Mesmerized in Mt Ugo

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March 2012

It was another exciting climb and I never thought this mountain will capture my heart and soul. I was mesmerized.  What you will see in this post are mostly pictures because I could not stop myself from capturing scenic views left and right. Oh boy, it felt like I’m in paradise if not, in a different world far from the world I’ve known.

Welcome to Mt Ugo

I got invited to an open climb organized by Trail Adventours. This was not a typical climb because the group promised to take us to a nature-culture adventure. We passed 3 villages along the way and spent the night in one of these villages. It allows us to get a glimpse of their culture and their way of life. It was my first time to join their group and I’m thankful because they made it a memorable one. By the way, if you want to join their adventures, you can visit their website at www.trailadventours.com they offer exciting adventures for outdoor enthusiasts like me.

My new friends

Mount Ugo is my 3rd major climb and I was super duper excited. Most mountaineers say “mahirap makatulog pag may climb” (it’s hard to sleep when there’s a climb), that was the feeling I had the night before the event. Somehow I’m thankful that I was able to get a nap during our trip to Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya before we boarded a jeepney going to Kayapa town where the jump off is located.

The Journey

The Challenge

The first 2 hours of the trek were considered the toughest part of the day. You should know that I really hate walking or passing concretes during climbs. I find it so exhausting and scary because of my previous experience. I don’t know. You may find it weird but to make the statement short, I don’t like the idea of walking on a concrete trail specially if its steep which by the way happened be on this climb. This may contradict my statement above but to be blunt about it, the first hour was like hell. We were climbing a concrete stairs! You would understand the discomfort I was experiencing-all the sweat pouring in my body, feeling dizzy under the heat of the sun, and difficulty in breathing-that sums up all the distress I had during that time. But God was with me. He never let that experience ruin the totality of the adventure. For some reason all my worries shifted when I started appreciating the sights along the trail. That was His way! Then I was no longer feeling anxious. The meadows of green grass, the pungent scent of pine from the forest that carries the breeze from time to time and interesting chats from my climb mates made me more calm. Anyhow, they did not notice that I was struggling at the early hour of the trek hehe.

Beauty of Mt Ugo

:)

Culture Shock  

We arrived in Indupit village and had our one hour break for lunch, siesta and water refill. The village was kinda creepy. No locals were roaming outside their homes. The silence was deafening though it was perfect for our relaxation but still I was hoping to meet and greet the locals in that village. There were few locals who pass by carrying tons of supplies they bought from the lowland. It would take six hours of walking before they get to their village. They are used to it because there’s no means of transportation in their area. They endure such hardship to bring food to their tables. But despite their sacrifices, they are happy and seem contented.

Our next destination was Domolpos village where we stayed the night in their elementary school. The locals there are very hospitable, in fact when we arrived in their village, the rain was pouring hard and some of the villagers offered us to stay in their homes to protect us from getting soaked. They were very appreciative with our presence. The preacher in the community offered us to stay in his place for dinner which we totally enjoyed. After I finished my meals I called it a day and bid good night to everyone. Our organizer invited us to join the graduation ceremony apparently some of us were tired and sleepy and was not able to manage to attend.

Summit and Beyond

traverse

Traverse

lovely view

 

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New Friends

A group of strangers with different nationalities participated on this epic or I’d rather call it my epic climb. Let me tell you why it’s epic

1. Mt ugo marks as my 10th mountain and 3rd major climb.

2. My first time to do a traverse and

3. Longest trail ever survived.

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For me it’s an accomplishment because not all people have the chance to appreciate the beauty of our mountains. Mountains are my best friends, they listen and they respond. They inspire and make you humble. I guess that’s their message to the human race. We depend on them, we survive with them and now that their environment is being threatened, who else should stand for them? We should join together in protecting and saving our mountains.

