Thursday, October 19, 2017

Date-Worthy Ba?: Hiking For Two at Mt. Hapunang Banoi

One boring afternoon in 2011 gave birth to the blog you're reading today. A 15-year-old high school student on her sembreak , I thought it was a cool idea to start a blog called "The Diary of a Teenage Queen". (I still wonder why friends never called me out on the embarrassing blog title!)

I named it a diary to connect with people with similar interests, and jot down what I learned as I grew up. The blog is a journal—not just for me, but also for readers—to share about life with all its beautiful victories and heartaches, lessons and MMK episodes, plus everything in between.

And speaking of life and growing up, one area where I’ve matured in is love. After an abusive, toxic relationship, it took me over a year to find myself and trust again. But love—the patient, unselfish kind—finds you when you're not looking. I’m grateful I found Josh, and am very excited to go through all the little ups, downs, and surprises life has for us!

So to cut the super long intro short, I'm starting this segment called His and Hersh, where Josh and I share date tips for Filipino couples. We’re kicking off the segment with a post on our first-ever hiking trip together!


Hershey: Okay, to be honest, WE HAD NO ITINERARY. After blogging about being drained at work because of my inability to say no, I realized I wanted (read: needed) a break. So come Friday night, I nudged Josh, saying, "Let's go to Wawa Dam in Rizal tomorrow". Was I expecting a yes? Not really. But was I surprised at his answer! He said, "Sure. Let's go!"

Josh: Hershey refreshes herself when she visits water, whether seas or lakes. For this trip, she just wanted to show me around Wawa Dam and relax. But since I was the type of guy who crams as much as I could in a day, I suggested climbing one of the nearby mountains as well. Though she was quite reluctant to, we finally settled on Hapunang-Banoi, a peak that didn’t seem too hard for our first hike together. We also debated if we should leave QC at 4AM, but since I was a sleepyhead, we settled on leaving after sunrise.

Here’s how we got to Mt. Hapunang-Banoi:

6AM-7:30AM (about 1.5 hours):
From Cubao, we took the van/FX going to Rodriguez, Rizal, getting down at Eastwood (the village, not the mall!)

7:30AM-8AM (about 30 minutes):
From Eastwood, we took a tricycle to Barangay Wawa, the jump off point for the mountain. Here, we registered with the DENR and got a guide, who prayed for our hike and gave a short talk on climbing safety.

About Mt. Hapunang-Banoi

Mt. Hapunang-Banoi stands at a humble 517 meters above sea level. The peak is rated at 4/9 difficulty, a bit harder than Mt. Pamitinan and other nearby peaks.

The mountain actually takes its name from the eagles who stop by for lunch and afternoon tea! Hapunang-Banoi used to have a lot of monkeys for eagles to snack on. Once in a while, lucky hikers catch a glimpse of the majestic bird high in the sky, scouting around for lunch.

Hapunang-Banoi is home to people too! The locals used to burn down the forest, kaingin-style, to grow crops, but guide climbers for income nowadays. However, people still grow vegetables and fruits in the lower parts. We found their avocados very yummy and cheap!

The Hike

Our tour guide told us we needed gloves because of the rock climbing to reach the summit. We bought gloves at the stalls across the DENR Office at around 50-100 pesos a pair.

The hike started with a 15-minute walk through the village. We passed by a bridge that spanned Wawa river, and walked in the shade of trees towering over the footpath.

Hershey: Forty minutes into the hike, I realized I was—gasp—on the first day of my period! I was a bit prepared for it (always trust your instincts!) but was still in extreme pain because of dysmenorrhea. Josh kept asking if I wanted to hike some other time, but I insisted that we keep climbing, since we had already covered a fourth of the trail. THAT WAS A REALLY BAD IDEA.

Josh: The ascent from the base of the mountain was steep, and Hershey needed a break. We passed time watching rock climbers getting their adrenalin fix at a tall rock face, rappelling up and down. Below, pizza fails to cheer up the girl on her raging period. HEHEHE.

Hershey: I usually put hot compress over my puson to ease the cramps, but since we were in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, I had to push myself to keep walking. By 9:30, we got to a hut where vendors sold food and refreshments. Josh asked for hot water in a cup to ease my pain.

