Gulugod Baboy: A travel guide

Hello friends! Today I’m going to share my hike to Gulugod Baboy in Anilao Batangas. It’s legitimately a hike for beginners!

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Note: We drove there so if you’re looking for the commute details, click this link here.

Also, very important note: Batangas City is very very traffic starting 9am onwards. We thought that there was an accident but apparently it’s really a normal occurrence. We were set back about 2-3 hours because of the traffic caused by two intersections. Ugh. =_=

The way to all the resorts is full of road construction as of this writing. Please be careful driving.

To get to the starting point of the hike, you have to get to PhilPan Dive resort. It’s actually kind of at the far end of the set of resorts (You’ll even pass by the Santorini look alike!) but ask around and the locals are sure to send you on your way.

There’s only one restaurant near PhilPan and their garlic rice is pretty good!

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You’re supposed to register before starting the hike. It’s not very obvious where to register but it’s actually the sari-sari store across the street of the registration booth. They have people register so in case you get lost. It’s only P35, so it’s pretty cheap. They use that money to maintain the mountain, so please register!

You can opt for a guide or not, it’s up to you. The guide costs P500. The path is pretty straightforward and you can ask locals if you think you’re lost. There are some houses on the way. There are also a bunch of halo-halo stores at the start of the hike. The guide is optional. We decided not to get a guide.

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And off we go!

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This is a few steps from the registration booth!

The hike actually doesn’t take that long but we took a lot of breaks and pictures in between. Because we didn’t have a guide, we got lost at some point but some locals directed us back to the path.

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A house at the start of the trail

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The trail looks so gorgeous

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Looking back at the camera hehe

The path has a lot of dogs, so be wary. Some of them bark at you and follow you around but most of them just chill around looking at you.

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Taken at the start of the climb!

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The hikers we met going down the mountain

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One of the photos we took when we got lost

There are a lot of stops in between. Also, there’s a certain area in the path where there’s a really steep cemented short path, like 2-3 meters of steep cement. Be careful at that area!

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Cheesy romance photos because why not

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Taking breaks in between all the hiking

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The climb uphill is pretty tiring but the view is gorgeous

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Almost to the top!

We hiked uphill for about 2-3 hours. The whole climb was okay, it was just really hot because we started at 1pm (Also please bring sunscreen).

The top of the Gulugod Baboy was gorgeous!

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So gorgeous ❤

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The two summits (out of three)

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Pretty!

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Look at the ocean!

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Jumpshot!

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Least goofy photo of them all!

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Fooling around before leaving!

Eventually we finished taking photos. We didn’t really have a lot of time left so we didn’t manage to climb all the way up. Beside the summit of the mountain is a parking/camping space. There’s also a shop and a bathroom. You can actually just drive all the way up to the top.

We didn’t have time to climb back down, so we took a trike back to the registration booth. The trike costs P500 but it’s a 45 minute trip that goes uphill and downhill a lot.

When we got back down, we logged out of the registration booth and changed clothes in the car. Afterwards, we went straight to Tagaytay for some bulalo! ❤

Anyway, that’s it. Hope you found this helpful!

 

Describing the Philippines through memories

What’s the Philippines like?

To describe it to most people unfamiliar with the place, it’s a tropical country full of wonderful beaches and amazing mountains. It’s an archipelago in the middle of Asia with a surprising number of people who speak English well.

I hate the Philippines so much.

Or rather, I love it so much.

It’s funny how the just literally being born in a country can make you love and hate it at the same time.

The Philippines is more than just beaches, mountains, and tropical fruits. It’s more than its violent history with Spain, the Americans, and the Japanese. Mostly, the Philippines is my life. It is my culture.

It’s not just the national costumes, the national anthem, or the national flower. It’s a way of life. Honestly, all of that is done just to unite the country, but what really unites us is our shared experiences. Let me tell you about a Filipino childhood.

Memories of riding the jeep with your mom and sitting on her lap because she didn’t pay for your seat (kids don’t take up much space). Being threatened with a tsinelas when you didn’t do your chores. The weird trinkets they sell at elementary school like the necklace with colored sand, blue ink that disappears after a few minutes on your clothes, or the random street vendor who sells i-scrambol that has that distinct purple (or sometimes pink) colored ice.

