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Remember when I said in my Mt. Pinatubo
post that it definitely won’t be my last hike? Well, I didn’t expect the next one to happen so soon either!
Last March, a bunch of blogger friends invited me to join their second climb (they climbed Mt. Batulao last January). I was really hesitant in joining them because I know that, unlike Mt. Pinatubo, Mt. Gulugod Baboy is steeper. But based from blogs I read, it said it’s ideal for first time climbers with a difficulty of 2/9. So with friends’ encouragement (yung totoo, gullible lang ako), I gave in.
They had a pre-climb meeting, and after agreeing on the details, everything was posted in a Facebook event. Half of the group are from north and half from the south, so we had different meeting places and just met at Batangas Terminal.
A jeepney driver negotiated to take us straight to Philpan Dive Resort (the jump-off point) for a fixed rate of Php600.00. Since there’s minimal difference between a chartered jeep than commuting by jeep then tricycle, we agreed — not to mention the driver agreed to take us to the market so we could buy some supplies.
We arrived at Philpan Dive Resort after about more than an hour of what felt like a leisurely drive cum town tour. lol Upon arrival and registration, a guy named Globert offered us an island hopping package to Sombrero and Oscar Islands, but after negotiating back and forth, we eventually agreed on the rate of Php2,500 just for Sombrero Island.
It was almost noon, and since it will be too hot when we reach the summit because it is open (there are no trees to shield us from direct sunlight), we decided to have lunch first and ‘rest’ for a couple of hours before we start the hike. We’d be camping anyway, so there was no need to rush.
Half hour past two when we started our ascent on the asphalt road. I thought ‘Nah, this will be easy. It’s just like walking along Session Road (Baguio).’ But as mountaineers always say: never underestimate a mountain. And oh, by the way, that was not yet the start of the hike. -_-
After 10 minutes, we reached a dirt road, and soon, the famous Halo-Halo store where we stopped a bit for some refreshments. The walk would have been okay if not for the unforgiving heat.
(c) The Adventures of Manong Unyol
O diba, umpisa pa lang nagkukumahog na kong umakyat.
After regaining some strength (wow, pagod agad?), we continued walking until we reached the sign marking the start of our hike. I had a hard time at the beginning throughout the hike because the trail was steep. Add to that, my camera inside the bag was weighing me down. Natz and I were even joking about it – can’t live with it, can’t live without it lang ang peg. :p
I was just glad that friends helped me with some of my stuff. The more experienced climbers would always check on us and even ask if we want to stop to rest. Good thing there are several shacks along the way to do just that.
After three hours (yes, it took us that long. Most probably because of us hehehe), I could see cow dung the rolling hills. Thankfully, it was already at this point when I had cramps. Every step became painful.
As cliche as it may sound, I forgot the weariness and thirst I was feeling upon reaching the top.
The view was a-m-a-z-i-n-g! It felt really rewarding.
swine’s spine 😉
The contour of this mountain is like that of a pig’s spine, thus, the name Gulugod Baboy.
We made it just in time before the sun sets so we went up to the highest point, Pinagbanderahan, to do what else? Take a group picture, of course!Sombrero Island on the left side
After dozens of group, jump, emo, sariling-sikap, sunset and whatever shots, we went down and found a spot to pitch our tents. This is the first time I went camping so I was excited to learn how to put up a tent. Soon after, we gathered around and had a fun chat while waiting for the food to be cooked.
Our climb coincided with Earth Hour, so while the rest of the country turned off their lights, we were lucky to have our natural light source – the moon. After dinner, we just laid there staring at the stars. The cool breeze was also a welcome respite from the summer heat. We then entertained ourselves by letting our imaginations work making out the quickly shifting shapes of the clouds. It was like a scene from the animated movie, Up! It was a beautiful night.
We waited for the sunrise, but fog soon engulfed the mountain.
I think it was past 7:00 am when we started to break camp. We need to be back at the jump off point before the agreed time of 10:00 am with the boatman.
They say going down is always easier. While they were right, I had to be doubly cautious going down. There were several times I felt like losing my balance, and when that happens, the hell I care! I’m going down on my bum! Better safe than sorry. :p
Mountain climbing is not for everyone, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t try it at least once in your life. Unlike going to the beach, mountain climbing is something that should be done out of passion and not just because you can or you want to. It requires not only stamina but a lot of patience, determination and focus as well.
As soon as we got back to the jump off point, we freshened up a bit and changed to our beach clothes. We took the same route going back to Philpan but turned left at the fork in the road. It was about 10-15 minutes hike uphill and downhill passing through what seemed like a small forest then down an alley of houses until we reached the dock.
It was a short boat ride and the waves were tolerable. What seemed like a speck in the ocean when we were at the summit now looks more like a huge Panama hat, thus, the name Sombrero Island.
Batangas beach virgin no more!
I was impressed that the water is clear. However, the sand while white, has lots of pebbles that can hurt your feet. Better bring aqua shoes. At one point, I had to wear my trekking sandals to the water. This beach trip gave me my first dose of vitamin sea for the year. And boy, do I have lots more ahead. 😀
It was already noon when we arrived at the island so some went ahead and setup a makeshift camp (that was removed later on when we had enough shade). If you have the budget, you can rent a cottage for Php800.00, I think.
Soon after, some friends prepared our lunch. Unfortunately, we ran out of butane so the rice was half-cooked and we ended up eating the anchovies (lakas maka-sosyal lol), salted egg, and tomatoes with bread. With (semi)full tummies and after more than a dozen jokes and funny stories, we then had some.
We left the island before 5:00 pm, and had a quick shower at one of the local’s house near the dock. We were then picked up by the same jeepney driver and dropped us off Batangas Terminal.