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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

Manabu Peak and Mt Maculot Twin Hike

“The great outdoors can push the limitations of your physical prowess to its utmost power

– Fakir

Features: Manabu Peak, Tatay Tino’s Free Coffee, Hiking, Camping, Twin Climb, Mt Maculot, Day Hiking and 2 Mountains in 2 Days

The Beautiful Kitanglad Range

 

How to be a weekend warrior? Its the time of the year again where most of our annual vacation leaves are already used. We do no longer have sufficient time to go far away from home and work. Some people have one day rest but for others we have two. Good thing I work with two rest days which happen every Saturday and Sunday. I need to come up with a climbing activity that will over power my dull weekends at home. It was 2 months now since my last climb so I decide to go on a camping trip with a fellow hiker and office mate.

Manabu Trail

Manabu Trail

I decided to grant the wish of Chey to climb Mt Maculot and Camp in Manabu Peak as our orignal itinerary. We are supposed to be five in the group but before we take off we were down to two. So me and my friend Chey decide to continue our trip to Batangas. Off to Araneta Center Cubao around 0900, we completed our supplies and hopped into bus bound for Batangas City. We took off in Lipa-Tramo Exit. Fare price Php 132.00 from Cubao to Lipa-Tramo Exit.

The infamous coffee and Tatay Tino

The infamous coffee and Tatay Tino

From the toll exit we ride jeep to Lipa Poblacion for Php 8.00. Then take another jeepney to Fiesta mall for Php 8.00. We reached Fiesta Mall around 1230 so we took our lunch before we head to the jump off. We ride tricycle from Fiesta Mall to Manabu Jump-off for Php 100.00. Register in the Barangay hall for free and you can leave any amount as donation. We reached the jump off, it was warm and you can smell the mountain. We rest for a bit before we begin to ascend.

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The Dawn in the Camp Site

Starting around 1400, guides are not required in Manabu which is a good thing. Trail is visible but challenging if its your first time. TRUST YOUR INSTINCT, make sure you trek the clean trail and you were on the right track if your still ending up seeing the trail sign. Trail sign in Maculot is a map of all stations printed in tarpaulin. Providing where you are in the trail, this serves as the navigator if you did not hire a guide.

Manabu Sunrie

Manabu Sunrise

Two months of no hike, running or gym training. I lose weight for the past few months because of appetite lose and stress surrounding me. Going back to the mountains with someone which is very fit makes me feel weak. My pack is killing me, my lungs will burst any time and my body is about to split in half. Assaulting becomes harder and as we move station by station. I can feel my hips and legs are fading away from my body. It was painful and glorious at the same time.

Sunrise and Me

Sunrise and Me

We reached Tatay Tino’s kubo which is the STARBUCKS in this mountain. Giving free brewed coffee which is delightful. It will wake you body up to continue once last draw to station 6 where the camp is located. My legs are getting weak, no sleep and heavy backpack. I had 2 coffee cups, it was too delicious not to drink. Tatay is very accommodating to hikers in which he is respected as the land lord of this mountain. Leaving the coffee behind, continuing this climb. I need to make it in the summit otherwise I will roll over from its slope. I am tired, weary and sweaty. Sun sets in which we are able to marvel along the trail. Such a beautiful sight even though I am about to die.

Camping in the FOG site

Camping in the FOG site

We reached the camp site around 1730, vast camping ground that can accommodate 20-30 2P tents. We found our spot, set our camp and started cooking our dinner. We missed our hiking friends from Balanghai G and our friends from Yapak which have their own endeavours. I cannot keep up with the group I founded because I will keep of seeing the person I hated the most. We missed our friends who are reluctant now in terms of climbing and have set their priorities. This is mostly our conversation on our socials. We are unable to mingle with other hikers because we are tired. So we put our lights out around 2100.

Balanghai At SUMMIT

Balanghai At SUMMIT

The mist of dawn made it very cold. The wind is howling as I woke up around 0300. It still dark outside, sleep was good and the temperature is getting low. I waited for the sun rise because I cannot go back to sleep. Hundreds of memories keep on flooding my mind. I had the best year in terms of climbing. Manabu will be my 17th climb and Maculot will be my 18th. The sun is about to shine, the yellow orange light is coming and the sight is tremendously pretty. The sunlight that touches my old damp skin gives warm. I wake up Chey from her slumber for us to reached the summit which is 5 minutes away from the camp site.

Mt Maculot Summit

Mt Maculot Summit

Manabu summit have cross made by the locals. The space is a bit smaller that can only accommodate 20 – 30 people at large. Since it was weekend, several hikers were as mad as we are. Jam packed summit, it was. We all watched the beautiful sun rise which is very marvellous. It was once of the best sun rise I ever seen at the top of a mountain. After taking all the pictures we need, we descend to take our breakfast. We ate and break the camp.

