Dec 1, 2012

Mt. Isarog Chronicles #1: Wrong Turn

Shivering and feebly coherent... I heard him say:

"Napanuod mo na yung Wrong Turn? Grabe yun no..."

I could hear the chill in his voice, and I can hear them in mine too as I answered back:

"Oo, napanuod ko na"

He continued: "Ilan kayong magkakapatid?"

I despised his confidence in that particular question. I hate being asked brutally about things I don't want to answer. Despite, I said "Bakit mo gustong malaman?"

"Wala lang... kasi ako, me kapatid ako. Namatay siya, nasabugan ng granada. Hinostage nya kasi yung family namin, tapos nagpakamatay cia. Tatay ko rin wala na, nasagasaan ng truck. Parang basketbol nga na walang hangin yung pagkakapisa sa ulo, flat talaga."

I fell silent, I could hear his laboured breathing behind my neck. This must be the thoughts of a person dying. His memories flashing right before his eyes. I panicked, and tried to talk to him to keep him awake. I myself is having a hard time staying awake... staying sane... and staying alive. I have read about this before, I said to myself. I need to keep us both awake, or we'll never wake up again. Ever.

Jul 21, 2012

Bundokera Notes: Mountain Dreams

Mountains have certain unique ways of reaching out to climbers. It could take the form of dreams, visions, or signs. Sometime in 2010, I have documented 4 dreams (there were more, but not transcribed) involving mountains in a span of 8 days.  Below were 4 original/unedited entries that I have posted in my Multiply blog.

Dead snake on Mt. Talamitam

#1: Snakes and the Mountains

Not a week pass that I don't dream of the mountains. So I decided to chronicle it to keep tabs.
I am climbing a mountain with a female friend when she suddenly said don't move. That's when I heard a hissing sound and found a snake on the trail right in front of me. I didn't move and placed a plastic bag in front of it, to which it bit and bit until I scared it away. So we continue the journey. I forgot how I came out with the next scene but this time we encountered a snake threatening to bite us but can be easily scared away.

Last last week I dreamt of Mt. Manabu. I guess it is calling out on me.

May 29, 2010

Mt. Malipunyo range as viewed from Manabu Peak

#2: Mt. Malipunyo and the Endless Clouds

Mt. Malipunyo shaped like Mt. Matutum, and forever surrounded by clouds. I find it curious that there is a force down in our village spraying clouds to Mt.Malipunyo’s summit, and that my hopes of having a clearing died down.

In this dream I am still at the plains, waiting for the proper time to ascend, and it is also odd that my family resides on the village at the foot of Mt. Malipunyo.

Family house scenes ensued, then by the doorway a man in a motorcycle entered without warning.

There is blood on the door, we checked if any of us were injured. Gladly none.

Then a crime scene investigation follows, taking samples of the blood on the doorway, probably from the tires of the motorcycle.

Weird. I never get to climb.

June 2, 2010

Pantingan Peak

#3: Mt. Pantingan and the Fun Run

I dreamt about this Bataan mountain, and the fun run that is being held on its spacious trail.

I specifically remembered my friend Liz wearing an all blue jersey, lying on the ground resting just before the run.

Then I deliberated whether what mountain it is, and I remembered that I compared the 3, Natib, Pantingan and Tarak.

It doesn’t feel like Natib, nor Tarak. So I concluded the mountain must be Pantingan.

This also might be because June 5 is the date of our Company Fun Run in the Grove near Tiendesitas.

June 4, 2010

Mt. Makiling Los Banos side

#4: Mt. Makiling, Bovines, Snake Bites and Me

This is as fresh as it gets. I just woke up, after a bottle of booze and dinner pasta, and a nightmare.

The scenes that I can remember well started with before mountain climbing is a conversation with an acquaintance Avhet about Dannish’ new guy whom I just saw in Facebook earlier in my sober state. Then came the mall scenes where it is raining hard and I have no umbrella so I was forced to stay outside with minimal protection from the rain, standing on an area with a teeny weeny shelter hence my feet and all the strangers with me in that area are dripping wet. The rain receded and I braved an alley which looks like a hillside road… steep and concreted. Upper parts have broken concrete with little water pools which in my sober state, one of my pet peeve. A vehicle behind honked at me.

