Sunday, March 11, 2012

Return to Mt. Makiling

i wanna experience maktrav dayhike... game?


I was browsing through our OLAY PAGE to check on the updates for our Tarak Climb when I came across the post of Mike O as shown above. In a heartbeat, I replied with "naka leave ako till tuesday... tara sa tuesday... hehehe..." I never thought that my crazy reply would lead to a series of comments in the thread and eventually to an actual climb.

Coming back to Mt. Makiling was not in my bucket list this year. Not even in the near future. After my first experience way back in 2008, I said to myself that it would take a lot for me to come back to this mountain. Then, when we scaled it through Sto Tomas Trail, we were going round in circles as we were not able to find the right trail to the campsite. Add the factors of the heat of the sun and unestablished trails, it was a perfect recipe for giving up. It was already around 7 PM when we reached campsite after having started at around 2 PM. It was supposed to be a 3 hour trek only to the campsite from the jumpoff. Further, I encountered my first limatik bites in that mountain and I felt like it was unforgiving. I had several bites on my legs only and it never stopped bleeding. I ran out of tissue and hand towels just to wiped it and wrapped it around the affected areas. I was so paranoid the whole night that I woke up almost every 30 minutes to check if those aggressive little creatures had penetrated our tent and crawled up our bodies. Luckily they didn't. After that, a week of uncontrollable itchiness on the bitten areas manifested. And i hated it. With the series of unfortunate events on my first climb, it was hard for me to consider Mt. Makiling as my playground.

After the successful Tarak Climb with Mike, May and Drew last February 25-26, I found myself joining Mike and Sir Daile in doing the Makiling Dayhike Traverse last February 28. We arrived in Sto. Tomas at around 6 AM and started the climb immediately. The morning greeted us with its warmth and beautiful sunshine that it promised us a perfect weather ahead. As we started, I uttered that this would definitely be one of those thrilling climbs as I am sharing this with Sir Daile. Most of my climbs in the past that I shared with Sir Daile is a testimony that I had been forced to go beyond my personal limits.

We started with a cardiac assault and I remember catching up my breath every second so I can keep my sanity. My whole shirt was filled with perspiration in the first 30 minutes of our climb that you can squeeze the liquid out of it. It made me even think that I lost more than 20 pounds of my body weight but in reality, it did not. After the assault, the trail became a bit friendly and I noticed that there were already fences built along the way. For me it served a dual purpose - locals protecting their land and for mountaineers not to be lost. On my first climb, I remembered that the fences were not yet present and I think it was one of the reasons why were lost as we were confused to several trails on the way up. We took a 10 minute rest after almost an hour of climbing. Mike was so efficient that he really kept track of the time spent in resting. A 10 minute rest should not be more or less than 10 minutes. After minutes of walking from our rest, we encountered a snake that placed me on a halt. God knows that I am 110% afraid of snakes and just the sight of them on television bring shivers to my body. A close encounter with snakes is inevitable in mountain climbing so I always offer a prayer before climbing for safety and protection. We waited until the snake crossed to the other side of the trail before we resumed walking. The adrenaline rush I had increased my speed of walking and awareness of the moving creatures around. We then reached the first viewing deck where we took some pictures and appreciated the views of the nearby mountains. We then entered the mossy forest and we were already doing limatik checks every now when Mike exclaimed that a leech was clinging to its legs. Upon entering the mossy forest, the atmosphere was cold as it was all covered with trees which made the climb a bit relaxing. I was excited when Sir Daile said that we are already near the campsite area. It was faster to reach the area as opposed to my first climb. It took us only almost 3 hours. We had a 30 minute rest to eat, take pictures and just simply relax. We the limatiks in the area, we dont just want to sit anywhere so it is a good thing that Sir Daile brought a large tarpaulin that would accommodate the three of us during our resting period. Resuming onto the next part of the trail gives me some excitement and hesitation. Having no clearance from the doctor yet that I could use my right arm to climb on rocks and ropes worried me as the next part of the trail would mostly consist of that as we head to Haring Bato and eventually to the summit. With the assistance of my escorts, Sir Daile and Mike, I was able to survive it and of course thank God for my towering height. The views were indeed great and we took one picture after the other. We also heard another group of mountaineers below who are also doing the climb. We reached the Sto. Tomas Peak at around 10 AM and spent some minutes of rest after that exhilirating trail on the way up.

We then resumed our climb and decided to have our lunch on the Los Baños Peak as it was still early. From this point forward, we were on exploratory mode as none of us had set foot on the trail from Sto. Tomas Peak to Los Baños Peak and I prayed that there would be no back tracks. The trail was slippery and muddy on some parts. We initially thought that the peak we were seeing from the first peak was the peak we were going but as we were walking we realized that it was not that peak but it was the one behind it. The peak was rolling and some parts were steep. I managed to survive the steepness by just sliding on my ass down so as to avoid any accident that could hurt my arm. These part of the trail was enveloped by fog and clouds so it was cold and it was wet on the trail. After almost two hours, we finally reached the Los Baños Peak. We had lunch and took another time to rest. The peak can be identifed with all the three crosses on it and we took turns on every cross when had our photoshoot. Also, we climbed on one of the trees to see the view on the other side. It was great and indeed rewarding.

We then proceeded to go down via the Los Baños trail. The first part was steep but eventually as we progressed, the trail became wider and flatter. Sir Daile informed us that this part of the trail would be really long and estimated to be an 8 kilometer walk. In my opinion though, it was more than that. On this side of the trail, we even heard some wild boars in the area that's why there are sign boards on some parts of the trail that prohibited us to go beyond the area. We also had the chance to visit the famous mudspring area. It was literally hot and it was only that time that I learned that Mt. Makiling is an inactive volcano. On the last part of the trail, you would see the Majestic Giant Toog which were planted as part of the reforestation program of the UP College of Forestry in Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve. As we reached our final point in UPLB at around 3 PM, we had warm bath before going home.

This adventure is definitely one of the highlights of my climb on the first quarter of this year. I survived Mt. Makiling Traverse with no limatik bites and any untoward incidents and I brought home with me exciting memories and new perception to keep coming back here anytime.

Return to Makiling

Because of a crazy reply to a thread in Facebook, I found myself back to the wilderness of Mt. Makiling...

Details of my climb to follow...