The Almosts: Pasukulan Falls / Mt. Natib Adventure

It’s funny how this gets published first before the Boracay 2017 post (which I haven’t finished yet). I will get back to that soon, probably.

For 2018’s first adventure, the destination is Pasukulan Falls in Orani, Bataan. This is really a random trip because I practically begged (HAHAHA no) to be in it. I heard that my college classmates were planning to go on a hike and I just tagged along. It was a Sunday so it was okay.

I don’t know anything much about Pasukulan Falls other than it is in Orani. The people I’m with are my Limutan Falls (blog post here) buddies so wherever they say, I go. I didn’t realize we were up for a big challenge.

We met up at Abucay Café at 6am, hoping to be at and out of the falls before nightfall. We were complete by 8am (6 burly men and I) and decided to ride a jeep to Orani (10php each). Apparently, there is a trail going to the falls from Abucay and there is another from Orani. The Abucay trail was unfamiliar and a lot trickier (so they say) that is why we decided to choose the other option.

At the Orani hiway, we rode a tricycle going up to Tala for 50php each. Beside the resort VistaTala is where the road to the View Deck is located. The View Deck is a sort of pit stop before the actual trail to the falls. When we got to Tala, we were required to pay an Environmental fee of 75php and if we wanted a tour guide, another payment is needed. One of my classmates said we won’t be needing a guide because they know the way so we just signed a waiver.

But first, lomi.

Some of us didn’t have the time to eat breakfast so we ate Lomi before going up. I’ve tasted a Batangas Lomi before in my Tala Adventure (posted here) but we ate at a different store. It was filling because the soup was thick and it is filled with chicharron and other meat. It was priced at 35php for a regular and 50php for the special. We got the regular.

We then started the trek. The first half of the way to the View Deck has a concrete road but the other half was undeveloped which was filled with your usual undeveloped stuff eg rocks, grime, mud, soil, etc. I advise you to wear a full-body armor because things can get nasty. Wear long-sleeved shirts, leggings, and trusty footwear for protection from leaves, grass, and the like. Wear sun protection too like caps, hankies, extra towelette, etc., we were lucky because the weather was gloomy so the sun wasn’t that harsh.

We reached the View Deck after a half an hour (or less) walk. We took pictures, rested, refueled, then went our way.

It was a rocky ascent, I must say. Literally full of rocks. It was the ideal way to deal with rain and the roads get muddy but it really hurts my slipper-laden feet. Yes, I’m that prepared (Warning: do not imitate). A flat and straight road will be your new best friend.

While going up, we encountered a few mountaineers and guides that enlightened us in our endeavor. Apparently, we have to get to the top of Mt. Natib first before we even get to the trail going to Pasukulan Falls. And it will take time. A lot of it. We were advised to just go to Mt. Natib because we won’t make it to the falls with where we were. Time check: approximately 11AM. Approximate time to Mt. Natib is 2-3 hrs more. So, to Mt. Natib we trek.

You must look out for these tiny pesky blood-sucking limatik. They are like linta but a little less scary because of their size. They are about half an inch, slimy, and sticks like a gum. They will suck your blood until they are bloated, looking like an earthworm. They can be easily removed and easily killed. You won’t lose a lot of blood either. I just don’t like their texture that is why I don’t like them. Just be careful. Wear socks?

We were instructed to go left after the grass land and guess what? We did what we were not told to do. We went to the right, the one with the rope. Our thinking was maybe this was the shortcut because of the rope. Little did we know that that rope will be the first of many.

I think the trail we went to was the expert trail. Keep in mind that almost all of us are beginners and we were just after the falls. But we still trudged on. Another tip, don’t bring too much luggage. We brought a change of clothes and soap because we thought we were gonna go swimming, and lunch. It was hard going up with a lot of things in your back. There were times that I had to be down on all fours because of how high and steep the trail was. There were ropes provided for the inclined rocks but the beginner in me was afraid for the state of my arm muscles. Thankfully, I survived. I didn’t know I could rappel until I did. That says a lot about life.

It was getting harder to climb up and it started raining so we sent 3 people to survey the top if we can find an alternative road going down. We were 180m away from the top (1123 MASL, Mt. Natib) and it is way past lunch so were starving, cold, tired, and afraid. Well, I am, I am afraid because my anxiety is kicking in and I have a strong faith that there is an alternate route going down.

But then there isn’t. We decided to just go back because of the rain, the time, and our inexperience. It was past lunch and the trek down will take a lot of time and effort because of the rain. Personally, downhill is such a challenge for me than uphill trails. My knees tremble easily, making me afraid to make any fast movements. I was the main reason for our delayed trek down. Better safe than sorry!

