Monday, December 5, 2011

Shop and Climb

my camping stuff
Mountain climbing is not a very cheap recreation. If you really want to take it seriously, you have to be financially ready. The prices of mountaineering backpacks, shoes and clothes may get you culture-shocked. But just like how mountain climbers wait for Piso Fare to deal with expensive airfares, there is always a way to get around the price tag. The following list of shops might help you make the most out of your cash. In this article, I hope to be of some help especially to those who are planning to do some splurging this money season. Below is a list of the shops I have gone to and intend to go to.

Columbia Sportswear Company
Columbia shop @ SM North (Annex)
One shop that I frequent is that of Columbia Sportswear Company. I usually go to their SM (West) Annex branch. I also go to their SM Megamall and Gateway Mall (Cubao) branches quite often. Once, I’ve also been to their branches in Festival Supermall (Alabang), Mall of Asia, Greenbelt 5 and even SM Cebu and Lim Ket Kai Mall (Cagayan de Oro).  You can also find Columbia Sportswear products at The Travel Club, R.O.X. and Bratpack. Whenever I see a Columbia shop, I would always check out the latest goings-on there even though I have no intention to buy anything. As soon as I step out of the shop, I resolve to visit again soon with a target buy in mind.
What I like about Columbia is the revolutionary design and technology of their products. Their products feature one or more of the following: light weight, waterproofing, thermal insulation, stain-proofing and rip stop. The first backpack I bought was their ultra-light 45L backpack made with silicone-coated lightweight, rip stop fabric. Almost all of the trekking/running shoes I’ve bought are from Columbia.
They always have items on sale
The price is very reasonable. A pair of discounted Nike running shoes is more expensive than a pair of the average Columbia trekking shoes. This price is usually half (or less) the price of the average The North Face or Salomon shoes. And even at this low price, they still give discounts. The price of their shoes could go down to P1500 a pair. And not just the shoes, their Omni-wick crew, caps and hydration packs also get marked down to 50%. Their Mobex was released at P8000. I bought it in December last year for P4000. And these big discounts are what you should always watch out for in Columbia. They never run out of one. Never buy their regular-priced items.
And I’m a few hundred pesos away from getting a Columbia discount card which will give me a 10% discount on any of their regular-priced products. But I’m not very excited about this. Their big discounts are better than the perks I get from their discount card.

Columbia Sportswear Branches in the Philippines
SM North/West Annex (2nd floor)
709 4358
SM Megamall Bldg. A (UGF)
638 6234
Gateway Mall (2nd floor)
913 6648
Festival Supermall (2nd floor)
772 3400
SM Mall of Asia (2nd floor)
556 0299
Greenbelt 5 (2nd floor)
729 9308
ROX (Bonifacio High Street)
856 4639
ROX Active Zone (Ayala Center Cebu)
(032) 412 6247
SM City Cebu, The North Wing (Ground floor)
(032) 236 3843
Lim Ket Kai Mall, Cagayan de Oro (Ground floor)
(088) 856 8389

The North Face
This TNF cap is the first of the three things I've bought in TNF
The North Face is a dominant brand in the mountaineering industry around the world. And The Philippines is second to China when it comes to the number of The North Face retail shops in its territory. The North Face products are very reliable. They are built to last the elements and they come in sleek designs. 
The North Face @ SM North Annex
But their products are just a bit too pricey. In fact, I have just bought three items from them. I bought a cap last year and I filled out a form which entitled me to a 20% discount on any regular-priced TNF products during my birth month. And I used this privilege last October. The 50L backpack cover I bought from them sells at P1700 and with my 20% discount, I got it for a little over P1300. Six months ago I got a P1000 TNF gift certificate from my protégé Josiah Ballagan, and I used it to buy a pair of running shorts worth P2350. You see, their price is just beyond my means so I prefer Columbia to The North Face. Tip: if you buy something at The North Face or Columbia, always demand for something else. They give away outdoors magazines, stickers and even newspaper, whichever is available.

