Friday, 5 July 2019

Hiking to the Mist-Veiled Peak of Mount Pha Daeng | Nong Khiaw, Laos

July 05, 2019


At the foot of Mount Pha Daeng, a sign reads “Unexploded Bombs, Still in this Area. Dangerous!” remains a chilling reminder of the horrors of the Vietnam War. Collectively unmindful of the warning, we reckoned every bomb ordnance buried along the trail stretching to a radius of a few kilometers, were all swept clean already. Laos—by the way—is a vastly different nation now compared to what I first read in history books.


Thursday, 4 July 2019

Dipping (sans Brooke Shields) in the Blue Lagoon of Datu Odin Sinsuat | Maguindanao

July 04, 2019


Despite expecting Maguindanao's blue lagoon to be concealed deep in the forest reachable by at least an hour or two of trekking, I still expected a good ole surprise. When I stepped out of our van and saw a few kids dripping wet, I simply figured they came frolicking from a nearby stream. Our friend Jeff told us “I think these kids came from the lagoon”. I was already standing at the mouth of a wide trail on the elbow of the Shariff Aguak Road when I heard him. “You mean, the lagoon is just nearby?” Claire asked. Jeff’s reply sounded like music to my ears—as I was in no mood for a lengthy hiking activity that day— “just less than 200 meters ahead”.


Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Calayan Island | When Coming Back Beckons a Sweet Hereafter Feels

July 02, 2019


Not missing the blustery 7-hour lampitaw ride of my first journey here, I stepped out of the plane—moments after it made a historic first landing on the island—buoyed by a feeling akin to rekindling a tryst with a former lover. Calayan Island has that effect on me. It could be because last time, the place served as a background to my memorable hilltop and beachside frolics with my then girlfriend.