Monday, October 14, 2013

Defying Typhoon Santi at Mt. Manabu

The time in my AVAYA read 4AM. I  quickly wrote the last sentences of my email to my client and I finally hit sent.  I was ready.  I was excited yet startled.  We were set to climb a mountain last Saturday  but  Typhoon Santi circled nearby. Just before I logged out, I took a glimpse of how the weather would look like and it showed something like this:

“A tropical storm barreling toward Luzon intensified into a typhoon on Friday with powerful winds and torrential rains, threatening farmlands and populated areas on the island, including Metro Manila…. Placed under Signal No. 1, indicating winds of 30 to 60 kph,  were Calayan and the Babuyan group of islands, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, the Lubang islands, Marinduque, the Camarines provinces, northern Mindoro and Catanduanes…. PAGASA said it expected Santi to bring heavy to intense rainfall (7.5 to 30 millimeters per hour) in areas within its 500-km diameter… The weather bureau alerted residents of areas under signals 3, 2, and 1 to possible flash floods and landslides….” ( from

Comforting, Isn’t it? This climb was already scheduled weeks ago.  The initial plan was to climb Pico De Loro as most of them have not been to the mountain yet and they were all alluded by the famed Parrot’s Beak. Then Santi camed. It disrupted our plan. The climb was cancelled as of Friday afternoon as the weather showed no promise. Rob, however was insistent and optimistic. He said that the typhoon was headed towards the north and should not be a big deal as we are here down south. He reached out to me and I was persuaded. I then informed Lhilac to send a message to everyone that the climb would push through but it would have to be in Mt. Manabu in Batangas. I thought that it would only be 3-4 of us who will be joining the climb but I was wronged. I received almost the same number of respondents before the climb was cancelled. Team Ultra Mountaineers ( TUMS) are definitely strong willed people who would go the extremes and come out tough. 

During our bus ride on the way to Lipa, it was raining. The clouds seemed to be getting darker. When we passed by Mt. Makiling, you can barely see it as it was all covered with clouds and fog. We were pretty much convinced that it would be one very wet and wild climb we were bound to experience. Upon alighting the bus, we immediately proceeded to the pedicab  stations that would bring us all the way to the jump off point. When we arrived at the jump off point, there were no other climbers other than us. We were happy on the thought that we have the mountain all to ourselves then for a day.  After some few reminders and last minute check ups, our feet were more than ready to start the climb.

When we started, the rain stopped. We prayed that it would stay the same all throughout our climb and luckily it did. Mt. Manabu could be scaled in just a couple of hours but we intended this to be a relaxed and a real fun climb. We savored every step we made on the trails. We exchange conversations as we hiked and never run out of topics to talked about. Most of the time, we often laughed our hearts out.  With Rob being around , photo opportunities are not something to be missed out. This time, he was  more than prepared. Aside from his usual point and shoot digital camera, he brought a Go Pro Camera with him. Aside from the photos, we now  have videos to boost our adventure in Mt. Manabu.  At the onset of the climb, everyone was extra careful not to stain their shoes with mud and eventually get wet. We were creative in making our own routes when the trail proved to be murky and even hopped from one point to another to avoid  the obstacle. Somewhere in between, the trail ahead of us left us with no options for shortcuts so we gave up. We braved the mud and water and charged it to experience.  With the challenging trails, “slide moments” would not be missed out. Everyone agreed that Lhilac emerged as the champion with her 360 rolling moment near the summit as we head down with Rob as the runner up. 

When we finally reached the summit, we were thankful that we were blessed with commanding views despite the weather forecast for that day. Being the nth time visitor of this mountain, I pointed out the different mountains that can be viewed from the top and highlighted to them Mt. Malipunyo as being my first mountain that I have conquered way back in 2007. We shared the same feeling that nothing beats the satisfaction of reaching the summit most especially if shared with good friends. Further, just like any other climbs, future plans on climbing other mountains are usually conceptualized on a climb itself.  A number of mountains have been suggested but we aim to do one major climb before the year ends and hopefully , it would be an overnight climb so they too can experience how it is to camp out in the mountain.


After the climb, we treated ourselves to a Lomi Special of Batangas. Tasteful Indeed.

Having accomplished this climb, we don’t discount that it would always be safety first and disregard any weather forecast from our weather bureau. Safety is always of prime importance. Perhaps, we were just crazy enough to push through with our adventure or probably we were good in calculating the risks involved with this climb that we ended up reaping the best rewards in the end.

We defied the odds brought about by Typhoon Santi. An act of defiance usually leads to regret but this escape gave us immense satisfaction and delight. 

TUMS. Climbing the highest. Running the Longest. Surviving the toughest. This is our trademark. More than just living up to our statement last weekend, we had the time of our lives. We are TUMS. Proud to be one. 

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