Googly Gooeys Social Networking Detox Which of these can you do? Don't take & upload any picture of your food. "Really? But it's an urban ritual!" Don't put any hashtag on your Instagram entry. "Huh? B-b-b-but..." Don't live tweet what's happening & just enjoy the moment "Ooh...let me live tweet that I won't be live tweeting from now on." Respond to an emergency instead of tweeting about it. "Ugh! Tough choice! Should I run & hide or post the alien's pic first?" Take a picture of something without styling it first. "Let's put some pens here so that I'll look like I'm really writing!" Don't check any of your likes, comments, notifications & mentions for a day or two. "What is life without the internet?" Try not to worry about how people will react to your post. "Should I post this pic or edit it some more?" Try not to be obsessed about your profile pic. "None of these two thousand photos is good enough." Talk to real people instead of just chatting with them. "Sigh...Do I really have to do this?" Spend some quiet time without having to worry about what the rest of the world is up to.

Hello! We’re back from a weekend we spent otudoors!  It was a long 5-hour drive, 5-hour commute plus a 5-hour trek to our camping site but it was all worth it! 🙂  We rarely had a phone signal during the weekend and we didn’t have a decent internet connection either (Gahh..talk about priorities).  I actually thought I could upload a picture via Instagram when I reached the summit (which was 2 hours away from our camping site) but no-ho-ho-ho.  The weekend was in essence a social networking detox session.  I think it was an effective one because when I got back to the city, I was partly feeling grumpy & cynical: I started questioning why we’re all so obsessed with online life here and why I always have to spend hours and hours every week taking care of these two fictional pink & blue characters.  A part of me still wishes I could live here:

04 Vegetable Garden2

Above: Vegetable gardens!

 We’re actually grateful that our guide was polite enough not to chuckle when we say things like, “Oh my! So, that’s how a potato plant looks like!!!”  I feel so embarrassed for having consumed sacks & sacks of potato in my life not even knowing where they came from or whow they even look like before they’re harvested. Oops.

05 House with Wood

Local Houses

I actually wanted to stay here longer so that I could take more pictures of the local life.  This place is so blessed with clean cool air with the scent of Pine trees!  Mt. Pulag is Luzon’s highest peak which makes it the second highest in the Philippines.  We were literally above the clouds and while everyone was suffering from the scorching heat of the sun back in Manila, we had to layer up and pretend it was winter time in another country! 🙂

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06 Mushrooms

Shrooms! (Oh! I’m so creative with my captions.)

This was the part of the hike where I was surrounded with trees & plants.  I showed this picture to our guide & he said that this was the poisonous kind.  Well, I wasn’t really planning to pick or eat them.  I just thought they were interesting drawing subjects. Haha.

07 Leaves

I would stop from time to time while catching my breath.   A plant, a tiny creature or two would usually catch my attention.  Sometimes, I’d stay for a while and take more pictures than I want to but at certain times, I get too paranoid about mountain spirits probably watching me so I try to walk as fast as I can.  It may sound ridiculous & I’m not usually the one who believes in these things but when you’re all alone and the nearest person is x meters away and no one can hear you even if you scream, you’ll understand how I felt at that time! 🙂 Apparently, the rest of the group had a moments of paranoia too!  The mountain just felt a bit enchanted 🙂

10 Random Purple PLant

Did I say we were surrounded by plants?

Thanks to the bit of alone time on the trail I started noticing everything–the diversity of the flora, the structure of the trees and how the leaves keep reaching for the skies, the orange stones and the leaves that turn from green to red at the tips and the huge dead earthworm which made us all run away (which was totally fun & senseless I know :D)

Char & Pao (2) Path(reduced)

Trail from Camp 2 to 3

It was actually raining hard the night before until 2:30/3:00am which was the time that we were supposed to hike so that we can greet the sunrise at the summit.   We woke up  again at around 7:30am and it was still raining.  We have actually quite accepted that the weather was really bad and that we have to come back again late some time this year and hope that we’re lucky enough to see the its famous sea of clouds.   As we finished our breakfast, the skies just cleared up.  We were on our way to the summit in no time! 🙂

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12 Grassland

Grassland! Welcome to the Shire…or not!

In the middle of nowhere, we actually felt like a bunch of hobbits.  We called the peak Mordor as it was a place that we can spot from the start of the hike.  I had a stick on my hand and I’d wanted to think of myself as (not-so) little Bo Beep who lost her sheep but Ponggo kept on calling me Moses.

11 Muddy Grassland

 The Muddy Grassland

As with all our other hikes, our toes weren’t spared.  Hello interesting looking decorated brown feet!  I don’t think anyone was lucky that day.  We all slipped.  I was just happy that when I did it was all grass & zero mud.  Hehehe.

15 Mountain Ranges

View from the Summit

Before I reached the summit, I just actually wanted to give up because I was already thinking about the 7-hour trek back to the ranger station.  I was already daydreaming about a zipline that could take us from the peak back to the start so that I didn’t have to walk anymore. Hehe.

14 Pulag from Behind

 View from the Summit of Mt. Pulag

Upon reaching the summit, we were all in awe of the place!  I wish I took a lot of photos so that I can give you a 360o view of the whole place.  It’s just rare & amazing that we were above the clouds and that they kept on moving fast!  We all forgot about how tired we were or that just a few moments ago, we actually thought we saw the mountains and trees move by themselves because we were so hungry.

Ambuklao Dam (reduced)

View from Ambuklao Dam (Our Sidetrip Earlier That Day) 🙂

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We actually want to go back to this place again late this year!  We’ve actually recommended this place to all our friends.  It’s not your most convenient vacation but everyone needs to detach themselves from the stresses of the city from time to time.  When you have nothing but the only basic necessities to help you survive, you’ll realize how uselessly preoccupied we all really are!

 

 

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