Product Review: Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove


I'm still a little pumped up from the run I had yesterday. Keeping an active lifestyle is indeed good. But there are some things you need to have to indulge in certain activities.

Like footwear.

139_0010 You see, you can't run without shoes, and that's the first thing I bought when I decided to try running. I'm just so lucky I ended up buying Merrell's Barefoot Trail Glove because it's so comfortable to use. Honestly, I bought it for its looks (and the fact that I can also use it for hikes). It's also something I can use not only for my outdoor activities, it looks good with jeans and casual shorts as well. Aside from that, it doesn't look as big/bulky as other running shoes. I'm so thin and big shoes make me feel like I'm channeling Ronald McDonald.

I was surprised, though, that the good looks of Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove is just an icing on the cake. The real wonder of the pair is really the comfort one gets when using it. Something I didn't realize when I fitted it at Merrell Concept Store in Market! Market! You really have to take it outside to see how it works.

I first wore it for a test run at the gym. But in case you're wondering, no I don't lift weights. The only machine I use at the gym is the treadmill because I need to improve on my cardio. If others complain of their legs and thighs during climbs, I complain of always being out-of-breath.

Anyway, I wore my Barefoot the first time without socks because I forgot to bring one. And after an hour on the treadmill wearing the pair for the first time, I didn't get any blisters. I also think it's meant to be worn without socks. Barefoot is supposed to make you feel barefoot. And without socks, you can feel the air going through the shoes to your feet. The feeling that first time at the gym was really comfortable... and "breezy."

My Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove was put to extreme test during my Buntot Palos adventure with K last Sunday, July 24. The trail was so muddy due to the previous days' rains. There were also parts where I had no choice but to burry my feet in the mud.

Barefoot felt slippery at first, but I realized later on that it's really not. Because it's not designed like other shoes, you have to develop a specific stride that I found out later on was taught in the Barefoot videos.

When treading on rocks, you can actually bend your toes to help with your balance like you'd do when you have no shoes on. Now that's something you can't do with other pairs.

On river crossing, you don't have to worry about wet shoes because water drains out from the side mesh of the shoes and it dries easily when aired.

me on merrell

There's just a catch with hiking on Barefoot, though. It doesn't provide much foot protection from the top and sides because of the thin and soft materials used. You can't actually use it on climbs with class 9 trail or the likes. It's best used for trail running and day hikes to keep your feet comfortable.

I used my Barefoot again yesterday when I went for a run with K and EJ. And I guess it's the one I'd be using on a fun run we're joining on August 11.

*second photo courtesy of K

Pet Grooming: Nail Trimmer


I've been paying a hundred pesos for Princess' nail trim every month. She doesn't like it when we touch her paws so we decided it'd be better to just bring her to the groomer for nail trim. We were afraid we would hurt her if we're the ones who'd clip her nails.

Aside from that, most of her nails are black so it's really hard to see the blood vessels.

I dropped by Ace Hardware yesterday to look for Shoe Goo. They don't carry the brand so I just roamed around a little until I saw this:


I thought I would try giving Princess a nail trim on my own. I immediately tried it on her the minute I got home. She was making funny sounds all throughout the process, cried once (but there was no blood, really), but successfully clipped all her nails in one sitting.

This means I could save a hundred pesos every month. No, make that a hundred pesos more for the climb budget.

Day Hiking (Hidden) Buntot Palos Falls


It was supposed to be just plain mountain climbing but K, my climb buddy, wanted to go "chasing waterfalls" so we went to Buntot Palos (or Hidden Falls, as what the falls is known to the locals) last Sunday, July 24, 2011.


We didn't get a guide anymore cuz we heard the trail was pretty easy to follow. You just have to lookout for this flat rock in the middle of the trail right after passing the second stream (sapa). A little before that rock is the almost invisible trail to the left that goes down to the campsite.

