Thursday, February 28, 2013

“Mt. Maculot” & “The Rockies” of Cuenca, Batangas

2013 is an exciting year for me as our mountaineering group aims to conquer 13 summits before the year ends.  Our first summit was Mt. Maculot of Cuenca, Batangas. It is popular to hikers and campers and is a major attraction of the municipality.

Around 4 o’clock in the morning last January 5, 2013, we left from Los Banos and took a public ride to Crossing, Calamba. We then transferred to a Lipa City-bound jeepney at the Calamba Terminal. In Lipa City, we asked for directions going to Cuenca, Batangas. When we finally reached Cuenca, we rode a tricycle to the jump-off point.

Mt. Maculot viewed from Cuenca, Batangas Public Market.

Biotrekker's Magdalena Adventure

"Biotrekkers" is a group comprised of researchers working in BIOTECH-UPLB who love to travel and try nature adventures. Last July 14, 2012, we took a break from doing academic researches and visited Magdalena, Laguna. The trip was organized by Jeffrey Tamayo and Emil Lat.

Our first stop was in Magdalena Church. We were welcomed by Sir Raffy, municipal councilor of the said town. He gave us some information about Magdalena and then toured us inside the church. We learned that Magdalena is one of the favorite locations of local film producers, especially the old yet amazing structure of the church. Thus, it was called "Hollywood of the Philippines." It was a familiar sight 'coz I was able to watch Fernando Poe Jr.'s action filmms.

In front of the municipal hall, just across the church, was their own version of "Walk of Fame" where we had the chance to pose.

Walk of Fame.

Municipal Hall at the background.

After that appetizing sight of the church and plaza, we craved for more Magdalena experience. We headed to our next destination: the "One Race White Water Rafting." It is a relatively new tourist destination in Magdalena, Laguna.

Lucky for us that we are the only group that day, we were told that we can extend our time and enjoy swimming after rafting. Before proceeding to the actual site, we were briefed by Kuya Raffy about what to expect, do's and dont's, and a little bit of Magdalena trivia. From the briefing area, we rode a jeepney and then walked for 10 minutes. The fun and excitement then started. In front of us was a wild river with lots of rapids and large rocks distributed all throughout.

On our way to the Jump-off.

Let's say Hurrah!

Biotrekkers go with the flow.

Smile Biotrekkers :)

After the breathtaking rafting, we took a rest and had a boodle fight for our lunch. Our next activity was swimming. For safety reasons, we were told to swim just near the dam. Despite a very small area, it was still an exciting one since the water current is really strong.

Taking a rest after rafting.

Boodle Fight. Yummy!

Our Magdalena experience is one of the best trips I had and definitely I'll be coming back here someday.

Biotrekkers with Kuya Raffy (right-most)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chemists Face Lematics: The Mt. Makiling Adventure

They say that your ELBI life wouldn't be complete without experiencing the lematics of Mt. Makiling as you reach for the summit of Peak 2. True enough, a number of friends responded when we organized a trek to the area.

Two days before the climb, we attended a briefing organized by the UPLB Mountaineers whose members also served as our guide during the actual activity. Majority of us were first-time hikers, thus, we badly needed their expertise. Thanks to UPLB Mountaineers for doing that for free :). At least we had the idea on what to expect.

Come January 30, 2012, around six o'clock in the morning, a total of 18 hikers and 3 guides gathered outside DL Umali Hall. Interestingly, hikers were chemists, chemical engineers, and food technologists. We divided our group into thee. The lead group was led by Engr. Randel Dualan, the mid group by Engr. Mark Anthony Badua, and sweepers was led by me. After fifteen minutes, we started to walk going to forestry.

UPLB Mountaineers led the way.