Trekking Mount Pinatubo – A Tragic Creation of Natural Attractions

It was year 1991 when Mount Pinatubo erupted and categorized as an active volcano. The tragedy happened at my young age where I witness ed in the news how this volcano created sufferings to my fellow countrymen specially to those who lived in the surrounding areas of the mountain. I remembered that a lot of people died and lost their homes because of heavy ashes and lahar flowing in rivers coming from the volcano. It’s been decades that people lived nearby suffers every year specifically during rainy season.

After decades or more, the crater lake of this active volcano started to be noticed by hikers and adventurers. I had seen photos and blogs in the past years from whom climbed the mountain and whom reached the stunning crater lake. Every time I see the crater lake of Mount Pinatubo in photos, it reminds me the lakes that I saw in Banff, Alberta Canada. I started to dream to climb the mountain and wanted to reach the crater lake but the opportunity was elusive for me in a time being.

This year 2017, last January 4, my dream has been fulfilled. After more than two decades of tragic eruption of the volcano. My friend from USA invited me to join climbing Mount Pinatubo. The schedule was weekdays and I never hesitated to accept the invite and I immediately filed my vacation leave.

After my work on January 3, Tuesday night, I reached the Five Star Bus Terminal in Cubao few minutes before 12AM. I was lucky because there was a bus leaving the terminal within 10 minutes. I took bus that goes to Bolinao (any bus goes to Vigan, Baguio, Alaminos or Bolinao will pass Capas Junction). I traveled alone, I was tempted to sleep but I never slept because I don’t want to miss the junction that I need to get-off. Its midnight and first week of January, my travel to Capas Junction was smooth and I arrived almost 2AM. From Capas Junction, I took tricycle to Sta. Juliana. I thought the travel will just few minutes, I was wrong and with the price of P300, it’s not just far, but really far. As I traveled early in the morning, I felt the cold wind that passed through my skin and I had been in that situation for  30 minutes. At last I reached Bognot Lodge accommodation where my friends are staying. My friend Nits woke-up and able to meet me outside.

I had 2 hours of sleep. We were three together, myself, Nits and new friend Marisa. All of us are first timer in climbing Mount Pinatubo. We started preparing ourselves past 5AM and had our breakfast. Because it’s not yet peak season, we were allowed our stuff to remain in the room where we stayed over night. Then, took 4X4 jeep and we went to Municipal Tourist Satellite Office where Nits and Marisa required to check their blood pressure before the climb, the result are good and were all set.

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The adventure begun past 7AM and we rode again 4X4 vehicle. We were advised that we will drive the ground for an hour. On the way, the first thing that I saw was plain white and dusty ground. The ground that we were driving on was lahar that flowed in the river before that has been cemented through times. We never expected to see beautiful and unique spots along the way that adds enjoyment in our  jumpy ride.

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Before we reached the jump-off area around 9AM, where the long walk starts, I realized and understand why there is a need for 4X4 vehicle. I was thankful because it helped a lot of people who wanted to climb the mountain. Our jumped-off area was farther than the original jumped-off few years back. As per our guide and driver, the jump-off are before was near the climbing trail to crater lake but now it was not because of the effect brought by heavy rains and typhoons.  According to the signs of I saw, we have to walk of 7km to reached the climbing trail.

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We reached the jump-off area and it means that we reached the start of our long walk adventure. I figured out that the track that our 4X4 jeep and the trail that we took for a walk is actually a river pathways, it means that during rainy season, it is not safe to climb the mountain, the tourism office will not allow you to do so.

During the whole trek, we had guide and we’re thankful to him as I survived without soaking my feet under the water as too many strayed waterways along the way and he kept assisting us (I recommend to wear sandals and shoes that can go wet).

The walk was not an easy feat. Because the track is not as simple as plain road. The track was where lahar flows and become a solid ground. There are big and small rocks all over the place which need careful attention. We reached the half of the trail and station where there’s toilet and water, where people can rest.

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Our treacherous walk continues, as we come nearer the climb trail, bigger rocks and boulders are to be found and walk become more difficult. We reached another station where there is haven for resting and toilets too. It is the station where the climb begins. At the station we saw a notification where it categorize people’s age how long the climb will be before reaching the crater lake. All the three of us jokes ourselves where we belong in the category list, whether we belong in young, middle age or senior.

