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Batang Hamog Mountaineers

Batang Hamog Mountaineers
A Group of Young Adventurous Professionals from Metro Manila, with common interest in outdoor activities formed an Organization for other like-minded people. Born out of pure love of nature, the outdoors and its exploration, the group started out through the efforts of its 10 founding mountaineers.

HAMOG (or Dew) is actually a metaphorical symbol. It represents US, the mountaineers, as it represents the significance of Dew to the ecosystem. Dew is very essential, it actually serves as an important source of moisture for plants, soil, insects and animals, thus, giving life to the nature. For us, mountaineer, by means of promoting environmental awareness in general and forest conservation in particular. Batang Hamog Mountaineers is now planning not just to conquer the mountains with happiness, but to have outreach programs with willingness and joy.

Jose Cojuangco Mansion

This is the old and original house of Jose Chichioco Cojuangco (July 3, 1896-August, 1976) he was the former Representative of the 1st district of Tarlac, Philippines from 1934 to 1946.  He is one of the roots of the Cojuangco clan.    He is the father of  the first woman President of the Philippines Corazon Aquino and grandfather of President Benigno Aquino III.This historical landmark is situated in Paseo del Congreso St., Malolos City Bulacan just few meters from Barasoain Church.

Plaridel Catholic Church

Plaridel Church
This is one of the Heritage Sites in Bulacan especially for the Catholics.  This Gorgeous structure is now 410 years old (as of 2012.)  The people in this area, with the help of the local government, are preserving it's historical value.  Around 1599 when Quingua (now Plaridel) was established.  During the British occupation (1762-1763)  this church was the place where the money and jewels of San Agustin in Intramuros, Manila were kept. 

Plaridel Bulacan
This church has an amazing interiors and designs especially the bell tower known as the Simborio.  The structure itself, has a thick walls and can be recognized easily that it is an old church because of the stains on the wall.

Plaridel Academy
the statue in front
Inside the church is a cool ambiance because of the thick walls. At the right side of the church is an Academy and is serving as root of knowledge for the future generation.  It is located on the side of the plaza and  it is just 70 meters away from the Plaridel Municipal Hall.

Mt. Pamitinan | Binacayan | Wawa Dam

Mt. Pamitinan
It's been a long time since we planned to visit Wawa Dam and hike Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binacayan, but unsuccessful for some reasons. These twin mountains, with Wawa Dam as separator, is located in Rodriguez, Rizal, formerly known as Montalban, Rizal. These mountains are famous because of the legend, according to some stories: Bernardo Carpio used his un-human power to separate these two mountains from each other, that's the reason why the space, where Wawa Dam is situated, was created. (photo above | left-Mt. Pamitinan, right: Mt. Binacayan)

How to Get Here? Here's what we did | We met at Farmers, Cubao (near Jollibee) and rode in an FX and alighted in Eastwood. Fare: 50 pesos. Then, rode in a tricycle to Wawa and registered at the Tourism Office. Secured guides, fees and helmets.

Pamitinan Cave
Around 7:30 in the morning we crossed the river to Pamitinan Cave. Historically, this cave was used as a hiding place by the Katipuneros during the fight against the Spaniards. According to our guides, the cave measures more than a kilometer long. Inside the cave are amazing rock formations and the walls are covered with crystal like powders. Sabi ng isang friend, maraming residente raw ang nakahukay ng kayamanan sa kweba at iba't-ibang parte ng bundok na ito.

Nasa kalagitnaan na kami ng kweba nang hindi na kami pinatuloy ng aming guides, dahil daw hindi namin kaya. Nakakalungkot diba? Nahusgahan agad kami, eh hindi pa namin nakikita yung sinasabi nilang makitid na lagusan, hindi na agad kaya? Hindi naman sa mapilit ako, pero sana lang nakita at nasubukan muna, pag hindi kaya, saka bumalik, wala namang problema.

Summit Mt. Pamitinan

Trail Mt. Pamitinan
Pagkatapos ng half-caving, kalahati lang kasi natapos namin, pahinga lang ng ilang minuto, saka nagsimulang pumanhik sa Mt. Pamitinan. Ang unang parte ay simpleng paangat lang, pero habang tinutunton namin ang trail pa summit (photo above), pahirap nang pahirap ito.  Ang terrain ay lubhang delikado dahil maliban sa mga 90 degrees assault, may mga matutulis ding mga bato na kakapitan. Light pack, thick sole shoes and gloves are recommended! Sa summit, isang kahanga-hangang tanawin ang aking nakita. Ang hangin ay fresh at ay may kalamigan, at ang buong lugar ay nababalot ng luntiang kapaligiran. Ang ilog naman ay nag-sisilbing isang magandang tanawin, sa kalayuan. Isang rock formation ang aking napansin (photo above), mukha syang isang imahe ng aso no?