Oh, Korina Sanchez and Mar Roxas were chilling in the same area too. HAHA!

Josh: This was at the junction between Mt. Pamitinan and Hapunang-Banoi. The local guides told us that the celebrity couple was climbing both mountains that day. They arrived really early, bringing a drone to document their hike. Looks like we weren’t the only couple on the mountain that day!

Hershey: Our guide wasn't kidding when he said the climb would involve A LOT of rock climbing. I've been to Mt. Pamitinan before, and I think Mt. Hapunang Banoi was far more difficult (though perhaps my dysmenorrhea played a huge factor in this, HAHA).

Josh: Overall, the steep parts of the climb are at the base and at the summit. The middle part after the junction is more of a stroll from one bamboo grove to another, with lots of rocky trails to contend with, but not much struggling uphill. Towards the summit, the trail disappears into a series of rock cliffs and formations. We really had to rely on the guide to know where to go.

Hershey: Oh, just me casually crying in the middle of the climb while Josh takes my most unattractive photos. (HAHA #ForeverADramaQueen!)

Hershey: After almost four hours, which felt like forever, we finally made it to the top! There are several perfect photo-op spots at Mt. Hapunang Banoi. Here’s the first one.

Hershey: And here’s the second!

Josh: The almost-360 degree view at the summit was simply magnificent. It was my first time to see the Sierra Madre mountain range, and the endless green-and-blue of forest and sky was breathtaking.

Hershey: This is what really happens in between photos: me crying from the pain and fear of heights, and Josh assuring me everything will be all right (and laughing because a grown woman is crying in front of him, 517 meters above sea level).

Hershey: I found the descent far more difficult. It began to rain really hard after we started down the mountain, so we were stuck in one place for fifteen minutes, cold and wet.

Josh: By some stroke of luck, it started pouring just before we arrived at the junction, where we sought refuge under the leaky tarps. After the rain let off a bit, we got back on the trail. This time, there were no more rocks to contend with. Instead, everything was muddy and slippery, so we took our time heading downhill.

Hershey: Finally, after four hours, we were back safe and sound. We also walked to Wawa Dam so I could show Josh where I went soul-searching a year before :P #Drama #ImSuchAWriter HAHAHA!

During summers, people flock to Wawa Dam to picnic and rent rafts to paddle upstream. But during rainy season, the rushing water is all you can hear. We headed back to take a shower and have dinner near DENR before commuting home.

Full Itinerary and expenses

6AM - Depart QC, take FX to Rodriguez, Rizal. (You can also take public transpo from Commonwealth and Ortigas areas)
7:30AM - Arrive at Eastwood Village, Rizal. Depart for Barangay Wawa via tricycle
8AM - Arrive at Brgy Wawa, register at DENR and get guide
8:30AM - Begin climb
9:30AM - Arrive at junction of Mt. Hapunang-Banoi and Mt. Pamitinan
12PM - Arrive at summit of Mt. Hapunang-Banoi. Lunch, photo op, rest, begin descent
5PM - Arrive at DENR, sign out, visit Wawa Dam, shower, have dinner
6PM - Depart for QC
8PM - Arrive at QC


Transportation: 50 Pesos for the FX ride and 60 Pesos for the Tricycle ride (special rate). Total is 110 Php for a round trip from Cubao.
Equipment: 50-100 Pesos for a pair of gloves.
Guide: 500 Pesos minimum. You can give more if you want! A guide is good for 4-5 pax.
Registration: 100 Pesos per person.
Food: Just bring a packed lunch!

The total per person is around 500 Pesos only!

Date-Worthy ba?

Hershey: If your girlfriend isn't on her period, YES! Kidding aside, I had fun with Josh! This was one mountain we conquered together, literally. It was the first time he saw me cry in pain, and he was very patient and helpful all throughout the hike. It was a bonding experience we've never had before. LOL.

Josh: I second Hershey’s comment!   

