Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human

Posts tagged “Mt. Talamitam

C22 – Talamitam Birthday Climb (Cholesterol-Rich Climb)

March 25, 2012

On my 31st birthday, I decided to celebrate it on a mountain (the first time I’ll be celebrating it this way).  We climbed Mt. Talamitam in Nasugbu, Batangas.

For this climb, several of my mountaineering friends were able to join me – Ella, Oyet, Mumai, Marc, Jem, Badz, Eman, Erickson, Felix and Ni Hao (aka Jann Cris).

Me and my cake.

Most of us met in Baclaran and rode a bus bound for Nasugbu.  Ni Hao joined us in Cavite while Felix, Marc and Mumai joined us in the jumpoff.

Felix arrived first in the jumpoff, then most of us.  We waited in the baranggay waiting area for Mumai and Marc.





Felix while waiting (one of the few instances he is smiling for a photo) * The rest of the gang in the waiting area.

Erickson, Oyet and Ni Hao – waiting.

While waiting, we ate the chocolate Oyet brought.  When Mumai and Marc arrived, we started on our way up the mountain.  I was playing my “Sunday Special” playlist (old Tagalog songs) and one of the locals commented that the song doesn’t suit us (us, being young or young-looking).  We were stopped by someone who introduced himself as the leader of the caretaker of the mountain and he said we are required to have a guide, yada yada yada, blah blah blah.

We secured a guide and commenced climbing.  It was hot, very hot.  And since this was my first time climbing after quite sometime (my last climb before this was February), I was not in a very good condition for climbing.  Same thing with my companions, lots of rest and a slow pace in an otherwise easy mountain.

Ella, resting her body and her lungs.

Cows grazing, waiting for their time before becoming beef.

We came to an open area that is part farm (and grazing area for cows) and part reforestation area.  There, dark clouds ominously formed but the didn’t dissipate the heat.  Several minutes rest before pushing forward.

Clouds forming (of course this was edited to bring out the clouds’ details).

The mountain (especially near the top) has no tree cover and the vegetation are mostly grass, shrubs, some bamboo and a few young trees.

The original plan was to have lunch in the summit but due to our slow pace, we were much delayed and decided to have lunch on an open space before the final push for the summit.  I brought three crispy pata (fried pork legs) and everyone had a hearty meal.  We also ate the cake that my good friend Felix brought for me.



While waiting for lunch * Reheating our lunch.


Me and mini- me (shot by Felix)* Our food

The cake before being eaten (left) * After (right) where mini-me was decapitated, arms torn, and foot cut off.

After lunch and rest, we continued our push for the summit.  And if began to rain!  Having lunch before pushing for the summit was a good and fortunate call for us.  Otherwise, we would be reheating the food in the rain.

The rain continued pouring down but we have to continue going up.  Seems like all birthday climbs I’ve been to are rained upon.  I just look on this as blessings from above.

We were all very very wet but we all manage to get to the summit.  The rain was still pouring but we were still smiling.  The feeling of being drenched in the rain is refreshing, a feeling I haven’t felt for a very long time.  I think the last time it happened was when I was still in school, probably elementary school.

Mac and Mumai on our final push for the summit.

Our group at the summit – wet and cold but all smiles.

Badz and Jem, after the rain.

When the rain let up a little, we decided to start descending and the sky opened up.  The wind blew the clouds away and the summit became free from clouds and fog.  We could see the mountain, farmlands and the nearby Mt. Batulao, such a sight!






.Our ascent was very very hot and humid but the trail was good.  On our descent, the temperature was quite good but trail became very muddy.  On reaching the end of the farm/reforestation area, some of us (including me) got a little lost and descended via different trail which still led to the jumpoff but on a longer route.

Descent from the summit.

A water spillway connected to the river.

On reaching the jumpoff, we looked for a place to clean ourselves.  We also had some buko (young coconut) while resting.  While waiting for everyone to finish (there was only two area for showering and the water had to be brought in from another house), Ella had a conversation with a storekeeper she just met where here marriage life was the topic.  As a result of such openness to the storekeeper, she was able to have her dress (yes a dress!) ironed for free.

Eman, fresh and clean after all the dust and mud of the mountain.

Resting while Bro. Something (forgot his name) was talking.


It was dark when we left the area to go to Tagaytay for dinner.  Tagaytay is famous for bulalo so we went to a place overlooking the Taal lake to have dinner (the overlooking place of course is wasted since it was already dark and what can be seen is just darkness).

We had bulalo in three forms – original, sinigang and bulalo steak plus crispy tawilis and perhaps other food.  Everyone was full with the food and with the cholesterol from lunch and dinner.

Dinner time (Me, Eman and Jem). * Dinner conversation.

We were all supposed to wear something formal for dinner but only Ella, Mumai and Oyet brought their dress while the rest of us had casual clothes on.

Lovely ladies (Oyet, Ella and Mumai).

All of us were tired and sleepy after a full day and we also needed time to digest the cholesterol from the crispy pata and bulalo.

It was around 8 or so when we finally rode a bus home (with Eman immediately falling asleep and snoring loudly on sitting in the bus).

Such a wonderful birthday celebration but probably next year, I’ll have my celebration on the beach for a change.

Me and mini-me (shot by Felix).


Random Photo: Mordor!

Fuji X10 (Processed in Lightroom 4)

This picture is the same one as the one on the left (dramatic skies over Mt. Batulao) but I reprocessed it in Lightroom.  I used a graduated filter on the top portion (decrease exposure, increase temperature and contrast, tint red, increase saturation).