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Another Fun Climb

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February 29, 2012 marks the tragic accident t in Mt Batulao. A 27 year old woman fell 250 feet from the steep portion of Peak 8. Locals cited that visitors of this mountain decreased after the incident and so as their income from selling Buko juice or soft drinks to the climbers of Mt Batulao. Their stories saddened me. I remember after my Mt Maculot climb last February I invited some friends to climb this beauty but changed plan because of the accident. Climb-related deaths or accidents truly happen- a fact that we need to understand and accept. As a mountaineer, it should not hinder us from pursuing our passion. It should be viewed as a remarkable reminder to be extra careful. In fact, mountain climbing is an easy sport that doesn’t entail you to be strong and athletic. Agility and being physically fit are important but above all the passion or interest you have for the mountains should be on top. According to Gideon Lasco of pinoymountaineer.com we should not let our physical condition stop us from doing so. But of course it is up to us on how cautious we are with our actions.


May 19, 2012 was my 3rd climb in Mt Batulao on same trail and camping ground (Camp 6) but totally a different climb experience. This mountain known for its wonderful landscape became an appealing destination to mountaineers. It is very easy to access.

The Old Trail is fair but could be very challenging because of it’s exposure to the heat of the sun. Some groups even prefer to have a night trek to save them from the fierce heat of the sun and experience a different kind of adventure and fun. However, heat is not only the concern you might encounter. The trail is also prone to muddiness during wet season. Unluckily, our group experienced the muddy trail of Mt Batulao. It was almost night time when we reached the campsite to pitch our tents and set our meals. There were threats of thunderstorm and heavy rainfall but God was so good He spared us from the storm and granted us a peaceful sleep.

We ascend to the summit on the following day and that’s where the real action took place. At this point I reminded my friends to be extremely careful because the trails are really steep.

There is a part where you need to pull up a rope and a bit of rock climbing skills to get to the top of the mountain. The view from the summit was astonishing, giving you a 360-view of the mountain landscape. The backdrop of the plains and beautiful rock formations are few of the food-for-the-eye that this mountain offers-a real hand of God at work. We had our 30 minutes siesta and took opportunity to meet and greet our fellow mountain enthusiasts. 

The majestic beauty of this mountain always captivates my heart and humbles my spirit. My every climb reminds me of the basic and simple things in life. It made me appreciate more and value what really matters in life which reminds me that there is no easy trail in life. Like mountain climbing you need to pass difficult paths to be able to reach the summit. It also taught me to be patient as I journey. Along the way you meet people, some you would want to stay but leave-another oddity of life.

Can you keep a secret? Don’t you know that Mt Batulao is my favorite mountain? Yes it is! It could be yours too. Now, I’m able to mark my 5th climb for 2012- Mt Batulao and 7 mountains to go. Wish me luck

Why The Rockies?

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Mt Maculot is one of the most popular and busiest mountaineering destinations in the south and is located in the Municipality of Cuenca, Batangas.  It is also considered as the major tourist attraction of the town. What makes the mountain inviting? (Drumroll please) the Rockies!!!!! The Rockies is located at the northern edge and split up from the shoulder by a deep narrow rocky valley. It takes a bit of rock climbing skills to reach the top of the Rockies, but definitely the effort is well rewarded by the breathtaking vista above it. This is where you can get the best view ofTaal Lake and its popular volcano.

Most of the climber’s goal is to reach the summit, but our group decided not to assault since there has no view due to woodland growth. But of course you can also include that in your itinerary; usually it is around an hour hike from the campsite. You can also take the grotto trail to the summit.

Woods protect most of the trails of Mt Maculot and the trail is fairly easy although it is advisable to take extra precaution. At the latter part, you will encounter an open cogon field that will assure you that you are near approaching the campsite. The campsite is an open area so prepare to be exposed to the heat of the sun, possible rain showers and cold and gusty winds. It is advisable that your tent is well-built for such conditions.

