Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kwentong Kaladkarin # 04: Anilao Adventures

Da Where: Mt. Gulugod Baboy and Philpan Resort in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas
Da When: Sept. 4-5, 2010
Da Who: me, Vin, Archie, Vince, Paolo, Lene, Wesley, Germaine, Ferdie, Mico, Lynn, Lem and Kuya Emil, the van driver
Da Trivia: a.k.a. Inter-Company Training Team Friendship Climb ;D
Da Word for the Day: Like! :)

View from the top of Mt. Gulugod Baboy

The past week has drenched the whole Manila metropolitan with rain that wouldn't just let up. The weather segments in the nightly news has been littered with terms like low pressure area and tropical storm and area of responsibility.

No wonder my reaction to receiving confirmation that the climb will push through was, “What? For real?” Nonetheless, no amount of rain, sleet (wish that would happen here) or drizzle can take away the excitement with the prospect of a climb. Actually, I take that back. I would choose not to climb when I know there’s a mighty good chance of rain. I hate sleeping out in the rain with only the tent to keep my dry. Hehe. :) Good thing the weather forecast for the weekend was optimistic.

A hot and humid weekend!

I tried using my rusty persuasive powers and convinced Paolo and Vince to join this climb and boy, did it work. haha! :) The two started preparing like crazy, even buying new shoes! Like what I said, crazy. :D

I was actually surprised with the turnout of 12 people joining the climb. I was already jesting that this can be called the Inter-Company Training Team Friendship climb since most of the participants are training persons from two different companies. Haha! The first time I climbed Gulugod Baboy was with VEAT in April 2009, after a failed attempt to conquer Mt. Daguldol.

Coming off a shift and doing a strenuous activity without a wink of sleep is no joke. Trying to catch a nap in the van isn’t exactly my idea of rest but had no choice then. A stopover at Jollibee in Bauan, Batangas was a welcome reprieve. As I always say, if you can’t have sleep, have food instead. haha! :D

A chaotic Jolibee Bauan crew, trying to serve lines and lines of hungry people.

A couple more hours on the road and suffering through 7-Eleven music from Kuya Emil’s van sound system, we finally reached PhilPan Resort, the jump-off point for Mt. Gulugod Baboy. After repacking stuff and slathering on sunblock, we started on the paved road. It was stifling hot, not a whisper of breeze to cool us off. The weather forecast held its ground in giving us a hot and humid weekend!

Pre-climb good luck photo with Vince and Pao

On our way up, we were left behind in the trails by an incredible group of people doing a day-hike for a cause. It was the the 1st All-Women Climb by the Autism Society of the Philippines, with the youngest participant – a four-year-old boy. That inspired everyone else to trudge on. :)

I was kinda looking forward to the halo-halo stop but to my disappointment, they were not serving it anymore. I learned they only serve it during the summer season. There goes my motivation. :( And the mischievous monkey that they keep as a pet wasn’t there anymore. According to the owner, he broke free and must be roaming the Gulugod Baboy treetops by now. I just wish he has stopped peeing on people that he comes across with. :D

The sign that motivated me to trudge up. Sadly, it wasn't available. :(

Several stops and slips and resolute steps later, we finally reached the camping ground. It gave us the most gorgeous view of the whole Batangas Bay, with the Sombrero and Maricaban islands winking invitingly in the distance. 

The rolling hills of Gulugod Baboy’s peak reminded me of Mt. Pulag, with waves of smooth, green fields. I can almost envision Julie Andrews running through the grass while singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music…” Hahaha! :D

All that green... Aaaah! Respite for my eyes!

We set camp and started to prepare dinner. On the menu is Ferdie’s chicken and pork adobo, prepared earlier that day; sliced salted eggs, onions and tomatoes; and boiled eggplant with alamang fresh from a San Andres Bukid market. It was so good (or maybe I was so hungry), I came back for second, third and fourth helpings. Diet? What diet? Hahaha!

With everyone all filled up, out came the Gran Matador, iced tea chasers and canned sisig for pulutan. The socials went in batches and I missed out on the first batch coz I took a nap. But I woke up in time to join the last bottle. With the Batangas city lights twinkling in the distance, stories were swapped as shots were passed around. If inuman sessions are like this in the metro, bars and party places would go out of business. XD LOL!

I’d apologize that I couldn’t tell much about the Sunday sunrise, I’m out like a light in our tent when the sun came up. To make up for that, here’s a gorgeous shot taken by Paolo when him and the rest of the guys climbed to the summit at the break of dawn.

Sunrise at Anilao, a sight to behold!

Me and Vince doing the jumpshot

Pao and Vince getting wacky!
 After a mouth-watering breakfast of daing, corned beef and crunchy-fried MaLing, we broke camp and cleaned up all traces of our stay. It’s always very important to leave the place as it were before, it preserves the undisturbed ecosystem. We wanted to descend early so we’d have time to enjoy the beach before calling it a weekend. Perhaps that’s why our almost-3-hour trek up only took 1.5 hours on our way down. Haha! :D

It was sweltering hot that day, the leaves in the trees were at a standstill. The sparkling seas seen in between the trees and tall grass beckoned at us, which made me want to drop my pack, peel off my sweat-soaked climbing clothes and just run straight to the shore upon reaching Philpan Resort. 

But rumbling stomachs were more insistent so we feasted first on grilled and fried pork chops courtesy by our climb chefs, Ferdie and Archie. Served with steaming hot rice and calamansi-soy sauce-chopped chili dip and ice-cold Coke, it’s a winning combination. Even Wesley took to eating with his bare hands. Need any more convincing? :P

Of course, the best way to enjoy the sea scenery and celebrate another successful climb would be another booze session. Mr. GranMa was again present and hilarious tales, tall or convincing, were exchanged. The waves started to get stronger, as if wanting to get our attention away from the alcohol and to the sea itself. It was the most refreshing dip I took, what with the alcohol buzz, tired muscles and stifling weather. I wanted to stay in the water longer but sadly, we needed to clean up and get a start back to the metro.

It was just the break that I needed after a month of demanding work – tire myself out and then just chill. A perfect end to a great weekend. Never mind the sore muscles the next day. :D

Like! :)

As high as you can!

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