Emotions, Travel, Uncategorized

Stepping on the Stone of Mt. Maculot

Let my pen write what my heart felt.

It was me, my boyfriend and three boys. The Voltes5 as they call it. I actually set the date after we climbed Mt. Pico de Loro. This will be the second time I’ll be hiking with this young and energetic guys. I have a long week prior since we’ve been celebrating our sports fest and I’m into cheer dancing practice the whole time. I would like to consider it as a good conditioning program but the truth is I am really exhausted because aside from the practice we were also at peak in the office. But well, I don’t practice backing out and I hate people doing that, so we proceeded.

No good sleep 21st May 2016, I started packing my things. 12:30 when I finished it. I already took a bath before taking a nap. We must be up by 02:00am.

03:00am, we met each other at DLTBCo Bus terminal at Buendia. We have to take a  ride going to Lemery as early as possible. P140.00 is the fare from Buendia to Cuenca.

It’s 05:30am am when we arrived at Cuenca Town proper. From there, you can see the foggy mountain commanding for a climb.

We go for a tricycle ride costing P20.00 each. Half way going to the Jump off, he dropped us to the registration area.We pay P20 per head.

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Registration Area

They assigned tour guide for us. By the way, at Mt. Maculot, Tour guide is mandatory regardless if you are hard-core climber. It was Kuya Ambet who is in charge of guiding us. The tricycle take us to the jump off. You might experience being asked if you shall be dropped to the higher jump off which will cost you P40 per head. I recommend not to. Starting the walk from the original drop point  will help at least to warm you up before the serious assault.

Welcome to Mt. Maculot-Rockies jump off point.

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Kuya Ambet says that if we have friends who will plan to try hiking Mt. Maculot, we might consider recommending the Mt. Maculot Rockies instead of Grotto. The answer to why this was being encourage can be found as you read this article.

Let’s start….

Mount Macolod (also called Mount Makulot or Mount Maculot) is a mountain located in the town of Cuenca in Batangas province, in the Philippines. This mountain is popular among mountain climbers and campers; it is the major tourist attraction of the municipality.[Wikipedia]

MT. MACULOT
Cuenca, Batangas
Major Jump off: Mountaineer’s Store, Brgy. 7 “Siete”, Cuenca
Exit point (traverse): Brgy 5 (to Grotto), Cuenca
LLA: 13°55 N; 121°2 E; 706 MASL (Rockies) / 930 MASL (summit)
Days required / Hours to Rockies / summit : 1 day / 1-2 hr / 2-4 hr
Specs: Minor, Difficulty 3/9 (Rockies); 4/9 (Traverse) Trail class 1-3.
Features: Scenic views of Taal Lake, rock formations, forests

(Source : http://www.pinoymountaineer.com/2007/08/mt-maculot-685.htm)

The thing is that Mt. Maculot one of my dream mountain. As people say, the dangerous and mysterious it could be, the more that we’re interested to know it.

The tour guide is discussing us that we should ready ourselves for this will going to be quite difficult. Unlike other mountain, Mt. Maculot will be testing our cardio ability.

It has 10 camps or resting area . Each build of 70-80 degree short and long but all assaults.

What really motivated us is that we look forward to every campsite that we were going to.

We arrived early, we only encounter few and small groups along the trail.

Hands up to this  unforgiving mountain as our tour guide try to throw a joke. “Malapit na nga po Ma’am palitan ang pangalan ng bundok na eto , Hindi na po Mt. Maculot , Mt. Matarik na.” And so we laugh in pain.

I can’t help but appreciate how my sweat gland really managing to released water from its pores uncontrollably. But that what makes it even more meaningful.

Every camp is worth counting for and I must say it’s heavens like.

Camp 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,…..7,8,9 and at last, we grasp the Camp 10.

It’s okay to rest when you get breathlessly tired.

The purpose of resting is to slow down your heart rate and breathing and rest your hearts and lungs. In addition, Resting gives your body the time to get rid of the lactic acids built up in your muscles and to recover from the strains and possible pressure sores.
Try to rest in regular intervals and make them part of your walking rhythm. Rest for 10 minutes after every one hour of hiking. (abc-of-hiking website).