It took us a while to get to the camp site. The rock climbing parts were one of the trickier parts to get down to. The rocks were pretty slippery and yes, the altitude makes me nervous. All I see when I look down was fog, tons of it, in every direction. It was exhilarating and frightening at the same time. It was almost 3pm when we ate lunch at the mini camp after the grassland. After 30 minutes, we trekked again.

We walked in the seemingly endless rocky path for hours. Stopping only for a few to catch our breaths and take a sip of water. Don’t forget to bring sweets for the needed energy!

Fast forward to 5pm, at the View Deck once more, to look at the receding outline of the sun. I didn’t think I could walk even more after that. My slippers-laden feet were sore, bloody, and aching. We stayed for a few minutes to watch the sun set, a fulfilling ending to our eventful day. Then we walked. Again. Back to Tala, back to concrete roads, and back to civilization.

At 6:30pm, we were heating our supposed lunch of Sisig and Bopis plus buying another round of Lomi for everybody.

And by 8:30pm, we were on board our friend’s car, who kindly went out of his way to pick us up, and merrily but tiredly are on our way home.

I haven’t seen the guys since the board exams but it still feels good to be with familiar faces. We might have evolved into better versions of ourselves by now but the same old weird habits were still there. It was nice to be able to ask them how they are in person, chat with them, bully them a bit, and just be with them. I just wish I could come to these get togethers more often, travel more often, discover new places, but not this year, no. Maybe next year?

Anyway, it was a nice trip, a very tiring one but fun nonetheless. If you are planning to go to Pasukulan Falls, I advice you to trek as early as possible or stay overnight.

It would have been nice to actually see the falls. But, there’s always a next time! ‘til then!

PS I apologize for the lack of pictures. I promised myself I would enjoy it and not stress about taking good pictures while I’m at it 🙂


17 Things for 2017

Happy New Year everyone!

I know it is a bit late (7 days late to be exact), a lot of things have happened, and we’re so ready to take on 2018 but I would like to look back, reminisce, and take note of the wonderful things that 2017 offered.

I remember doing this a few years back, around 2014 or so, along with a new year’s resolution for the following year. That was fun and I could’ve continued that but then life happened (humans blaming life) and blogging became something of a luxury. But here I am now!

Let’s start!

  1. Welcoming the new year of 2017

It was a very “new” year for me. A lot has changed and I am in the process of transitioning to my better self. I am very thankful for adding another year to my life story.

  1. Grabbing opportunities that are far from home

Job hunting was a real challenge for a female Engineer like me. There came a time when I had to apply jobs outside of Bataan because I was feeling restless. Lucky for me, I got a few interviews and I seriously considered taking the offer. For the most part, it was the travelling to manila alone (finding the building, asking for directions, talking to people) that made my introvert-self question why I accepted the interview in the first place. But all in all, it was a great experience!

  1. Finally, having a job

One of the top 3 awesome things this 2017 that I will eternally be grateful for! Landing my dream job, that is. Yey! I am still in awe with how I got here. Being in the power plant industry still feels like entering college for the first time. All the jitters, the butterflies, the looking around, the dry throat, and all of those tiny bursts of excitement, they still remain until this day.

  1. Meeting new people and reconnecting with the old

Having a job literally equates to meeting a bunch of people. My introvert-self tried its best to actually talk to people and not seem like its trying too hard in the process. It took me a while to finally adjust to the different people I am meeting (a lot of tears were shed too) but it was an eye-opening experience for me. Of course, I still met up with my old friends, or when I can.

  1. Earning money, providing for the family, and myself

2017 has allowed me to finally fulfill my life-long goal of providing for my family. It was wondrous! To be able to give my Mom my first salary, that right there was priceless. It makes me so happy to see that they are living well and I now am contributing to that. I also am grateful for my “pundars”, if you know what I mean.

  1. Learning something new, always

My brain cells were kind of in a hiatus during my job hunting days. I believe that the mind should be exercised regularly to take care of the brain cells living inside, so it was difficult for me to make my brain be on its best behavior when I started training. Anyway, training has been a lot of help in reviving those cells and in teaching me tons of stuff about the field that I chose. It was illuminating to finally see inside the veil of Mechanical Engineering and nitpick its corners.

  1. Hello, skincare

As a lot of you may know, I am not of the girly type. I don’t do anything special aside from taking a bath (which just includes shampoo, conditioner, and soap). This year, I was introduced to the world of skincare, mainly because it became a necessity. (My moisturizer story may or may not be up on the blog soon.) Then it grew into something of a 5-step routine. Honestly, I was happy with how my skin turned out after using a bunch of products and I will continue trying a whole lot this year, that’s for sure.