For some unknown reason… I found myself on my way to Mt. Makiling. I’ve met several kids beforehand, all of them alike in appearance. The first part of the trail is mountain of sand to which I struggle only to find that to the right of me there is a rope and a concrete step trail, with minimal sand on the steps. I traversed towards it… climbed until I got to another concreted alley trail with metal fence railings to the left. Road was enough for one vehicle to pass. I contracted a kid as a guide, and he merrily agreed for a price of Php150.

So I proceeded, worried that I started a bit late, and that if I ever have spare torch for my kid guide. Then I found myself climbing a flight of stairs, just going round and round and up and up. Then I saw some climbers behind me scrambling to get a colleague up. They took a rest outside the rounding staircase, and I took a rest too on the steps. I conversed with Jasper who is with the resting group outside, in a store. A girl overtook me. She doesn’t have any packs with her. I called on to my kid guide but he was nowhere to be found.

I decided to move on without my kid guide. I endured the stairs, and overtook the girl who previously overtook me. I ended up in a concrete alley again with metal railings, third time, this time it is almost dark. But I can see the silhouette of the mountain. It is still far. I got worried because of my seeming lack of provisions and my daypack and the oncoming night. I thought I should have checked my things before I went to trek.

So I walked on, with the dying lights in my headlamp. A vehicle whirred past me without honking, and a chilling voice whispered something in my ear as the vehicle passed me by. The voice is cold and it made me shudder, the vehicle slows down a bit. I figured it was a truck with a person on the back, and I got my hopes that they will invite me to hitch a ride. This will save my lights, so I thought. I asked them what did the guy in the passenger seat whispered to me, if they are inviting me for a ride. Then they just left.

So I walked on, with my dying lights. I saw that behind me were farmers going home after a hard days work. They were with their cows and buffaloes. I stopped to let them pass. One buffalo got curious and tried coming near me. I screamed at the farmers to get them away from me. I realized that the one who went near me was in a rope that I myself must have dragged it closer.

So I let them pass, standing on the side until a farmer who turned on his lights with presumably yellow bulbs, which shone ever so bright, noticed my dying light and tried to exchange his with mine. Before the exchange can happen, I felt a strange pain at the back of my legs, knee level. Then I noticed that I was standing near a pond with vegetation and that my pants is zipped open on the legs (the one that can be converted to a short, with zippers). When I took a peak, I saw the head of a small green snake bobbing, inside my leg pants. I don’t know what to do so I lay down, took the convertible part of my pants away, covered the opening of my upper shorts to prevent it  from entering, and there the snake goes to the ground, slithering towards me who is on the floor. It crawled beneath my back, as I was transcended back to reality. There is a smooth transition between dreams and as I woke up. No abrupt interruption which often held me perplexed upon awakening.

That was a right leg by the way.

June 5, 2010

Jul 17, 2012

So Much Fun Indeed!

Fun sleeping moments from the notorious former "hilata sa trail/trip" queen....

Mt. Lobo/Bakun Trio (Dec. 2008). Definitely my favorite shot.

More pictures for upload once I have browsed all my climb albums. So do you have your own favorite "hilata" moment?

Jun 2, 2012

I know What I Did Last Holyweek....

... was jumping out on mountains with my good friend May in Mt. Tagapo as a spontaneous climb trip. This year might not be as fabulously grand as my last year's Batanes, but it was still filled with various laughs and deep talks and ... my favorite night boatride while stargazing and spotting "hot air balloons". Lols.

My first time here was with my friend Ian. My first ever jump-shot was captured here.

Both awkward, as always the case. Lols.

Apr 22, 2012

I was a Certified Mountain Addict.

You're a certified mountain addict if :

These words keep ringing inside your head: Barlig-Batad, Hungduan-Hapao, Kayapa-Itogon, Atok-Kabayan, Yumbing-Ardent, Magalang-Bano, Sibulan-Kidapawan, Sibuyan, Limatik, Kabunian, Bulusan, Dayhike Traverse, Mayon, Bangiiinnnn...

Reading climb itineraries is your comfort when you are lonely.

You daydream of every mountain you have summited, and of those you haven’t yet.

You keep a journal of your mountain plans.

Your jaws drop each time you pass by a small rocky hill on the road and you salivate as you stare at it in awe.

Your bonus ends up nil, you spent it all on your dream climb.