Once you reach the campsite, there's another trail to the left that leads down to the falls area. It was very steep, reminiscent of the steep trail that leads down to Buruwisan Falls. But K seemed to find the descent so easy. I took a video of him at one point.

You have to cross the water in order to get near the falls. The rocks were quite close together but there's this one hop I had to make that I couldn't do. The rock was inclined and a little far from the one I had to hop from and the surface was wet and looked so slippery. I couldn't really trust even the Merrell Barefoot I was wearing with my life. LoL! I was afraid of slipping and falling and getting carried away by the strong current of water. Look at where I stopped in the video and how K laughed.

The Buntot Palos falls was grandiose! It looked even more beautiful than Buruwisan Falls in Mt. Romelo. It has a 40-meter drop that breaks into large rocks forming small cascades before flowing into the deep catch basin. The water was cold, but not as cold as the water of Taytay Falls, making it ideal for swimming. K and I even killed some time in the water with the other four climbers that day together with some kids from Brgy. Balian who was there to bond.

One of the kids named Ronnel took this:


We pitched the tent so we could have a place to leave our stuff while we swim. That, in the picture, was my P550 two-person tent I bought on mark down at Ace Hardware. It's not something sturdy that can shield you from the rain or strong winds, though. It's just good for purposes like a place to change clothes or leave your stuff.

But it was so hot we had lunch under the tress at the mountainside. There's a big, broken pvc pipe at that part and the guide of the other group told me the water coming out of it is potable. True enough, I drank from the refreshingly cold supply and my sensitive stomach didn't as much as get upset. I also cooked my pancit canton using it.

Buntot Palos Falls, which the locals call Hidden Falls, is now in my favorite trips list. Not so strenuous like a real mountain climb, the place was serene and the beauty of the waterfall was really captivating. It's also not so expensive to go to. An ordinary bus ride from Alabang to Sta. Cruz only cost P80. From there, a jeep to Siniloan was P36 and the tricycle ride to Brgy. Balian was only P80 per trip (but we were only charged P70 by a different driver on our way back).

I'd like to commend K for choosing Buntot Palos as our destination yesterday. It was a spur-of-the-moment plan but ended up one of our best hikes together.


Take a look at my Buntot Palos Falls photoset by clicking this link. You can likewise follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

How to get to Buntot Palos Falls:

- ride a Sta. Cruz, Laguna-bound bus and get off at the terminal (P80)
- from the bus terminal in Sta. Cruz, ride a Siniloan-bound jeepney; ask to be dropped of in front of Jollibee or Sts. Peter & Paul Parish Church (P36)
- Hire a tricycle to take you to Buntot Palos Waterfalls (or Hidden Falls) jump-off in Brgy. Balian. (P80)
- at the jump-off, someone with a logbook will approach you, register and pay for the registration (P25)
- if you don't want to get a guide, just follow the cement road, it will soon end and you'll find yourself in a dirt road and eventually the mountain trail
- look for the barely visible path to the left between the second stream and the stone in the middle of the trail
- once at the campsite, descend to the waterfalls using the trail to the left (be careful for the trail is very steep)

Too Much


I have friends in Laurel, Batangas whose houses are just a few meters away from the shores of Taal Lake. I've actually been there twice - summer of 2000 the first time and fiesta season of the following year the second time.

I was in awe to see a Styrofoam box full of such big and live fresh-from-the-fish pond tilapia during my first visit. The box of fishes became our dinner, our pulutan came nighttime, and our lunch the following day.

Needless to say, I looked forward to again indulge in such big tilapia on my second visit. But it was the town fiesta and the locals seemed to focus more on pork and chicken to offer their guests.

It was during that second visit, though, when I experienced going in one of the fish ponds in the middle of the lake. It was owned by one of my friend's cousins and I remember being ecstatic when I saw their little kubo in the middle of the lake. They even let me swam in the fish pond saying it's still safe cuz it's not yet the harvest season. They explained that during harvest seasons, the fishes have already grown big that being attacked by a school of tilapia could actually kill me.