Tips for Couples / Lessons We Learned

1. Wear the right shoes.

Hershey: Because everything was unplanned, I wore the wrong shoes. Just a tip: DO NOT HIKE IN RUNNING SHOES! It was raining cats and dogs, and the mud was slippery, which made it difficult to descend. It's much better to invest in legit hiking gear that gives more traction. I’d recommend wearing open-toe sandals—the mountain was very steep so my toenails kept pressing against the tip of my shoes. Ouch!

2. Make sure you're physically ready.

Josh: We really wish we had prepared for this hike beforehand! Cardio is key in hiking, so try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking more in general, and integrating exercise into everyday routine. Some people have better cardio than others, so if you need to play catch up, get some exercise going before hiking.

3. During rainy season, start early to avoid the thunderstorms.

Josh: It’s best to start hiking early in the morning (around 5 or 6AM) to avoid the sun and rain. During rainy season, aim to finish the hike early to avoid the daily thunderstorms that roll around the Sierra Madre in the afternoon. For our climb, it started pouring by 1PM, so we spent a lot of time stuck in the rain and getting soaked.

4. Always be patient with each other.

Hershey: Patience is important in every relationship. I really appreciated how understanding Josh was towards me during the hike. Instead of getting upset about my complaints during the hike, he helped me climb steep parts and even offered to carry my bag.

6. Women are damn strong!

Hershey: After this experience, I realized just how strong and determined women are. I also look up to female athletes who experience period pain every month but still manage to train and compete regularly! RESPECT!

Are you planning to hike a local mountain soon? Let us know all about it in the comments section below! Don't forget to like Hey Hershey Blog on Facebook and follow @heyhershey on Instagram! 

Happy hiking,

Josh and Hershey

Sunday, October 15, 2017

You Can Eat Unlimited Samgyeopsal For Only 365 Pesos at This Restaurant in Tomas Morato!

Our office's resident K-Pop girl just came back from her trip to Korea, and guess what she gave us as pasalubong? A cute pair of metal chopsticks!!! YASSSS.

We were so excited to use them! Right after work, we took a trike to Tomas Morato to eat at a Korean restaurant (Haha! Ang bibibbo!).

We ended up at OGANE, a no-frills restaurant that offers unli-samgyeopsal for only PHP 365.

The place isn't anything fancy. It's packed with lots of people and it can even get quite warm inside—but hey, they offer authentic Korean food at a really affordable price, and that's what matters, right?

Their meat is eat-all-you-can, but their side dishes aren't. However, you can have each plate refilled up to two times—so it's a side dish party, still!

*happy dancing*

I cannot grill food to save my life, so it's a good thing my officemates, Mikka and Arbie, did the cooking while I did most of the, er, eating. 

In this photo you'll see Mikka in her natural habitat :P

YAY!!!! EGGS!! 

Okay, so now I'm craving Korean food. </3


- Their food is really good (and true to their promise, pretty legit!)
- Staff are very friendly
- Prices are super affordable!


- Place can be packed with people, so you might have to wait
- Parking can be difficult, so it's much better to commute going there
- It can get a bit warm inside from all the grilling

Do I recommend this place? YES! 
It's the perfect go-to for when you need a quick, fuss-free samgyeopsal fix.

OGANE Restaurant

Facebook: OGANE Restaurant
Addres: 303 Tomas Morato Avenue, 
Barangay South Triangle Quezon City, Philippines

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

LOOK: There's a New Cream Silk Conditioner That's Customized for Us Red Heads!

Sulfate-free conditioner is every redhead’s best friend! And it’s not just for redheads, but for anyone with colored hair! 
That's why I'm really happy there's Color Protect, one of the seven conditioners released by Cream Silk to cater to every Modern Filipina's needs. With more than 30 years of hair care expertise, Cream Silk has developed its Advanced Hair Reborn Technology that is designed to address any hair problem!
Along with Color Protect, the new Cream Silk range also has Standout Straight, Hair Fall Defense, Damage Control, Stunning Shine, Dry Rescue, and Dandruff-free. Really now, there's a customized solution just for you! Take this hair profiler test to find out which one.
I'm also happy about Cream Silk's fabulous new look, where they feature Cream Silk ambassadors who embody who the Modern Filipina is. My Cream Silk conditioner of choice, Color Protect, features Rachelle Ann Go, a Broadway star I look up to very much.
Speaking in behalf of every red head, I am just very happy there's finally a mainstream sulfate-free conditioner we can easily get our hands on. Yay! Way to go, Cream Silk! #PowerToTransform

*This is a sponsored post for Cream Silk. I received compensation in exchange for writing this review.  Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Public Journal: "I Haven't Been Saying 'No' More Often"

Have you ever been overwhelmed with so much workload, that all you can do is stare into nothingness and feel paralyzed? No, it's not an exaggeration. Work paralysis is a real thing, you guys, and it can get pretty depressing.