Mt Maculot Rockies

Mt Maculot Rockies

I want to go down early to taste the delicious coffee at Tatay Toni’s. Heavy meal then barako coffee will make your day. We need to energize before climbing Mt Maculot. The smell of coffee created an ultimate euphoric feeling, its like waking up from a good dream. We continue the descent with a happy mood. The day will be long for the two of us. We reached the jump-off around 1000. Then freshen a bit before taking off to Fiesta mall via tricycle.

Me at Rockies in Mt Maculot]

Me at Rockies in Mt Maculot

We hopped into jeepney bound to SM Lipa to catch another jeepney to Cuenca route to Lemery. Fare Fiesta Mall to SM Lipa is Php 8.00, Manabu jumpoff to SM Lipa via tricycle just add Php 50.00. From SM Lipa to Cuenca Poblacion fare is Php 25.00, then take another tricycle to Barangay Hall to register and to get your guide. Guide fees varies depending on the type of climb.

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Shoe Selfie

We chose to climb from Summit and the Rockies for Php 500.00. The popular guide fee is Mt Maculot Rockies for Php 400.00 minimum of 5 pax, all in excess of 5 pax cost Php 50.00 per pax. Maculot Traverse cost Php 800.00. Overnight Rockies Php 1000.00, Traverse 1500.00 and Rockies-Summit cost Php 1200. Adding pax for overnight climb cost Php 100.00 per pax. We left our packs in the bath house at the base of the mountain, brought only the things we required on a day climb. Tricycle from Cuenca Poblacion to jump off cost Php 20.00 per pax.

Rockies Trail

Rockies Trail

The guide fee is really expensive if your hiking alone or for 2 pax. According to our guide, if its a returned climb you can waive off the guide since the trail is easy to track. The guide fee info looks like a menu from a restaurant. HeHe. We started our climb around 1300, it was tough and painful. My lungs are breaking into pieces and sweat is like rain in June. I am totally feeling weak because of the humidity. Its been 2 months from my last hike, then 2 mountains is really killing me. We reach the camp site is 2 hours, rest a bit and continue to climb to the summit.

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The summit have wild grass everywhere at the start of the assault. You need to wear long sleeves and pants to prevent scratches from talahib. From the camp site to the summit in good pacing, you can reach it in 30 minutes. We reached the summit, eat our lunch and take all the photos at the top. A good 15 minutes passed, we decided to go down to the Rockies. The usual climb starts from Rockies to the Summit but the Rockies is overcrowded so we decide to trek the Summit first before proceeding to the Rockies Part.

The view is scenic

The view is scenic

Rockies is a ridge from the camp site which is about 15 minutes away. The trail is a bit technical, it will be a difficult terrain for first timers. My stamina and endurance are depleting is fast paced, on this part I am panting regularly. For my energy to last, I am no longer muttering words. We reached the top of the Rockies around 1600, marvelled ourselves to the beauty. The sun shines adorably against Taal Lake. You can view the Malarayat Range, Taal Volcano and Mt Makiling. This mountain is very popular, now I do no long wonder why.

Panorama of Manabu Peak

Panorama of Manabu Peak and Kitanglad Range

We ascend around 1700, no break or rest. Trekking down from Rockies to the jump-off took 1 hour. We reach the bath house, water from their reserved is already drained. So we move to another bath house and the long line started. I am extreme exhausted, hungry and smelly. After taking our turn to the wash room, we immediately hopped back to Cuenca Poblacion to catch a jeepney back to SM Lipa for dinner and hopped into a bus bound to Manila. Fare cost Php 30.00 from Cuenca to SM Lipa.

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We ate in Mang Inasal SM Lipa for unlimited rice. HEHE. After the heavy dinner, we catch the bus to Manila around 2100. We reached the city around 2300, tired but happy from our 2 days itinerary. Reaching my bed after the tiresome 2 climb in 2 days with 2 person and 1 experience of a lifetime.

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SEE YOU ON OUR NEXT CLIMB PIRATES!

Source: Personal Photos Jerleen Custodio and Nilo Canlas 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.

Trilogy Hike: Mt Gola, Mt Manalmon and Mt Matinik

“I hope you remember that my laughs and smiles are 100 times healthier when I am with you.”

      • Fakir into the Mountains

 

The smells of summer cast happiness to our old dying nation. The heat of the sun is burning all the way, from city to the provincial fields. The mountains are delightful for the brim light coming from the star. It was time to unfathomable adventures until the summer last.

