestanding boulders erect from the surroundings, and that’s where hikers could spam selfies on. We did make ourselves up the man-made bamboo ladder into 1 of these as well; a testament to our presence here! One could see till the edge of mainland Luzon leading into the ocean, the Southern territories of Batangas and nearby towns too. We spent a good hour or 2 at the top, having our break and early lunch before laboring ourselves out of the scorching sun back down to the starting point. The rest of the afternoon was devoted agonizingly to the journey back home, where traffic jams tested the patience in us.

The 2nd weekend, I made a solo-trip down south to Tagaytay, a good 2hr bus ride away. The city is situated on the ridge of a dormant volcano, where plenty of newly sprung cafes and restaurants sit, overlooking the spectacular Taal lake and volcano. As it is situated on higher grounds, temperatures here were much cooler, ranging around 22C in the day and that’s partly why I wanted to come here: To escape the city crowd and heat., with good nature views to beat. That said, I still kinda underestimated the weather, wearing only berms, and for the whole afternoon I was trying to brave the cold! I spent a good couple of hours having lunch at Cliffside restaurant that overlooks the volcanic landscape, wandering at Sky Ranch Amusement Park where a towering Ferris wheel resides, and chilling at cafes by the roadside. Aside from the occasional honking from the passing Jeepneys and the heavy afternoon traffic on the main road, Tagaytay is a good destination to while a good day away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

2 fulfilling weekends, with plenty more to come, I’m excited and am looking forward to more mini adventures in Philippines!

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