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We rested a bit in the station and then started the climb. I don’t have options to avoid my shoes to get wet because the trail is smaller and narrower where water stream flows too. We took stairs to reach the viewpoint of the crater lake. When we reached sightseeing view of the lake, all my fatigued that I felt along the way immediately gone as I saw up close the fascinating crater lake of Mount Pinatubo. We had our lunch inside the crater and went near the lake to enjoy the amazing views in front of us and to have our photos. After an hour of enjoying in the crater lake view, we decided to go back to finish our adventure.

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Walking, Crawling and Climbing the Trail of Mount Mariveles – Tarak Ridge

I had vacation in my country last October 2010 since at that time I was still employed in Singapore. But to be honest the main reason I came back in my country after around 6 months (I had vacation last May 2010 too) was to sign a job offer for my next job back home. Yes, I returned to my home country to work (other people surprised because there are lots of Filipinos dreamed to work abroad and yet I am returning to my country). And I used the climb event as a reason when I requested for approval of my vacation leave so that I can return to the country without so much effort of reasoning.

The climbed that I joined in was a training climb for all the members of the group that will climb Mount Pulag which happened the following month as preparation since they took the difficult trail of the said mountain. I was not able to join that climbed as I went back to Singapore to formally submit my resignation letter to the company I was working with.

The climb happened last October 16-17, 2010 and the mountain  was Tarak Ridge. Before my flight back home in my country I informed the group that I will be joining the climb. I missed the group because I was away in my country for almost a year. I was both excited and worried because it’s been almost a year that I wasn’t climbing. As most of us knows that there’s no really mountain in Singapore aside from Mount Faber.

The whole group that joined the climbed met in 5 Star Bus Terminal in Cubao early Saturday morning . We took the bus that goes to Mariveles Bataan. After almost 3 hours of travel from Metro Manila to Bataan, we reached our destination and we got off the bus near the jump-off area which located in Barangay Alas-asin.

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Barangay Alas-asin

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Barangay Hall Alas-asin and nearby local stores (Photo Courtesy of SMB Mountaineering Group)

When we reached the jump-off, we spent sometime in preparations (buying water, food and other essentials) and registrations in barangay hall before we started the formal trek. Then, we begun our journey to reached the base of the mountain. I remembered that the climb was still unique from the past mountains that I climbed. I cannot really compare every mountain. They are like human with distinct personality inside.

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The Group before the climb (Photo Courtesy of SMB Mountaineering Group)

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Jump-off point before the start of the climb

At the start we had a long walk in a wide grassy plains before we reached the base of the mountain. Then it followed the forest trail. After a long walk, the real climbed started. The walk and trek up to Papaya River can be considered as the easiest part of the climb.

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The pathway to reach the base of the mountain

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The pathway to reach the base of the mountain (Photo Courtesy of SMB Mountaineering Group)

Like every mountain that I climbed, we passed trails where there were rocks besides the trail. Most of the time, if I can pass the trail normally like walking while standing and does not require me to sit down it will be an easier one, I used big rocks to hold myself or sometimes I used to stepped on them.

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The Group while waiting inside the forest before reaching Papaya River (Photo Courtesy of SMB Mountaineering Group)

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The Group while waiting inside the forest before reaching Papaya River

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At the forest trail

As I remembered Papaya River, it was one of the river that is still used by people as a main source of water in the area not only for household use but for safe source of fresh water to drink. Yes, we drank the water from the river. That was why when we rested a bit for lunch near the river, we were prohibited to use dish washing or any soap detergents when we were in Papaya River.

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At the forest before Papaya River (Photo Courtesy of SMB Mountaineering Group)

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At Papaya River

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At Papaya River (Photo Courtesy of SMB Mountaineering Group)

After lunch, our lead in the group gave us a heads-up that there were no more gradual trail ahead of us. This means that the trail all the way are all steep and it’s all assault. I was a bit nervous because I really don’t know what to expect. We got our backpack again and prepare for full assault climb.

The next trail we need to pass was the trail where the only way to do was to crawl to the roots of trees strayed and branched in the ground. Trekking pole cannot be used in the trail, both hands must be free from holding anything to be able to hold tightly the big roots while trying to push ourselves upward with the help of our feet. That moment of my climbed, I felt like we were spiders as we were crawling to the roots and branches of the trees, its similar to rappelling and the difference, we were not holding on to the rocks but were holding to the tree roots that we can grab on so we can hold on of ourselves while ascending in the trail as the roots were only our support.

