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

December 11, 2010

Mt. Maculot Traverse for a Bon Voyage Louise!

“All good things must come to end” as the saying goes. And with that, our French friend Jean-Louis two year stint in the Philippines is over. He’s going back to his homeland on December 22. We share the same passion for climbing, these brought our group together. Hes been with us for several past climbs including the infamous Guiting-guiting. To celebrate his departure, a friend organized a climb for him in the mountain which is grand yet easy to climb. Mt. Maculot . Its my first time to climb Mt. Maculot (traverse) during the rainy season. I never thought that it was very grassy during this time. I guess it is true that each climb of a Mountain is different, the trail differs and the trees grows.

We had a great time with your company Louis! Hope to climb with you again someday, even on another part of the world. Till next time!

A few more steps to the summit of G2.

Go ahead... Make my day!

Trying to ride a carabao in carabao island!

Last climb!

Gianne at Mt. Pico de Loro

I specifically organized this climb for Gianne. Me, being brought up in the countryside knows what she had been missing since she was mostly brought up in the city. I want her to see how nature as it is and give some awareness on how we can also conserve the environment. But I’m a bit wary of her physical capacity since Pico de Loro is more difficult than her first climb Manabu. To my surprise she was able to keep with our pace and still enjoy the trek. She was delighted to see mushrooms that she only saw on her books. And huge stones that was normal for me, but for her was totally extraordinary. When we reach the campsite several climbers were already there and were very surprised to see a kid with our group. I think the part that totally amazes them was that Gianne is not that exhausted, not like some of them specially the new climbers. This made here an instant celebrity. =D During our free and cook time she kept roaming the ridges looking at the view and playing around with the flowers and grasses. She said there were at least eight persons who took her picture.

With regards to the mountain status, I guess more climbers are visiting this mountain since the trail is wider now. There was minimal trash on the trail now but we saw several of it on the campsite, mostly on the hidden parts. Proof than more awareness is needed. I am really wondering whats the registration fee was for (DENR and Kubo).They should at least inform that climbers that they should bring down their trash. Geez….

By the way, two other climbers joined us for this climb. Special thanks to them for such a great time.

mushroom at the trail

Giant Gianne

Celebrity status =D

October 23, 2010

Mt. Kanlaon

No, I'm not in hiatus. There were just so many changes in my life (for the better) that I got too busy to write in my blog. It has been more than a month since my last climb. This mountain is Mt. Kanlaon in Negros Occidental.
There are several trails in Mt. Kanlaon. You can climb via Wasay - Guintubdan, Guintubdan - Guintubdan and the unregulated Makawili trail. For us we used the Wasay - Guintubdan trail, though considered the most difficult, it is known to be the most rewarding. The trail normally starts in Mambucal resort, climbers usually stay here for an overnight and climb the next day. But for us, we opted to stay in the Rangers (Bantay Kanlaon) house. The place was around 30 minutes from Mambucal, its also the rangers place where we did the preparation for the climb of the first day.
The first day of climb started on a wide rocky road and immediately went on assault. After a few hours of walking will lead you to the PNOC private road. The elevation continued to rise until we reach around ~1300MASL. At this height I think we continually hiked for 3-4 hours. Put into consideration that there were four or five river crossings. Hiking up and down with the ground having very loose soil. Early on this part, my wifes shoes shows signs of retirement. Proof how difficult the trail was. At the end of the first day we reached the Junction camp. Very beautiful camp and spacious. It can be compared to Camp Goody of Mt. Apo but much much better.

early trail


Continuing our trek the next day involves passing the mossy-iest part of the mountain. Heck, I think this is the mossiest part of the Philippines! The trail involves passing into ardous space that we called hobbit holes. Its just like there were hazzards that you need to be nd then crawl then twist then immediately step up. Whew! But the forest was so mesmerizing, it seems to be untouched that lifts up your spirit removing your tiredness. You can compare this to the mossy t
rail of MakTrav, but also much much better. Adding beauty to the trail was that there are several Lakes, that had been named from the Mountaineering group that discovered them. Among them were PMS, SAMOK etc. There was also Harding Sangbalo (Garden of a Widow) which was also undescribable. similar the first day, when we reached around ~2100MASL we hiked for 3-4 hours with the height declining or rising. There was also a part that has 90 degrees inclination, adding difficulty was that the soil was also very loose. I think the only consolation here was that though the limatiks were abundant, they were not aggressive. We Camp at the Easter Saddle Camp that was just a few minutes away from the summit/crater.

Beautiful Harding Sang Balo

The trail was zig-zag!

