Never in my life have a dreamt such an adventure. At first, I wasn’t sure why I decided to join a group of mountaineers going up the 3rd highest peak in the Philippines, Mt. Pulag. This is my first climb and it’s already a major climb. I am nowhere fit with endurance for this kind of adventure, but why I decided to do this? Aside from overcoming my fear of heights, and proving to myself and the people around me that I can do this, what removed all my hesitations is the group that invited me to achieve my first summit: Green Mountain Tribe (GMT), with our Team Leader Maia, and Mon, a good friend of mine, both encouraged me to try something I thought was out of my league.
So the adventure starts:
Mt. Pulag via Ambangeg-Ambangeg
Day 0 – 23 September, 2011, Friday
The bus ride going to Baguio was smooth, although I wasn’t able to sleep. I was seated with one of my team mates Hajji and on my other side was Gudang. I was envious of how they look, dreamy on their seats, while I am wide-awake thinking of any possibility of jumping off the window without being noticed. Funny, eh? But that’s how I felt.
Day 1 – 24 September 2011, Saturday
We arrived at the terminal of Baguio City at around 5 to 6 am. It was cold and the fog was all over, and visibility was limited even in the town, so what else to expect in the mountains? A jeepney was waiting for us in the terminal. It was an hour or so of bumpy, zigzagging ride up the slopes when we arrived at our first stop-over, where we had our breakfast. The name of the local restaurant is “Pinkan Jo Eatery and Videoke”. We had Nilaga and there’s also another viand called Black Bean Soup which tasted a bit like Tinola. The food was really nice, large servings, and cheap prices. After the meal, Mon helped me packed my stuffs properly. It was raining, so it’s important to waterproof everything. I was amazed how they can fit all of these things inside a bag. I only have a few things and their bags consist of other necessities such as tents and cook sets. Mine was just clothes, foods, toiletries, water, and personal needs, but it was already full. So now I will remember to ask for a bag packing lesson before my next climb. J
I wasn’t aware of the time we reached Camp 1. There was already another group inside the small nipa hut, so we just stayed outside and made ourselves comfortable by sitting on the rocks. We had a few snacks, and there were also some locals selling bananas. My other team mates bought some, and were amazed by how sweet the red bananas were. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to ask the proper name of these bananas. Our guides, as well as our porters interact with us, sharing with our snacks, and joining our conversation. We felt welcome, and they not only took care of our belongings, but also offer us some raincoats due to the rain.
I didn’t realize if we passed the water source or not, because we’re so busy to reach the camp where we will spend the night. I reached my breaking point a few miles reaching the camp. When I saw Maia and Mon, I began to cry. The thought of them leaving me behind on those steep trail took over my feelings, and I poured together with the rain, sat down on the trail and don’t want to continue anymore. Our guide even offered to carry me, but I declined. But then, after I burst out everything, I continued to walk and reached the Saddle Camp. I lost track of time, but it’s beginning to get dark on the camp so I believe it’s about 6pm.
According to them, the first one who arrived the campsite was Hajji, followed by Gudang, and then the rest. I stayed in the banker, sitting there all wet and tired. I thought everything will be okay by then, but I was wrong, it was just the start of a much more weary evening.
It was Maia and Arlyn who prepared our dinner. Although I felt secured inside our tent, I felt hungry and had no choice but to go back to the bunker. The way from the saddle camp to the banker was just a few steps, but it’s so dark, muddy, slippery, and tall grasses all around you, and it felt eerie walking past this path (maybe just for a newbie like me).
Day 2 – 25 September, 2011, Sunday
We were already running out of water when we reached the water source. It was cold water, refreshing and sweet. This is “real mineral water”, water we will never have in Manila. If I can just take galloons of it with me I would do it, but anyway a bottle of it was enough baggage for me. J
After that was hours of trekking again. Good thing our guide was so nice he made me a wooden stick to help me on our way down. It was slippery, and he said he saw me crying on our way up the other day, that’s why he made one for me. I was embarrassed, but all of those memories were laughing matters now.
We passed Camp 1, but we didn’t stay there. We continued our descent, and after hours of walking, and my neck started to hurt because I kept looking for signs of our team mates ahead of us, finally we arrived at the Ranger Station. We were the last ones who arrived, and luckily we were already there when the rain begun to pour. Our transportation going to Baguio City was already there waiting for us. We bid our goodbyes to our guides and porters. These villagers were really accommodating, and helpful. I was so grateful they were there to help us.
We had another stop over at the village restaurant, just to take some rest from the ride and bathroom breaks, and then we continued travelling all the way to Baguio City. I think it was already 9-10pm when we reached Baguio. This time, I already felt my body aching. I can’t walk, and bruises started to appear in my body.
We had our dinner at a nearby restaurant, and then another 5 hours trip from Baguio to Manila. I was asleep most of the journey going home.
Day 3 – 26 September, 2011, Monday
We reached Manila around 6am. There was an upcoming typhoon, and we’re lucky we were finally home before it poured.
Even though it was really tiring, I got sick and the muscles all over my body aching, accomplishing my first mountain climb Mt. Pulag was something I’m so proud of. This was something I never fantasize nor intend to try, but here I am writing my first experience. This climb made me discover the strengths, I never thought I have; made me realized that God created so many wonders I should learn more; and most of all this adventure gave me new a family: “Green Mountain Tribe”.
|Green Mountain Tribe|