I thought that the trail will never end. I reached the end of the assault trail. One of my group member experienced muscle cramps and it’s a good thing that before it become painful, he still able to reach the end of the assault trail. We advised him to rest a bit and one of us gave him pain reliever. We continued our trek, we carefully passed the narrow trail until we reached the campsite which near before the summit.

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Just after the crawling trail (Photo Courtesy of SMB Mountaineering Group)

Tarak Ridge campsite is like an open area similar to Gulugod-Baboy mountain that I climbed. The summit is at the other side of the camp site. And for what I heard, the summit trail is not an easy task as well.

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Surroundings of the campsite before the summit

Like the most climbed I had, we pitched our tent so we have place to stay at the top of the mountain. Next thing happened, the group prepared for its dinner and followed by “socials” (group activity where most of the members were gathered together to talk and chat about anything) that the group always does if weather in the mountain permits us. After hours of “socials”, all of us concluded the day.

The next day, we woke up early to climbed the summit of the mountain. The good thing about it was, we don’t have our backpacks anymore. We left everything in our tent.

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On the way to the summit from the campsite (Photo Courtesy of SMB Mountaineering Group)

We started our trek to the summit. Like what I heard, the trail was not simple, though there’s some difficulty along the way, the group safely reached the summit. It was a fulfilling task. I felt it was really great to be at the peak of the mountain again.

The common hikers does when it reached the summit were the same things we did. We spent time for photo shots, individual and group pictures. At the summit area, there’s a huge rock where it is slightly hanging and some of my group went there for a great individual shot.

We came back to the campsite and started our break camp. We had the last moment of group pictures with the summit and we started descending the mountain.

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Group Picture with the summit of the mountain (Photo Courtesy of SMB Mountaineering Group)

We used the same trail when we climbed the mountain. Therefore we passed again the treacherous trail where we become a spider. And because we have backpacks it’s more challenging to go down as our bags scratching to the roots and branches in the ground. Even it was more difficult, we successfully passed the trail and reached Papaya River again. We used the place to rest a bit and refill our bottles for water. Then, we moved on and passed the grassy wide plains.

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Group Lunch (Photo Courtesy of SMB Mountaineering Group)

After the climbed, we had lunch altogether and we had a great time going back to the city to return once again to the real life that we have.

Precious Moment In The Mountain : Mount Misen

Precious Moment In The Mountain (Post#24) : Mount Misen

While roaming around in Japan, one of the mountain that we had a chance to visit and even had a chance to trek a bit was Mount Misen. Mount Misen is considered as sacred mountain in Miyajima Island (Itsukushima Island). We enjoyed the scenery while we were on our way to the top through gondola and tram lift. And more when I reached the summit of the mountain. The photo above shows some of the islands that are visible from the mountain. Photo snapshot captured last September 2015.

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Picture Frame : Summit View From Mount Oberon

Picture Frame (Post#2) : Summit View From Mount Oberon

One of the best moment while in the summit of the mountain was enjoying the scenic and panoramic view from the top. After a bit of challenge in trekking up to the mountain, all the feeling of tiredness will be gone after seeing what the summit of the mountain is offering to us. This is one of the reason why even I’m having a challenge to climb a mountain, I still do love going to the top of the mountain. One of the views to enjoy at the summit of the mountain are Norman Beach, Norman Bay, Squeaky Beach and Leonard Bay. These photos were captured during my tour in Wilson Promontory National Park in Victoria Australia. Snapshots captured last May 2014.

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Below is my previous adventure at Wilson Promontory National Park

Trekking and Bush Walking at Wilsons Prom

Kawaguchiko – Finding Enjoyment on its Lake after Unexpected Moments

After spending sometime in the 5th station of Mount Fuji, we decided to go to Fujikawaguchiko. A town near at the base of the mountain. My whole family and I will never forget this town in our Japan travel because it was the place we experienced a nervous and quite hopeless moments of our lives. It was not really a life threatening situation but a desperate moment of our travel.