Mt Maculot has a lot of fun and exciting things to offer unfortunately this cannot escape from environmental distress due to unregulated and irresponsible camping. Along the trail you’ll notice garbage left along and in the campsite. Real mountaineers should practice outdoor ethics “leave no trace”. Respect and protect our mountains. As much as possible we need to learn to reduce our impact when doing outdoor activities. It is part of the challenge but come to think of the long run effect if we are practicing such.

Anyhow, climbing Mt Maculot is definitely a great experience-a perfect getaway from the hassle and bustle of the city life.

So, why the Rockies?

Let the photos answer your wandering mind.

We saw a monkey in that pink tree

Buko juice stop over

 

 

Gear Up: Please Your Happy Feet

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“When Mother Nature‘s got you on your toes, this shoe gives you the ideal traction, comfort and stability to keep you there. Flexible Strobel construction and a support and comfort midsole let you go all-day, with a full grain leather upper lined with breathable mesh that guarantees you‘ll outlast the conditions for the long haul.”

 

 

 

Cruisin’ the River of Loboc

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Your Bohol vacation will never be complete without experiencing the wonders of Loboc. This town is located in the southern part of Bohol.It’s 30 minutes drive from Tagbilaran City, the province capital and about an hour if you came from the town of Danao just like our case. Loboc is known for its floating restaurants in the Loay-Loboc river, our next stop. If you’re a fan of visiting old churches, one can be found in this town-the St. Peter Parish Church thought to be the oldest standing ecclesiastical structures in Bohol Province. And who will forget the Loboc Children’s Choir who won numerous competitions both local and international? No wonder Loboc is called as the music capital of Bohol.

Photo taken by Libotero

Our stop in Loboc was just in time to treat our hungry stomachs. We pay 300 Php for eat-all-you-can buffet and 100 Php for the maintenance of the terminal. While waiting for the floating restaurant to be ready for boarding you can relax and enjoy listening to Filipino ballads performed by a local band inside the port. Read the rest of this entry

E.A.T. Danao Challenge

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E.A.T. Danao Challenge

It’s not the Tarsier or the Chocolate hills that made me visit Bohol last year but it’s (drum please) The Plunge in Danao. When I saw some videos on how this ride is executed, I can’t help but convince my friends to try this helluva ride ‘The plunge’. Later on, as if the universe conspires, we were able to avail a cheap rate and booked a flight to Bohol. Apparently we cannot be in the same trip so we made a deal to try the canyon swing once we get there otherwise we will lose our friendship. That was the consequence, very harsh that we don’t have a choice but to really take the challenge. I though the trip to Bohol would be my first solo-adventure it did scare me a bit but I was really really thankful that my friend Aires of  Wanderlust  from Cebu joined me in this exciting journey. Again, my main goal is to take ‘The Plunge’ and the rest are just an option.

Municipal Hall of Danao

Danao is located 95 kilometers northeast from the province capital, Tagbilaran city and has approximate land area of 9,786 hectares. This town is known for its natural attractions which the residents seek to enhance and promote eco tourism. The place is endowed with lush vegetation, grandeur mountain ranges, caves and river. Indeed this is a haven for eco-adventure activities. Aside from envisioning this town for eco-tourism they are also committed in preserving these gifts of nature. Sound’s good. Read the rest of this entry

Words to Ponder from The Compass

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The Compass is a life transformation novel that will guide you on a journey of self-discovery. It is a metaphor for the journey of our lives. Written by Tammy Kling and John Spencer Ellis.
The main character in the book is Jonathan Taylor who escapes his suburban life after a tragedy that alters his plans for the future. The tragedy has sent him spirally into despair, anger, and denial and has basically divided his life to “before the accident and after the accident.” He journey across the globe leaving behind his career, friends, family, and home in an effort to realign his inner compass. Along the way he encounters pivotal persons who offer a major life lesson and he begin to realize that each individual was placed there for a reason. Read the rest of this entry