It’s a sunny day of 23rd March 2016 when my siblings and I went for a hike.Our destination:
Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
Major jumpoff: Mangyan Village, Talipanan Beach, Puerto Galera
LLA: 13.45°N; 120.9°E; 1,168 MASL
Days required /Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 4-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 2-3
March 21st, we traveled to Oriental Mindoro via Jam Liner at Buendia. 09:00am when we arrived at our hometown, Socorro. We decided to take a day of rest and preparation before going for a hike.
23rd March, 03:30am, equipped with sufficient amount of water, enough quantity of food and all possible sunscreen, we traveled to Calapan city. We have to be there as early as possible to take the first trip going to Puerto Galera.
About, 04:30am when we arrived. Unfortunately, the first trip will be 06:00am. It will take two hours to be at Puerto Galera terminal. The fare will be P100. But because the Van has completed the count of passengers before 06:00am, we left early so we arrived at P. Galera approximately 07:00am. We take a tricycle going to Mangyan Settlement area (P45 per head). After 15 mins of the ride, we reached our destination.
We were welcomed by Kuya Danny who eventually became our tour guide. Few minutes of preparation and the hike were about to start. It’s 07:30am when we finally began.
Assault. 70-80 degrees right away.
That’s shocking. Well, Kuya Danny asked us anyway, between long easy trails or short but challenging one. The fact that we would like to finish the hike at the soonest time, we choose the difficult one.
The first 30 minutes was very difficult. No warmed up, assault right away.
I was worried because I was with my three siblings who were all the first timer. The good things about it are that they were all psychologically ready and committed to what we’re about to accomplish.
The whole trekking experienced isn’t easy. It was hot. The sun was up and shining upon us the entire journey. I was drought and exhausted at some point.
But it all worth it. The open view of the grassland was mesmerizing and breathtaking. Overlooking were the long white beach and the Verde Island.
The sweat and tiredness paid off. We were at the ground few meters away from the summit. But we decided to stop for a couple of reasons. The heat index is almost 40 degrees and the guide informed us that the summit comprises of big trees and a bit forest like. By the way, as per Kuya Danny, it’s only us who dared to hike that day under the killing hotness of the king sun.
It was 11:30am and going up high will be a little bit dangerous for all of us.
On the area where we stopped,about 300 meters long, the grass fire has evidently happened.
We rested for 30 more minutes and we started the descent for a while after.
The tour guide got injured by the cut cogon grass body which penetrated on the vein of his left foot . I offered him first aid but he refuses it and get grass leave and chewed it instead . He put the ground leaves into the wound. The bleeding suddenly stopped. I forgot to mention that Kuya Danny came from one of the native tribes of Mangyan called “Iraya” .The Iraya Mangyans live in the municipalities of Puerto Galera, San Teodoro and Baco in Oriental Mindoro but most are in Occidental Mindoro, particularly in the municipalities of Abra de Ilog, Paluan, Mamburao and Santa Cruz.
The Irayas are also skilled in nito-weaving. Handicrafts such as jars, trays, plates and cups of different sizes and design are being marketed to the lowlanders.
They subsist on rice, banana, sweet potato, and other root crops. (Source:Mangyan.org)
The long walked tested our throats. Thirsted us more. At the middle of the descent, the water supplies run out. Kuya Danny brought us to a little spring for us to be able to refill our drinking water.
It tastes good and natural. It soothes our needs and made us survive the heat and the hike.
We finished the activity around 02:30pm, take a tricycle going to our reserve accommodation at White Beachfront.
The rest of the afternoon was spent on sleeping. 05:00pm we were up to watch the sunset and ready ourselves for dinner. Basic commodities were quite expensive at Puerto Galera so it’s good to be practical. An additional thing to remember, ATM at white beach area was limited to one and with service fee amounting P225 per transaction so it’s better to bring enough cash.
Beach night is glamorous. We do a bit of beach walk and experience the beach parties all around us. We go back to rest around 10:00pm.
As usual, the body is in deep pain. We deserve a good night sleep.
The whole morning of 24th March was used beachineering and more.We checked out 11:30am.
Time to go home. With us were aching muscles and a beautiful story to share. Each every experience was different from one another. As always, I would like to believe that moreover than photography and sceneries is the take away that I was given the opportunity to listen to our guide story and appreciate more about their living. I realized the implications of the mankind actions to their tribe.
My heart was close to nature. Appreciating it’s physical will always be the second best thing to do. I believe that “Traveling is more than just a vacation but a process of discovery and encounter with other creations”. Make the most of it.
This is me. This is my story.