After we got off from the bus we took from 5th Station to Kawaguchiko Station, we walked around near the station to find an ATM machines so I can withdraw some money we need. First, we tried the convenience store that we found and we were unlucky because I was not able to take some money because it seems that my ATM card was not being accepted. Next, we tried another similar convenience store and I tried again my ATM card and the result were the same. At that time I started to feel anxious. We walked back to the station and went to the information center and asked around about the ATM nearby. After some inquiries, I let my parents stayed in the station. My sister and I went to find the banks and the post office that was given to us by the officer from information center. There were two more banks we visited and tried my ATM card, again both result were the same. I was really confused and surprised because I was able to get the money at the ATM in airport. There was one last place we had tried on, the post office where there’s international ATM. At that time, I was really nervous and felt uncomfortable because my family and I were in the middle of a town far from Tokyo and does not have enough money to even come back to the city (I only reserved the bus and still need to pay for it). At the post office, I tried to use my ATM again and the result was failed again. When that happened I had a feeling that my ATM card was somewhat blocked by my bank in the Philippines. It’s my suspicious reason why my ATM was not accepted for almost 5 places with international ATM.

I was thinking to call the bank. I have my mobile phone but felt doubtful to use it since I was weary about the international calls that will cost me. I checked my Skype and checked if it has still load to allow me to call outside. I saw that it wasn’t enough. I reloaded my Skype account and used it to call the bank. During the call, my hunch was  correct. The bank blocked my account after they detected, that there was withdrawal in my ATM outside the Philippines. I was really angry with them, because they never notified me, then told me they’re trying to reach me but unsuccessful. The agent that was talking to me, immediately unblock my card. After the call, at the post office, I tried my ATM card again and without issues, I successfully withdrawn money. It was really a great relief. That time I felt at ease. My sister and I came back to the station to pick-up my parents. That’s the only time we were able to had our lunch. What an experience indeed!!!

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Lake Kawaguchi (Kawaguchiko)

Because we lost time to see more around Fujikawaguchiko, I decided to see the nearby lake from the station. We walked around half an hour and we reached Lake Kawaguchi. As we were anticipating the bus scheduled booking that I had to go back to Shinjuku, we estimated our time to spend in the lake. We spent sometime in some parts of the lake. We walked a bit and enjoyed the sceneries that the lake is offering.

Kawaguchiko Station

Finally, we went back to Kawaguchiko Station. And there I exchanged my booking to bus tickets and paid appropriately. Then we’ve waited for our bus to arrived. If our travel from the city to Mount Fuji 5th station was smooth in the morning that day, it was different when we were on our way back to the city. Since it was Sunday night, we experienced the traffic jam that Japan has. We left Kawaguchiko station past 6PM and we arrived in Shinjuku station almost 11PM and had our dinner in the area. We reached our hotel in the city almost 12AM. It was a good thing that the next day adventure we had in our schedule gave us ample time to rest because we were schedule to watch Sumo Bout event.

That’s how we spent our third day in Japan.

Mount Fuji – A Sacred Famous Mountain and Arts Inspiration in Japan

One of the considered perfect cone volcano in the world is Mount Fuji. I first learned to know about this volcano in Japan when our very own active volcano from my country named Mayon Volcano which is also considered to be the same with perfect cone volcano. I learned that Mount Mayon considered to be similar to Mount Fuji. Though I haven’t seen Mayon Volcano for real and only in photos, I can see the resemblance of the two. For me, both of them are probably has perfect cone. Based on photos, both of them has magnificent scenery from a distance. The difference that I can emphasized between the two is Mayon Volcano doesn’t have snow-capped because we don’t have winter season like Japan.

As a mountaineer, I also dreamed to climb Mount Fuji. But during the trip to this mountain, it’s not part of the family’s itinerary, I only planned to see the mountain and its summit up close and personal and be within the mountain since I was with my family.

It was our third day in Japan when I scheduled the trip to Mount Fuji. It was Sunday that day and the only thing I booked was a bus going to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station (also known as Yoshidaguchi 5th Station or Kawaguchiko 5th Station) of the mountain from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo and a return bus from Kawaguchiko Station back to Shinjuku Station.

All of us woke-up early in the morning and prepared as early as possible we can based on the time calculations I did to reached the bus station that will bring us to Mount Fuji. From the hotel we took subway Hibiya Line from Kayabacho station to Naka-Meguro and we transferred to Marunuchi Line to Ogikubo in Ginza station and got off at Shinjuku Station.