I recall my childhood full summers at the beach. Full days spent under the sun (even during noon hours), sunburnt skin at the end of the day. I have photos wherein you can distinctly see the difference of my skin color through the outline of my swimsuit. I recall making sand mounds (castle would be too much of a stretch, they never lasted too long) with cousins and friends.

I recall strict teachers and nice teachers. Classmates having their seventh birthday party at lunch time. After school activities included running around in just a sando and the school skirt (we were always sweaty and in the sun, looking and chasing for grasshoppers in the grass). After school activities included chasing after classmates, doing cartwheels in the carpeted hallways.

Going to Baguio as the top vacation site. It was, in our definition, pretty cold in Baguio. We would walk around with gloves on our hands, knitted hats, and jackets. It was a treat to ride the brightly colored horses. Film photography was expensive, unlike the millions of selfies we take now, taking photos back then was a cherished moment.

Storms were frequent too. Signal number 1 was a frequent category Zambales was placed in. School would often be canceled due to the freakish rain and thunder that visited this tropical country. Floods would occur. People would flee from their homes to evacuation centers in the baranggay. Donations are frequent. Losses were even more frequent.

There are so many more memories in my head about the Philippines. Just looking back at all these memories, it just occurs to me how much of a big part of my life this country has become. I love this country because this is where my life began. This is where my parents were born too. I may not know any cultural dances at heart but I can belt out to Aegis. I can’t understand Ilocano, but I eat like one (diningding, pinakbet, bagnet, you name it).

I don’t know. This whole this is just me rambling about my memories as a Filipina. I thoroughly enjoy living in the Philippines. Despite all the political issues, stressfully influential church over the government, and all the mishaps and tragedies that happened, a lot of good has happened here too. I just have to make sure to contribute to all the good that’s happening here.

 

Heneral Luna – a way to tell history

I absolutely don’t like history classes. They’re so boring. Especially as a kid, my mom had to drag me through studying the history of the Philippines. Our ancestors? I don’t feel connected to them at all. The questions were always the same things on exams. What is the name of our 10th President? How long did the Martial Law last? What date did Magellan come to the Philippines?

Gahd. Why should I care about this stuff? It’s all about people who ruled and changed history yada yada yada but honestly I didn’t see the point of memorizing dates, whole names, or even the names of the laws enacted, wars that happened, or betrayals that occurred within the government.

I’m looking at you, Emilio Aguinaldo. Yeah, we all know you had Andres Bonifacio shot. Modern time Brutus.

Even in college, I avoided all the Kasaysayan (History) electives. My aversion to history was so bad.

That was until, I was introduced to Heneral Luna.

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His name means moon but he is my sun (haha get it get it? no please don’t leave no more jokes I swear)

Heneral Luna was a biopic film released in 2015 by Jerrold Tarog. Here’s an interesting tidbit: the movie flunked at first. It was screening in 70 theatres (???) nationwide but within a week they stopped showing it in at least half. No one was watching it. I mean, who the hell would pay P200 for a biopic? That’s the equivalent of two Jollibee meals.

But then, the people who actually did give it a chance were raving about it so freakin hard. They posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. They encouraged people to watch it. Facebook was flooded with friends talking about how amazing the movie turned out to be. The last biopic released was a flop.

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Surprisingly, even with stars like Padilla and Padilla

So, of course, as people are wont to do, they watched the movie. Encouraged by friends on Facebook (so it’s seen as an authentic review rather than advertising from a company making money off of it), more and more people trickled in the theatre, and more and more people watched it.

In a world of social media, Heneral Luna managed to advertise itself through word of mouth.

So from 30 or so theatres, the number jumped to a 100 theatres. The movie managed to stay in cinemas for several weeks. It was shown in New York, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. Filipinos all over the world flocked to watch this movie.

What’s the difference between Heneral Luna and Bonifacio? This movie humanized the people from history.

Think about it, can you really ever imagine Barack Obama, going through college? Awake at three in the morning, cold coffee on the table. It’s dark and quiet in the library. He hasn’t showered for three days, the paper is due in a few hours. His penmanship is getting more and more unreadable as the night goes on.

