Its our climb to Guiting-guiting next week (holyweek) and as a part of our training regimen, we need to do a training climb. We decided to take a dayhike in Mt. Maculot but with a twist, well gonna do a traverse (my first time doing this).
The start of the trek of course does'nt start on the traditional route. For one you have to start at the trail that will take you to the pilgrimage site of the 'Grotto'. The locals were very adamant to let us proceed, one reason is that a rescue operation is going on. For 5 days rescuers are trying to find a lost 71 year old man who climb Mt. Maculot alone. Also, eventhough its summer its raining for several days in Cuenca. They are discouraging us, saying the path is slippery, we have to pass a very narrow trail and that there are women in our group (if they only knew what my women colleagues have already been to!). To make the story short we were able to go on but opted to take two guides, since this trail is the one less traveled.
The trail to grotto is exposed and occasionally have cemented stairs. A few meters from the Actual Grotto site are huts of merchants who are taking advantage of the influx of pilgrims for the holyweek. Here is were we took our lunch.
At the Grotto, with our French friend Louis
After Grotto, you will greeted by a steep ascent in a densely covered forrest. There are two locations were you need to use the stationed ropes. Its a good thing that rain came after this area or else its going to be difficult to climb. After a few more hours you will reach the summit. Mind you that the summit is also densely covered so there is no view at all. We stayed here for a few minutes then we decided to go down to the rockies. The descent is also steep and very muddy, then you will reach the grassland (kugon-an) saddle that will take you to the huts that sell halo-halo. From here its on to the rockies. We took some pictures and then we decided to head back down going the traditional route. We reach the traditional route jumpoff (mountaineers store) at around 7:00pm.
(sorry, blurry pics. madilim eh)
wet de la summit!
Mt. Maculot is one of the easiest to climb but is also one of the most rewarding because of the view from the rockies, the reason that this is a must for beginners. But for those who want to take Maculot to next level, traversing is a very good idea.
And BTW, as expected the locals were over describing the trail. Yep, its true that its muddy, steep and you indeed a rope is some parts. But not as difficult as they were saying.
taal lake at the background (almost slipped here. wet rocks. )
UPDATE : We left Cuenca, Batangas with still no word of the lost 71 year old man. Hoping he can still be found and nothing bad/serious happened to him.