Because Shinjuku station is one of the major and interchange station we experienced some difficulties to find the bus terminal that I bought the ticket online. The terminal we were looking for was Shinjuku Highway Bus Terminal. We arrived at Shinjuku station at the right time that I planned it, but because we need to find the terminal, it seems that the timing was very tight as the bus schedule we need to take was 6:40am and at 6:30am we must be in the terminal as we need to exchange the booking that I had to a bus ticket. We asked few locals around the area of Shinjuku station but it seems no one understand our English language. We looked around and saw where the bus coming from and asked again while we were walking towards the  terminal. We talked to someone and confirmed where the terminal was. I had a map of the bus station but because of some orientation issue we got confused at first. My sister whose really good in directions confused too until she noticed some of the landmarks.

Finally we found the bus terminal and we saw a lot of people in the station. It was not really surprising because Mount Fuji is a popular tourist destination in Japan. I went inside the ticket office where queues of people can be seen, I queued myself and when it was my turn, I exchanged my booking to a ticket and we were set to board the bus. Most of the people coming to Mount Fuji were climbers or hikers. They were completely geared for the climb. When I saw the climbers I felt some envy within myself because they will climb Mount Fuji and I wasn’t.

We queued in the line and waited for our bus. When the bus arrived, I started to get excited because Mount Fuji like its country of Japan was one of my dream to see for real. When we got on-boarded in the bus, I can’t deny the excitement that I felt. The bus left the terminal and while we were trying to leave Shinjuku area, I saw some part of Shinjuku. I just realized and noticed that the place is towering of buildings. It seems there are lots of businesses districts and offices area that surrounds Tokyo.

We took the highway after leaving Shinjuku area. The bus travel we did that day was the first travel we had by land aside from train. From the time that we arrived in Tokyo, we always took trains from one point to another. Because we were in the bus, it added some excitement because I can see some part of Japan while traveling. The great thing about it, I can see a lot of places while in the road. The whole travel took us more than 2 hours before we reached the 5th station in Mount Fuji. Because we traveled in Sunday morning there’s not much traffic in the road. When we reached the base of the mountain, I felt that the atmosphere changed and the road trajectory was snaky. Then, next thing happened, there’s some drizzle in the air. Being part of the mountaineering group made me realized the rain within the mountain specially if nearer in the summit seems to be normal and that drizzle in Mount Fuji was not really surprising to me.

After the rain just stopped while in 5th Station in Mount Fuji

At 5th Station (Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station)

Around Mount Fuji 5th Station

Before we reached the 5th station of Mount Fuji, the rain fell. And when we got off the bus, we felt the cool weather in the mountain. And to think that its raining, we really experienced the windy chilly rain. Since the 5th station is the most developed than other stations around the mountain before summit, we saw different establishments in the area such as hotel for accommodations and shopping stores that people can go to temporarily as a shelter while it’s raining outside and for last minute shopping before climbing the summit.

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Mount Fuji Summit

With Mount Fuji Summit

Mount Fuji is so popular to tourist and people flocking in the mountain is normal. And I also learned, that the weekend that we visited the mountain was the last weekend that the mountain was open for climbing season as it will close due to season changes. I saw a lot of groups who really came just to climb the mountain and I felt sadness again. I promised to myself that I will come back in the mountain with the objective of climbing the summit of it.

At one of the shops in Mount Fuji 5th Station

Since we were not climbing the mountain and the timing when we reached the 5th Station was not really that great. What we did were stayed and roamed around inside of one of the stores in the area as we were amazed on a lot of stuffs and souvenirs to enjoy, had our lunch, walked around in the nearby temple and lookout and finally we took photos as we can with the summit of the mountain as our background.

Komitake Shrine

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Komitake Shrine

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Sceneries at Observation Point near Komitake Shrine

Name Of The Place : Blackcomb

Name Of The Place (Post#23) : Blackcomb

Snapshot above was captured last June 2008, when I got a chance to visit Whistler in British Columbia. The Blackcomb Mountain is a ski resort mountain beside Whistler Mountain. This is one of the best places that I ever been because this mountain, on its peak, gave me a chance to see the alpine mountains that surrounds Whistler. I felt I was in heaven when I reach the summit of this mountain through gondola.

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Japan Highlights At The First Visit

I know that it’s been a while since my last post. After being busy in a project at work, I was busy planning my next out of the country adventure this year together with my family.

