Sunday, November 18, 2012

Going Solo in Osdung

Nothing beats the fulfillment every time you get to try something new. At the onset, you would have butterflies in your stomach and a questioning mind whether you should proceed or not. But when you finally decided to move forward and find yourself in a path of no return, you just have to convince yourself to suck up all the hesitations and hope that the odds are ever in your favor. When you get the job done, you found yourself wanting for more. 

Bus Bound for Sagada in Dangwa Station
This was the exact feeling I had more than a month ago when I climbed Mt. Osdung. There were no definite plans. It was just an impulsive decision to get away. I was able to accomplish my deliverables hours before I got off from work so the last hours were spent in surfing through some websites on mountains and outdoors. Then a thought came – why not explore something new all by myself tomorrow as it would be my rest day. Ive tried to check on mountains near Manila but I realized that I practically climbed most of them in the past five years. I narrowed my search outside of Manila and found myself browsing through the mountains of the north. I was already about to decide in revisiting Mt. Timbak and visit the mummies when I noticed the article for Mt. Osdung. I read through it swiftly and learned that the jump off is along Halsema Highway which is pretty much accessible and no guides are necessary as the trails are very much established. Right there and then, I made a decision. The choice I made could have been further strengthened with the thought that I miss the mountains of the north – the cold breeze , stunning vantage points at the top and simply just the journey itself.
I went home immediately, packed my things and proceeded to the Victory Liner Terminal to catch a bus bound for Baguio. While on the trip, I read through the article that I printed out so I would know what to expect and to be certain of the directions going to there. I slept for most part of the trip so I could reserve all the energy for my adventure the following day. I woke up when I heard the driver saying that we were already in Baguio and I said to my thoughts, " This is it!!!"  

Afterhavingbreakfast in Good Taste, I waited for the first bus bound for Sagada as it will be passing through KM 313 where I will be alighting. My friends call me MASA ( Masandal Tulog) so I tried not to sleep along the way as I might find myself already in Sagada when I wake up. The first bus leaves Baguio at 630 AM and expected to pass by KM 313 after around 3 hours. This was the time that I could appreciate a non airconditioned as you can appreciate the natural aircon outside.  Along the way I was excited to see Mt. Timbak and when it was finally looming from a distance, my heart smiled. Further, I should also get some plus points for making an effort to talk with my seatmate in the bus. My friends would often described me as a snob but when a fellow adventurer advised me that people skills would be an A+, I did give it a shot.  We exchanged a healthy conversation and when she learned that I was climbing alone, she was wishing me all the luck and to take extra careful with my journey. I informed her that I would be alighting in KM 313 and she did help me look for the mark outside. Before I went down of the bus, I thanked her and exchanged wishes of safe journey ahead. 

Mt. Osdung
“Finally Here!” I said to myself when I saw word “Barangay Madaymen” in the signboard in the jumpoff area.  The path going up was indeed reminiscent of Mt. Timbak and since it was a bright and sunshiny day,  I enjoyed the views more than feeling the heat of the sun against my skin.  The road could also get dusty when some trucks and vehicles passed by and I got the look on their faces that I am a stranger to the place but still greeted me with all smiles. I love the people in the north. They are hospitable and friendly. I brought with me my tripod since I wont have anyone holding the camera when I want to take a picture of myself. I am too often conscious of my actions  but during that time, I dont care if I set up the tripod and camera even at the middle of the road just to have my photo taken of the beautiful views along the way. While I was walking , I was also talking to a friend ( Imelda) on the phone telling her that I am already walking my way up to the summit. I was asking her if there are any landmarks that I should take note of and she told me that once I see the tomb, it is an indication that it is almost summit.  There were also locals along the way whom I asked for directions. Taking cue from what Imelda said, an adrenaline rush came over me when I saw the tomb near the house but at the same time I was also hesitant that it was the summit since the ground that I stood, I could still see another  elevation ahead of me.  It does not hurt to explore since this was what the journey was all about. I followed my instincts and followed the path ahead of me. Following the road ahead of me, I was almost convinced that I am nearing the summit as I could almost see a 360 view of the area and when I finally took a right turn on the elevated area, I was able to confirm that it is indeed the summit as I was able to see famous landmass that I saw on the website and just beside the plantation, there it was, the famous tomb that Imelda was talking about.  

Views along the way

I reached the summit almost an hour after I started walking from the jumpoff area and I stayed in the summit for 45 minutes. Just like anyone else in the modern world, I posted a shout out on my Facebook Account during that time on how happy I was to be standing on its summit and for a successful solo ascent and adventure. I just couldn’t imagine if I had not brought my tripod as it was very useful with my photoshoot from all angles from the summit.  After having eaten my trailfood, I found myself lying on the ground and just savored the moment. It was a perfect time for me, myself and I.  Having spent quality time at the top, it was time to go down and I find myself back in the jumpoff area in 30 minutes. I must have some considerable luck that time as 5 minutes after I arrived in the jumpoff area, a bus bound for Baguio passed by. I was initially worried that I would have problems in transportation going back but I didnt.  On the way back to Baguio, I was my old MASA self since I am confident that if I could not wake up on time, someone will but it would still be Baguio City. 

I am ecstatic that I was able to accomplish this journey. Climbing with a group of friends would still be happier as you have people to share the experience with but taking some risks on an impulsive decision I had, the fulfillment was like Nirvana. 

More pictures below