The North Face Branches in the Philippines
Glorietta 4 (2nd Floor)
752 8226
Shangri-la Plaza (Ground Level)
637 5606
SM Megamall Bldg. A (UGF)
914 4591
SM North/West Annex (2nd floor)
332 2925
SM Mall of Asia (Ground floor EM)
915 1947
SM City Cebu (The North Wing, Ground floor )
(032) 236 3542
SM City Cagayan de Oro (Ground floor)
(088) 859 3081
SM City Davao (Ground floor)
(082) 297 3244

Timberland @ Shangri-la Plaza
Another shop worth visiting is Timberland. Their price is between The North Face and Columbia. I have bought two pairs of shoes from Timberland. I always watch out for their big sale which can give you up to 40% discount on their quality products. The reason why I support Timberland is their dedication to the greening of the Earth. For instance, in partnership with Green Network (a Japan-based NGO), they have religiously carried out this mammoth undertaking to hold back a dessert in Mongolia by planting trees starting more than a decade ago. Like in some parts of China, huge areas of farmland are lost in Mongolia near the Horqin Desert due to desertification. Moreover, Timberland aim to be a model for the outdoors industry and have been among the first to adopt ‘nutritional labels’ that show the footprint of products: its climate impact, resource consumption and the chemicals used in its manufacture.
Timberland's commitment to the greening of the Earth

Timberland branches in the Philippines
SM North/West Annex (2nd floor)
332 2206
SM Megamall Bldg. B (2nd floor)
636 3081
Shangri-la Plaza (3rd floor)
637 8854
SM Marikina (2nd floor)
477 1969
SM City Cebu (Ground floor)
(032) 236 6970

Recreational Outdoor Exchange (R.O.X.)
photo courtesy of R.O.X.
Recreational Outdoor Exchange in Bonifacio High Street, Taguig more popularly known as R.O.X. is Southeast Asia’s biggest outdoor sports and recreation hub. It carries a wide range of local and international sportswear and equipment brands. If you love hiking, cycling, kayaking, diving, running, swimming or any outdoor activities, R.O.X .is the place to be! It’s got everything you need from apparel to hardware. At ROX, you can find products of The North Face, Columbia, Merrell, Salomon, Mountain Hardwear, Petzl, Deuter and Black Diamond. I’m not sure if I saw Patagonia, Eureka and Gregory there. They also carry local products such as Habagat and Sandugo. I bought my Black Diamond Infinity 50 at R.O.X. last October just when I was about to buy a Mountain Hardwear Diretissima online.
R.O.X. was a co-sponsor of the 2nd Annual Hungduan Climbathon
And R.O.X. is not just about sports products. It is also the registration center for almost all the running events (road/trail/sky run) across the country. Their friendly and accommodating staff will help you get what you need at the right price and at the right time. Check out R.O.X. today!

Chris Sports

I am a loyal customer of Chris Sports. I have renewed my Chris Sports discount card three times since I availed of it in 2005. When I bought my Coleman Pioneer 2 tent, the sales personnel advised me to avail of their discount card. I paid P300 for the card, and right there and then, I got P400 (10%) off the tent’s original price (P4000). I have bought a lot of stuff from Chris since then. Practically everything I need is in Chris Sports. I bought at least five pairs of Groundzero shorts (which they don’t carry anymore…they have Enduro now), a lot of protein shakes, some dumbbell plates and recently, things that I need for running and swimming. I just bought a latex swimming cap, a new pair of ear plugs, some energy gels (for my runs), calf, shin and ankle supports and compression—all of them at a 10% discount. At Chris, there is a wide variety of sports equipment to help you perform at your best. They’ve got all you need for almost all popular ball games including billiards. They also got something for your nutritional needs such as protein and carb mixes and energy gels. A lot of gym equipment is also sold at Chris and for people who love camping and backpacking; they’ve got Coleman and Eusebio tents, sleeping bags, Deuter backpacks and even fishing rods.
So if you like sports and the outdoors and you want big value for your money, then avail of this Chris Sports discount card. This card really gives me big savings on my purchases. Unlike some rewards/points card where you’ll have to spend two hundred pesos to get a one-peso point.
My Chris Card
For Chris Sports store directory click here

Olympic Village
Olympic Outlet @ Robinson's Pioneer
Olympic Village/Outlet is the bigger version of Chris Sports. They offer big discounts on a lot of sports products especially shoes and clothes. You can also find pulled out products of Salomon, The North Face, Columbia and Oakley there. The Olympic Outlet in Robinson’s Forum (Pioneer, Mandaluyong) is probably their biggest store. Before I became a fan of Columbia shoes, I had bought three pairs of Hi-Tec shoes from the Olympic Outlet at no higher than P2000 a pair. Unfortunately, Hi-Tec doesn’t have distribution channels in the country any longer.   