Traveling in a country with visa is most likely a dream to me because your chances to see that country is whether the visa application is approved. If the visa approved we are really lucky. If not, the hope will probably gone as there’s no way to come to that country in a normal and legal way.

When I heard that Japan loosen a bit of its strictness in processing visa specifically for tourists visa to promote their tourism, I put some thought to visit the country since last year. Then, I waited my chance for cheap airline ticket since I am planning to travel together with my family (with my parents and my youngest sibling). Last February this year, I received alert email from one of the budget airline in my country and I grabbed my chance to book tickets for myself and my family. Honestly, it was difficult to get cheap ticket with combined promo rate both for departure and arrival flight but with perseverance I was able to find combinations of dates for our travel.

Almost 7 months had passed and I’m still not sure if we can really travel to Japan for many reasons. And last August, I processed all our visa applications and submitted it to one of the authorized travel agency of Japan Embassy as their office does not accept anymore applications directly from applicant. I completed all the requirements and prepared for the visa fee. I applied a single entry for all of us. And after 3 days of processing, the agency called me and notified me that the visa were already approved. I was ecstatic when I heard the news, because the major worry of the travel planning if we can push visiting Japan got resolved. When I returned to pickup the passports, I was surprised for one thing. I received a multiple visa for 5 years in Japan while the rest of my family just got single entry. For me and my family, being approved even for single entry in Japan was one of the great things happened because it gave us a chance to see the country even for once. I just thought that if there is a need to re-apply for visa, it will be probably easier because we’ve had a record that we had visited Japan.

Even before visa application processing, I already started searching places to visit in Japan. Since after the booking of our flight, I have hope that I will be able to see Japan. When our visa approved, that’s was the time I made a real itinerary. I planned the places to visit and the accommodation where were going to stay. I aligned all the accommodations that we need to all places we planned to visit. Since I’m always on a budget, I selected hotels walk able to and from the train station, as I learned that taking a cab in Japan is quite pricey. I also bought necessary advance tickets such as train pass and sumo ticket to reserved guaranteed slot for my family.

My family and I traveled the country within 10 days, these includes two flights to and from Japan. In total we spent at least 8.5 days roaming around in Japan.

Here are the following places we’ve  got a chance to visit.

1. Tokyo

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Akihabara

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Ueno

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Asakusa

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Tokyo Skytree

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2. Yokohama

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3. Mount Fuji and Kawaguchiko

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Kawaguchiko

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4. Miyajima and Hiroshima

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5. Osaka

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6. Kyoto

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Our trip was really quick by I tried to see as much as we can since I was with my family. In the next coming post. I will described the experience that myself and my family had in our first visit in Japan.

Until then.

Trekking Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)

At camping area in the nearby village Yulara not far from Uluru / Ayers Rock where we chose to sleep for the first night of our camping tour, we helped our tour guide in dinner preparation. To be honest, I was not really good in kitchen and food stuff but still I tried my best to be useful, like helping the group in washing the dishes. After dinner, our tour guide announced that our wake-up call was 6am the next morning.

I washed-up myself before I get in the swag. When I was inside the swag, I got a chance to enjoy the sky at night and tried to listen to my surroundings. While I was in that moment, I was also checking my other group mates and found some were snoozing, some still talking and some were just quiet like me.

Overnight in an open space and sleeping in swag was one of the first unique experience I had in the Outback. Yes, as mountaineers, I usually sleep in sleeping bag inside the tent but it was first in swag which quite different. Swag is like a self contain sleeping bag, I never felt cold over night which was really surprising but good as well. Before I totally passed out for day, I was with a thought of happiness and satisfaction with my first day with Uluru / Ayers Rock specifically the base walk experience. That night, I felt excited again and I was looking forward for the next adventure.

Second day at the outback, I woke-up early in the morning. I organised my swag, I tried to roll it to be like it was before I used it, but it’s kind of difficult to roll, so I just fixed it as much I can.  I joined my group in preparing our breakfast. Since I had shower the night before, I was ready for the day’s event. It was still dark when we left the camping area, I felt like it was still early in the morning. As we were catching the sunrise we drove back again to Lasseter Highway from Yulara and visited a lookout area called Kata Tjuta Viewing Area (or Kata Tjuta Dune Viewing). We waited a little, in few minutes we witnessed the sunrise while watching  Kata Tjuta from a far. While observing The Olgas , from a distance at our right side while facing The Olgas, Uluru / Ayers Rock was also visible, the sun was actually behind it. It was a spectacular moment for me. We watched how great sceneries that Kata Tjuta shows because it is a rock dome ranges, it was called t that moment with the sun rising, I felt really alive, I felt really good. It was a moment that I was content and loved my life. It was one of the effect of the Outback to me. Sometimes I can’t explain why, because to other people maybe it’s just a places of rocks with probably no meaning to them, but for me it was a world of amazing things and serenity.