  1. #MgaBuanSaBora2017

First out of town trip with my Mom’s side of the family was a blast! It was one of the most tiring yet blessed days of my life to date! I really want to go back there. (The Boracay blog post is long overdue but I might post it soon.)

  1. Tearing up at the most unexpected of times

I actually became stronger this 2017 in the crying department. The funny part was I cried for the most bizarre of reasons. One was when the plane started flying and I was so overwhelmed by how I am in that moment so extraordinary and God loves me so much for blessing me with such. Another was when I watched one of a YouTuber’s vlog.

  1. Still being able to work at my dream job

There was a time when my company had to let go of people during the training. It was a sad day for everyone and many hearts broke. But at the end of the day, blessed are the people who were chosen to stay.

  1. Entering the real world

After the academics’ part of the training, we were deployed to the main plant for a sort of OJT. Still going through that, by the way. It was very exciting, and at the same time overwhelming, to finally be there and actually be there. We’re learning a lot of things and experiencing a lot and it was so much fun! I am also happy with who my groupmates are. Go Team!

  1. Of #priorities and going out

I have limited myself with the times that I go out last 2017. It wasn’t because I don’t want to but more of I have more pressing matters to attend to. This was when I feel the most “adult”. Before, I was the one who organizes a hang-out most of the time but now I can’t seem to go out once a month. Prioritizing stuff meant sacrificing other stuff.

  1. All things series (Marvel > DC)

Since I have a lot of older sisters and brothers at my job, I have tons of new movies and series to watch. Last 2017, I was able to finish a whole lot of them, English, Korean, and Japanese alike, including HTGAWM, Riverdale, Scorpion, Full Metal Alchemist, Oh My Venus, Goblin, Limitless, Shokugeki No Souma, and a bunch of Marvel Series. This made me realize that the DC series I have been watching before is not my life anymore.

  1. Moving on and being happy for others

Acceptance is the key to be truly free, go preach Katy! (Totally did not expect that to rhyme so well.)

  1. #NoSoftdrinks2017

Another milestone I have for myself is not drinking softdrinks for a whole year. It might seem too small of an accomplishment but hey, baby steps. This 2018, I’m on my #NoSoftdrinksYear2 and #ChickenSkinIsNotIn hashtags. I was tempted to do the No Ice Cream 2018 but then who says no to ice cream?

  1. Of loving and staying true to oneself

I believe that 2017 has molded me into a better person than I was before. Its not just because of the accomplishments, the people I’ve met, the things I did, but mostly because I feel good about myself. Even better that I felt before.

  1. Unexpected Christmas gifts, giving gifts, and year-ender

I felt like a kid this Christmas. I loved what everyone got me, got to give gifts to my family, went to a lovely reunion, and caught up with my friends. What more can I wish for in an ending to a fulfilling year?

2017 has gone by so fast that reminiscing made time slow down for a bit. I am very thankful that I got to spend it with everyone I hold dear. It was not perfect, not anywhere near it, but it was wonderful. I got to experience things that I only imagined before and I am so excited to know more, feel more, and be more.

Here’s to 2018! Let’s have a blast!

Today, I cried

It is not normal for a person to post something when she cries, too petty, I know, but this bunch of tears are a first for a crybaby-turned-numb-human-bean like me. These were unexpected.

After a long night and day of eating out (Happy Fiesta, Orani!) I went home and watched a few of Alex Gonzaga’s vlogs. She was funny and not overly at it. There was this one vlog where she was making Seve laugh. I was smiling while watching the kid laugh then all of a sudden I was crying. Like real tears! These big blobs of salty liquid free flowing from my eyes kept on coming. I was so shocked.

(Writing this now made me realize that some people may think that I may be crying because I lost a kid or something. Nope. Disclamer-ing this.)

That phenomenon went on for a few precious seconds, then I racked my brain for some explanation. I don’t cry that easily anymore and I don’t especially cry because of a baby’s cute laugh, but I did and I think that there is something wrong with me. I always knew I am part-weird but that was the weirdest I’ve been since forever.

I then looked back to when I last cried, maybe this is me subconsciously letting it out because it has been months since, and my mind may be dong this like a regular tune up of some sort. Maybe my tear ducts has a tendency to dry up and this is my brain acting like the boss and letting it flood. Maybe Mr. Brain thinks that I needed it. Maybe.

Not feeling anything at all is my current mood (for this year?) and maybe crying spontaneously is proof that I do feel and I will feel even if I don’t want to. That even if you purposely shut the world out, try to live on your own radar, there will always be some cracks that will let something seep through. That whatever you do, there is always a “+” to that “you”.

