Mt Ulap Overnight Camp Guide




“Just live even though it’s not extraordinary’

– Fakir

Features: Mt Ulap Experience, Budget, Itinerary and Overnight Review

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Where is Mt Ulap?

The Benguet Province mountains and trail never fail to amaze our hiking group. The weather and picturesque scene make us go back from time to time. We plan our group climb a month ago and it was a huge success. Checking out blogs for overnight camping trip is hard. I want to share our experience climbing Mt Ulap. The mountain is located in between Ampucao and Sta Fe, Itogon Benguet which is 45 minutes – 1 hour away from Baguio City. Surrounded by pines trees that gives the wintry effect. Peak season is during the summer months. Hiking groups and travel agencies are all over the place throughout the year. Our climb was on September 16 – 18 2016 which is rainy season. Trail is wet and clearing is up to the weather.

back-packer

How to go here:

Buses to Baguio City are very common in Cubao and Pasay Area. We catch our bus at Victory Liner Terminal in Cubao regular bus fare for Php 450.00 and Deluxe bus for Php 750.00. Traveling from Cubao to Baguio City takes around 5 – 6 hours with stop over in Tarlac and Pangasinan.

You can take your private vehicle from Manila to Ampucao or join travel agencies at your own convenience. I checked agencies and they offer Php 1400.00 – 1800.00 per pax. It’s an all in tour with Baguio City side trip and van transfer which good for 10 – 16 pax.

My group prefer a do-it-yourself itinerary so that we can maximize our hiking time and our own budget. We have complete hiking gear like tents, camping stoves, cook wares and other climb essentials.

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Hike duration and Camping

Our climb is a bit treacherous due to the weather, light rain and fog compensate our pacing. It took us 6-7 hours before reaching the campsite. Traversing from Ampucao jump-off to Sta. Fe via Philex ridge. The trail is wet but in good condition. It’s not slippery and the view is majestic. The Pine forest is really spectacular. Going up and down within the ridge is difficult especially if you have full pack behind your back. My pack weigh around 15 – 20 kilos a little bit uncomfortable for a woman but physical training pays off. We have our rain gears like ponchos, good hiking shoes and dri-fit clothes. For rainy weather condition, technical clothes help a lot. Even though they are expensive, my shoes and clothes keeps me warm all throughout the climb.

The trail is consist of 5 segments. The ridge is commonly known as Philex Ridge but the locals want to correct it. They call it Ampucao – Sta Fe Ridge. The first segment is called Ambanao Paoay which means GREEN FIELD which is 1788 masl. Second is the infamous Gungal Rock at 1814 masl. Unfortunately due to the rain, we don’t have clearing for the spectacular view. Third will be the SUMMIT of Mt Ulap at 1846 masl, we skip the summit part and trek back the following day. From the camp site to the summit it takes around 15 – 30 minutes up. We had a clearing this time and the scene is just WOW. Upon descending, the fourth segment will be Pong-Ol Burial Caves. Last will be the Sta Fe Jump off. Traversing from Sta Fe is bit rigorous, if you have advance physical fitness then you can traverse from Sta. Fe to Ampucao. Registration is still in Ampucao Barangay Hall.

ampucao-jump-off

Our guide said that the trail is different during the summer months (April – June). The entire ridge is dry with hues of green and brown. Our terrain is foggy, wet, cold and hasty. Stranger Things effect scene. Eerie and dark. Regardless, the entire hike is fun, difficult and tiring which is part of your climb experience. The Benguet trails never fail to amaze me. Climbing in a cold temperature lessen the difficulty unlike hiking during warm days. Water consumption is lesser. Well, this is me. Some people might have high tolerance over dry and hot trails.

We reach the wet and muddy camp site. The saddle camp site is in chaos of puddle and rain water so we decide to move near the sari-sari store. There are no available flat surface for us because it was weekend and full of crazy campers like us. Our guide clean up our camping ground and we manage to set our shelters. There tables and chairs available in the camp so you can comfortably eat or cook your meals. This site will be much appreciated during dry hike. We had fun even though its wet and wild.

descending-of-the-sons-of-mt-cloud

Difficulty LEVEL for me: 5/9

Budget as of Sept 2016

Cubao – Baguio City Bus Fare: Php 450.00
Victor Liner Baguio City Terminal to Central Mall Taxi: Php 51.00
Baguio City – Ampucao Jeepney Fare: Php 31.00
Guide Fee Overnight: Php 800.00 good for 8 – 10 pax (Php 400.00 Dayhike)
Camping Fee: Php 500.00 per group
Registration: Php 100.00 per pax
Porter: Php 500 for 20 kilos (add Php 50.00 per kilo)
Shower: Php 20.00 per pax
Sta Fe – Baguio City Jeepney Regular Fare: Php 50.00

Jeepney Rental from Sta Fe Jump-Off to Baguio City: Php 1000.00 good for 15-18pax (We rented PUJ going back to Baguio City because some of my hiking mates are in a hurry)
Baguio City – Cubao Bus Fare: Php 445.00

the-view-at-the-summit

Souvenirs

T-shirts: Php 200.00

Ref Magnets: Php 25.00 – 50.00

Key Chains: Php 10.00 – 200.00

Wood Trekking Pole: Php 30.00 – 200.00

OUR GROUP BUDGET FOR 8 PAX

Registration Expense: Php 2700 with porter
Camp Meals and Drinks: Php 1200
Transpo All in: 8700

3-in-1-plus-mt-ulap

Budget per pax: 1600 – 1800

Our budget includes breakfast at Good Taste in Central Mall which is open 24/7. We complete our supplies in Baguio City Public Market. We bought ingredients for our Tinolang Manok and buttered Broccoli/Mushroom for dinner. Bought eggs, bread, coffee, spread, rice, condiments, butane gas and etc. We also bought group supplies like garbage bags, tissue, drinks and group water. The entire budget cut for Php 1200.00 which is splurge, you can cut it to Php 800.00 – 1000.00 depending on your needs.

We hire a porter because some of us are newbies in terms of camping. Porter one way cost Php 500.00, it will be your choice if you want someone to bring your packs. There are souvenir shops along the way selling shirts, ref magnets and key chains. A store/sari-sari is available in the campsite. They sell coffee, instant noodles and cold drinks. Transferring around Baguio City, we hired cab to transfer us from the Bus Terminal to Central mall for Php 51.00 which is good for 4-5 pax. We all know that taxi drivers in Baguio City are known for being nice and they give exact change. This is also included on our group budget.

sta-fe-bridge

Sample Overnight Itinerary

Day 0

2200 Call Time Victory Liner Cubao
2300 ETD Manila

Day 1

0500 ETA Baguio City (Victory Liner Terminal
0515 Center Mall
0530 Breakfast at Good Taste
0630 Secure supplies in Baguio City Market
0800 ETD Central Mall
0900 ETA Ampucao Barangay Hall
0915 Register (Secure Guide and Porter)
0930 Hiking Preparation
1030 Start Trek
1330 ETA Ambanao Paoay
1530 ETA Gungal Rock
1730 ETA Camp Site
1800 Prepare Dinner
1900 Socials
2200 Lights Out

(Take 5 – 10 for 10-15 times. Hehe!)