You have more mountain clothes in your wardrobe than normal office/casual clothes.

You climb solo because you really want that mountain so bad.

You dance crossing landslides.

You plan mountain climbs like there is no tomorrow.

You are always envious of hardcores.

You always check out vertical structures and assess if they are “climbable”.

You feel giddy at every jumpoff.

And last but not the least... your friends shut you off during lunch talks because you cant stop blabbering about the mountain.

.... tamad na ako dagdagan nyo na lang.

"Originally posted in Multiply, December 10, 2008. To be young and restless, it was priceless"

Feb 11, 2012

Mt. Kinabalu Field Report (Part 1) : FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS

T-6Hrs: I woke up late and still a bit disoriented and tired from our Company’s Christmas party the previous night, of which I went back to the office after and didn’t go home until I finished sealing the bank envelopes and drafted the corresponding transmittals. Wow. I haven’t packed yet, and some of my clothes weren’t dried up yet! So what’s new?

While gathering myself I hurriedly went to the laundry shop for their drying service. My flight is in 6 hours. And here I am begging some grumpy girls to do me some favor. After certain negotiations and exorbitant payment of Php100 for a few items they obliged and promised me that it’ll be ready in an hour.

Feb 3, 2012

Mt. Kalawitan : Itinerary and Expenses

view from the Halsema highway


Mt. Kalawitan in Sabangan, Mountain Province is listed as the 10th highest mountains in the Philippines, estimated to rise at 2,714 meters above sea level. The recorded elevation is supposedly higher than that of Mt. Amuyao, and since the measurements did not come from same altimeter/GPS then it is hard to say that it’s official.

Jan 17, 2012

Climbful 2011 : Always Look on the Brighter Side

Every year is a new experience. The past year was full of fallen hopes. Lots of trips cancelled….and lot of excitement went to waste. Despite, the climbs that pushed through made up for all the disappointments that I have endured.

By the numbers, last year was equivalent to 21 climbs, 12 of which were new peaks for me. I have always thought that I made good the previous year, but when I accounted for each year I realized that I am progressing as the year passes. I am just not noticing it. It was also a year that I had my first international flight on my own. Of making dreams come true. =)

Mt. MANABU (January) :
The Year-starter Climb

Mountaineer’s dream includes that of starting the year with a blast of a climb. But if you don’t have any plans at all… one can be contented with just any mountain that is close to the heart.

This trip was supposed to be a double dayhike of Mts. Batulao and Talamitam in Nasugbu, Batangas. But with unforeseen events always waiting to happen, there had been a change of plans we proceeded instead with the easiest way out. I originally had Mts. Manabu and Maculot as Plan B for the botched Nasugbu back to back climb. We got lost at the start of the trek, and it was raining hard on our summit assault via Mang Pirying’s kubo.

not bad for a year starter

Jan 7, 2012

Itinerary : Mt. Talamitam - Mt. Batulao Dayhike

Double or triple dayhikes had been becoming popular to climbers nowadays because of climb economy and the physical challenge it presents to the hikers. Famous double dayhikes proximate to Manila are Mts. Maculot-Manabu (Cuenca/Lipa Batangas), Mts. Malipunyo-Manabu (Lipa, Batangas), Mts. Sembrano – Tagapo (Pililia/Binangonan, Rizal), and Mts. Talamitam – Batulao (Nasugbu, Batangas) among others.

Last September 2011, I finally had a chance to join the band wagon of the double-dayhikers. We failed to follow the itinerary because we intentionally grazed on the area, with lots of photo opportunities on hand. The weather was clear in the morning, and we didn’t expect the worse turnout in the afternoon. We failed to do the traverse of Mt. Batulao, and instead just stayed in the registration hut and rested for a while. We had our picture taken with Ms. Janet Belarmino of the Pinay Everest Team, who has a vacation hut in Mt. Batulao campsite. Here is our intended itinerary for that day:

Mt. Talamitam fields, with Mt. Batulao’s unmistakable ridges from afar


Mt. Talamitam is famous for its 360 degrees summit view, which you will enjoy after an arduous climb on an open field. The trek usually takes 1.5hr – 2 hr on a normal pace. Mt. Batulao on the other hand, is a more strenuous hike. The trek will start on Evercrest, of which you will walk by passing several houses on the way to the mountain itself, negotiating muddy trails even on a clear day.