 

I wish this will be the best summer for me. One of our unimaginable summer. My no more tears formula from loneliness of the warm climate bring sad memories from the ghost of my own past. Now, I want to change and leave nothing but happay memories. After exploring the Burot Beach in Calatagan,Batangas. Still on my 5-day vacation leave, I came to continue my exploration without getting tired to the peaks of San Miguel, Bulacan. Originally, it was a planned hike to Mt Maculot but after learning that overnight seems to be impossible. The plan changed abruptly to Twin Hike for Manalmon and Gola.

Ruining the Batangas escapades, after tanning in Burot (See Related Article: http://lenlenmanlalayag.com/2015/04/14/burot-beach-going-solo/). I went back to Manila, slept a bit, change my pack from beach attires to climbing stuff. Meet up with the group and went straight to Cubao Terminal. Hola, from South to North! From Cubao to San Miguel, Bulacan, you can hopped in to bus bound to Cabanatuan via Sta Rita for Php 100-120.00 / $2.00 – 2.70. Day hike is very applicable but you need to be very early. After exiting Sta Rita NLEX toll, you must be an HOKAGE to bypass the traffic.

 

There will be a bus stop in San Miguel proper, hire a tricycle to Sitio Madlum. Fare is around Php 70.00 – 80.00 / head for a group of 4 or 5 in 1 tricycle. It will take 20 – 30 minutes tryke ride to the Sitio. It was mid morning when we reach the registration hall. We met our guide, Tatay Carling and Tatay Tonyo which were very pleasant to mountaineers. They even have equipment brought to them by hikers. Humidity is high but the dancing bamboos give fresh air around the river.

 

Registration fee cost Php5.00 and guide fee is Php300.00 day hike or overnight. We started trekking in high noon. The infamous Madlum River, several horror stories were provided to us upon starting the climb. Yes!! It’s killing me softly. I hate horror movies, stories and the monsters below the bed. Madlum have it all. Anyway, back to the trail. The air is refreshing, 10 – 20 minutes later, we arrive near a creek where water source is available. We dipped into the cold water, dive to the murky abyss. After TAKE 30, we decide to continue the hike hitting MT GOLA as our first mountain.

 

 

Mt Gola is good for beginners, the trail is diverse with rock formation sulfuric acid seems to melt on the boulders. Reaching the summit will take less than an hour. The sun sets down and the twinkling sky line is on the surface of the Earth. The pretty natural light from the moon is giving us faint light and give calming ambiance to the entire trail. Mulawin trees are all over the place, summer gashed out their leaves and the effect is splendid. Since the darkness started to run unto us, we trek down and start to hike to Mt Manalmon to set our camp.

 

We reached the camp at full darkness. Nothing beats the night sky during summer over the mountain. It very hard to describe how pretty the stars. Million of stars above dancing with the moonlight. Another FEELS when you climb a mountain. You cannot pay for the beauty seen beyond the city lights. Moving forward from my poetic damnation, we cooked dinner, ate it and socials started once more.

 

 

The worst nightmare of the cowardly ME, they started to talk about the headless priest, the big bird who eat humans and the endless river killing. I got enough of it and decided to sleep. I cannot sleep, I can feel the stories lurking from my restless body. It was hot inside my tent, too cold to sleep outside. I transferred to another tent with my buddy because I cannot bear sleeping alone, its haunting me. The cruelty of having vivid imagination, too much horrors can bring worst nightmares.

 

 

I can hear the wind whistling all around the camp area, we were the only one who camp out here. The rest of the hikers ducked near the water source. The howling sound of the animals suddenly stop and later I was sound asleep. The morning sun is the greatest of all. I can finally breath properly. LOL! Breakfast serve, chomped the remaining food on our packs and head to our 2nd summit. MT MANALMON peak is wonderful, the entire trail easy to trek and the view can amaze you. After going bananas in the summit it was an official declaration to trek down and finish the last G of the day. Spelunking in Bayukbok Cave (See related article: http://lenlenmanlalayag.com/2015/06/25/bayukbok-cave-do-the-body-language/)

 

 

But, our guide is very proud of us and asked us if we wanted to trail another mountain. MT MATINIK is privately owned by a local which is our guide’s relative. The trail is not officially open to hikers because they are still waiting for the private transaction being dealt with the owner of the property. Since our guide is a relative, he introduce us this mountain. We are happy to be part of the few hikers that were able to climb this closed trail. YIHAAA! Feeling HARDCORE! HEHE

 

The mountain do not have permanent trail, locals climb here to get fruits and sad to say Kaingin. Our guide cut out few bushes to create new trail and the name really fits this mountain. MATINIK which means THORNY. Thorns from wild grass immediately scratched us while we hike up. Thorns and heat were not an ideal combination. GRRRR! It was scorching hot, we were in the middle of April’s warmth and thorns everywhere. This peak is the highest out of the 3 summits. We were able to climb after an hour or so. The view differs from every corner of Sitio Madlum.