It was the last time I went there, though. I still have communication with my friends from Laurel until now, but invitations to come over became elusive as they got busy with their lives (read: getting married and raising a family).

Anyway, it was such a sad thing that that exact lake which is part of my happy thoughts of Batangas is now home to dying fishes. I guess I won't be looking forward to eating tilapia from there anymore in many years from now.

I just hope people would not only think about making money but also think about the harm they do to the environment in the process.

Building fish ponds had given these people money, but building too much of it had taken their income away.

Now what is that phrase about too much of something? Or is that a song from Spice Girls? Well, even too much love will kill you, right?

Anyway, I hope we support this campaign against irresponsible fish farming. GMA News and Public Affairs is really incomparable (at least locally) when it comes to things like this.



Went to Market! Market! with K last Saturday mainly to buy Princess' Solcoceryl. Her right eye got punctured two Saturdays ago when she played with our cat.

We roamed around the mall first, lingering for so long inside Sandugo planning on buying this and that, agreeing that there should be a shop that rents mountaineering stuff (like tents and bags) for people like us who can't afford these branded, high-priced items.

Wanting to experience how Merrells feel, we headed to the brand's concept store. I tried on Waterpro Maipo, Gauley, Ottawa, and the Barefoot Trail Glove.

The Barefoot Trail Glove provides a different feel. It's so comfortable and you can actually feel the air going through the shoes. Walking around in Barefoot doesn't really feel like being barefoot, but of all the shoes I tried, it's the pair that comes close to wearing no shoes at all.

Aside from running, the store rep said I could also use Barefoot to climb (he even pointed the campaign on their shop window that read "walk, run, hike") so I ended up going home with lesser money.


And because we realized we don't always go to Market! Market! and because the shops near us don't have much mountaineering stuff, we went back to Sandugo to finally buy my bladder. I would've bought a 3-liter bladder but since the Sandugo brand only had 2-liter available (and the 3-liter ones were the very expensive Nalgene), I settled for 2 liters.


We went to R.O.X. at High Street to just look around, and almost forgot about Princess' Solcoceryl. LoL! So we had to go back to the mall to buy from Mercury Drug.

Adele – Rolling in the Deep


Adele's 21 album is a hit. The carrier titled Rolling in the Deep gives me goosebumps whenever. Adele's deep, soulful voice is enough to topple Katy Perry and Lady Gaga from the top of the charts (and it's true with Billboard 200).

First loved Adele when I heard Chasing Pavements from her first album, and to be honest that's the only song I loved from that album. But this sophomore album is different. Almost all of the songs are great even if (or make it especially that) they all talk about her past love; all about her pain and confusion.

But, of course, Rolling in the Deep, is my favorite.



The typhoon with an internatinal name of "MA-ON" has already entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), reports PAGASA at 11:30 AM today, July 17, 2011.

typhoon ineng

The typhoon was given the local name of INENG.

It's not going to stay in the PAR long, though, and it will not affect the sunny weather in most parts of the country.

That's good news. Cuz I'm climbing with two girl friends tomorrow.

The Youngest Surfing Champion


Carissa Moore is the youngest world champion surfing has ever seen. Watch her in action:


Lovin' Tanduay Ice


Two weeks ago, on a Friday, I went to K's around 11:30 PM. After a while we both got hungry and went to Mini Stop. We decided to cap the night with a can each of San Mig light and went home around 2:00 AM.

The result: he overslept and wasn't able to attend his Saturday swimming class.

Last night, I finished my backlogs early and saw him online on Facebook. I told him I'd come over. It was just 10 PM and we ended up at Mini Stop again. He doesn't have Friday classes anyway.

The baked macaroni he got was stale. LoL! He exchanged it for hotdog sandwich. I didn't eat my baked mac anymore even if it tasted okay. I lost my appetite upon knowing some of them at the shelves were stale. And I made a mental note not to buy baked mac from Mini Stop anymore.

