I Fell in love at 10,000 Roses Cafe

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Solo backpacking on my 25th birthday over a month ago in Cebu has been a remarkable experience. I stayed there for 5 days from February 21 to 26 and out of all the beautiful places I visited, there’s this one place I visited twice and that’s the 10,000 Roses Cafe.

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You might be wondering why. You might think I am a coffee lover. But I’m not. I was never a fan of coffee. And I don’t know why. I just don’t like it. I know for most people, coffee is life. 😀

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Weeks before my birthday, I saw a couple of photos in Facebook about this cafe and I found out that it was just opened recently this Valentine season. So I know it’s target market are the ones celebrating their love. Couples who wants to have a romantic time together. Couples who are dating but hey, I am dating myself so I thought to myself, I should go there and have a good time.

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I got there at around 11 in the morning since I had to visit Mactan Shrine first. It wasn’t difficult to find the place since the locals are very sweet and nice. They gave me the directions how to get to the cafe.

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The roses are amazing! I was in awe staring at them. What made it more awesome is the surrounding view. The cafe is located just beside Lantaw Floating Restaurant and you can see the picturesque view of the city from afar. With the sun shining brightly above the clear blue skies, few cotton clouds dancing with the wind, I can’t help but marvel and fall inlove.

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All I did was take photos and capture the moment. After countless shots, I decided to get inside the cafe and get something to drink. I was surprised with the price of their frappe. It’s comparable to Starbucks and I actually enjoyed it. The ambiance is really nice. While I was sipping on my drinks, I made a promise to myself that I would go back and celebrate my birthday in the cafe.

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I wanted to see the roses the lighted at night which I did on my birthday. I went back to this cafe after my solo adventure in South Cebu. After I said hi and swam with the gentle giants in Oslob, hiking in Osmena Peak, swimming at Dalaguete beach, zip lining from the tallest building in the City and a lot more.😀

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This time, I got there at around 5 in the afternoon on February 25, my actual birthday, and just an hour before the roses were lit up. I was so excited to see the roses glow in the dark.

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While I was waiting for the time, I stayed at the back of the cafe facing the ocean. Seeping on my frappe again, staring at the City, watching at the airplanes flying just above the cafe while Sarah G’s song playing in my ear, I felt contented. This is how I wanted to celebrate my birthday. No party, no loud music, no problems in my head, just pure bliss and happiness being alone. I am enjoying my own company.

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I ordered pasta for dinner and my birthday celebration became more special because the person who served my food is the Korean owner himself, Miguel Chu. I had the opportunity to chat with him and took some photos together. He is so nice and even wished me a happy birthday. He is good looking too. 😀 My sudden crush actually. OMG! This is turning me gay.😂😂

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When the roses were lit up, I fell in love all over again. I felt like I am in the movies. I wish I could bring the roses back home. I stayed there until 10pm and went straight to the airport.

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All in all, my 25th Birthday was the best. Seeing the roses lit up, watching the stars shining brightly above , the frappe, the pasta, the new friends I’ve made, the sweet and nice locals, the realizations I had, the Korean Owner.. everything was just perfect!!

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My Story at Mount Batulao

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For most people, being a solo joiner is a bad idea. You might be out of place. You might not enjoy the company. You might not like the vibes in the group. But as for me, I enjoy being a solo joiner.

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Meeting new people who shares the same passion is rare. Climbing mountains aside from solo backpacking anywhere in the Philippines is a passion of mine. I would give up my job, literally, if I just have funds to support my passion.😀

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This hike is truly different from the other hikes I had. Here are the reasons why.😀

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The group chat is very much ALIVE! Before every climb, the organizer creates a group in FB messenger where every participants are added to interact with each other, to talk about what is needed to bring and etc. In this group, everyone’s alive. Felt like we’ve known each other already even before the climb. I love the connection we have.

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The organizer is AWESOME! All the organizers I’ve met are all nice but with this event, Sir Chris is just different. He is really nice and sweet. He made sure to chat with you before the hike and ask if everything’s okay, if you’ve had your lunch, breakfast etc.😀 And he did it to everyone. And he gives great advices! AWESOME!!

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The participants are so COOL! Most of the time, those people who are very loud and noisy in the group chat turns out to be the silent type in the actual event. With them, almost everyone talks. Maybe because of my loudness and constant banter with them. And I really felt the bond in the group. Everyone cares for each other even if we just met during the event. Most are solo joiners, there are couples, bestfriends and we just clicked.