Other Local Shops
The new Conquer shop @ Robinson's Pioneer
The other local shops that I go to are Conquer (Robinson’s Pioneer) and Khumbu (Sandugo) at Trinoma. The staff in Habagat (SM Megamall) is not customer-friendly and they usually don’t understand what you’re trying to describe to them so I stopped visiting. Bombproof in Robinson’s Galleria has one the most accommodating staff and crew. But their location is not so convenient so I seldom go there. I used to buy mountaineering equipment at Montanara in Farmer’s Plaza (Cubao), but their once spacious store has been reduced to something like a small ‘kikay’ shop staffed by non-mountaineers, I see flower prints on many of their products. And the last time I passed by their stall, it was already closed. So now, I am left with Khumbu and Conquer which both offer a wide range of mountaineering and backpacking products—from backpacks and tents to ropes, carabiners and bladder brushes. It is advisable to buy your mountaineering essentials such as camping stoves, cook set, headlamps, lanterns, and apparel at these shops.
Khumbu @ Trinoma
But if you’re looking for a local shop that carries international brands like Osprey, Gregory, Millet etc., you can visit C-27 shop in Cartimar (Pasay). Many of my friends also recommend a similar shop in Muñoz (Quezon City). I think the shop’s name is Xplore OutdoorGears. If you are ever in Cagayan de Oro City, don’t forget to hang out at Viajero.
Motorella in front of Viajero
They’ve got the friendliest crew in the country. Mountaineers themselves, they know what you’re looking for. And it pays to know these people. They get you in the loop in the active mountaineering community in Mindanao. They’ll be more than willing to give you tips on your travels in Mindanao specifically on budgeting. I spent two nights in Camiguin without paying the rent because of these friendly people in Cagayan de Oro. In Malaybalay, Bukidnon, you’ll find the humble but hardcore Ronan Montero running Panahik Outdoors Shop. Malaybalay is one of the gateways to the famous D2K expedition. Of course there are a lot of other outdoors shops in Metro Manila and around the country, but I am listing here only the ones I intentionally visit.

But if you’re not very particular about checking the item personally, (formerly is for you! Just type in anything you need and they’ll give you more than just one option. I got my handheld GPS device from Sulit. I just phoned the seller and I picked up the item at the pick-up point. Some sellers offer warranty some don’t. But it is always good to check the item personally. Someone was selling a Mountain Hardwear Direttissima to me over at Sulit. The price was really good.—just P5000 from its original P12000 price! I checked the specs online and it told me things that I would want to hear. But when I checked the item at ROX, I realized, there were things that the website of Mountain Hardwear didn’t mention. I realized that the pack was very good for alpine climbing but probably not for tropical mountains. So I backed out and bought a Black Diamond Infinity 50 at ROX instead.
Hiking is a hobby and once you get hooked to it, you’ll feel peer pressure and you won’t be content with wearing your jersey shorts up the mountains anymore. You’ll start drooling over those trekking pants and shoes. You’ll start buying stuff and you won’t be able to stop. So it is always good to shop wisely. And yes, mountaineering may be expensive but forget about the price tag! Think about the experience, the people you meet and the kind of life you had always dreamed of living and finally embraced. 


  1. Nice post ser.oo nga pala ser,,sale ang Columbia ngayon..50% off sa mga selected shoes..napadaan lang ako sa branch nila sa gateway..sayang nga walang available size sken. - Dom

  2. hahaha...swerte liit ng paa ko, lagi sila may stock na size ko. babalik ako dun sa friday!

  3. Forget about the price tags and addition to that don't be shy to ask which equipment is better and cheaper.

    hehe ayos to ser. pamana nio na saken ung mga old stuffs mo haha

  4. Size 8 ako parekoy at namahinga na ang sapatos ko sa manta baka may ipapamana ka...harharhahra...-rudy

  5. Agree ako sa Columbia. Dun ako bumibili ng outdoor apparel ko. Specifically sa Greenbelt branch nila. The crew is always friendly, and I have made it my "tambayan." We often swap stories of climbs and such. Hindi sila snobbish - unlike some shops (name withheld hehehehe).

    I was enrolled in their Titanium membership thingy last year, much to my surprise, and so I enjoy a bigger discount compared to other buyers. :D

    Toby's is another. That's where I buy my Deuter bags. :)

  6. Word of advice for those buying at Columbia/TNF/ROX. Primer (the company acting as distributor to the three brands) often sells their items at inflated prices. Nothing wrong with that kay that's business. But if you want good gear without going broke, wait for the sales. I've saved 40% to 50% on items I bought sa ROX. For example, my Salomon fleece was sold at 2k from 4,495. My Keen Targhee II shoes sold for only 1800, from 4,000 something. Same goes for my TNF tech shirt, which I bought with a 20% discount. Watch out for the big yearly sell if you want to splurge.

