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

November 29, 2015

Nagpatong Peak of Lobo Mountain Range - An Untouch Beauty.

  Mt. Daguldol is one of my favorite climbs in the mountains of Batangas. Little did I know that Daguldol was just a part of a bigger beauty,  the Lobo mountain range. Among the most prominent of the these peaks is Nagpatong peak. Though its on the same range as Mt. Daguldol, Nagpatong peak is more difficult to reach via public transportation. The interval of jeepneys plying the area is not often, plus the last jeep going back to Batangas city ends at 5PM. 
  Moving to the actual climb, the jump-off starts at Barangay Nagtaruntong, Lobo, Batangas. Early on the trek you will see rice fields on the mountain side. The water supply for this rice fields are from the rivers coming down from the mountains. This is the reason several rivers needs to be crossed during the trek. The initial part of the trail is rolling on a low elevation. There are also several houses along the trail albeit situated far apart. 

Not just on the trail, but the entire city!

At the jump-off

Mountain and rice fields, what else can you ask for!

Rock/Cliff beside the trail

Pretty kids

Sleepy head

 The more steep ascent will start after around 3 hours of the hike. What I like about this mountain is the there are a lot of trees  and is very clean. I did not see any trace of logging or slash-and-burn farming. The reason behind is that the locals love the mountain. They believe the mountain will start to "crash" (land slide) if trees are cut down. Since there are a lot of trees, 80% of the hike is actually covered from the sun. I also believe that hikers rarely go here, the trail is very pristine. There are even parts of the trail that is not recognizable at all. So be sure to get a guide to avoid getting lost.

The mountain also has a big camp plus the summit has a good view of the surrounding area. From Nagpatong peak there is actually a way to traverse Bangkalan peak. We did this on our reconaissance climb ( a month before this climb). It took us around 1.5hours to traverse on a lightpack.

This mountain is very rewarding. This is now one of my favorite mountains close (sort of) to Manila. One thing worth noting also here is that the locals is very kind. We took a bath in one of the Barangay officials house, and did not want us to pay. Very much different from a commercialize mountain. Where in every move you make, there is a fee.

Domesticated yet wild (not roped horses).
There is even wild goats, and cows

Punyeta! I mean Ponsetia flowers (hihi)

♪ Billanggo 

Saw this going up, as if there is light coming up from the sides of the island.
The pic does not gives justice to the actual scenery

Bangkalan peak as seen from Nagpatong peak

The open area is the rice fields at the start of the trail. We actually took the river path (valley) going up,then go  around the mountain to the left. 

Sunset is always mesmerizing at the top

Campsite is very large and the grass is good for tents

Make shift kitchen

MRC Outdoor Club! 

The guide has difficulty with the camera, apologies

Lobo coastline, part of the verde island passage. Its really good to know that the planned
mining here was stopped. The ecology would really had been affected

Batch 2 Trainees. Congrats guys, you are stronger than I imagined.

After a sweaty hike, its good to have dip in the river

We saw a snake on the trail. Heads up, it was preparing to strike

September 2, 2015

Pantingan Peak Traverse to Tarak Ridge - A climb that is more than I expected

It was only a chance find. I was looking for a mountain to climb since I haven't climbed a  for a while. I had been to Tarak ridge and I know that Pantingan Peak exist. But it was only on my research that I found that both these peaks of Mt. Mariveles can be traversed.

  Pantingan peak is less popular than Tarak ridge. It is also more difficult to reach via public transportation. Pantingan peak consist of the following point in order of ascent.

  • Jump off - Starts at  Guide's (Kuya Rey) house at a few minutes walk from the main road
  • Banayan River - the first river to cross. The start of the trail is already forested, with minor stiff trails after passing the river itself.
  • Marlboro country - an open field which is full of Kugon grass. The place is under reforestation. Ideal to reach this place before the sun is at its zenith. We trek early morning and the place was already very hot and humid.
  • Dannys Gate - The gate entry from the marlboro to the forest area again. The place reminds me of the boundary between Fangorn forest (of LoTR) and Isengard. The plains meeting a very forested place.

From Danny's gate its all uphill up to the Pantingan peak summit (1405masl). The trail was stiff, small and thickly forested. The place reminds me of Mantalingajan in Palawan. It was gloomy so we had no clearing.

View at the Trail head

Even at the start, the forest is very dense

A big bug

Banayan River

View in Marlboro plains

Danny's Gate. The last water source before Bakwat river.

A weird mushroom

Limatik (tropical leech)

An orange colored millipede

The only view of caldera on the first day

Slugs on the summit

Our guide Kuya Rey at the summit

1400masl is the highest point of Mt. Mariveles . This is at Pantingan peak

The next part of the hike was the traverse trail. Our Itinerary was delayed due to the INC tantrum rally, many member of the team was stuck in traffic. Another reason is a story for another day, which requires another blog post. 

Only one guide knows the trail, plus the fact that trail is very misleading. All in all due to this delays, we end up trekking at night. Basically the trail starts at the Pantingan ridge and then descent the caldera where Bakwat river is located. The trail was very hard to negotiate. You have to  hold on to roots, small vines or anything you can hang-on. The soil is very loose, the trail is mostly vertical - add also that it rained a few hours before our descent. Plus it was already dark!

Limatik was very abundant on the trail. The main characteristics of the limatik here is that they seem to be more immune to isophopyl alcohol. It will take a while before they let go of your skin after spraying, and also takes more amount.

we reached Bakwat river a few hours after starting our descent. We made camp here. The place is very cramped. It can only hold a few tents and hammocks. Good thing there was no rain all through the night.

The second day was another labourous hike. The trail was more dense, still very stiff and all climb assault. We reach Bintana peak (1050 masl) around lunch and then move to El Saco peak (1260 masl). In all these peaks, the Mt. Mariveles caldera is viewable. The weather was good, the mountain gods I guess was happy as oppose the previous day. Descending from El Saco,  the trail will connect to Tarak Peak.

The cramp make shift campsite. The grass on the left of my hat was actually poison ivy. I accidentally touch it, as of this writing my hand is still burning.

Limatik bites. I only notice it after reaching the camp. Since it was already dark and safety is more of my concern.


Bakwat river falls

Can you find the hikers? This is how dense the forest is.  

There is one portion of the trail that is easier to climb if there is a rope.

Weird mushroom 2

Finally a view of the Caldera

Ridge view. Shows how high the place compared to the Caldera

Entering El Saco Peak. (Is there a trail?)

Mariveles version of Kiss the Wall. The left side is a complete drop

Rock en Roll to the Mountains! 

The trail via GPS. I just found this on the internet.
Credit to the owner.

Hiking Girls

Another casualty. Proof on how difficult the trail is.

I know that this trail was hard but it was still more than I expected. This trail earn much respect and deserve to be called Junior Manta.