I've been sleeping no earlier than 4:00 AM the past few nights, trying my best to juggle 4 jobs. As I write this, I still have 7 pending articles due for submission before sunrise. I have around 10 more packages to shoot for the blog, around 30+ e-mails to read (and unfortunately, *actually* have to reply to), and a dozen more people to meet up with for work. My list of things to do can go on and on, and while I'm incredibly grateful for work, I can't help but feel exhausted.


Worn out.


I've been feeling unhappy—not just about work, but about myself. Multi-tasking has its own disadvantages, and it has greatly affected my performance. I've been feeling frustrated because I haven't been happy with my outputs the past few weeks. There's nothing more I hate than sending in half-baked work and knowing I can do better. Three days ago, I finally opened up on Instagram about struggling with perfectionism, and God knows how this week has taken a toll on me.

But after hours of reflecting, trying to find out why I've been feeling so sad and tired, I finally got to pinpoint the root cause of all this sobbing in bed, and it's as simple as this—

I haven't been saying 'no' more often.

I grew up being a 'yes' girl. A people-pleaser. A person you can always count on, even at the last minute (or at least I try to be one).

"Hey Hersh, can you go to this event?"

"Can you work on this for me?"

"Are you up for this?"
"Why not?"

While that's not necessarily a bad thing, saying 'yes' to every. single. opportunity. that knocks on your door still isn't healthy.

Because sometimes, a 'yes' to something can also mean a 'no' to more important things in life. 

Case in point—I said yes to a lot of work due this week (#RaketIsLife pa more!!), so I eventually ended up saying no to taking care of myself (I haven't been eating right and sleeping right), and even to making time for the people I love (I had to turn down dinner dates with friends and family just so I can finish all the freelance work I had already signed up for).

And because I've already made a commitment before even weighing things out, I don't have time for the things that really matter to me. Instead of consistently writing for my blog (something I've always wanted to do but don't have time for), or researching on which grad school to go to next year (whatever happened to, "I'll do this tonight when I get home, promise!"?), or Googling opportunities I can possibly grab to spend a year or two in my ultimate dream city, New York (this has been on my to-do list for two years now), or even resting, all I do in my free time is work, work, work (and occasionally go on bathroom breaks in between).

So yes, there we have it—The Curious Case on Why I've Been Feeling Shitty All Week Long has been S-O-L-V-E-D!

But we all know that identifying the problem is one thing, but actually working on it is another.

Next month, I'll start with a blank slate and vow to get my priorities straight. More importantly, I promise to finally have the courage to say 'no' to certain opportunities, so that I can say 'yes' to far greater things, to things that really matter.


I woke up this rainy morning to a WhatsApp message that said, "Walang pasok!". I didn't know work suspensions were a thing, but nonetheless, I was incredibly grateful. I went to bed at 5AM the last night, and was already feeling terrible the moment I woke up. I eventually devoted the whole day to resting and to catching up with my backlogs!

Thank you, universe, for this unexpected gift. Rest was what I really needed.

Naligo ako today, promise.

PS. Stay safe and dry, everyone!


Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Kikay Officemate: My Office Supply Haul From The Paperstone PH!

I like being a girly girl. No wait, scratch that—I adore being a girly-girl.

I love wearing flowy dresses and killer lipstick and sky-high heels. If I could, I would bask in the glory of pastels and glitters and fur. All day. Which is probably why my colleagues have already labelled me as "that kikay officemate", which I've eventually learned to embrace.

