Some places will just find their way into your heart and stick there. I fell in love with the mountains. A month before my birthdate, I certainly ensure that I’ll be doing a birthday climb and I just did one.
Just when every 24th September seems to be a reflection of a whole year round, I decided to make it physical this time. Due to limited time for planning, I ended up searching the facebook page of “CLIMBERS” to find out if there is an upcoming event that will fall on my day. Thanks to Nakasone Travel and Tour for saving me.
12:30 of 24th September, my brother and I arrived on time at Cubao, the place where we will suppose to meet. Several reasons why it’s good to join in a organize climb were listed below:
1.) Practical – payment were categorized all-in excluding food and personal expenses. At this event, I only spent P750.00 up P1000.00 including my meals. For a working traveler like me, organizing and coordinating will not going to be easy so I normally concluded as a joiner.
2.) Comfortable – in selecting organizers and travel or tour agencies, it is important to consider reading the reviews or seek suggestions from friends. So far, I’ve been with three different groups and all of them went well. When you were exhausted, having a private transport waiting down the ground will at some point lessen your stress.
3.) Develop social skills despite diversity – joiner of the organized climb came from the different group of society with a variety of interest and personalities. Some were young and vibrant. Some were noisy while some were seeking serenity. Some are broken-hearted and some are in relationship goals. In this case, sensitivity has to be high enough to maintain the harmonious atmosphere among the group. Adjustment and character show off. And I believed, we hikers and travellers were among those who were capable of surviving these differences.
4.) Opportunity to meet new friends – I was lucky that we were just eleven in the group. Intimate enough that we were able to really socialised and be acquainted with each other.
MT. HAPUNANG BANOI
Major jumpoff: Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal
LLA: 14°44′25.3′′ N, 121°11′30.4′ 517 MASL (+460m)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-3.5 hours
Specs: Minor, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 1-4 with limestone scrambling
Features: Limestone formations, scenic views of Sierra Madre and Rizal province
Major jumpoff: Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal LLA (Pamitinan): 14°43′51.7′′N 121°11′29.2′′ E 426 MASL Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 1.5-3 hours Specs:Minor, Difficulty 4/9 Trail class 1-4 Features: Limestone formations, scenic views of Sierra Madre and Rizal province
04:30am when we started the trek. It’s dark, damp and pure assault.Kuya Tour guides explained that there were four camps before what they call “junction”. It started the same. I’ve foreseen it. It will take 30 minutes’ walk before I end up gaining my stamina. But it’s my birthday; I am a bit emotional that I am torturing myself when I suppose to celebrate it partying instead.
I am confused now, is this really what I dream off? Hanging myself on edge? Celebrating on the mountain trail?
Maybe, I am just lethargic, tired, and feeling every single pain at that moment. Blinded by the dark, we carry on with the enormous rocks made of limestones. I was expecting that since I used to read blogs regarding the places before the date of the hike. A practice that helps me set proper preparation.
And after 45 minutes, here is the breaking dawn smiling on us. Now I was fully awake and on the beat. Let’s move fast, say’s my mind. In a matter of an hour, we touched the junction and take some quick meal. I actually want to sleep, though.
After that moment, I had really no idea, how long and crucial we went through on our way up to Mt. Pamitinan. The rocks were sharp and formed to hinder the ascent. I don’t mind anything or anyone; I am concentrating on my journey when one of our co-hikers screamed. “Sea of clouds”.
It was just like unexplainable bliss feeling I’ve ever had. We have a great sunrise and sunsets several times with different mountains but this is different. I witnessed a golden ball rising from the white sea of smoke that perfectly suited between the mountain peaks. Wow, Happy Birthday to me. I cannot thank God enough for this gift of nature.
And all the pain and tiredness just fade away.
We advanced after the epic picture taking.I was tested again by the limestone formations. The gloves, comfortable footwear, and trekking attire will surely help a lot to endure it. Thanks to the guides and to my brother who patiently catching my hands whenever I started to lose the grip and pulse to bolder. It’s manageable but requires skills and concentration to avoid accidents.