Mossy isn't it?

90 degrees climb

Samok lake

Moss garden (my watch as the reference)

PMS lake

View from PMS lake

The other group in Margaja valley

The next day was the plan to see the summit/crater. But since it rained the previous night, there was no clearing! But thank God around 9am the wind stops and the cloud cleared! We had clearing and theres was sea of clouds! We enjoyed the s ummit (though very scary) took pictures then decided to go down. The first two days was via Wasay trail, the 3rd day was Guintubdan trail. Though the early part was similar to the Wasay 2nd day, the rest was just complete flat hike. But the trees was still very thick and tall. The time then was just 2pm it was as dark as 5pm! We reached the Guintubdan jumpoff still ahead of our schedule. Bragging aside, the locals was so amazed to s
ee us they called us 'DASIG'. Whats DASIG? Its for you to find out :P.

Summit at the background

Onward to the summit!

Sea of clouds?

Margaja Valley
Summit view while going up

The crater was a big "whoaaa"!!!

Cris peeking at the crater

Sitting beside the crater.

Steep huh?

Girls of team Dasig

Team Dasig!

Smiling above the clouds

Height in MASL, Margaja at the background

Going back to the campsite

Goodbye trusty shoes, and thanks Barry for the ductape.

A mountain, view from the airport.

I considered Kanlaon as one the climb I like the most, but also one of the most difficult. One factor adding to the difficulty was that you have to climb full packed for three days, and since most of your food supplies is with the guide/porter. Your load doesnt get light as the trek progresses. And because its a traverse, theres no way for you to leave some of your personal things. Its difficult but was very rewarding. Its not just the mountain that was perfect but the company (Go team DASIG!) the timing and the weather. And what a way to end our hike but with an INASAL dinner in Manokan Country of Bacolod. It has the best INASAL I have ever tasted. And my American friend can attest to that.

September 7, 2010

Mt. Cinco Picos

I had been monitoring the Tropical Depression (TD) forming up last friday (Sept27). I am worried that it might enter the Philippine area of responsibility. Luckily, the storm which started in the South China Sea was heading WNW and base on my knowledge of Philippine storms if they are headed that direction they would'nt go back unless is pushed by a more powerful typhoon.

Having this information, I decided to push through with our Mt. Cinco Picos climb. If you had been following my blog, Cinco Picos is one of the popular mountains in the Cawag settlement so the jumpoff is just the same. cinco Picos got its name for having five peaks if you view it from a distance. But only three peaks have been scaled, and currently only two can be reached. Though the TD was outside the PI, I am expecting there will be rain. The first hurdle is crossing pinaglabanan river. The rain from previous night had caused it to swell that its normal size. Fortunately there was another group who were also climbing Cinco Picos, they brought in ropes and we were able to cross the river with them. I believed the river can be crossed un-assisted, but its still safer if you had something to hold on to. Thanks to the U-Trek for lending us a hand.

After the river was mostly wide trails that according to our guide was created for mining. Its basically flat trail that is carved in the bottom-mountain side, with several brooks along the way. Looking around, will give you the grand view of the mountains along the area.And because its the rainy season, everything is colored green. Constrasting when its summer that everything is brown.

After a short river trail, you'll go around peak1 and then do an assault of peak2. The trail is very slippery due to moss, surely its more difficult going down. A few minutes of flat walk after the assault of peak2 we reached the campsite. Its a lot smaller compared to Balingkilat, but its not that open and there are a few trees to block the wind coming from the sea. We arrived at the campsite around 2pm and at 3pm started to rain on/off until morning. From what I know Silanguin cove can be seen from the campsite, but its very foggy so theres no visibility. The guides told us that Peak3 (summit) cant be climb. Rarely climbers go there and the trail is not that established. They said also that it might take another day just to go to the summit.

The trail

The view

Onwards to Peak2 summit

Summit shot

Because of the all night rain, the senior guides advised us to take the less taken hunters trail(our guide was a kid). But after going down peak2, it became sunny. So we opted to take the traditional trail. Our analysis was correct, even pinaglaban river was smaller compared to yesterday. We were even able to take a dip before heading back to the jumpoff.

After the rain

Group shot


Swelled Pinaglaban, but still not as big as Yesterday

In two weeks we are heading to Mt. Kanlaon, the Kanlaon climb was actually the purpose of this climb (training climb). And with the rain in all, I guess I was able to push ourselves the limit. So whats next? I plan organize another Cinco Picos climb but one that will traverse to the untouched Silangin Cove. A few have done it so I think its time to do it before it become another Anawangin and Nagsasa.