Making sure I don't go "off brand",  I carefully curate my everyday weapons of choice (or you know, at least try to): my phone is pink, my bag organizer is purple, and I even gave myself a pat on the back when I realized I went a little extra after buying a pink, sparkly glitter case for my laptop. 

Point is, I'm addicted to all things cute, which is why my heart jumped for joy after stepping in The Paperstone Philippines' doors for the first time.

The Paperstone Philippines might as well be paradise for the stationery-obsessed. If you're a fan of all things cute, this shop is totally for you.

Everything inside the store's carefully designed with love, all the way from Korea and Singapore. The best part? There's always something to look forward to, because new products are released there every month! Each design is produced in limited quantities too, so once it's so old, a reprint of that particular design is highly unlikely—which means there's a huge chance you won't find someone else walking around with the same notebook/tumbler/pen/whatever as you do!

My boyfriend Josh and I gave the place a visit last week, after deciding I wanted to give my new office desk a makeover (just in case I haven't told y'all, I left my job in digital advertising two months ago, and started out in the publishing industry just recently!). 

We spent a good 40 minutes walking around and pointing at cute stuff I can use for work (the requirements were: 1) it must be cute, and 2) it must be pink). 

But of course, before we guys share what we got from our shopping haul, take a look at some other adorable stuff we spotted at The Paperstone!

This journal is perfect for #hustlers!

OMG. These princess pens are too cute!

Josh bought this notebook for his mom, whose name is Joy. Awwww! <3

And finally, aren't these greeting cards adorbs??

Now on to our top picks!

There's no denying that I left the store with a huge grin on my face! We ended up getting these:
  • A polka dot pink magazine holder (PHP 545)
  • Printed pink scissors (PHP 185)
  • A cute doodling notebook
  • A #GoalDigger notebook (PHP 80)
  • A millennial pink pen

Finally, I found a cute notebook where I can write down random ideas and things to do!

I love how it's fun-sized, too. I can carry it around anywhere I go (to the meeting room, while running errands, etc) to jot down important things!

My current obsession: all things millennial pink!

This gel pen is soooo precious! The Paperstone also sells refills for these pens, so you won't have to worry about its ink running out.

Quirky scissors, anyone?


I can't believe this cute notebook sells at only 80 bucks!

I even bought an underwater-themed notebook for Josh, since he was such a patient #InstagramBoyfriend that day. Lol!

He loves the sea!

I can't wait to go back to the office next week so I can finally personalize my desk and give it a makeover! Stay tuned for that, yes? :)

Talk to you soon, guys! :)

The Paperstone Philippines
Instagram: @thepaperstoneph


Saturday, June 24, 2017

My Graduation OOTD: Supporting Local From Top to Toe!

Sa dinami-daming beses kong sumablay sa buhay, eto na ata ang pinaka-matamis! :)

Like any Isko and Iska, it took me sleepless nights, a few shower-free mornings (no judgment, may Math DepEx kami nun OK!), over 150 blue books, around 300 cups of coffee, and 587 hours of ugly crying in bed in fetal position, 'til I finally reached the end of my undergrad journey.

Kidding aside, I'm just really ecstatic we all made it out alive (congrats to us, Class 2017!!), and I'm still so grateful for all the lessons our alma mater taught us—nakaka-inlove ka talaga, UP!

Graduating as an Isko or an Iska also means you finally get to wear the university's official academic costume—the Sablay. The beautiful, heart-stopping, I'm-getting-butterflies-in-my-stomach-just-by-looking-at-it Sablay.

Translated literally, 'to sablay' means 'to fail'— but in UP, it means 'to succeed'. As opposed to wearing togas and caps in graduation ceremonies, Iskos and Iskas wear the Sablay—a symbol of Philippine nationalism and the importance we put upon our indigenous culture.

To keep the spirit of nationalism alive, I wore local brands from top to bottom during both my college and university graduation. This was the outfit I wore during our college recognition day.

Skirt: Apartment 8 Clothing
Earrings: Pearls from Palawan
Lipstick: Kiss and Tell PH
Shoes: Parisian

Congratulations to us, mga kapwa Isko at Iska ng Bayan! Serve the people, always and in all ways.

All photos taken by Pauline Disuanco