I just got doughnuts and C2 and I was a happy camper.

And since he could wake up late on Fridays, we decided to have Tanduay Ice. We sat at the table outside since you can't drink anything alcoholic inside Mini Stop.


Ang sarap ng kwentuhan with Tanduay Ice.

On our second bottle, the guard approached us and said they also don't allow drinking on their tables outside, explaining they don't carry permits for that. We told him we'd just finish the bottle off and go.

Nanay called me around 12:30 AM telling me to go home already. LoL! K didn't wanna go home yet, though, cuz we were so having fun talking about random stuff (mostly about mountains and... mountains). I told him we'd just do it again next Thursday night. His reaction: "Ang tagal pa no'n!"


The Baby Maker


I gave my nephew Juansen a sugar glider for a birthday present March of last year. I bought it from Doc Erich who was selling exotic pets like that, plus hedgehogs, and tarantulas.

The sugar glider is female, and they named her Aji.

Juansen told me he also wanted a male one so I told my dentist to have a male glider reserved for me. Reservation line was so long back then. I was 10th.

Before Christmas 2010, I was able to avail of a male sugar glider and gave it to my nephew. He named him Hiro.

Now they don't know who Hiro is anymore.

IMG0077A IMG0075A

Aji has given birth twice already. One male glider on both times. They are now both the size of Hiro and all look alike, so you won't be able to tell who Hiro is anymore. Aji is the only female. Kawawa naman. Juansen now calls her "baby maker."

The fourth sugar glider wouldn't come out of the "house" the whole time I was in my nephew's house last Monday.

Underwater Volcanoes Near Antarctica Discovered


Nature's surprises doesn't seem to end. It really doesn't stop with the climate change, because we discover more about the earth as time goes by.

Imagine discovering a string of underwater volcanoes near Antarctica rising up to 3,000 meters above the ocean floor just recently?

Read more about them volcanoes here.

7.1-Magnitude Earthquake Hit Japan's Northeastern Coast, July 10, 2011


A tsunami warning was again prompted for the Northeastern coastal part of Japan as a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit that part of the country on Sunday morning July 10, 2011, around 9:57 AM.

It was the same area devastated by tsunami last March 11 when an 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit the coastal area.

Residents were advised to evacuate as the 7.1-magnitude quake felt earlier could generate a tsunami.

They surely wouldn't want the March 11 tragedy to repeat itself.



This is the president of my country:


And they say a picture paints a thousand words.

They say a nearly empty desk is a sign of laziness. But his ashtray's not empty, no?


Getting Lost in Mt. Kalisungan


Before my climb buddy started school last month, we decided to climb again. Dayhike destinations are already becoming rare, though, cuz we have already climbed the ones near Manila. If we could avoid it, though, we really wouldn't go to Mt. Kalisungan without a group. Holdups and getting lost stories in the jump off were so all over the internet and could we avoid that place, we would choose a different destination.

But we couldn't.


So last June 8, 2011, K and I braved the bad weather and went to Calauan, Laguna to climb Mt. Kalisungan. We boarded a Sta. Cruz-bound bus in Alabang and told the conductor to drop us off at the Duck Junction in Victoria, Laguna. He said okay so all the while, we thought he knew where the place is. Good thing that at one point, K decided to ask him again if we're still far from the Duck Junction. A man sitting across the aisle overheard us and said we're already past the said junction. It was only then that the conductor said he knew Victoria but didn't know exactly where the Duck Junction was. Okay so he was planning to drop us off at the boundary of Victoria and the next town? Good grief!

We got off the bus and stopped a passing trike. The trike driver knew where the Duck Junction was and even agreed to take us to Barangay Lamot 2. There are actually two jump-offs you can choose from to climb up Mt. Kalisungan: Erais Farm and Field of Faith Sanctuary. Erais Farm has a very established but steeper trail, while Field of Faith has "forky" but moderate trail.