 

We trek down on another trail with luscious wild grass and humidity. I managed to drink all my trail water and my throat starts to ache. We reached the field back to the river and WHAAALALALA, finish 3 summits in mid morning. Filing up my bottle from the water source, we head back to the jump-off to rest before starting the caving activity.

 

Lunch is served, I need to rest for a while now before starting another trail. I find this hammock hanging in between bamboos. It was the most relaxing part of the trip, the sway and the cold wind makes me want to sleep and forget the cave. Of course, my hike mates won’t allow me to sleep and I need to finish our escapades here in Madlum. So we headed to the cave after resting for a couple of minutes! POWER!

 

My first trilogy was full of surprises and one of the most memorable hikes I had. Remembering it brings bittersweet smiles. But things happen for a reason, and the REASON IS YOU. LOL!

 

  • HUGOT TEAM

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 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.

 

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

Mt Talamitam Heat

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Earn money by keeping your day job. Save money to buy all things I want. Repeat 5 times a weeks. When everything fails go to the mountains. Pure happiness and not stop action will push you to your limit. kicking that adrenaline you been longing to scream out. Oh well, it was a fine February day. After weeks of going up, up, up and away to 3 mountains which I will review soon. Me and my mountain buddies decide to spend our time off in Mt. Talamitam. New peak for novice hikers like us. This will be my 6th mountain summit and it was a blast.

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 Mt Talamitam is nestle in Nasugbu, Batangas Philippines. I will no longer elaborate since you can google it. I tell you the experience I had going to the peak of Mt. T. This particular mountain is not as famous as Mt Batulao which is located on the same town.  I got interested to this mountain due to various blogs made by other mountaineers. They mentioned about the political rivalry and landlords registration war. It was a little bit off limit to go to mountains who have been long boycotted by several clubs and hiking society.

 

 Out meet up location was in 7/11 Starmall, manage to leave there around 800H which is actually 2 hours late from our original itinerary. Then run all the way to Coastal Malll to catch the Nasugbu bus. We reach Nasugbu around  1100H due to heavy traffic and the bus stop over to get passengers. I had no sleep but I was able to catch up along the way, it was a good long nap in the bus.

 Upon reaching the jump off, we learn that the disputes in the registration is long gone. Its been 3 years since the matter dissipates and locals are still suffering because of the occurrence. My team never made it to 83 km because the conductor doesnt know the jump off so we pass over the registration site. We made it to Sitio Bayabasan, Kuya Paul welcomes us very warmly and offer himself to be our guide. It was high noon, warm and sunny. I can see the peak of Talamitam soaring high in the sky with the heat and breeze of February afternoon.

It was hot, trekking all the way up there will make the hiking very difficult. There was no water source and we need to save up our water. Kuya Paul bring our group water which is very kind of him. He told us to swim first in the river before going up and wait for the sun to go down. After the mesmerizing bath in the river. We resume the trek around 1630H. The sun is still piercing through our skin like needles. I feel like my backpack weight became double. Sweat pouring in my face and my heart is beating relentlessly.

It was tiring to go way up when it is too hot. But as we walk our way up we gloriously dive in into a magical hill. From a not very far away land we can see the majestic Mt Batulao. The heat lost when we saw the terrain, it was just so pretty. So I take time, slow down and have multiple pictures. We reach the saddle camp site around 1800H, set our tents and ready for our group socials. We had our dinner and the usual social on how the trek. We decide on reaching the summit at dawn to watch sunrise.

Lights out. I woke up because the stray dog rummaging our stock, food and equipments. It was wrong to leave things out of tents and I learn my lesson. Ending the day very tired, I found myself sleeping safe and sound until the wind came along. Since the camp site doesn’t have trees, the wind almost destroyed our tents. We surpassed the wind but I did not surpass sleepiness. I did not wake up on time and did not join the group to reach the summit. After we break the camp, I decide that I want to  reach the summit. Alone, I find my way up in the summit. It was my first time to trek alone, I was afraid in the beginning but when I reached the top. It was nothing but awesome view and endless happiness. It was a great journey, great day and great love.

On our way back, we swim again in the river. Free fall in its little cliff. It was a lovely day to end. We went back to Kuya Paul’s store, ate and refresh before heading back to Manila with tons of star apple and junk fruits on our packs. This climb is rated 3.