Friday, August 31, 2012


Making travel or hiking plans on a rainy season gives one uncertainty. One can enjoy the rays of the sun at the start of the week which gives a promise of a fruitful weekend but come Friday night or Saturday morning, the weather report will read as overcast with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms. The best part would be when there is a tropical storm or typhoon threatening to hit the area. All you can do then is just hope or sigh.

Jump Off Point @ Mt. Maculot
Last weekend we scaled Mt. Maculot but prior to realizing the plan to climb it there were hesitations at the start. The weather report said that there were two typhoons lurking within the Philippine Area of Responsibility – Igme(Temblin)in the north and Julian(Bolaven) in the east and they were gaining strength as the weekend approached as they were in the state called Fujiwhara Effect – the phenomenon when two storms are rotating around one common center. The term was so scientific that somehow made us calculate the risks involved should we push through with the climb. All we needed was just a quick escape from the stress of work and respond to the call of our passion which is hiking. The weather was predicted to be rainy but rain or shine, we decided to go for it.

With Anciro and Jin
Me and Anna agreed to meet at Jollibee near LRT Buendia at around 4AM last Sunday. We needed to be early because we planned to do a double dayhike that day – Maculot and then Manabu. As usual, punctuality is encouraged but is seldom a reality during meet ups. We met at around 5 AM, ate breakfast in Jollibee and boarded a Lemery bound bus at around 6 AM. Along the way, we have observed that the skies were clear that gave us hope that it would be a fine day ahead. Upon alighting at Cuenca, we were approached by two guys asking if we were also headed for Mt. Maculot. We confirmed and agreed that we share the tricycle going to the jump off point. We learned that it was their first time to hike Mt. Maculot and they were thrilled to create their own experience. After introducing ourselves to each other, all four of us ( Me, Anna, Jin and Anciro) merged as one group with the goal of scaling Mt. Maculot.

Me getting some adrenaline rush at the Rockies
It was not my first time to climb it but I keep on coming back because of its commanding views and it is one of the accessible mountains in the south when you just need a quick break away. I still can recall the first time I set my foot on this place and I was stunned with the view – how the skies reflect on the lake and how it is perfectly combined to create a perfect backdrop in a photo. I was grateful to my best pal, Ivy who brought me there that time. On my succeeding visits, I tagged along some of my officemates and fellow adventure enthusiasts and I was pleased to know that they were thankful for me bringing them there and for some, it ignited their passion for hiking and outdoors. On my last visit, I was with my reliable companion and was rewarded with new friends. Although the trail to the top was somehow steep, we endured it by exchanging conversations along the way and laughing our hearts out. Jin and Anciro are fairly new to the world of mountaineering and I can relate with them when I was also a newbie in terms of curiosity, eagerness to conquer other mountains and the excitement they feel when they are doing it. I am pretty sure that their passion will take them to more greater heights. Almost two hours of hiking, we arrived at the campsite area and proceeded to the famous Rockies of Maculot. I've heard a lot of WOWS from them that I even find myself saying it even though I've been there several times. For Anna, it was a blessing for her as her first visit to this mountain, it was raining and foggy and so the view was obscured. The weather forecast was not favorable that day but taking some risks, we were rewarded with picturesque views on a broad daylight. Photo ops should not be missed on that moment and after spending some time at the top, it was time to descend. 

Anna getting some solo moment
Anciro trying to get his balance

Jin embracing the view

Our descent was faster than our ascent as it is the case all the time. We took extra care when going down as most accidents happen upon descending the mountain. Jin and Anciro’s plans were to visit Sitio Limampao after the climb. I've heard of the place but I have never been there although it is just steps away from the jump off of Mt. Maculot. Due to curiosity and convenience, me and Anna changed our itinerary and instead of proceeding to Mt. Manabu, we joined them in their visit to Limampao. Limampao or Lumampao – I am not really sure as to how the place is called but one thing is for certain, after visiting the area, I would rather choose climbing Mt. Maculot several times rather than walking on the established stairways of Limampao. They say it was 1500 steps so make it 3000 steps for a roundtrip. Everyone walked at their own pacing but even though I was on the lead, I was catching my breath every now and then. Reaching the lake below, I was delighted to see the area. It was high tide that time and I usually admire the waters atop the rockies of Mt. Maculot but at that instant, I was admiring it right in front of me. The notable landmark in the lakesidewas the slide connecting to the water and there were children that time enjoying the splash. I wanted to take a picture of myself on their humble playground but since me and water were never friends to begin with, I was extra careful with my step so I don’t slip and slide into the water. After spending some minutes in Limampao, we agreed to go home and this means another 1500 steps going up. On the way up I was just looking forward to seeing the waiting shed as it marks the finish line of the stairs and when I finally saw it, I rushed to it, sat down and gave a big sigh but with a happy heart.

The stairs were consuming

Me at the Slide
Fujiwhara effect of Igme and Julian did not take place in Maculot. It was not even close. The metaphor of the two pairs of friends merging as one group and interacting with each other created a new friendship and a superb experience that we can look back anytime.