It would be rational to think that first timers on this mountain who wouldn't want to shell out cash for a guide would choose Erais Farm. But mind you, there's an infamous ex-convict residing there, well-known for terrifying climbers (or so the internet says). There are also stories of hold-ups in Erais that's why we shied away from using that jump-off.

So we chose the "forky trail" of Field of Faith Sanctuary located in Barangay Lamot 2. We'd rather get lost (at least you could retrace your way back) than give our stuff to "charity."

The barangay hall/registration area of Barangay Lamot 2 is just in front of the cement road leading to Faith Chapel. There was no registration fee but they would ask for donations. No one in there, though, could give us any idea at where to turn at the road fork.

field of faith sanctuary

We thought only common sense would be enough to lead us to the right trail but we were amazed at how the trail split. First one was at the end of the cement road, which was in front of the Faith Chapel, where we were faced with three paths. We saw a gardener who was probably in his early twenties, and asked about which path we should take for Mt. Kalisungan. He pointed us to the right and we gladly thanked him. The trail split again into three after a while, and to three again after quite sometime.

We ended up in a house full of kids who called their Lola when we started asking. The lola, though, didn't know about the mountain we were talking about even if we showed her the pictures we printed out from the internet. She pointed us to another house which was so far from hers, and likewise, people from that other house didn't even know where Mt. Kalisungan was. We dropped names like Mt. Kalisungan, Mt. Calauan, and Mt. Nagcarlan – the alternative names of the mountain according to Pinoy Mountaineer – but they were clueless and looked at us like we were crazy for wanting to climb up a mountain on a rainy day.

You see, it rained the minute we left the barangay hall. I had no poncho cuz I gave it to Christian (my little guide in Mt. Talamitam) and Ace Hardware ran out-of-stock of ponchos when I went there the previous night. K, though, had on his jacket which he thought was waterproof but was actually not, he ended up using his big yellow raincoat when he realized he's getting wet to the skin.

A teenager from the second house pointed us to a trail that would lead us to another house where we could ask. At that point, we were already thinking of retracing our steps to take a different trail from the first fork at the end of the cement road, but decided to go to the third house first. And it was a good thing because the old couple living there knew the mountain we're talking about.

The old man, perhaps in his late 60s (I'm no good at telling age but he really looked old), whose name was Ben, looked at the pictures we brought. He said that the picture from Pinoy Mountaineer labeled Mt. Kalisungan and the summit picture didn't go together. According to him, the labeled picture was a mountain they own, and the summit picture belong to the other mountain in the opposite side.

But the most important thing was, Tatay Ben (short for Benigno) decided to bring us to the point of the trail where we "wouldn't get lost" anymore. I was so amazed at how Tatay Ben still walked so fast despite his old age. I silently wished I'd be as strong as he when I get old. The old man wouldn't accept anything from us. Not money, not sandwiches. He said he was only happy to help, and we're the second lost mountaineers he encountered. We couldn't thank him enough for his kindness.

The wind and rain got harder as we went higher up Mt. Kalisungan. I had to put my cameras inside a Ziploc to keep them dry. And that was the second time I wished I had a waterproof camera (the first one was when it rained while I was watching the Pasayahan sa Lucena parade).

k after lunch

It was 12:30 PM when we reached this big tree and decided to stop by for lunch. The tree's leaves and branches somehow shielded us from the rain. I had sandwiches and pouched pork and beans while K still had to cook his pancit canton. None of us brought rice cuz it's really heavy on the bag. We also took that time to call home using my PLDT Landline Plus that has been so useful when I go out-of-town.

We only remained there for half an hour and carried on with the hike. The trail still split numerous times. We ended up in a kaingin at one point so we went back to the last fork and went the other way. We were already so high up when we stumbled into a sloped clearing that looked like another kaingin with no crops. Beyond the clearing was a wall of cogon grass that had no opening. We wouldn't wanna go back again because that would mean going two road forks back. We just decided to go through the cogon wall and make our own way.

