a guy with a camera, tireless feet, and a heart for writing. point me in the write direction and I'll shoot.
The Igorot broke me. On the trail going down to Batad, I met a pregnant lady who told me she used to be a guide before she conceived. I made it clear that despite common medical advice of taking long walks to encourage natural childbirth, I was not taking her on. However, despite my self-made promise to hack it alone, she convinced me to take her cousin on to be my guide. For the seasoned hiker, having a guide is unnecessary especially in these small farming villages where it’s impossible to get lost. Arm yourself with gumption, good manners and a friendly smile, and you’re good to go. But then you realize the money you pay goes a long way to helping these people whose livelihood is dependent on seasonal crops. Just imagine it as your entrance fee, and a sign of your thanks to the community that has, for better or worse, opened itself to the outside world.Like Add a Comment
The higher the hike, the higher the drama. I told my guide I was in Batad to take pictures, and what I got were the best vantage points of the community’s natural amphitheater of rice terraces. The scenery was getting progressively remarkable through my camera lens, until I finally squinted in the bright afternoon sun and realized only some millimeters separated my right foot from the edge of the ten-foot high terrace wall. I had flashes of my body going down the terraces like a Slinky. The terraces on the higher part of the amphitheater are not for the faint of heart, but are a must-hike for the intrepid camera enthusiast. With my heart in my throat, I snapped shots of some fellow weekend warriors. My photo-lust finally sated, I sat on the edge of one of the terraces, and looked over the expanse of greens, golds and reflective pools of water. One of the best afternoon views in the world, in my humble opinion.Like Add a Comment
You can forget about the saying that it's all about the journey and not the destination once you set out for Petra, a once-formidable city that saw thousands of caravans pass through on the way to Arabia and China. Today, only six horse-drawn carriages ply the Siq, a unique natural pathway carved by time through a mountain leading down to the ancient complex. The clatter of hooves on the 2,000-year-old cobblestones is sufficient warning to hikers rounding blind corners to keep to the side, where statues of gods chiseled by the ancient Nabataeans still stand guard over the gorge. And finally, at the end of the kilometer-long Siq, unveiling itself slowly behind a curtain of undulating rock, lies the Treasury, rumored to be the final resting place of the city's governor. Or, if you would believe Indiana Jones, the Holy Grail. Time your hike for sunrise, and watch the light paint luminescent swathes of red and gold onto Petra; it will be a glimpse into the city's colorful, illustrious past and the Nabataeans' ingenuity in carving a treasure trove of wonders out of stone.Like Add a Comment
It was like the last five seconds of a rollercoaster ride, just before the car hits the dropzone. You want to back out as soon as you see how large the cave really is, just as you're about to enter the mouth of the Underground River.. Surely, the dinosaurs that swam inside when the meteors were falling are still hiding among the stalactites. Bat dung warnings? I was bracing for Godzilla. The Cathedral alone was a staggering 65 meters high chamber, and could fit four T-Rexes on top of each other. But I relaxed somewhat upon seeing some of the most interesting karst formations, including what looked like the three kings in a nativity scene. And it certainly feels like Christmas all year-round at the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, with the local communities and government agencies banding together to protect eco-tourism at one of the official Seven New Wonders of Nature and the simple, natural beauty of this biodiversity hotspot.Like Add a Comment