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Rae & Cheloi
Hello and welcome to our site of travels, misadventures and lifestyle! I'm Rae Argallon, traveling the world with Cheloi Marasigan. Hope you find this blog exciting and trigger the inner traveler in you. Say yes to adventures. - R

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San Felipe, Zambales, Philippines

TRIBES AND TREKS ZAMBALES: Adventures that Matter by MAD Travel

Tribes and Trek Marker in Zambales
Tribes & Treks Marker

We always say YES to adventures, but after joining the Tribes and Treks Tour by MAD Travel, we will always say YES to adventures that matter.

We always try to put purpose in our travels. It grew from just wanting to 'escape' and 'discover' to a more meaningful way of sharing what we have, informing others of what we can do to help and encouraging others to do it as well. After joining the Tribes and Treks tour by MAD Travel, it was even more fulfilling to travel while sharing it with inspiring people.

Tribes and Treks is one of the many sustainable tours by MAD Travel. Last June 21, 2019, we had the chance to join the tour.

Read more: SUSTAINABLE TRAVELING: How to  Travel Eco-friendly

The Tribes and Treks Tour in Zambales includes tree-planting and cultural discovery. Joining this tour will help the local Yangil Tribe raise their farms and forests and create livelihood. The Tribes & Treks Zambales is a joint venture by The Circle Hostel and MAD Travel in collaboration with Victory Liner and Seed Nation PH.

Tribes and Treks - June 15 Crew
The Yangil Nursery

It was a pre-organized and guided tour. Everything from transportation to accommodation was arranged so that the guests will have a stress-free experience with Tribes and Treks. Before the tour, MAD travel sent us an e-mail about our activities and itinerary, what to bring, and additional details to give us a glimpse of what will happen during the tour.

These are the activities included in the tour:
🚩Volcanic Ash Trek to Yangil
🚩Environmental Briefing
🚩Tree-planting at the Nursery
🚩Lunch at the Village
🚩Village Tour & Storytelling with the Tribe
🚩Archery, Traditional Music & Dances
🚩Beach Sunset at Liwliwa
🚩Snacks at Chief Iking’s

Additional activities like ATV and surfing can be arranged with additional costs. Instead of trekking, you may opt to take an ATV ride which costs 800PHP per hour. Liwliwa is one of the surf spot in Zambales, and surfing starts at 200PHP which includes an hour use of a surf board with your personal surf instructor.

Tribes and Treks has different packages that would suit your preferences. If you're short in time, we would suggest a booking a day tour package. For a comfortable stay, book a day tour + 2 nights package. For us, we booked the day tour + 1 night which was enough for us weekend warriors!

🚩Transfers to and from Zambales via Victory Liner Bus

🚩Roundtrip tricycle pickup and drop off from San Felipe proper to The Circle Hostel and vice versa
🚩Day Tour Activities and transfers within Zambales
🚩Day Tour Lunch, Snacks, Dinner
🚩2 nights at The Circle Hostel
🚩Simple Hostel Breakfast

🚩Transfers to and from Zambales via Victory Liner Bus

🚩Roundtrip tricycle pickup and drop off from San Felipe proper to The Circle Hostel and vice versa
🚩Day Tour Activities and transfers within Zambales
🚩Day Tour Lunch, Snacks, Dinner

To make your experience even better, check out these optional add-on activity:

🚩1 cocktail and seed-saving workshop
🚩1 bamboo straw from Yangil
🚩The knowledge that you left fruit seeds for the Aetas to plant

Posing for the camera!
Renz Mina, Cheloi Marasigan, Rae Argallon, Kat RiΓ±on, Nathan Sario
We caught the 9:00 PM Victory Liner bus from Cubao, Quezon City to Iba, Zambales. We told the conductor to drop us at San Felipe, Zambales. Travel time was roughly 5 hours. We arrived in San Felipe around 2:00 AM and took a tricycle to The Circle Hostel.

We took the remaining time to catch a few hours of sleep to have enough energy for our hike.

At 6 in the morning, we took our breakfast and packed everything we need for the day. We were gathered in the common area and Ruth of MAD Travel gave us the briefing on the day's activities. Everyone was excited for the trip!

Tribes and Treks Briefing by Ruth of MAD Travel
7:30 AM
We rode the jeepney going to the jump off trail in Sagpat. The ride was roughly 20 minutes which gave us plenty of time to meet our fellow MAD travelers. Since we started early, we had the perfect weather to trek. The trail was a combination of river crossing and volcanic ash trek. The scenery of the lush mountain ranges which separates the blue sky and the vast field of volcanic ash was definitely a stunning view that you can only see in some areas of Zambales and Tarlac.

We instantly felt the heat once we reached the trail where there was nothing but ash. We took our water breaks along shaded areas. The cold water while river crossing also helped ease the heat. Since we were a large group filled with diverse nationalities, I was excited to meet everyone! The long trek gave us a chance to chat with our fellow MAD travelers.

After roughly one and a half hours, we reached the Tribes & Treks Marker.

Volcanic ash trail
River crossing
9:00 AM
Just a few steps from the Tribes and Treks Marker is the Yangil Nursery. It was like a mini-forest in the middle of a field of volcanic ash! Different fruit and vegetable plants were already growing within the area. We even used the deep well pump to cool ourselves and have a quick shower!