It wasn't an easy task, what with the strong wind and rain making our ordeal with the taller-than-us cogon more difficult. After about 30 minutes of finding our way through the field of sharp-edged grasses, we caught sight of the summit. Soon after that, we stumbled upon the main trail going up. We almost shouted with relief.

K almost gave up before we found the right trail. More than once did he talk about going back. But I couldn't show negativity when my buddy showed it first so even if I felt like going back myself, I kept on telling K that we're on the right track (while making our own trail through the field of cogon grass LoL!).

But, at least, our efforts paid off.

The white cross near the summit was still standing while we were approaching. But as soon as we got near it, the cross gave to the force of the wind.

We stopped for a while to take some pics and to admire the beauty of the 360-degree view of Laguna and nearby towns. The seven lakes of San Pablo were really visible. But remaining inactive in the middle of strong wind and rain made us shiver. It was really cold!

We immediately went to the summit so we could finish it off and head back. We summited Mt. Kalisungan at 3:20 PM of June 8, 2011. A piece of wood sticking up from the ground was what remained of the wooden cross at the summit. The wood was adorned with a piece of worn-out black shirt (probably from a fellow mountaineer). We took pictures by the wood just the same.

k and i

Aside from the seven lakes of San Pablo, Mt. Makiling was also visible from the summit as well as Mt. Cristobal and Mt. Banahaw.

Having not climbed Mt. Makiling yet, K had his pic taken with Mt. Makiling in the background. LoL!

We headed back down after the photo-op. We were already midway down when I realized we didn't have a pic at the summit together. Rough weather really make you forget about things. Oh well, it was too late to go back and we were in a hurry not to let the dark catch us in the mountain.

It was a very smooth descent since we used the Erais Farm trail. We would have wanted to drop by Tatay Ben's place on our way down but we couldn't find the trail we used in going up anymore. Well, that's unless we go through the cogon field again. But that's already insane.

We had this sort of fear of Erais Farm due to what we read on the internet. And somehow, the meanness of the place was confirmed when while walking the tree-lined path of the farm, a man going our way eyed us like he's mad. We greeted the usual magandang hapon but he just eyed us like we're some sort of unwanted persons around.

erais farm

Oh well, that's what you get when you pass through a private property unannounced.

People of Lamot should really develop the trail at the Field of Faith Sanctuary (and please make directional signs like the ones in Pico de Loro). After all, that's where the barangay hall/registration area is. I'm sure more mountaineers would frequent Mt. Kalisungan if (1) the trails are established you won't need a guide anymore; and (2) there are no more encounter with mean individuals and hold-up at the jump-off stories being told.

Click here for more of our Mt. Kalisungan photos.

How to get to Mt. Kalisungan:

- ride a Sta. Cruz, Laguna-bound bus and drop off at the Duck Junction in Victoria (*P91)
- hire a trike to take you to the barangay hall of Barangay Lamot 2 or, if you brave it, to Erais Farm (*P15)
- register at barangay hall. no fixed reg fee but they ask for donations; you can also ask the officials for a guide if you want one

* fare prices indicated are as of June 2011


Below is a collection of videos I took during our Mt. Kalisungan climb:

Don't forget to follow Profound Bliss on Facebok and Twitter.

Coca-Cola Glasses are Back at McDo


The Coca-Cola glass is back at McDonald's with an all-new look!

coke mcdo

Aren't they cute?

Starting today, July 2, get these limited edition glasses by adding P25.00 to any McDonald's Extra Value Meal. Colors include Blue, Purple, Green, Charcoal, Pink, and Lime.

This promo is available only for a limited time so go to your favorite McDonald's branch or order thru McDelivery – 8-MCDO (8-6236) or – to get your own Coca-Cola glass.

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