Mt. Pamitinan has climaxing summit which has a 360-degree view. It has two summit peaks for ultimate picture taking moments. The second peak required me to use rope going up. It is a solid huge stone of 90-degree angle in a measure.
There is also buwis buhay pause on the edge of the first peak limited to those who were not afraid of heights and with good balance. Nerve and knee shaking experiences for those who dared to try it. And since it was my birthday, I am privileged to be always first in line to do such activity. As Rizal’s mountains were also known being crowded every weekend and holidays, we are bless that few groups do the climb that day.Maybe because it’s my day. Kidding!
The descent is twice harder. I’ve got plenty of bruises and hematoma from the rocks because I had to seat and walk most of the time on the edges.
Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Hapunang Banoi has a shared trail that passes through the rock climbing walls of Montalban until the junction with Mt. Pamitinan (277 MASL). From here, the leftward trail leads to Hapunang Banoi.
The trail going up is steeper and no soil at all. The compositions seem like we were hanging on the rock and has to make it through the top. At the peak one of Mt. Hapunang Banoi, Mt. Arayat, Mt. Balagbag, Mt. Ayaas, Mt. Banahaw, Mt. Cristobal, and more peaks can be seen on a clear day.
The dramatic assault never ceases as we go over the famous first peak. The climb on the peak itself will need a lot of guts and courage. It wasn’t easy or safe. And I must say most of those rocks were not. But again, this is why we were here. In the process, you only have your guide and yourself and I must admit it need a lot of trust to your guide and of course to your ability.
And I made it one more time. Happy Birthday to me.
We stopped at peak 1 of Mt. Hapunang Banoi. It is a decision made by the majority of the joiners due to several important considerations. And the timing is right, when we hit the ground, heavy rain pours. I just realized that if we continue the hike, we might encounter a difficult descent. Mt. Daraitan hiking way back February gave me the most unforgettable pain where I almost injured my left knee in trekking down using slippery trail.
But it doesn’t matter anyway; we had enough from this one. We descended from Hapunang Banoi to the junction, had some rest and pursued going down to the jump off point.
We visited Wawa Dam on a side trip and to my amazement; it was a big body of water falling from the mountain. The river running down that time is brown and big in amount. As per kuya guide, during the rainy season this creation of God uses to be like this. Sometimes on summer, the water tends to reduce, the best season for outings I guess. If your group plans for a swimming at the dam, better to ensure that the place is clean and safe before going here. The large body of water and the strong current may be very dangerous and scary.
There were rented shower rooms near barangay hall costing P25.00. They were plenty so I don’t need to the lineup.
Around 04:00 in the afternoon of 24th we ended up the activity as our van reached Cubao.
It was a marvelous celebration for me. I think my most unforgettable birthday after 28 years of existence. I will never trade that for any.
But I am still up to something, at the corner of my heart; I know I was called for a more relevant thing. It’s giving back to the mountain and its local resident. In the future, I am planning to join some hike for cause and reforestation campaign.
I am limited to this for now, but I look forward to a broad spectrum, that someday I should be or we should be more than that in terms of our outdoor activities. Doing more vital acts in our own small ways that will help improve the life of our fellows in preserving protecting the environment that we claimed to fell in love with.Little deeds of thousand travellers will result to a huge change.
Let us go and save the planet while enjoying it at the same time.
And the calling is so strong. For sure, I will be responding very very soon. How about you?
Time to call it the birthday!
Mt. Pamintinan+hHapunang Banoi
12:30am- Assembly Cubao
01:00am- Cubao to Wawa DENR Registration Area
03:30am- Registration, Secure Tour Guide, Short Briefing
04:30am- Start Trekking
Mt.Pamitinan Picture taking and Sightseeing,
12:00 noon- Start trekking to Mt. Hapunang Banoi
04:30pm- Back to DENR registration, Side Trip to Wawa Dam.Wash up and rest.
05:30pm- ETA Cubao
WHAT TO BRING?
-1 pair of clothes
-Gloves (highly recommended)
-Trail food (nuts, chocolates, jelly ace etc)
-Trail water and energy drinks
-Poncho type Raincoat
-Kikay kit esp. Sunblock
-Plastic or Ziplock for your gadgets