— Uluru / Ayers Rock at dawn and early in the morning from Kata Tjuta Dune Viewing Area

Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) from Kata Tjuta Dune Viewing Area

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— On our way to Kata Tjuta

After, the sunrise, we went back to the bus and we drove towards The Olgas. We returned to Lassetter Highway and I knew that time, that the second day was the day to get up close and personal with Kata Tjuta. We arrived at the parking area where the “Valley of the Winds” trekking trail starts.

— Up close and personal with Kata Tjuta / The Olgas

— The trekking trail

— The first glimpse of Valley of the Winds from Karu Lookout

We jumped-off the bus and started our walk towards the base of The Olgas. At firs,t I thought that The Olgas are small hills until we were really close to it and realized how huge the rock formations and was like Uluru / Ayers Rock. Kata Tjuta is a unique kind of natural rock formation. I was reckoning, in such desert plain like Red Centre, that there such kind of rock formations like Uluru  / Ayers Rock and The Olgas existed. I was amazed how these were created and become what they are today. If we are living in a magical world like from a fantasy story, we can think of that someone may put Uluru and Kata Tjuta in the middle of desert plain and the most surprising, they are located in the almost center of Australia. I was still contemplating how these kind of rock formations evolved in the middle of the desert until I thought that it was some amazing geological miracle. The first part of the trail was Karu Lookout where we first witness the “Valley of the Winds”.

— The trekking trail

— The Olgas

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— Featuring the highest dome called Mount Olga

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We followed the trail inside The Olgas. I enjoyed the trek around the area. We passed a small water streams that looks like a natural canal or a petite river. Trekking in a natural environment such as The Olgas are one of the activities that I really enjoyed. Then, along the trail we saw the water falls which seems the source of the water stream that we just passed by. The same trail where the water fall is, we have to combine walking and hiking in an inclined part of one of the huge rock formation and there’s nothing to hold on. Honestly, that kind of trail made me felt really unsure to myself. I tried my best and we successfully passed the part of the trail until we reach the top area where the water falls came from.

— Trekking Trail

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— Getting inside The Olgas

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— The poop (captured this photo while our tour guide is telling something about the poop)

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— The water falls we passed by along the trail

— The top most area where the water falls came from

— Trekking trail

— Between The Olgas

We arrived at the top most area that we can reach in the trail and walk towards Karingana Lookout. There, I saw the “Valley of the Winds” again. At Karingana Lookout, “Valley of the Winds” was an amazing and a picturesque view. At the time of trekking, I was quite tired after taking steps upward to the area, though tired a bit, I felt it was worth to climb. At the lookout, I realized how lucky I was to witness such sceneries and such views  that cannot be appreciated down below.

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— Trail to Karingana Lookout for “Valley of the Winds” view

— Between The Olgas

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Valley of the Winds at Karingana Lookout

— Couple of shots on the way back to the parking area.

— Kata Tjuta / The Olgas

After spending sometime and after enjoying photo snapshots at Karingana lookout for the “Valley of the Winds”, we started to go back. We used the same trail going up to descend The Olgas. We passed the same water falls and slippery trail. After returning to the parking area, I thought that the adventure in The Olgas was finished until we drove back to Lasseter Highway and stopped at The Olgas Viewing Area.

Before we completely ended our adventure that day, after finishing Kata Tjuta trek, we returned to Uluru Sunset Viewing area because our tour guide considered that we experienced rain during the first camping day tour, it was good to go back for such wonderful day. And we spent few minutes to take photos and snapshots until we leave the premise.