This is me trying to psychoanalyze myself again but why not. Rare times call for necessary measures. Also, it was refreshing to cry for reasons not related to the words sad, negative, hurt, and so on.

May this jumbled post allowed you to see tears in a different way. That they’re present in all occasions, like important things do, and perhaps teach us a lesson along the way.

When Being Okay is Not Okay

Help me get out of this phase in my life. Please.

Asking for help was never my first instinct when faced with difficulties. I often break down for a few minutes, goes blank for a few more, and then move forward as much as I could. But there are things that will never be accomplished alone.

I’m so not happy with myself and with how I face what reality throws at me.

Gaaah ranting and not feeling anything at all. This is so sad.

Life, Now

It has been three months since I’ve started training as a Cadet Engineer at our company and so far, it was more than I could dream of.

Rewind to November 17 last year.

Dressed in my most I’ve-got-an-interview attire, shaking with anxiety and uncontained excitement, I went to my first ever job interview at Mariveles, Bataan. I won’t be mentioning the name of the company for the time being because of my status as a trainee and also, for that little mystery. I was early (for once) and unprepared except for the few articles I read about what to do and not to do at an interview. I also ran a background check on the company. Though I already knew about the company when I was in college (it was my first choice at our OJT), I don’t really know it quite well. So, research is what I did. There were only a few articles about the company so I had little to look at. Truthfully, I didn’t review about questions that are related to my course because I was expecting that it would be a “Tell me something about yourself” type of engagement.

Anyway, when we got to the meeting place, the service we were supposed to ride with was late. We, afraid that we might not get there in time, hitchhiked. It was actually funny because we didn’t know where we are supposed to go, we just knew the name of the company. Good thing was the driver of the bus knew where interviewees should go. We waited for about an hour then it was time for the interview.

There were three of us and I was the second one to be called. So much for pressure.

The first thing I had to overcome was my anxiety and shyness (before the actual questions). I was not used to talking to a high up and look him in the eye. I was so scared. Then after introducing my name, he started asking questions. I started to relax at that time. They were hard questions, sure, but I just finished my review and my learnings were quite fresh. At least I knew what I was saying that time. I also admitted to some questions that I didn’t know the answer. It was something that I learned from the speaker of the Oath Taking ceremonies. You should not be afraid to say that you do not know the answer. Asking for something is better than being a know-it-all. Also, having that stuck-up attitude won’t get you that “You’re hired!” reply.

After my interview, we were offered snacks. That is when my love for the company grew tenfold. They have a buffet style cafeteria. That was it. I’m sold.

To be honest, this company is my dream company. Ever since I have heard of it a few years back, I really (really really!) wanted to work here. Although my reasons before were a bit shallow, I think that God planted that tiny seed in my heart that eventually grew into an affectionate tree towards this. It wasn’t His plan for me to have my OJT here because He had bigger things in mind, like me really working here, not for a few months but for as long as I deserve it. It still amazes me how elaborate and great God’s plans are for you and me. It truly is the biggest blessing to have a loving Father.

A few months later, I got a text for the second interview. I was losing hope and succumbed to the urge to apply to other companies by that time and underwent a few interviews also (starts with an E). But as they say, home is where the heart is. Power plants and I have that special connection that I will never give up on. The giddiness it brings to me is always fresh and new. The interview was also unexpected because it was the “Introduce Yourself” type. It was emotional for me (everything is) but I got through.

As of now (at the moment!), I am staring at the vast darkness of the night sky with a few scattering of stars. The moon is shining brightly and nearing its full state in a few nights. I am writing with only the light of few lone lightbulbs for guidance and the embrace of the slightly chilly summer air. We have no exams tomorrow so I had the chance to write and be with myself and my thoughts. I needed this. The sound of ballads whispering in my ear, with my fingers clanking over the letters, and my mind sending too many words at once my hands can’t keep up. I need this.

I’m okay. I actually enjoy the classes. I missed the feeling of learning something new. I missed using my brain other than to overthink. Though it takes a little bit of getting used to, I actually am adapting well to interacting with people I just met. It was liberating to meet people with different perspectives and ideas. It’s fun.

Here’s hoping that the fun never ends and the excitement never fades! Cheers! 😊

Leaving you with a few shots I have from the past months. These were my faves. Have a lovely day, you!

100 Things Update

Head out to my pseudo About Me page on the upper left of this page to see how far I’ve come from the 1st time blogger who just wanted to rant and document all of the movies and books she’s seen.

100 Things – 2017

Thinking about it, it actually turned into 200 Things about me. A hundred before and a hundred more as of this phase in my life.

Enjoy having a tiny piece of myself to read!

Will try to post regularly soon! Too much training modules to drown with, I guess.