You see, I think that’s why I hated history back then, when I was a kid. We were told all these stories of how Lapu-lapu managed to get rid of the mean Magellan who attempted to “civilize” our ancestors. He was seen as the great and the powerful. But so what?

I don’t know how that struggle feels like. What does it feel like to have other people depend on you for leadership? What does it like to fight to the death with people you disagree with? No, I’m not trying to undermine any of what history says, but it’s just ultimately uninteresting to me (and I’m sure to a lot of other people).

Heneral Luna changed all that. Usually, biopics had very stiff language. So formal. So intense. So tragically distant. But check out this trailer of Heneral Luna.

The Tagalog used is modern and easy to understand. And it’s so friggin quotable. The movie takes it up a notch too. Heneral Luna swears, he’s always pissed. There’s a scene in the movie where the military gained a train for transporting goods to their base. Everyone brought along their family to ride the train and check it out. Luna drives them out, screaming

“Puñeta! Hindi tayo mamamasyal! (Son of a bitch! We aren’t going on a trip!)”

-Heneral Luna, as he used his baton to chase the Filipinos and the chickens away

The movie isn’t all serious. There are scenes that will make you laugh, scenes that will make you tense. You get to know Luna as a person. Throughout the movie, you’ll see him tired, frustrated, happy, angry, making jokes, and honestly working very hard for a country that doesn’t seem to love him back.

Then the movie ends with the actual brutal truth: Heneral Luna was brutally murdered under the alleged orders of Emilio Aguinaldo. The entire scene takes fifteen minutes. It’s brutal to watch. It’s not even the most agonizing part of the film.

Everyone who was in on the plan for his death looked straight in the camera and talked to the audience. They vehemently denied their involvement in Luna’s death. Emilio Aguinaldo argued that Luna was his best commander. Buencamino stated that he hated the guy but definitely not enough to kill him. And they believed this with thorough conviction.

You walk out of the film dazed and angry. It feels like you just lost a friend.

I watched that film four times. I have a picture with one of the actors. It’s just… wow.

This is something I realized two years after the film was released, though. All of this writing is from memory. I didn’t have to look up their names on a history book or Wikipedia. I just honestly loved it and it’s basically history.

The same for Hamilton, the amazing musical on Broadway about Alexander Hamilton. I know so much shit about these people.

Here’s a key takeaway schools should learn from biopics like Heneral Luna or musicals like Alexander Hamilton. History shouldn’t just be about memorizing dates, names, or places of wars, peace treaties, or freedoms claimed. It should literally be about the story of the people before us.

Make history interesting by making the people interesting. Philippine history books just always talk about it like a list of facts to memorize. Make students understand. Make it a story.

Because honestly something we were never taught in history is the fact that these were normal people before history wrote them down as important. Heneral Luna was a doctor, Andres Bonifacio was a middle class citizen who cared for his family. Jose Rizal was a womanizing short dude who had an insane schedule of studying a lot. So basically he was a nerd.

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National hero. Nerd. Original fuccboi.

You gotta translate it for the students. What made them fight for the Philippines? Why did they decide to risk their lives for everything? You can’t just say shit like “oooh, they loved their country so much…” because Filipinos nowadays are just looking for ways to leave the Philippines because the opportunities here are so shit.

Make the students write plays, tell stories. Little tidbits of trivia clickbait will make students more interested.

Did you know World War II started because an assassin ate a sandwich?

Did you know that Heneral Luna was actually a momma’s boy?

Did you know that the Berlin Wall was torn down because of miscommunication?

History looks at things in retrospect. Things weren’t seen as so grand before or during the event. In retrospect, history identified these key events and pinpointed them to the escalation of tension, to the eventual climax of changing a significant perspective of a nation or a group of people.

The only difference between us and the people in our history lessons? They took action and fought for what they believed in. Make us understand, education systems.

Make us love our country once more.

 

Learning to love my brown skin

I live in the Philippines. We frequented the beach during summer and sunny days. As a kid, I loved the beach. Playing in the sand, making sandcastles, burying my cousins, and eating the freshly grilled barbecued meat, fish, and vegetables dipped in soy sauce and calamansi (a tiny citrus fruit endemic to our country).

However, my mom always warned me not to spend too much time in the sun.

“Huwag kang masyadong magpa-araw mamaya maging negra ka, sige ka!”

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