Welcome to Campsite. Hello Tiger.

We have to eat a quick breakfast and assembled for Rockies hike right after the meal.

We’re done after 15 minutes and ready to ascend  again as we look forward finishing the activity early.

Kuya tour guide started his command and we carry on walking again. This time we will do crawling on the sharp edges rocks. Lucky enough that we were early and almost third group to climb.

The surface comprises of a formed volcanic rock that is part of Taal Calderas or crater rim. And yes, we’re stepping on the stone not just an ordinary one. It’s actually a volcanic rock . Thousands of years ago, historians believe that this was the original crater of the majestic Taal Volcano before it depresses into 30 kilometers water body surface ( Taal Lake) .Imagine that. I’m standing on a former volcanic crater . Wow, very epic.

The movie Delta Force 2 of Chuck Norris also used this place way back 1989. Amazingly fun to know that we already made it being here, “The Dream Mountain” as I call it.

It’s time to face the reality of the climb. Descent to campsite and assault to the summit.

200MASL more to take.

We pursued. No kissed from the sun, a bit slippery and steeper ascent along the way.

Kuya guide said, we can make it in an hour and half. The stamina is boost up to its maximum level. We were taking only short and minimal times of rest. I must admit that among all the tour guide I’ve been with, Kuya Ambet is the most precise when it comes to time and expectations setting.

And here we go. Welcome to the Summit of Mt. Maculot (942MASL per wikipedia).

Summit conquered.

Because its weekend, two elementary students were at the top, selling ice candy for the hikers.

We bought not just because it looks so dainty  but by the reason that through this small act of patronage, we were able to help the locals uplift their lives. And frankly, I must commend this kids for doing such things remembering the similar childhood I’ve been through .

Kudos to both of you.

Ready to descend now.

Kuya Ambet said that we will be using ropes at some parts because there were long breakneck trails.

Summit to Grotto walk. Let’s go.

My heart is beating normally now compared when assaulting but what really challenges us was the gravity testing our knees, pulling us down.

We take it slow, single step at a time. We were throwing jokes and hugot lines. This way we will be able to pay no attention to lassitude.

After a couple of hours, we were already at the Grotto. We will be using concrete stairs of 997  steps to get into the ground.

That wasn’t basic huh. It requires proper walking otherwise the knees might not able to conclude  it. Twice in my hiking combat , I descent with a very devastating sore knees. From then on, I tried to make an effort to learn the proper way to descend. Some of it were taking zigzag walk instead of straight, pole walking to help reduce pressure on the upper and lower limbs, heels first and be extra careful on the wet trails.

And finally, were down to our final step on the stone of Mt. Maculot.

To God be the glory. Thank you for our safety.

We ended up eating the best Lomi Batangas has to  offer.We took snap shower before heading back to Manila.image

From Cuenca Town proper there were buses that will pass through. You can also take a jeep ride going to SM Lipa (Buses Terminal were there).

Touch down Manila.It’s 04:30pm.

People may ask us why the hell are we doing this torturous thing to ourselves. While we supposed to rest and relax on weekends, we choose to be under the sun soaring the mountains. And we were unstoppable at some point.

Other said “Sa ngalan ng Facebook “. But personally, to me it’s more than that.

Striving for unrealistic standard of beauty set by Popeye

Going there repetitively with such degree of difficulty is not possible without the urge of being in there passionately like a friend calling for a visit . The experience itself is immeasurable.

It could be because walking and it’s pluses makes me feel that I am a human. Getting myself into my most tiring status helps me realized that I am a weak being yet with a strong heart to pursuit satisfaction in a challenging way. I am gaining mental and emotional  articulates while I’m immersing myself into nature.

And that was priceless. I will always savor every chances that God has been given me to be with His mountain.

This is me. And this is my story ✍🏻

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The Novice

 

By: EBB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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