Day 2

0600 Wake up time
0700 Prepare breakfast
0800 Trek to summit
0830 Summit
0930 Trek back to Summit
1000 Breakfast
1030 Break camp
1130 Start descend
1330 ETA Pong-Ol Burial Caves
1400 ETA Sari – sari Stores, Rest
1500 ETA Sta Fe jump – off
1530 Wash up
1630 ETD Sta Fe
1730 ETA Victory Liner Terminal
1800 ETD Baguio City
1200 ETA Manila

titas-of-ulap

You can tour around the city parks or have drinks in bars along Session Road. You can adjust your itinerary accordingly. Our itinerary is for chill and fun climb.

Credits to Katherine Joyce Villados iPhone LOL! And Mama Sarah Monterey shots.

Thank you Mapagmahal Mountaineers (Sir Al, Nolan and Bene), Yapak Mountaineers (Sarah Monterey) and Balanghai G (Gel-gel!)! Till next G! SOYA!

High five Pirates!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go

Hiking Cliché: What it takes to be a Hiker?

“We see the world on top view, we survive each hardship, as a team and nature’s ultimate lover”

– FAKIR

I was a young and newbie mountaineer. All of the hiking activities I joined into are for entertainment but it doesn’t mean that I am careless to forget the rules of Leave No Trace. I was able to climb 16 peaks with difficulty and pride. I started to seriously devote to climbing this year. I still need to learn the basics of mountaineering before entering to more serious matters.

I take my time, slowly developing myself from being a carefree hiker to responsible climber. My sole purpose in hiking is to get physically fit for my travels but later I find it very important to be part of common goal to conserve and teach other newbies about the wonderful world of mountaineering.

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It was not an easy task to spearhead hiking activity. Even though there are waivers, you still have that conscious societal responsibility to the people joining your group. I envelope my sense of patriotism and dedicate to be part of change instead of adding up as a headache to environmental bureaus. As Mahatma Ghandi says “You must be the change you want to see in this world”.

You don’t want to be nuisance to the vast forestry, locals and living matter in a hiking ground. As a personal advocate to people who want to try hiking, I make sure that they decide base on their capability to take care of the trails and wildlife. To train themselves and become better hikers. Teach the future climbers with respect to the locals, to the wildlife and the things on the trails.

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Hiking is fun and an adventure of a lifetime. I remember creating my own bill way back in college to conserve and protect the life under the natural parks, mountains and other relative conservatoire. As a climber it is tantamount for us to learn the values of being a good hiker.

We do it not just for fun but we acknowledge the fact that this biodiversity will not live for as long as there are people who kills it, little by little. The mountains are giving us the air to breath, fresh water we drink, energy to our household and the LIFE that we should deserve. CLEAN and GREEN.

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To my fellow climber out there, we must be responsible enough to teach our underlings about the rules of the nature. We should have a glorious summit, happy socials and at the same time create a common goal as we introduce the life on the outdoor. What we learn on the trails should be transfer to thousands of new hikers so that we can inhibit to all the values of climbing.

We set the goal to reach the summits, to view the world from the peak and to be proud of ourselves. We need to be part of something beneficial rather than being part of the problem. In climbing there are no HARDCORE, SLOW PACER, BEGINNER, OR PROFESSIONAL. We are the HIKERS that respect each other and the outdoors.

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SO LONG PIRATES!!!

Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio and Jereca Custodio Copy Right

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Mt Binacayan and Mt Pamitinan: TWINNING CLIMB

“The SWEEPER on mountain trail is responsible that no one is LEFT BEHIND. The STRONGEST and the TACTICIAN”

Stare all the way down at the top of Mt Pamitinan Peak

Stare all the way down at the top of Mt Pamitinan Peak

Left to assist the weak and making sure that everyone on the hiking group are in line with the itinerary. The sweeper is a leader which aids those who have lesser physical power because in the trail, no once should fall behind regardless of time constraint.

The Seafarer and the Step Crawlers!

The Seafarer and the Step Crawlers!

I have nowhere to go. I want to climb and hike this weekend but most of my friends are not into the mountains. My trail friends have different schedules, rest days or just busy. I’ve got nowhere to go. Surfing the internet makes me dumb, too much running makes me ill and staying in my apartment kills the hell out me. I want to go out but nowhere to go. Bumping to a friend in facebook about their schedule climb, I immediately jump into my usual impulsiveness and join their group for this twin hike.

the Trail Life like no other. Mt Binacayan diversity

the Trail Life like no other. Mt Binacayan diversity

It was very unusual for me to start the climb on a Sunday morning. I usually go out of the city every Friday or a Saturday. I feel dumb and shit for days now, losing the will to continue my workouts, my runs and my family. Affected by some sort of personal decision and wasted energy, I want to climb to feel the never-ending happiness. That FEELS though. I cramming with my life, as an idiot, I need to settle my education, finances and my freaking life. But for today, I will climb and make new friends out of it.

Parkour plus Hiking is equals to this selfie. DISCLAIMER: Mike is a Pro Parkour Enthusiast

Parkour plus Hiking is equals to this selfie. DISCLAIMER: Mike is a Pro Parkour Enthusiast

The edge of the world. (Not really extreme, angle shot)

The edge of the world. (Not really extreme, angle shot)

After contacting my friend from previous work, decided to join their climb. I was too eager that I woke up midnight of Sunday even though the call time is around 0400. I was too early. HEHE. I packed my things, chugged all the water at home, left early and eat all the energy. From Pasig to Cubao, I ducked in and ate my big breakfast. I went to Jolibee Farmers, then wrong branch, went to the correct one in the Mall.

Mt Binacayan Rockies Trail

Mt Binacayan Rockies Trail

I met the Gang, introduce my babbler shit out of me and tried to mingle. I do no longer want to be the HATE person I was. I want to be nice to this trail people. I remember my trail gang, Balanghai G and Yapak. It makes me sad not to be with them. It was my first time to hike with other group. I miss the team spirit and the excitement that caters a hiking day.

Bold Boulders of Binacayan Trail

Bold Boulders of Binacayan Trail

We were able to hopped into our FX to Wawa Montalban, renting the entire PUV up to the DENR building. I met Kuya Albert again (The Hugot Guide), I want him to guide us through. I’ve known him from my previous venture in the Rodriguez Range, Mt Hapunang Banoi day hike. We wait for a couple of minutes for our last pair of guest climbers, registered in DENR and barangay hall. Morning in Rodroguez is nostalgic, the dew from the forest makes the trail wet and muddy. At last jump off, killer pavement jump off.

Unlimited Rock Formation in Mt Binacayan

Unlimited Rock Formation in Mt Binacayan

I wasted energy by talking so much. Sorry guys, I just missed talking to a person. I had my walls, pc and keyboard for a long time. The HAKBANGGAPANGHAGPANG troupe made their way, hitting Mt Binacayan. The pavement road which is part of the trail kick me into my gut. Sweat is pouring all over my body after 10 minutes of climb until we reach the muddy uphill trail. So this is it. This is the world I currently committed with.

