Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kwentong Kaladkarin # 01: Mt. Manabo

Da Where: Mt. Manabo in Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Sto. Tomas, Batangas

Da When: March 20-21, 2010

Da Who: me, Marvin, Bitz, Archie and Jack

Da Trivia: The first VEAT trip with smallest headcount. Tinuloy talaga! :)

Da Word/s for the Day: linoleum, adaFtor, Belo

The past week has been semi-hell at work and I took a break from climbing for quite some time so I was adamant and excited in making sure this trip pushes through. :)

This is the second time I've climbed Mt. Manabo, the first time was in January 2009, also with the VEAT folks. I remember the foggy morning we woke up to back then - the clouds still low even if it was near noontime. With all these cold, misty thoughts of Mt. Manabo, I was raring to go to escape the sweaty heat of Metro Manila. :)

And yay! I've finally convinced someone to join me in one of our climbs. Jack, whom I used to work with in NS, agreed to try climbing for the first time. I made her wait in MiniStop for over an hour, admittedly being really, really late for the 9:00am MNL call time. Sorry, Jack! :S

After much ado and stopovers, Kuya Jerry finally got us safely to Mt. Manabo's jumpoff in Brgy. Sta Cruz, Sto. Tomas, Batangas. The lush green peak of the mountain was beckoning all of us. :) I was happy to note that the poinsettia plants we took pictures of the last time were still there but not as vibrant red as before. Some were sadly wilted, probably due to the heat.

Alternately led by Bitz and Archie, the first part of the trek was uneventful, we got to the first rest stop in no time, and enjoyed a quick, refreshing buko. When we got to a small stream, I was expecting it was all dried up due to the El NiƱo phenomenon we're experiencing now but surprisingly, it was still gurgling chilly water! :)

Though we got lost for about 20 minutes and had to retrace our steps, we still got to the camp site early and was able to watch the sunset. In a way, getting lost was a good thing - it was the first time I did a traverse of Mt. Manabo. :) I'm happy to note that the white cross they have at the peak has been repainted. Last time we were there, some dim-wiited kids thought it was a cool thing to write their names on the cross in permanent marker. Tsk, tsk.

Looking over the horizon... :D

 I really enjoyed our dinner and breakfast. We bought dried fish from the Sto. Tomas Public Market. It looks and tastes like danggit but I totally forgot the name (Note: The fish was called ayungin). We even bought some as pasalubong going home. Paired with salted egg, sliced tomatoes, some onions and white fluffy rice, its heaven in a plate! :)

We slept like logs that night - at least I did from all the GranMa shots I took from the Master Tanggero himself, Marvin. haha! And even if we had excitable (read: noisy) camp neighbors, it was a well-rested night. :) On our descent, of course we had to drop by at Tatang Pirying's house and sample a steaming cup of his kape barako. I'm not a huge fan of taking my coffee black but this local beans grown around his humble 'kubo' tasted and smelled so good, I couldn't say no. Tatang Pirying always has a ready cup for any mountaineer and visitor who stumbles into his house.

Walang binatbat ang Starbucks Americano sa Kapeng Barako ni Mang Pirying

Vin also got a couple native iguanas for sale from one of the rest stations. They look adorable but I still believe wild animals should be kept there - in the wild. Oh well, he has a good knack in taking care of animals of all sizes so I hope they thrive. :)

The Guy Up There heard our prayers because the surpising but welcome rain did not pour until we were safely back in the Barkada Van and on our way home. It would have made the steep slopes slippery and difficult to climb down but thankfully, we avoided that.

It feels good to be back climbing again, enjoying the tranquility only a mountain's peak can provide. And Jack's text message to me rings true: the mark of her first successful climb is her aching limbs and joints but it was something she definitely enjoyed. I guess that's mountain climbing's addictive ingredient - the physical pain is nothing compared to the high from reaching a summit and getting to see a view only the adventurous few get to enjoy.

'Till the next climb! :)

Mt. Maculot as seen from Mt. Manabo's peak

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