  7. Thanks for the input Vundaboi. That's right! be a wise consumer, always watch out for their big sale! Never buy their regular-priced items...unless you really love 'em and you want to get one before they disappear from shelves.

  8. tuwing kelan sir my sale sa rox? ahaha laki mag markdown ng price nila eh.. tnx -vhaturgo

  9. @Vhaturgo...walang fixed sched yang sale ng R.O.X...tawagan niyo na lang po from time to time. Hintayin niyo lagi ang sale nila kasi ang mamahal ng mga binibenta doon.hehe 856 4639

  10. totally agree on "mountain climbing is not a very cheap recreation", experienced my 1st climb in Mt. Tres Marias (last month) and was checking gears online, can't believe how pricey they can get... waah
    but truly it was one amazing experience! simply priceless and worth considering. :)

  11. hello! sir pa-advise lang po sana. kasi nagbabalak po akong gawin nang seryosong hobby yung mountaineering at nagiipon-ipon na po ako para sa mga gear (college student pa lang po! hehe).

    mga magkano po kaya yung pinaka-murang columbia na waterproof jacket? advisable po kaya yung mga worth 2k pesos "class A northface jackets" sa

    ang inyo pong website ang aking guide so far. napaka helpful sa mga taong naiwan ang puso sa kabundukan! more power! -christian

    1. sir friendly advise lng po..wag po muna kayo bumili ng mga pampapoging gear like jackets.. waterproof nga jacket mo pants mo nmn at sapatos basang basa.. at kung lamig nmn ang concern mo...maraming way para makontra ang lamig..

      bigyan q po kayo ng magandang checklist kung anu magandang bilin sa una sabihin nten primary equipments at yun pampapogi eh secondary equipments..

      primary equipments

      hiking shoes - kasi pde mo zang magamit s pang araw araw..kya kung gs2 mo pang tumalikod sa pamumundok ok lng kasi shoes plng ang napupundar mo.. peo yun iba masgs2 nila magsandals lng.. peo kung nagbabalak k nga mag pulag o iba pang major climb masbetter n mag sapatos ka..

      bag - kung dayhiker k lng eh wag pde n yun mga pangschool mo..peo kung gs2 mo ng umakyat ng overnight climb kelangan mo ng malaking bag..40-50L ang advisable na size..peo kung gs2 mo ng masmalaki ok lng..ikaw nmn gagamit at siguraduhin mo lng na pagnapuno yun bag mo eh kaya mo pang magtrek..

      tent - after ng bag ciempre kelangan mo n ng shelter overnight na eh

      cookset and stove - then papasok na dyan ang stove at ang cookset nmn eh pdeng wala p muna kumuha k muna ng mga kaldero sa bahay nyo..hehe eh kung wala k pang budget pra d2 sa mga gamit na to adobo ang magiging bestfriend mo..tas ang umagahan mo nlng eh tasty at mga canned goods..

      secondary equipment

      pagnabili mo n yan..dyan n papasok ang mga pampapoging gamit..hehe apparel (trekking pants at mga quick dry na damit), headlamp, "JACKET", trekking pole, sleeping bag, lantern, GPS, altimeter watch at marami pang iba.. peo pampapogi lng to.. pde kang umakyat kahit wala ng mga ito...

      college student din ako..kung gs2 mo tlga magkagamit ipriority mo ang pag iipon..tigil muna dota, date, bisyo at mag ipon...hehe

  12. 2k class A TNF jacket? That's way below the trustworthy price. beware of online sellers of TNF products. TNF is the most imitated outdoors apparel brand. if you want to buy their products, just buy from their retail outlets to be safe. And if you should, it is always wise to check it personally first before paying. And when checking, bring someone along who has experienced eyes and fingers. We know whether it's authentic or a cheat! If you're not familiar with product, get the name of the product and compare it with the SRP in their shop, if it's way too low it is dubious unless it is second hand. Go for other brands if you really want to make sure.