Jeimanlalayag meets HakbangGapangHakpang Gang

Jeimanlalayag meets HakbangGapangHakpang Gang

The slimy mud makes the trail difficult to trek. We don’t have the usual pep talk, LNT advise, the prayer or the group warm up. Maybe, I miss the old day but they are now long gone. Moving forward, after catching up with the mud track, we reach the boulder part. I am not particular with boulder and rockies. I am the sandy, dusty and dry hiker. I want dry ground from the surface rather that sedimentary rocks and stones. I feel like touching the rocks will break them into dust and it makes me sentimental when I feel like destroying something from nature.

Anyway, the rockies trail is still magnificent. This trail was open a year ago, one of the mainstream peaks because its near Metro Manila, 3/9 difficulty and the summit is glorious. The scenic view from the boulders is really enticing, no wonder hikers from all over the place are running through the trails of Rodriguez. We were able to complete the journey to the summit after 2-3 hours of trekking, endless selfies and human traffic. The rocks are sharps, it will be best to wear gloves, shoes, long pants and long sleeves to avoid getting scratches or serious wounds. The summit view is worthy and thus we descend are way back to start a brand new trail.

The Summit of Mt Binacayan

The Summit of Mt Binacayan

We started to trek around 0630. We managed to go down around 1200, rest, lunch time, videoke??! and rest room time. It was Sunday but the place is full with other groups, trails were jam-packed. People from different part of the region were here to explore the 4 open trails in Barangay Wawa: Mt Ayaas, Mt Hapunang Banoi, Mt Pamitinan and Mt Binacayan. Other newly open trails for Rodriguez notably from pinoymountaineer.com itinerary, Mt Lubog and Mt Sipit Ulang. I managed to trek Mt Ayaas and Mt Hapunang Banoi on previous occasions which I haven’t yet reviewed. I will review them once I got the inspiration and some sort of will power to arrange! Sorry!

Get dirty and rowdy!

Get dirty and rowdy!

Mt Pamitinan View from its Rockies Trail

Mt Pamitinan View from its Rockies Trail

So after relaxing for a bit, we decide to continue the trek to our second mountain for the day. Mt. Pamitinan, even though our guide gave us warning that many hikers were still up there and trail traffic was linger. Feeling STRONG and EMOTIONAL, only 5 out of 11 from the group decide to continue. Still feeling beat, I mentally struggle because the heat of the sun suffocates me.

Mt Pamitinan: Peak 1

Mt Pamitinan: Peak 1

My ultimate weakness when it comes to hiking is the heat and humidity. It builds up from my lungs down to my legs. Heavy breathing, I feel like melting slowly to the ground. I became weary that I am being left behind, this time pacing is really slow. I can feel my sticky cold sweat from my head down to my back. I need cold wind to pacify the vertigo otherwise I might collapse any time.

Twin Hike Trail View as we Ascend with Power

Twin Hike Trail View as we Ascend with Power

Pamitina Peak One Shoe Photo OP!

Pamitina Peak One Shoe Photo OP!

The trail for Mt Pamitinan is familiar because this is also the jump off for Mt Hapunang Banoi. Since, I aware of the trail. I also know the difficulty for the first 30 minutes. It was tiring, 30 minutes of muddy assault. On this journey, I learn that discontinuing my physical fitness training actually loosen my legs and lungs capability. I promised that once I’m back to the city, I will regain my power and strength. I don’t want to feel weak again. In which I did. While writing this review, I manage to increase my mileage when it comes to running, cross training with biking, indulging to swimming and strengthening my core.

Mt Pamitinan Summit

Mt Pamitinan Summit

Our guide is right, there were several hikers on the junction box. We were able to encounter 5-7 groups going down to their next mountain, resting or really wanted to go home! Reaching the junction trail to Pamitinan and Hapunang Banoi, there were other groups resting because trekking up or down. We also rested for a bit. We were out of itinerary so it we need to hurry before the sun sets down. Around 1500 we trail up to the summit. The rockies started again which slows us down, its a WAY TICKET TO THE SUMMIT. Another group of hikers were going down, we need to stop and give way and vice versa. So it took us a little bit of time before reaching the 1st peak.

"Sit down and enjoy the view"

“Sit down and enjoy the view”

The is also spectacular. Dreamy. It smells SUCCESS. Its LOVE. Its HOPE. Yeah, I was the relentless broken soul and heart. Cutting my crap out, we were able to reach our 2nd Peak in no time, after waiting 10-20 minutes before the group ahead of us went down. The Summit can only accommodate 5-10 persons otherwise, in excess of the number will fall off the cliff. LOL! Never mind the hundred selfies, I was worn out and haggard!!

 Success is BETTER on GREATER HEIGHTS


Success is BETTER on GREATER HEIGHTS

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Time checks 1600: time to trail down. The wind came from the west, breezy and bringing dark clouds. Then, it started to rain. We slowed down due to the group which is ahead of us. As a courtesy when it comes to hiking, climbers should give way to those who have faster pacing. We need to acknowledge the fact that hiking is not a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis.

Thumbs Up for this DAY!

Thumbs Up for this DAY!

If a person have a greater strength, you need to allow them first and make them ADVANCE either trailing up or down. DONT BE A NUISANCE to other hikers. Anyway, we were able to advance further. Rain water washed out all the thirst I had. It’s almost zero visibility on the trail head. We reach the foot bridge from the jump off around 1730. It’s still raining hard due to thunderstorm but we don’t mind because we were able to finish damn hike.

The Marikina River

The Marikina River

The FEELS of twinning climb is really unbearable happiness. I realize that hiking still make wonders on my soul-searching heart. I just love the mountains. The view from the above. The refreshing terrain. The adventure. The life.

Day hike using a long back pack.

Day hike using a long back pack.

Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Mt Arayat South Peak

MY DECENT TRANQUILITY'
MY DECENT TRANQUILITY’

It was my birthday, the sun is shining brightly and the mountains are calling me. I promised to be happy for this year’s birthday, I was. I need to celebrate my birthday with all the people I love especially with my family. So I decide to open a climb in my hometown. There is only 1 mountain available that is the dormant volcano MT ARAYAT.

Diverse South Trail of Mt Arayat

Diverse South Trail of Mt Arayat

Few days before the climb, I set a day hike with my friends coming from all my walks in life. A friend from high school, college and office came along with me to celebrate. Catching the last vibe of the summer and the heat of the sun. We found ourselves hopped in a bus to Pampanga. From Cubao to SM Pampanga will only take you an hour for Php120.00 fare / $2.68. From SM Pampanga in Mexico to Arayat Poblacion might take you 1 hour – 1 hour and 30 minutes via Public Jeepney due to various stops and delays. PUJ ride fare cost Php 30.00-40.00 / $0.90.

YELLOW TRAIL SIGN

YELLOW TRAIL SIGN

We cut the trip by visiting our house in Santa Ana Pampanga for breakfast and leaving things that are needed on our pack. After breakfast we decide to take tricycle from Santa Ana to Arayat. We are able to secure our guide for Php 500.00 and started the trek around 0900 which became pain on our butt.