We took a quick break and gathered in the middle of the nursery. Mr. Raf Dionisio, co-founder of  MAD Travel and The Circle Hostel, told us the importance of trees and how we can help the local Aeta Tribe. MAD Travel aims to rebuild a 3,000 hectare rainforest. As of October 2018, they have planted almost 35,000 trees! They have also generated employment and livelihood programs for the locals. (Source: MAD Travel Website) The rebuilding of the rainforest through this nursery would help the local community flourish on their own.

Mr. Raf Dionisio
Renz, Max, Aileen and Sophia sowing their set of seeds
Gia, Norah, Rae, Kat, Marian and Ruth sowing cacao and cupang seeds
After the briefing, we were taught how to sow the seeds properly. We were grouped into three to plant different sets of seeds. After a while, we were served with a yummy merienda. The Yangil tribe has prepared lemongrass tea and sugar-coated sweet potato chips. We haven't finished planting our seeds but these snacks felt like rewards already! I love the lemongrass tea! I should've brought home a couple of those leaves!

We felt proud to have helped this nursery grow. We sowed a total of 455 seeds! After our meaningful seed planting, we left the nursery and headed to the community.
Everyone's happy since we planted 455 seeds that day!
Hop on the the Grab-Car(abao)!
12:00 NN
We knew we were near once we saw the simple Bahay Kubos. The Yangil kids were waving at us and hoping on our carabao sleds! We arrived in the community area just in time for lunch. Our appetizing meal was prepared by the Yangil tribe.

At the Yangil Community
Best lunch ever? Adobo, Tinola, Pritong Tilapia! Say YES to Filipino food!
After our meal, we were given a few minutes to rest and have our siestas. We got to lay the banigs under the shade of a balete tree. The kids visited us and we had a few conversation with them. Eventually, they got us playing!

Quentin playing with the kids
Korean heart sign ❤
Quentin, Max and Cheloi playing Tumbang Preso with the kids
2:30 PM
We headed back to the community area to try archery. We were introduced to the Tribe's sharp shooter
 and he showed us his skillful technique. All eyes on the target as we try the local-made bows and arrows!

Renz and Max showing how to properly hold the bow and arrow
Cheloi's first attempt to hit the target
Nathan's turn on archery
While the others were trying archery, some of us were playing with the kids. We were playing Chinese garter like we were 10 years old! Products like bow and arrows, bamboo utensils and straws made by the locals were for sale. Local-harvested fruits and honey were also offered in cheap prices.

Kat, Rae and Aileen playing Chinese garter with the kids
All smiles with Lea and Norah
After a while, we were gathered to witness a short show prepared by the Yangil tribe. They shared with us their traditional courtship dance, a serene tune made by their local-made bamboo flute, and a performance by the kids mimicking the movements of animals. They even invited us to dance with them! Everyone was happy and enjoying the moment. It was a genuine moment that gave everyone a cheerful and fulfilled heart.
It was almost 4 in the afternoon when it started raining. The experience left us wanting more time to spend with the community. We hoped on our carabao sleds and started our way back to the jump off.

Everyone enjoying the music from the bamboo flute
The kids sharing a wonderful song
5:00 PM
Just as we thought the day was over, it was time to head to the beach! We ended the day with a quick dip and sunset watching in Liwliwa beach. We had our delicious dinner at the 
Chief Iking’s house. Once we arrived in The Circle Hostel, it was time for socials! We spent the rest of the night bonding with our new friends!

Kat at the beach!
Victory Liner is one of the largest provincial bus company in the Philippines with routes to Zambales, Pangasinan, Benguet and so much more. This is our preferred bus company when traveling north for its travel insurance and their own premium card. Check out the latest fares and routes on their website. 

You may book here: Victory Liner Website

Cheers to a fun day!
The Circle Hostel is our top pick in San Felipe, Zambales. It is one of the eco-friendly and budget-friendly hostels in the Philippines. You may also book an accommodation in San Juan, La Union and Baler, Aurora branches. This hostel is perfect for backpackers and travelers where they practice #ThereAreNoStrangers. 
Here are their rates as of June 2019.
Hammock - Php 445.00 per person
Coed Bunk Bed - Php 560.00 per person
Dorm Style Ladies Bed - Php 560.00 per person

You may book here: The Circle Hostel Website

The Circle Hostel, San Felipe, Zambales
MAD Travel is an organization which works for and with different indigenous communities in the Philippines. MAD Travel aims to Make A Difference through meaningful travels that create a sustainable social impact to these communities and the travelers. Check them out and join some of these tours by MAD Travel:
Zambales: Tribes and Treks x Victory Liner
Aurora: Tribes and Treks
Subic: Forest and Folklore
Rizal: Hikes and Harmony
Philippines: Bayani Tour
Bohol & Negros: Authentic Island Experience
Bohol: Local Exploration

You may book a tour here: MAD Travel

Grateful to have met these amazing and inspiring people
It was a fulfilling weekend! We met a lot of new friends and helped a local community. How about you? Do you want to be a part of an adventure that matters?


We would like to thank MAD Travel, The Circle Hostel, and Victory Liner for a wonderful experience. Thank you for this purposeful tour! These are adventures that could inspire and change both the lives of the communities and travelers. We can't wait to feed our wandering hearts with more adventures that matters! 

Watch our Tribes and Treks Travel Video here:

Photos by Cheloi Marasigan, Renz Mina and Rae Argallon | Credits to Kat RiΓ±on and Nathan Sario | San Felipe, Zambales | June 2019

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Read about the Disclosure and Disclaimer here.


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