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The hike was FUN! It’s refreshing being with new people. I love making friends and all throughout the hike, stories never stops. Loud laughs, hugot songs, teasing each other, commenting on the couples, and occasional slides during the hike made everyone alive and happy. 😂😂

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Mount Batulao is majestic! Looking at the mountain from afar, you’d think that it would be very difficult to get to the peak. We’ll for me and not to brag, it wasn’t that difficult since I climbed more than 20 times already.😀 For starters, they might find it challenging and it’s normal. The view from the peak is breathtaking! You would see Batangas in a different view. The green rice fields, the mountain ridges surrounding the area, the neighboring mountains, the clouds.. Everything is just majestic it felt surreal.

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I tasted the clouds! Mount Batulao is truly amazing. He made me feel like a little child again. As a kid, I always dreamed to fly with the clouds and I experienced it in the mountain. We didn’t expect to rain and good thing I brought my poncho and the group were prepared as well. Because of the rain, clouds and fog surrounded the mountain. When we were almost at the highest peak, it’s zero visibility. You could only see your companions within 5 meters and the rest are just white clouds and fog. And when we reached the peak, the weather gets better. Yehheyy!

I was mesmerized just watching the clouds being cleared by the strong winds, the rays of the sun starting to fill the area, and the view of vast landscape of Batangas just in front of us. I was in AWE! This is the main reason why I climb mountains. I wanted to fall in love with nature all over again. I wouldn’t get tired of falling. I always find peace in the mountains. When I’m inlove, am at peace.

After the hike, we went directly to Nasugbu Beach Resort where we had so much fun. From playing volleyball, singing our hearts out in karaoke, dancing, catching the big waves, and getting to know each other well, I felt contented. I felt at home. This are the type of people I wanna be with. I can’t wait for our next adventure guys. 😀

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And the best way to end the day is to try the famous Batangas Lomi and Bulalo. It’s heaven!

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Hike For A Cause: Tree Watering at Mount 387 (Sidetrip at Minalungao National Park

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Most of the time, planned trips never happens. This is the very reason why on Saturday evening (March 18) I found myself browsing in the DIY Travel Group and Climbers’ group in Facebook looking for a daytrip or day hike for Sunday, just a couple of hours away. Usually, the meet up time is around 12 midnight and its just 2 hours away.

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Luckily, I found two events to Maysawa Circuit. I immediately contacted the event’s organizer so they could count me in but I didn’t get any response within 15 minutes. I was kind of feeling frustrated already since I really wanted to go out and I’ve never been to Maysawa Circuit. Other events I found are going to places I’ve been to already like Mt. Ulap and Mt. Pamitinan.

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Since I am really determined to go out, I didn’t stop looking for events while I was patiently waiting for the response from the organizers I messaged on FB. When I was about to give up, I came across a conversation about BACK OUT DANCERS ( term commonly used among event organizers) for a Tree Watering Hike in Mount 387. I read through the comments and found out they’re looking for joiners since few members backed out. Right away, I messaged the person who’s been commenting on the thread and luckily, he replied back instantly with the event itinerary.

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I was relieved. Finally, I got an event I could join but my dilemma is the time. The meetup is just less than two hours away and my phone is not even charged as well as my camera of which I opened up to Jo (the person I messaged). With the assurance that someone would lend me their power bank, I told him to count me in and the rest of the story is just AWESOME.

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I meet with the group at McDonalds Crossing in Shaw Blvd. I was actually surprised with the number of joiners. We were 24 including the 4 year old little boy. I thought to myself, this is gonna be an interesting day! I was in the second van together with the event organizers (Ate Vern and friends). The less than 4 hour travel time to Barangay Carranglan in Nueva Ecija had been smooth and relaxing. From me being interrogated of my travel adventures and me interrogating them back, I found out that the group is called ACTS (Adventure Club of the Team South).

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With Gelo’s mellow songs playing from the front seat, the occasional banter of Ate Vern, Jo , Coyy, Happy, Fats and the rest of the gang in the van and myself sharing my solo backpacking adventures, I felt at home. I have my own team but in this group, I felt like I am part of it as well. They are as CRAZY as my TEAM. The #hugot lines, the loud chanters, the funny jokes, the friendships, all the same.

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During the briefing, we found out why the mountain is called Mount 387. Out of the thousand hectares of the vast landscape, 387 hectares of it is open to public and the rest are not. It’s protected since it is the place of the Talavera Watershed which supplies water to almost everyone in Luzon.. We were told that this watershed is actually connected to Manila Bay.

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Since this is a Tree Watering Hike, almost everyone had to bring bottled water, which they prepared for us so we can water the newly planted trees as we hike ourselves to the summit which is known as “Batong Amat” or ma-alamat na bato and its story goes back from the Spanish regimes here in the country. That’s where they get the name. The Legendary Rocks, its term in English.