Camp Site in South Peak

Camp Site in South Peak

Chey and Nhey sliding their way to the MONOLITH

Chey and Nhey sliding their way to the MONOLITH

It was hot, the humid is killing us one by one. I totally forgot that I brought newbie friend which is tremendously tired on the first hour of the trek. Trail signs are all over the place, getting a guide is not mandatory and you cannot never get lose during the day. YELLOW painted trail signs are placed on the trail path. They are useful and helpful but its a bit uncomfortable for me since Leave No Trace Policy was violated big time.

We are all this TIRED but we need to keep MOVING

We are all this TIRED but we need to keep MOVING

Two hours on the trail, the heat is wearing me off. Its burning my skin and I feel like all the sweat in my body coming out. I easily get tired if the weather is above 32 degrees Celsius. I get worried because my friends start to pant heavily. I got plenty of water for myself, securing 3 litres of water and some trail foods.

Blue Sky of Love. Up Up Up and Away

Blue Sky of Love. Up Up Up and Away

1030+ MASL. Towering Pampanga and Nueva Ecija

1030+ MASL. Towering Pampanga and Nueva Ecija

I want to laugh at myself because instead of celebrating comfortably at home I chose to walk on a boiling trail. After enduring so much with the heat, we finally arrive the FOREST area, the heat wear off but unimaginable assault comes our way. I wish I stayed at home, videoke with cold juice on my hand (I wish it was beer but I don’t actually drink).

Hard work PAYS, This VIEW killed it

Hard work PAYS, This VIEW killed it

The KAPATAGAN

The KAPATAGAN

I now believe in FOREVER. I was about to cry when we were able to hike at least 2 hours, the never-ending assault trail makes my legs weaker every step. I keep on asking Kuya (our guide) “Mga ilang oras pa Kuya papuntang summit?” (How long it takes to reach the summit Kuya?). Then Kuya will reply, “Malayo pa tayo Mam! (It’s still a long way Mam). I think I ask about hundred times. This is the most difficult day hike I ever encounter in my life. The heat, the assault and the insects are rioting inside my brain.

LUSCIOUS GREEN OF SOUTH PEAK, MT ARAYAT

LUSCIOUS GREEN OF SOUTH PEAK, MT ARAYAT

North Peak seen from the View Deck

North Peak seen from the View Deck

Arayat trail is a bit hefty. Most of the hiker we meet on the trail, Traverse from Magalang to Arayat National Park while we beat the damn South Trail furiously. My energy level is depleting plus I need to carry my friends load because the trail is most likely splitting him half. Testing my endurance and physical fitness, we need to speed up otherwise we will not be able to go down early. The fatigue we all need to take give us excruciating pain all over our body.

My SHOES SELFIE, Official Break In

My SHOES SELFIE, Official Break In

TASTE OF SUMMER PEAK

TASTE OF SUMMER PEAK

It took us 6 or 7 hours before we reached the summit, I do no longer mind the time. All I want to do is reach the top and finish the damn hike. The South Peak serve it well. The Kapatagan (Plateau) is really fascinating from the top. I fell in love with it and I don’t think I will do it again without proper training. He He.

My co-wanderlust friend Nhey. Since 2004

My co-wanderlust friend Nhey. Since 2004

My friend even brought a cake to celebrate my 26th birthday at the top of Mt Arayat. After taking all the selfie I deserve, we decide to descend. Around 1600, we started trekking down. We are actually fast, then the darkness cast into the forest. Good thing someone brought a headlamp and cp led lights are very useful.

My Dreamy Face on my BIRTHDAY

My Dreamy Face on my BIRTHDAY

Two hours into the dark trail, it became 3 hours and we are still walking down. Most of them chugged down their trail water upon ascending. The remaining water in my bottle, I need to give it out to my friend otherwise he might faint due to dehydration. So imagine trekking down against humidity of summer for 4 hours without water. It was a combination of heaven and hell. The last hour of the trek makes me want to puke but I forgot I haven’t drink for a while now. The forest is like a loop and maze which doesn’t have an ending. It seems like we are lost but we have our guide leading the trail-way. After 3 hours, we are able to reach the grass trail, I thought this will be over. But I guess I need to suffer more.

We to shout HURRAY for this beautiful summit

We to shout HURRAY for this beautiful summit

My friend Chey on her signature post. This blondie is a real ass kicker when it comes to assault. Never Underestimate

My friend Chey on her signature post. This blondie is a real ass kicker when it comes to assault. Never Underestimate

I timed our trek down, we only stop at least 4 times on the way down for about 3-5 minutes. We are going down relentlessly for the last 3 hours and it seems like the finish line is still distance away. Killing time it is. Reaching the star-studded night sky line from the grass trail gave us nothing but FALSE HOPE. 30 minutes passed and we are already numb. My body is on auto-pilot mode. I think all the endurance I have were totally snatched from me because of this hike. I was not prepared, the blogs I read underestimate this mountain or I was just weak. All I want is to drink water!!

On my happiest

On my happiest

We are actually talking about water while going down, on how we should save water and never consume more than what we need. I will appreciate the endless grass trail if only my friend is not fretting all the time. I want him to go down immediately. He did not enjoy the hike as much as the others like it. It makes me sad though that he don’t like climbing. Most of the people I knew who join me, love being on the top and they were too happy to join me with my next climb. I guess this climb went pretty bad for him. Nevertheless, if you did not stop and tried to continue with your life. The next thing you will know is that your there because you move forward.

I need to crawl my way back to View Deck after getting all the pictures I wanted

I need to crawl my way back to View Deck after getting all the pictures I wanted

North Peak seen from the View Deck

North Peak seen from the View Deck

It took us 10.5 hours to hike this mountain. The homey mountain is really treacherous to me. It was a darn tiring day for me to celebrate life and coming to new age. I am happy to break the sad birthdays I had. For the past several years, I mostly celebrate at home. I want to make my birthdays to come to be this adventurous and outstanding. I want to remember all of my birthday and I am sure deserve to be glorious for this day.

View Deck The Majetice Scene of South Peak

View Deck The Majetice Scene of South Peak

You dont want missed capturing this scene

You dont want missed capturing this scene

Lesson learned from the trails of Mt Arayat, be prepared more than ever. To celebrate birthdays is to cheers with life. I must continue to seek all the things this life can bring regardless of tragedies. Amidst all negative vibes, I learned to continue again with life WITH OR WITHOUT YOU.

Birthday is a SUCCESS and I will continue to climb for as long as I can

Birthday is a SUCCESS and I will continue to climb for as long as I can

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio Copyright

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

 

Towering Heights of Mt Arayat

The thrill of being on the TOP of the world is indescribable.
The thrill of being on the TOP of the world is indescribable.

Getting high like this make me feel powerful. Not anyone can go here. Not anyone have the stamina. The energy. The time. The journey.

Mt Daguldul

We're still CHEERFUL. Perks of being a CRAZY ADVENTURE SEEKER!

We’re still CHEERFUL. Perks of being a CRAZY ADVENTURE SEEKER!

