Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kwentong Kaladkarin #33: Mountain Chillin' and Beach Bummin'

Da Where: Mt. Gulugod Baboy and Philpan Dive Resort, Anilao, Mabini, Batangas, Philippines
Da When: January 14-15, 2012
Da Who: Too many to mention! Haha! :D Me, Vin, Archie, Jac, Maggie, Ferdie, Malou, Joey, Isabel, Ice, Jason, Cy, Sweet, Bitz, Ton, Ian, Jonette, Ann, David, Brigsy and Christian
Da Trivia: Biggest group we've organized for a climb! Major logistics headache but an all-good-vibes weekend. :)

It all started over a few buckets of beer and sizzling plates of sisig and chicken wings before 2011 ended, it was decided that a few climbing buddies and Vin and I will have a New Year's climb, just like the Mt. Pico de Loro climb we had to welcome 2011.

Fast forward to January 2012, the "few buddies" surged to a total of 21 people joining and we ended up filling 2 vans. The biggest climb we've ever organized! Credits to Vin though for doing most of the legwork. :) And off we go to Anilao in Mabini, Batangas.

Anilao is more known in the tourism circuit as a diving haven; it is after all considered as the spot where Philippine scuba diving was born. Once you reach Mabini, you'd be met with one resort after another offering the ultimate diving experience. But for the mountaineering community, the place holds more than what the sea can offer. In a perfect union of mountain-meets-sea, Mt. Gulugod Baboy overlooks the Anilao coastal stretch at 525 MASL.

Half-asleep and enduring the scorching midday sun (I came straight from work and had to travel from Pampanga to Makati and then on to Batangas), we slapped on some sunblock and started stretching as soon as we got to the jump-off point in Brgy. Ligaya. I was little worried that I'm going on a no-sleep, no-prior-training hike but I simply can't afford to not climb, it's been over four months since my last climb, the last being a quick Mt. Batulao dayhike. My body's going through withdrawal symptoms already! :D

Repacked and ready, we started on the cemented road up to the sari-sari store leading to the fork where the actual mountain trail starts. Five minutes into the hike, my lungs started punishing me for the laziness over the past four months. I was huffing and puffing and sweating like crazy! I had to ask Vin to stop several times for me to catch my breath. My pack felt like it was loaded with stones though I was only carrying 3L of water, our tent and sleeping gears and my change of clothes. Okay, fine. I need to start exercising. :D

I'm cursing this cemented path! Arrrggghhh!!!
This was my third time up Gulugod Baboy and we've always used the new trail they had put up in the past, which passes by the community church. A couple weeks ago though, it's been blocked off by a landslide so we used the old trail instead.

One of the many rest stops.
Oh boy. I think there's a reason why the new trail was made. This was much steeper and not as knee-friendly as the new trail. I asked for rest stops every five steps I made! Combine that with the heat and no-sleep, I was ready to drop off. But my military officer, uhhrrmm..., I mean, my climbing partner urged me to go on. ;D And I did, until I saw the rolling peaks of Pinagbanderahan and Gulugod Baboy. My exhaustion was gone when I saw one of the best sunsets I've witnessed in my life.

And He said, "Rest your weary souls on Me".

Rest only lasted for five minutes as dusk was approaching fast, had to pitch our tent fast before the crazy sea winds Mt. Gulugod is known for start blowing in. I then helped Jason and Ice put up their tent, newly-bought and never-tried. Tent-buying tip: have it assembled at the store so you can see if it's easy to pitch and you can check for any tears/defects. ;)

Thirty minutes later, tents were up and cookware, camp stoves and ingredients were out. The chefs-in-charge started cooking. This is the only part of hiking and camping that I can't master. Yes I'm a girl but no stereotyping, please! Whipping up delicioso food is not my forte! Gobbling 'em up is more like it. Haha! :D

Making dinner, al fresco style.
Our dinner consisted of Ferdie's specialty, pork and chicken adobo and green mango ensalada with bagoong and sliced salted eggs and plenty of rice. Everyone had second, third, fourth helpings even. Who wouldn't? We were literally famished and a perfect dinner ambience of starry skies and cold breeze with the far-off twinkling city lights made for some good-sized appetites. Even our Australian guests enjoyed the green mangoes and bagoong! :D

Dinner is served!

Pang-ilang balik na yan? LOL! :D

Filled to bursting after our meal, we weren't ready to call it a day just yet. What's a climb organized by Vin without socials and some booze? I think I heard him say once that when preparing for a climb, he'd rather have me left behind than alcohol. I think he's said that maybe even more than once. Lol! :P Out came the brandy and chips. The leftover adobo made for some good pica-pica too. Some people must've enjoyed their alcohol too much that night. Am not gonna name names though. ;P

Group shot

Alak pahhhh! :D

Dark and early at 0500H the next day, I roused everyone up to start preparing breakfast and break camp. Our breakfast was as heavy as our dinner last night. Fried rice, crispy danggit, luncheon meat, corned beef and scrambled eggs were prepared for tummies with hangovers. Hehe. We packed up and took group photos before starting descent at 0800H.

The Breakfast Club

Obviously, going down is easier than up but we all still had to be careful as the steep slopes were slightly slippery with minimal footholds. My worn Merrells still performed well, I thought I had an easy time descending. The lighter pack load also helped. :)

A very foggy morning. No overlooking-Anilao beach photos. :(

Hi-ho, hi-ho, off to the beach we go! :)
Picture taking habang pahinga. :D

We rented a cottage from Philpan Dive Resort and enjoyed a mouth-watering lunch of grilled pork, tilapia and eggplant slices with ice-cold Coke. Burp. While some of the group prepared to sail off to nearby Sombrero Island for some white sand beach frolicking, we prepared for some serious beer session beside the pebble-beach shores. Haha!

Lasing na sa bundok, lasing pa sa beach. Hahaha! :D

The sun was already setting splendidly at around 1700H when we decided to clean up and start heading back to Manila. The folks who went island-hopping came back with light tans and us who stayed back enjoyed a not-so-light beer buzz. ;D

Weekends are . Definitely.

Sunsets. Sigh.

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