Wawa Dam
Pagkatapos ng isang nakakapagod at nakakagutom na adventure, kumain muna kaming tanghalian at nagpahinga sa bahay ng isang kaibigan. Akala ko pahinga lang, kaso naka-tulog ako, as in deep sleep ng ilang minuto, kaya nung ginisin nila ako, umiikot paningin ko pag-tayo ko. Ang trail paakyat sa Mt. Binacayan ay matatapuan sa mga pribadong lupaing ng mga residente. Medyo nakakalito dahil sa mga fork trails na gawa ng mga lokal. May mga nangyaring hindi namin inaasahan (read the details below), kaya nakatulog ako sa trail habang nag-hihintay sa ibang kasama. Pag-karating ng iba, hindi na ako tumuloy dahil may susunduin pa kaming bisita sa baba. Ngunit ang iba naman ay nag-patuloy at ginabi na silang nakababa. Dinner and socials sa bahay ni Mem Onah. Majority ay umuwi, ngunit ako'y nag overnight sa bahay nila. Kinabukasan, Wawa Dam naman ang aming binisita.

Pa-uwi | Sa Baranggay, maraming masasakyan; una pwedeng sumakay ng tricycle o jeep patungong Eastwood, tapos sakay ulit ng jeep pa Cubao. Pero kung bet nyo ang FX, sakay lang kayong jeep na may Simbahan na signboard at baba kayong Caltex Montalban, in front of RCBC. 

Mga Dapat Pag-usapan: 
Guides - hindi namin narating ang kabuuan ng kweba dahil sabi ng guides namin, hindi raw namin kaya. Mas maganda siguro kung nakita at nasubukan man lang namin ito. Kalagitnaan palang, naubusan na agad ng power ang flashlight na dala ng aming guides, masuwerte lang talaga na may mga dalang ilaw ang aming mga kasama, panu nalang kung mga estudyante na hindi agad na inform na magdala ng ilaw? Madulas at maputik ang loob ng kweba, kaya kailangang may ilaw para maiwasan ang aksidente. Isa pa, nagkaroon kami ng problema nung paakyat na kami ng Mt. Binacayan. Ang guide namin isa sa lead, at isa DAPAT sa tail. Ang nangyari, may apat kaming mga kasama ay naligaw dahil ang guide na DAPAT nasa pinakang dulo, nasa mid na pala. Nag-antay na kami ng 30 minutes, wala parin sa mga guides ang sumubok bumaba at hanapin ang mga naligaw. Isa sa mga kasama namin namin ang bumaba pa para hanapin sila. Suggestion ko: sana naibigay ng Tourism Office at DENR ang mga Roles and Responsibilities ng pagiging isang guide.

White Sand Near Manila

Anawangin Cove
After holiday season, aside from Valentines Day, one of the most awaited season would be summer. It is where people find bodies of water to cool down the hot and warm feeling. Top on the list would be Boracay island, in Aklan, but if you're getting a hard time booking for your transpo, there are other options that you can choose from. Now, I'll be going to give you some of the must visit places near Manila. First, Anawangin Cove, Zambales - just few hours travel from Manila. The coastal area of Brgy. Pundaquit bears fine white sand beach, crystal clear water, cool ambiance, and you have the pristine beauty of nature. Continue Reading >>>

Magalawa Island
Second, Magalawa Island, Zambales An island that will suit your need and I am sure, you’ll place it on you bucket list. This island is located in the town of Palauig, Zambales which is a six hours travel from Manila. It might be a long travel, but the experience and your journey heading to this place will be a perfect story to tell. The sand on the shore is fine, but it’s not white as what Boracay and Calaguas have. In some parts of the island, especially on the shore of the village, sea weeds scattered on the shore. It’s a proof that the island still has a virgin underwater. Continue Reading >>>

Borawan Island
Third, Borawan Island, Quezon Province - If you're looking for an amazing island getaway, this place is perfect for you. Your eyes will see the beauty that mother earth has, and then you'll realize how we are fortunate to have this gift from the creator. The cool water is crystal clear, the breeze is relaxing, fine beige sand on the shore - absolutely beautiful. Continue Reading >>>