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1

0600 ETD Lipa via Bus (You can take the Cubao or Buendia Bus whichever is near from your house. We took Araneta Center Terminal)

0830 At Lipa, rent a jeepney to Barangay Hugom (Lipa to Barangay Hugom is a 2 hour ride)

Option 2: For Small Group,Solo or Dual Hikers

From Bus Drop Off in Front of Jolibee, ride a jeepnet to SM Lipa then take Jeep to San Juan. From San Juan take a tricycle to Barangay Hugom (It will be a journey)

1130 ETA Brgy. Hugom Outpost. Register and arrange for guide.

1300 Start Trek – Pavement road from Barangay Outpost or ride a jeepney or tricycle

1530 ETA Mang Lizardo’s place

1730 ETA Niyugan Campsite, Set Camp (We set our camp around 1900 due to heavy rain, slow-mo effect)

1900 Dinner / Socials (Nope, we did not eat on time!)

Day 2

0600 Wake up call (Chilly morning)

0620 Start Trek going to summit

0640 ETA summit

0800 ETD from summit

0830 Breakfast (We did ot eat)

0930 Break Camp

1000 Start Descent

1100 Back at Mang Lizardo’s place (We ate)

1200 Resume descent

1400 ETA Laiya Beach. (Rented a cottage for Php 500.00 with a long table: No Entrace once you rented the cottage)

1700 ETA SM Lipa. Took the Bus to Manila

1900 ETA Manila

Things to Bring

•A good pair of trekking shoes or rubber shoes

•Sun and Rain Protection (Sun Block, RAIN COAT / PONCHO, shades, cap etc..)

•Water or re hydration fluids(prescribed is 3L)

•Extra clothes and clothes for swimming

•Slippers

•Toiletries

•Personal Medications

•Packed lunch

•Snacks (Trail Food)

•Headlamp/ Flashlight

•Extra plastic

•Camera

•Mess Kit

Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Bayukbok Cave: Do The Body Language

Enter the DUNGEON
Enter the DUNGEON
Spelunking is not my kind of adventure but I still try it for the sake of exploring the wonders of the Philippines. It will be very uncomfortable for me to go inside a cave alone. I hate the idea of being alone in a cold, dark and deep environment. Mentally, it will kill me.
This will be part of the trail before you can enter the MAIN ENTRANCE of CAVE
This will be part of the trail before you can enter the MAIN ENTRANCE of CAVE
Sarah tried to sport out REAL WALL CLIMBING. 5 MASL. Hehe
Sarah tried to sport out REAL WALL CLIMBING. 5 MASL. Hehe
It was not a good idea but if I will in a group, I will survive the thoughts and just be mindful of what is happening around us. Bayubok Cave exploration became a side-trip after our successful Trilogy climb in San Miguel, Bulacan. After trekking up and down the mountains of Manalmon, Gola and Matinik. We still have that unlimited energy to finish the spelunking activity.
I cannot skip this PHOTO OP!
I cannot skip this PHOTO OP!
The REAL DEAL started
The REAL DEAL started
Since, we already ducked in the place. It was initially part of the itinerary, Gola and Matinik were just out of the blue decision. After camping out in Mt Manalmon, the next following day we trek the stretched all the to Mt Matinik. Then, decide to take a rest and pull out all those reserve energy to walk, climb, bend and rope down to the cave.
Gel's turned to be BRAVE
Gel’s turn to be BRAVE
Our guide climb down like 1 2 3
Our guide climb down like 1 2 3
Reaching the main entrance challenged us to climb down using a rope. It was around 5-7 meters down, full house rocks and extremely dangerous spiky ground beneath us.
The DARK narrow path
The DARK narrow path
Still SMILING though. :)
Still SMILING though. 🙂
One at a time, we manage to go down. Going down is very difficult for me. I like to think that I am better when its an uphill climb. With head lamps on we enter the cold, damp and dark sanctuary. Most of the paths are narrow aisle, allowing one person at a time.
Smooth White Rock
Smooth White Rock
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You need to be a on a average size to passed through the natural-made tunnel otherwise you wont fit some passage. There are several unique rock formation inside. It was the “MUSIC ROOM” that mesmerized me. If you tap the rock there will be different tunes you can create.
Inside Bayukbok Cave
Inside Bayukbok Cave
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I am extremely exhausted and dirty from the 2-day activity. It was a tough day, slipping through the rocks, heavy breathing, numb leg muscles and my back is now killing me. My shoes were murdered in this trip. The sole were half ripped from the toe part and my clothes are sweaty. I can feel the running sweat all over my body.
Yes I have all the time in the world to take that dangerous SELFIE
Yes I have all the time in the world to take that dangerous SELFIE
It was an experience of a lifetime. The body language movement made me want to think about my current weight and go back to being a skinny human. I swear that if I am a kilo heavier I will not fit the damn rocks.
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Oriented by our brave guide, after hugging and kissing those rocks we manage to find our way out. It was tedious, a bit short spelunking trip but it one of the best caving experience I had.
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I envelope a tremendous self-respect after finishing all the activities without a broken bone but with several knee, elbow, hands and legs scratches. I know, it is more fun in the effin PHILIPPINES!!!
Madlum River Wire Bridge
Madlum River Wire Bridge
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Sample Itinerary:
0500: ETD ES Bus Terminal in Cubao (Can take any bus from Cubao or Pasay to Cabanatuan. Traffic hazard any time so it will be easy to take the early tour than being stuck for hours of traffic jam in Bulacan exit)
0730: ETA Bus Stop-Over in San Miguel, Bulacan (Rent a tricycle for Php 70.00 / $2.00 per pax to Barangay Kamias Jump Off)
0815: ETA Barangay Kamias Jump Off (You can asked the driver to take you straight to the bridge passed through then arranged Guide and registration fee)
0830: Arranged Guide and Register (Guide fee is Php 400.00-500.00 / $9.00-11.00 per 5 pax)
0900: Hit the trail to the Bayukbok Cave
0915: Start Spelunking
1030: Hit back to the registration site (You can actually finish in less that 30 minutes but take as many pictures as you want.)
1100 Swim in Madlum River and try to cross the Wire Bridge made by locals
(Tables are Php 50.00 only. Convenient Stores are available and comfort rooms to clean up
1300: Pack and go home
Budget:
Cubao to San Miguel Bulacan Fare: Php 90.00 – Php 120.00 / $2.00 – $3.00
Tricyle From Bus Stop-over to Barangay Kamias Jump Off: Php 70.00 per pax / $1.50
Registration Fee: Php 5.00 – 10.00 / $0.12 – $0.23 / $9.00 – $11.00
Guide Fee: Php 400-500.00 per 5 pax /
Table to Rent: Php 50.00 / $1.50
Comfort Room Fee: Php 5.00 / $0.12
Shower: Php 10.00 per pail of water / $0.23
This is a usual side trip after hiking Mt Manalmon which I will review later. I just want to highlight the beauty of this cave if your not into hiking stuff then you should try 2 more available cave in San Miguel Bulacan.
The Madlum River of San Miguel Bulacan
The Madlum River of San Miguel Bulacan
Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.