— Kata Tjuta

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— Uluru / Ayers Rock (during our second day)

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Mount Conner

On our way to Kings Creek station, which was the designated place for our upgraded accommodation arrangement. Upgraded because from swag, we were about to sleep in Tent with two beds, which means one thing, a more comfortable bed are waiting for our group. Passing Lasseter Highway, we stopped at Mount Conner lookout area, where we saw how magnificent Mount Conner. I was amazed because the rock formation that Mount Conner has which stands around the area of Red Centre is another piece of huge rock formation in the middle of the desert and its  distinguished shape still notable compared to Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

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— Our Tour Guide

— Lasseter Highway

After enjoying Mount Conner from a distance, we crossed Lasseter Highway to enjoy the nearby desert with perfect sand dunes, we walked around the area and played the sands, we saw the lake as well and discovered a unique species in the outback desert called Ngiyari or Thorny Devil.

— Lake

— Desert sand dunes

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— Ngiyari (Thorny Devil)

The rest of the afternoon spent in the road while we were on our way to Kings Creek station for our third and last day adventure in Kings Canyon. It was another worth experience I had in the outback of Australia. And though I was quite sad that the adventure will be over soon, I was still excited for the next adventure.

Until then.

Home : Mount Banahaw and Lucena Port

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Home (Post#23) : Mount Banahaw and Lucena Port

Mount Banahaw is currently in restoration period since 2004 that’s why it is prohibited for any climbing related activities though there are still few breaks it. When I saw it while at the summit of Mount Banahaw it become notable for me, I fell in love with it further every time I pass Maharlika Highway (Pan-Philippine Highway) and when I visited my home in Visayas through Lucena Port in Quezon province, I witnessed how it was majestic from a far. Photo captured last March 2015.

Panoramic View : Mount Arayat Summit

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Panoramic View (Post#23) : Mount Arayat Summit

When my mountaineering group held a school outreach for the students in Sitio San Pedro Elementary School in San Jose Tarlac last July 2012, one of our side trip adventure was to climb Mount Tangisan. And from the summit of the mountain another noticeable mountain can be seen from afar and it was none other than Mount Arayat. This is the first mountain that people see while traveling along North Luzon Expressway coming from Metro Manila.

Through My Lens
 – Aug 08, 2016
Our World Tuesday – Aug 09, 2016
Travel Tuesday – Aug 09, 2016
Outdoor Wednesday – Aug 10, 2016
Wednesday Around The World – Aug 10, 2016
Skywatch Friday – Aug 12, 2016
Scenic Weekends – Aug 12, 2016
In Heaven – Aug 13, 2016

Natural Wonders : Mount Chepren and Waterfowl Lake

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Natural Wonders (Post#3) : Mount Chepren and Waterfowl Lake

When I visited Columbia Icefield in Jasper, Alberta which I considered one of the great places that I had ever been, I had an opportunity to see beautiful and amazing sceneries along Icefield Parkway. And one of the scenic views that I witness was mountains lined-up in both sides of the road. The snapshot above was Mount Chepren together with icy-crystal Waterfowl Lake which can been seen in Icefield Parkway still in Banff, Alberta area which I captured during my adventure tour in Canadian Rockies last May 2008. The name of the mountain was came from the 4th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Chepren (or Khafra) according to Wikipedia.

Still Expression : Puffing Billy Railway – Queuing and Waiting

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Still Expression (Post#3) : Puffing Billy Railway – Queuing and Waiting

Snapshot above portrays people on queuing and waiting mode. These two combined activities honestly frustrates me in real life but at the same time it test my patients longevity. It frustrates because it is time-consuming and exhausting specifically if the line is indescribable. I capture this moment last June 2013 during our family oriented adventure in Puffing Billy.

Mount Lofty Summit – South Australia’s Majestic Summit

Morning day tour was over and our bus returned to the coach terminal where we came from that day in the morning. And because of that, I got a chance to stroll in the nearby market for lunch, the market is called Adelaide Central Market. After a quick walk, I select Chinese restaurant and ate comfortably with Asian menu. As I observed the place, the market was jam pack with people who common in such kind of place. Caucasian, asian and other races were flocked together in one place.

When the time was up, I returned to the terminal for my afternoon tour and in just few minutes, we were ready to go. The afternoon adventure focused on highland areas near Adelaide. Our first stop was Mount Lofty Summit which considered as the highest point in southern Mount Lofty Ranges. We passed city centre as we drove towards Adelaide Hills. I can’t remember which road we took to the summit but we drove almost half an hour before we reached the place.

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–Mount Lofty Summit Lookout Area with Flinders Column

 

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