Dampalitan Island
 Fourth, Dampalitan Island, Quezon - this island has great coastal areas; great underwater sports, rich in coconut trees, pine trees, mangroves and some shrubs which bears colorful flowers. Surrounding the whole island would be the white sand beach covered with shells on the shore. Continue Reading >>>

Pagudpud
Fifth, Blue Lagoon, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte - it is considered as the Boracay of the North. It has fine white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, cool breeze, green surroundings, and complete facilities. You also have a lot of options for private resorts who offers great activities. Continue Reading >>>

NBI Clearance | The Process

NBI Clearance
If you’re done searching for a job and signed you’re contract with a company, next step would be furnishing all the necessary requirements. These are the government mandated requirements: SSS, TIN, PhilHealth, Pag-Ibig or HDMF and NBI Clearance. All of these requirements are bit tedious to process because a lot are requesting for forms and clearances prior starting your job. I wrote this post to make your life easier and set your expectations before proceeding to your servicing branch. Here are some points to consider in requesting for an NBI clearance. 

I processed my clearance yesterday, Feb. 6, 2015 at Robinsons Metro East. Aside from requesting the clearance at the NBI Offices, you can also check any Robinsons Malls near your area if they have NBI booth that process clearances. If YES, congratulations! Before proceeding to your servicing branch, first, you NEED to furnish an NBI form online, this is to make the process faster (according to them). You can visit: http://clearance.nbi.gov.ph/. No internet at home? No worries, there are some booths (mostly near the mall) that process the online registrations but expect for: “Price is Gold,” I paid 50 pesos for printing, labor and 3 minutes online encoding. I don’t know if those booth owners are paying their business taxes. DTI and BIR, please do your job.

Parking in Robinsons Mall
Before I leaving the house, I brought a backpack with water, umbrella, sun glass, pens, papers, 345 pages book, iPod, and some documents for validation (if applicable). I was on the line at 6:03 AM, there was no numbers given yet, just followed the line. The line started at the edge of Marcos Highway, expect for the fast moving vehicles and pollution. I started reading my book when the sun started rising. 

We left Marcos Highway at 6:59 AM, walked on the footbridge and proceeded to Robinsons parking area. It was a bit challenging because we walked on the stairs up to Level 5, good luck to those with health and physical problems. Wash room is available. There were two sets of chairs, the black and beige. Upon arriving to the parking, since the black chairs were already occupied, we sat on the beige chairs but the guard forced us to vacate and instead sat on the floor – so we did! According to him, those chairs are for people who already made their payments at the payments centers. I was reading my book while waiting but my ears were actively listening to people around me. I noticed, people ask questions to other on the line and others would answer it too, based on their previous NBI experience. Then others would share their stories to that group, different branch, different process and different cases – as a result, the person who asked questions was confused if what to follow. Pwede naman kasing mag-tanong dun sa guard on duty, pinapahirapan pa ang buhay.

Robinsons Metro East
We were at the parking area for couple of hours; the NBI booth will open during mall hours, so the mall opened at 10 AM. We were expecting that process will start, but it didn’t. 10:10AM, the guards started issuing the queue number, I got the number 130. It could have been better if they will issue those numbers upon arrival at the parking – so as the mall opens, Step 1 should also start (for those on the first line). Kagaya ng Robinsons Junction, pag-bukas ng mall ng 10AM, bigay ng number, derecho sa Step 1. Unlike Metro East, it was already  10:37 AM, when the first people on the line entered the mall for the Step 1.

One thing, bago pa ako pumasok sa sa mall, I checked on the chairs for those already paid, 25% of those beige chairs were not occupied at hindi ko  makuha yung logic nung guard kasi bakit ayaw nilang paupuin yung ibang nasa floor naka upo. Sabi nya: "Para po yun sir sa mga bayad na." Ilang oras na ang nakakaraan, wala namang masyadong tao dun sa mga upuan ng already paid. Hindi ba sila naaawa sa mga taong tumatayo - upo - tayo - upo ulit, para lang mag-circulate ang blood sa legs.

My turn, I was at the Step 1 – payment at 12:25 PM. I paid 115 Pesos.  Unlike payment centers which is 140 pesos. Then waited again for Step 2 – photo and biometrics. Waiting area was already in the mall, so the cool ambiance was better than at the parking. I was reading my book. When I felt boring, I went to PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig booths, right beside NBI booth, to process some of my requirements. Then, went back to the line and start reading again. 3 PM, it’s my turn for Step 2 – photo and biometrics. After five minutes, I already got my new NBI clearance!

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