Mt Daguldol: Breaking Free

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Hibernating from mountain climbing was the most regretful decision I made in my traveling career. I got killed by my fear of going out of the sun because the rainy season is coming. After deliberating so much time, questioning if I will continue to embark the journey to the woods and summit. I decided to go back to the trails again. January 2015, after not hiking for more than 8 months. I put up a camp and hike itinerary for a bunch of newbies. then, we set foot in Mount Daguldol.
Resting before the ASSAULT
Resting before the ASSAULT
the hot road
We went aboard on a bus going to Lipa City, Batangas. The day before the set, I was able to fixed all the camping equipments we needed from the people who supported the hike. It was a beautiful day, the sun rise in full bloom. We are ready to conquer the day, full of smiles.
From here, we need to troll up for 5-10 minutes before the REAL JUMP OFF
From here, we need to troll up for 5-10 minutes before the REAL JUMP OFF
Reaching Lipa City, we rent a jeepney that will take us to Barangay Hugom. We registered and have our teenage guide (mandatory before climbing Daguldul) arranged. Registration cost Php 35.00 / $0.77 and the guide fee is Php400.00 / $9.00. For a group of 11, 1 guide was enough for all of us.
The real adventure start when the you reach the less traveled road.
The real adventure start when the you reach the less traveled road.
Due to the recent change, resorts managements do no longer permit hikers to use the beach front trail as it is bother their guests so we need to trek the hard way. The ground trail is now polish by pavement. The heat of the afternoon sun is killing all of us. Drenched in sweat after a 10 minute-walk, we reach the real mountain jump off in no time.
From left to right. Me, Rona and Gel. When you reach this sign, your 1/8 there.
From left to right. Me, Rona and Gel. When you reach this sign, your 1/8 there.
A Love to Shed. Take 10 Please!!
A Love to Shed. Take 10 Please!!
The trail is no longer as diverse as expected but is still challenging path to walk on. The mountain land is being change over to hotel and resort infrastructures which added ill to the view. It was not a wise transformation as it kills the environment.
The ENDLESS greenery trail.
The ENDLESS greenery trail.
I cannot move. EXHAUSTION ALERT!
I cannot move. EXHAUSTION ALERT!
The trail is endless, woods, grass, boulder rocks and muddy trails is all over Daguldol. We are all tired and weary because we all came from work. No sleep, restless and hungry. We reached Tatay’s place (I forgot his name).
WELCOME HIKERS!
WELCOME HIKERS!
CHILLIN' LIKE A ROCKSTAR
CHILLIN’ LIKE A ROCKSTAR
Fresh buko juice and snack time for the rest of us. The afternoon sun is setting down and we are still half way to the camp site. Some of the trail members were too tired so they pay local kids to port their bags to the campsite.
RESUME TREK. We think were almost there after the TAKE 30 in Tatay's place.
RESUME TREK. We think were almost there after the TAKE 30 in Tatay’s place.
An hour before reaching the camp site the wind change and the sky formed its dark clouds. We are duly delay from our itinerary, it was dark and the rain starts to fall from our head. The trail went muddy and wet.
Rona is still smiling here. Still trekking up.
Rona is still smiling here. Still trekking up.
We are in the assault part of the trail, its raining cats and dog, the pro hiker are in the tail part of the trail and the newbies are in the camp site with guide. When we reach the camp site, everyone is drenched and cold. We immediately set our tents and camp under the furious thunder storm. The rain did not stop the entire night time.
The
The “WET AND COLD” camp.
Happy thoughts. Thurder-storms in the mountain. NAHHH!!
Happy thoughts. Thurder-storms in the mountain. NAHHH!!
Most of us cleaned up and tried to stay dry the entire duration of the rain. After sheltering on our little flysheet supposed to be ground sheet, we manage the night and moved to dinner. Some did not eat because it was too cold. I was freezing. I cannot feel my feet and hands due to long exposure to the rain. I can feel my back and neck tightening.
Early morning
Early morning “INTO THE SUMMIT” shenanigans.
AT LAST! WE DOCKED INTO THE SUMMIT. NO CLEARING THOUGH. STILL HEAVENLY FEELING!!
AT LAST! WE DOCKED INTO THE SUMMIT. NO CLEARING THOUGH. STILL HEAVENLY FEELING!!
My clothes are wet and even though I changed several times I can still feel the rain water seeping through my clothes. Investing on high-end hiking gear will actually save your life in this type of worst weather scenario. Lights out, it went dark and again COLD.
YOU NEED TO FULFILL THE DREAM. NO RAINBOWS, YET, WE HAVE STRENGTH.
YOU NEED TO FULFILL THE DREAM. NO RAINBOWS, YET, WE HAVE STRENGTH.
My photo op!!
My photo op!!
I woke up feeling numb from the pain of the past night. The thunder-storm had passed, another day to finish what we’ve left. We reached the summit in 10 minutes from the camp site. It was vast, cold and there is no clearing to sight the view we all googled. Anyway, it was worth all those hard driven experience. After taking all those photo ops.
I am a WHITE HORSE in this game. Nyahhhh!
I am a WHITE HORSE in this game. Nyahhhh!
We decide to go trek down, back to the jump off. Since all our things are wet, we were unable to cooked our breakfast and decide to go down instead. The trail is all wet and muddy. I can feel the mud water in my feet. My shoes were harassed by the path we are walking through. My bag is heavier than yesterday because water is through the tent and things I brought up.
Going down with dirt and mud.
Going down with dirt and mud.
Why so serious?
Why so serious?
Double the difficulty and heavy equipment on my shoulder. 2 hours of sleep, I want to closed my eyes and passed. I am doubting myself, I am not strong. I am just brave. But, nevertheless I need to keep on pushing until our final destination.
I advise use a hiking shoes. Sometimes, forget the swag. MUD TRACKS!
I advise use a hiking shoes. Sometimes, forget the swag. MUD TRACKS!
We're still CHEERFUL. Perks of being a CRAZY ADVENTURE SEEKER!
We’re still CHEERFUL. Perks of being a CRAZY ADVENTURE SEEKER! Except Gel.
We reach Tatay’s place, food is served and we all dive in to the glorious fried egg with margarine. We are all tired of the happenings last night. Weary and dread we went down still manage to conquer the severe pain on my back. Once again, I survive another hike.
Laiya Beach Rock Formations. Wonderful sight.
Laiya Beach Rock Formations. Wonderful sight.
The SELFIE KING won the best photo ops in the beach.
The SELFIE KING won the best photo ops in the beach.
I drink all the carbonated drinks by body could swallow and puff all those cigarettes my lungs can take. We rent a small cottage, beach front and cooked our lunch before going home. Clean up all the mess, dried all the wet clothes and equipment. We play Frisbee, sing on a videoke and take a deep into the ice-cold sea water. I was relax and happy that all of us was able to make it through the night. I was fulfilled that everyone are happy to be part of. We are successful in climbing Mt Daguldol.
Q. The Beach Life.
Q. The Beach Life.
Khoi. Tough Walk.
Khoi. Tough Walk.
I unlocked another achievement. Fighting the fear to go back to the mountains, I was able to complete an itinerary that serves as an actual guide and beat myself from the body limitations I assume I would never ever fight.
After the HUNGER GAMES.
After the HUNGER GAMES.
Finally, I was able to bring someone I truly love and share what my world means. At this point of time, we manage to hike several mountains and formed our own group. It was not a happy ending for us but it will be a HAPPY TRAIL ENDING.
THE FIRST TIME.
THE FIRST TIME.
Sample Itinerary:
Day 1
0600 ETD Lipa via Bus (You can take the Cubao or Buendia Bus whichever is near from your house. We took Araneta Center Terminal)
0830 At Lipa, rent a jeepney to Barangay Hugom (Lipa to Barangay Hugom is a 2 hour ride)
Option 2: For Small Group,Solo or Dual Hikers
From Bus Drop Off in Front of Jolibee, ride a jeepnet to SM Lipa then take Jeep to San Juan. From San Juan take a tricycle to Barangay Hugom (It will be a journey)
1130 ETA Brgy. Hugom Outpost. Register and arrange for guide.
1300 Start Trek – Pavement road from Barangay Outpost or ride a jeepney or tricycle
1530 ETA Mang Lizardo’s place
1730 ETA Niyugan Campsite, Set Camp (We set our camp around 1900 due to heavy rain, slow-mo effect)
1900 Dinner / Socials (Nope, we did not eat on time!)
Day 2
0600 Wake up call (Chilly morning)
0620 Start Trek going to summit
0640 ETA summit
0800 ETD from summit
0830 Breakfast (We did ot eat)
0930 Break Camp
1000 Start Descent
1100 Back at Mang Lizardo’s place (We ate)
1200 Resume descent
1400 ETA Laiya Beach. (Rented a cottage for Php 500.00 with a long table: No Entrace once you rented the cottage)
1700 ETA SM Lipa. Took the Bus to Manila
1900 ETA Manila
Things to Bring
•A good pair of trekking shoes or rubber shoes
•Sun and Rain Protection (Sun Block, RAIN COAT / PONCHO, shades, cap etc..)
•Water or re hydration fluids(prescribed is 3L)
•Extra clothes and clothes for swimming
•Slippers
•Toiletries
•Personal Medications
•Packed lunch
•Snacks (Trail Food)
•Headlamp/ Flashlight
•Extra plastic
•Camera
•Mess Kit
Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.
Images Souce From: Gel Conopio and Herdy Marzan (Yapak Mountaineers)