    But a better piece of advice is this. I started climbing in 2005. I bought my first jacket (a TNF) just this year (May) at R.O.X. Baguio.
    A jacket is the last thing you'll need when climbing a tropical mountain. It's bulky (takes up a lot of space in your pack). It's heavy and unnecessary if you're not climbing mountains higher than 2000masl yet. There are a lot of ways to fight low temperature aside from just a branded jacket. Share a tent with two or three people. or sleep in your sleeping bag. The I survived a 2-day/1-night journey in Mt Pulag without a tent and a jacket. I slept in my sleeping bag under the shade of a rock.

    Waterproofing is very essential for your stuff but not for your body. I have learned to love the rain when climbing. I pray for rain when I climb mountains below 2000masl. It cools my hot tired body and it makes me feel less thirsty. For altitudes over 2000masl, you can waterproof your body with that disposable poncho sold in ACE hardware (PhP30-PhP40). It's lightweigth and doesn't take up space. Actually even in Mt Pulag, I didn't mind the rain. This year (May), I climbed Mt Pulag during a hail shower. Ice the size of marbles pounded us. It was cold of course, but while you're moving your body will produce heat. I was not wearing any poncho or jacket that time. My skin endured and enjoyed the blistering cold. When I dried myself, everything was fine.

  13. Many thanks sir! natumbok niyo po, i was eyeing mt pulag some time this year. it actually was the rain while summiting some mountain in san pablo laguna (i forgot the name, riding shotgun lang kasi hehe; may malaking cross sa peak) that made me fell in love with the mountains.

    anyway, mas mura nga naman yung poncho, kaso dahil sa form niya na parang plastic na nakasampay lang sa katawan, hindi kaya siya balakid sa paglalakad/pag-akyat, unlike jackets?

    medyo baguhan pa lang kasi ako. most recent climb ay pseudo traverse ng makiling. "pseudo" kasi ito yung start at jamboree site, end at jamboree site, hindi yung sto tomas to forestry. pero 8 hrs trek din, may parts na trail class 3. 700 ml water lang bitbit, lakas ng ulan, madulas at maputik, natapos ko nang naka sandals! hahaha. then i knew not only do i love and respect the mountains but i have a knack for it. -christian

    1. I think you're referring to Tayak Hill.
      And yep, mejo hassle ang poncho pag naglalakad (hanggang tuhod kasi ang haba)...lalo na kung masukal ang nilalakarang gubat. Wala din kwenta kasi gutay gutay yan sa mga sanga, yantok at teka-teka. so what I do with my poncho is I wrap it around my pack (which is already protected by a backpack cover) for extra waterproofing.
      Masarap ang ulan sa Makiling at sa mga kabundukan ng Laguna...hayaan mong namnamin ng katawan mo ang ulan. I always wear quick drying clothes when climbing. Ang hassle lang pag umuulan ay basang basa talaga ang sapatos mo niyan.

      Pero kung Pulag, mejo kelangan mo ng jacket kung gusto mong i-enjoy ang gabi. Hindi cute ang lamig sa Pulag. may baon din akong gloves at bonnet nung first time ko sa Pulag. Pero nung pabalik balik na...okay na ang sweater. Mahal kasi talaga ang jacket e. Swerte ko lang at naka-markdown ang TNF jacket na saktong size ko nung bumisita ako sa Camp John Hay. 2.7k lang...pero ngayong nandito ako sa Cebu, sa loob lang siya ng cabinet. Parang matagal pa bago ko magamit uli.

  14. marami rin nman makikita sa olympic outlets ah..

    1. Yep madami. at di lang sa outdoors. kahit anong sport. When I was still in Manila I always visited Olympic Outlet in Robinson's Pioneer. I bought 3 pairs of Hi-Tec shoes there. And that outlet has the widest selection of GroundZero apparel. You can also buy pulled out items from Columbia, TNF, Salomon etc in Olympic Outlet. At malalaki ang discounts. Swertehan nga lang sa size.

  15. sa ukay ukay lang ako nabili pero usually halos lahat ng akyat ko gamit ko usual kong damit pangskate -philip09494079256 nadale ko na- mt. pulag, mt. kanlaon, n ung iba minor na lahat. akyat ako sa india sa uttar pradesh n sa vietnam n vcambodia

  16. Sir, may alam ba kayo na bilihan ng paracords per feet? Thanks!

  17. ganda ng pagf poh<><> SANDAWA APO MOUNTAINEERING AND ECOLOGY CLUB i mz u guys

  18. Good day po! San po my malapit na store ng montanara sandals sa pasay? Please help me. Salamat po.

  19. nag shipp po ba kau bicol area tnx


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