Since the picture was shot in JPEG (in X10’s EXR mode) there was a loss in quality in post-processing and tinting, seen as the pink color on the top middle portion (looks like watercolor).

The picture is supposed to be Mordor as seen from the Shire.

The New Love of My Life, Fjona – the Fuji X10

My Fuji X10 (with a bowl of coffee) shot by Jason with Wynona (his Canon 1100D) before Wynona took a dive in the sea.

When I created this blog, I didn’t plan on writing extensive reviews of photographic gears (a little note here and there perhaps).  However, I sort of changed my mind because I’m very very impressed with my Fuji X10.  It’s not perfect but it still amazes me a month after I’ve been using it most of the time.

I’ve been wanting to get a Fuji X10 since late last year, after I’ve read many reviewers praising it (and X100).  However, at the time, I find that it was expensive and is not yet available here in the Philippines at the time.  It was on my Christmas list.

In January, my Canon 60D got broken by waves splashing all over it so I decided to buy a Fuji X10 (already available here at the time).  It was a decision I don’t regret, even if the price is quite high (more expensive than Canon 1100D or some m4/3 cameras).

Bad things first, well, there’s the most talked about white orbs.  I’ve managed to get it only once in Tondol.  It’s probably present in some of my other pictures but I didn’t notice it or it was not very bothersome.

White orbs on the sun (in Tondol Beach).

I usually use EXR (most of the time), C1 (I’ve set macro on C1), Adv. and Aperture priority most of the time and I find that they are rather far apart in the exposure mode dial but no biggie.

I’ve also knocked the exposure compensation dial several times (ok not while handling but while putting it or pulling it out of the drybag that I use to carry it).

Manual focus is a bitch (I’ve used it only once and later just tried and tried with the autofocus).  Autofocus is not as fast as a DSLR (to be expected).  Probably my biggest complaint (though not a dealbreaker) is that I can’t set white balance and Velvia film simulation while in EXR mode.  RAW is also not available in EXR and Adv. modes but this is not a big problem since the JPEGs can take quite an abuse from post-processing without losing much image quality.

Now on to the positives:

It takes beautiful pictures!!!  The colors (esp. in Velvia mode) are amazing!!!  High ISO pictures are good (for a small sensor camera, but for web purposes are quite sufficient)!  Yes, the extra exclamations are necessary.

Previously, on climbs or other trips, I’d take my DSLR (Canon 60D at the time) with the kit lens (for climbs) or with the kit lens, macro lens and ultrawide lens for beach trips.  Lately, I just take the X10 and Panasonic waterproof camera with me on trips.  So much smaller and I find that I don’t miss opportunities for good photos and my pack is so much lighter.  I also find that its colors are better than Canon (ok shooting raw creates countless color adjustment possibilities but it’s faster with the base colors of Fuji).

I think the biggest thing that I like with the Fuji X10 (other than it’s relatively small size compared to a DSLR) is it’s very simple to use.  Just set to EXR (for almost all scenarios) and just focus on composition and timing and press the shutter button.  Less time spent on fiddling with buttons, dials and adjustments, more time spent on focusing on the scene.  As a result, I think I’ve come out with better pictures than I did when using a DSLR (esp. the DSLR with a kit lens attached).

Now on to the pictures (click the picture for a larger file that opens in a new tab).  All pictures are post-processed (which is what I now do whether shot from the X10, 7D or with the waterproof cam).


Diamond (My Officemate) * Me

Group Shots:

Group shot in Tondol Beach







Office Merienda Break







 Macro and Close Ups:

Orange Flower * Seeds/Flower * Barbwire

Landscapes and Seascapes:

Blue Skies Over Emerald Sea (Tondol Beach)







A View of Mordor from the Shire (Mt. Batulao seen from Mt. Talamitam)






Cory Island * Talipanan Beach


Bamboo * Hot Air Balloon Festival

Low-Light (No Flash):

Choosing a Meal (Ella) * Tanggero (Tem)

From the above pics, I’m sure you get the idea of what the camera can do.  It would be great for street and documentary photography but it is not in my line so no samples for that.

Fuji X10 is not perfect (far from it) but it has good image quality and combine this with the small size, retro good looks (yeah I dig that) and relatively simplicity in using (if left to EXR most of the time), it is a good value for the price.  I always carry it with me and I hope to take more beautiful photos with it.

Random Photo: Dramatic Skies Over Mt. Batulao

Fuji X10.

This shot was taken from Mt. Talamitam last Sunday.  It just finished raining on Mt. Talamitam and the rain clouds breaking over Mt. Batulao provides dramatic skies over one of my favorite mountains.  The clouds are darker (more grayish in color) but I changed its color (through graduated filter) to a slighter warmer tone since the gray color shows some unattractive colors (random rainbow-like) on different parts of the clouds.

Random Photo: Orange Flowers

Fuji X10 in Super Macro Mode.

These are two pictures of orange flowers taken last Sunday (birthday climb in Talamitam). They are from the same plant (same stem in fact) but I noticed that they have different parts.  I guess one (picture above) is the stamen (anther on a filament) representing the male part of the flower and the other (picture below) is the stigma representing the female part.  Of course I could be wrong.


My Birthday Cake

My birthday cake.

It was a gift from my friend Felix (thank you, thank you!) which he brought when we climbed Mt. Talamitam yesterday (yes, he brought it up the mountain).  I really love it.  It’s me on a mountain.  Reminds me of the Cristobal traverse we did wherein we had to slide down the muddy mountain (at night) because it was very very slippery.

I wish I could bring home the little Elmer but it was made of fondant so it will spoil or be eaten by ants so we just ate it piece by piece.