Mt Batulao Fun Hike

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Chill hike and camping. As a newbie in hiking and camping we need to go to minor yet mainstream mountains. This time we trail up to the infamous Mt Batulao in Nasugbu, Batulao. Many novice mountaineer hike this mountain due to its pristine beauty and easy access from Metro Manila. It will take you 2-3 hours travel from the capital. It was dawn of February when we decide to team up and go to Mt. Batulao. Traveling with fellow mountaineers, limited fund and a personal guide with us. It was 900H when we arrive in Evercrest Golf Course, at the back lies the jump off to Evercrest. The morning sun is high but since it still in cold months, the breeze of the air is still cold.
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We ride tricycle going to the jump off where little kids are bombarding us to be their guide. Since we got our mate who actually climb Batulao for the nth time we did not need one to hike up. The heat is tolerable, at the start all of us fell in love with the beauty. It is a 360 degree of scenic view of Batangas shore and land. Everything seems to be so pretty. We reach the fork, rest a little bit and carry on to the Old trail to the New Trail. We met lots of day hikers when we are proceeding to the old trail camp site.

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We took our time going up since we are early on our itinerary and it was just too beautiful to leave soon. When we reach the Old Trail Camp site, we register and rest for a while. The real deal started when we trek up to the summit. Series of assaults and downhill trail is really eating our energy. Good things it’s not hot, I cannot imagine going here during the summer months because it will kill you. It was a grassland trail, limited trees and lots of Talahib (wild grass) every where. We reached the 60 degrees assault which you need to use rope, it looks difficult but actually it was just the angle of the picture. It was steep, it will be very hard during the rainy season to go to this path.
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We reach the summit, it was a dry, rocky and sandy summit. The view is beautiful, the wind is just smooth and full clearing of the afternoon. We can see the lush vegetation nearby with Kaingin site (burning of woods for coal) but it is still pretty. We are not tired and sloppy unlike with other mountains we tried. We are full of energy this time even though the trail is not that easy. My bag is full packed with things and group load this time but I manage to go way up without gasping for air or back-killing pain. It went smooth.
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Going down to the New Trail Camp site is actually challenging. Too many slopes to conquer, face the wall and ropes again to add up our adventure. I get tired and weary. No sleep for more than 24 hours, hungry and thirsty. We finally reached the camp site. We are the only people to camp. It was Friday though, many people hike Batulao during weekends. It is also timely because it was the New Trail 7th anniversary and there will be party during the weekends. The land lord and trail master of the New Trail, Tatay Xerxes, accommodate us very warm. Even though, he doesn’t seem to talk that much. Reminding us that we can wake him up if we want something in his sari-sari store (convenient store in the mountain, business e).
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After setting up our camp with 2 tents for the 6 of us. We don’t have things yet available at this time (we have now, thought!! Yay!!). Dinner was serve and the comedic socials begins. In the middle of the night, we decide to go to the other side where another campers are ducked in. Cold air “Amihan” is freezing us, the sky line is pretty with millions of stars in the sky. The city lights below are twinkling in the dark. It was a pretty sight, as we call it a day. We trek down to our camp to be horrified that our camp was ransacked by a dog. Eating the cooked chicken which is supposed to be for midnight snack. Oh what a waste. Anyway, we learn that we should never leave things when going out.
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Light out and I am doze again to dream land. I woke up very late, breakfast ready by my co-hikers and we break our camp. It was very hard to leave because we are now watching day hikers and campers trek their way up while we trek our way down. I want to stay here but I need to go to work later this evening. We reached the fork and stayed there for an hour or so. We have cold soft drinks and Halo-Halo to cool down the morning heat. After which we decide to go down, walk our way up to Evercrest entrance. We head back to Manila after wash up. Another successful climb for me. It was a fine day.

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Budget:

Php 700-900.00 for 6 pax

Shaw Blvd to Coastal Mall: Fare Php 40.00
Coastal Mall to Evercrest: Fare 120
Evercrest to Jump Off Tricycle: Fare Php 250.00
Registration (Old Trail): Php 20.00
Overnight fee (New Trail):  Php 30.00
Another Registration as of March 2015: Php 10.00
Tour Guide:  Php 300.00
Food Allowance:  Php 1500

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Sample IT:

Old Trail to New Trail:

0700 ETD Coastal Mall bus terminal to Nasugbu, Batangas
01015 Arrival at Evercrest
1030 Start trek
1145 Arrival at Fork. Take the left.
1200 Camp 1. Register
1400 Camp 8, commence final assault
1600 Summit
1700 ETA New Trail Campsite  / Set up Camp
1900 Dinner/Socials
1200 Lights Out
0700 Start descent via New Trail
0800 ETA Fork.
0930 Back at Evercrest.
1030 ETD Evercrest
1200 ETA Manila

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Things to Bring:

1.5 to 2 L of Water or rehydration fluids
Group Water 2 liters
Hiking or trekking shoes
Sun protection and Rain Protection (hats, sun block, headgear, sunglasses)
Hiking gloves (optional but recommended)
Food (Snack and Lunch)
Personal Medications
Camera
Mess Kit
Extra Plastic
Head lamp

Essentials:

Burner
Swiss Knife
Tents
Lamp/Flashlight
Butane
Cook Set
Spatula
Dish Washer
Trash Bag
Medical Kit

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Till our next G!!

