Nature-ral High

Nature-ral High
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail

March 31, 2009

Mt. Maculot Traverse

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.

Mt. Malasimbo

February 28, 2009. Its my second time to go to Puerto Galera, but this time its not for beach or nightlife but to climb the mountain beside it. Mt. Malasimbo. The jumpoff of Mt. Malasimbo is just a tricycle away from the white beach. First thing I wonder about the trail is that why is it so steep, slippery and directly straight. Upon examining, this is not just the trail for hikers for also for logs! Yes, illegally cut logs that are slided down on this path. Its kindda silly since theres a big sign at the jumpoff that illegal loggers are not welcome. sus! Trapo talaga!
I've read from blogs that this mountain is also infested by limatiks. Ive encountered some, but not as many as the one in Makiling. Along the trail, we were also able to meet a few locals of this mountain, the Mangyans.
The trail is mostly the same along the way upto the campsite. Campsite is very exposed, and since its near the ocean, the wind is blowing very hard. From this place, you have a complete view of the beach and the islands nearby. Our plan is to summit after arriving at the campsite but since we missed our schedule and its getting dark, we shelved the plan for early tommorow morning. As night went on the wind was blowing harder, worst, look like its going to rain. The wind was blowing so hard the my buddys tent (our tent) was flattened. It turned out that his pole bended. We cut our 'socials' short and opted to sleep. And then it rain. The flapping of the flysheet and rain woke me up several times.
Sadly, we woke up to the sound of rain. We decided to cancel our summit assault to due bad weather. If the climb was very steep, imagine the descent with rain. Very very slippery. There are also expose parts were we need to cover our face coz it hurts when the raging rain hits you. In the middle of our descent rain stops, it turns out that its only raining on top of the mountain.
We reach the beach around noon time. Some of us took a dip, then clean up. After which we decided to head back home.