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One of the main reasons why they are opening the mountains to the public is to spread awareness and to get help in restoring the mountains. Illegal logging is rampant in the area and when you look around, you can really see it bare. The trees are slowly dying that’s why reforestation and tree planting happens almost every day to restore its natural beauty. These mountains are previously the home of wild pigs, monkeys and other forest and mountain animals which are now seldom seen in the area due to illegal logging activities.
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Let us all help in restoring this beautiful mountain. Let us be the way in bringing back the greens to Mount 387. Let us all help in making sure that there are still mountains the next generation can hike. Let’s help Mother Nature.

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Sidetrip at Minalungao


After the hike, we went directly to Minalungao National Park. Since its weekend, the place is fully packed with tourists. However, this didn’t stop us from enjoying in the park. From taking photos at the hanging bridge, ziplining and swimming in the green water, everyone had so much fun.

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Personally, I am very thankful to these new friends I made. They are as CRAZY as I am and I can sense the goodness in them. Thank you Team ACTS for adopting me into your family. Looking forward to more AWESOME adventures with you guys.

Naturally Guimaras: Of Spanish Ruins, Mangoes, and Windmills

Adrenaline Romance

Guimaras Island

With a total land area of a little over 604 square kilometers and a population of just over 174,000 souls (NSO-2015), Guimaras Island may be a dwarf among its larger cousin Panay Island. However, within this tree-rich island province is a mishmash of natural, historical, cultural, and technological attractions that captivate the mind, body, and soul.

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Hidden Gem of Masbate: Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary and Sandbar

The island is BREATHTAKING!! With its white fine sand, ocean on both sides, you can’t help yourself but to taste its crystal waters.

Masbate is dubbed as the City of Smiles. It is also known as the Rodeo Capital of the Philippines and yearly, they celebrate the Rodeo Masbateno Festival. Aside from that, Masbate is also rich of beautiful white sand beaches and being in the Pacific ocean, its waters are home of the most diverse marine species in the planet.

I celebrated my Christmas holidays last year in Masbate. Solo. But I never felt alone in this place.

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I went to Buntod Sandbar which happens to be just 12 minutes boat ride away from the city. Its amazing how this place is being preserved and now being a marine sanctuary gives home to giant clams, diverse fish, and other marine life. Truth be told, the place was actually an area where fishermen use dynamite fishing which leads to the destruction’s of the amazing corals. But today, the same people are now protecting them.

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I read about this gem online and the reviews were pretty good but I didn’t expect that it’s different! Those reviews didn’t give justice to this gem at all. Buntod Reef should be known by everyone. The island is BREATHTAKING!! With its white fine sand, ocean on both sides, you can’t help yourself but to taste its crystal waters.

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Thank you SAMAPUSI for preserving the area. Thank you for the two kids who made sure that I have decent photos while strolling in the white sandbar. Thank you Gudi and the other kid for following me using a small boat just so you could take my photos while I am snorkeling. Thank you for letting me treat you to lunch in Mang Inasal as an appreciation. You see, I was not alone on Christmas day. You guys are AMAZING!

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What’s more amazing is that I spent only less than 1K while in Buntod and to think that I had to pay 500 pesos already for the boat ride since I went solo. To those who finds themselves in Masbate, Buntod Reef  Marine Sanctuary should be on your list. I can guarantee that you will have the best beach experience and you’ll get to see the giant clams and you will find “Nemo” in there. Too bad I don’t have underwater camera but what matters most to me is the memory that I will forever treasure.

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How to get there:

From any point in the city, take a tricycle and tell the driver to drop you at Rendezvous Resort. The fare is just 8 pesos and you will pay 10 pesos entrance fee if my memory serves me right. You will have to wait for the motorized boat to pick you up or better if you contact the President of SAMAPUSI Mr. Jojo Soria (09179277660.)

 

Boracay of Masbate: Paraiso De Palani

Philippines have more than seven thousand islands. Some of it is yet to be explored. Some are well known already and some are underrated including the islands of Masbate.

Masbate is part of the Bicol region. It’s the southernmost part of Luzon. To go there, you must travel by land for more than 12 hours of bus ride and then take a ferry boat for 4 hours. The good thing is, we can now go there through air with Cebu Pacific.

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Unknown to most people, Masbate is a paradise. It is the home of several white sand beaches, unique rock formations, majestic waterfalls, beautiful mountains, and good natured people.

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Masbate is the home of Paraiso de Palani, a white sand beach with crystal clear waters. I was in awe when I reached the place. It is truly a paradise! It is at par with Boracay less the crowded people.  I went there to have peace of mind due to stress from work and they gave me more than what I need.

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The beach is just breathtaking! From its white sand and the crystal waters and the cool breeze of the southern air, you can’t help yourself but marvel to this beautiful paradise. All I can think of is to stay in this paradise forever.

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Watching the sun sets in the horizon is just so magical. It’s like falling in love all over again. Yes, I fell in love. This place is truly a PARADISE!

-Tristan