Jei February 5 and 6, 2015

Photo Credits: Gel and Me

To the Parrot’s Beak: Mt Pico De Loro

The MONOLITH
Drain with my every day life. After putting so much fear in my life, I decide that I want to break free from being the simple, book-worm and couch potato gal to become an utmost adventure geek. I never imagine to find so much love and passion to mountain climbing. I was over weight before, I was lazy and a massive alcohol drinker. Now I will climb my 5th mountain which is Mt. Palay Palay or Pico de Loro. One of the mainstreams mountain in the Philippines. Located in Ternate, Cavite. It is about 2 hours away from the Manila so many hiker are attracted to visit the summit.
NEW TRAIL
OLD TRAIL
OLD TRAIL
It was a fine day in Manila when we left. The traffic is not heavy from Shaw Boulevard going to Coastal to ride the bus to Ternate. From Coastal Mall terminal to Ternate terminal, we took tricycle going to the DENR jump-off. Then the confusion started, arriving to the jump off. Rumors is the old trail will be closed soon and municipal people are starting to barricade the old trail due to registration dispute. Before there are two registration point. One from the DENR (Department of Environment and National Resources) from the government and from a private collector which is the land lord of the old trail.
Hiking Mates
Hiking Mates
From the jump off we were bothered by several locals, we want to trek down the old trail going to the summit but we were discourage due to the pending closure of the trail. But we insist on having the old trail instead of using the New Trail. Despite the whole rigmarole of decisions in which way we finally started the trek. This is an overnight camping trip which was decided within 24 hours. I was tired and exhausted from work. I need to create our itinerary and budget. The night before we leave, I am very tired and wanted to cancel the trip. But still decide on going.
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Trekking down the old trail.

From the old trail jump off going to the next registration site we saw a rattle snake in white and black color. The vegetation is still good although the trail looks very used. We saw several groups going down form a day hike. Spreading news that there is wall construction on their way down which make us very hopeful. The hesitation we got is released so take a rest in the camp for while. We started trekking, to our horrors the closure of the old trail is inevitable. We saw policemen and workers starting to put barb wires and we need to talk to them for us to passed by. They told us to share the news to other people who the old trail was closed. I think we are the last group who was able to trek the trail. It was farewell and good-bye for the old trail.

Little Bamboo Forest going to the camp site.

As we continue, I can ear the water from the falls but we don’t have time to go there since it is not part of the IT. We arrive the 2 hour-assault, my back hurt, I did not sleep, tired, weary and hungry. My beast mode was long gone. I was palpitating real hard. Too much coffee and carbonated drinks. My thoughts are dreadful but I need to survive this hike otherwise I will not climb again. After the series of uphill climb, we manage to reach the camp. The sun is about to set on the west, the wind is harsh. It is windy in Pico during the afternoon till night-time. We left our bags in the campsite and trek to the summit.
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The wind cause a trouble on the way up to the summit. Edges and sandy all over the 60 degree slope. It was hard to climb because of the sand whirling together with the wind but we are able to reach the top. The deafening sound of the wind is nothing compare to the sight I am seeing. It was beautiful upon reach.

Girls and mountains.

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Scene in the Tower. Just Glorious.

Then, the famous MONOLITH stand on her grandeur in the middle of the forest, sea and clouds. It was wonderful. After getting all the picture we need, we head to the monolith top to experience, rock climbing. With ropes and other paraphernalia.
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Shoe selfie!!

I got scratches on my elbows but still I cannot feel the pain because the sight is just wonderful. We a took time to explore the monolith and when we are satisfied we head back to the campsite to set our own camp.

Emote sa LITH.

The way up. Looks can be deceiving. LOL!

At the camp, due to my negligence. I forgot to bring the tent we need which is really frustrating. Imagine 6 persons sharing 1 tent with a capacity of 4 persons. HURRAY!! Good thing I bring my own sleeping bag otherwise I might get cold. The wind is blowing relentlessly, getting strong every hour. After setting up our camp, dinner time and socials started. We cook our own food, we are still novice but we manage to upgrade our things one at a time. I doze off due to exhaustion. I slept outside the tent since I am the one who did not bring the tent. (T.T) It was cold, it is pinching my skin. I had 2 jackets on a sleeping bag but still the cold is harsh. I survive the night, woke up happily with all the people surrounding us!! Shocked to see that it was Saturday morning and people from the cities and nearby towns are now exploring the entire camp site. (ashamed!!!)

Setting Up the CAMP

Camping and Shelter

To trail during the week-end is highly discourage because there are lots of people hiking during this time. Actually, too many people. It was a good thing that we decide to hike on a Friday. After eating our breakfast we decide to break our camp. We trail back using the New Trail since back tracking to the Old trail is now officially prohibited. Foot traffic is all over the trail. We need to patiently wait for group of lines to be finished before taking our turn.

The NEW TRAIL

The New trail is still diverse. The vegetation is still in good condition, mossy and green. It took us 2 hours to trek down back to the jump off. We ate and washed up. Then it is time to go back to the real world.
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Expenses:
Shared expense for a group of 6 = Php 700
Solo Break Down:
Shaw to Coastal Mall : Fare Php 20.00 – 30.00
Coastal to Ternate: Fare Php 80.00 – 90.00
Ternate to DENR (Tricycle):  Php 250.00
Registration: 30.00
Second Registration (Old Trail)= Php 25.00
Food and drinks: 250
Ternate to Coastal Mall: Php 80.00 – 90.00
Coastal to Pasig City: Php 20.00 – 30.00
DENR to Terminal: Php 80.00 / Person
SOLO Budget Cost: Php 900.00 – 1000.00

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Sample Itinerary
Day 1
0700 Board bus at Coastal Mall Terminal to Ternate (P82)
01000 ETA Ternate. Rent tricycle to jump-off
1045 ETA DENR / jump-off point.
1100 Start trek
1145 ETA rest station, Basecamp 1
1300 Camp
1400 ETD to Summit
1600 ETA to Camp Site
1900 Dinner and Socials
2300 LIGHTS OUT
Day 2
0430 Breakfast
0500 Break Camp
0600 start descent to Magnetic Hill
0900 ETA jump-off point.
0930 Back at DENR; take jeepney to Ternate then take bus back to Manila
1100 ETA Manila.

At the top of MONOLITH

Photo Credits:
Gel, Rona, Sarah and Herdy (Yapak Mountaineers)
 Hike Date: February 20 and 21, 2015
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