Petra | Jordan. A rose-red city half as old as time
San Vicente | Palawan. Counting solitary strides.
Taj Mahal | India. A teardrop on the cheek of time
Catanduanes Island. Postcard-pretty slideshow.
Keep Kalm (at Kalanggaman Island | Leyte).
Nikko | Japan. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil in this UNESCO heritage town.
Counting temples in Bagan | Myanmar.
Chasing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka.
Where to Stay? | Luxury, Backpacking & Glamping
Inaul Festival | Maguindanao. In homage of a weaving tradition
Rishikesh | India. a morning walk inside the Beatle's Ashram
Cairo | Egypt. a surreal moment at the great pyramids of giza

5 Peaks for First-Time Hikers

April 07, 2013

If you're hearing the call of the great outdoors, give in. Great is not often associated with it for nothing. But I have to tell you early on that it's not just about seeing breathtaking views and cool winds caressing your face. There's a lot of physical and mental challenges involved - sore muscles, agonizingly steep and slippery trails, itchy plants, mud, blistering sun and all those discomforts associated with communing with nature.

With these realities, ample preparation must be undertaken to maximize your hiking experience, avoid accidents and to ensure your safe return. Work on your endurance by running, playing other sports, climb several flights of stairs with a backpack, learn about the place you're going so you can bring adequate supplies and equipment, and always let someone know of your whereabouts. Lastly, when you go to the mountains, leave no trace behind. All garbage must go back down with you.   

Now, the fun part. Here are five hiking trails around Luzon to get you started. I've tried each trail and can attest that it will offer a good sweat, minimal panting for the physically prepared and of course - eye-popping views. All can be completed within a day - out and back. 

Taken at the ranch in Mt Ampacao, from here, the summit is 30 minutes away
Taken at the ranch in Mt Ampacao, from here, the summit is 30 minutes away